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Ideal suspension setup...

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by MTMike, Feb 13, 2005.

  1. MTMike

    MTMike 1/2 ton status

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    Ideal suspension setup... *UPDATED*

    *UPDATED - See reply on page 3 *

    Hello,

    Right now, I have an 81 Chevy Shortbox that was jacked up by the previous owner. He built it strictly for mudracing... well, I'm not into mud very much. I'm not a Jeep lover, but I do love trail riding with my 4x4 club, so I'm ditching the monster lift for a much more flexible, practical setup.

    Here's what I have now:
    12" leafs up front
    8" leafs + 4" blocks out back
    3" body lift
    38.5X14.5" Swamper SXs
    EFI 383 Stroker
    Built TH400
    NP205
    Detriot locked 14bff rear
    Open 8lug 10b front (eek - that is the weakest link I know, when it goes, Selectable-locked Dana 60 here I come)
    Racing buckets w/ 5point harnesses inside

    Pics:
    http://mdhines.redlinebillings.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/normal_beast1.jpg
    http://mdhines.redlinebillings.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/normal_mudding13.jpg
    http://mdhines.redlinebillings.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/normal_bigtruck6.jpg

    It looks awesome, but the suspension is about as flexible as a brick and it's too topheavy to go on even a 3-rated trail.

    So... after reading through these forums for a few days, this Is what I've come up with for a much more fleixble, practical off-road suspension for riding trails:

    Rear:
    ORD 4" Shackle flip
    3" Tough Country EZ Ride 3" Leaf packs
    1 ORD Zero Rate for an extra inch

    Front:
    New ORD Shackles
    6" EZ Ride/HD Leaf packs
    1 ORD Zerorate for an extra inch

    And keeping my body lift for a total of 10" lift

    I feel that this will offer me the flexibility and articulation I need to ride some of the tougher trails, still allow me to clear my 38.5's without rubbing because I will not cut the fenders with that paint job.

    Does anyone here have any recommendations for me? Should I add something? Should I avoid something? Should I do something different?

    Thanks for any and all input

    -Mike
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2005
  2. Z3PR

    Z3PR Banned

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    That sounds like a good suspension for trails. Only thing is it will be top heavy. But no more then it is now.
     
  3. 1977k5

    1977k5 3/4 ton status Vendor

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    Flexy suspension + 39" tires + not wanting to trim = next to impossible. 10" is a lot of lift but I would bet that it would rub. If that is the setup you want, you can make really long bumpstops set up such that they keep your tires out of your fenders. But then that kinda defeats the purpose of the flexy suspension (although it occurs to me that you may be looking mostly for a better ride which you would still get).
     
  4. MTMike

    MTMike 1/2 ton status

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    A little rubbing on the most extreme flexing won't kill me or the truck, I know it will rub on full flex (like on a ramp) but that's not a big concern. I just don't want to trim. That being said, should I save the $ and skip the Zero Rates, or will the extra inch make enough difference to have them be worth the $100 or so with shipping that they'll be?

    Ride quality is the furthest from my concerns as the truck is a trailer queen and gets driven only for fun :) I'm strictly looking for function off road, less of course hacking up the fenders

    Thanks for the input so far guys, please keep it coming!
     
  5. eclipse

    eclipse 1/2 ton status

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    Honestly, I know you dont want to, but get Bushwacker fender flares and about 6-7in lift... Either keep your 3in body lift and get 4in fronts and stock rears with a 4in rear shackle flip. You'll get decent flex, still have 38s, and be fairly stable. Plus bushwacker fender flares look sweet :saweet:
     
  6. beater_k20

    beater_k20 Banned

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    i'd go with a i'd ditch the body lift, run the 7" lift you mentioned, and trim it up a little. lots of guys around here running a setup similar to that, and nobody seems to have any real issues with it. ditch the front bumper too, its killing your approach angle! removing the bodylift lowers your CG, and makes your truck immensely more stable off camber. no sense in flopping it when you dont have to.
     
  7. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    10" of lift with 38s is not practical. Had it, rolled it, and changed my whole outlook on what a properly built offroad vehicle shouldhave.

    Too high. If you want 8" of lift in the rear, use 4" springs, don't add a zero rate. Zero rates are bandaids for those of us that have issues with our suspension not sitting correctly when we're done, or wanting to move axles forward. In the rear if you only want 1", a block will work fine anyway. All of these are going to cause even more axlewrap though, so the 4" springs would be superior.

    ORD shackles are a waste of money in my opinion. I did some measuring and made my own to keep my spring eyes off the frame. Even with ORD's shackles I would have been hitting the frame under compression. It's impossible for anyone to make one shackle that fits every truck. Each truck needs shackles of the proper length for its arrangement.


    Body lift has got to go. Makes the truck too tipsy and in your case, makes for an obscene amount of height for trails.

    Sorry but this is not correct. You will never fit 38.5s without severely limiting suspension travel unless you cut your fenders. Your fenders just will not fit big, wide 38.5" tires without trimming....it's just not possible. I had 38.5s and about that much lift and they rubbed......bad. After I got done cutting I decided the body lift was not necessary and I took it off. Cutting my fenders is one of the best, if not the best, modification I've ever made to my truck.

    Hope you don't take this the wrong way and I hope it helps.
     
  8. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    MTMike,

    Welcome to CK5! It's refreshing to see a new member who has already taken the time to read the forums and study up on things before asking their first questions..... :thumb:

    The responses you've gotten thus far will set the tone for what you'll probably continue to hear from people here.... there is a lot of "trim it or forget it" advice when it comes to building an offroad rig. :o

    You've got a LOT of lift in there now (12" total) and even your plan, with all that money and all those new parts is still going to only pull out a couple of inches of height to around 10" total lift. That's still awfully high for a trail rig. You've got really nice paint on there, so understandably you don't want to do anything to ruin it....... so that may be as far as you can realistically go. It won't be "flexy", but it will ride and drive a lot smoother than it does now.

    You might be able to get it down to 8" of lift and with aggressive use of bumpstops and making little adjustments to the axles (primarily trying to get the front axle forward by about 1") still keep the tires off the fenders and paintjob. Getting that height down is going to help you a lot. Would you consider going with a smaller tire for wheeling? Maybe down to around a 36" or 37" instead??? Sounds rediculous, but it would be a lot easier to keep the fenders nice without so much rubber under the truck. You could save the 38s for street or mud driving where you might be able to get away with lower ride heights and still not rub.... :thinking:

    I'm running 38.5s with about 7" of lift. It's about 1" higher than I want...so I'll probably swap out the 2" bodylift for a 1" for simplicities sake. I have cut fenders, but I also never had nice paint to worry about and someday I'll resolve the ugliness of my fender cuts by building some custom fenders that actually look good.


    .
     
  9. MTMike

    MTMike 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks to everyone for their input!

    I'm liking what I'm hearing so far.

    That being said, what would you guys recommend out of these 2 setups mentioned above by 2 different members:

    1)4" EZ Ride Front, 2"EZ ride rears, 2" shackle flip, 3" body lift (4"/4"+3")
    - the Lower-lift spring should in theory be more flexible
    2)6" EZ Ride front, 1 Zero rate, 4" shackle flip, 3" ez ride rears, ditching the body lift (7"/7"+0)
    - will this be more stable than smaller suspension+body lift, even though it's the same ride hight?

    I'm leaning towards #1 as of now because removing my body lift will require removal of both bumpers, and since they're welded to the frame, I have no cutting/welding tools at the moment and I'm on a limited budget I'm not ready to take that plunge yet. But, I want to do it right, and the wife said "Don't skimp" so I'm still up in the air. I had planned on replacing the front bumper in time due to the approach angle limitations it has.

    Also, how much trimming would I realistically need to do - the more I'm seeing the more I realize I'm gonna have to do it, like it or not.

    Smaller tires aren't an option right now as I'm on a $1k budget

    Thanks again

    -Mike
     
  10. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Mike,

    I'd look at option 1 also...Maybe use a "stock" rear spring, and a 4" shackle flip? The stock springs from the later trucks are actually pretty soft. I use a set of late-model stockers on my 1st Gen K5. I'll bet you can find them for "FREE" with a little searching.....saving $$$$ is a good thing.

    I have a body lift, and they're not the "anti-Christ" some people make them out to be. You already have it in there, and your bumpers have been welded to accomodate it....I'd say leave it alone and focus on other things.

    The lower lift height springs WILL flex better than the 6-inchers, so you're on the right track with that. You are inviting sheetmetal damage with all your newfound flex, so you might want to "make peace" with the concept of some trimming. It doesn't HAVE to look ugly. Mainly it's going to be the front fenders that need the most trimming....and it will be on the footwell side of the fender opening. A skilled bodyman should be able to make the cuts you'll need and weld in a small sheetmetal plate to block to holes that will be created when you cut through both the inner and outer fender shell. From there, you might even be able to do some "touchup" painting in that area and feather it in to the existing paint scheme.....looks like you may have had a fade-effect in the flames anyway?

    Might want to do some searching in the archives for pics of trimmed fenders to get an idea of how it's done, and see if you can accept the "look" of it.

    :cool1:
     
  11. 1977k5

    1977k5 3/4 ton status Vendor

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    Letting your tires rub when you are trying to keep the fenders nice is not going to work. The tires will eat your fenders (and vice versa).
     
  12. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    Looking at your pics, and seeing how horrible your approach/departure angles are with those bumpers, it's probably in your best interest to buy/borrow/steel an angle grinder and get rid of them.
     
  13. surpip

    surpip 1 ton status

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    One more thing, that is a pretty nice paint job you got there, if your worried about messing it up by cutting your fenders........ you should also worry about taking it off road, i have done just a little wheeling with my truck sence i did my 1 ton conversion, and i already have a ton of crazy deep scratches in my paint

    just my .02 cents
     
  14. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    Sky Manufacturing sells a shackle flip setup that is similar to ORD's kit except there price is better. I agree with Tim when he says that ORD shackles are a waste of money. You can make a stronger setup for a fraction of the cost. Ya its cool that it is greaseable but most of the time you can't grease the suspension without loosening the bolts up. I have mine torqued to the spec of 40-45lb and they won't take grease.

    Harley
     
  15. sweetk30

    sweetk30 professional hooker Premium Member

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    i had 6" frt and all ord parts and stock 52" 5 leaf rears new and all ord stuff with flip. and had 3" body with 1 tons and 38x12.5x16.5 TSLs and no sway bar. thay will stuff in the fenders and rub hard . you will need to trim them and watch flex. but road real nice on street. i hate lumber wagon rides.

    your combo of parts sounds good.
     
  16. MTMike

    MTMike 1/2 ton status

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    Sky's are $90/ea. Aren't ORD's $185/pair or are they $185 each?
     
  17. sweetk30

    sweetk30 professional hooker Premium Member

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    ord are the pair. and i have 2 sets and thay are beefy. havent seen sky tho.

    all my bushings took grease and no problems.
     
  18. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    The $90 each you saw was for the steering arms pictured above the flips. The shackle flip prices on Sky's site is $135 for the pair. It is below the photo's of the flips.

    Harley
     
  19. garp0602

    garp0602 Newbie

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    I am reading with great interest on this thread. Don't want to horn in but I have a question for you suspension guru's.
    Assume that I have NO regard for sheet metal. Is there any reason to lift an '82 Jimmy? Should I just cut the fenders, add swaybar disconnects and 35" tires and go with it? Other than the chance of high center on the frame won't this get me most places without resulting in empty wallet syndrome?



    It's plan is light duty trail stuff. Currently stone stock 305, 700R4, NP208, 10 bolt front, 12 bolt limited slip rear.
     
  20. beater_k20

    beater_k20 Banned

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    if you're going with 35s on a stock suspension and a "no regard for sheetmetal" attitude, i would seriously consider swapping the 3/4 tons, the extra gear will make the truck more drivable on and off road than your current 3.08ish gears will, while the rear axle will be 10x stronger. also bigger brakes to stop the bigger tires would be a plus. in general, 35s on stock suspension, with major hacking, i dont see a problem. Tim and i wheeled with a guy in a stock K5 on 35s at badlands last summer, did pretty well, but could've used more gear i think.
     

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