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Old 12-21-2004, 11:00 AM
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Chevy 1500 Rear Suspension Adjustment after lowering

I bought a '92 Chevy 1500 short bed that has been lowered. 2" front, 4" rear. The rear axel was remounted to the top of the leaf springs. The front has new spindles and coils and the coils have been shimmed to achieve a good ride height. The rear setup has a set of air bags (load levelers) placed directly between the leaf spring and the frame immediately behind the axle. I need to inflate the bags to 17 lbs. of pressure to hold the rear high enough to prevent bottoming out the rear suspension under normal driving. It makes the rear very stiff and results in a jarring ride over mildly uneven pavement. I'd like to find a solution that will produce a less stiff rear suspension. I was thinking of changing the shackles to a shorter type to raise the body but cannot because they are already quite short. The shackles mount above the rear frame cross member in what I believe is the stock mounting position. I was thinking of having the leaf springs re-arched to give me an additional inch of height and allow me to relax the air bags but I'm not sure if re-arching damages or weakens the springs. I'd like to know if there is a better way to lift the rear end of the truck? I would like to keep the air bags because I doo use the truck to haul stuff every so often.

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Old 12-21-2004, 11:37 AM
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thats just a problem that comes with a lowered truck. maybe get springs with a lower tension rate you can have a stiff truck or you can have a bouncy truck. your choice the only way to have the look and a great ride is if you ditch the setup and get a air ride setup my g/f brother has one and its great www.airride.com expect about 2k for the whole setup and another 2k if you have someone put it in
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Old 12-21-2004, 11:56 AM
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Has the frame been c-notched? That much drop, without it, would cause the lack of clearance.
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Old 12-21-2004, 04:15 PM
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yes its c notched but you dont have to you can just ride on the bags
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Old 12-21-2004, 06:55 PM
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I was wondering if jpd's frame had been notched.
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Old 12-22-2004, 05:47 AM
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To answer your question, the frame has not been modified. It has not been C notched. I cannot afford to be spending a ton of $$ on the truck now, so air ride is out of the question. I am a simple solution kind of guy looking for a simple solution. Air ride and notched frames are not simple solutions. I am considering shimming the front spring cradle. I can handle that type of solution.

Thanks for your suggestions, though.
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Old 12-22-2004, 06:40 AM
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jpd:

If I understand correctly, your axle is now mounted between the rear leaf springs and the frame and, without the air bags, the axle is bottoming out on the frame.

Depending on the severity, you could use some rubber cones (I think they're called scrubs or nubs) to at least keep the bottoming-out from being metal-on-metal.

Would it be possible to remount the axle below the spring again? You might lose a few inches of lowering, but you would gain a much better ride.

Perhaps you could combine that with a different spring arrangement, like using a thinner spring pack or softer springs.

Another possibility that comes to mind...my Dad's Astro van uses a single leaf composite spring, if I recall correctly. Similar spring to what the C4 vettes use, but one per side. I'm not sure what sort of fabrication would be required to mount them, or how the axle mounts to them, but since they're a lot thinner, you might be able to mount the axle below the spring and still get close to your lowered height and not need the bags to keep everything from crashing together.
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Old 12-22-2004, 10:18 AM
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jpd37...
Moving the axle to the top of the spring is actually a 6" drop. Without a "C" notch you will be hitting the frame as you mentioned. Putting in a notch will solve your problem and the kit for these is only 40 bucks or so at AIM. This will be a lot cheaper then swapping springs or anything else. All you need is some room for travel and this will give it to you. If you like simple (and cheap) solutions this is it...
Mark


"Some people on this forum believe I am stupid for having different experiences and opinions then they do..."
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Old 05-26-2005, 11:03 AM
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Astroracer, you may be right about the drop being more like 6". As I had indicated, I bought the truck already set up this way. When the tail bottoms out, what is happening is the helper air bag is compressing to a hard state because it is located between the frame and the leaf spring. I found the product used in the Summit Catalog. They are promoted as a load balancer device. So I'm not getting metal to metal, but it is a shock to the spine none-the-less. What is AIM? Does the kit you refer to require cutting and welding? It would seem to me that would be necessary. That means I should remove the bed to do it right. I'm also thinking the frame would need to be jigged to maintain alignment and straightness. How am I doin?

The mono leaf is an interesting idea. I know they can be fab'd to fit custom applications. I'll look into the cost and pitfalls of the idea.

I already have the rubber cones above the axle attached to the frame. But they don't do anything because the compressed dimension of the air bags is longer than the rubber cones.

I prefer the lower look so I'm not in favor of flipping the axle back below the springs.

One thing I have discovered, the truck rides much better when I have a heavy load and I have to pump up the bags up to balance the load.

I'm going to continue to think about the problem. Eventually I'll come up with a fix.
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Old 05-26-2005, 05:01 PM
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You are suposed to keep at least 10psi in the bags.

Because you arn't hitting the frame or even the bump stops I think the real problem is the mounting of the baggs. They might have more room if you mounted them on the inside of the frame. If you remove the baggs how does it ride?

Last edited by Triaged; 05-27-2005 at 01:13 AM.
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Old 05-31-2005, 05:36 AM
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Triaged, I don't know how it rides without the bags. I keep about 15 lbs. pressure in them to level our the body. Otherwise the tail is too low compared to the front. I am considering replacing the air bags and shocks with air shocks. I'm beginning to think that might be the solution.
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