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MAJOR SUSPENSION FAIL !! Now what? (old aftermarket)

bobbywalter

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..you may need to use both brackets to keep it in spec....
 


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bobbywalter

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bobbywalter

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sawzall?
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eightynine4x4

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So what you’re showing is an OEM bracket piece connecting up from the the engine crossmember down to the “big hunk of metal” that goes over to the passenger wheel. Not sure what that’s called. The front passenger axle? I think it holds the passenger wheel completely, and all turning and pivoting is accomplished with peripheral stuff.
That would mean that this connection is meant to be rigid.
And if that’s the case, that would mean that the reason my passenger wheel was tilted this way or that recently (since the incident a few days ago) is because the primary anchor for the passenger wheel was in flux. And if that’s true, WOW. I drove at 45 mph with that.
So, back to the purpose of the broken segment… the reason I have an aftermarket one and can’t use the OEM one like bobbywalter’s is that the axle is meant to sit lower and the OEM bracket would raise the wheel too high for my lift.

So if I bought the Tuff bracket kit, I can properly reconnect the axle to the engine crossmember above it. It would be as complete as an OEM one but taller.

But I’m still left figuring out what the center bar offers. Just structural reinforcement?

It ALSO connects to the engine crossmember and the axle… so in the Rancho lift design there are TWO things holding the engine crossmember and axle together at a fixed distance. So that is some major added strength.

But thirdly, the brackets center bar also reaches back and connects to the Rancho frame crossmember under transmission area. So there’s a trifecta of reinforcement going on here. Perhaps the swivel bushing isn’t really for swiveling, but just for flexibility of application for different lift heights.

If I have all this correct, it makes me want to keep it as designed. But, perhaps I can get away with just putting in the new Tuff bracket set and then removing the big triangle connector and developing a custom piece that performs the same purpose of trifecta-mounting the bar to both the axle and engine bracket.

I could probably drive the truck on roads for a while without connecting that center bar to anything. Maybe just make a temp connection to one spot so that it’s not flying around hitting my oil pan. Hell if it’s just dangling i could just use steel zip ties to hold it in a good spot. Then I could at least drive. And in the meantime I could get my welder buddy to help fabricate a piece to recreate the trifecta mount and install that when it’s ready.

Does this sound correct?
 

bobbywalter

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The pictures I posted are of the exact bracket I recommended to get by. They are not stock ..they are the very ones in the link on page 1.

The secondary bar you have is superfluous....and while it allowed you to move...it obviously did not keep the catastrophic failure that occurred from happening.


We...many year ago noted it actually causes the failure.
 

eightynine4x4

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The pictures I posted are of the exact bracket I recommended to get by. They are not stock ..they are the very ones in the link on page 1.

The secondary bar you have is superfluous....and while it allowed you to move...it obviously did not keep the catastrophic failure that occurred from happening.


We...many year ago noted it actually causes the failure.
So the bar connection actually forces extra stress on the bracket connections, and over time will make them fail slowly and become vulnerable a clean break?

In that case, the best solution is to redo the brackets and remove that extra bar and ignore it. I think I can detach it via what appears to be a hex nut at the swivel point.

The Tuff bracket set i linked to appears visually the same as the eBay one you linked to to get by. Is the Tuff set a better quality made version that can last longer than just “to get by”? Or are we talking about needing to craft a whole new custom design to beat the performance of this bracket set in discussion?
 

bobbywalter

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It's fine for street use. The truck in the picture is a midline build v8 engine application...340 chp area I am guessing... But does not get jumped or abused seriously off road.


Your radius arms are next.

You can beef everything up yourself ..or buy a fresh duff lift. But you will need to beef those arms up if you keep em.
 

eightynine4x4

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Unfortunately I can’t spring for a whole lift any time soon so I’ll need to opt for the Tuff brackets as the solution for now. I don’t need to take this truck on any aggressive off-roading, especially since there’s hardly any of that available in the north east. Mostly I’ll be on mountain roads and the occasional dirt trails. This vehicle is intended to be very capable of not getting stuck or held back by basic adverse conditions/terrain. Nothing much more arduous than that.
So these radius arms are going to eventually bend ?
 

bobbywalter

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Maybe bend. Crack for sure at the beam where the weight reduction hole is
 

eightynine4x4

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So on the new drop bracket, the holes on OEM engine crossmember and axle will in theory bolt right on? Or should I definitely be expecting to have to drill a number of holes into axle/crossmember?
 

bobbywalter

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It bolts on. Can you see the pictures I posted?

With any part like this there is a potential to need to massage a hole or 10 with a reamer or step drill....
 

eightynine4x4

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It bolts on. Can you see the pictures I posted?

With any part like this there is a potential to need to massage a hole or 10 with a reamer or step drill....
AH, now i see how it fits. It took me a while to notice the right piece in product photo had a big dip down in the middle and that there's a bolt on that upturned face and then a 90 degree turn back up again which is where that long line of bolts connects to engine crossmember. Thanks for showing a picture of your installation, it clarifies things now. I'm assuming the other piece is similarly meant for OEM connections.

Yeah i have no problem with assuming some holes will need a bit of convincing and expansion.

Here's the instructions for the product.
I feel stupid for just now realizing that BOTH of my axle's drop brackets are broken, and that this product is a pair of drop brackets. It's scary to think about how serious this is, and how i drove it at fairly high speeds for a little bit.

So should i be putting both sides of my front frame on jack supports ASAP so as to reduce the weight that the other hardware is now holding up? I mean, with both brackets currently doing nothing, is the weight of the truck potentially bending other hardware near the wheels?

Do not just start unbolting stuff. You need the frame supported on jack stands, wheels/tires removed and spring tension relieved. Those drop brackets should be the last thing you remove.
When you say spring tension relieved.. you mean just raising the frame enough so that the wheels dangle off the ground, correct?

I think I should just do this myself with a friend. Now that i understand where the hardware goes, it seems manageable.

I am a little confused why the instructions include so much hole drilling though... I guess this is aimed at people who just put in a new lift but didn't have these brackets already. Do the OEM non-lift brackets mount at completely different spots, so those people need to drill them? And for the lift brackets.. all the product makers use the same hole locations?

So my plan is to raise and support the frame so that the wheels are off the ground, remove wheels, start unbolting the now-loose pieces. But, i have to also remove the center bar in question too. Is there going to be any tension there with the truck raised as described? What should i expect with removing that triangle bracket that I'm going to delete? Should it be removed before the other pieces for any reason? Obviously that bushing likely lets that bar just drop down when it's unbolted from the triangle piece so i'm not very concerned about upwards or downwards sudden motions, but i am concerned about lateral motions. If anything, that bar could be holding the whole front suspension together right now. I think maybe that front bar, despite being the culprit in causing this, is what saved me from who knows what happening while driving with no brackets. It's keeping the passenger axle in somewhat of a position, and also has a bit of attachment to the engine crossmember holding on for dear life as well.
 

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When you say spring tension relieved.. you mean just raising the frame enough so that the wheels dangle off the ground, correct?
Yes. I would have the coil spring completely removed before I mess with removing drop brackets. Like I said the drop brackets are basically the last thing to be removed when preparing to install a new lift on a stock truck... and they are the first thing to go on during reassembly, and that's how you should treat it. The beam needs to be out of the bracket before you attempt to remove the bracket.

This is mainly just for your safety, the beams are heavy and awkward, and when you add spring tension to the mix things can happen suddenly if you haven't disassembled other things first.

There is no need to put it on jackstands or whatever before you get it in the shop. Doubt it will break any further in your driveway.

A helper would be nice. You can definitely fix this yourself, it's not really a big deal, just think through every step and you'll be fine. I did my first lift in my driveway years ago with hand tools and not much else.
 

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OEM brackets are held on with rivets. When the lift is installed bolts are used instead. You may have to go to the next biggest size bolt in a few holes if they dont line up.
 

eightynine4x4

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Yes. I would have the coil spring completely removed before I mess with removing drop brackets. Like I said the drop brackets are basically the last thing to be removed when preparing to install a new lift on a stock truck... and they are the first thing to go on during reassembly, and that's how you should treat it. The beam needs to be out of the bracket before you attempt to remove the bracket.

This is mainly just for your safety, the beams are heavy and awkward, and when you add spring tension to the mix things can happen suddenly if you haven't disassembled other things first.

There is no need to put it on jackstands or whatever before you get it in the shop. Doubt it will break any further in your driveway.

A helper would be nice. You can definitely fix this yourself, it's not really a big deal, just think through every step and you'll be fine. I did my first lift in my driveway years ago with hand tools and not much else.
I assume this approach applies to both the driver spring and the passenger spring? I only ask because I’m not yet familiar with the architecture of the whole front suspension.
I’m also asking because if I’m already removing / detaching both springs, I should look into cost of replacement springs since the work to replace them will already be getting done.
 

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