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Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me SHOW you what I've seen....(PICS!)

Discussion in 'OffRoad Design' started by Greg72, Sep 16, 2002.

  1. Greg72

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

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    Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me SHOW you what I\'ve seen....(PICS!)

    OK here's the deal. After getting back from that "Sensory Overload" event, otherwise known as Moab BlazerBash 2002, I've had some time to reflect on what happened there.

    I've studied ALL the photos I can find, and watched the videos of my K5 on the trails OVER and OVER and OVER. One of the things that amazed me during that trip was that I'd just installed 38.5" tires, and only have a 4" ORD Shackle Flip, and a 2" body lift.....and nothing in the rear rubbed!!!! To clarify, I also built a 2" offset into the rear spring perches to move the axle back (and center it better in the wheelwell). I also have RS9012's at all 4 corners with extended shock mounts.

    As I watch the videos, it is becoming clear that the reason the rear tires didn't rub (in the back) is because the truck isn't flexing THAT well in the back. Up front the ORD Springs are doing all sorts of glorious flexing, but the rear just seems to be "along for the ride" over obstacles. I am looking carefully at the postion of the body, and it seems to stay very level as I approached and climbed an obstacle, but then as the rear axle dropped into holes, it tends to pull the whole body down into the hole too...? What is weird is that the truck seemed to do whatever I asked of it. I didn't get stuck anywhere on the trails, so it doesn't seem to be stopping me (yet) on the obstacles I'm willing to try. I definitely "felt" like I was being tossed around, though!! /forums/images/icons/laugh.gif

    Here's an example of the body sitting "nice and level" even though trail is 'cratered'

    [​IMG]


    ....and here's a pic of mine:

    [​IMG]

    (See how the whole body is tilting left, and the rear axle does not appear to be flexing?)


    My front springs are about a 240 Lb/in rate, and my truck has almost perfect 50/50 weight distribution front to rear. Should I be looking to put a similarly "soft" spring out back also? I was reading TRusty recent tech article about the 57" F*rd springs and wondered if that might be a cost-effective way to go, but I don't know what kind of spring rate those would be.

    If anyone can provide clues about what to look for in these videos to prove or disprove that my rear springs are too stiff, I'd appreciate it. I'll tell you, having video footage to study is a GREAT tool for learning about your truck and your driving skill (or lack thereof)!
     
  2. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me tell you what I\'ve seen.

    For reference the 57" Ford springs are about 200lbs/inch. My 36" TSL hits the inner fender hard at full stuff...I need to tub it to make better use of the up travel.

    Right now I'm not even sure how far the 57's will go because the shock and the inner fender limit travel both ways...

    Rene
     
  3. Greg72

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

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me tell you what I\'ve seen.

    Thanks Rene!

    .....boy now I feel even WORSE about making that "trailer queen" comment! LOL! /forums/images/icons/grin.gif

    I just updated the original post with a few pics to clarify the situation. Take a peek at them when you get a chance.
     
  4. therobzilla

    therobzilla 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me tell you what I\'ve seen.

    Greg,

    How's life, I have a few comments regarding this subject.

    A a preamble, I am no expert on springs and or spring rates, but I have been wheeling with my 1st gen for some time now and in numerious conditions, East Coast Wheeling & West Coast Wheeling.

    I initially had the Tough Country Soft Spring for my blazer and since arriving in AZ, met Marv Springer. My wheeling in AZ initially was a wild ride, I had the same issues going on as you are seing , the truck would tilt and or lean what every way the obstical was moving. It was a lot of wheel standing and lots of wheels in the air. The truck just did not flex, especially in the rear. The runs were getting scarry, the harder trail I took the tippier the rig got. Then the off camber stuff was just an absolute pucker /forums/images/icons/blush.gif /forums/images/icons/blush.gif , hold on boys the ride of you life was about to begin. /forums/images/icons/blush.gif

    After following Marv Springer on a few trails I noticed the same thing as you did, the truck for the most part stayed level and the suspension flexed, I thought "What a noble concept", /forums/images/icons/blush.gif I thought that was what a suspension was designed to do?

    I watched the Springer suspension do some pretty amazing things, and I am a true skeptic. I spoke with Marv some and he convinced me to give it a try, and the rest is history.

    I am not by any means knocking the ORD shackle flip, or any other setup for that matter, as I have never used it, but know many that have, and love it. I have just been able to drive behind the Springer setup for many trail rides and see it in action. I have since become a very advid supporter of the Springer setup, as it has proven itself in many cases, and my ablility to keep stability and driveabily has increase dramatically.

    I have taken lines that I though not possible,and I have given this suspension a real beating, Marv has designed a real quality bolt on accessory that works. It does help that Marv Springer is an Engineer and know what he is doing.

    Please note, this is my opinion, and only my opinion. I based this opinion on trial and error and by using it. I don't and won't knock any other idea, and think that the idea of our hoppy/sport is to do it and run it. /forums/images/icons/cool.gif

    Thanks, my .02

    therobzilla /forums/images/icons/grin.gif
     
  5. Greg72

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

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me tell you what I\'ve seen.

    Rob,

    I can definitely relate to what you are saying about the "pucker factor"! /forums/images/icons/grin.gif

    I don't think I'm a big fat chicken, but as I drove some of the obstacles in Moab, I was NOT confident with the feedback I was getting from my truck.....that "tippy" feeling was present a lot of the time, and it's very unsettling to think that every time you put a tire in a hole, the truck is going to dip right in there also...!

    On a seperate thought....I wonder how much additional "pucker" is a result of driving in a full convertible vs. a closed top truck? I know that the effect is purely psychological, but for some reason I think that being so "exposed" to the danger probably adds to the excitement. /forums/images/icons/grin.gif

    I have to agree that Marv is a great guy, and I might like to use his setup in the future. However, I am already committed to the ORD Flip (since I've already cut off the stock hangers and bolted it on) so I am looking for an incremental improvement using as much of what I already have as possible. That's kinda why I was thinking of the F*rd springs....just move the brackets back a little and bolt 'em in!
     
  6. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me tell you what I\'ve seen.

    I think the key is to have front and rear spring that are similar in their spring rate. My truck does the same thing as yours but my front springs are the culprit...500+lb/inch. /forums/images/icons/shocked.gif /forums/images/icons/shocked.gif

    I am still considering my options for the front. i may try 52" rears, or 57's up front or i may jam out and run the Tuff Country 4" EZ rides. I'm still mulling it over while i take care of a few other things.

    I've been very pleased with the 57's so far...

    Rene
     
  7. therobzilla

    therobzilla 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me tell you what I\'ve seen.

    Greg,

    Check out Scoobydan's pictures he also has the ORD flip with a Springer setup. It may solve your problem.

    Rob
     
  8. Greg72

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

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me tell you what I\'ve seen.

    Thanks Rob,

    Oh yes by the way.......I still hate you for winning the Doubler at the raffle!!! /forums/images/icons/grin.gif

    Have you gotten your new "toy" yet?.... be sure to post pics and driving impressions when the time comes.


    /forums/images/icons/tongue.gif
     
  9. therobzilla

    therobzilla 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me tell you what I\'ve seen.

    Greg,

    Have not received the Doubler yet, as Stephen was in the process of running another batch of them. I should be installing it the first week or two of Oct if everything works out. In the process of power assisted steering and crossover.

    I will keep you in the loop on the Doubler setup once it's installed and setup.

    I know, "Everyone hates me for winning the Doubler", but I'm all grown up now, I can handle it. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif /forums/images/icons/grin.gif
     
  10. tori89k5

    tori89k5 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me SHOW you what I\'ve seen....(PICS!)

    You need some footage from underneath your truck as it manipulates an obstacle. No wait,.... nevermind. /forums/images/icons/grin.gif

    How about removing your shortest spring to lighten the spring load some. You could do this as a test to see if it gets you closer to where you want to be and will only cost you about an hour of your "free" time. LOL sorry... that was bad wasnt it /forums/images/icons/blush.gif /forums/images/icons/tongue.gif
     
  11. marv_springer

    marv_springer 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me SHOW you what I\'ve seen....(PICS!)

    Greg....

    ...nice pic of that first Blazer! ...who's is that! /forums/images/icons/grin.gif

    Looking for mo' flex in the rear, huh! Well, the CK5 world beats a path to your door! Thankfully there's about 5 different options you have... As I see it, this is the list:

    1) Keep what you've got and experiment w/ pulling a leaf or 2.
    2) Keep the ORD flip and run 57" springs.
    3) Run an ORD/Springer setup like ScoobyDannn.
    4) Build a link/coil over setup like Frisbee.
    5) Make custom brakets and run the 63" springs.

    Honestly, if I were in your shoes, I'd prolly try to make option #2 work. Don't know how your frame looks back there where you'd need to mount the ORD bracket, but my first guess is that you might need to add a crossmember. I've noticed that the 1st Gen trucks seem to be more prone to the frame bending in the rear where the shackle bracket mounts.

    SMP did option #5 and the results he got were amazing! /forums/images/icons/cool.gif I beleive his truck has 8-12" more droop than mine does in the rear.

    Oh... and Rob. Thanks for the positive comments - even tho we all hate you for winning that Doubler! /forums/images/icons/grin.gif

    Marv
     
  12. Greg72

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

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me SHOW you what I\'ve seen....(PICS!)

    Hey Marv!,

    Acutally my question starts out even simpler....

    When you look at that photo of my truck on Baby Lions Back...do you think "Boy, something is wrong with that suspension?"

    I'm really trying to first identify if a truck with a softer suspension would ride "level" on that same obstacle, and if the behavior of my truck is the result of stiff rear springs..... I'm pretty sure it must be, but I haven't been doing this long enough to be the "expert"

    I liked your suggestions, and I agree that option #2 is probably as far as I should take this for now. I am very strict with myself about keeping my truck "realistic" for street/highway driving too, and that requires some compromises. I'm not sure that a MEGA-FLEXY suspension is going to be right for the street, so I need to be careful not to go crazy on these changes........ /forums/images/icons/grin.gif
     
  13. marv_springer

    marv_springer 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me SHOW you what I\'ve seen....(PICS!)

    I can't see enough in that photo to tell... But I know what you're describing with the truck following the rear suspension. And I know that if you're running stock 52 inchers in the rear, that's way less movement than you'll get out of those supple fronts! After a long day of wheelin', those 52's will just beat you up!

    Apparently you're satisfied with your front end. As someone (I think Rene) pointed out, if the front/back setup is radically different, one end will be doin' all the work while the other is allowed to move even less. Everyone has a theory about front/back travel and spring rates, so mine is that it's mo' better to be a little stiffer on the front than in the rear - for off road that is... As you're driving over obstacles, you usually "feel" the truck going over what the front tires are going over (or about to go over) more than what the rears are tracking. So, I say it's better to get "mega travel" in the rear and keep it at sane levels in the front. Too much travel hurts you in the front on steep climbs too, so that's another reason.

    As far as maintaining street manners, take advantage of your adjustable shocks. As you know, I towed an 18' travel trailer to BB. I was amazed to find that those windy mountain grades were TAME with all 4 shocks on the stiff setting - even with the trailer!... In fact I get way more sway empty with the shocks on "soft" than I did with the trailer in tow and the shocks on "stiff"....

    Marv
     
  14. Stephen

    Stephen 1/2 ton status Moderator Vendor

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me SHOW you what I\'ve seen....(PICS!)

    Ahhhhh, good stuff.
    You'll always have a bias toward one end or the other, even if your springs are the same rate front and rear, if only because when you climb something, you transfer weight to the rear and for a short time you'll "overload" one end of the suspension causing it to flex more.
    One other piece of reality is that most trucks, especially "general use" trucks, need to have stiffer rear springs to be able to carry stuff. Invariably you're going to get into situations where it's not loaded and it'll be too stiff. Imagine 'wheeling a truck and that's what you'll get.
    You can also run into problems with roll center heights, which control body roll, and the CG height and location can change what you want for spring rates, and which end is stiffer in action.

    I've had a front bias (stiffer rear) by a little bit since I went away from the TCI front/stock rear springs, except when I had the rear loaded up with gear or people. I just went away from that with the coil rear suspension. Now it's much closer to equal now. To be honest I can't tell a big difference in actually making progress on the trail between the old and new, at least not from the stiffness change.

    I judged a 'Rover shootout a few years ago with several D90's running different suspension setups and the ones running a 3 link type front with the linked up rear seemed more stable on the trails than the rest which still had the radius arms in the front. For those unfamiliar with a D90, they have link and coil rears from the factory and a radius arm solid axle front like an early bronco. They tend to have a serious bias toward extreme suspension motion in the rear. We actually ran them up a test ramp forward and backward to get a handle on the amount of bias and the ones that had been converted from radius arms to a 3 link front were much more balanced on the ramp and on the trail.

    These days a solution would be to put a swaybar on one end or the other to control the roll stiffness bias, if the springs didn't do it for you.

    Conclusion: Keeping the front and rear somewhat equal is good, but one end or the other is going to control what happens, no matter what. You may end up with some bias toward one end or the other built in because of other vehicle factors like weight carring ability.

    Solution, put more stuff in the truck, or flip the flip around and go to some kind of 57" spring, either modify the fords or we can do another custom type spring for it to help balance it out.
     
  15. 87GMCJimmy

    87GMCJimmy 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me SHOW you what I\'ve seen....(PICS!)

    Here's an idea for some semi custom springs that I think people would be interested in. Model them after the 57 inch fords but with the center pin moved back an inch or 2. Design them to work with your shackle flips turned around (that good shackle angle thing). This would be more expensive than the 57's fords but there new and people will not have to redrill for the center pin. I know I would rather just order these from you then searching for used springs, cleaning, painting, drilling. etc. Just a thought.

    Mike
     
  16. Shaggy

    Shaggy 3/4 ton status

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me SHOW you what I\'ve seen....(PICS!)

    <font color="green"> That's an excellent idea. The rate could be customized to be optimum for Blazers and pickups too. Another option - a custom front hanger and 63" late model springs with the center holes in the right place... </font color>
     
  17. yunit

    yunit 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me SHOW you what I\'ve seen....(PICS!)

    Greg,
    I am in the process of a 63" rear spring swap on my truck; should turn out pretty cool. I am moving the front hanger forward 2", placing the axle back about 3" and making a very tricked out mount for the rear springs. I might run like a 6" or 8" shackle and angle it back about 20 degrees to give me a little more droop.

    Rene,
    I am running the 4" tuff country ez-rides in the front and would only trade them for a coil setup; super soft and give a great ride. The pics below are with the ez-rides and the 13" travel doestch tech's.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  18. Greg72

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

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me SHOW you what I\'ve seen....(PICS!)

    Peter,

    So what is the rear spring setup in those pictures? You mentioned that that 63" setup isn't completed yet.....

    Looks gnarly already! /forums/images/icons/cool.gif
     
  19. yunit

    yunit 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me SHOW you what I\'ve seen....(PICS!)

    Those are the stock 52's without the overload being flipped, but I had two cracked leafs in the passenger side pack in that picture, so that helped out a little bit /forums/images/icons/grin.gif . I also relocated my shocks like so many other people have; that is a big help too when trying to get as much travel as you can out of your springs. A friend of mine has a 71' first gen with rough country or rancho springs in the front of his truck, blocks in the rear, and boy does his frame flex more then his springs. The 63's should be pretty amazing once they are in. The cool thing about the 63's is that each leaf has an 1/8" spacer between them; I guess it was GM's answer to help the springs from binding because they have so much travel!? Later, Pete.
     
  20. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Re: Rear Springs too STIFF? Let me SHOW you what I\'ve seen....(PICS!)

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    Rene,
    I am running the 4" tuff country ez-rides in the front and would only trade them for a coil setup; super soft and give a great ride.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    That looks much flexier up front than my Rancho's/forums/images/icons/blush.gif I wonder if the Tuff Country HD's will still flex more than my Rancho's? I've been told that if you have a winch up front you shouldn't use the EZ rides...and I won't be 'winchless' forever/forums/images/icons/tongue.gif

    Rene
     

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