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Discussion Starter #1
With all the info that is available today, what is keeping people building leafspring or even wristed radius arm trail rigs?

I was having this conversation with a friend today, and it seemed that aside from cost; a coilover four linked trail rig is the only way to go.

Is this a Ford specific tech thread? Not really. But I'm curious what all the other blue oval fans have to say about this...technology really has come a LONG ass ways in the last ten years.
 

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in my opinion leaf springs give great flex if setup right, the down side is they also give axle wrap which can be damaging to other parts.

As for wristed arms, the work till something on the other side breaks. they give awesome flex, but your risking spinning a axle tube in the diff or bending the non wristed arm causing big issues.

4 links are the in thing. They have awesome flex, offer great control of wheel hop / axle wrap if set up correctly. Down side, they can be pricey if using big parts to take the abuse.
 

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My reasoning is simple, cheap, easy and bolt in... I don't own a garage, or even a place to store a welder or such, I'd love to link my wheeling pig, but, I lack the facility to do so.
 

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Cost and the learning curve, cause if you're going to do it properly it takes some heefty parts to make a linked setup on a fullsize hold together, that and a minimum of probably 500-600 bucks a corner for a good (new like FOA's, or any good used fox/saw/king etc) coilover, as not many airshocks will hold the weight of a fullsize, granted you can cut cost and go with coils and shocks, but then again that won't put you much further ahead then a good quality setup leaf sprung system, as thats as much of the gain as the links themselves.

Personally i'm going with a front and rear radius arm setup and after seeing the cayon build done by the evo boys i was sold, spring wise if i can get the weight down i'll go with some airshocks (2.5" can't remember the brand though but have a 1200 pound weight rating) or FOA's and combo of the big evo hiems and bushings.
 

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I'm planning my first non truck based build, and am looking at a coil and leaf setup very similar to a Ford radius arm setup, or radius arms front and rear with coils. For me, it comes down to the cost factor. Just look at the price of heavy wall DOM or even HREW that is needed to take the abuse of a 4 link, then the joints that are "needed" to take the abuse, then the coil overs themselves and it all adds up in a hurry.

I can do top quality leaves for $150 per corner or do radius arms with coils for roughly the same price.

If not out to build a comp buggy, just a capable pleasure buggy, leaves or leaves and coils will do everything I want them to.

Justin
 

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I love the leafs... but I have never wheeled a linked rig.. My leafs are cheap, easy to fix, easy to set up and easy to change as needed. But who knows!
 

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Here's the things that I believe keep the average joes building leaf sprung and radius arm rigs:

1. Cost
2. Complexity - a lot of average guys don't necessarily want to take the time to learn the necessary skills and information it takes to build a good linked rig
3. Lack of proper fabrication tools and/or a place to do that involved of a build
4. Lack of proper fabrication skills

The main reason my Bronco II is leaf sprung instead of linked is because I know that this machine isn't a hardcore wheeler, and never will be. If I was to build something like that, I'd start with a pile of tube and build a linked buggy. The other reason is because I just can't justify spending that much money on a 4x4 truck build that will only get used a couple times a year since it takes me ~8 hours to get to some decent rocks.
 

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i have built and wheeled a few leaf sprung and linked rigs -
leaf springs have there place, like a low buck build up - or if you are going to build in stages. i have built a few cj5s with wrangler springs and watched them do very well. but as mentioned above they had some "hop" and to get a traction bar to work well on some rigs you might as well link it -

but the factory radius arm worked very well - thats why my truggy is getting a radius / " wristed "arm style front end - and with 44s and a bb i didnt want any axle wrap in the rear so a simple 3 link will work well.

but if i was going to wheel it sooner ( aka a fast build, but i have time lots of time ) the rear would have stayed leafs - simple and effective
 

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I have linked several of my off road toys, I don't think there are any better performing alternatives for an off road toy. However, I would think more than twice about it if it were something I were building even for limited street usage. #1 reason is liability, and #2 is what works awesome on the trail is not normally 100% stellar on the street.

I chose to stay leaf sprung on my F350 chassis that is under my Bronco. The Bronco will be a Daily driver, and see Tow duty, family camping trips, and some light trail wheeling. I decided the wise course was to keep the factory designed and tested suspension. Maybe someday I will convert it to linked coil over, but realistically, it is going to do everything I want it to do with the factory leaf sprung suspension, and probably do most of it better than even a well designed home brew link suspension. The piece of mind while your family is on board and your toy is in tow is worth a lot.

The other reason for leafs, because my buggy bores me a little with most of the wheeling around here. It will literally idle over most anything. Some people want the O/S suspension, just for the fact that there is more challenge in wheeling with it. Even in the places where you guys have much more difficult terrain than we have here. You could easily bring back the "fun factor" on those trails you now consider simple. It is appealing :D

Later,
Jason
 

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Cost and simplicity. I wheel in a lot of areas that are a hundred or more miles from a decent town. With a leaf, I can weld it if it breaks, I can chain it together, or just limp it home. I don't desert race and I don't rock crawl with big tires and hp, so the leaf's work for me. I manage to get most places I want to go and my whole rig cost less than some of the suspensions I see on here. Maybe I don't get there as fast as the coilover guys, but then again, I drive a Ramcharger with 500lbs of tools, spares, gear, water etc. on most of my runs.

Lots of guys I know are using leafs for the same reason. The difference between leafs and custom links is a lot of $$ that can be used for gas and other toys to have fun with.

Now, if I was racing one, no question I'd run top of the line $$ suspension.
 

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My buggy is 4-linked in back with coilovers and a version of wristed radius arms up front with coils. I surely would have to do some mod's to run exactly what I have under a streetable rig. I also have an exploder I'm going to build into a streetable trail rig hopefully in the near future and I'm torn about what suspension to do. Honestly I'm leaning towards leafs all around to keep it simple, inexpensive and very streetable.
 

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Everyone's hitting it on the head, Pro. I ran leafs for a long-time, lifted with leaf packs, all different shackle types, etc, etc. Was many backyard builds before I ventured into the world of links. Hell, someday I might even finish one! :flipoff2: Had to beat ya to it...

It's like 'Why does everybody use the SBC in their build?" We all know they bring the suck & every T,D, & H has one...

Simple. Cheap. Easy. Sheep.
 

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i like the linked front and leaf rear, the rear springs seem to keep the truck feeling stable.
 

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simplicity and cost effective are the main reasons

and alot of popular axle swaps use leafs from the oem so thats one less bracket,tab or gusset to be designed and fabricated when building a rig, saving money, time and effort.

just the way i see it and i think many others do too.

sure, if i had an unlimited budget, then 4 link front and rear with 4 wheel steer portal axles and big ass coilovers would be the only option. but unfortunately it all comes down to expense.
 

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Shit.. I just got a solid axle for my junk and now you want me to link it..? :flipoff2:
 

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I have ran an ole Ford for years but i am currently building a Chevy S-10, i am pulling the Cage Off Road radius arms out of the Ford for the front suspension and i am 4-linking the rear. This rig will be running 2 steer Rockwells. The down fall to radius arms are you have to run a panhard bar which can sometimes interfere with your steering. You will also find the front axle will shift from side to side when being flexed due to the travel of the panhard bar. Also when coming on an obsticle the front axle acually has to travel forward past its center point as it begins to compress the suspension, some folks feel you can lose traction due to this or that it is harder to climb over the obsticle.
 

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I understand the dilema of "no fab skills, no math skills" and a light pocket book, but here's the thing.
A linked suspension works SOOO much better than leafs/radius arms.
In the first stage, when I first linked my bronco it was with bronco coils all around but I built it so that I could upgrade to coilovers eventually. The second stage was tubing the front for coilover towers and adding coilovers. I still run bronco coils and shocks in the rear and it works great.
Once a 4-link is setup properly and with large enough material for the weight/hp/tq of the vehicle, hardly anything will break. In the 4 years that I've been linked, I've broken 1-3/4x5/8 heim and that was a drunken fluke:p
 

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Same here on the KISS. I wheeled the piss out of rear leafs and some form of wristed arm or housing for about 10 years on some of the harder south west trails around. I'd like to link the rear on the new F-Bronco build some day but for now I'll keep the leaf springs there.
 
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