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Old 05-07-2012, 07:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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01 3500 Solid axle conversion question..Ive already searched haha

I have an 01 3500 DRW with the 6.0l and Im looking for a simple leaf spring solid axle conversion kit that will keep it at nearly stock height or just 1-2inches. This is just my tow pig but I want a more robust front end for those long logging roads that I tow my 24ft enclosed trailer down, and 4.56s all the way around so I have a little more gear to tow with the 6.0l. Any links or advice would be great.
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Old 05-07-2012, 07:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm a ford guy so I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure or two things:

1. Most SFA conversions will lift 4-6 inches, I don't think I've seen any that keep it close to stock height.

2. I think the newer style trucks (88+) have fairy similar suspension. At any rate, a leaf spring set up is fairly simple. If you can weld/fab, just search for the 06 crew cab in alaska (his is high though), or the mid 90s single cab long bed; they are both on here and recent.

Which leads to the next question; are you doing the work yourself or taking it to a shop?
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Old 05-07-2012, 07:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Heres an 02 duramax... with 8" leaves up front. just don't go so high, use some chevy 63's or something.

/forum/chevy/1053112-sasing-my-02-duramax-garage-build.html
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Old 05-07-2012, 07:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Ill be doing all the work myself, I can hold my own welding and fabricating. However my wife is due to have our first born in a week or 2 and I really dont have time to get this truck apart and figure it all out.. Plus Im moving across the country in september. I need somthing already figured out, I want to buy the kit, some springs, a front ford dually axle, bolt/weld it all together in a couple weekends and be done.
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If you are wanting to keep it stock height, my advice would be to source some stock front springs from a 73-87 1 ton 4wd Chevy/GM pickup. Then build your shackle to ride close to the bottom of the frame rail much like they were back then.
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Your problem with keeping it low is the steering. With cross over steering you need more clearance because the drag link angle. With that said the ORD kit for the newer body styles gives you 5 inches of lift just in the hangers. Your best bet would be to use the ORD kit with stock superduty springs from one with a 5.4 or V 10.

This truck uses the ORU kit (shitty company)

http://www.offroadunlimited.com/orus...asp?id=69#self

this is about as low as you can go. Using a dana 44 helped in keeping it lower.
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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i used a fabworx kit. the brackets give you 4"
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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i used a fabworx kit. the brackets give you 4"
I think their kit only works on the 88-98 trucks. I don't know if their kits can carry over to the newer body styles though.
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
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http://www.sky-manufacturing.com/new...uct.php?id=310

Call them and see if they can make it for your body style truck, then get stock springs for a 73-87 1 ton Chevy. Lowest I've seen.

Or you could just get those shackle hangers and fab your own front spring hangers so that they're mounted straight to the frame rails and then have a piece of tube in between the frame rails for extra support.
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:29 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Your problem with keeping it low is the steering. With cross over steering you need more clearance because the drag link angle. With that said the ORD kit for the newer body styles gives you 5 inches of lift just in the hangers. Your best bet would be to use the ORD kit with stock superduty springs from one with a 5.4 or V 10.

This truck uses the ORU kit (shitty company)

http://www.offroadunlimited.com/orus...asp?id=69#self

this is about as low as you can go. Using a dana 44 helped in keeping it lower.


This, I have done a couple of these swaps, last one kept it as low as possible with 52" Chevy springs that were stock, I had just three inches if that of up travel with putting the front hanger mount with no additional drop height.

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Old 05-08-2012, 02:39 AM   #11 (permalink)
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So you kept the front hangers as close to the frame as possible? How did the steering work with it being that low?
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:28 AM   #12 (permalink)
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So you kept the front hangers as close to the frame as possible? How did the steering work with it being that low?

here is a pic to compare the hight.

my 06 with a sas on 37's is in the middle next to my stock duramax with 265's.

With a 305 or 315 tire it could still look proportionate while coming down a bit. I used a hd dana 44 as well and as mentioned above that is another inch saved.




I used diy4x simple spring hangers and some run of the mill aftermarket rear suspension lowering spring hangers and made them work.





to get the steering to work I called trevor at wfo "great guy, have used him on several trucks now" and got a cast raised arm and pitman arm.






I cheated a bit as I decided to to swap to a long bed frame at the same time I did my sas so little easier to play with it.






I had a ton of fun with it, as I do with my other truck.

That said, I beat, and I mean BEAT the living tar out of my 06, more so when I knew the next week I was ready to do the frame swap. It wore out at a faster rate but never broke and that was just cranked t-bars and 315 tires. I pounded that truck in 4 wheel drive down the wash with a truck and trailer getting airborn behind me and to the point my head lights fell out all while the ifs stayed together..it always got me home.

The swap can be done cheap and I have done it the $$$$ way too, but really if its more of a tow pig and you just want it more reliable I would simply add some tie rod sleeves, idler and pitman arm supports and stay with the IFS.

Not sure what to say on the re-gear issue and I share your disdain toward hearing that 6.0 rev to the moon to make enough power while getting up a long hill. Cant say I would want to ever spend money on regearing a ifs diff verse that money being spent on a already geared solid axle to swap in. Are you 3.73 or 4.10 now

Just the opinion of a guy who cut the front end off of a couple ifs trucks!

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Old 05-08-2012, 04:48 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Haha thats some good advice, the truck had 4.10s now, I towed 9k with it 2 weekends ago and it was sitting at 2200 rpm doing 70 with the converter locked up on the flats and slight grades, but of course as soon as a wink of a hill appeared it shifts down to 3rd. So i figure if I go to 4.56s is should jump to 2500-2600 during lockup in 4th gear which I think would be fine. But pulling down the IFS front end looks to be a real PITA and if I had to take it out anyways why not just hang a straight axle in there if I could with the $ is right. Maybe I could benefit from a manual lockup switch on the highway?

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Old 05-08-2012, 05:04 AM   #14 (permalink)
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OK, First, I have never done an SAS, and as someone who has never done a thing, I won't offer advice that I don't have first hand knowledge of.

On the other hand, I'm a reasonably intelligent person with lots of experience with leaf springs.

You can build a low(not saying stock height) rig if that's what you want.

The best example I can think of, that came with leaf springs and had an extremely low stock height, was the Full Size Jeeps, ie J-10, Wagoneer, And Cherokee.

The way they managed to do it, and still have some up-travel, was to run the springs under the axle. For a DD, where max droop is not a priority, it is the way to go.

Supersize75 says he built one with roughly 3 inches of lift, going spring over, so that means you can get really close to stock height by going spring under.

Now, here is where it gets complicated. I doubt if you are going to find an OEM springpack that will work, and most lift packs would probably be too stiff to be fun.

Take a look at some desert racers. They run lots of travel, with leaf springs, while maintaining a relatively low ride height. It works. It isn't what you see on most of the SAS trucks, because most people want the lift.

That doesn't mean you can't do it. Just have to think out of the box.

If I were you, I would be talking to Deaver about springs.
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:28 AM   #15 (permalink)
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OK, First, I have never done an SAS, and as someone who has never done a thing, I won't offer advice that I don't have first hand knowledge of.

On the other hand, I'm a reasonably intelligent person with lots of experience with leaf springs.

You can build a low(not saying stock height) rig if that's what you want.

The best example I can think of, that came with leaf springs and had an extremely low stock height, was the Full Size Jeeps, ie J-10, Wagoneer, And Cherokee.

The way they managed to do it, and still have some up-travel, was to run the springs under the axle. For a DD, where max droop is not a priority, it is the way to go.

Supersize75 says he built one with roughly 3 inches of lift, going spring over, so that means you can get really close to stock height by going spring under.

Now, here is where it gets complicated. I doubt if you are going to find an OEM springpack that will work, and most lift packs would probably be too stiff to be fun.

Take a look at some desert racers. They run lots of travel, with leaf springs, while maintaining a relatively low ride height. It works. It isn't what you see on most of the SAS trucks, because most people want the lift.

That doesn't mean you can't do it. Just have to think out of the box.

If I were you, I would be talking to Deaver about springs.


Sounds like more of a headache

Here is the simple why.. I put the spring hanger as close to the frame as possible with out hacking out a cavity in the front of the frame. As it is the rear hanger is tucked high as well, with just 1.5" left to go up till you are above the frame.

There physically is not a lot of room in between the frame and the axle. Adding a 3.5" or what not axle tube above the spring "using a flat spring" is only going to exacerbate that issue. Furthermore if you still needed a pan hard after making the spring under fit.. where the heck are you going to package that.

With the spring over you have to have a raised steering arm to clear the spring pack, and even then it had little clearance with the frame on up travel. Raising the axle hight in relation to the frame would leave you even less room for that too. I could see that being worked out with a y link or similar but I doubt that would be a easy or worth the headache.

All that said, the exhaust was a treat too with the diff where it was at, spring under makes this more of an issue too unless you went with more arched spring I suppose, but then there goes with cushy ride with out a progressive spring pack.

I think your mind is on the right track however I, like you just see the spring as the consistent wrench in the plan. Interesting though for sure
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:37 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Haha thats some good advice, the truck had 4.10s now, I towed 9k with it 2 weekends ago and it was sitting at 2200 rpm doing 70 with the converter locked up on the flats and slight grades, but of course as soon as a wink of a hill appeared it shifts down to 3rd. So i figure if I go to 4.56s is should jump to 2500-2600 during lockup in 4th gear which I think would be fine. But pulling down the IFS front end looks to be a real PITA and if I had to take it out anyways why not just hang a straight axle in there if I could with the $ is right. Maybe I could benefit from a manual lockup switch on the highway?

You could simply add a manual switch to ground out the pcm pin out for the tcc..

Maybe someone else can chime in though, would suck to have it cause a weird issue from it some other signal or not getting info it needs and the line pressure solenoid default to max pressure or something.. had that happen when the vss wire went to hell and with a loaded trailer.. full line pressure shifts are a good time
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:54 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Sketch it out, and I believe that you will see that most of the issues you mention are nonexistant.

The one issue you will have is spring arch, but quality springs will eliminate a lot of that harshness.

Flat springs work well if you are after droop, but arched springs are the ticket for uptravel.

Personally, except for the exhaust clearance, my bet would be that SUA eliminates most clearance issues,rather than creating them. I know for a fact that steering would be easier to package, because it places it above the springs rather than trying to occupy the same real estate.
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:31 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I think a flat or reversed arc spring would prob be best, Im not going for any super amounts of up or down travel, the most offroad it will see are logging roads and fields getting to campsites or parking at dirtbike races and whatnot. I just need somthing to hold the front of the truck up haha.
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:43 AM   #19 (permalink)
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you have anymore pics of the 06? the top pictures comparing it with your duramax wont load for me.. also what springs did you use?
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:56 AM   #20 (permalink)
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you have anymore pics of the 06? the top pictures comparing it with your duramax wont load for me.. also what springs did you use?
Pic might have been uploaded to ck5 so the link might not work, ill load it later when I am back at home.

Springs were run of the mill 52 inch stock rear k5 springs. I ran them with out the overload for a while and the rise was like a old boat of a caddy but I broke a couple leafs, wound up adding the over load back in both for a pinch more room with the 38's and to help stop eating my new exhaust work.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:06 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Ok thanks, also what is the part number on that pitman arm? I looked at WFO's website and all I can find is the superlift 1104 arm and it doesnt look like yours
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:07 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I hate to shit in the OP's thread, but any opinions on doing a radius arm setup with airbags? I'm looking at solid axleing an 02' 3500 dually as well....
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:19 AM   #23 (permalink)
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One more thing to consider. When I SAS my D250 (yes a Dodge) I wanted to keep it as low as possible. The problem is the housing. I used a 78 HP ford, which fucked me in the end. The center "chunk" is stupidly close (and touches) my oil pan. While I never see eye to eye with dahoyle he is right (and nice for a change). I would of loved to go sprung under (I think its better) but I had the springs already so I ran with them. Get/run the longest springs you can, your ride will only improve.

Also I ran 4.88's with 315/75/16 on my old 01' 6.0 and loved it. It was the perfect gearing for towing.
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:12 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I think a flat or reversed arc spring would prob be best, Im not going for any super amounts of up or down travel, the most offroad it will see are logging roads and fields getting to campsites or parking at dirtbike races and whatnot. I just need somthing to hold the front of the truck up haha.
Reverse arch will give you almost zero uptravel. Not exactly a good plan for high speed dirt road driving. To each their own, tho.
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:52 AM   #25 (permalink)
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A simple radius arm setup prob wouldnt be to hard, just have to figure out what to use for springs...It seems in my research a solid front axle wont physically fit under the truck well unless you are running at least 3-4 inches of lift...
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