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Old 11-30-2012, 06:20 AM   #1
bronc36
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where can i find softer springs for my 96 Bronco?

Hey everyone. I need to replace my ball joints, shocks and coil springs on my 96 Bronco. It has a quad shock suspension up front ands runs a 351. I already have a set of monroe sensa-trac shocks ready to go on.

This bronco has always had a very rough ride. The top coil on both springs are busted off. It has 110k miles and i have put the last 85,000 on it myself over the last 10 years. I want to find a stock height spring with a smoother ride. I dont want to go too expensive, and the stock springs at Jeffs bronco graveyard or Rockauto run about $80. I will need to do some research on them to find out the spring rates but i'm guessing they would be the same as stock.

Anybody know of any similarly priced springs that are softer? Your thoughts?
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:11 AM   #2
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I'd try the stock spring with just 2 shocks up front first.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:53 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bronc36 View Post
Anybody know of any similarly priced springs that are softer? Your thoughts?
Yeah, I got a thought. xD

Find out what springs are on it now.
Are you sure they're original factory springs?

If so, they'll have a white plastic label on 'em with black lettering, read off
the engineering numbers on the labels and post 'em. :)

In '91 (got the Ford light truck manuals for 1991) the stock front springs for
"all" Broncos was "B", according to the "book". I went-up 2 steps to D's from
a '91 F150 Super Cab, on mine. :)

New factory springs, like wimpy-assed "A" springs will give you "closest to
stock height" as anything you're gonna find aftermarket. They're made by
the factory to do that, at some level.

My '75 F150 came with wimpy springs and it -really- sucked! Holy crap. :/

They changed out under warranty to "lumber wagon springs". That's what
the guys at the dealership was saying "it'll ride like a lumber wagon with
those springs on it! :/" "I want 'em anyway! :)" Fixed the truck right up!

Brand spanking new and it'd bounce all over hell! :(

Boing boing boing boing boing boing boing<-shocks alone don't fix that!
(anybody wanna argue 'bout that? ;)

It'd bottom out going through Willcox. Willcox is a town that has the two
water drainage "dips" on both sides of most of their intersections. You've
seen streets like that I'm sure.

It'd dance sideways something terrible on a dirt road when new too. Fixed
that with a combination of the stiffer front springs and my own fixing it to
accept dual shocks front and back.

Just want you to know what wimpy springs might get-cha. "A" springs on
your Bronco prob'ly won't be quite as bad as my '75 F150 acted brand new
tho, I believe, but could be wrong 'bout that! :/

Here's the lighter of the two springs the dealership put on my '75 F150 in
'75. I found a heavy one that matched the heavier spring from the "set"
and put it on and leveled out the truck for-the-first-time-in-its-existence!
The other spring is a lighter spring and it's off an -F250- of the same era...

...that's 3/4" fuel hose I'd slipped over the "top turn" way back when.
That purple stripe is Ford's old way of identifying the springs, it's 2 steps
down from the top. I got a pair of "white with yellow stripes" on it now?
Anyway, they're 1 step down from the stiffest they made for those trucks.

Ford calls this measurement "ride height"...
http://www.panix.com/~alvinj/file12/rideheight.jpg
...at 232+1/4" ...it's pretty dangged high. ;)
(both sides are -within- 1/64" of each other now)

Alvin in AZ
ps- My old pickup rides firm but not harsh.
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdford View Post
I'd try the {factory replacement} stock spring with just 2 {regular} shocks up front first.
x2 :)

In my experience the Gabriel gas truck shocks (like from Sears) feel harsh, and
yet not a good-firm-control at the same time. :/ Rancho 5000's feel better all the
way around to me. More in the control department and less harsh.

Might try just one set of Rancho 5000s with your new "B" springs? Then later after
the first set break-in good and start feeling softer might get another set of Rancho
5000s? >shrug<

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Old 11-30-2012, 11:13 AM   #5
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Here are a few things to think about regarding spring rates and shock damping...

To risk oversimplifying, springs hold the truck in the air, shocks hold the tires to the ground. The quickest way to obtain a "smooth" ride is to lower air pressures in the tires. The second is to reduce the shocks compression rate. In my experience a "rough ride" complaint is typically one of "feeling every bump". Your first defense against bumps and uneven road surfaces is in the sidewall of the tires. The second is the compression damping of the shocks. Unless you are running an extraordinarily harsh spring for your vehicle weight I'd leave them be or run stock springs.

Any sort of buck boarding or washing around is due to an excessively soft compression rate shock for the spring rate. The shock cannot adequately control the springs desire to bounce. Ever drive a car with blown shocks or struts? Same effect...

I'd try 1 shock at first as a test... The sensa tracs are "velocity sensitive" they have a tapered groove in the shock body IIRC. I was selling them hand over fist when they first came out.

I run 900lb linear rate springs on my race car which was originally equipped with approx 350lb progressive rate springs. No tire or shock combo will fix my ride quality nor would I want them to. My example is extreme to make my point.
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:19 AM   #6
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>snipped WDford's post #5<
It's a masterpiece. :)
Re-read until you understand every word! LOL :)

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Old 11-30-2012, 12:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alvin in AZ View Post
It's a masterpiece. :)
Re-read until you understand every word! LOL :)

Alvin in AZ
hahaha thanks! I've been around suspensions and race cars for more than a few years now. When I worked at "Speed Merchant" we had a dealer services division and we pioneered the IFS Toyota lifts that were factory approved. I think the kits were Trailmaster but it goes back to 85, 86 timeframe, whenever the IFS was introduced anyway.

Now I do a lot of road racing and we build more than a few championship winning racecars, small series you probably wouldn't know it. At times I do know more than I understand but I try to keep an open mind.

My current race car USTCC GT and GTS legal.

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Old 11-30-2012, 12:46 PM   #8
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yo,
Replacement Springs Review in a 96; "I posted a while back asking about stock replacement springs for the Bronco that would ease some of the abuse we endure. I decided to attack the front coils first since they were cheaper and I thought they would be easier to replace than the leafs (at least they were on my '72). Well, a few skinned knuckles and 3 hours later I have new MOOG® 820 model stock replacement springs installed. The first side wasn't easy to remove or replace, but they second side only took 30 minutes after I learned the process. I have a 5.8L engine and the MOOG® product spec says the 820's are designed for the additional weight of the 5.8L vs. the 5.0L. They designed the 818's for the 5.0L. If you decide to do this I will give you a few pointers on the removal and installation. If you are running a front anti-sway bar then you should unbolt the frame mounts on both sides before you remove the tires. This will allow for the additional axle droop needed to drop the coil springs out of the mounts. Also you must disconnect the shocks to also allow for the additional droop. You will need a 1-1/8" socket to remove the lower hold-down nut. A regular socket will do, but a deep socket will work better. Clean out all the dirt and mud around that lower hold-down nut and spray with penetrating oil a few days before the attempt. I think they contracted Hercules to tighten them at Ford. Either use coil spring compressors to shorten the springs for removal and installation or use a hi-lift jack to raise the frame up a bunch. The 820's are an improvement over the stock springs. I won't say that it rides like a newer Ford pickup, but it is much better. The 820's take off the biting thump that the stock springs provide when running over anything larger than an acorn. The variable rate MOOG® 820's are soft enough to absorb that bite, but they don't sag when you roll into a corner. I can say that I would recommend them especially for the price. I found them for $68 including shipping on Amazon. Plus $9.98 for a deep 1-1/8" socket still is a cheap install. They raised the front end up 1-5/8" but that was probably more due to tired front springs than the new springs being taller. I have a feeling installing the 818's with the 5.8L would arrive at the same ride height, but I don't know for sure. All in all I would recommend the investment if you enjoy retaining your dental fillings. No pictures...sorry." miesk5 Note; it is MOOG® CC820 Variable Rate Coil Spring and still available via AMAZON @ $73.52 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping as of OCT 2012; it fits 80-96 Bronco 5.0 & 5.8 w/o DUAL SHOCK OPTION; as well as many trucks & vans
Source: by scottmcwms (Scott) at FSB http://www.fullsizebronco.com/forum/...d.php?t=132713
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:02 PM   #9
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After unhooking the swaybar and the shocks, will the springs still come out with a vengence?
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:37 PM   #10
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nah.....put the frame on jackstands and let the suspension droop so there is no load on the springs.
and like others have said, try one shock per side first with your new springs (quad shocks were an option)and i think you'll like it a lot better
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alvin in AZ View Post
Find out what springs are on it now.
Are you sure they're original factory springs?
I have not had a chance to check the coilspring for the stickers, but i do have the original window sticker that says it has the trailer towing package. Would that be a stiffer coil spring to start with? It also still has the long ago, fallen apart, red airbags inside the springs with airhoses running to just under the hood. I'm pretty sure this is all stock because i bought the Bronco from it's original owner with 25,000 miles on it. I doubt he ever had it over the speed limit, or did any other modifications to it.

My door jamb labels says DSO springs - J4D. Not sure if this refers to the front coils or rear leafs.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:10 PM   #12
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I never heard of the airbag helpers in a stock Bronco. But I could be wrong. Maybe the PO had it modified. The single shock sounds like the eazy (and cheap) experiment. Let us know.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:12 PM   #13
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yo

Spring Codes in a 96
by FORD

The code set (two numbers, or several letters, or a number and letter) above COLOR identify the exterior paint color (two sets of codes designate a two-tone).
The digits under WB designate the wheelbase in inches.
The letter or digit under BRAKE TYPE designates the truck brake type.
The letters and/or numeral under BODY designate the interior trim, seat and body type.
The transmission installed in the vehicle is identified under TRANS by an alphabetical code.
A letter and a number or two numbers under AXLE identify the rear axle ratio.
The letters and/or numerals under TAPE designate the external body side tape stripe code.
The spring usage codes for the vehicle are identified under SPRING.
A two-digit number is stamped above DSO to identify the district that ordered the vehicle. If the vehicle is built to special order (Domestic Special Order, Foreign Special Order, Limited Production Option, or other special order), the complete order number will also appear above DSO.

miesk5 Note. the wheelbase in inches is shown in lower left block below
& Below;
District Special Order (DSO)

more on 1996 Bronco VEHICLE CERTIFICATION LABEL (VC LABEL) CODES

more on Springs @ http://fullsizebronco.com/forum/showthread.php?t=197975
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:13 PM   #14
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I never heard of the airbag helpers in a stock Bronco. But I could be wrong.
Could the local dealership where it was purchased, have maybe installed them?
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:43 PM   #15
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Could the local dealership where it was purchased, have maybe installed them?
Yo, I would say not bec most dealerships won't touch or install non-Ford parts; my local dealership never would ubtil it changed ownership & new Serv Mngr would install WIX filters instead of MC brand to save customers' $

Ford used to provide for FREE, a Build Sheet (Ford 999 Report) in letter format showing;
original build date, optional equipt., axle ratio, paint color, etc.;
Miesk5 Note on 30 AUG 2011 called Ford @ 1-800-392-3673 & Jeff said all have been transferred to Helms and this BS would now be provided by HELMS for a fee.

Helms charges $17.00 for a "Basic" Sheet and $48.00 for a "Deluxe" sheet. Helms is Ford's Official Publisher for Ford EVTMs, Owner Manuals, Wiring Diagrams, etc.
Basic Build Sheet Item# 39415 Vehicle build sheets are available for 1967 and newer cars and trucks up to F550 and 2002 and newer F650-750.

Using Ford Motor Company internal databases,
A basic build sheet will detail your vehicle's "as built" options: Model year •Manufacturing plant name and location; Body style; Build date; Engine size; Consecutive unit serial number; Transmission description; Rear axle ratio and description (locking or non-locking); Tire size; Exterior paint color and code; Interior trim color and code; Interior options; Any other option information available. You must enter in the VIN number of the vehicle you want a build sheet for on the next screen. Requests for vehicles older than 1990 may take up to 6 weeks. Price: $17.00;

Deluxe Build Sheet Item# 39416, Vehicle build sheets are available for 1967 and newer cars and trucks up to F550 and 2002 and newer F650-750. Using Ford Motor Company internal databases, each build sheet is personalized and drafted on Ford stationery signed by Ms. Elena Ford. These letters are a great addition to any car enthusiast's collection. In addition to the basic build sheet, the deluxe build sheet will include all available production figures. You must enter in the VIN number of the vehicle you want a build sheet for on the next screen. Requests for vehicles older than 1990 may take up to 6 weeks. Price: $46.00; Item is shipped from manufacturer and may take additional time for delivery. Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery."
Source: by Helms at shopfordgear.com
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:37 PM   #16
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Cool one, Miesk. :)
Quote:
Originally Posted by miesk5 View Post
yo
J4D looks like to me the same as "B" front springs in '91...
I'm guessing the softest since J springs are top of the list.

The towing package on mine didn't add stiffer springs but
did add an anti-sway bar at least in the back but it came
with one in the front too. Mine also came with some extra
wiring for trailer lights and brakes but not sure right now
what else.

Just not springs is all I'm pretty sure of since mine were
the softer springs too and it's got the full tow package.

The Reese hitch (I took off and gave away ;) part of the
tow package too?

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Old 12-01-2012, 08:46 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alvin in AZ View Post
J4D looks like to me the same as "B" front springs in '91...
I'm guessing the softest since J springs are top of the list.
Alvin in AZ
Wow.
I can't imagine the J springs being the softest. It's got a rock hard ride, and they haven't softened one bit in the last 85,000 miles.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:56 PM   #18
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Thanks Miesk. You always got a boatload of information.

I might just have to get me one of those build sheets.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:14 PM   #19
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or you could simply pull a shock and see what happens... just sayin'
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:28 PM   #20
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I will definately give that a try first.

It seems like alot of people suggest going with just one shock compared to two. Would the compression rate of the spring, or the fact that each side has two shocks, have the most influence in a smoother ride?
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