Removed the Chevy spring swap today... - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Suspension Tech General discussion of suspension for the Ford Ranger.

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Old 03-25-2007
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Removed the Chevy spring swap today...

When I first installed the F/S 2WD Chevy spring conversion, I was disappointed that the ride quality was not as good as I had expected from reading about it. At the time, I thought it might be because of the used RCD/Bilstein 5100 shocks that I had installed with the springs. Later, I changed over to Bilstein 7100 reservoir shocks, hoping for a noticeable improvement. The front suspension is very good but the rear continued to be on the harsh side even with the new shocks.

The 7100’s were custom valved to Bilstein’s recommendation for the Ranger application. Bilstein has a good knowledge base, so my assumption was that the shock valving should have been pretty close to “right” when delivered. I still didn’t know for sure if the spring swap or the shocks were causing the harsh ride but I was starting to lean toward blaming the spring swap - neither set of Bilsteins had performed very well with them.

Today, I had decent weather and the time to swap back to the stock LII C-code leaf springs. I really like the combination of the stock springs and the 7100's. The ride quality is way better over sharp-edged bumps and my truck doesn’t sit so high in the back. It looks better and street handling is noticeably improved. In all conditions, the rear suspension feels smoother and more balanced with the front.

I’m not knocking the Chevy spring swap – many people seem to have had good results with it. It just wasn’t the best solution for me.
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Old 03-25-2007
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I thought people put them on for lift.
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Old 03-25-2007
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yeah without the front lift im not sure they would be worth it either.

sounds like it is much better now anyway. i would think the high rake would effect how it handled too.

what are you doing with the stock chevy springs?
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Old 03-25-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zabeard
what are you doing with the stock chevy springs?
my thought exactly. im still lookin for a set....


glad to hear you founda combo that works for you bob
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Old 03-25-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roach2004
I thought people put them on for lift.
I heard lift/articulation/wheel travel. I raised the front end slightly and increased the wheel travel a little. I thought the Chevy springs would complement the front end changes but it didn't work out.
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Old 03-25-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gumby
im still lookin for a set....
Should cost under $100 a set at a local yard. These are way too large/heavy to ship.
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Old 03-25-2007
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I dont care for mine much either. The ride isint equal with the front and the rear axle isint perfectly center like it was with the stock leafs. I might take out the overload spring and see how it rides.
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Old 03-25-2007
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bob, if you are gonna get rid of them, im sure we can work sumthin out. plenty of guys in the MI and IN crews between us none of my local yards are u-pull, and the best of the bunch is an hr away anyhow.

mark, my rear wheels are pushed forward as it sits now. yours were centered stock? im lookin to use the chevy springs to help recenter the wheels, and eliminate the stock blocks.

edit, i bet yours were more centered with the SL than mine with the RCD becasue of the shackle.....
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Old 03-25-2007
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gumby i asked first! lol

plus i would come pick them up.

Mark just because they dont look center doesnt mean that they are not really center. if anything your bed needs adjusted to make it look center.

and check your wheel base its prolly right on target. the alignement guys would have told you if it was off.
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Old 03-25-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zabeard
gumby i asked first! lol

plus i would come pick them up.

Mark just because they dont look center doesnt mean that they are not really center. if anything your bed needs adjusted to make it look center.

and check your wheel base its prolly right on target. the alignement guys would have told you if it was off.

why do you need them? you got 3.5" chevys now
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Old 03-25-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zabeard
gumby i asked first! lol
bleh!

fine
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Old 03-25-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwenzing
I heard lift/articulation/wheel travel. I raised the front end slightly and increased the wheel travel a little. I thought the Chevy springs would complement the front end changes but it didn't work out.
could always inboard them, Im planning on swaping my chevys to directly under the rails should help out in that department.
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Old 03-25-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big04Ranger
why do you need them? you got 3.5" chevys now

because i know of a few people that want some. so i asked what bob was thinking about doing with them.

looks like he doesnt want to sell them
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Old 03-25-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gumby
mark, my rear wheels are pushed forward as it sits now. yours were centered stock? im lookin to use the chevy springs to help recenter the wheels, and eliminate the stock blocks.
The dimension from the front pivot to the center bolt on the stock Chevy springs is almost 7" longer than the Ranger. When you move the Ranger mount forward to reuse the two existing frame holes, that is around 6". The net effect is that the Chevy springs move the axle back roughly 3/4". The tires were noticeably closer to the rear of the flare than the front on my Styleside. Repositiong the bed couldn't come close to making up the difference.
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Old 03-25-2007
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if anything looks like its forward some on our trucks, but it does not really matter to me.


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Old 03-25-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01xltranger4x4
I might take out the overload spring and see how it rides.
Don't bother. It doesn't change anything unless there is a heavy load in the box. I suspected as much but I tried it anyway.
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Old 03-25-2007
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Well i have the ProComp lift springs, the overload spring is almost 1" thick!

And im not talking about the wheel/tire being centered in the wheel-well (which it IS centered in the wheel well perfect), im talking about the REAR AXLE. It isint aligned with the front. It's the leafs that is causing this, one is longer than the other. Just shoddy work whoever made them.
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Old 03-26-2007
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Mark my Skyjackers when 1st installed i thought my axle was foward........it isn't.......i measured wheelbase a week or so ago and it was right on.....

as far as the stock Chevy springs, wouldn't if you removed the stock block, wouldn't the truck be level or close to what it was without the Chevy springs.?
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Old 03-26-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifted97ranger
Mark my Skyjackers when 1st installed i thought my axle was foward........it isn't.......i measured wheelbase a week or so ago and it was right on.....

as far as the stock Chevy springs, wouldn't if you removed the stock block, wouldn't the truck be level or close to what it was without the Chevy springs.?

yes it would be because that is what we did on Evans.
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Old 03-26-2007
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that is what i thought...
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Old 03-26-2007
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If STOCK 88~98 Chevy springs are installed on a 2003 Ranger AND the forward leaf hanger is moved to reuse 2 of the original holes, then the axle does move backwards. I know because I measured it. As I see it, that's the problem with the swap. It almost fits and it almost works.
  • Axle location: Obviously, the Chevy springs were not designed to fit a Ranger and they don’t. As I said before, the tire doesn’t sit in the center of the wheel opening. The front portion of the Chevy spring is almost 7” longer but the mounts get moved about 6” forward to reuse 2 of the existing holes that go through the frame and get anchored to the crossmember. The net result is that the axle gets moved back about ¾”. This could increase the possibility of tire interference issues with oversized tires and/or different wheel offset. My stock 31’s on stock offset wheels cleared OK.

  • Shackle angle: The rear portion of the Chevy spring is longer than the Ranger’s from the center bolt to the shackle bolt. This is in addition to the extra length of the front half on the modified mounts. The added length pushes the leaf/shackle pivot back about 1 1/2" from the stock location, forcing the shackle to sit at an extreme angle. I suspect that this was at least part of the problem with the ride quality. Using longer Beltech 6400 shackles would improve the angle somewhat but I didn't want to add even more lift to the back of the truck.

  • Load path: The relocated forward hanger no longer feeds the suspension load into the frame properly. One end still bolts through the frame to the crossmember but the other is bolted to the unsupported frame rail. And it shows. Drive across diagonal bumps and you can feel flexing in the frame/springs/hanger that isn’t there with the stock suspension and mount location.

  • Spring Rate: A higher spring rate is to be expected since the F/S Chevy springs came from a heavier truck with a longer wheelbase and a higher payload rating. However, the spring rate is too high for my purposes. It may be good for higher speed off road stuff but it doesn’t make it for a daily driver or casual trail use.

    My truck clearly wasn't using enough of the available travel. The 7100 shocks were delivered with free moving O-rings on the shafts that act as a gauge. Slide them up to the shock body, drive it, then check their new position on the shaft. Over a period of months, the O-rings showed that only about half of the available shock travel was being used, even off road or with the max recommended load in the bed.


Now, let me say it again. These comments are for STOCK 96 Chevy 2WD C1500 leafs on a STOCK 2003 Ranger 4x4 with STOCK shackles and relocated front mounts. A different combination of truck and aftermarket parts may yield different results.
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Old 03-26-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifted97ranger
Mark my Skyjackers when 1st installed i thought my axle was foward........it isn't.......i measured wheelbase a week or so ago and it was right on.....

as far as the stock Chevy springs, wouldn't if you removed the stock block, wouldn't the truck be level or close to what it was without the Chevy springs.?
If thats the case the your springs must of moved the rear axle back just like the chevy leafs.

Im talking my springs made my axle off center...So, before with the stock springs, my steering wheel was straight on a flat straight road.

Now with the chevy springs on a flat straight road, my steering wheel is slightly cocked to the right to go in a straight line. The truck is 2-Tracking to go straight...
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Old 03-26-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01xltranger4x4
If thats the case the your springs must of moved the rear axle back just like the chevy leafs.

Im talking my springs made my axle off center...So, before with the stock springs, my steering wheel was straight on a flat straight road.

Now with the chevy springs on a flat straight road, my steering wheel is slightly cocked to the right to go in a straight line. The truck is 2-Tracking to go straight...

yours has the same dang problem as mine then. mine does not show in the steering wheel but does when im trying to install the axle. ill figure out how to fix it once school is out.
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Old 03-26-2007
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mark, do you have chevy shackles too(like beard)?

i have a suspicion that the improper fitment of the chevy shackle in the ranger hanger may lead to the issue yous are havin with off center rear axles, but i havent confirmed this yet.
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Old 03-26-2007
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he has the same setup as myself. how would it matter with the shackle?
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