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Master BS'er
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Be vary careful with a torch around any suspension parts, especially springs. You dont want to anneal the steel and weaken it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Oh, I definitely know about that! I never use an oxy-acetylene torch, only propane, though I know those can still have an effect. I keep it to a minimum and only apply where needed while being careful of what I heat up.

Now that I've figured out my picture sharing issue, I'll re-post those pics.










 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
I'm still reading your install, but the rear spring nut that fought you, let me guess it was on the exhaust side of things? They are always a PITA
I fought like heck with that bolt also, however I did not remove the shackles from the truck, just the springs.

Yup, that's the one! For me, removing the whole shebang was easier than fighting it under the truck. Besides, with the bolt coming out to the inside of the frame, it was just easier all around IMO. lol
 
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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Long term update...

I wound up taking forever to actually add in that extra spring to essentially turn the rear springs into C codes. As in, I just finally got to them this weekend. lol I'll say this, a new spring's curve is much different than a 16 year old spring's relaxed curve! Trying to install that new leaf in the right position in the spring pack while it was attached to the truck was a little interesting. In the end, I found it easiest having the old center bolt installed from the top to keep everything lined up while the new bolt came up through the bottom. I simply lowered the axle down enough so the 6" bolt would fit, then I slid single leafs one-by-one onto the bolt, then jacked the axle up slowly, angling the bolt to get it into the other leafs. Doing this I was able to get the bolt just barely out the top of the spring pack....enough to put the nut on. I then lowered the axle, inserted the 4" block, jacked the axle back up and put the full weight of the truck on the axle again. Then I used a couple c-clamps to assist with the compression of the new spring so I could tighten the center bolt. I did NOT have to unbolt the sway arm like many say you do. I did, however, remove the lower shock mounting bolts, because the axle needed to go pretty low and I wasn't sure I'd have enough travel in the Bilsteins. Turns out I did have enough. Oh well...only took a couple seconds so no biggie. Oh, and I also did some swapping around of the overload leaf and got the tailpipe back into place finally. SO much quieter in the cab when the sound isn't being bounced back up into the truck by the road.

So, how about some end results? Feel is pretty good. It's probably a hair too stiff, but since it's a brand new spring I know I need to give it a little bit of time to settle in. I know the front end has softened up just a hair since the swap and it is now near perfect for my tastes. So, I think this is going to be a good combo for my purposes. One question remains, though. How much extra lift did it net? Well, after reading about other experiences with add-a-leafs (because that's essentially what I was doing, even though it was just the extra leaf for a C vs B code) and I decided to forego the extra block height for now. It's a good thing I did too! The addition of this one leaf gave me 1/2" of height difference just with the thickness of the leaf. However, due to it's newness curve and extra capacity etc, it gave me an additional 3" over that! So, just the spring addition gave me 3.5" of lift. This is measured from the center of the hub to the fenderwell outer edge. I expected to have about 2.5" based on experiences from others. At first glance, this might seem to be a problem. If we go back through this thread, my front wound up with 5.25" of lift while the rear only got 3.25". This new increase on the rear end makes the rear lift total 6.75". That's only 1.5" more than the front, so I was thinking I would probably now see the proper rake the truck should have had all along. Once I got it out of the garage and could step back, it looked just about right. The rear end definitely sits just a bit higher than the front, and it looks like it should. I think it could stand to be just a bit lower, but I'm thinking once this new spring breaks in and settles, not only with the ride be just right, but so will the height. I'll take it offroad a bit and give it some time to settle, then I'll re-measure and take some pics to follow-up with. My biggest worry now is fitting in parking garages. lol It was TIGHT before, with my antenna hitting the clearance bar, so I'll have to put a piece of wood across the roof and measure how high she is now.

One more thing about the install which kinda bothered me. I bought new u-bolts even though the last set wasn't even a year old, and I bought the exact same ones as before. Part of the instructions is to torque in steps (as always) to 145 ft-lbs, drive it 100 or so miles, and check the torque on the nuts. Last time I checked it at 100 miles and everything was still nice and snug. Checked it after my first offroad, and also at a couple thousand miles. Never had to re-torque. This time, I drove the 100 miles and every single nut was in need of re-torquing. Kind of concerning. Did I luck out on the first time and needing a re-torque is normal, or could I have botched something without realizing it this time? Either way, I'm going to check them in 100 more miles, then at 500 miles and 1000, then a couple thousand after that, until I'm certain all is well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Re-installation was a bit of a pain because I had difficulty finding conclusive info on HOW to tighten everything down. When you tighten the shackle to the spring, you're locking it in place, so you could potentially create the wrong pre-load condition. Turns out, leave it all loose until the weight is on the tires and then tighten everything. Why couldn't someone have just said that outright in their tutorials? lol
And this is why I try to always follow up on my posts. A Fire Chief from a town in my county wants his Excursion to have the same spring swap I did on mine. Half the parts have arrived, and as I'm going through things in my head, remembering what I did, I couldn't remember if you tighten the springs with weight or without. Thankfully I remembered to put it into my original post! I'll have to post up a thread about it when I'm done. I'll be doing X/C code swap with an additional 2" of lift, and I'll be bullet proofing everything which wasn't already done....he already has studs and a coolant filter for example. Gonna be a "fun" couple of weeks.
 

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reading some of your old post in here let me shoe you how I avoid cutting u bolts

the kobalt pass thru sockets and extensions can really save the day

 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
I've got ratcheting wrenches. I'll have to check out the sockets. Too bad you can't torque with those.
 
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