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Discussion Starter #1
I have been working on these for a while now and waited until I had a few sets made and my design worked out. These are to remove the torsion bar setup and install coilovers as the front suspension. My first thought was to use the LCA from a 2500hd, but it turns out the mounts for the arm are wider than the 1500s, and the steering knuckle is placed further out than the 1500s, so much for an easy swap using factory parts, so I made these brackets.

Why Coilovers?

There are several advantages to coil overs from torsion bars. The biggest one is they ride much, much better, and depending on what shocks and springs you use can have many different ride settings for many different conditions. Torsion bars, on the other hand, leave you pretty much stuck and only able to adjust shock dampening rates and not the spring rate itself. Many 4wd guys crank or decrank the bars to adjust ride height (yes this applies both to lifted and lowered guys), and this changes the ride drastically.
The torsion bar setups are basically meant to ride on the bump stops or slightly above them. On lifted setups when you crank the bars the ride is usually the biggest complaint since the bump stop is so far away its not used. On lowered setups its basically the same just the opposite direction and you are constantly riding on the bump stops even after trimming them.

Second advantage is going to be the huge selection of shocks and springs available in the aftermarket. I use QA1 shocks and hyperco springs, however king, fox, qa1, and whoever else make coilovers can be used. Spring wise, hyperco seems to offer the biggest range in lengths and spring rates that I could find, and they are well priced. I used 1000lb springs with qa1 ds301 shocks. The spring sounds stiff but these shocks only have 2.5" of travel, and my truck weighs approximately 1250lb of sprung weight so in order to get in the middle of the shock travel 1250/1.25 = 1000lb. To calculate with other shocks will be similar. I may end up trying some different spring rates, but this seemed like a good starting point.

Third advantage, and this is less than I thought, is weight. All of the stock torsion bar stuff including keys, crossmember, bars, shocks, and bolts weighs 71lbs. My shocks with my brackets (upper and lowers), and 6" 2.5" springs and limiting straps weigh 15lbs each. So total weight savings is only 40lbs, but it IS weight savings with a much better riding and handling front end.

The only real disadvantage I can think of is it costs money and you maybe have to modify your frame (drilling). Both of which are par for the course in this hobby it seems.


Lower Mount

I drew these up in AutoCAD and had them laser cut from 3/8" steel and powdercoated them a matte black. They are doweled and have been professional welded. It is the male end of the dowel into the sides supporting the weight, not the weld, so there is no need for a lot of welding. In addition, the bolts holding these to the frame (the lower shock bolt hole) and new coilover bolt hold them together. These are not going anywhere. The need for these is because the lower mount on the 1500 4wd LCA is a male-style mount. All aftermarket coilovers that I have found also have a male style mount, so the issue is trying to hook up two male style mounts togther. These brackets sit on top of the shock mount and prevent the coilover lower mount from rotating on the LCA.

The included hardware is all grade 8 stuff. Either bolt makes a good mounting location for limiting straps if you plan on going that route. There is plenty of clearance for the cv shaft and everything else. This is literally a slide-over and bolt in place of the shock deal.

The width inside is roughly 1 3/8". My QA1 shocks have a lower mount thickness with the bearing of approximately 1". To prevent it from sliding around I use a pair of these spacers: http://www.summitracing.com/parts/aaf-all18571. I was not sure if different coilovers have different mounting widths, but these should be wide enough to accommodate anything. These spacers are not included with my kit.


Upper Reinforcement

Similar to the lower mounts, these are laser cut 3/8" steel that have been professionally welded and powdercoated. These are optional for the coilover swap and do require some drilling or welding. I say they are optional because guys have not reinforced the top mount and been fine. However, many feel this is not safe because the shock hoop was not designed with carrying the full weight of the vehicle in mind, especially over harsh terrain if thats your thing. These are side dependent and work by sitting up inside the factory upper shock mount and use two 1/2" grade 8 bolts through the frame to secure it. I call this a reinforcement mount because it is reinforcing the mount that is there, not just carrying the full weight by itself. When you drill the holes for these, I recommend bolting them through the top to ensure they fit tight to the frame before you start drilling. Remember when drilling, use lots of oil and go slow with moderate pressure. Cobalt drill bits are great for drilling steel.

The passenger side is relatively easy to get to, but because of the differences in the frame, the driver side is a bit hard and needs to be reached by using a wrench under the truck. This is kind of a pain...ok its a pain in the ass since there is not a lot of room, but can be done. I used the trick of using a piece of tape to hold the nut and washer to the wrench as I put it up there. The upper mount works well as an anchoring point for limiting straps as well, although this is more difficult on the driver side because of where the holes are in relation to the spring. This may not be an issue on other setups but it was on mine. The other option than drilling through the frame is to simply weld them in place and not use the bolts. The coating will need to be stripped on both the mounts and the frame to make sure you get a good weld. I bolted mine on, but if you have a good welder or know a guy, go for it. A note on bolting them in, do not overtighten these. The frame bends rather easily, you just want to take up the slack in the bolt. You can easily overtighten and bend the frame, so be mindful.

I you ever decide to convert back to torsion bars (dont know why you would), you can leave the top mount in place, the factory shock will still fit fine. So if you want to weld to the frame, this is not something that is completely irreversible.


Adapting The Top Mount

Most coilovers have an eyelet upper mount. If you do not want to change this, you need to use a shock adapter like this one: http://www.summitracing.com/parts/exp-690001. I used this exact one. The inner width is roughly 1.5" and similar to the bottoms the mount on my QA1s is 1", so I used these spacers to take up the slack: http://www.summitracing.com/parts/aaf-all18572.
While we are on this, if you use this mount, it will move the mounting point 1.5" down. This is not a big deal for lifted or leveled trucks, but for guys wanting to go really low you may want to try the second method. QA1 offers a conversion kit to convert the bearing style upper mount to a stud style: http://www.summitracing.com/parts/hal-ss110sdm. I have not used these, but they negate the need for the shock adapter and should allow the use of a longer shock or to go lower with the same size shock than the procomp adapters. I probably would have gone this route if I had known about them before I bought the procomp adapters.

My kit does not include any of these options, only the upper mounts with bolts to bolt to the frame.

If someone decideds to do these top mount stud conversion instead of the procomp adapter, please take some time to measure it as im curious to how much it changes the mounting height.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Limiting Straps

Limiting straps are used to prevent the shocks from topping out and damaging them. They are mainly used for offroad situations, but I and several others have used them in the past to control front end lift when launching in 4wd. I dont feel they will be needed with the adjustability of coilovers, but they are easily added to my kit. Usually they use a clevis bolt for adjustability, but I mounted mine between some of the bolts. I would completely install your coilovers first, then measure from whatever mounting points you choose with the truck jacked up and hanging in the air. Now subtract 1/2" from this and you want that size. The reason for subtracting an inch is you never really want the shock to top out, but you want to use the full travel. On my truck I used 11" straps.

I used a 5/8" nut as a spacer when I installed mine. It fits nicely over the 1/2" bolt, and is exactly 1/2" wide. Like I said, I dont think straps are necessary, but I did them anyway just to say you could.

Here is what the complete assembly I am using on the passenger side looks like. QA1 coilovers, 6" hyperco springs, procomp shock adapters, limiting straps, and my upper and lower brackets.

On the bench:
IMG_3630Custom_zpsba9c6a4f.jpg


Passenger side installed, full extension:
IMG_3651Custom_zps08228ff8.jpg


Driver side loaded:
IMG_3655Custom_zpsa34260a0.jpg



Frame Modifications

The only modification that may need to be done is trimming the corner of the bump stop mount. This is most easily done with a sawzall and this is simply to create clearance for the spring. Mine fit without trimming but I wanted to trim anyway to make sure there would be enough room at full extension when the spring is drawn inward slightly.

If you look at the picture of the driver side above you can see it clearly where the bump stop used to be.

Buying The Brackets

I want to be clear, modifying your vehicles suspension is a serious modification. If you do not feel comfortable doing this swap, or using my parts, by all means, do not buy them. I take no responsibility for any damage or injury that may come due to you modifying your suspension. With that said, I will run these without a doubt to the reliability.

I am selling the mounts as a full kit which is 2 uppers, 2 lowers, powdercoated, and all grade 8 hardware needed. As just a lower set which is just the lower mounts with hardware. And as an upper kit which the 2500 guys will want (since their lower mount is already correct), and includes the upper mounts and hardware. 1500 guys can buy just the lowers now, and add the uppers later at any time. The uppers are merely a reinforcement and are NOT required to do the swap.

A FULL KIT (2 uppers, 2 lowers, and hardware) will be $350 shipped.
A LOWER SET ONLY (2 lowers and hardware) will be $200 shipped.
An UPPER SET ONLY (2 uppers and hardware) will be $200 shipped.

Like I mentioned the price includes powdercoating, professional welding, all grade 8 hardware, and shipping via flat rate usps. I accept paypal and money orders if you want to mail me instead of paypal. Please send as a gift or add 3% for the fees, and items will be shipped out the next day with a tracking number.

Once this set is gone it will be a couple weeks before I have some more, but by all means if these sell I will make as many as I need. Might even do a preorder in that case. These are not cheap to make.

If you would like to buy some now, send me a PM.

I have 7 sets of lowers and 4 sets of uppers ready to go!
IMG_3657Custom_zpsce085bf1.gif



I just received my engine back yesterday and am hoping to have it installed by this weekend, which will be my first test drive. I am very confident my design is safe and everything will be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Selecting Springs and Shocks

To find out what length shocks you need...after you buy these I would take your factory shocks off and put a jack under the front of your truck and adjust it to where you want the truck to sit.
Now measure from the top hole of my bottom bracket to the inside of the shock hoop. If you also run the upper reinforcement subtract 3/8" from this height. If you use the procomp adapters, subtract an additional 1.5" from the first height.

So lets say you measured 18" and you use the uppers and procomp adapters instead of the stud conversion, your ride height will be 18-1.5-3.75= 16.125. Now you want to find a shock that has this as its ride height, or median measurement between fully collapsed and fully extended. Most shock makers post this sort of thing in a table, along with a recommended spring length.

Once you found your shock you need to pick your spring. These need to be 2.5" ID to clear the UCA. 1500 trucks have roughly 1300lb of sprung weight per corner. So if your shock you choose has 4.5" of travel (factory shocks have 4.5") you want your truck to roughly sit in the middle of travel so you dont bottom or top out the shock.

Now you need to compress the spring half of the travel to be at the center, so you have 1300lb lets say and need to compress it 2.25", your spring rate will be 1300/2.25 = 577 lb/inch.


So as you can see choosing a shock/spring combination needs to be after you decide on your ride height. To further tweak things, you can use the stud top, or space the procomp bracket some, or not run the upper reinforcement if you are feeling lucky.
 

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The Canadian
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So these will work for a truck to be levelled? Would you just buy longer shocks and apropriate springs to do the same job as a levelling key?
 

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What is the total cost of this? I'm really interested in this
 

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ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ
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Long time no see, now that's a post to come back with! Looks good so far.
 

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METTALIKATT
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Lifted rides droops if cranked, metal on metal.

Sent from my DROID RAZR MAXX HD
 

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Mmm Sandwich
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The only thing that looks off to me is that upper strap mount. Not saying it is going to fail. I just think something like a limit strap should be double shear or not out on a stud like that
 

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The Canadian
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So these will work for a truck to be levelled? Would you just buy longer shocks and apropriate springs to do the same job as a levelling key?
When cranking the torsion bars VIA key adjustment or different keys, How does it actually effect the front height? Is it that It pushes the LCA down? pushing the LCA away from the bump stop, thus making the ride quality poor, as it would be more of a "pogo like" ride characteristic? that correct? If so, wouldnt that make the tire run with positive camber, thus making uneaven tire wear and lower traction? (trying to wrap my head around a levelling kit).

So if that is correct, If someone was to use this coilover conversion, you could remove the bars, crossmember and keys all together? And just buy a 2-3" longer shock/spring combo utilizing these same mounting adapters?
 

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When cranking the torsion bars VIA key adjustment or different keys, How does it actually effect the front height? Is it that It pushes the LCA down? pushing the LCA away from the bump stop, thus making the ride quality poor, as it would be more of a "pogo like" ride characteristic? that correct?

So if that is correct, If someone was to use this coilover conversion, you could remove the bars, crossmember and keys all together? And just buy a 2-3" longer shock/spring combo utilizing these same mounting adapters?
Did you read the original post at all?
 

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The Canadian
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Did you read the original post at all?
I did, more or less double checking to see if what I got from that is 100% correct. And is it ok to remove the cross member there? Or leave it for frame rigidity?
But nothing was said how a level or lower could be acheived apropriately, hence my question to double check :chair:
 

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Interested in this as well, I read that you did this with 1500 LCA, now does that mean these won't work on a 2500 LCA? Thanks
 

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When cranking the torsion bars VIA key adjustment or different keys, How does it actually effect the front height? Is it that It pushes the LCA down? pushing the LCA away from the bump stop, thus making the ride quality poor, as it would be more of a "pogo like" ride characteristic? that correct? If so, wouldnt that make the tire run with positive camber, thus making uneaven tire wear and lower traction? (trying to wrap my head around a levelling kit).

So if that is correct, If someone was to use this coilover conversion, you could remove the bars, crossmember and keys all together? And just buy a 2-3" longer shock/spring combo utilizing these same mounting adapters?
The reason the ride is rougher on a cranked suspension is because as you crank, you increase the angle of the LCA, that increased angle effectively shortens the moment arm, thus reducing the torque applied to the torsion bar, therefore increasing the effective spring rate. That is the reason for the stiffer ride, the other reason is because you are always bouncing off the droop stops, giving a shock when the suspension droops out over bumps.

As far as camber, generally once you crank past a certain point you actually get negative camber, just as you get negative camber when lowering due to the geometry of the suspension design since the UCA is shorter than the LCA. But that camber is fixed by an alignment (sometimes requiring offset bushings, offset balljoints, or longer UCAs in extreme cases).

And yes, with something like this you could remove all of those excess components, but no you wouldn't buy a 2-3" longer shock, keep in mind that the shock is located approximately 1/2 distance between the wheel and the pivot point of the suspension, therefore 1" longer shock, equates to 2" of lift at the wheel roughly. And there is much more to it than just a "longer shock", you have to dial in the spring rates etc.
Interested in this as well, I read that you did this with 1500 LCA, now does that mean these won't work on a 2500 LCA? Thanks
He used a 1500 LCA because of the distance between the mounting points would not allow a 2500 LCA. The reason he considered a 2500 LCA is because the 2500 LCA already has the correct clevis style shock mounting that he had to fabricate for his 1500 LCA. So actually you will not need to do anything to the LCA of the 2500.
 

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The Canadian
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The reason the ride is rougher on a cranked suspension is because as you crank, you increase the angle of the LCA, that increased angle effectively shortens the moment arm, thus reducing the torque applied to the torsion bar, therefore increasing the effective spring rate. That is the reason for the stiffer ride, the other reason is because you are always bouncing off the droop stops, giving a shock when the suspension droops out over bumps.

As far as camber, generally once you crank past a certain point you actually get negative camber, just as you get negative camber when lowering due to the geometry of the suspension design since the UCA is shorter than the LCA. But that camber is fixed by an alignment (sometimes requiring offset bushings, offset balljoints, or longer UCAs in extreme cases).

And yes, with something like this you could remove all of those excess components, but no you wouldn't buy a 2-3" longer shock, keep in mind that the shock is located approximately 1/2 distance between the wheel and the pivot point of the suspension, therefore 1" longer shock, equates to 2" of lift at the wheel roughly. And there is much more to it than just a "longer shock", you have to dial in the spring rates etc.

He used a 1500 LCA because of the distance between the mounting points would not allow a 2500 LCA. The reason he considered a 2500 LCA is because the 2500 LCA already has the correct clevis style shock mounting that he had to fabricate for his 1500 LCA. So actually you will not need to do anything to the LCA of the 2500.

Thanks for the response. So To effectively level a truck using coil overs, a 1.25" longer shock and an alignment would be the solution? then its just spring rates. What about a dual or tripple rate setup? Get some nice ride in rough highway, but still retain big bump complaince.
 

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He used a 1500 LCA because of the distance between the mounting points would not allow a 2500 LCA. The reason he considered a 2500 LCA is because the 2500 LCA already has the correct clevis style shock mounting that he had to fabricate for his 1500 LCA. So actually you will not need to do anything to the LCA of the 2500.
Ahh genius
 

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The Canadian
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I have been working on these for a while now and waited until I had a few sets made and my design worked out. These are to remove the torsion bar setup and install coilovers as the front suspension. My first thought was to use the LCA from a 2500hd, but it turns out the mounts for the arm are wider than the 1500s, and the steering knuckle is placed further out than the 1500s, so much for an easy swap using factory parts, so I made these brackets.

Why Coilovers?

There are several advantages to coil overs from torsion bars. The biggest one is they ride much, much better, and depending on what shocks and springs you use can have many different ride settings for many different conditions. Torsion bars, on the other hand, leave you pretty much stuck and only able to adjust shock dampening rates and not the spring rate itself. Many 4wd guys crank or decrank the bars to adjust ride height (yes this applies both to lifted and lowered guys), and this changes the ride drastically.
The torsion bar setups are basically meant to ride on the bump stops or slightly above them. On lifted setups when you crank the bars the ride is usually the biggest complaint since the bump stop is so far away its not used. On lowered setups its basically the same just the opposite direction and you are constantly riding on the bump stops even after trimming them.

Second advantage is going to be the huge selection of shocks and springs available in the aftermarket. I use QA1 shocks and hyperco springs, however king, fox, qa1, and whoever else make coilovers can be used. Spring wise, hyperco seems to offer the biggest range in lengths and spring rates that I could find, and they are well priced. I used 1000lb springs with qa1 ds301 shocks. The spring sounds stiff but these shocks only have 2.5" of travel, and my truck weighs approximately 1250lb of sprung weight so in order to get in the middle of the shock travel 1250/1.25 = 1000lb. To calculate with other shocks will be similar. I may end up trying some different spring rates, but this seemed like a good starting point.

Third advantage, and this is less than I thought, is weight. All of the stock torsion bar stuff including keys, crossmember, bars, shocks, and bolts weighs 71lbs. My shocks with my brackets (upper and lowers), and 6" 2.5" springs and limiting straps weigh 15lbs each. So total weight savings is only 40lbs, but it IS weight savings with a much better riding and handling front end.

The only real disadvantage I can think of is it costs money and you maybe have to modify your frame (drilling). Both of which are par for the course in this hobby it seems.


Lower Mount

I drew these up in AutoCAD and had them laser cut from 3/8" steel and powdercoated them a matte black. They are doweled and have been professional welded. It is the male end of the dowel into the sides supporting the weight, not the weld, so there is no need for a lot of welding. In addition, the bolts holding these to the frame (the lower shock bolt hole) and new coilover bolt hold them together. These are not going anywhere. The need for these is because the lower mount on the 1500 4wd LCA is a male-style mount. All aftermarket coilovers that I have found also have a male style mount, so the issue is trying to hook up two male style mounts togther. These brackets sit on top of the shock mount and prevent the coilover lower mount from rotating on the LCA.

The included hardware is all grade 8 stuff. Either bolt makes a good mounting location for limiting straps if you plan on going that route. There is plenty of clearance for the cv shaft and everything else. This is literally a slide-over and bolt in place of the shock deal.

The width inside is roughly 1 3/8". My QA1 shocks have a lower mount thickness with the bearing of approximately 1". To prevent it from sliding around I use a pair of these spacers: http://www.summitracing.com/parts/aaf-all18571. I was not sure if different coilovers have different mounting widths, but these should be wide enough to accommodate anything. These spacers are not included with my kit.


Upper Reinforcement

Similar to the lower mounts, these are laser cut 3/8" steel that have been professionally welded and powdercoated. These are optional for the coilover swap and do require some drilling or welding. I say they are optional because guys have not reinforced the top mount and been fine. However, many feel this is not safe because the shock hoop was not designed with carrying the full weight of the vehicle in mind, especially over harsh terrain if thats your thing. These are side dependent and work by sitting up inside the factory upper shock mount and use two 1/2" grade 8 bolts through the frame to secure it. I call this a reinforcement mount because it is reinforcing the mount that is there, not just carrying the full weight by itself. When you drill the holes for these, I recommend bolting them through the top to ensure they fit tight to the frame before you start drilling. Remember when drilling, use lots of oil and go slow with moderate pressure. Cobalt drill bits are great for drilling steel.

The passenger side is relatively easy to get to, but because of the differences in the frame, the driver side is a bit hard and needs to be reached by using a wrench under the truck. This is kind of a pain...ok its a pain in the ass since there is not a lot of room, but can be done. I used the trick of using a piece of tape to hold the nut and washer to the wrench as I put it up there. The upper mount works well as an anchoring point for limiting straps as well, although this is more difficult on the driver side because of where the holes are in relation to the spring. This may not be an issue on other setups but it was on mine. The other option than drilling through the frame is to simply weld them in place and not use the bolts. The coating will need to be stripped on both the mounts and the frame to make sure you get a good weld. I bolted mine on, but if you have a good welder or know a guy, go for it. A note on bolting them in, do not overtighten these. The frame bends rather easily, you just want to take up the slack in the bolt. You can easily overtighten and bend the frame, so be mindful.

I you ever decide to convert back to torsion bars (dont know why you would), you can leave the top mount in place, the factory shock will still fit fine. So if you want to weld to the frame, this is not something that is completely irreversible.


Adapting The Top Mount

Most coilovers have an eyelet upper mount. If you do not want to change this, you need to use a shock adapter like this one: http://www.summitracing.com/parts/exp-690001. I used this exact one. The inner width is roughly 1.5" and similar to the bottoms the mount on my QA1s is 1", so I used these spacers to take up the slack: http://www.summitracing.com/parts/aaf-all18572.
While we are on this, if you use this mount, it will move the mounting point 1.5" down. This is not a big deal for lifted or leveled trucks, but for guys wanting to go really low you may want to try the second method. QA1 offers a conversion kit to convert the bearing style upper mount to a stud style: http://www.summitracing.com/parts/hal-ss110sdm. I have not used these, but they negate the need for the shock adapter and should allow the use of a longer shock or to go lower with the same size shock than the procomp adapters. I probably would have gone this route if I had known about them before I bought the procomp adapters.

My kit does not include any of these options, only the upper mounts with bolts to bolt to the frame.

If someone decideds to do these top mount stud conversion instead of the procomp adapter, please take some time to measure it as im curious to how much it changes the mounting height.
What length shocks put the truck at stock height?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The only thing that looks off to me is that upper strap mount. Not saying it is going to fail. I just think something like a limit strap should be double shear or not out on a stud like that
The reason for that is that is on the driver side, and I was trying out different setups. I agree the big lever arm isnt ideal. The passenger side uses one of the holes that hold the bracket to the frame. I will change the driver side at some point. The trouble I had is the straps I bought are 1/2" shorter than they were suppose to be...there are many different makers of straps and they all seem to call an inch something different.

Also like I mentioned I am not totally convinced the limiting straps will be needed unless you plan on jumping your truck often...

So if that is correct, If someone was to use this coilover conversion, you could remove the bars, crossmember and keys all together? And just buy a 2-3" longer shock/spring combo utilizing these same mounting adapters?
Yes, I have the shocks, keys, crossmember, and bars sitting in a corner in a pile. The crossmember has rubber mounts and really offers no structural stability to the frame.

I did, more or less double checking to see if what I got from that is 100% correct. And is it ok to remove the cross member there? Or leave it for frame rigidity?
But nothing was said how a level or lower could be acheived apropriately, hence my question to double check :chair:
Thanks for the response. So To effectively level a truck using coil overs, a 1.25" longer shock and an alignment would be the solution? then its just spring rates. What about a dual or tripple rate setup? Get some nice ride in rough highway, but still retain big bump complaince.
If you look at the picture of my coilover, you will notice the threads on the shock body. This allows you to adjust the height of the spring and preload, allowing you to dial in your height very accurately. You just need to pick a shock that has a ride height similar to what you want.

What length shocks put the truck at stock height?
This relates to the question just before...you can get as fancy as you want with double/triple rate springs or shocks. All I am providing is a means of easily doing this conversion so its a bolt-on deal.

There is a huge combination of parts you could use to achieve the same ride height. How it will ride and other aspects depend on the parts used.

For instance if you want a low stance I would try out the stud conversion I mentioned since I am sure that will effectively shorten the stock height (the procomp adapters add 1.5").
 
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