new leaf springs vs. shackle flip

Discussion in 'Lifted & Offroad Suspension' started by reggiecab2000, May 8, 2013.

  1. reggiecab2000

    reggiecab2000 Member

    alright guys heres my dilemma...
    my rear leafs are in need of replacing, been noticing for some time that they have been sagging, theyre pretty flat right now.
    I have the OEM 2/1 leaf pack which is rated around 1500 lbs per side.
    Now on top of that I do have 3" rear blocks that I would like to rid myself of, just not a fan of the blocks and never have been.
    so basically im looking to solve 2 problems...

    To do this I have 2 main options I am looking at and other options that can be pieced together.

    Option 1: (~$300.00)
    ___order a set of 2500 leaf springs (4/1 leaf pack) rated at 2025 lbs per side, which would provide between 2-3" of lift.
    ______pros: remove blocks, same stance (ballpark), increased load capacity (if needed)
    ______cons: rough ride when empty...(I would like input on how rough it is, if i chose this option, because, frankly, I'm driving a truck, its not like I expect a smooth ride anyway...)

    Option 2: (~$200.00 + ~$200.00 for 1500 (2/1 leaf pack) replacement leaf springs)
    ___order offroaddesigns shackle flip kit
    ______pros: kit provides 4" of lift, flips the leaf spring shackle, remove blocks, removes tension shackle converts it to compression shackle
    ______cons: labor of removing riveted OEM shackles (fun work?!), must buy this and OEM replacement leaf springs because with lift it provides it still doesnt fix my sagging springs

    id rather stay away from an add-a-leaf.
    obviously i cant do both of these options because it would provide too much lift...(i.e. 2500 leafs + shackle flip)
    just wondering some input on this topic, thanks guys!
    Last edited: May 8, 2013
  2. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member

    Option 3 -- Aftermarket leafs that provide lift you need/want -- maybe some skyjackers? Just throwing the idea out there. Probably 5-6 Franklins assuming you do your own work...
  3. Tachyon

    Tachyon New Member

    Last edited: May 9, 2013
  4. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member

    I would go with the 2500 springs OR go to a spring shop and have a set custom made. There are still a few shops around me that do that kind of work. I don't know how the price would compare to the 2500 spring price.
  5. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member

    @Pikey, why would you go that path? You mention that you would but you don't underscore the rationale behind it. Is it purely a cost/labor decision without any concern for the ride quality? Is it a matter of trying to stay OEM? Or something else?

    I'm asking (and active in this thread) because I, myself, have been considering spring replacements -- specifically to get rid of my rear blocks (I have nothing wrong at this time). However, I care greatly about ride quality and 200-300 dollars one way or another isn't going to break me. I also don't care about staying OEM. Thus, I am interested in the reasoning people use when they make recommendations such as yours ... and am just as interested in reason behind the direction @reggiecab2000 ultimately takes, as well. That info may influence my own approach, if I choose to go down this path.

    Educate us, please!
  6. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member

    I would go with the 2500 springs as a cost saving measure. If he wants to eliminate the rear blocks and not do the shackle flip then that or new "custom built" springs would be the route I would take. I have seen some issues with shack flips, such as pinion angles (I know.. There will now be a group of guys posting saying that they have done it with no problems) Personally, I would prefer to keep the shackles in the stock position. I don't like the though of adding something that long, due to increases in the bending moment of the shackle and the new bracket. (not sure about moment increase for the shackle as the shackle remains the same length, but angles may change the internal forces, I don't have a leaf spring truck to look at, measure and do analysis) In my opinion, the shackle and it's material were not designed or tested to be in compression, they were designed for tension. As you know @SurrealOne, different materials have different tensile and compression properties, Maybe there would have been ribs added in different places or a different material used if the intent was to use it for compression. I would rather worry about the decrease in the shear capability of the longer u-bolts when used with the rear lift block. It has been some time since I have dealt with one of my local spring shops, but I have seen them build leaf springs that have the arch wanted for the desired ride height. A good shop can use specific thickness or material of leafs, giving you the height you want and the ride you want. If I were doing it I would visit a spring shop and talk to them. The price may be comparable to the 2500 leafs and you could still maintain the ride you want.
  7. reggiecab2000

    reggiecab2000 Member

    I have been researching the poop out of that actually and still seem under-educated....
    I would rather do that shackle flip because it would kind make me want to take the bed off my truck again but i would completely undercoat the whole thing if i had the chance or at least eliminate all the rust, then paint my whole rear end along with the shackle flip...
    but.... i keep seeing threads saying the shackle flip is perfect and doesnt hurt any pinion angles then an occasional thread saying to beware of pinion angle shifting and tension vs. compression vs OE design, and I HAVE NO IDEA! there seems to be ALOT of speculation and/or mixed reviews and perhaps that means that until further education or professional opinion is rendered it might not be the best path to choose considering all the variables listed.

    I found out I do have a local spring shop here and gave them a call earlier today about a 3" lift leaf spring, the guy took my information and said he would call me back....... which never happened... I guess i will try back on monday and see if My business seems like more of a concern to them....

    my main purpose of this is to solve the dead leafs I have now AND to eliminate my 3" fabtech blocks... lower price is always nice but functionality is key as well as not driving like a cement truck as some have said with 2500 springs on a 1500.... IF i get a "reasonable" estimate on custom leaf springs (i.e. less than $400.00, I am very inclined to choose that route)
  8. reggiecab2000

    reggiecab2000 Member

    called the local shop again... they said they could add three inches to my leaf, and what they would do is reuse my current leaf springs, add-a-leaf to them, and re-arch them to make it a 3" lift and he quoted me $650.00 out the door... at that price i might as well buy a set of deavers and call it done....

    now i believe I may be inclined to to an add-a-leaf route but most only seem to add between 1 to 2 inches, how could I add 3 inches? and how do those affect rise quality?

    the shackle flip is pretty much out of my mind now, as cool as it sounds, theres just too much to worry about, even though it is the cheapest route.
  9. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member

    I was just in touch with Deaver. Since others may read this (and [MENTION=44531]Sierraowner5.3[/MENTION] should, as well, since he wanted to know what I learned):

    • The listing on Deaver's website showing 2WD is a misprint and should say 2WD/4Wd, as their springs are designed to work on both.
    • Deaver spring pricing on the website is for a pair of springs, not just one.
    • Deaver U-bolt pricing is for a complete kit of 4 u bolts with nuts and washers.
    • Deaver uses use only American-made 5160 spring steel.
    • Deaver leafs are a full progressive design 10 leaf assembly with diamond cut ends ... with inserts on the ends of the leafs.
    • Deaver springs come with urethane bushings, but OEM steel encased rubber bushings can be used if requested.
  10. reggiecab2000

    reggiecab2000 Member

    thanks for that info surreal!

    well actually... once again my mind has changed...

    if you check out this link it actually lists 4 different options for leaf springs on 1999-2012 silverado 1500/2500/3500

    ill sum it up real quick....

    4 options for leaf spring packs:

    1500 O.E. replacement

    ____1. 3 leaves (2/1 leaf pack) 1500 lbs capacity

    2500 O.E. replacement

    ____2. 5 leaves (4/1 leaf pack) 2025 lbs capacity

    ‚Äč2500/3500 O.E. replacement

    ____3. 6 leaves (5/1 leaf pack) 2235 lbs capacity

    ____4. 8 leaves (7/1 leaf pack) 3300 lbs capacity

    now found another website, who sells the same sets and also has an amazon store that offers free shipping...
    I have elected to purchase the 4/1 leaf pack, seeing that although it has two more leaves, the actual spring capacity is 1000 lbs more (total from both sides), which shouldnt convert driving a half ton truck into driving a cement truck....

    the total to purchase two leaf springs and have them shipped to my door is $319.90. which i think is a great price for brand new leaf springs. sure i will probably get a LITTLE bit of a stiffer ride from these springs, but the fact that they are stiffer will also reduce more body roll, minimalize axle wrap, and allow me to get rid of my 3" blocks, since these 2500 springs provide 2-3" of lift when used on a 1500. whenever i hit the order button, I will let yall know, and of course will update when i get the chance to install them, and comment on the ride quality change as well, and the whole nine yards.

    Im sure some people might issues some caveats on this decision, I am open to all commentary.
  11. RAV52202

    RAV52202 New Member

    I had add a leafs on my 2002 1500 and I didnt like them. They did give me a 3 inch lift. I did a before and after measurement. The truck road rough.
  12. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member

    [MENTION=36460]reggiecab2000[/MENTION], looks like 5160 steel, so no issues, there. What kind of bushings do they include? At that pricepoint I suspect rubber?

    Also consider that a higher count of thinner leafs allows for more even compression along the curve -- which improves ride quality over that of fewer leafs made of thicker material. i.e. There's more to the equation than just number of leafs and capacity; their thickness and count play together to determine capacity and ride quality.

    I like the offering you've put forth. I doubt I'll personally go that route as I'm willing to spend the few hundred extra to get a good ride -- knowing that the ride comfort that was purchased will be enjoyed for years to come.
  13. reggiecab2000

    reggiecab2000 Member

    same here, im assuming rubber bushings, which ill gladly replace with polys myself...
    and as for deavers.... WOW, ive always known of them, but i just cant justify $750.00 + shipping for a set of leaves, though they may be superior. one day once im rich and happily settled into my career, deavers will be in my view LOL
  14. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member

    They're stupidly spendy. However, there are some keys to the expense that aren't readily apparent unless you do all of your homework.

    • For starters, they come with urethane bushings. That's 50-90 clams (plus shipping) depending on who makes them, their quality level, and where you buy them ... to add, yourself. @tbplus10 was pretty adamanent when discussing springs and bushings with him that poly bushings would be preferable for overall handling and longevity, as they are firmer and do not biodegrade like rubber does. There is some ride quality sacrificed with them since they're firmer ... something I hope to more than make up for with a solid spring choice (so that I gain bushing durability, handling, AND ride quality ... i.e. total net improvement).
    • Then the Deavers have anti-friction pads between the leafs (translation: teflon) to reduce wear as well as noise (translation: squeaking that occurs once dirt gets in there). You can't buy and add that, to leafs... but it's got a cost to it ... and a return/value. (I've got a squeaky driver's side leaf, right now, and it drives me batty....)
    • Probably most significant is the full military wrap. @aloxdaddy99 who knows a thing or two about trucks suggested that whatever springs I go with have this feature. So I dug into why -- and learned that it's a failsafe where both the main and second springs wrap around the bushings so that if you break your main you can still drive on the secondary. For day-to-day driving no big deal, right, but the day you break your main spring it's now priceless, because you can get home or to a shop, etc. Since I'm off-road a fair bit (now more than ever, actually), this matters quite a bit to me.

    It was Alox who pointed me in Deavers' direction. I'm not 100% sold on them ... but I also can't find anything else that's as feature-packed and proven for the money. I'm still very open to alternatives that match of exceed everything that Deavers offer ... at a lower price point than Deavers.

    Once I settle on something I'll then begin the hunt on where to buy cheaply. If it ends up being Deavers then there's got to be a way to get shipping waived. I mean, heck, Summit just had free shipping on Skyjackers. There's got to be a deal to be had out there which shaves cost. In this economy it may be as simple as some calls to get vendors to compete for the business. They may not be able to adjust pricing due to price protection restrictions placed by Deaver, for example, but I bet they can work on the shipping.
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
  15. reggiecab2000

    reggiecab2000 Member

    well in your case and having that extra money, I would make the same decision as you, but with my budget and from what i have read, im hoping to not lose TOO much ride quality with my decision, and if I do, its still my first truck, so everything i have ever done right and wrong to it will only help me make the best decisions for my next truck. but at the same time i weighed my pros with the stiffer springs which should balance eachother out for the most part.
    I mean my truck really does not ride all that smooth to begin with even though ive got bilsteins all around, i think its just the fact that its a short bed single cab, though my friend has the same but a 2009 model year, and it is smooth as can be...
    I can concur with you about everything you weigh in favor of deaver springs, because they have been around for some time and know what constitutes a good quality spring with a good quality ride.
  16. Conlan Rose

    Conlan Rose Super Moderator

    Even tho I don't care about lifting my truck and such; I do still question about places to buy replacement springs.

    But I do have a major question.... Why did GM switch from 5 leaf packs in the late 90's to 2-3 leaf packs in the 2000's. In my mind having 5 leafs to hold weight and handle roll is much better than 2-3.
  17. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ive got Deavers on the back of my Tacoma, one big reason I didnt mention them to you is because if your looking for a comfortable ride they tend to be somewhat firmer than a factory ride, and the cost is a bit more than other replacement springs, But as you pointed out for the money you get a lot of features. One good thing I found about Deevers is their warranty, I bought mine used from a friend that rolled/totaled his truck with around 1500 miles on the springs, 2 yrs/3k miles later I had the main leaf on the right side crack through, while on a very remote and rough trail, while on the trail a decision was made to patch thelraf, unfortunately while doing the patch/weld with the crude tools we had the second leaf was damaged also. I figured it was a case of you damaged/broke it you bought as far as warranty. A few weeks later while another friend was getting a warranty replacement set of springs with Deever he mentioned my recent experience, the Deever associate got my info from him and contacted me about warranty, which they completely covered no questions asked about my damage from sloppy repair. But again the ride is much stiffer with the Deevers, if the truck was a daily driver I dont think I'd keep these springs on it. Another place for heavy springs with a quality build is Alcan, but again a very stiff ride.
  18. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member

    That's some interesting anecdotal information, as it's counter to what I've been reading about Deavers. Most people have said they're not terribly stiff, at all, ride-wise, unless there's a problem with the shackle angle (which would be an install issue, I believe).

    Also I've read there may be load concerns because apparently the spring rate is LOWER than the stock spring. Supposedly they squat badly when towing or hauling something above 4000-50000 lbs. What's your towing experience been like (and what were you towing) on Deavers?

    And by the way, I've scoped National, Alcan, and Atlas in addition to Deaver. Only one stood out clearly above the others for my application/use. If I had some kind of monster lifted machine I'd go with Atlas. If I had a rock crawler it'd probably be Alcan. National I couldn't really pin down as to where/when folks use them ... but they're the other tried/true spring maker, having been around since 1947.
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
  19. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Super Moderator Staff Member

    National makes springs for big trucks mostly, guys doing monster truck builds with oversized axles use them a lot.
    The Deevers on my truck are Chevy sixty three inch, they were rated for a 3400lb std cab shrt bed truck, my x-cab weighs in at 3950 loaded for the trail, standing still I have negative angle on the shackles with a driver on board it goes to 1.5/2.0 deg which is where I located the shackle mount to sit. Ive even tried Revolver shackles with a 4 deg angle to work the arch a little but it doesnt improve much.
    When towing a 3600 lb boat with 550lb tongue weight I get about a 3" sag, 4.5" with the Revolvers on without a driver/passenger Ive moved enough equipment around to get a 55 front 45 rear weight bias, on the good side the stiffness of the spring keeps the wheels firmly planted for good traction, I recently added a RAS to the springs to stop wheel hop and get rid of the sag.

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