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F-150 Springs: What problems did you/do you have?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by zakk, Mar 3, 2003.

  1. zakk

    zakk 1/2 ton status

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    the Ford F-150 springs seem to be getting very popular, and with the active shock debate got my 3 brain cells going.

    Those of you with F-150 springs, what problems are you facing?

    I'm running 39.5 TSL's and the added width of the tire and the flex of the Springer Suspension, my rear tubs are limiting up travel. My shock hoops are solved my shock problems, and for some unknown reason, my e-brake cables do not bind me up, which is good.

    Just wondering what issues others are facing. Maybe we can all brainstorm ideas for those issues.
     
  2. BorregoK5

    BorregoK5 1/2 ton status

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    As a whole, I'm rather happy with all the aspects of my 57" setup, now that I have my shock issues taken care of. Something that happened this trip though shows a real need for something extra. When you allow a leaf pack to be both the spring and axle location method, you can run into problems with a heavy truck, large tires, low gearing and lots of torque with the suspension fully articulated. This can result in bent and/or broken leafs. I bent a stiff front rancho leaf this way as well as broke a soft 57" rear main leaf, both at the front spring eyes. I was about to drop a center shackled ladder bar on my truck for axle wrap but after this trip I will definitely be running links on each side of both the front and rear to locate the axle firmly and adding shackles to both ends of the leaf spring so they can focus solely on being springs and not axle locators. The front will probably have a panhard bar, the rear I'd like to V link the top beams. If you were to run really stiff springs and limited articulation, I think the leaf setup could go a long way on its own. To really take advantage of a soft ride with a lot of travel under extreme duress I think some type of axle location and wrap control will be mandatory.
     
  3. marv_springer

    marv_springer 1/2 ton status

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    Zakk,

    I was looking at those pics and thinking that you should be getting more stuff.... is that what's happening.?!? tub rubbin' the tire?

    Marv
     
  4. marv_springer

    marv_springer 1/2 ton status

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  5. SAVAGE1

    SAVAGE1 1/2 ton status

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    After totally maxing out my springs this past weekend I share the same concerns Mike addressed about the thin main leaf being the only axle locating support. I've always thought of doing the /\ link coming from the frame rails and meeting on top of the diff. to add more locating support. We already know the 57's break at the main leaf so this mod is probably a must for big tires.

    Zakk, my 42's stuffed pretty far into my fenders without bottoming out on the tubs too much. I had at least 1/3 of the side wall in there. I'm running the 1.5" spacers on each side and it clears the outer fender just enough to stuff, I didn't even roll the fenders yet so I chunked some of my lugs off. I'll try to get some pics for you.
     
  6. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    We'll see if the A-tron bar prevents main leaf breakage...I gotta get out and wheel more though. I definitely have tub troubles just like Zakk.

    One issue I see is this...in order for the 57's to be all they can be for us they must twist torsionally as the axle gets more crossed up. I think main leaf breakage is going to be the end result as the main leaf fatigues. If you think about it the torsional twist the main leaf sees is pretty even until you get to the spring eye. It's no wonder they break there...

    Soft factory rubber bushings help, some form of traction aid helps (axle wrap kills springs) but in the end I consider these springs to be consumables with an acceptable life.

    Rene
     
  7. zakk

    zakk 1/2 ton status

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    Marv,

    I am cutting the crap out of my outter lugs. Rod is running the 1.5" spacers, so that is helping him get over the "lip" where the bed meets the tub. with my shocks as they are, they take up all but 2" of space to tube my junk. I'll post a pic of it as soon as my camera recharges
     
  8. BorregoK5

    BorregoK5 1/2 ton status

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    Marv,
    If I was going to keep the leaves in their current positions I think thats exactly how I'd remedy the problem with the 2 bottom links V'd in, but your still going to fatigue the soft 57's at the front eye without axle wrap control so you'd need another bar (3 - link)to really complete it. For myself, it would be just as easy if not easier to build a locating 4-link back there since you'd already be going to most of the trouble. I'm going to cut the front 1/3 of my 57" leaf packs off(including the overload), make a double sided spring plate to clamp it down in and mount a bushing to the the clamped end to mount to the frame. The rear main eye left on the other end of the spring I'm going to shackle onto my side link bars just forward of the axle. I'll probably make lockable mounts at first to the springs at the original center pin, but this is where I eventually want to add air bags on the leaf. The soft spring rate and twisting action these springs have are a huge value and would last a long time if you could remove them from fighting off the forces between the truck and the axle. I've only broken them in these situations. I like the idea of coil overs but the long flat spring has advantages when you don't want to cut through your floorboards (not that this isn't going to eventually happen mind you)I'm convinced limiting straps would be a good investment these days as well, might have helped to save my broken leaf had the articulation not dropped so far under the truck giving the tire leverage to bend the spring.

    Rene - My passenger side spring was visibly fatigued and S'd at the front eye, but my drivers side ws looking fine. The drivers side eye was folded over 6 inches toward the rear before it snapped off under full articulation. The drivers rear tire tried to crawl under the drivers seat, we had to use a tow strap to pull it back out. I'm not sure the anti wrap bar would have prevented the damage, but it might have helped to minimize the damage.
     
  9. SAVAGE1

    SAVAGE1 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    but in the end I consider these springs to be consumables with an acceptable life.

    Rene

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Rene, those are my exact thoughts after wheelin this weekend. I'm going to Pick N Pull to snatch up a pair of main leafs for trail spares. I can't imagine a 2+ hour drive home from the trail on a broken rear leaf /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif
     
  10. BorregoK5

    BorregoK5 1/2 ton status

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    How about a 40 minute drive with nothing more than a nylon strap and a come-along locating your axle with the end of the broken leaf jammed into the hanger... driving sideways. I ended up welding the broken leaf to the leaf below it so I could make the 2 hour drive home and get a permanent repair. Thats a load of stress I don't want to go through again!
     
  11. SAVAGE1

    SAVAGE1 1/2 ton status

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    That's exactly what I want to try and avoid. I already have a white-knuckled ride regularly on the freeway, I can't imagine it getting any worse /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif
     
  12. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    I think those "Orbit eye" bushings would help a ton along with a good anti-wrap device. The anti-wrap should keep the springs from kinking due to axle wrap and the orbit eye bushings should alleviate a lot of the torsional stress on the main leaf.

    Rene
     
  13. SAVAGE1

    SAVAGE1 1/2 ton status

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    With the added body roll from the orbit eyes a rear sway bar is definitely a must.
     
  14. SCOTTS_4X

    SCOTTS_4X 1/2 ton status

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    for those of you breaking the springs by twisting them, how about spring rockers? I was thinking of building a set of these for myself a while back and am thining that they might just be the ticket so I'm not breaking springs and driving home with the axle chained to the frame. check them out here

    -Scott
     
  15. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    You think this might contribute to early failure? /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif
    [​IMG]
     
  16. BorregoK5

    BorregoK5 1/2 ton status

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    Thats what mine look like.. but I have much more weight for them to fight. What are you doing right there, climbing the front up a vertical wall? /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif
     
  17. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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  18. BorregoK5

    BorregoK5 1/2 ton status

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    Yeah, You make me want to cut up my truck bad! The weight of my truck makes the softness of the 57's troublesome in off camber situations - more so than a stiffer suspension with less weight. It doesn't look like your having that problem though. So, any regrets on keeping the cab? I'm at that crossroad now.
     
  19. marv_springer

    marv_springer 1/2 ton status

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    An important point to make about the 57" springs is that they should be "added to" with an add-a-leaf or a couple of leafs from the old Blazer pack. If anyone is running them as just a 4 leaf (all F-150) pack, I think this setup would be waaaayyyy soft for the rear of a Blazer!

    The first time I bolted the Ford springs under my truck I did this.... Very soon after I went back in and addded some more leafs.

    Still another point is that it might be wise to limit the droop. I think Mike (Borregok5) let his travel a little more to the extreme than I've let mine go.... Maybe this is why I have yet to break mine after years of hard use.

    Marv
     
  20. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    No regrets, well, maybe when it's 110 and I'm stuck in line for an obstacle and the only shade is a cactus 40' away. /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif I gotta get a bikini for this thing before summer!

    In fact, I'm pretty close to getting rid of more sheet metal in the next few weeks. All I need is a Taurus fan, some modular headlights, and some time...

    BTW, just to keep things a bit on topic. I killed my rear springs after only (roughly) 7 days on the trails (of course some of those were pretty extreme, like Upper Helldorado on the 3rd day). No big surprise though... My rear axle moves like nobodies business and, with no bump stops, crazy rock piles, water falls and chutes, the Springer arms, and no wrap bar, they didn't have a chance. However, I'm not prepared to replace them that often. In fact, the last 2 runs I've had to leave spare parts and tools at the tow rig for fear of breaking a main leaf! They look like a sine wave on a 'scope now. I'll probably be linked in the rear with 7 leaf Q-elips within the next 6 months or so, but I have a new set of 57" ready to be beaten till then...
     

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