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Leaf springs

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by 87k10, Mar 21, 2002.

  1. 87k10

    87k10 Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    Hi I'm new to the forum. I need some advice on a front end problem on a 87 4by4. I had the springs re-arched, which changed them from a reverse arch to a 3 or 4 inch positive arch. I'm now getting some unwanted feedback through the steering wheel on bumpy roads. My friend who was following my truck the other day advised me that my truck wasn't tracking right either. The front axle is tracking about 2 or 3 inched left of the rear of the truck. Could the front sway bar which is attached to the spring U-bolt perches be causing the front axle to rotate forward or backward? The sway bar which was almost level from the factory set-up is now at quite an angle. The truck was tracking and alligned perfectly before the spring change. I would really appreciate any help you guys can give.
  2. 75

    75 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,382

    First off, let me say "welcome" to Plowsite. :)

    Regarding the front axle issues, the axle itself should not be able to rotate at all since there are two pads which bear against the springs. Also, unless there is something really wrong with the frame or springs the axle should not be offset 2" - 3" to the left. Since you mention everything was OK before the re-arch I'm assuming the frame, springs etc are not twisted or bent in any way. Also assuming all the springs were re-arched, is it possible that the rear axle could be off a little bit causing the "dog-tracking" to one side? It wouldn't take much at all to make it look like 2" - 3" + of offset. Measure the axles from centre to centre on both sides and they should be the same. If they're different, measure each axle to a reference point such as the front sping shackle. Also check out www.chuckschevytruckpages.com for info, I believe there are some frame specs/measurements listed there.

    Wondering if this feedback you mention is at least in part just the rougher ride to be expected with the positive arch springs.

    One thing I can see being a potential problem is the 3" - 4" extra height that your steering linkage has to accomodate. The sway bar shouldn't cause the axle to rotate because of the axle's mounting pads mentioned earlier, but having that 3" - 4' stretch on it isn't going to help matters IMO.

    I haven't done any lift work on my own truck(s), but my friend who I share the shop with put positive arch springs on a K-35 (1-ton) frame and fabbed a spacer block for the steering linkage attachment point and also made spacers for the sway bar-to-frame mounting points.

    With the truck being that much higher now, you may also find increased U-joint wear because of the change in driveline angle.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2002
  3. 87k10

    87k10 Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    Spring update

    Thanks for the help Rob. I measured the front axle width and it is 3'' wider than the back axle. This would show from the rear on each side. You were right about the problem possibly being in the back of the truck. The right rear is about 1/4'' different than the left rear. I couldn't correct this due to the no adjustment on the spring pads. I had my friend drive it and I followed him. The truck does crab walk but it is ever so slight. I think the fact that the from axle is wider just gives the appearance that it is worse than it really is. Anyway I think that I can live with it. Thankyou for your reply.

  4. 75

    75 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,382

    Yes, I don't think I would get too worried about 1/4" different in the measurements - there is a some tolerance in the spring pad holes anyway, and measuring with a tape could be off by a small amount as well.

    Didn't realize that the front axle was a bit wider, then again I'm building a dually....................... ;)

    Thinking about it some more, I'm fairly certain a good part of what you're getting for ride/handling now is a result of the positive arch springs - they're going to bounce you around a little more no matter what. :eek:
  5. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317


    You should also add spacers for the sway bar mounts on the frame. I didn't after I put in a 4" suspension lift. One day not long after I was going to install poly sway bar bushings, and found one of the "straps" that hold the sway bar bushings cracked into 2 pieces. I bent a 1" wide piece of 1/8" flat stock, and welded it (on the bench of course) onto the strap to reinforce it.

    So if the re-arch moved the chassis 4" away from the axle, you need 4" spacers. If the axle move 2", then you need a 2" spacer, etc.

    You can make your own spacers out of solid aluminum stock. Then you'll just need longer bolts.

    Not dropping the sway bar after a lift puts A LOT of stress on the sway bar mounts. It actually tries to limit the axle travel, more so than it is intended to.

    Superlift amongst others sells the spacers. You might also want to pick up some poly sway bar bushings. Get the ones with the grease fittings on them.