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I was reading the "New leaf springs" thread started by Yippeekyaa and started wondering about my own spring situation.

I have a '87 chassis with a 21' Sunrader.  I have not paid a lot of attention to the suspension yet.  I did re-do the axle seals, bearings and brakes in the rear plus put new diff fluid in, but not much past that.  No attention to the front suspension.  The ride is stable and I don't sense swaying but bumps are jarring/hard and she seems to ride low if I don't have the air up high in the air bags.  Steering feels tight with no wandering.  Tires are all Rangerer R101's that I keep at 60 PSI.  The Ride-Rite airbags are in good shape and hold air well.  I put a pump/controller set up in and that lets me monitor the air pressure and fill/empty as needed.  I keep the air shocks at ~50 psi typically.   Springs are the six stack type.  I didn't see any cracks or breaks in the leafs.  I think the shocks all around are the original equipment.

This is the view first with 50 PSI in the Ride-Rite air shocks and second with no air (0psi) in the Ride-Rite air shocks:

Side view with 50 psi in the Ride-Rite air shocks   Side view with NO air in Ride-Rite air shocks

This is a view of the leaf springs at 50 PSI in air shocks and then with no air in the air shocks. 

50 PSI in air bags  0 psi in air bags

Note that the springs are essentially flat/straight with no air in the Ride-Rites.  Here is a 50psi then 0 psi view showing the arch of the springs:

50 PSi 0 PSI

It seems to me that I'm riding only on the Ride-Rites  and the springs are blown right?  They shouldn't be flat with no air in the air springs?  Or is that perhaps normal?  I'm hoping someone knowledgeable about these things can set me straight.

One last consideration on the rears is that the shocks appear to be original.  I'm assuming that if I do any work at all I should include replacing the shocks in that process.  Or am I just starting to fix stuff that maybe isn't broken? Her's a view of a rear shock (with Ride-Rite shown behind it):

IMG_20190207_133506479.jpg.88e14214c52647d20777486d53b4dd79.jpg

 

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35 minutes ago, AtlantaCamper said:

bumps are jarring/hard  ...

A new pair of shocks could well eliminate this problem. I suggest either KYB or Bilstein. And also experiment with lower tire pressures.

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A new set of 4 Bilstein's would run about $275 and two Leaf springs Yippeekyaa identified would be ~$225 from desertrat.com  for a total of around 500 clams for a suspension upgrade.  

Seems like it would all make a world of difference, although I'm still fishing for any feedback suggesting that I'm off-base or overboard with a shock+spring replacement.  I'm also interested in knowing if these springs were considered to be a success in terms of a cost effective new replacement option for a toy rig. 

4 hours ago, Derek up North said:

And also experiment with lower tire pressures.

Derek, I'll play with lower tire pressure.  For some reason I got nervous about how squashed the tires looked at lower pressure so I've kept them all higher. 

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3 hours ago, AtlantaCamper said:

For some reason I got nervous about how squashed the tires looked at lower pressure so I've kept them all higher. 

FWIW, this is what Toyota spec'd for the 1988 C&C.

1988 C C Tire presssures.jpg

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It seems like the range of pressure folks are reporting on this site is generally 40 to 60 psi with a little more in the back compared to the front.  I'm going to try it at 40 front/50 rear  and see how that feels compared to the 60 all around I'm currently using.   

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If you look behind the driver seat there should be a coach makers plack on the outside facing wall with their ideal of tire pressure taking into account the extra weight.

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I've seen pressures on the MH stickers all over the place, anywhere from 26psi to 50psi. Never over 50psi because that's the maximum psi for the 6-ply/LR C tires that Toyota supplied on the 1-Ton DRW C&C.

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A Bilstein shock has a preload of 30-40lbs, so yes a Bilstein will lift a Toy with bad springs...BUT not much. You need good springs to do the lifting.

A real old school method of finding correct tire pressure. Get some school kit sidewalk chalk. Find a long empty parking lot, make a wide line across the tires. Drive in a straight line. Then look at the chalk line and see where it's worn. Rubbed off on the edges+low pressure, rubbed off in the middle= high pressure.

If you have to do this on a road, be careful and avoid turns. This will work with radial tires but it's not as sensitive so you may need to drive longer

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I think my overall goal is to upgrade my suspension so I have a level rig on level ground when Ride-Rites are at a medium (i.e. ~40 psi) pressure and I'd also like to have the whole rig/frame an inch higher than stock if possible  To achieve this I plan to address the following:

Springs:  new springs. Although I'd be interested in opinions, my impression is that mine are shot based on my inter-web research.  I'm on the fence about ordering a set of the ARB CS010R springs with bushing kit, but I'm leaning toward just giving it a try though.  I'm waiting to see if Yippeekyaa has any input.  

Shocks:  I'm appalled that the original shocks are still there.  I'm pretty committed to getting a set of 4 Bilsteins.  

Front end Leveling:  After 4 shocks and rear springs are in, I'll adjust the front torsion bar tension to ride higher (stock or +1") and even side to side and front to back, but if too much lift is needed in front from the torsion bar then I'll get some ball joint spacers so I don't overload the torsion bar. My front end is currently 1" low.  If necessary, spacers can be ordered  in 1/4" increments from 1/2" to 1.5" here: http://www.4crawler.com/4x4/ForSale/BallJointSpacer.shtml#2WDBJS

Tire pressure:  Find the pressure that's right for me and roll with it - I really like WME's old school method of finding a pressure that makes the tire run flat 🙂

Regarding the 4x4 springs that Yippeekyaa sourced, I spoke to a guy at ARB today and this ARB CS010R spring is a heavy duty spring designed to add 2.25" of lift to a standard pickup truck.   So what we're assuming is that because of the extra weight  we're going to load these springs down and thus get less lift.  I'm wondering what the overall lift relative to stock will be.   The spring rate in the ARB catalog indicates that the CS010R gives 2.25" lift with a static load of about 450 pounds per wheel and will deflect an additional inch (lower) for each additional 450 pounds.   I'm guessing that I have 1500 pounds on each rear wheel so that actually works out to about 0" inches of lift at 1500 pounds.  How convenient.  ARB person didn't seem too concerned with this amount of weight as long as it was static and I'm not rock-crawling.  At that weight the springs will still have the same amount of "arch" or bend needed to achieve stock ride height (not flat like mine currently).  Plus there's always the option to add the extra leaf which ARB guy says will add another 15 to 20 percent lift.  Did I just convince myself to go get these springs?  Yup.

The pics of Yippeekyaa's rig after the springs were put in seems a bit higher than stock.  I wonder how it's settled down.  If I end up an inch or so higher than stock that's not a bad thing I think, but I think my front end is already low so I'm already assuming I'll need to address that in this process.  I'd really like to be level when parked rather than having the back end up higher (fridge concern mostly).  Given that there are options to adjust front end height I'm not concerned.

I measured my front ride height according to the FSM and I have 9.25" on one side and 9.0" on the other.  This difference  left to right correlates with the bumper rubber to metal gap.  This ride height is about 1" lower than stock spec.  Likely this is due to load and age on torsion bars.  I would like to have my front end up a little higher so that with the air bags inflated at nominal the fridge is level on a flat/level surface.  That way I have  the ability to use my air bag control pump to level the fridge  by raising or lowering the Ride-rites.   

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FWIW, this was my thing.. I messed with the springs, shackles and bushings until the empty Toy sat level. After loading every everything I adjusted the air pressure in the bags until the rear was about 1/2"  high.

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13 hours ago, WME said:

FWIW, this was my thing.. I messed with the springs, shackles and bushings until the empty Toy sat level. After loading every everything I adjusted the air pressure in the bags until the rear was about 1/2"  high.

It seems I'm trying to achieve a similar goal!  I have a question about the bushings.  I replied to your reminder in the "new leaf springs" thread, but then I realized that there are three bushing points per side, not two.  In addition to each end of the spring I should be changing the bushings on the shackle to frame connection, right?   So I need three sets of bushings (4 pieces per set with two pieces per "hole" because each piece is half the width are are inserted from opposite ends of the hole).

The picture Yippeekyaa posted suggests that they come with the metal eye bushings installed.  I'm going to assume that is the case.  

I'm assuming that the shackles themselves are fine and should be left alone.  It seems one could swap out the shackle to adjust the ride height if necessary.  Did you ever do that?

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Not answering a specific question, just noting that replacing original shocks should net you a serious improvement in ride quality. Also, rear shock replacement is pretty easy on these! Bilstein or KYB will do a great job. 

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Yep, 3 bushing sets per spring. New springs will settle some in the first 200 miles or so.

The whole bushing thing is that badly worn bushings (25-year-old OEM rubber) will let the spring move at the mounting points. Hit a bump and the spring will move up and down a 1/2" and then clangs to a stop when the mounting bolt hits the frame/shackle resulting in a noisy and harsh ride. With good bushings, the spring just flexes and the suspension works as designed.

The off-road suspension folks have Poly bushing sets. They are a little firmer and last longer.

KYB are very good shocks, Bilsteins are very very good shocks

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Thanks for the bushing info, that's very helpful.

On 2/9/2019 at 12:10 PM, WME said:

KYB are very good shocks, Bilsteins are very very good shocks

The KYB's are less than half the price of the Bilsteins so I'd hope the Bilsteins are a bit better! It sure will be interesting to see how much better the ride is after this suspension upgrade. 

I've ordered all of my parts (4 Bilstein shocks, 2 ARB leaf springs, 3 bushing sets).  It will take a few weeks to get all the parts and then install them.  After that I'll find out if I'm in the range of being level after a front torsion adjustment or if I have to do something extra (like add a leaf or do a lift on the front end with a spacer for example).  I'll report back and let y'all know how these ARB CS010R leaf springs work out.

 

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OK, leaf springs and shocks are installed and have been road tested.  Unfortunately what follows is a lengthy report.  Sorry about that.  I've made a short version for those who just want the highlights and the full/detailed version:

Shorter report/summary:

Leaf Springs:  Old Man EMO (OME) CS010R leaf springs added 1.75” overall lift to the rear (relative to stock height) with no air in the air bags.  With 25-30 PSI in the air bags there was a total of about 2.75” lift in the rear.  By comparison the CS009R model springs (same spring, 1 less leaf) should give 0” to 0.5” of rear lift with no air in air bags.  The CS009R springs plus air bags might be good for other folks that don’t have rear bumper scraping issues like I do.

Vehicle leveling:  I raised the front end with a torsion bar bar adjustment to 1” over stock.  This still left the rear 1.75” higher than the front when in ‘driving mode’ using ~25-30 PSI in the air bags. On the plus side I had a very comfortable 14” of clearance on my rear bumper so I was never even close to scraping it when going in/out of parking lots.  However, I was not able to level the camper on a level surface if I removed all the air from the air bags (rear remained ~0.75” too high with 0 psi) and so I’m still looking to do some changes to see if I can improve on my situation. 

My next planned steps: To get level I can either raise the front with a spacer or lower the rear by removing a leaf from the spring. Removing a leaf lowers the springs ~1.25”-- to the point where my rear will scrape so that’s not a good option for me. Instead I can install front lift spacers above the upper ball joint and have an alignment done at a shop and see where that puts me.  I will then set 1.5” to 1.75” front lift and the rear will remain 1.75” lifted with 0 PSI in air bags.  I’ll run 25 PSI in air bags while driving resulting ~2.5” overall rear lift. This will leave about a 1” rake while driving but at least I’ll be able to level the RV when parked by removing air from air bags.  Having a level RV while driving with air in the air bags while still keeping my (low) rear bumper from dragging would require front lift heights that would be 3” or more and I think that’s way too high for a Toy-house.  My main limiting factor is the rear bumper dragging and I have to design my suspension around that.  Hopefully this thread will give others that may need to replace leaf springs some info to plan and achieve a good result.

Really Long report:

I installed the Old Man EMO (OME) CS010R springs and shocks and then drove 300+ miles.  The springs had actually settled to a consistent height after the first 30 miles and then didn’t change after that.  Overall lift relative to stock is 1.75”.  For a specific Toy-house, YMMV depending on your weight and such, but will likely be +/- 0.25” of 1.75” total rear lift from just the springs (and air bags will add lift on top of that). 

IMG_20190214_141118741.jpg.b5da5986fe2bf032611b7fb6226d8cea.jpg IMG_20190207_133722898.jpg.2a72f69a20ee84748e4cfe7e4c360143.jpg

Above you can see the before and after with the spring (and shock) installation. 

I raised my front end to 1” higher than stock with the torsion bars and did the 300 miles this way: 1” lifted front end and then with 25 PSI in the air shocks I had a total of 2.5” of rear lift relative to stock.  That’s much more of a rake from front to back than I wanted and it’s far from level this way.  I plan to make some kind of correction to this situation.  Most of this post is about determining what amount of front/rear lift is suitable and acceptable and then how to achieve that amount of lift for a toy-house.  The pictures below show the resulting set up with _no_ air in the air bags before springs (on right) and after springs, shocks and front lift (left).  It doesn't look all that dramatic in the pictures but the front is 2" higher (from torsion adjustment) and the rear is more than 2" higher (from springs) than it was initially.  And the camper is level on the right with air bags empty.

IMG_20190215_123914088.jpg.09d9469f3fcd95b65878d84199f58eee.jpg  IMG_20190207_133630615.jpg.1d508ae916f370868a7d19d13add59c8.jpg

BTW, if you want stock height (no lift) then the OME CS009R springs could be a good choice.  The CS009R's are _identical_ to the CS010R's I used except they have one less leaf. CS010R is designed for 2.25” lift on a medium load vehicle and the extra weight of the RV drops these springs to 1.75” from 2.25”.  The CS009R springs are designed for 2” lift at light/medium load and should drop about 2” under RV weight to yield 0 to 0.5” overall lift (calculation based on spring rate data in catalog and talking with OME reps). If you don’t have rear bumper dragging/scraping issues then this could be a good option.  I can take the 3rd leaf out of my CS010R and get a CS009R (based on a phone call to OME rep).  The specifications suggest that overall lift would then be 0” to 0.5” for the CS009R (or CS010R with 1 leaf removed) leaf springs.  Add some air lift and you can ride just above stock height with the CS009R.  It's worth noting that CS009R has the exact same number of leafs as the OEM springs (but are overall thicker). This is a good and affordable set of springs to get stock performance.  But I have determined that I just can’t ride that low because at stock height for front and rear axles my rear bumper is just too low (less than 10”) and I know from experience that this will cause a lot of tail dragging on my rig.  Maybe the build of my unit with the black tank valves hanging low near the back bumper is unusual but I’ve determined that it’s just too risky to run stock height all around on my rig.  I can’t even get in my own driveway without scraping.  I need 12” rear bumper clearance at a minimum at “cruising height” (meaning with 20 to 30 PSI in the air springs).  To achieve that I need to have some amount of lift relative to stock.   If I put the CS009R springs in with 30 PSI air and had the front end stock height I’d probably have only about 10” of rear bumper clearance.  I would 100% scrape my black tank valve and bumper every single time I drove into my own driveway.  No good for me.  So I need some amount of lift.

How much lift is safe and acceptable?  I have not found a definitive answer to this yet.  I’m working with an assumption that the maximum front end lift one would want on a Toy home would be 2”.  I could feel the difference with 1” lift and 50 PSI tires on this trip.  A little more movement in the front when a semi passes and blows you around compared to the lower than stock height I ran previously.  I wouldn’t say it was dangerous or unstable but it was a noticeable change. Rear height lift is less noticeable in terms of driving performance.  I am thinking of aiming at a total of 1.5” to 1.75” lift from stock.  This is more than the torsion bars can do so I could install a spacer between the top ball joint and arm.  1.5” spacers are the standard height ($53 to $70 on ebay) and then I could get the lift I want with minimal stress on the torsion  bars.  I have a shop down the road that can do the alignment (a crucial thing if you install the spacer) after the spacer is installed.  I’m not 100% committed to this yet as I’m still fishing for alternatives.  1.5” to 1.75” lift from stock is pushing it a bit but not an unreasonable modification.  So that’s the deal on the front end, what about the back?

Overall my goal was to have the RV level while driving at an acceptable lift height with ~25 PSI of air in the air bags that would keep the rear from dragging.  Then I could add or remove air to level the RV when parked to keep the fridge level.  The total lift of 1.75” on these springs at 0 psi in air bags is more than I was hoping for, but taking a leaf out leaves them with not enough lift for my purposes.  Such is life.

I am going to have to give up my goal of driving while level in order to keep my rear bumper high enough to avoid hitting stuff and so I’m going to prioritize keeping the rear bumper clearance at 12” or higher with 25 psi in air bags.  In order to achieve all of my goals and have 12” of rear bumper height I’d have to have an overall lift in front and back of about 3”.  That is way too much lift.  Compromise is needed.  Note that I could get shorter shackles but I'm not keen on that route because I think there could be air shock clearance issues (and it would hit my exhaust).

So if I lift the front with the spacer (and relax torsion bars) and leave the rear springs as they are I can achieve the following: front lift of 1.5” to 1.75”, rear lift with 0 PSI in air bags of 1.75” and driving lift of 2.25” with 25 PSI in the air bags.  Rake of 1” from front to back while driving is fine for the fridge and I can still be level on level ground by going to 0 PSI with the air bags.  Overall lift of front and back is within an acceptable range in this plan. 

--------------------

A few notes on air pressure for tires and air lift bags and impact on ride quality:  Air springs on my rig raise the rear about 0.25” to 0.3” for each 10 PSI added.  One can then determine the preferred height at desired pressure.  I varied both tire and air shock pressure over this last 300 mile trip.  I found that 50 PSI in the tires rather than 60 PSI was a good change as it made the ride softer and didn’t leave the tires too squashed.  40 PSI was way too soft for me.  Air shocks at 60 psi felt exactly like I was riding on 60 PSI tires (go figure).  Once I dropped the Air Rides down to a range where they were soft but firm (20 to 30 PSI) they really hit a sweet spot where they softened the bumps a lot.  At 0 PSI I could feel the stiffness of the springs.  Running on only springs was not so pleasant.  This is with new Bilstein shocks all around too.  The shocks did not really start to perform well until I had the air bags at 25-30 PSI and tires at 50 PSI.  Then all was much improved over the original OME springs and shocks. If there was anything ‘hard’ in the system then the ride was rough. “Hard” things means really high psi in air bags and/or tires or no air in air springs thus riding only on leaf springs.  I suppose it was a little disappointing that there wan't a big dramatic improvement in ride quality after the fancy shocks replaced the original 30 year old ones.  It is a truck after all.  And a heavy one.  Once I dialed in the right air pressures I certainly noticed them, but big bumps are still jolting, just not as painful as before.  The biggest improvement was in the way it handled the small bumps and imperfections with the new shocks - this was the most noticeable improvement.   The 4x4 sites where this same spring was installed in 4Runners also noted that these springs are good, strong and do their job well, but they are stiff and don't give a 'soft' ride.  

And finally, to answer my original question, "Are my leaf springs blown?"  The original springs were at the end of their useful life, but I would not say they were 'blown'.  They still worked, but lift was below spec and with no air pressure the Ride Rite air bags were fully collapsed and being beaten up when driven with no air (smashing top into bottom internally like a rubber bump stop).  The springs still functioned to some extent as long as air was in the air bags but I had to use like 50 psi to get a decent ride height. My leaf springs were the helper springs for the air bags when it's supposed to be the other way around.

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Shimming the upper balljoint will do nothing. For shimming the balljoint to work there must be spring pressure on the A-arm, like an early Ford Falcon/Mustang. Shimming the lower ball joint/taller balljoint will lower the car if that is where the spring mounts.

Lose a leaf spring and carry whatever air pressure is needed to get the correct "ride" height. Have 2 air pressure fill points for side to side adjustments when parked.

The ride improvements over small bumps is most likely due to the new bushings

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Having a rake can affect steering, oversteer or understeer. Bad deals in emergency maneuvers. A boaty rear suspension is also not good in emergency maneuvers. Consider having the toe in and camber checked as I think it has changed with lifting the rear. The front end needs to think it is flat no matter how high or low the back is. So is level off so much when parked that your refrigerator will suffer. Adjust your headlights and get some leveling blocks. Run your tire pressures at what it says on the sidewalls.

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Also check the installed length of the rear shock (eye to eye). Here are the Bilstein specs:-

24-002585  (Rear)
 
Bilstein Collapsed Length (IN)14.09
Bilstein Extended Length (IN)22.34
Bilstein Collapsed Length (MM)358.0
Bilstein Extended Length (MM)567.5
Lower Mount Type Eye 16mm
Upper Mount Type Eye 16mm
Internal Design Monotube
Finish Yellow Paint
Reservoir No
BootE4-SR1-Z008A01
Boot Included Blue Straight
Mounting Kit N/A
Spring Seat N/A

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10 hours ago, WME said:

Lose a leaf spring and carry whatever air pressure is needed to get the correct "ride" height.

Yes, this is a viable option that I've considered.  I estimate that I'd have to use about 50 psi to get the rear high enough to avoid scraping with the leaf removed.  I have two or three particular spots that scrape the bumper nearby.  I can go measure more carefully how much lift is needed to get past these and see what the absolute minimum ride height is.   I can also pump up the air springs up before going over problem areas.  I have the Ride-Rite control system with electric pump inside the camper so it's pretty easy to change air pressure on the fly.  I'd have to make sure that at max air bag pressure that I'd have enough rear bumper clearance to get past all problem areas.  

The unknown with this option is where the spring would sit with the leaf removed.  I have to take the axle apart to deal with an issue in the rear brakes in the very near future so that would be the time to try it out.  I plan to swap the springs from left to right too so testing the height with one leaf removed is possible.  I have to swap left to right because I didn't realize during installation that OME springs are marked as "+" for ~1/8" high "0" for at spec or "-" for ~1/8" low.  I ended up with one plus and one minus, which apparently is normal.  I put them on exactly opposite of what I should have so I have one side that is 1/4" higher than the other (doh!).   

11 hours ago, WME said:

For shimming the balljoint to work there must be spring pressure on the A-arm

The shim/spacer on the upper balljoint doesn't raise the vehicle.  All of the lift is created by the torsion bar.  The torsion bar is the spring in this case.  There is enough adjustment there to go from -1" to +2.5" relative to the spec height.  The only function of the spacer is to accommodate the lift generated by the torsion adjustment.  The spacer helps correct the geometry and makes alignment easier but the lift comes only from the torsion bar tension on the bottom arm.   It's not hard to put the spacer in and now I've determined how to do a "driveway alignment" (which isn't hard and doesn't take very long).  I need a shop to do a 'final alignment' but for testing I can pretty easily try different approaches with or without the front lift.  The front lift changes are _way_ easier than swapping springs or removing a leaf.  That's a chore, but I'll likely look into that since I have to crack open the axle anyway.

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You make it sound like 50 lbs pressure in your airbags is a lot. I always run mine at 60 and my Sunrader is a little one. Can't imagine driving a full sized one at any less. 

Linda S

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Well my GVWR is 5500lbs and my Sunrader weighs 5150 wet and loaded. Is that a cast iron stove on his rear bumper?

Linda S

Oh and I have a built in generator. I would be under 5000lbs without it

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Yes on the ball joint shim. In reading your post I thought you were thinking that shimming the balljoint would raise the front end. If the bump stop is stock you shouldn't need to shim as the wheel travel is normal.

On the early Falcon/Mustangs when we do the "Shelby Mod" on the front suspension we use a tapered shim to prevent the upper balljoint from binding at full compression.

Removing a leaf in the back and adding PSI to airbags shouldn't make the ride harsher. It takes a certain amount of spring force to achieve the desired ride height. All your doing is moving some that force from the spring pack and moving it to the airbag. The overall force is the same.  If you want to get super techie the ride will be a tiny bit softer as the leaf spring pack has more internal friction than the airbag does.

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36 minutes ago, Derek up North said:

Short length does not always mean light weight! This one is ~1200lb over GVWR. :)

 

1

Uh that scale is reading lbs, not kg. You can see lbs on the display

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My bad I thought you wrote 12,000 lbs overweight guess I need new glasses or maybe a new brain.

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8 hours ago, linda s said:

You make it sound like 50 lbs pressure in your airbags is a lot.

I thought it was.  I'll need to re-calibrate myself because it may have been due to my old springs.  I've always felt that as the pressure went higher than 50-ish that the ride got much harder.  If I put 60+ psi in the airbags with one less leaf then I could probably get as high as I'd need for rear clearance.  I should be trying these 'higher' pressures and not staying so low to see how it works for me.

6 hours ago, WME said:

Removing a leaf in the back and adding PSI to airbags shouldn't make the ride harsher. It takes a certain amount of spring force to achieve the desired ride height. All your doing is moving some that force from the spring pack and moving it to the airbag.

Yes, this makes sense.  For some reason I've been trying to make the rig run on more spring than air.  Overall it sounds like I should try the leaf removal and see how that works out with more air before assuming that I just need to stay with the stronger/higher spring. 

OH, and thanks for all of the weight data.  Very interesting.  I've never managed to get mine weighed but I'll have to put some more effort into that.  Looks like you can just do that at a proper truck stop?

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Truck stops, farm coops, land fills, sometimes closed state hwy weight stations leave the scales on. You just drive up and get out and look through the window.

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28 minutes ago, WME said:

Truck stops, farm coops, land fills, sometimes closed state hwy weight stations leave the scales on. You just drive up and get out and look through the window.

Metal scrap yards as well!  They will let you cruise through and get a weight, it takes 5 seconds.  

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On 2/19/2019 at 12:02 AM, Derek up North said:

Check the installed length of the rear shock (eye to eye).

19.25" eye to eye at 2.5" of rear lift at 30 psi in air bags.  That's only 3" of travel until the shock bottoms out.  I wonder if I could bottom out the shock if I hit a bad/deep rut?  At stock ride height that would be 5.5" of travel so much less of a concern there.    

I noticed when I installed them that the lower rear shock mount point was pretty much even with the fully extended shock so I didn't have to compress anything to put it on.   That means if I put the camper on blocks and the rear axle hangs loose that it is right up against the end of the shock with springs fully relaxed.  The KYB specs were a tiny bit longer but not by much.  

With these springs I can get a total of 3.5" of rear lift at 70 psi in the air bags for those moments of extreme rear bumper clearance needs (very rare).  That would leave only 2" of travel.  If I wasn't careful I could potentially bottom out the shock I suppose.

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Shock is 14" compressed, so at 19" eye to eye, you have over 5" of compression travel before the shock "bottoms" out, that equals a really big bump. It will "top" out (rebound) in 3" but that would take a spectacular pothole to achieve that sort of sudden drop. You should be creeping along if the road has bumps and potholes that big.

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1 hour ago, WME said:

It will "top" out (rebound) in 3"

Yes, I was saying 'bottom out' when I meant 'top out'.  I'm not concerned about bottom out problems, just top out.  Which, as you point out, would take a spectacular pothole.  I'm assuming I'll be OK.

 

 

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I've got an updated report on the springs and impact on height and rear bumper clearance.  Recall that my initial goal was to:  1) allow the camper to be level while driving on level ground, 2) allow for adjusting rear height to be either higher than, or lower than, front end height via the in-cab air bag controller/pump when parked to level the vehicle, 3) achieve a reasonable overall "drive height" for the body while using the Ride-Rite air bags in the range of like 20 to 50 PSI (ideally zero or minimal front to back rake), and 4) keep the rear bumper high enough so that I don't scrape when going in/out of parking lots or up steep driveways.

Previously I had installed new Old Man Emu CS010R  springs, raised the front end with a torsion bar adjustment, and installed new shocks all around.  I set the front at 1" lift.  The rear lift from springs alone (no air  in bags) was about 1.75" over stock, with 30 PSI in the air bags lift was 2.75".  Rear bumper clearance is great, but more than I needed and the overall lift with air in the air bags is too high causing a significant front to back rake.   

After some discussion in this thread, it seemed that taking a leaf out of the new springs was a good experiment.  Before I took the springs off and removed a leaf I took a moment to consider why I want so much lift in the first place.  One of the main limiting factors is the rear bumper clearance.  In my case I have a poorly placed dump valve that takes a big hit every time I scrape the rear.  I've had to replace the valve a few times because of this.  So I decided to address that situation first.  It turned out to be rather easy to move the dump valve closer to the front of the vehicle with just a few ABS drain fittings and some ABS glue.  Then I welded on some Ultra-Fab Products 48-979022 solid steel skid wheels.  Here is the before (first pic) and after:

IMG_20190220_111246355.jpg.ecef9bc73d87096424f92894b2c8c09f.jpg   IMG_20190304_100118155.jpg.befb073ee0c870aec97b4fa93d8fb685.jpg

Now I can worry less about hitting my valve.  Even if I do hit now it rolls instead of scrapes.  To get some perspective, the above pictures are on a rather steep driveway that, to me, represents the max type of terrain I want to be able to clear.  I pumped the air bags up to 90 PSI in these tests as this is what I would do if I came to a really tricky clearance issue.  In the first picture above  I could _not_ get up the driveway (the image shows where I stopped before I even got to the low point where I absolutely would have smashed the sewer valve).  The second photo after the mods shows the rear wheels at the lowest point and I am just hitting the skid wheels and I made it up the driveway.  After moving the valve and welding on the skid wheels I need less overall rear bumper clearance.  This lets me set the overall ride height lower and still achieve all of my goals.

So now with the rear scraping issue reduced somewhat I decided to follow a suggestion and remove a leaf and see what happens.  I had to get into my rear brakes anyway so it wasn't so bad.  The CS010R springs I bought are a 7-leaf spring.  Removing the third leaf from the top turned them into the CS009R model 6-leaf spring.  The tired OEM springs I took off are 6-leaf springs.  The 6-leaf spring resulted in an overall lift with no air in the air bags of  about 0.75" over stock.  This is 1" lower than the 1.75" of lift I had with the 7-leaf spring.  I was anticipating more of a drop with the removal of the leaf.  I'm really pleased with the result.  To me, this suggests that the 6-leaf CS009R springs could be a good direct fit replacement for the OEM springs for other folks.  A pair of new springs with bushings can be found for about $250 total with shipping. The 0.75" of lift was dry and only semi-loaded and with no air in the springs, so wet and ready it will drop some more.  This amount of lift is really great for my purposes as it lets me use the air pressure to set the ride where I want it.  I set the front (for now) at 1" lift over stock and so by adjusting air pressure in the Ride Rites I can set the rear to be lower than the front or significantly higher (or level).  The following graphs show the rear height (measured at the bottom of the frame rail just in front of the rear wheel) and rear bumper height as a function of the air pressure in the ride rites with either the 7-leaf or 6-leaf springs (I know, TMI, but someone might find it helpful in their own rig suspension mods):

1719223073_7-leafspringvsPSI.JPG.1875eaafb8320aa03908dfd82d84e161.JPG  1364694540_6-leafspringvsPSI.JPG.8b6df67f9be210414997430cd99edf26.JPG

With 30 PSI of air in the Ride Rites on the 6-leaf spring the rear is just a tad higher than the front, but wet and ready I will likely sit level.    I can put up to 90 PSI in  and clear most any driveway and when parked I will often be able adjust my rear to level the camper without getting out the leveling blocks.  In short, with the 6-leaf spring I believe I have met all of my goals.  An added bonus is that the 6-leaf spring is noticeably less stiff compared to the 7-leaf spring.  With only 30 PSI in the air bags they are firm but not hard.  Overall result is an improvement in ride quality over the 7-leaf spring at 30 psi air.  I think it's a good balance between the weight on the spring, the weight on the air bags and the resulting ride height.   I think I met all of my goals.  Yea!

-----------------

All of this is somewhat dependent on where I set my front "ride height".  That's another discussion in itself and something that isn't yet complete.  In theory I can pretty much pick my front height anywhere from ~1" lower than stock height to ~2" higher than stock by adjusting the torsion bars.  In reality it's not exactly that simple because one has to take into account the clearances of the end-of-travel bumpers in the upper and lower front control arms.  I'm still in the process of determining where I want my front ride height, but it will likely end up at around 1" higher than stock, which is not unreasonable at all.  I will put a spacer above the upper ball joint to allow the upper control arm to have suitable travel (right now at 1" lifted there is very little room for upwards travel on the UCA before it hits the rubber bumper).  I'm not ready to put the spacer in just yet because I ran into an issue with my torsion bars.  I think one of them is a little tired - the driver's side bar has a subtle but noticeable bend in it and it keeps sinking down over a few days after I adjust it.  It's also pretty much at the max adjustment.  The passenger side looks good and holds a height with the adjuster bolt right where it should be.  According to the 4x4 forums this is the sign of a torsion bar that should be replaced (obviously in pairs).  I think what is in there is 23 to 24 mm in diameter.  Not sure if this is typical stock size for all pickup trucks or larger for the 1-ton.  I have not found a source for stocked replacement parts that would be an upgrade.  The sway-a-way torsion bar set that would work is backordered (no idea how long it would take to get them) and I can't find any other source for something heavy duty enough for the 1-ton, but if anyone has some wisdom or suggestions on this issue feel free to let me know.  There is a '94 2WD pickup at a local pull-a-part.  I suppose those sway bars would work to some extent.  The existing wonky driver's side torsion bar is usable for now, but it needs to be addressed. 

Edited by AtlantaCamper

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