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Those with long travel, soft front ends.

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by BorregoK5, Sep 23, 2002.

  1. BorregoK5

    BorregoK5 1/2 ton status

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    I had a chance to go wheeling this weekend with a 76 coilover converted chevy 4x4. It was very capable off road but the street manners were a tad on the scary side, especially with nose dive on hard braking (not so much of an issue when stopping straight but slight turns start a pitch). It got me thinking about how a stiffer front suspenison is not all that bad on the dual purpose rigs. The pre runners out here rest at the bottom 1/3 of their travel making for a low center of gravity and 2/3 drop potential. Would definately be more stable on the street. How is your long travel setup and do you have equal up travel / down travel at rest. I was getting ready to swap a set of 57's onto the front end, but now I'm reconsidering.
     
  2. zakk

    zakk 1/2 ton status

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    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    ...dual purpose rigs...

    [/ QUOTE ]

    that is the key word in the post. it makes all post on one side or the other.
    TRAIL RIGS:
    no consideration of street legal. flex and power at any cost and it looks/drives like it. trailered to the trails, but always has a ride home /forums/images/icons/smirk.gif

    DUAL PUPROSE RIGS: Still has to make long distance trips to ger to the trails, goes camping with the family, saturday cruises. must stop under control, be safe for kids/wives and decent street manners.

    IMHO, my rigg will never be a trail rig. i have no trailer, and i do not think that my honda could tow the K5 if i did /forums/images/icons/crazy.gif I need a certain amount of flex to be fun on the trails, but 57" rears, EZ-Ride fronts are about as flexy as i can go w/o uber-engineering prowess.

    extended shocks, soft springs and other goodies will be good "enuff" but it is a constant trade off for those that have dual or all purpose rigs.

    i consider my rig to be "all purpose". it has to be good on tarmac, rock, mud, sand, trails, etc. whatever i wanna do, it has to be ready for a 4 difficulty.
    i will never make it up Upper Hell, but that is the way i built it.
     
  3. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    it has to be good on tarmac, rock, mud, sand, trails, etc. whatever i wanna do, it has to be ready for a 4 difficulty.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    That has been my goal from day one...although I'd consider trying Upper Hell once it's (more) done./forums/images/icons/smile.gif/forums/images/icons/crazy.gif

    Rene
     
  4. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    My front rancho's are pretty stiff. The rear was so soft I added a couple mor leafs and it improved street manners a LOT. didn't seem to hurt off road a whole lot but Double locked does make up for a lot of suspension. /forums/images/icons/grin.gif
    With the sway on it's not to bad. Sway off on twisty road you get a lot of lean and I'm sure it looks freaky going down the road in a curve LOL.
     
  5. BorregoK5

    BorregoK5 1/2 ton status

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    Dual Purpose has been my goal all along as well. After adding all that soft flex to the rear with the ford 57's and the incredible ride that resulted at that one end, I've been seeking out ways to get that soft caddilac feel and incredible travel up front too. I've found many ways to do it but very few that support street driving without a huge investment. The back is relativley easy to get soft and flexy since it pretty much follows the front end and the majority of the weight. With sway bars front and rear, the relating disconnects of course, a soft long travel front suspension would perform quite well on the street all the way up until you factor in brake dive. The only way to really combat this would be to have the suspension mostly compressed at rest but capable of expanding several times farther upon extension. The equivilent might be removing a few leafs on a front 8 inch lift spring and replacing the overload with something more supportive of the remaining leafs to accomplish a 4" lift with its similar up travel but with the down travel of an 8" lift. It would only take a longer shackle to make this work but the spring fatigue might become an issue. Coil overs are a bit more suited for this as your up and down travel are controlled by different springs with different rates. Unfortunately, front coil overs are pricey. A set of custom progressive rate springs from National Spring runs about $500 for one end but could be custom built to provide exactly what I'm after and match the rear 57's quite well... any thoughts? I'm trying to dig up options and opinions from people working these same issues.
     
  6. zakk

    zakk 1/2 ton status

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    so are you looking at coil-over fronts as an option now?

    I have never ran the truck with a swaybar, so i have no idea what it is like.

    IMHO, if you have a 4WD rig that is HEAVILY modified as most of ours are, you are not going to beat the Audi A6 through the mountains, get a WRX for that /forums/images/icons/grin.gif

    I also believe that it is a matter of tradeoffs, I cannot cornor a mountain pass, but i can climb that same mountain in 4Lo /forums/images/icons/smile.gif the Audi will have to take the bypass known as the road.

    Some people want the uber-riding trail rig and unless you are Mr. Watson, with the jack and know how, it is really expensive and not to feasible.

    Now, i am building a rig that will do the best it can, those that can do the afore mentioned are not being flamed. it just doesn't work that EVERYONE has a TTC rig. There is always a bigger fish.

    I have taken the Bear through the Santa Cruz mountains, and it was a bit of a handful, but i stayed in the slow lane, took it easy in turns, and if someone want to ride my arse because i am going too slow i gar-on-tee that my .25" steal bumper is gonna wreck their ENTIRE front clip. All i will need to fix mine is a can of rattle paint /forums/images/icons/laugh.gif

    That said, lockers make up for alot. I would be locked front and rear before i went into fabrication of new suspesnsion.
     
  7. Z3PR

    Z3PR Banned

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    My app is go everywhere, while still being to handle the streets in real world traffic. Yes, I know I'll never be able to get it to go everywhere, but that won't stop me from trying !!!!!
     
  8. Donovan

    Donovan 1/2 ton status

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    Here are my thoughts on the soft front suspensions. First I planned to shell out the money and get Deaver Springs for my Jimmy. That would be $1200 in springs. I have been selling everything I could to get the money together. Then I see posts on people distroying spring bushings and I thought I don't want to be replacing bushings after every trip. So I have been looking at coils all the way around on my Jimmy. Now to my point. I have been studing suspensions and I looked at Range Rovers and Land Rovers they use a softer front spring rate and I don't hear of them having to much brake diving. I believe they can be tuned out with a good set of shocks. Some of the spring rates that the rover use is from 130-180lbs/" in the front. You should diffenitly see some dive with those. Here is a spring chart for you. http://members.shaw.ca/jbarge/springinfo.html. I think that I will be going with coilover on mine with 170lbs front and 180lbs rear. I will be adding sway bars that will be permanently attached. I plan to tone the suspension with different sway bar diameters.
     
  9. Twiz

    Twiz 1/2 ton status

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    Stiffer fronts are not going to hurt you, as a matter of fact, I think it's the way to go. (un-less one of the trucks intended purposes is to tow)

    The steering axle can be positioned as needed with steering in-put. It can be positioned to take a more-favorible line.
    The rear is just along for the ride, and is often times forced to take a less than ideal-line.

    With that said:

    For the rear,
    A 50/50 split (50% up-travel and 50% down) would fit the bill. Pretty easy, and several different ways to go.

    For the front,
    Keep it a bit' stiffer than the rear. Stiff enough to keep the rest of the truck under control of the front steering axle, but still have some travel.
    As I read it, that means the front springs need have a higher spring rate. So, the travel has to be disportionaly favoring drop.
    The commonly avalible A.M. lifted front springs are too short, puting the shackle angle in the wrong position, making most of the avalible travel up.

    I think the shackle angle is key. Kicking the shackle back, Either by repositioning the upper-mount forward, or by useing longer than "stock" front springs. With the shackle angle laid back, not only does it soften the over-all spring rate, it will also allow the spring to "drop" down.
     
  10. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    I agree 100% with Twiz... I'm very happy with my rig as it is, but I am making changes to let the front droop a little more. Basically a longer main leaf and/or relocated upper shackle mount to fix that shackle problem he mentioned. In any case, there will always be much more flex in the back of my rig than in the front, and that’s what I want…
     
  11. Stephen

    Stephen 1/2 ton status Moderator Vendor

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    Soft ride and good compression travel on a lifted K5 AND minimized brake dive is asking an awful lot. Unless you go with a really progressive spring it's not going to work. And a really progressive spring isn't going to give you the ride and travel that a more linear rate spring will.

    I was pretty happy with my K5 with the custom springs on the front as far as dive characteristics. For passenger comfort a swaybar would have been nice, but otherwise it worked fine.

    Drop the CG height and go as stiff as you think you can stand and that's about the best it's going to get.

    My take on the "trail rig" vs. "multi purpose" or street driven truck is that the line is much fuzzier than everyone lets on. I can and have driven my K5 on interstates and it works just fine, but don't see any reason to wear out $1300 worth of tires to prove the point. It's more a matter of durability than ability.
    There are people that drive for hours down the highway on 42" swampers to get to the trail, and it works, but it's in that fuzzy area of "not quite optimum but still works".

    I've seen Marv Springer's rig and it's not a street vehicle by any stretch of the imagination, but it can be driven on the highway. Once again, in the "fuzzy zone".

    Fox's truck was about perfect for multi-purpose till he put the 40's on. Now it's on the trail side of the "fuzzy zone". He can drive it but i'm sure it's not as fun.....
     
  12. Greg72

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

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    Michael,

    I've got a set of ORD custom springs up front, and I don't feel that I've got anything dangerous or "offroad only" behavior-wise.

    The other critical part of the discussion might be overall lift HEIGHT too. The weight transfer and "scariness" of hard braking would be worse on a taller lift. My truck only has 4" of lift, so things are pretty mild from that perspective. I think that having an adjustable shock that can be stiffened up on the street can help "slow" the effect of brake dive enough that it doesn't scare you so bad!!!

    Maybe I'm not the best guy to ask. I think Dr. Watson designed in about 5.5" of bump travel into these springs...that may not be in the "radical enough" category for this thread..... /forums/images/icons/cool.gif

    FWIW.....I drove my truck all the way to Moab and back. The unbalanced Swampers got annoying, but the overall ride quality otherwise was quite nice.
     
  13. Boss

    Boss 1/2 ton status Author

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    What kind of rear springs do you run? They're probably stiff as hell if you don't Nose dive during hard braking.

    I also run the ORDs customs up front and rear...very flexy, but the truck "noses" like crazy during hard brakes, even sends my front shaft into my exhaust...

    But ORD seem to hit the nail on the head with trail only vs. multi. Right now mine is multi; hell, it's still my daily, but that's getting old real quick. Hopefully by this time next year, it'll be trail only, that way, I won't have to "baby" it on the trails....not like I do that anyways.... /forums/images/icons/grin.gif
    Boss
     
  14. BorregoK5

    BorregoK5 1/2 ton status

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    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    zakk: so are you looking at coil-over fronts as an option now?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I always have been. It's hard living in Southern Cali where the pre-runners completely dominate the area due to the terrain and street driving is no big deal when your built for desert speed. My goal from day one was to identify what it would take to make my truck rock capable and then design that in as a selectable option on my desert truck. The key to this is making everything adjustable wthin reason and easy so it could be done on the trial. So far I'm willing to put up with the extra weight of the 1 ton gear on the suspension for the fast stuff. The 38's turned out to be the cross over point into rock crawling though. I think 37's could still provide good speed control though through the fast stuff.

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    zakk: IMHO, if you have a 4WD rig that is HEAVILY modified as most of ours are, you are not going to beat the Audi A6 through the mountains, get a WRX for that

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I'm helping to build a Rally car right now, might build one of my own very soon so adding a Towing lockout to the suspension on my K5 has been a big priority. As you stated, lockers can make up for a lot in climbing so I at least have that going for me on both sides of the fence.

    Donovan: I have a feeling you and I see the same potential in these full size trucks to jump over both sides of the fence!

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    Twizted: I think the shackle angle is key. Kicking the shackle back, Either by repositioning the upper-mount forward, or by useing longer than "stock" front springs. With the shackle angle laid back, not only does it soften the over-all spring rate, it will also allow the spring to "drop" down.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    There is a lot of truth there, definaltely a good way to gain droop too as most front setups hang the shackle quickly. Your points on having the front end stiffer are right on as well for a multi purpose truck. It's when your going 40 mph down a bumpy road that the stiffness gets to you. (airing down 38's does wonders for dampening, and makes cornering more exciting too!)

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    BadDog: I agree 100% with Twiz... I'm very happy with my rig as it is, but I am making changes to let the front droop a little more. Basically a longer main leaf and/or relocated upper shackle mount to fix that shackle problem he mentioned. In any case, there will always be much more flex in the back of my rig than in the front, and that’s what I want…

    [/ QUOTE ]
    I feel the same way. I'm still running a stock front end with 4" rancho springs up front and with all the work on the back end flex it feels comfortably managable and very capable. The flexier the front end gets, the trickier it gets to manage the weight in off camber areas as I've seen through other folks rigs, like the coil over front end I went out with the other day. His was a bit soft, but the ride was great!

    Were coming back to the up travel / down travel issue again though. All spring rates aside for a moment, it seems a lot of jeeps take advantage of more down travle than up travel for climbing and it suits them well. Some running 38's with all of 4" up travel.
     
  15. Greg72

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

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    Boss,

    There's a huge, long thread about my rear springs on the ORD Forum.....but the quick answer is: Stock 52" springs, 4" ORD Shackle Flip, and All ORD greaseable bushings.

    I was thinking about some 57" springs because of their low cost and ease of retrofit into my existing setup. I suppose once I get those installed, my opinion of the overall driveability of my truck may change! /forums/images/icons/smile.gif
     
  16. BorregoK5

    BorregoK5 1/2 ton status

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    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    Soft ride and good compression travel on a lifted K5 AND minimized brake dive is asking an awful lot.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I know, I'm too demanding! If these K5's weren't so capable in the rough, I wouldn't be so optimistic on creating a monster!

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    Drop the CG height and go as stiff as you think you can stand and that's about the best it's going to get.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    It's interesting you should go there, the irony of everyone looking for the softer / flexier rig while the stiffer one with the lower center of gravity is the guy that smacks the body all the way to the top of where the taller flexier trucks can't go. I was on a trip like that! The same trip saw my taller flexier truck make short work of areas that required straps for everyone else. There's definately a balance in all this but I think the key here would be in on the fly configurability as opposed to purpose built ahead of time. Having a long travel suspension which supports a lot of articulation with a means to adjust the center of gravity with ride height control and adjust the spring rate with repositioning the leverage applied to it could do wonders. By no means am I trivializing the task at hand either, that is a lot to ask but not impossible.

    Marv's truck is very streetable, at least as I saw it last year.

    I can't see running 40's on a daily driver like I do with my 38's.

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    Greg72: The other critical part of the discussion might be overall lift HEIGHT too. The weight transfer and "scariness" of hard braking would be worse on a taller lift. My truck only has 4" of lift, so things are pretty mild from that perspective. I think that having an adjustable shock that can be stiffened up on the street can help "slow" the effect of brake dive enough that it doesn't scare you so bad!!!

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I'm running 4" now and I'm very happy with its street performance, but it rides too stiff. I recently took my truck out to the desert and ran a 70mph run down though the badlands. At fast speed the bumps absorbed pretty good as long as they were not too big. The same bumps at 40mph gave me more trouble. I'm sure this has a lot to do with the large swampers. Cornering was like hydro planing on sand and we missed a a few corners now an again. I'm a believer in the capabilites of leaf springs, but its still missing something.
     
  17. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

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    move the links to provide some antidive
     
  18. Stephen

    Stephen 1/2 ton status Moderator Vendor

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    I've been in the process of eliminating as much weight as possible, with an emphasis on weight up high, and it does make a HUGE difference. The overall weight and CG height have a big effect on what springs you need to get a certain kind of performance and lower and lighter is always better.

    That said, the most efficient weight loss is the hard top. It's heavy, high and held on with bolts. Next up, tailgate and doors, not as high as the hard top but still held on with bolts. After that it gets expensive and/or harder to fabricate. A 'glass hood replaces a fairly high and heavy part, and chopping the half cab on the '76-up K5 takes off about 75 lbs from the very top of the truck. Of course you need a cage and something to stiffen the chassis but you needed that anyway.

    Past that, you need to either look at the overall height of the truck (lift height), commit yourself to major work to lose much more, or get another type vehicle.

    When it's lower and lighter, you can go with softer springs for better ride and not get as many handling drawbacks. That also means you have to do things like chop rocker panels, bob the overhangs and flatten the belly to get the clearance for nasty trails at a lower ride height.

    Pretty soon this mythical rig starts looking a lot like a Campbell chassis based buggy like Mike Palmer's......
     
  19. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Can you explain that a little better Stephen? I'm not sure I get what your talking about... /forums/images/icons/wink.gif /forums/images/icons/cool.gif
     
  20. blk87K5

    blk87K5 1/2 ton status

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    Speaking of Campbell, he didn't do so well at JV. The new caddy just didn't cut it. Get the bugs worked out, and it will be mean.
     

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