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Discussion Starter #1
OK. I've read enough and consulted with Keith L. lots so heres the plan: I want big meats without being a skyjacker. This obviously means going up into the sheet metal and that's not a problem for me. When I was looking through Keith's pics at his SF site I kept noticing that as his leafs were setup that 37's and maybe 38's were the threshold on how big you could go. I liked the flex that Keith got, the simplicity of the idea (I always try to follow the KISS principle), and the general strength of leafs (no trac bars or radius arms to set up and break on the trail. After many discussions I've decided that I'm going to try and cut the frame between the steering box and the cab and extend it about 9 inches. I like the idea because it will keep the steering box in alignment with where I want the axle. The only obstacles that I can think of in my mind is that I'll have to grind the rivits out of the front body mounts and relocate them once I extend the frame, longer PS hoses (I've already got a saginaw ready to go in), and I'll have to modify/buy a steering column. I may have to cut and relocate the turn signals as well but in my mind that is a minor issue that I'll aproach when the time comes. My theory here is if I can go forward enough with the frame I'll be able to move the leafs forward to clear the cab under flex with 44" tires. Now I'm hoping that it won't flex so much as to rub the hood. If that happens I guess I'll be stuck with having to install some bumpstops :( . That's the idea for my D60 swap. Let the flamage begin. lol. BTW: I'd apreciate any help/ideas you guys have. NORM
 

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FSB's Resident A$$HOLE
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sounds like a good plan to me, but is this a DD? if it is then i wouldnt want to do this cause of reliablity and streetability issues. but it sounds good in theory!

wes
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This is my wheel only machine man. The only street time it sees anymore is when I'm going to or coming from camping. :)
 

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Keith and I were talking about this a bit, and I'd seriously suggest that you run coils. Leaves aren't as bulletproof or as "easy" as it might seem initially. If you're serious about leaves, you'd be best off to get a custom set made that will flex well, be durable in the long term, and will let you put your center pin wherever you want it. That would save you from a HUGE amount of work lengthening the frame.

The easier (and likely cheaper) solution is just to run coils. It's simple to put the axle wherever you want it, you can control tire motion through the design of the links, and ride height is easily and simply adjusted.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Lengthening the frame would also allow me to move the motor forward some and help create more space for the doubler which will come in time. Who is a good company to talk about custom leafs?
 

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so now the leaf spring guys are suggesting coils????


why would anybody want coil springs when leaves are so cheap/easy/bulletproof/work-so-well????


:shrug :shrug :shrug

I just don't get it....I've been listening to the experts like Keith L and was convinced leaf was the way to go, but now I'm not sure what to do????























:lowblow
 

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Hell no... Keith would never suggest it. Leaves are definitely cheaper if you can use the stock parts, and you don't mind not having much control over ride height.

But their motion does force the tire back into the fender (and the firewall) no matter what you do. That really makes it difficult to run anything in the 37-38" range without regularly getting into the sheetmetal.

Look at it this way -- I pushed my front axle forward 2" or more, and I'm still putting a 35" into the rear edge of the fender. *And* my fenders are cut.

It just seems that coils would be a whole lot easier to work with in this situation... unless you wanted to start hacking open the bottom of the cowl to make more room for tires.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Your right it probably would be easier but I don't think it will be cheaper and cost is everything in this project. I know that the D60, lockers, gears, ect isn't going to be cheap but I want to add as little on top of it as possible. It is quite possible that I'll be at this for 2 years (God I hope not :cry ) Extending the frame is the solution I came up with because it will allow me to maintain the stock steering alignment, allow the tires to clear the firewall, allow me to move the motor forward allowing space for the doubler, and most importantly allow me to do it while utilizing Keith's leaf setup. Believe me before Keith mentioned lengthening the frame in this manner I was bummed and thinking I'd have to stick with 37's. Who knows reality may hit at any moment and I'll realize it won't work the way I hoped and it'll be back to the drawing board as they say. Just so you know as of right now I plan on adding 9" to the frame up front if you happened to miss that part. Take Care and thanx for the response. NORM
 

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"Space for the doubler"

The 203/205 doubler is nearly THE SAME LENGTH as the BW cases. At most, it's 1.5" longer. You're running a 14b, so you just gained another 3" of driveline length over a 10.25. NOTHING to worry about there. Move the rear axle back by two inches, and you're longer than stock.


If you have the fab skills to lengthen the truck by 9" (why that number, anyway?), then you should be able to build your own links, no problem. The last remaining detail is the cost of the springs.... and I really don't see that being any different for an aftermarket coil vs. a custom leaf.

Are you not planning on running front fenders? How are you going to support the hood and radiator?
 

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Just to clarify...

Leaves are cheap and easy, yes. It's what I'm running, and I have probably less than $100 tied up in the entire thing, including the cost of new bushings.

But there's a limit to how far they'll go for the amount of labor and money invested. It just seems like somehow the idea that "leaves = cheap" recently got misconstrued as "leaves = better". It's the only explanation I can come to for why several projects have invested tons of time and energy into getting leaves under the fronts of their rigs.

When you start talking about sectioning the frame *just* to run leaves, I have to ask why. It just doesn't seem like there's any kind of efficiency there. You could just as easily chop the frame at the first cab mount and tube the front clip.
 

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I am just curious why you all say leaves are cheaper, excepting that you are running stock, junkyard springs. Coils arent that expensive, everything else can be had at ayard for cheap and then you just have to worry about fabbing a track bar mount (not hard if you can weld and cut metal) and buy/pull steering and a trackbar.
the high costs of coil stuff is when you do custom DOM steering/trackbars. Otherwise, much off the ttb stuff can be reused. I would be curious to see a barbones cost comparison based on junkyard parts and new coils.
 

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plug ugly said:
I am just curious why you all say leaves are cheaper, excepting that you are running stock, junkyard springs.
Exactly. I walked out with an armload of stuff on a Sat morning (a york, couple of springs, bunch of shackles, turn signal harness... etc) for $50. A couple more bucks for some new bushings, and that was it. Done.

How much for a pair of Fabtech coils? Then you still need radius arms and wedges, and stock arms suck, so you'd want to do something about that... either lengthen them or buy/build new ones... course that's going to cost a little bit of $$.... and you could use the stock buckets, but we're talking about putting the axle wherever you want, so figure a couple bucks more for some new buckets... and...

What TTB stuff are you reusing on a D60, anyway? Steering links?
 

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What would everyone suggest if you don't know how to weld? I seem to be one of a limited number of people that does not know how to weld and does not have a friend that welds.

From what I had read from Keith and others swaps was that leaves was more of a bolt on deal than coils. The only welding needed was for the frame horns but I could have that done at a local shop then drive home and bold everything together.

All the coil swaps that I have read up on people are always welding all sort of stuff in place to get the truck rolling, which isn't an option for me.

I can do just about anything but welding is a skill I have not yet had a chance to pick up. As soon as I can spare the money I will get a welder and learn but until then what can I do?

Tim
 

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tim330i said:
From what I had read from Keith and others swaps was that leaves was more of a bolt on deal than coils.
That's the other huge advantage. If you do the swap with 100% F350 parts (using the A-frame shackles and all), it's a bolt-in swap. If you want to do the shackle reversal, you can take it someplace to have the front hangers built, then do the swap on a weekend.

You can swap a coil suspension in a weekend, but it's going to take a lot more manhours and probably a good bit of welding and fab on the fly to get things to work.
 

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seboh said:

You can swap a coil suspension in a weekend, but it's going to take a lot more manhours and probably a good bit of welding and fab on the fly to get things to work.
If im not mistaken, Dustin spent a full weekend swapping in his 44...And then spent the next 2 or 3 weeks trying to get all the kinks worked out, and parts fabbed up.

I dont know much about the whole Leaf swap, But looking at the options....A direct 350 swap is easiest....But easiest isnt always best. You can get the flex you want from a leaf setup, But, I dont see it possible with a set of junkyard springs. Custom Arched springs, maybe...But then you are getting into some dough.

Another question..

What kind of terrain are you planning on running that 44's would be necessary? Im willing to bet that 39's or 42's would be more then enough meat to get done what you want.......
 

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plug ugly said:
I am just curious why you all say leaves are cheaper, excepting that you are running stock, junkyard springs. Coils arent that expensive, everything else can be had at ayard for cheap and then you just have to worry about fabbing
Excluding the cost of the axle or axle internals, my costs:

front leafs and rear hangers for the front springs: $50
front hangers for the front springs: $30
U-bolts, $40
shackles: came with some spare rear spring packs I already had
boxing the front framehorns: free

Gee, that's it LOL. I'd throw "misc hardware" in there but either swap is gonna require some new bolts here and there
 

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Drilim said:
But, I dont see it possible with a set of junkyard springs.
No, no... the factory ones travel just fine. Keith's and Nathan's both work *very* well... mine compresses pretty well, but doesn't have as much droop as I'd like.

But I'm still maxing a 12" shock.

Oh, and when I say, "In a weekend", I mean you drove it home on Friday and to work at 730 Monday.

Spending the next two weeks fabbing != "in a weekend" ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I plan on using stock leafs. I came up with stretching the frame 9" because it looks like it almost rubs with 37's and I want to build for the biggest tire I might buy which is a 46" Baja claw. I don't have any experience bending tube so I'm going to keep my stock frame up front. I plan on making a template out of at least 1/4" steelwith 6 holes 3 on each side kind of in a triangle pattern. I'll put the template up into the frame (from the engine side) drill the first hole bolt it down to hold it snug and then proceed with the other 5) I'll give my self enough space in the template to cut the frame down between the two middle holes. I'll use the same template to make the pieces that are going to extend the frame. I'll make sure that there is 9" separating the middle holes. Since their is a chance of small missalignment I'm thinking I'll attatch the 70's hangers up front and then add a crossmember accross securing the two sections. Similar to what Swamp Donkey did. With the two front frame sections being secured all together it should ensure that everything stays as it should. The template should work by itself but this way I have even more insurance that I won't screw it up. once it's all bolted together then I'll box the frame and reinstall the engine crossmember wherever I feel like at the time. lol (Still got to think about that one.) :D I'm not expecting on this to be a weekend swap. If I'm lucky I'll be done with the axle section by spring. :) NORM
 
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