Leaf Spring Suspension Information

Leaf Spring Suspension Information

flinstonesUnlike today, Fred Flinstone’s car didn’t have suspension. Of course, he didn’t mind too much; he was a caveman.

We Need Suspension

Driving a car with no suspension would be like riding a sled. There would be no cushion to absorb the bumps of the road, and the vehicle would eventually deteriorate. The spring suspensions (leaf, coil, airbag, or torsion bar) that automakers implement allow the wheels and tires to bob and grasp for traction as the rest of the body stays smooth and even keeled. The best springs- leaf and coil- have a soft initial spring rate that absorbs the bumps of the road, along with a firm spring rate that can also handle larger bumps.

The Leaf Spring Suspension History

Up until the late 1970s, Leaf Spring Suspensions were common on many American cars. But with the advent of the popularity of front wheel drive, leaf springs slowly started to dissipate from compact cars. Compact car manufacturers instead opted for the now standard coil springs. However, Leaf Springs continued to be used with heavier commercial vehicles and are now commonly used for trucks, SUVs, and vans.
fatFor heavier loads, you may want to consider a leaf spring suspension system.

Reasons to Get a Leaf Spring Suspension System

Leaf Springs are great for heavier vehicles because leaf suspension systems spread the vehicle’s weight evenly over the chassis (spring coils, on the other hand, distribute the weight to a single point, which could be detrimental). This even distribution helps to reduce sway in larger vehicles. As you’re driving through bumpy terrain, the evenly distributed leaf spring will flex and relax, which allows your suspension to adapt to the changing road conditions.

Leaf Springs also eliminate the need for trailing arms and a panhard rod. These two devices are usually used to attach coil springs to the chassis and axle. By eliminating their need, you will be saving extra costs. Additionally, having less pieces makes for an easier and smoother installation.

leafspringsLeaf Springs offer re-enforced strength and help to prevent sagging.
Most importantly, Leaf Spring Suspension is great because it gives your truck re-enforced strength. When your vehicle is carrying a heavy load, the Leaf Spring helps to prevent sagging. For this reason, most towing and cargo trucks utilize multiple Leaf Springs in their chassis.

Downsides to Leaf Spring Suspension

Before deciding on a leaf spring suspension, you may want to know some of the downsides as well. The truth is there aren’t many. Leaf Springs and coil springs are the two most popular styles available for a reason. However, here are some of the most common complaints concerning Leaf Springs:
  1. Leaf Springs are heavy.
  2. Leaf Springs are prone to axle wrap. Axle wrap is when torque and traction combine to twist the axle. When this happens, energy stores in the spring until the tire slips. At that time, a hopping sensation, also known as “axle hop,” may occur. This can be very hard on the driveshaft and u-joints.
  3. They require a lot of mounting space.
If you have a heavy duty truck, these disadvantages don’t come into effect as much. Undoubtedly, any heavy duty trucker will find that Leaf Spring Suspension Systems are the perfect choice. We offer a Full Line of Suspension Lift Kits.

By: Tim Snyder
Posted on August 14th, 2013
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