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need front suspension advice

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by Megunticook, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. Megunticook

    Megunticook Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 190

    I'm replacing the front leaf springs in my '73 Dodge and have narrowed my options down to a set of new 6-leaf, 1,900 lb. rated springs and a new set of 8-leaf, 2,500 lb. springs. Am leaning toward the 6-leaf partly because of cost (the 8-leaf is more than double the price) and partly because the ride on the 8-leaf might be awfully harsh.


    1/2-ton truck (W100), short wheelbase, Dana 44 front end. Factory springs are 1,550 rated, they're tired.

    GAWR front is 2945--limiting factor appears to be the factory springs, because the D44 axle came on the 3/4 ton trucks also

    redid rear suspension last summer, upgraded to 2,500 lb. springs (leaf config.: 5/1)

    rear axle is Chrysler 8 3/4

    plow is Fisher speedcast, 7 1/2' blade, whole plow assembly weighs about 700 lbs.

    truck is not used much except to plow and rake my 1000 foot drive, haul firewood, odd jobs around the homestead.

    I'm thinking the 6-leaves would be sufficient for the plow--according to my factory service manual, in '73 the one ton pickup came with 1,900-rated 6-leaf springs (they were also an option on the 1/2 ton, maybe that was part of the plow package?)

    Any recommendations?
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2009
  2. rocknrollrednec

    rocknrollrednec Senior Member
    Messages: 108

    get the 6 leaf springs. once they're on there, if you think you need more, you can add a main leaf out of the original springs.
    on my 87 w250 I had the fronts re-arched, plus added a main spring from a junkyard set.
    I recommend you replace the hardware also.

    Messages: 65

    I agree with the above post!
  4. Megunticook

    Megunticook Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 190

    Great, two votes for the 6-leaf!

    And I agree 100% on the hardware--from what I understand, re-using u-bolts, washers, and nuts is extremely pound-foolish!
  5. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Megunticook - are you getting those at Traction (used to be Brake Service)? I second the six leaf pack, which actually sounds like a lot for front sprintgs. Definitely get new hardware and shackles.
  6. Megunticook

    Megunticook Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 190

    Yes, was planning to order new shackles along with u-bolts, etc.

    I was planning to get the springs from Stengel Brothers, an outfit in Pennsylvania that manufacturers springs. That's where I got my rear stuff last summer, Jack Stengel was very helpful and the stuff seemed like good quality. Prices are competitive (these 6-leaf springs, for example, are $115 a piece, not too bad).

    I talked with a guy at Brake Service a few weeks ago about tire chains, he didn't seem all that knowledgeable or "service-oriented," if you know what I mean, so it didn't give me the best impression of the joint. I have heard they do good work, though. Not sure where they would get springs from...maybe it's worth a call
  7. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    It can be hit or miss over there who you get on the phone. They stock quite a few, at least GM rears. You might try calling the Bangor office. Also Harry J Smith, I think Waterville, is supposed to be good. Either way, you should be able to buy local and save some shipping.
  8. Megunticook

    Megunticook Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 190

    I will call and get prices, but I talked with Smith in Waterville last summer when I did the rears and it was definitely not any cheaper going that route, plus 2+ hours of my time to go up there and get them.
    I like Stengel Bros. a lot, stuff is made by them and they seem like a well-run business. They'll UPS a pair of springs to you for under $50.