Feedback on Alcan Springs?

Discussion in '60-Series Wagons' started by Zack1978, Jul 9, 2005.

  1. Zack1978

    Zack1978 SILVER Star

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    Hey everyone,
    The springs on my 87 FJ60 are done. I have some x-tra cash and I would like to get new springs. So what does everyone think of the Alcans? I spoke with the gentleman from Alcan, and he seemed very learned when I was talking about my 60. He also said that I would actually get a lift when I put in new stock springs because mine are flat. I would like to go with a MILD lift, and ideas about how much? I run 31 inch BFG's.

    Thanks,
    Zack
     
  2. krzyabncanuck

    krzyabncanuck USFS HOTSHOT

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    I love my Alcans . And if you do a search on here about them, all you should find is that same answer, they are great people to deal with also.

    HTH
     
  3. nuclearlemon

    nuclearlemon not an addict Moderator

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    the guy you talked to was probably tom...he is a great guy. i love my alcans.
     
  4. Grease Cruiser

    Grease Cruiser

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    Alcans Suck!!!

    I am going to go out on a limb here and I know I will be blasted but.....Alcans suck. Stay very far away, very far.

    Here is my situation: I bought a set of 4 4" SUA springs from Alcan. I thought I would support a somewhat local business (I live about 100 miles from them) and I had heard good things about them.

    I installed the springs and I had to have absolutely postively 4" of lift. I have a Cummins 4BT in my FJ60 and I needed the oil pan clearance.

    When installed, the springs rode great and they looked good too. But after 6 weeks of just regular driving I had problems. I did not even wheel the thing. The springs lost 2.5" of lift and this caused the shackles to invert every time I hit a bump in the road or even when I turned a corner. I had to get out, lift the body of the vehicle so the shackles would come off the frame. Oh, and I have a nice little dent in my oil pan now where it hit the top of the axle housing.
    So, I contacted Alcan Spring and first talked to Charles. He claimed that I needed to run a longer shackle. Well that is fine and would fix the shackle inversion problem, but i did not want to run longer shackles. And what about the springs losing 2.5" in 6 weeks.
    he claimed that I did not order the springs strong enough for the extra weight of the diesel motor. I told him to find the job order and that I specifically ordered the springs for a heavy duty application. After searching for the job order, he admiited that springs were ordered for a heavy duty application.
    He then told me that all lift kit springs have to run longer shackles. Bull s***!!! Even if this is true, it was not in their directions and no mention of it anywhere. Also I wanted a 4" lift not a 5" which a longer shackle would give me.
    He started to get very perturbed with me because I was calling BS on his s*** ass springs. So, I asked for my money back. He said that this is not their policy.
    So, I called back and talked to the owner, Tom. He also told me that I should run longer shackles. Sure, but this does not explain why his springs lost 2.5" of lift in 6 weeks. He told me to remove the springs and he would make them right by adding an add-a-leaf. What the F@#K!! I don't want no freaking add-a-leaf to stiffen up the suspension. I told him I want new springs all around because of their screw up or to return my money.
    After a bit of yelling and screaming, he agreed to return my money. But then when the springs were returned, he wanted to charge a 25% restocking fee!!! BS Buddy!!. Again after some yelling, he gave the money back.

    So,,,,,,,Now I am sprung over and HAPPY as can be! Alcan is a s*** Business and I warn you to stay away, very far away.

    Also, can you tell that I am still a little perturbed by the situation. I hope no-one is buying a 2" lift for a 60 because I bet you get my old springs. I would not put it past them. Fawkers!

    Go ahead, let the S#$T fly:
     
  5. nuclearlemon

    nuclearlemon not an addict Moderator

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    did you give them the weight of the vehicle with the motor installed? a heavy duty suspension is a stock motor with winch/bullbar. i always weight complete vehicle and front and rear halves and have them build the springs off of those weights.
     
  6. Grease Cruiser

    Grease Cruiser

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    Yep,
    Told them that the 60 would be used for expedition use and the just the motor alone was several hundred pounds heavier than the 2F. It's actually not but I thought with the bullbar and winch (someday) that this would be good. I basically told them they need to make them as heavy duty as possible (within reason) to carry the extra weight of the motor/tranny, 4-5 adults, roof rack full of gear, and I wanted to be able to tow a 18ft flatbed car hauler trailer.

    They said "No problem" that most of the complaints about their springs are that they are too stiff and don't flex enough. I told them that I am not concerned with any of that and want to be able to carry the weight more than anything.

    The rear springs were the first to start sagging and invertingthe shackles. Then about a few days later the fronts started to do it. The rears were by far the worst so I ended up having to use 2 6' tow safety chains with turn buckles to keep the shackles from inverting. I was on a 2,500 mile road trip and had to tighten the shackles in an upright position to keep them from inverting. What a pain in the ass that was. But it worked. Drove it from Dallas, Texas back to central Colorado.

    So that's my story with Alcan. Through telling people in the last few weeks about what happened, I have heard more complaints about Alcan Springs. I have heard of main leafs breaking, loss of lift (like mine) in short periods of time, and not so good customer service.

    I was really bummed about the entire scene. I had heard great things about them and was excited about heavy duty custom springs that no one else makes. Oh well.
     
  7. pismojim

    pismojim the Dude abides...

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    I hate to say it, but I'm in the same boat as Grease.

    To be fair, I still need to get back to Alcan. First I need to take some measurements and get my facts together. I don't want to "bash" them and I haven't gave them a chance to "make it right" so I'll try to keep it short and factual.

    First, I loaded all my gear and weighed the front and back axles. 2200/3820 lbs!! Then I lifted the rig to the hieght I wanted and measured EVERTHING, springs eyes, perch, length of spring, shackes, etc. Once I had all the measures and weights I had a couple lengthy conversations with Tom and Charles about my CUSTOM set-up and how I use my rig.

    The springs were waay too tall when I first put them on. The back settled significantly after a couple miles on the beach but the shackles were way too short. When I called, Charles looked up his paper work and said "Oh I made them 1-2 inches longer becasue I was afraid they wouldn't flex 'cause they are so stiff (ten leaves) to carry the weight. You'll need to run longer shackles." Well, I was already too tall and I didn't want loonger shackles. Also I didn't want to move my hangers especially if they kept settling. I couldn't believe he made them longer and never thought to talk to me about it. These were suppose to be "custom" to my specs. Too bad it was two weekends before Rubithon... I ended up buying some very nice but expensive shackles from MAF. arrgh.

    The front started out waay to high, but after a couple runs through the whoops on the beach they completely flattened out. I mean they lost about 3 inches in ride height. They were riding on the anti inversion cross pins and even developed a double curve"S". They are too long, just like the rears so I put the longer shackles on the front too. That screwed up my castor . So now I have worse bump steer, bad castor and terrible on road handling. It used to be perfect,. argh.

    Unfortunately, I don't have time to mess with this a the moment. I don't know what I want to do, I'm seriously thinking about adding a leaf to my old springs and putting them back on.

    Sounds very similar to Grease, eh?

    Did I mention I flopped for the first time on the Rubithon? The extra hieght..??

    On a positive note, the price and delivery time seemed reasonable.
     
  8. dieselcruiserhead

    dieselcruiserhead

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    Very interesting to read guys... I have trying to figure what I want to do, but I am actually pretty happy with regular stock springs SOA and TWO add-a-leafs these days to each spring pack. One is long and one is short. The add-a-leafs were actually "triangle" brand which I trimmed for each pack. Ride is very nice and rig actually flexes really well with the spring packs open, better than any other rig I have owned. Also with 14" travel shocks front and rear. Only thing is under load in the rear I get some sagging. One thing that was huge was that I found a decent local spring shop. They had toyota spec add-a-leafs that you trim down on site. They were way too arched though so I had them take them to the press and de arch them. Neat how that works. Turned out awesome and my ride is very nice and stable. In the rear I am going to add a custom overload spring diving board type and it should do the trick. Also Grease nice to hear you are SOA now. Bummer about Alcan. I always considered them to be the pinnacle of spring building and was looking forward to someday ordering a set for the SOA piggie, also designed to carry weight in the rear. On a more positive note check out what I scored for collecting grease... And not my driinking habit either, trailer came that way... :)
    SMALL_Picture 066.JPG SMALL_Picture 188.JPG
     
  9. stinkyfj60

    stinkyfj60

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    This has been a very informative thread. I have been holding off on buying springs and instead spent my $$ on gears and a locker while slowly headed to 35s. I figured I would either have to run Pinnacle on my 60, SOA, or Alcan. I thought that Alcans would be the best of the three as I could get them "custom" built to my specs... I guess I better do more research.

    Not sure if I want to live with a SOA. I was hoping to clear 35s with the least amount of lift to make it easier to load and unload the rig and roof rack.

    My dad has Pinnacle on a FJ40, those are some stiff stiff springs. They havent sagged at all but the sure kill the kidneys.

    Jason
     
  10. ChuckB

    ChuckB SILVER Star

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    This is very interesting. I am planning on going the 4bt route like GC and didn't reallly want to go SOA because I'm a wheelin noob. But after reading this I might just have to grow into it...
     
  11. nuclearlemon

    nuclearlemon not an addict Moderator

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    i will say it again... DO NOT BUY FJ60 PINNACLE SPRINGS!!!!! i haven't heard of the problems on 40's, but on 60's they plain suck!!! and jto has the worst customer service i have ever encountered. here is a picture of my pinnacles after 8 mos. search pinnacle in the 60 forum and you'll find many unhappy customers.
    pnnacle1.JPG
     
  12. stinkyfj60

    stinkyfj60

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    EEK!

    Jason
     
  13. FJBen

    FJBen

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    here's my .02...

    My pig has had Alcans on for a few years. 4" 300lbs weight over in the rear, 200lbs in the front...these springs ride VERY nice and flex pretty good. My only complaint is the shackle angle, if I were to order, I would make them 1 or 2" inches longer on the shackle side.

    I have wheeled a bit on them and also use it to overload it with crap at home depot... My cruiser doesn't lean. Very happy with the springs. Everytime I have contacted them I have had great help and service.

    just my experience with them, I would definitely go with them again.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Tapage

    Tapage Club 4X4 Panamá SILVER Star

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    This are valuable experiences. 2 cons Alcan's and 1 Pro Alcan's.
     
  15. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew On the way there SILVER Star

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    Make that 2 pro votes. I run them on my FJ40-they flex great and no issues. My shackles are about 1 inch over stock and I have 35 inch tires SUA. It's dissappointing to read that others have bad experiences. You would think the technology behind leaf springs was sorted out 100 years ago.
     
  16. 89s rule

    89s rule

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    I have a set of 4"'s in the garage if I ever get off my tail and order the other parts for the lift and go out and do it! about to have to b/c my 31's are getting slim. got the 33's waiting in th egarage too. man am i lazy, and I also seem to find other ways to spend my cash. :)
     
  17. nuclearlemon

    nuclearlemon not an addict Moderator

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    three pro alcan...if you read my earlier post, i run them on my 60 and am very happy!!!
     
  18. Grease Cruiser

    Grease Cruiser

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    More of my .02

    Nuclear Lemon: What size lift springs are you running on your 60?

    From what I have gathered on people's experince with Alcan is that they make great springs for 2-3" of lift. If you go 4" or more, you might have problems. I ordered a 4" lift from Alcan and had problems, obviously. There are a set of 6" Alcan lift springs sitting over at Proffitts Cruisers for an FJ60 that have less than 100 miles on them. The guy who ordered them, put them on drove it to Jeremiah's and had Jeremiah do a spring over. I guess they were extremely stiff, it was like having no suspension at all.

    For what it is worth, I had heard great things about Alcan before buying the lift kit. Sure, I had heard some problems of being too stiff and not enough flex. But his did not apply tomy vehicle. Alcan assured me that they could make the springs for the intended use of my Cruiser.

    I was ready to give them a second chance and have them fix my springs until I came across their poor customer service. Telling me that I needed longer shackles and that they would add an add-a-leaf is not fixing the problem. It is a hokey fix to their mistake. What really pissed me off is that they never admitted to their mistake.

    First they blamed me for not ordering the springs correctly. Then they accused me of not installing the springs correctly and telling me that all lift kits need longer shackles. I may have been born at night, but not LAST NIGHT. Come on, I know a little about suspension systems.

    So, needless to say. I will never deal with Alcan again. They need to make better stuff and have a little attitude adjustment when it comes to customer service. Fawk it. I am sprung over and life is..............good.

    Chuck B: I was a little hesitant of the spring over as well. I did not build my 60 for wheelin' per say. I built it for exploration purposes. I ended up doing a flat spring over using flat springs. The ride height sits about a 1/2" taller than the Alcan 4" lift when it was new. The ride is not as stiff as the original Alcans but rides a lot nicer. I may end up putting another flat spring in the rear to stiffen it up to carry my extra weight. I may also do air bags for when I pull a trailer and carry really heavy loads. Good luck with the 4Bt conversion. It rocks, you will wonder why you did not do sooner.
     
  19. ChuckB

    ChuckB SILVER Star

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    GC,

    I'm leaning towards a "short" soa at this point... following this post very carefully.

    Thanks for the info!!
     
  20. nuclearlemon

    nuclearlemon not an addict Moderator

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    i'm running 4" plus a 1" shackle for flex reasons...everyone i knew who ran alcans all suggested the longer shackle to gain flex. i've been very pleased with the suspension. i will admit it is night and day if you don't run it as spec'd. i asked for the extra inch, but it was a few weeks before i got the shackles...until then, they were horribly soft. once i got the shackles installed, it became great! i still get great flex, but it's stiff enough for me to corner at higher speeds. i did tell tom that i didn't want a car ride...it's a truck, i expect it to ride like that and that my primary concern was lifespan, followed by flex. i also weighed the vehicle in multiple configurations, spec'd it to camping weight , and requested the 1" over.
     
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