My 63" chevy spring swap (1 Viewer)

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Details on my rig: Rotbw - IH8MUD.com Forum

After much reading around on the web and pirate, I went ahead with the chevy spring swap. For those who are like me and CANNOT weld, don't worry! The stock length springs can stay on while you measure and mark for the new mounts. Then just run it to a welder, not the muffler guys, and you're set. I went with these springs because my Downey springs where at the full point of suck after just a few years. The chevies also are so cheap at the 'yards here that they can be readily replaced down the road. From the little time I got to try these springs, they flex really well and ride LIKE A NEW TRUCK!! I also worked it so that I can run the shocks in the stock locations, which kept it simple.

I went with a Bud-bulit front mount because of its low profile and optional slide cover (which I didn't use). The rear mounts came from Trail Gear and the shackles from Ruff Stuff. I had a local shop make ubolts and picked up a 4* castor shim (a 6* shim might work better). I also have a longer brake line and the e-brake cable's axle mounts had to spaced up with a few washers.

I had to cut the 1/2" tab off the front of the Bud-built hanger so it would set flush on the frame's crossmember. This crossemember may differ on other trucks since mine is a xtra cab.
chevy012.jpg


This allowed for the front mount to be 11.5" forward (hole to hole) from the stock hanger. The picture shows it to be less than 11.5" but that is due to the tape measure being above the bolt. I moved it 1/2" more to 11.5" so the axle would be in nearly the stock location. 11" puts the axle slightly back in the fender, which gives clearance between bigger tires and the front of the fenders but I'm only running 33s and I wanted everything as close to stock as possible. Also the stock hangers will have to be cut off, right now I just have them spread apart and they still hit the springs.
chevy003.jpg


The rear hangers are set at 4-5/8" (hole to hole) back from stock. After finishing it, I think I could have put it at 4-3/8" to give a little better shackle angle.
chevy008.jpg


The shackles are listed as 6" but are really 5" (hole to hole), though they still worked out great. The 1/8" offest on each makes up for the 1/4" more width of the chevy springs. This is of course if you chose to use a Toyota width hanger. I also had to have the holes drilled larger for the Toyota 3/4" bolt and Chevy 5/8" bolts, I think Ruff Stuff provided them with only a 1/2" hole at each end.
chevy006.jpg


To keep the factory shock mounting I had a local spring shop make a set of ubolts. The new ubolts are 2.5" wide but since they are of a softer metal than the stock Toyota's and longer, I was able to squeeze them together enough to get them through the stock bottom plates. I then just cut the extra lenght off the ubolts just past the nuts.
chevy001.jpg


--Updated-- I put on some load leafs off a Tundra, posted later in this thread

chevy005.jpg

chevy010.jpg


In the above pics the pinion shims are installed BACKWARDS for a DC joint drive shaft. Otherwise you will need a 6* shim installed to point the pinion down but then there will be uneven shock lengths if the stock lower mounts are re-used. That leads to more work for custom shock mounts like what Budbuilt carries.

I got a nice 3" of lift and I'm very happy with the outcome. Don't be fooled though, I didn't get it right the first time and spent A LOT of time with this and more money than I should have. BUT hopefully my writeup saves someone the pains I went through. :cheers:
 
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good writeup.. What did the swap cost you? Excluding welding costs..

once you drive around on those springs for a couple weeks they will sag a bit, and your shackle angle should be Dead on!

Also, what springs/suspension setup are you running in the front?
 
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The springs ran me $40 at the pick-n-pull, and there are plenty more there for the future, if I need them. Front mounts where $55, rear mounts $35 and shackles about $38. The ubolts cost me $25 and the shim about another $20. The longer brake line was $25, but is optional with choice of shock lengths. The welding should run in the $60 for those looking to do this.

However, I went through a previous set of front mounts. They where from Trail Gear, not as low profile and got messed up when I tried to remove them. I originally put the front hanger 11" forward but I didn't like where the tires sat in the fenders. I also had the rear hangers at 4" back and didn't like the shackle angle or the lack of lift I was geting. So I had to grind those off, and fortunately they where re-useable.

So far I have about 500miles on the springs. I also put the spare on and put an extra 100lbs in the back of bed to help settle the springs. I didn't notcie them come down any. They match my front setup perfectly, with just a tad bit of rake since the front is set just under 3". This is my front setup: '86-'95 1st Generation IFS lift/upgrade Options - IH8MUD.com Forum
 
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ntsqd

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I did the same swap last year on my '84 Xcab. The springs are nearly as long as the bed! I got all of the bits from Trevor @ WFO though I later ended up making my own spring plates w/ 1/2" U-bolts as I set the shocks too close & his 5/8" U-bolts & plates rubbed. First class parts from WFO & Trevor is a hoot to talk to.

I used the stock yota overload, upside down & with all of the gubbins shaved off, rather than the monster GM part. FWIW welded spring steel won't hang in there long term.

The truck likely has about 8k-10k miles on those springs. That and going to Bils on all four corners are the two best mods I've done to the truck.

I've got some low suspension speed damping issues, but then the remote 7100's were used. Plan is to tear them down after Memorial Day & find out what their gig is.
 
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I used the stock yota overload, upside down & with all of the gubbins shaved off, rather than the monster GM part. FWIW welded spring steel won't hang in there long term.

Yeah I was aware of that when I cut the load leaf. However I'm not sure the load leaf is much to worry about like say a leaf pack. I would have tried the Toyota leaf but it was taken off years ago by the previous owner. If this load leaf breaks, the chevy springs are strong enough to be run on a 'yota without any type of anti-wrap leaf or I'll figure somthing else out.

As for your swap, what kind of shackle did you use, a typical 6" or double?
 

ntsqd

technerd
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In cycling the suspension w/o the load leaf it became obvious that running w/o it would soon kink the bottom leaf at the perch. No way would I suggest going w/o unless race truck level maint. is in the plan and the budget. And then the better plan would be a set of Deavers.

I'd have to measure it for length, but it is a WFO shackle. SOP guess is 6" center to center.
 
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Update-

I found that the load leafs on a 2wd Tundra are nice and short. I picked up a set and swaped out my chevy cut/flip leafs. For anyone else I would say re-using the stock 'yota ones would be easiest but I like the Tundies I got.

ROTW042.jpg
 
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I just got my chevies to use with my sas. I am needing 6 inches of lift. I sure hope I can get it out of these...
 
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You'll need at least a 2" block if you want close to 6" of lift. I got about 4" with an empty bed, put the spare and rear hitch on and it came down to under 4, like a soild 3". My front is set at a sure 2.5" over stock and the rear sets just higher, looks like the same rake a new truck has.
 
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Finally some flex shots......only 1yr later. :doh:

flex030.jpg


Full extension.
flex027copy.jpg

flex025.jpg


Near fully compressed.
flex032copy.jpg

flex023.jpg


:cheers:
 
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What year Chevy do you look for. I thinking of doing thin on my fj55?

Yea what year truck, and does it need to be a 2wd or 4wd or does it matter? Also how is the ride quality. Thanks

Bear doesn't post much in here lately (since getting his 80-series). Your best bet in the future in referencing old threads (like in this case, last post over 2 years ago) would be to preferably copy the threads www link and pm the member who's thread you are asking about. :D

FWIW I'm forwarding your posts to him. As for the Chevy leafs, it's in the FAQ's also, which are the first posts in this section of this forum.
 
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Bear doesn't post much in here lately (since getting his 80-series). Your best bet in the future in referencing old threads (like in this case, last post over 2 years ago) would be to preferably copy the threads www link and pm the member who's thread you are asking about. :D

FWIW I'm forwarding your posts to him. As for the Chevy leafs, it's in the FAQ's also, which are the first posts in this section of this forum.

Actually I did all the work on that pickup long after I got my 80 series. I just don't post anymore because I sold that pickup, the 80's tech section went downhill and I've moved on from Toyota's.

To address the questions. Good luck on a 55 series, I have no idea. When I did my research circa '05/'06 people had used all types of Chevy springs with different lifting results. I obviously used the three leaf (not counting the bottom load leaf) springs found on most older 2wd Chevy trucks. I believe the 4wd Chevy trucks had 4 or 5 leafs plus the load leaf. I have no idea what year Chevy springs are interchangeable, however there are plenty of resources online to find out. The springs I used came from either a late 1980's or early 1990's but again I believe Chevy used the same length springs for a very long time even up into the 2000's.
 
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The chevy 63s are the same as mentioned so dont shy away from a pack becuase it had more leafs than you thought just ditch those ones and run the normal 3 or 4 i dont remember. Pirate has a huge write up that answers every question you ever dreamed of about chevy 63s I think mine came off a 98 chevy 2wd pickup. You can find some info on my build thread here on the pickup forum. Just go to search and type in 1980 beater build.
 
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theres.....
3 leaf shorts - most common on 1/2 ton 2xs and 4xs.
3 leaf longs - most common on 6 lug 2500s and extra cabs.
4 leaf shorts - mostly on 8 lug trucks. use only on HEAVY rigs.
4 leaf longs and 5 leafers that nobody uses. Mostly on crewcabs and heavy trucks and duallys.

All in the 89- 99 range.

Toss the overload or cut the ends off and use it as a 1 inch block.

The 3 inch shorts and longs are the most commonly used one out there for wheelers.

The shorts will have 4-5 inches between the main eye and the second leaf. Less spring rate more wrap.

The longs will have an inch or so between the eye and second leaf. More spring rate, less wrap.

Massive amounts of possibilities here.

Whatever you do, MOVE THE SHACKLE HANGER. Dont just bolt on ghetto/swing/missing link/drooper/double/hinged shackles to save some work so you can avoid moving the hanger.

They all SUCK. If you only webwheel they will work fine, but if you want to wheel safely and aggressive allot then just use normal shackles and enjoy the improvement.
 
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Or do like me and move the hangers and run ghetto/swing/missing link/drooper/double/hinged shackles !! :D

But on a more serious note Chop Shop would you recommend a longer schackle if he was to use a standard shackle? I am not one to go by the books but supposebly you need an embarrising long single shackle to truly get the benefits out of a 63" long spring right?? I am not claiming to know as I only have experience with the double shackle at the moment.​

EDIT: my reply sparked a thought that I hadnt considered when I made this swap even though I read it time and time again. First problem is I couldnt shorten my rear approach angle as much as I had in my previous past yotas with a stock spring and unless you are planning to run large meats (which you may be) the springs kinda look like large skis under the vehicle becuase lets face it they are 63" long!! I am only throwing this out there as something to consider I havent exactly decided if I love them or hate them yet for my application. I am very impressed with the pics others have shown me of their flex however I hit the frame with the tire (at the moment) before the springs really go to work!
 
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Or do like me and move the hangers and run ghetto/swing/missing link/drooper/double/hinged shackles !! :D

But on a more serious note Chop Shop would you recommend a longer schackle if he was to use a standard shackle? I am not one to go by the books but supposebly you need an embarrising long single shackle to truly get the benefits out of a 63" long spring right?? I am not claiming to know as I only have experience with the double shackle at the moment.​

EDIT: my reply sparked a thought that I hadnt considered when I made this swap even though I read it time and time again. First problem is I couldnt shorten my rear approach angle as much as I had in my previous past yotas with a stock spring and unless you are planning to run large meats (which you may be) the springs kinda look like large skis under the vehicle becuase lets face it they are 63" long!! I am only throwing this out there as something to consider I havent exactly decided if I love them or hate them yet for my application. I am very impressed with the pics others have shown me of their flex however I hit the frame with the tire (at the moment) before the springs really go to work!


you need to get out and wheel before making an opinion on springs. Until then its just driveway speculation.

I didnt know looks were important on the trail.


Why is a long shackle embarrasing? cuz the web said so? The web thinks, not wheels.

A longer than stock but not diving board long shackle will work fine.

About a 7-8 inch shackle like most aftermarket ones is perfect. Make the shackle sit verticle at droop and it will sit about a 45* when loaded and ride nice.


ps, grind off the tube stump on the frame before it cuts your tire thats rubbing. or get some wheel spacers.
 
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About a 7-8 inch shackle like most aftermarket ones is perfect. Make the shackle sit verticle at droop and it will sit about a 45* when loaded and ride nice.

Uh yah that was the advice I was hoping you would be willing to add to this thread............. So thanks for that portion. As for looks nice stab but I was referring to the fact of how far they protrude forward and where they are mounted on the frame which adds to the ability to hang up (especially with smaller tires) as compared to a short leaf spring which the hanger is located where the frame is curving up making it virtually not capable of hanging. If I cared about looks would mine be 4 colors....

:popcorn:
 

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