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Custom Springer Suspension finished

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by BadDog, Feb 28, 2002.

  1. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Well, I've got my K30 setting on a new, custom rear suspension setup. As most of you know, the K30 has 56" springs from the factory and the Springer setup is made for using longer springs to replace the 52" short springs found on K5s and many K10/20 trucks. With the Springer Suspension you get very flexy 57" Ford F150 springs and a "shackle flip lift", plus a tremendous amount of rear axle articulation as evidenced by many photos that have been posted.

    Well, I was so impressed with it (saw it on Marv's truck plus the pics) that I wanted to use it on mine, even though I already had the hangers set of 56" springs. So, I got a partial Springer setup and moved my rear hangers. Rather than deal with the 57" springs (which generally need a new hole drilled to move the pin to the correct GM location) I decided to use the 56" 1 ton springs (with 5 leafs removed) for the 1st phase. Basically I moved the rear hangers forward by about 6" and set them at an angle to make up for the differences in location of the rear eye between the 56" and 57" springs, and allow for the fact that it was originally designed for hangers set for 52" springs. Some quick math will tell you that the hanger should only have been moved 5" to correct for the differences but, I wanted to change the shackle and swing arm angles a bit. In the end, I mounted the bump-stop bracket a little higher than normal, angled the hanger, and wound up with (IMO) a nice rear shackle angle. Having the swing arm angled up will hopefully allow the shackle to do more of the work before unloading the swing arm off the bump. When it does start moving, more of the movement will be vertical, rather than swinging forward as far or as soon. Because of the changes I made (and considering phase 2) I used longer shackles than Marv usually uses. End result is a roughly 4" lift and a VERY flexy/soft rear suspension.

    Pics of Original rear suspension (sorry for the dark shot, it's the best I've got)
    <a target="_blank" href=http://members.cox.net/russhuffman/original1.jpg>Original 1</a>
    <a target="_blank" href=http://members.cox.net/russhuffman/original2.jpg>Original 2</a>

    Pics of Phase 1 suspension completed
    <a target="_blank" href=http://members.cox.net/russhuffman/springer1.jpg>Springer 1</a>
    <a target="_blank" href=http://members.cox.net/russhuffman/springer2.jpg> Springer 2</a>
    <a target="_blank" href=http://members.cox.net/russhuffman/springer3.jpg> Springer 3</a>

    I do still need to mount my 5012s. In my case I'll mount them more along the frame rails than is common on most rigs here. I don't want them angled in heavily since that will not control body roll. With the Springer setup done the way I have it, I'm a bit concerned about the side hill performance, and I don't want dramatic load/unload occurring twisted up in the rocks. So, I'll mount them on the back of the axle, right out by the springs. The top will be on a new cross member about 16" behind the axle. The shocks will be angled back about 35 degrees and in toward the center about 15-20 or so (still working out the details). This should provide maximum control, especially when the swing arms start to unload or collapse. Basically, the axle had to rotate around the front spring eye, so it swings forward and back as it moves. With the shocks angled back, it will have to work against the shocks more as the springer arm starts to move for dramatic flex (being that the axle is further on its arc around the eye). I still don't have final details because I can't find anything large enough around my house to "ramp" it on to see EXACTLY how the axle moves at the extremes. Where is a ramp or forklift when you need one???

    Phase 2 will be moving the rear axle forward roughly 22"+. This will require relocating the saddle tank, modifying the emergency brakes, and shortening the drive shaft in addition to the suspension changes. This is going to take some time and that is the reason for doing it in 2 phases. The suspension move will involve moving the rear hanger/springer again, as well as moving the front hanger. I'll also be switching to the F150 springs AND turning them backwards. That will put the long side of the springs in the front, and effectively move the axle back 5" relative to the springs to reduce rear over hang. This is why I didn't use them in phase 1, didn't want to drill them just for a temp setup! With the long, more flexy part of the spring in the front, and the long shackle + Springer arm in the rear, I'll probably wind up needing a limiting strap to control the axle from over articulating, but at least I can easily put it exactly where I want it.

    When all is said and done the overall wheel base should be around 110". And, with the front axle moved 2" forward, and the rear axle moved 5" back (relative to the rear hangers) it will have FAR less overhang on either end, allowing approach and departure angles approaching 90 degrees (with the frame ends and extraneous junk eliminated) while riding on leaf springs.

    So, any comments or suggestions?

    Russ

    85 K30 CUCV, 350 TBI, TH400, 205, D60/C14, 4.56 Locked, 4" lift, 42" tires
    Some day: massive cutting, shorter wb and rear overhang.
     
  2. shaggyk5

    shaggyk5 1/2 ton status

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    MAN! My brain hurts. But, the pics look good, and it sounds like you have thought everything through. Good luck on your way to what should end up being a truly different, but still sweet, rig!

    -matt
    <font color=purple> "Stuff's only good for 2 things, degreasing engines and killing brain cells"</font color=purple>
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.geocities.com/shaggyk5>www.geocities.com/shaggyk5</a>
     
  3. marv_springer

    marv_springer 1/2 ton status

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    Hey that looks great!... Thanks for posting the pics!

    You might think about adding a crossmember to support the frame where your "new" location of the "saddle" brackets are mounted. I see that the "stop" bracket lines up nicely with a crossmember for added support.

    I can't wait to see it stretch out...!

    Marv
     
  4. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Yeah, I thought about that. The shock mount cross member will go in just ahead of those hangers so I'm thinking that should be enough for Phase 1. It will incorporate a brace angled up from the bottom of the rail up to the 1.5" square tube of the shock mount cross member. Similar to the factory cross member for the front hangers. When Phase 2 is complete, I'll build better support in for both.

    Oh, I may also go ahead and modify the swing arms like we talked about. If I cut the swing arm right behind the shackle gusset, I can hack another couple of inches off the rear over hang. Of course, as you pointed out, that will put almost the entire rear spring load on the bump bracket and it was designed to share the load with the rear hanger. If I do that, I'll either box (and reinforce) that bracket (the silver one) or build a new one to handle the load. In any case, I need to flip the silver brackets around so that they don't hang out.

    LOL, one other thing that I forgot in the original posting. The bolts holding all that stuff together are Grade 5 and I put split rings washers along with Nylock nuts on the back side.

    Russ

    85 K30 CUCV, 350 TBI, TH400, 205, D60/C14, 4.56 Locked, 4" lift, 42" tires
    Some day: massive cutting, shorter wb and rear overhang.
     
  5. CaptCrunch

    CaptCrunch 1/2 ton status

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    That is pretty trick BD. I'm sure it will flex like mad from the other pics I have seen. Can hardly wait to see the whole works complete.

    -Mikey
    1987 Chevy K5 Blazer- 350 TBI
    <a target="_blank" href=http://coloradok5.com/gallery/captcrunch>http://coloradok5.com/gallery/captcrunch</a>
     
  6. marv_springer

    marv_springer 1/2 ton status

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    So..... how's your pinion angle?

    Marv
     
  7. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Pretty close to the way it was before the flip. There was already a (guessing) 4 degree shim in there that was tipping the pinion up, so I just reversed it to tip it down. Total of 8 degrees of adjustment, and the pinion is just a tad lower than before the mods. Haven't driven it yet but, I don't foresee a problem. Part of Phase 2 will involve a CV rear shaft and relocating the perches, so I don't want to deal with that now if I can help it. Once is enough. [​IMG]

    Russ

    85 K30 CUCV, 350 TBI, TH400, 205, D60/C14, 4.56 Locked, 4" lift, 42" tires
    Some day: massive cutting, shorter wb and rear overhang.
     
  8. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Oh, along the same lines, the original pinion angle was a little strange anyway. It looked almost like it was setup for a CV joint already, maybe a couple of degrees low is all. A straight line from the pinion to the case would have hit the case about 3-4" below the yoke. And that could easily be taken up in spring wrap if it were not for the 1 ton packs that were there. However, it had no vibrations (but I never drove over 40 or so with it) so I'm keeping it close to the way it was. For now it is a couple of degrees lower but I have not driven it. Who knows...

    Russ

    85 K30 CUCV, 350 TBI, TH400, 205, D60/C14, 4.56 Locked, 4" lift, 42" tires
    Some day: massive cutting, shorter wb and rear overhang.
     
  9. HispanicPanic

    HispanicPanic 1/2 ton status

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    Marv does some good work i have wheeled with his truck and that rear suspension works great, ScoobyDann got a custom version of the original made just for him by Marv and let me tell you it works great im thinking of saving my beer money and doing the same thing

    <font color=purple>I put the Panic in Hispanic</font color=purple>[​IMG]
    <a target="_blank" href=http://4x4.alloffroad.com>4x4.alloffroad.com</a>
     

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