smoothing the ride


Dav

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i have an 88 long bed ranger. it rides like...well, a truck. i want to make the ride a bit more 'car like'.
i have the removable top kit on it. when the top is off, and here in florida that is most of the time, i like to cruise. very seldom will the truck carry a load.
i've been thinking about the adjustable shocks mentioned in the 'how to tech' section.
has anyone tried adjustables? how well do they work? how well do they hold up to every day driving? (i will almost never be off pavement with this truck)
at $120 apiece, i am reluctant to just walk into o'reilly's and make like i know what i am doing. feedback will
be appreciated
 


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RonD

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Shocks can make ride bouncy(worn out), or stiff(wrong shocks)

The springs are what decide the ride quality.

What a spring, coil, leaf, or torsion bar, is there for is to absorb wheel and axle deflections, up or down movements

They do this by having correct weight rating, correct pre-load to put them in the "middle" of their travel
So when you hit a bump the spring flexes against the weight sitting on top of them
If spring has too high a weight rating then it doesn't flex, it just pushes up on the frame, so you feel every bump

Pickup trucks are unique because if they are rated as "1/2 ton" then they need leaf springs rated for empty bed weight + 1,000lbs
So when bed is empty rear springs just push up the bed when you hit a bump, not enough weight to hold the spring down

To fix that you install leafs with lower weight rating and then a set of Overload leafs
Overload leafs do not touch the frame until the load in bed gets over 600lbs, so you keep the 1/2 ton rating but get the smoother ride when empty or have smaller loads
Vehicle makers don't do this because it costs more, simple as that

Front springs are usually OK since weight doesn't vary that much, but they can get worn out
People that "lift" the front using springs get a stiffer ride because the reason front lifted is because the springs weight rating increased


Remove shocks from an axle, then bounce on the bumper, should be easy to push it down, not stiff or hard, i.e. you have to put alot of weight on it to get it to go down, flex the spring

Shocks can't fix that
 

Dav

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1988
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ranger xlt
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2.9 V6
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, 2.9
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Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
none but it is a convertible
Tire Size
stock
is there a visible marking on a spring to identify it's load rate? how do i tell what i have? 4 leafs 1/4 inch thick
 

RonD

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Ranger weighs about 3,000lbs
2,000lbs on front axle
1,000lbs on rear axle


Not sure on the long beds but a 4 leaf is usually rated at 1,800lbs
3 leaf, 1,250lbs

Leaf springs can have thicker and thinner leafs so its not simply the number of leafs that decides weight rating
A 2 leaf can have the same weight rating as 3 leaf
And your 4 leaf could have a 2,000lbs rating

Its something you have to research a little for the 1988 Longbed

A 2 or 3 leaf with an added overload leaf would give you a better ride in the rear, not as stiff as it is now
 

Dirtman

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So friggin big!
My credo
Give me money.
Ron knows his stuff and is pretty dead on. I worked at a spring shop that did nothing but build leaf springs for a few years. As stated shocks do nothing but dampen the rebound of the spring so they can do nothing to help ride quality on a too stiff spring.

Now take this advice at your own risk. But not only the thickness and number of springs matters but also the ratio of length they are to each other. If the second spring is the length of the main, (some fords had double wraps but... eh) the second spring adds stiffness. If the second spring is very short it reduces stiffness and gives more of a progressive spring rate.

So what we would do would be to shorten the second spring to soften the ride. Then add overloads if the customer still wanted load capacity. I dont recommend cutting or modifying your springs yourself but if you can find a local spring shop they may be able to make you new, or modify what you have to your liking.
 


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