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What effects ride besides spring rate?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by mini_mull, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. mini_mull

    mini_mull 1/2 ton status

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    Just trying to understand leaf spring tech a little better. Everyone seems to think spring rate is the be all end of ride quality. But there's got to be a little more to it than that, right? School me.
     
  2. longbedder

    longbedder 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Spring rate is important: higher spring rate means stiffer ride - but you also experience better roll control and can haul more cargo without bottoming out.

    Damping is also very important: your shocks are dampers. They esentially bleed energy out of the spring system so that it's not bouncing back and forth excessively.

    Unsprung mass also plays a role. Unsprung mass is essentially all the mass of the axles, wheels, etc that is not carried by the suspension. As you add more UM, the dynamic response to changes in terrain will be slower.

    Other important factors are played by center of gravity location, roll center location, wheelbase, tire design, body mount material (poly vs. rubber). Suspension design can get complex, but these are the big issues.
     
  3. Leper

    Leper 1/2 ton status

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    Nice job sir!.
    The weight of the vehicle is a major thing to consider when you are thinking along these lines. Spring rate is a number. How that number is going to feel will be different in almost every truck. My Exo'd, winched, megabumpered, trail spare loaded ride will feel alot different than a S10 cab and chassis running the same spring.
    Adjustable valving in your shocks will help fine tune a suspension.
    A shackle flip in the rear will let a spring flatten out easier than a lift spring, changing the ride quality.
    Your combination will vary some on your wheeling style. Your definition of quality will also differ. The " what do you want your truck to do" question comes to mind.
    I like my suspension, it rides nice, but this weekend my truck was bouncing all over the place because of the different than normal terrain. Also, I was running bare, not fully equipped, like normal. It is amazing how much difference a hundred pounds can make. A simple relocation can be amazing.
    Like said above, there are multiple factors in ride quality.
     
  4. edreid

    edreid Registered Member

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    after you think about all of that i dont yet have much experience off road but on road with small tires the difference in tires is huge so i wondered how much of a difference load ratings and such have on ride quality with huge tires like 36s would be much softer then the 305 70 tires i have now and what about air pressure? how low can you run big off road radials on the highway?
     
  5. longbedder

    longbedder 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    You could run big tires at low pressure on the highway, and the bumps would be a little softer, but you would go through tires like crazy.

    The sidewall flex in a scenario like that would quickly heat and/or wear out the tire - they simply weren't designed to run like that. Your turns would also be mush due to tall sidewalls and their lack of stiffness.
     
  6. Leper

    Leper 1/2 ton status

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    Not to mention that a turn at speed would easily lead to a rollover.
     
  7. roadnotca

    roadnotca 3/4 ton status

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    There will be a difference in rate between springs with factory "pressed" bushings and "no rate" greased poly bushings.
     
  8. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    Shackle angle can play a big roll in ride quality.

    Harley
     
  9. Jimbo*

    Jimbo* 1/2 ton status

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    One of the most important things is the length of the spring. The shorter the spring, the quicker the rebound; short spring=harsh ride (think jeeps or pre-1994 dodge 4x4)
    Jimbo
     
  10. 4xcrazy

    4xcrazy 3/4 ton status

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    also the size, and how full the cooler of beer and soda is while you're out and around the campsite affects it as well :D :p:
     

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