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Author Topic: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension  (Read 94634 times)

Offline Clubbs

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Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« on: March 01, 2008, 09:10:29 PM »
So far the monster rear has been great, and the stock chevy springs are really soft.  My front suspension is stock with an add a leaf so it has lots to be desired.  I'm about to order 6" lift springs for the front, but is there a better way to lift the front than with skyjacker softride Dodge springs?  I think Chevy used longer springs in front but maybe by 2 inches or so.  I suppose this would be doable but there would be a substantial amount of load placed on the new hangers since they would be shifted fwd where there really isn't anything to mount to.  I know I could 5 link it but my plan for that was to use the parts off the d44 out of my 97 and do my own long arm setup, but I haven't sourced a good d60 to put in the 97 yet.  So what is the best way to lift the front of a RC with leaf springs.

Thanks
Dave

Offline Bill Cooke

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Re: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2008, 11:07:14 AM »
If you want to see what Skyjacker 6" front and the monster rear looks like check this out

http://www.offroadexchange.com/index.php?option=com_hotornot2&Itemid=32

He just finished putting this together and ramped it to check everything out. This stuff isn't even broken in yet.

Short of coils and links you can't do much better, easily anyways. Chevy fronts are the same length. People use Dodge rears up front, turned around with the short side in back. Then you move the front hangers forward about 3". That gives you asymetrical spring up front for better driveshaft angles but you also get some crazy castor changes as you drive too. That's not good. Stick with teh Skyjackers unless you want to link it.

You can run a radius arm suspension too. Those are easier and cheaper to build. If you run the chassis mounts on the trans crossmember as close together as possible with the axle mounts as wide as possible (while still getting full steering) you get a ton of flex without much binding.  USe Skyjacker 7" Ram coils up front and some good shocks and you're set. It's all fab work but there are so many places that sell tabs and mounts now it's not that bad anymore.

Just a thought...... ::)

BC


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Offline Clubbs

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Re: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2008, 12:26:25 PM »
Sounds good.   I got the rear done last night, my brake line is TIGHT and the stock driveshaft needs to be lengthened.  I plan on using a front driveshaft out of a late 70's K5 with a 208 T-case, I'll have to rob the d44 yoke of the axle too though, but that should be pretty cheap from the junk yard.  I'll get the skyjacker springs ordered tonight.

Those pics I assume he cut the rear fenders to stuff that 39 Bogger in there right??  Got any profile pics of that truck so I can see the fender trim better.  My 33X12.50's BFG AT's look tiny now... I'm looking for some 38's to run until the axles go KAWBLEWY...then its either 3/4 ton's or rocks... I can get a set of rocks pretty cheap from a military salvage yard close by so that is tempting.

Thanks
Dave

Offline Bill Cooke

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Re: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2008, 05:16:07 PM »
Here's a link to the build thread he did on RCC. Yes, I'm still giving him crap about doing it over there rather than here.
http://ramchargercentral.com/boards/index.php?topic=100661.0

You will need a new Skyjacker rear brakeline too. Rmemeber, you have 10"+ of droop now! Don't let that line be your weak link!

I don't think GM ever made that combo.... The D44 was last used by GM in '77. The 208 didn't appear until '80. A mid 80's shaft should work but not sure. The correct yoke is easily available for the axle but you can get a U joint that will work with both the outside clip GM and inside clip Dodge stuff. I have seen it but do not have a part number. If you have a Napa around you try them. Those guys seem to know more than most. I think it's a Jeep joint but could be wrong.

Post some pics when you get the front in!

BC



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Offline Clubbs

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Re: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2008, 09:56:04 PM »
I just ordered the springs, bushings, and shocks.  I didn't do the brake lines because I can have a hydraulic shop in town do them for alot less. 

So Bill, I was going over the tech articles and I have enough 3/8th inch steel laying around (I think its enough anyway) to do the front shackles.  Are they the same dimensions as stock or do they change the caster angle slightly (SCARY). 

Also will I have to replace the studs on the front axle spring perch or can I use the original studs??

Thanks
Dave

Offline Bill Cooke

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Re: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2008, 11:22:28 AM »
Actually the shackles on that truck are about 2"+ longer than stock. The frame was boxed, the pivot was moved up and forward and a new front hanger was used that drops the front 1". That optimises the travel of everything. If you do not move any suspension points go with a shackle that is based on these plans (http://www.offroadexchange.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18&Itemid=36). They work great and give just enough extra movement to make a world of difference.

BC
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Offline Clubbs

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One spring came in today (the other is in route), but it has a shim on the bottom...I wasn't expecting this.  Isn't this going to change the caster angle and make for scary handling??  They are skyjacker part number SJA-D600S.  Anyone else have a shim on their front 6" skyjacker softride springs?  How did it effect caster angle and handling?  I suppose I could build longer shackles to "level" the axle back out.  Let me know because I'd really like to put these things in this weekend.

Thanks in advance
Dave

Offline Bill Cooke

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Re: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2008, 10:02:13 PM »
That is normal. Caster is a funny thing. What is correct really depends on ALL factors. When you change things the needs change. Smaller tires have less gyro force and require more caster. When you go to 35" tires and up you have to start backing caster out of it to make it handle right. There is also the balance of correct caster vs driveshaft angle. It's better to have less caster than a driveshaft that won't spin. Skyjacker spent a lot of time getting it right so don't worry, they are correct.

And don't even get me start on Ackerman Angle! hehe

Bill Cooke
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Offline Clubbs

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Re: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2008, 07:19:46 PM »
sounds good thanks Bill...

I started work under the front, but didn't get real far.  I have an oil leak at the back of the intake manifold that leaks pretty consistant, I plan to fix it this week after the lift.  But I noticed today that the oil that makes it way to the bottom of the bell housing was mixed with WATER and looked milky.  I checked the oil on the stick and it wasn't high and no signs of water so I started it up and let it run for a few minutes and checked again...still no sign of water on the stick.  I'm hoping its rain water running off the back of the hood and mixing with the oil leak reisdue that I'm seeing, but its been in the garage for a couple weeks now, but if the oil mixes with water then the water doesn't evaporate as fast...I hope.  Not sure how to confirm this other than fix the oil leak and keep checking the dip stick for signs of water.

Dave

Offline Sten

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Re: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2008, 03:49:16 AM »
... I have an oil leak at the back of the intake manifold that leaks pretty consistant, I plan to fix it this week after the lift.  But I noticed today that the oil that makes it way to the bottom of the bell housing was mixed with WATER and looked milky.  I checked the oil on the stick and it wasn't high and no signs of water so I started it up and let it run for a few minutes and checked again...still no sign of water on the stick.  I'm hoping its rain water running off the back of the hood and mixing with the oil leak reisdue that I'm seeing, but its been in the garage for a couple weeks now, but if the oil mixes with water then the water doesn't evaporate as fast...I hope.  Not sure how to confirm this other than fix the oil leak and keep checking the dip stick for signs of water.

Dave

I had the issue on my RC when bought it. I did think It had been the oilpresssure sender and replaced it, no change but after I ripped the intake off did I find the leak, the rear cork seal was outside of the right spot so the oil just went past it and as you have noticed mine was too blended with water. .Hope you find your leak on the engine. About the springs I have the same setup  with the shims but mine leafs are still on the floor and waiting for more parts.
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Offline Clubbs

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Re: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2008, 11:50:24 AM »
yup I tried the oil sender unit too, but that wasn't it.  I've had this oil leak for along time so the block is pretty crusty looking back there.  The last time I drove it the roads where wet and i went through some large puddles so I'm hoping all the dirt build up got saturated with water and then resaturated with oil and the two just mixed.  I need to pick up a gasket set this week and do the swap.  Sten I'll let you know how mine turns out and try to take some pics along the way.  Do you need any before and after measurements??

As far as the steering goes, I want to do crossover but not waste the time and money on the d44 steering arm when I plan to go to 60's soon.  So I'm thinking of buying the two drag link hiem ends and making a short drag link now and bore out the current pitman arm and the current steering arm, but put the new draglink on top of the pitman arm instead of the bottom.  That will get me about 3" closer to the correct geometry and since I've been running 3" lift for years and never did anything about the steering I'm hoping that this will do for now.  Because other than turning sharper one direction the truck steers great no bump steer ect.  I can correct the differential btw right and left with the new draglink length.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

As far as driveshafts go I really should do a custom shaft in the back since there is so much more flex than stock, but I don't have the funds so I'll get it extended, not sure how much though I'll have to cylce the rear suspension and determine the best compromise.  Too long and it will smash the t'case to bits and too short it will separate and who knows what will happen.

Dave

Offline Clubbs

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Re: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2008, 10:00:09 PM »
wow 6 inches of lift makes a big difference...its huge.  It may be taller in the front then the back not sure yet I'll have to figure that out tomorow.  I also need the longer studs for the passenger side front 9/16" diameter...where did everyone get theirs.

Dave

Offline hilton8r

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Re: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2008, 02:05:04 AM »
Hey, don't forget to post some pics in your real wheels folder! 8)

I think a 440 swap will help lower that front end! >:D You know you want one! ;D
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Offline Bill Cooke

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Re: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2008, 11:52:33 AM »
Springs do settle a bit so it should come down an inch or so in the next few days. The rears won't settle as they have very little arch and a soft spring rate.

The studs.... those are a pain! I never did find them seperately. They come in the kit box, along with bushings and the ubolts. It's not that much for that box so I usually just got that too. I have used 9/16" course thread bolts in their place.  That is a huge pain though with the angled shims under the springs. You have to hog out the spring plate holes to 5/8"  and even then use a file to angle them to match a bit.  Do not strip out the holes in the housing!

Pics, we need pictures

BC
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Offline Sten

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Re: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2008, 01:55:36 PM »
Springs do settle a bit so it should come down an inch or so in the next few days. The rears won't settle as they have very little arch and a soft spring rate.

The studs.... those are a pain! I never did find them seperately. They come in the kit box, along with bushings and the ubolts. It's not that much for that box so I usually just got that too. I have used 9/16" course thread bolts in their place.  That is a huge pain though with the angled shims under the springs. You have to hog out the spring plate holes to 5/8"  and even then use a file to angle them to match a bit.  Do not strip out the holes in the housing!

Pics, we need pictures

BC

Rancho have a set for the D44 with studs and U-bolts. Summit part number RAN-RS731. Just know about that when ordered the kit some time ago.
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Offline Clubbs

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Re: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2008, 07:12:52 PM »
thanks for the tips but I just made my own studs out of a couple of 5-1/2" grade 10 bolts.  One end had about 2" of fine thread so I went to my machinist at work and he chucked it up in one of the lathes and wacked the head off and put another 1.5 inches of fine thread on there.  Then flipped it around and put about 1.5 inch of coarse thread on the other end...instant 5" stud...took about 10 minutes for two.

I must confess I didn't order new rear springs  :-\, but since I had the free 63" chevy springs already in there I tossed the 3.5" flactory block back in... this will have to do until the truck fund gets out of debt.  So the front settled about 1/4" or so but it may do more after driving.  I have a set of add-a-leaves from the old packs that I could put in there but don't want to ruin the flex of the flat 63's.  So I was thinking about wacking the ends off of the add-a-leaf and making a long zero rate and putting it at the bottom of the pack.  I need to think about this some more though. 

I got my brake lines today and started trying to source drive shaft stretchers.  No luck though the cheapest I found to add 1.5" was $125.  But I can buy 1.5" of tube for about $5.  So I may build an alignment jig out of 2x2 angle , cut my current shaft and weld in the new piece then balance it, not sure how well this will balance though.  Second option is to buy a shaft from junk yard and grind the yoke out and re-weld it in the end, but then I would have to buy another shaft.  The front shaft I plan on using an old K-5 shaft out of a truck with the NP-208... I'll let you know how that turns out, but I think it might just be the right length. 

I have a pair of 316SS 5/8" hiem ends that I'll use in my draglink, but I need to get a new pitman arm thats dropped first...hoping to source that in a junk yard too. 

I sure you like to do a 440 swap, I thought the winch would help squish the front too though, and lastly, I don't have my camera this week so pics will have to wait until next week.

Dave

Offline Clubbs

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Re: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2008, 01:13:01 PM »
do you ever have a bad day at the junk yard?  I went to a yard about 35 miles from where I live because it was rumored to have great parts and cheap plus its one of the only "you pull it" yards around here.  I went looking for driveshafts and a dropped pitman arm from something.  I didn't find any drive shafts because it was all late model stuff slip yoke stuff not a splined shaft...not really what I thought I was getting into.  But I did find a pitman arm off a durango that looked like it would be perfect.  So I go get my tools and take the box off the frame to get to all the nuts and pull the tierod out of the draglink, but I had to go back to my truck to get a bigger socket for the pitman arm.  I have to get past some lady who tells me I only have 10 minutes and they are closing and I have to be out.  I figure heck this is only going to take 10 minutes plus all my tools are still in there.  So I get back to the durango and a cop shows up writing tickets to everyone parked on the side of the road (but there really isn't anywhere else to park).  So I have to run out and move my truck and I try to explain this to the lady who says I can't come back in, not even for my tools.  So I run back to get my tools together and haul about 50 pounds of wrenches and stuff out.  My buddy sees the owner and asks him if we can come back and get the part; he says sure.  So back again we go but with only a handful of tools this time.  And we couldn't get the pitman arm off even with the pullers I rented from advanced.  So we took the box up to the shop hoping we could put it in a vise or something to help hold the thing.  The owner says you can't have just the pitman arm you have to buy the whole box for $100.  I said forget it because I wasn't even sure it would work, he lowered his price to $50 and I'm thinking I can probably pick up a rebuilt durango steering box from autozone for around that with a core and declined again.  I get my puller off and drive the 35 or so miles back home covered in grease, hoping I don't get a parking ticket mailed to me next week.  For the record though I think a Durango pitman arm would be a great drop arm for the 1st gen Dodge trucks...  I'll have to keep searching but I may just have to buy new parts.

Dave

Offline Bill Cooke

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Re: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2008, 02:51:29 PM »
The stone GM 73-87 arm is flat and angled to line up right with heim joints. The GM steering arm also has the draglink enter on top of it. Then you could just use a GM draglink and it would all be solved. It's adjustable too.

Forgive me if this comes across wrong but it sure sounds like just getting the right parts would be easier and cheaper. With less parking tickets too.  ::) Just a thought.....

BC



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Offline Sten

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Re: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2008, 03:01:54 PM »
I just got the Skyjacker dropped pitmanarm DA 40 and the Draglink DL 10 home and they do look good. The pitmanarm was 100 + DL 220 USD at Summit so they are quite expensive but I like the way they look. A few part left before I put on the new leafs. /Sten
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Offline Clubbs

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Re: Lifting 6" is there a Monster Front Suspension
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2008, 05:44:54 PM »

I know what you mean about ordering the right parts the first time...it usually ends up less expensive and working better, and itís certainly easier and faster.  But itís not my daily driver so it doesn't have to be on the road tomorrow.  So I plan on taking the stock steering arm and drilling the taper out and bolting the hiem on top of the steering arm (thatís about 2" higher than stock if you measure from the center of the draglink) then I need a pitman arm with about a 5" drop because mine has a 1" drop already, which when the draglink is bolted to that it would be perfect, plus with the hiems its also adjustable.  The hiems where free scrap from work and the steering arm is already there I just have to drill it out.   If I found a junkyard pitman arm the right drop and spline at the box I could get out of the steering issue for around $20... now what Dodge guy could pass that up?  Plus I got enough scrap pipe from work that if I could source a passenger steering arm I could go cross over steering... hmm wonder where I can get one of those for 20 cents ;D.

On the driveshaft side of things, I took the yokes off the t-case last night and sure enough the front flange fits on the back too...so since I can get drive shaft tubing pretty cheap ~$10 a foot.  I was going to weld that into my front shaft and use it on the back.  For the front I plan to get a shaft out of an early 80's K5 since they are a touch longer than the RC's, and while I'm under the donor K5 I would yank the output flange off the t-case too.  Worst case I have to shorten it a bit, but thatís no problem either.  I looked around on Colorado K5 and they have a few front shafts going for $50 or so, but if I found one in a junkyard I could get away with no shipping and maybe walk away for under $75 bucks with CV shafts front and rear... can't do much better than that. 

Maybe itís an illness but I like to "beat the system" on projects like this.  Usually it takes some time and aggravation, like today's junkyard experience, but in the end it can work out to be a better solution for less cash, especially if it helps me get to the next stage like cross over steering.  Bill's monster rear is the perfect example of using random OEM parts from across the brands, and making some of your own parts to arrive at a much superior product than you could ever expect to buy off the shelf.  Just have to make sure everything is as strong or stronger / safer than stock or current aftermarket parts.