Springs and Mudflaps (or is it spring and muddy)
If you've read my truck accessory articles before, you know I like extreme tests. I'm trying out SuperSprings overload and stabilizing leaf springs, using a friends 10' camper and his 1/2 ton truck. Of course we should be using a 1 ton dually but that wouldn't be an extreme test would it. And then to make the test even more dramatic, we only attached the slide in overhead camper 2/3'rds in the truck bed. Now we have some leverage to put aftermarket springs to the test.
Of course the truck dipped and bucked going down the road. Our test truck was a 1990 GMC 1500 (1/2 ton) with 221,719 miles, so the factory springs are well broke in. GM was the first to stretch out the rear leaf springs for a better ride. Ford did it to the Super Duties in the 99 model and Dodge added 3 inches to their HD 2500/3500 rear leaf springs this year. I remember back in the early eighties when the compact trucks, (Ranger, S10, LUV, Toyota) stretched their springs for a dramatic improvement in the ride. These longer springs do improve the ride, but that extra spring travel allows the trucks to move more. This makes a big difference with a loaded truck as to how much farther the truck will lean on curves, and bounce out of ruts and washboards. I used a slide-in camper with the test truck because that's the easiest place to notice the lean. Campers attract side wind like a magnet. The older trucks with a camper didn't lean as much, but now Elvis would be proud with all the hip action from a newer loaded truck! And you know if the rear is moving around the front is trying to overcorrect, so if you don't get sea sick you do get tired of over steering. Do you think all that motion commotion is hard on bearings, springs and tire sidewalls?
In use for over 10 years and easy to install with no drilling or welding or sweating. 5 year warranty.
I have been recommending air bags to slow the spring travel reaction down. But aftermarket air bags as well as the bumper pads for overload springs are drilled and bolted to the side of the C-channel truck frames. The truck manufactures are adding more boxed hydroformed frames to their truck lineup which aren't to be welded or drilled on. So adding air bags is proving more difficult. Compact trucks as well as 1/2 tons and above are going to the boxed frame. All this is making it harder to modify the rear suspension. But I'm always looking for a better solution. Some aftermarket overload springs can help, some of them will make your truck ride rougher when empty, though and we have come to expect the better car like rides from modern trucks. The product that does give you the best of both worlds without drilling holes is SuperSprings. SuperSprings is a single leaf spring that's tapered on each end and attached to the original spring with a shackle that rolls and self-adjusts with your spring movement. It of course looks too simple to work, but it does work. The tapered ends allow more movement to not interfere with the soft empty ride and the wider part as you go to the middle of the spring, gives you the support under a load. It even works as a stabilizer, which surprised me. They are easy to mount on any truck size and SUV with rear leaf springs. We mounted the first SuperSpring to the right side of the test truck and drove through some pot holes with the the leveraged oversize camper. You could clearly see the difference in bounce and spring travel the right side didn't move much, but the left side without the SuperSpring advantage bounced like a basket ball, I'm glad I wasn't driving the truck, but someone has to take the pictures! SuperSprings superbly controlled the movement of the truck's factory springs, are self-adjusting and no air, or air tank needed, no drilling or welding either. And they come in two weight ratings, regular and heavy duty.
Everything clamped into place and and ready for action! With the factory spring on top of the axle, there is a bracket shown here that clamps to the factory spring to provide the proper torque. If the factory spring is below the axle, no bracket is required. After the camper test, we removed the camper and tested the empty truck. Dirt roads tend to have washboards and potholes this time of year that shake the dust out of your headliner. The SuperSprings took the bounce out of the washboards and the potholes. I didn't know they would do that. So they do work as a stabilizer too! In the spring when the frost comes out of the ground, road damage can sneak up on you where it wasn't there when you drove to town earlier. I know I get surprised often and I don't see the potholes as well as I use to, even with my tri-focals. SuperSprings, another tool to be safe sharing the road.
Now the Mudflaps
You've probably seen these mudflaps in some of my truck reviews. I like them because they fit every truck or SUV I test even the Quadrasteer's and duallies. And they go on and off the receiver hitch easily so I can get a test on fuel mileage of the different trucks. On the farm in a land far away long ago, I used to bolt my mudflaps to the rear bumper of my trucks or weld the angle iron under the bumper to hold the mudflaps. I always wanted a easier way to attach my mudflaps and be able to take them off quickly. I saw these Rock Tamer mudflaps by ENKAY at the National Western Stock Show a couple of years ago, and thought "this is what I was looking for."
Well designed, built and so adjustable, they could out last a dozen trucks. There is a weight in the bottom of the rubber mudflap that keeps them pointing down. Any kind of wind drag will cost some fuel economy, buy just slide these Rock Tamers off your hitch when you're done pulling your trailer. You can switch them around with any vehicle you have with a 2" receiver hitch. It's easy to slide the mudflaps in or out and up and down. My dad would like these mudflaps, built to last decades instead of months. It's good to see heavy duty quality products made in America. I tried to drag the Rock Tamers off in cornstalks and sagebrush but they passed that test also. I just love testing products! Next month I'll be testing a Hummer 2 with some trailers. If you see a Hummer 2 in Eastern Colorado pulling a trailer like a maniac, wave. Come visit me at www.MrTruck.com
Special Thanks to Rick Vorce, www.CountryHay.com and GM for the test vehicles.
Till next time, Good Truck'n.
Kent Sundling (MrTruck)
See more articles from Mr. Truck