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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I picked up a 2014 Chevy Express 3500 with 17k mi. for the family a month ago. It handles well, relatively speaking, and the ride is comfortable in the front. I was prepared for a rough ride in the back but it's pretty much hit the ceiling, riding a horse at full gallop, rough. I've ridden in plenty of HD pickups (albeit not sitting behind the rear axle) and they have nothing on this.

I'm going to start with some Bilsteins because the OE shocks don't provide enough dampening despite only being 17,000 miles old. If I jump on the rear bumper and hop off it bounces 2-3 times after I'm off.

Anyway, on both sides, front and rear, the overload leaf spring is in constant contact with the remaining 4 leaves in the packs with no weight in the van. This is also the case on the three 2014 Express 3500s that we have at work. All of theirs also touch under no load and they're also all under 50k miles so the leaf packs can't be worn out.

Every heavy duty pickup truck I've ever dealt with had a 1"+ gap between the bumpers on the overload springs and the rest of the pack and wouldn't make contact except under a decent load or big bumps. Is there any option to either have the overload springs bent a bit by a spring shop or to just replace that leaf with an aftermarket one of a straighter shape?

Could I possibly just take the overload springs off and flip them over (and flip the bumpers back upright) making them arc slightly away from the pack instead of toward the pack when unloaded? The leaf springs will "spring" either way right? Hot rodders used to flip the leaf springs (while preserving the order of the individual springs) to lower cars so I'd assume it would work fine... not sure about the handling though. There's not much arc in the springs at unloaded ride height anyway so they wouldn't end up being way far off the bumpers.

Thanks,

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Well, I finally did the Bilsteins. I haven't had the opportunity to ride in the back yet but thus far it's a night and day difference when driving unloaded. Before, the telltale was the keys on the keying rhythmically slapping the dash hard as the van went down the road. Any time there were evenly spaced expansion joints on the highway the van would porpoise down the road and slap the keys. Now it never slaps the keys unless going over something significant like railroad tracks... and when going over railroad tracks I only get one bounce instead of the 3+ "aftershocks" I'd get with the OE shocks.

There seems to be no downside to the Bilsteins other than the $350 and the time (Or money) to install them. They're far stiffer when off the vehicle and attempting to manually compress them however they didn't make the ride noticeably rougher, just significantly better dampening. Despite the OE shocks only having 20k on them I could collapse and expand them between my hands without a lot of effort. I could not do this with the Bilsteins between my hands; I'd have to put one end on the ground and use about 100 lbs of force to compress them. Not sure why GM put such crappy shocks on these vans from the factory.

When installing the shocks I noticed that if I jacked up the frame about 1-2" the "overload" spring ends would come off of the leaf pack. There's a bit more upward curve than I expected once they're unloaded though. I'm going to leave them alone for now but flipping them over may be feasible to limit when they come into play. It may put them too far from the leaf pack though.
 

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Hey Jeff. I've got the exact question with my 2016 Express 3500.
Silverados overload dont touch leaf pack unless loaded. Express are in constant contact...

Did you end up flipping your overload or were the Bilsteins enough for you?
Thanks!
 
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