Monday, August 15, 2011

The rear moves up in the world, joins the front and we're done!

I have to say the front of the truck was looking pretty good. I was eager to see what the rear would look like with a 'Zuk rear coil mod.

The driver's side took an hour to sort out as I wanted to be careful. The passenger side took about 25 minutes.

I was going to swap the rear brake line for a longer one, but it proved unnecessary AND I was running up against our deadline to get to the drag strip.

It's only 1/8 mile, but we got to watch some fast vehicles. Including this cool diesel which was chewing up and spitting out some street cars. High 90s and mid 7-seconds. Check out this video (sorry not inlined)

One of the things I wanted to change from the normal mod was to put something between the frame and the spring to manage any wear.

I ran out to a "local" steel place (is 32 miles away local?). They had some neat stuff, but one of the things I found was this base-plate. I cut the sides off so it would fit between the uprights of the bump stop.

Some of you will remember I used 14" 125# springs.

I started with the driver's side because it doesn't have all those scary brake lines, gas tank, etc. behind it. I figured do the easy side first.

Once I got the bumpstop cut off, I found I needed to trim the front upright a bit more, then bend them out with my very large Crescent wrench and my 3' cheater pipe. I bent them out so I could barely screw the spring in about 1/2-way. I wanted them to stay tight. They're a bit too tight, you can hear the springs sproinging (sliding in and out) when it stretches out and flexes. It turns out it's the coil below the bracket binding on the corner. I'll chamfer them.

The passenger side went MUCH faster. Be VERY careful around those brake lines with your Sawzall.
Here's how much I cut off the frame bump-stop thingy. Yes, it's a terrible picture (and backwards, compare to the pic above).

I removed the rear shock to allow the axle to drop as far as it can. Once I got it cut off, I inserted my bottle jack between the frame and the leaf. You can see my mondo-Crescent wrench. I still needed 3' of cheater pipe on it to bend the brackets without flame. Start in the middle so you give them a slight-round profile to help capture the coil spring.

BE CAREFUL when jacking. Only jack enough that the leaf touches the leaf-spring bracket pin. Any more and I could bend the leave spring.

Here's the trick to do this quickly. Get a spring compressor.

Barring a spring compressor being available, you COULD use the method below, but when you take off a finger or worse, just remember that I am NOT recommending it and that you would be stupid to do it this way. So don't do it. Like the Mythbusters say - don't try this at home!

Insert the top of the spring in the bumpstop perch. It's a tight fit and required that I screw it in, but that's how I wanted it.

I needed a 2-hook tie-down and a ratchet strap in good condition.
Use the tie-down to the leaf-spring bracket to hold the spring upright and keep it from bowing out when the ratchet strap is tightened.
I looped the ratchet strap 3 or 4 coils down from the top of the spring and around the front of the leaf spring. I checked for sharp edges, then starrted ratcheting it down, cranking on the tie down as needed to keep it coming down straight.

Just get it close. There's way too much pressure required to make it short enough to get under the bumpstop sides. Then I slowly popped it in place with a prybar. Notice my fingers are hardly even in the picture.

Once it's in, I DID NOT release the ratchet strap go. It will hurt.
Instead I slowly released the jack, checking the spring was going in. Then I put the jack under the axle and slowly jacked it up until the spring seated. Then I kept jacking until the straps started to loosen up. I took them off, dropped the axle to the right height and installed my new shock.

My old shocks would have worked, but longer shackles will make it drop too far. And it needs longer shackles. The current shackle sits at a light angle when it's on level ground, so it's not topped out sitting there, but it definitely needs shackles.

What's the height difference? Huge. I needed my HiLift to jack the truck up high enough to get the jack stands under the frame with the wheels off the ground. But I was able to use my floor jack under the rear pumpkin to get the truck off the jackstands.

On the passenger side, the truck sits completely level, measuring to the bottom body line (crease in the side panels)

On the driver's side, it's about 1" lower in the rear. I haven't had a chance to figure it out yet, but I'll probably get in there this afternoon and sort that out. The springs both say they're the same, that's the only thing I can think of. Especially since the fuel tank is on the passenger side (heavier).

I'm hoping it's not a spring problem. Both boxes indicate they're the same.

It also handles surprisingly well in the corners. It used to oversteer because the rear was too soft, right now it feels pretty balanced, even without a swaybar. I still need to align the tires more than by eye (it doesn't drift and the steering wheel is straight, so goodie for me!)

The front also still hits the tires at full droop, I'll probably look at that this evening. We have company coming and it's still hot out, nearly 100 today. While I grew up in S. AZ with hotter days, 100 is pretty hot out here and I'm not longer acclimatized.

Here it is after about 14 hours of work!! Look how nice it sits!

It flexes well. Yup, the driver's tire is in the air. :)

Front stretch

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