83 Cruiser on 37s, Leaf question (1 Viewer)

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Last year, I purchased a root beer 83 Cruiser. It's quite the monster, and has spent most of its life in Colorado.

I have very little knowledge about leaf spring suspension, but it seems simple enough.

One of the previous owners converted to SOA, and while doing so installed chevy 64" springs in the rear and moved the rears to the front. After reading several threads this seems somewhat common.

20200419_145920.jpg

The current setup is "tired" and the (what I believe to be) rear OEM leaves are nearly straight. It's not taking advantage of any of the trucks capabilities and trail riding is miserable. Also, the shocks have a 19 inch (eek) body and has bump stops to also severly limit up travel. This gives the cruiser only ~3in of up travel total. I'm not quite sure what the advantage would be to limiting up travel so severly but I am in the process of changing this.

20200419_145855.jpg


The ride is quite harsh and I fear they limited travel so severly to combat on-road body roll or antidive.

I plan to order shorter shocks, most likely adjustable from Fox, King, or Bilstein and reposition bumpstops and possibly even the entire shock towers to allow for more up travel and trim front fenders to allow better articulation. My question is:

For the ones who have moved rear leaves to the front, what OEM replacement leaves have you used? Did you remove leaves? Order a "lift" kit leaf pack? Did you get medium or heavy duty load springs to support the engine weight?

20200318_223508-01.jpeg


I also have the ability to completely change the front leaves and hangers. If I were to do that, what length leaf is preferred for a weekend trail rig, but maintaining a safe on-pavement ride to the trails. I have emailed a few custom leaf companies including Deavers, but would prefer to keep this endeavor under the wife's radar. I'm not opposed to moving the axle forward but would prefer to keep it where its at. I have considered linking and there is a good possibility it will be done.

Are there any quality leaves you would suggest I install to bring my ride height back to level and give me the support I need??

20200329_151808-01-01.jpeg


TLDR: I want good articulation after replacing shocks and bumps, while maintaining and a supportive, more comfortable ride (I understand this is subjective). I then asked for suggestions.
 
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cruisermatt

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Ah yes, the brown truck that seems to get sold and purchased by a forum member every year or so. Welcome
Most guys that run rear's up front are running used stock springs, several with heavier diesel engines put add-a-leafs in with good results.

If I were you (I have an almost identical setup) would probably just start with throwing an Add-a-leaf kit at the front end and re-doing the shock mounting and bump stomp geometry.
I've got rears up front, with 63's out back. I started with very worn out spring packs that flexed really well but was way too soft, and now have a fresh(er) FJ62 rear packs up front for the past year and a half or so, which were a lot better but have started to flatten out.
Good stiff valved shocks are required. I have the Bilstein 5125's up front and think they a bit too soft. You're probably loosing shock effectiveness in the compliance of that shock tower's flexy frame weld. I like F250 shock towers which are much simpler
 
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Ah yes, the brown truck that seems to get sold and purchased by a forum member every year or so. Welcome
Most guys that run rear's up front are running used stock springs, several with heavier diesel engines put add-a-leafs in with good results.

If I were you (I have an almost identical setup) would probably just start with throwing an Add-a-leaf kit at the front end and re-doing the shock mounting and bump stomp geometry.
I've got rears up front, with 63's out back. I started with very worn out spring packs that flexed really well but was way too soft, and now have a fresh(er) FJ62 rear packs up front for the past year and a half or so, which were a lot better but have started to flatten out.
Good stiff valved shocks are required. I have the Bilstein 5125's up front and think they a bit too soft. You're probably loosing shock effectiveness in the compliance of that shock tower's flexy frame weld. I like F250 shock towers which are much simpler

Yes I've seen the truck sold a few times since browsing the forum. Fortunately its finally landed in the hands of someone willing to spend some time and fix the things that need fixing.

Based on the welds and fabrication choices, it seems the truck may have overwhelmed the former people who owned it. Thankfully I have some great fabricator friends, and some industry hookups that will help get this suspension worked out.

You said the 62 front leaves are flattening out. Do you think this would be resolved by using a rear spring designed for a 2 or 3 inch lift and a constant load? If so would a medium or heavy spring be best?
 

SNLC

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We have a big build going on over here...


While it’s not a 60 the same applies to any SoA. Not done yet so doesn’t show everything but as we get more done over the next few weeks you will see it all and how it is done.

This truck we are building will drive excellent under all conditions.

Cheers
 
Joined
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We have a big build going on over here...


While it’s not a 60 the same applies to any SoA. Not done yet so doesn’t show everything but as we get more done over the next few weeks you will see it all and how it is done.

This truck we are building will drive excellent under all conditions.

Cheers


Thanks. I will definitely keep an eye on that thread. I see you chose approximately 5 inches of up travel. Any specific reason you chose this number? What do you hope to achieve on down travel once finished?
 
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The front leaf pack looks like a poorly constructed custom pack. I would get new fj60 rear old man emu rear packs for the front and remove leafs until it's where u want it from the new ome packs. For uptravel remove your bump stops and slowly flex it until the tires almost hit the fenders. Park it and measure the distance u need for bump stops. Also measure compressed distance for shocks while your at it
 
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The front leaf pack looks like a poorly constructed custom pack. I would get new fj60 rear old man emu rear packs for the front and remove leafs until it's where u want it from the new ome packs. For uptravel remove your bump stops and slowly flex it until the tires almost hit the fenders. Park it and measure the distance u need for bump stops. Also measure compressed distance for shocks while your at it

Yeah I will def do that. Is it common to have to remove leaves when installing on the front? I will also be fabbing a bumper (w winch) The reason I ask, is I have been looking at Dobinsons leaf packs and they have a 6 leaf and 7 leaf pack for the rear. The 6 leaf pack is cheaper so I dont want to waste money removing the 7th leaf anyway.

Opinions?
 
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Yeah I will def do that. Is it common to have to remove leaves when installing on the front? I will also be fabbing a bumper (w winch) The reason I ask, is I have been looking at Dobinsons leaf packs and they have a 6 leaf and 7 leaf pack for the rear. The 6 leaf pack is cheaper so I dont want to waste money removing the 7th leaf anyway.

Opinions?
I would probably get the 7 leaf pack just in case since it is going on the front and your adding a bumper. I have never put a rear pack up front personally. That's just what I would do if it were me. I imagine since the pack you order will likely be a for a 2.5" lift u may have to remove a leaf or so. Does dobinson have a stock height pack?
 
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cruisermatt

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I think the lift springs will have too much arch and cause ride height to be higher then desired.
I think if you aren't opposed to cutting and welding hangers, I'd be looking into a set of spring from a domestic application in the ~50" ish range, like Dodge Dakota, Ford Explorer, Jeep XJ, Chevy Tahoe, etc> Probably what I would do if I were setting up mine again, as good used Cruiser springs are getting hard to find. The custom springs like Alcan or Deaver are really nice but also expensive.

Also, just saw you're in Tennessee, check out the STLCA page. Lots of club rides.
 
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I think the lift springs will have too much arch and cause ride height to be higher then desired.
I think if you aren't opposed to cutting and welding hangers, I'd be looking into a set of spring from a domestic application in the ~50" ish range, like Dodge Dakota, Ford Explorer, Jeep XJ, Chevy Tahoe, etc> Probably what I would do if I were setting up mine again, as good used Cruiser springs are getting hard to find. The custom springs like Alcan or Deaver are really nice but also expensive.

Also, just saw you're in Tennessee, check out the STLCA page. Lots of club rides.

How many inches above current ride height would you expect a 3 inch rear lift to give?
 

kevin in okinawa

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I’m on 37s with SOA and front shackle reversal. Cruises down the interstate at 110kmph nicely. geolander g003 mt

Alcan springs: custom made for your exact requirements. Reasonable prices

I also have gm 1ton histeer, tres, tierod, draglink, knuckle arms. ARP knuckle studs. Ruffstuff and 4x4 labs ,

Custom leafs, Shackle reversal and gm steering big difference

Last year, I purchased a root beer 83 Cruiser. It's quite the monster, and has spent most of its life in Colorado.

I have very little knowledge about leaf spring suspension, but it seems simple enough.

One of the previous owners converted to SOA, and while doing so installed chevy 64" springs in the rear and moved the rears to the front. After reading several threads this seems somewhat common.

View attachment 2285397
The current setup is "tired" and the (what I believe to be) rear OEM leaves are nearly straight. It's not taking advantage of any of the trucks capabilities and trail riding is miserable. Also, the shocks have a 19 inch (eek) body and has bump stops to also severly limit up travel. This gives the cruiser only ~3in of up travel total. I'm not quite sure what the advantage would be to limiting up travel so severly but I am in the process of changing this.

View attachment 2285425

The ride is quite harsh and I fear they limited travel so severly to combat on-road body roll or antidive.

I plan to order shorter shocks, most likely adjustable from Fox, King, or Bilstein and reposition bumpstops and possibly even the entire shock towers to allow for more up travel and trim front fenders to allow better articulation. My question is:

For the ones who have moved rear leaves to the front, what OEM replacement leaves have you used? Did you remove leaves? Order a "lift" kit leaf pack? Did you get medium or heavy duty load springs to support the engine weight?

View attachment 2285419

I also have the ability to completely change the front leaves and hangers. If I were to do that, what length leaf is preferred for a weekend trail rig, but maintaining a safe on-pavement ride to the trails. I have emailed a few custom leaf companies including Deavers, but would prefer to keep this endeavor under the wife's radar. I'm not opposed to moving the axle forward but would prefer to keep it where its at. I have considered linking and there is a good possibility it will be done.

Are there any quality leaves you would suggest I install to bring my ride height back to level and give me the support I need??

View attachment 2285415

TLDR: I want good articulation after replacing shocks and bumps, while maintaining and a supportive, more comfortable ride (I understand this is subjective). I then asked for suggestions.
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2012
Messages
8,579
I think the lifted springs when leafs are removed will have more free arch(I think that's what it's called). So on Hill climbs they will probably unload more similar to a coilover. But I think removing the leafs will lower the ride height to wherever he wants although he may have to adjust his shackle angle. Used springs from a xj or something is a inexpensive option I think too.
 
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I think the lifted springs when leafs are removed will have more free arch(I think that's what it's called). So on Hill climbs they will probably unload more similar to a coilover. But I think removing the leafs will lower the ride height to wherever he wants although he may have to adjust his shackle angle. Used springs from a xj or something is a inexpensive option I think too.

Alright, so XJ leaves on the front? Do people usually run a list spring or stock height spring?

Do people usually remove leaves with this spring? And why do they choose XJ over other leaf options? Cost vs benefit?
 
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Alright, so XJ leaves on the front? Do people usually run a list spring or stock height spring?

Do people usually remove leaves with this spring? And why do they choose XJ over other leaf options? Cost vs benefit?
I was just using xj as an example. You would have to research and measure what used springs will meet your needs if u go that route. I still think sticking with rear fj60 springs up front is the easiest route for you. Mainly because your rig is somewhat setup for them. You could also use front fj60 springs up front but redo the mounts. It would flex fine that way too. Mounting your shackles through the frame or up front will reduce brake dive. Your truck is pretty tall it looks like. That will hurt you in some wheeling scenarios.
 
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Messages
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I was just using xj as an example. You would have to research and measure what used springs will meet your needs if u go that route. I still think sticking with rear fj60 springs up front is the easiest route for you. Mainly because your rig is somewhat setup for them. You could also use front fj60 springs up front but redo the mounts. It would flex fine that way too. Mounting your shackles through the frame or up front will reduce brake dive. Your truck is pretty tall it looks like. That will hurt you in some wheeling scenarios.

Oh yeah, it is tall, and I'm aware of the limitations height brings. I plan on moving the shock towers as high as possible into the engine bay. This will effectively lower my COG. I am open to using 60 rear springs again, I just dont want to be In the same situation in a year, replacing springs that were never intended to support an engine their whole life. Again, I could use a heavier duty spring but It seems I'd be feeling the same harsh ride I've got now.

It just seems like a quick fix but if itll work for the long term I'm fine with doing it.

Now a longer leaf would seem to soften the ride and provide more flex..
 
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Oh yeah, it is tall, and I'm aware of the limitations height brings. I plan on moving the shock towers as high as possible into the engine bay. This will effectively lower my COG. I am open to using 60 rear springs again, I just dont want to be In the same situation in a year, replacing springs that were never intended to support an engine their whole life. Again, I could use a heavier duty spring but It seems I'd be feeling the same harsh ride I've got now.

It just seems like a quick fix but if itll work for the long term I'm fine with doing it.

Now a longer leaf would seem to soften the ride and provide more flex..
Well from what I can see of your front spring packs they are a hodge podge of leafs improperly stacked together. So that's probably your poor ride.
 

SNLC

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Thanks. I will definitely keep an eye on that thread. I see you chose approximately 5 inches of up travel. Any specific reason you chose this number? What do you hope to achieve on down travel once finished?

5” up and 5” down.

It’s what fits fairly easily and will give good all around performance. I prefer a shock to have equal up and down travel.

Cheers
 

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