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View Full Version : Front suspension comparisions Ford trucks coil or leafs


Gravel Rat
01-13-2010, 07:18 PM
I'am weighing the pros and cons between the two. The 05 and newer trucks have a radius arm/coil spring suspension on the 4x4/ 450-550 trucks.

Has anybody have had both a 99-04 Superduty with the front leaf springs and a 05-09 Superduty with the coil springs.

The suspension used in the newer trucks is a flash back to 1975-1979 Ford F-150/Broncos a radius arm and coil springs. Works good and handles good just the track bar was very important to keeps the axle from going side to side.

Here is the why I'am asking the old leaf springs on the front suspension makes the truck ride really rough. With 19.5 tires you have to have them absolutely balanced if not if you get a bouncy tire it shakes the whole truck. Even driving down the road you can feel every bump in the road. Hit a small pot hole and it feels like being kicked in the ribs.

Is the new coil springs vast improvement in ride and handling ?

I also been told that the turning radius is better I know my truck doesn't turn sharp and it has a shorter wheel base than a crew cab dually long bed.

How about axle articulation ?

CAT powered
01-13-2010, 07:44 PM
I know they turn tighter. I've noticed no difference in ride quality between my 2000 7.3 and 2006 6.0 set up identically except color.

YellowDogSVC
01-13-2010, 07:51 PM
i had '97 super and '05 and '08. Later is much smoother, turns better and is quieter on the front end. don't know about axle articulation. what do you mean by that?
if this helps, having the coil springs and tigher turning will allow you to park at Walmart.

Shadetree Ltd
01-13-2010, 08:19 PM
05 and up is way nicer. Much smoother, much tighter radius. No real comparison, sucks that there easn't a year with them available with the 7.3. The 05's feel like the wheel can turn one whole extra revolution compared the the 99. As for axle articulation, crew cabs weren't meant for the bush and the 450 is a pavement princess unless it is snowing so I do not know.

Gravel Rat
01-13-2010, 08:19 PM
If I park anywhere I park in a open spot and walk need the exercise anyhow.

Just wondering if the coils make a difference in ride.

I know the turning radius as improved it would make some difference in my situation lots of time I'am doing a 100 point turn. Even navigating through traffic some corners you have to cut across 2 lanes to make a turn. My F-450 has a 165 wheelbase but the truck turns very wide I'am used to it now.

The only cons I do see about the coil springs is the radius arm bushings would see lots of wear along with the track bar.

As for the axle articulation by that I mean does the the suspension give as one tire rides up a obstacle say crossing a swail in the road I'am not offroading just if the driveway has some dips or shallow ditches you have to cross..

With the current leaf spring suspension the front axle is pretty rigid as the front twists it twists the frame and the rear axle lifts a little bit. You can hear the cab creaking there is no give in the suspension especially the front and the cab and frame takes the twist.

YellowDogSVC
01-13-2010, 10:05 PM
make sure you get 4x4. my helper got stuck yesterday on a dirt road with some grade. I pulled my truck and trailer up same grade with 4x4

Gravel Rat
01-13-2010, 11:48 PM
The 03 F-550 4x4 is back on my mind after the bank gave me the figures on what a loan would be on a newer truck. Ouch :cry:

If I sell my other truck as planned for 15-18,000 and put it towards my loan it will leave me with 15 grand in my loan. I can sell my truck to the sea food haulers they are looking for flatdeck trucks to put live haul tank on to haul maggots of the sea aka Spot Prawns.

The truck I'am looking at is a 2wd 2007 F-450 with low kilomters 6.0 automatic. The truck will have warranty and the 05 and newer F-450s have 1000lbs more legal gvw the rear axle is rated 1000lbs more. They have larger brakes than my 03. It would be something I can pull a trailer with a rental skid steer or a mini excavator on. If the job is in a tough spot a machine is going to get used.

I would like a 6.0 I do like the power of them and they are considerably quieter. Yes the 6.0 has a bad reputation but they are not all bad. The Ford dealer here is pretty good at working on 6.0s if need be.

My diesel mechanic buddy says not a problem to head stud and remove the emmissions crap.

Had my brothers 2001 F-350 srw 4x4 7.3 beside my 03 6.0 my brothers 7.3 is loud enough it drowns out my 6.0 completely. Even riding in my brothers truck you can hear alot more engine noise. My 03 6.0 all you hear is the 03 turbo whistle.

If I buy the 550 with the 7.3 it will have a 6 spd manual transmission swap.

I never did like the way the 2002 F-550 company truck I drove shifted with the 4R100 shifted. With only 4 speed auto and 4:88 gears the engine screams and you end up with 9-10 mpg. Compared to my F-450 I can out run the 2002 F-550 I used to drive by a long shot.

The reason why I asked if the new suspension makes the truck ride better, I wouldn't mind a smoother ride. These 450-550s with the leaf spring front suspension they ride like tanks. You have to be carefull if your on dirt roads with wash board or pot holes you can hit a pot hole hard enough you may damage something.

Shadetree Ltd
01-14-2010, 05:22 AM
You are nuts...
The 03 would give you 4X4 and almost eliminate the truck debt. You are willing to gamble the 6.0 and put the same $$ into it that the 03 might need down the road. Where could I find the 03 to look at for myself.

AEL
01-14-2010, 06:57 PM
And essentially all your getting for the newer truck is a sh*t load more debt, and 1000 extra pounds. Your are nuts if you get that. Why would you? Save your money and buy your skid steer! You will come out ahead of the game.

AEL
01-14-2010, 06:59 PM
Gravel, any idea what a trans oil cooler should cost for a 03 f250. I understand my truck has two of them i am told, and i need the larger one. $759 from ford . Any idea if there is a universal cooler or something like that

Gravel Rat
01-14-2010, 07:39 PM
Decided well I will go for the 550 4x4 if the dealer still has it I assume they do.

I will run the slush box automatic but that POS will come out and a 6 spd manual in place after the summer. All my trucks have been manuals any trucks that were automatic were converted. Dad converts his trucks too.

Automatics are brake burners and expensive time bombs even the Torqshift is a 5600 dollar transmission.

With my current truck I can't pull a trailer the way the 6.0 is with the 6 spd and the emmissions controls or what ever stops any throttle response at low rpms prevents you from putting any throttle to it to get going.

The 7.3 is simillar but no where near as bad as the 6.0. With 4:88 gears you need 6 spds a 3 spd OD auto doesn't cut it.

I can have the 550 paid off quicker and buy a machine afterwards or use the money I get from the sale of my 03 450 to buy a used skid steer.

ksss
01-14-2010, 08:53 PM
Decided well I will go for the 550 4x4 if the dealer still has it I assume they do.

I will run the slush box automatic but that POS will come out and a 6 spd manual in place after the summer. All my trucks have been manuals any trucks that were automatic were converted. Dad converts his trucks too.

Automatics are brake burners and expensive time bombs even the Torqshift is a 5600 dollar transmission.

With my current truck I can't pull a trailer the way the 6.0 is with the 6 spd and the emmissions controls or what ever stops any throttle response at low rpms prevents you from putting any throttle to it to get going.

The 7.3 is simillar but no where near as bad as the 6.0. With 4:88 gears you need 6 spds a 3 spd OD auto doesn't cut it.

I can have the 550 paid off quicker and buy a machine afterwards or use the money I get from the sale of my 03 450 to buy a used skid steer.

The Torqshift and Allision with grade braking are far from brake burners. Why someone would pull out an auto and put a manual in is beyond me. I would at least run it, if it goes out then replace it. Rebuilding a 6 speed is not cheap either. At least your considering a 4X4. However if you could not make money with a 450, I am not sure how this is going to make a difference but I will leave that to you. I have a feeling that when your folks see the, new to you, paint in the driveway your going to sleeping in the garage.

YellowDogSVC
01-14-2010, 09:05 PM
Decided well I will go for the 550 4x4 if the dealer still has it I assume they do.

I will run the slush box automatic but that POS will come out and a 6 spd manual in place after the summer. All my trucks have been manuals any trucks that were automatic were converted. Dad converts his trucks too.

Automatics are brake burners and expensive time bombs even the Torqshift is a 5600 dollar transmission.

With my current truck I can't pull a trailer the way the 6.0 is with the 6 spd and the emmissions controls or what ever stops any throttle response at low rpms prevents you from putting any throttle to it to get going.

The 7.3 is simillar but no where near as bad as the 6.0. With 4:88 gears you need 6 spds a 3 spd OD auto doesn't cut it.

I can have the 550 paid off quicker and buy a machine afterwards or use the money I get from the sale of my 03 450 to buy a used skid steer.

why is everything so difficult up there? The auto is rated higher than the manual. I have 55k miles on my '05. Yeah, I don't drive much but I drive with 24k lbs every time I haul. My brakes are still about 30% and I live in the hills. Not as extreme as yours but I live in the hills none the less.

Gravel Rat
01-14-2010, 09:51 PM
The 4R100 doesn't give very good engine braking I heard the torqshift is better but nothing beats a manual for hold back power.

A rebuilt 6spd is 2500 dollars a rebuilt 4R100 is 4000 a Torqshift is over 5000 dollars.

The F-550 I used to drive is getting new brakes the truck hauls 10,000lbs on its back I and all the braking is the trucks brakes. The automatic did very little hold back.

You can't gross 24,000lbs with a F-550 you don't have the brakes you can run out of power.

Back to the F-550 one of the drivers had a heavy load on it probably 8000lbs went down one of the hills too fast cooked the brakes. The back brakes got so hot the rear seal blew. Went down the hill too fast some hills here you have to decend at 30km/h (19 mph) or you will overheat your brakes in less than 30 seconds.

Seen many tourist with brake fires the brakes on their pickup trucks got so hot that the oil is burning in the hubs. The calipers usually blow the boots around the pistons.

One of the seafood haulers has a Chevy 3500 flatdeck with a Duramax with allison the transmission holds back a little but the brakes get hot.

When your going offroad like I do with the loads if you ever have a stall you can put the manual transmission into gear and keeps you from freewheeling down the hill. I have had to do that quickly getting it into 2nd gear.

Even decending these access roads you put the manual transmission in low and crawl down. Using the brakes can get you in trouble if the tires lock up from the brakes.

Where I go there is no hope in h*ll dragging a trailer behind me even a 4x4 truck wouldn't take a trailer. Maybe if it was a 10 foot single axle but a 16 foot car trailer not a chance. Where customers want me to go the road is just wide enough for the truck and the turns in the road are just wide enough for me to make.

I can't take my current F-450 into these places it will power out one of the reasons why I'am not actively looking for work just some of the easy jobs.

Didn't know that the 6.0 and 6spd manual wasn't the best combination till I started hauling loads with it. Oh chit this isn't good not a problem I had before. Ya I had traction problems but the locker helps in the 450 but when the engine stalls climbing the hills not a good thing.

The new houses with driveways that are steep as they are I doubt my 450 would climb them with a empty truck it would simply power out.

If I buy the F-550 it should cure the powering out problem. The 7.3 will be sucking wind climbing out of some of these holes with a heavy load on its back.

Like I said there are driveways steep enough a load of lumber can slide off the truck if its not strapped down good.

Many places I just refuse to go its unsafely steep the tires loose traction on dry concrete.

A place I was doing a estate clean up on park the truck on the driveway with the engine off transmission in reverse and E brake locked on. Get out to open the gate the truck is slowly sliding towards me. Back wheels locked up sliding on dry concrete.

Shadetree Ltd
01-14-2010, 11:16 PM
Automatics are brake burners and expensive time bombs
The 7.3 will be sucking wind climbing out of some of these holes with a heavy load on its back.

I have figured it out, you don't read that is why you never have a reaction to peoples negative comments. You clearly have NO IDEA what a 7.3 with a good tranny is capable of PERIOD. I can EASILY push an 11 foot snow plow with our wet heavy snow with over 3 tons in the bed (shhhh, it is only on private property) usually in 2wd. That is with 40% BFG all terrains, crew cab long box with 260,000 + kms.

Gravel Rat
01-15-2010, 12:04 AM
I will see how I like the 4R100.

Like I said I used to drive a 550 with one it really eats up the 7.3s power. Transmission hasn't failed yet the truck only has 133,000 kms on it as I said I used to put 10,000-12,000lbs on the truck it carried the weight.

The fluids will be changed the first thing will be synthetic oil in the engine and the transmission. Probably a good idea to invest in a oil cooler if it doesn't have one already. I imagine a temp sender would be a good idea.

I do know heat kills automatics the C-6 I had died from carrying heavy loads got it too hot. What really killed it when the oil cooler line blew carrying 6500lbs on the deck.

I have owned a 7.3 it was a 95 so it was only rated at 215hp and 425 ftlbs the truck was a F-Superduty (450) truck carried a good load. I would still have the truck but the engine was iffy. It was supposed to be a rebuilt ya I think a spray can rebuild.

I re-watched some of Bill Hewitt's You Tube videos on what can be done to a 7.3 to get a little more power. Open up the exhaust a little.

GreenMonster
01-15-2010, 10:18 AM
Back to the original question.

Yes, the new front end is a SIGNIFICANT improvement in turning radius. I have a 2008 F550 dump that turns way tighter than the 2003 F-350 pick up. WAAAAAYYYYY tighter.

The ride is also much smoother. smoother than the pickup mentioned above and way smoother than the 2001 F350 dump. granted both of the older trucks have overload springs, but I don't think that is solely why the new truck is so much more smoother.

Gotta love the 7.3 in the 2001. Can hear the truck coming a mile away.

Gravel Rat
01-15-2010, 09:46 PM
Nothing is as loud as a 24 valve even 12 valve I pump Cummins.

Well I'am approved for up to 31,000 I doubt I will even spend that much. If the 550 looks as good as it does from the pictures it should be a good buy.

Spending some restless sleeps thinking about do I want to chance another 6.0 I know where I can find a 2005 F-550 4x4 XLT cab and chassis for 18,000 the truck has 225,000kms (140,000 miles).

The smoother ride would be nice with the coil springs but they are not as long lasting as leaf springs. You have the two radius arm bushings that are getting lots of wear every day. The track bar is another part that sees lots of wear it is what holds the axle center between the fenders.

The little bit of turning radius would be nice but then again turn too sharp the rear wheels go in to the weeds with the off track.

With the 4 wheeldrive yes I'am still debating it. Having it is nice in some situations but when it comes to repairs :cry:

The transfercase used in a F-550 is the same thing what is used in a F-250 so in a F-550 the transfercase is seeing lots of stress. Hubs are more expensve and the extra 4 U joints that wear out.

TerraVenture
01-16-2010, 02:48 PM
I had a 2004 f550 4x4 auto and I currently have a 2006 f550 4x4 auto. The 06 is way better. Just the turning radius is awesome. I haven't noticed much of a difference in ride quality. As for the braking the 2006 has much beeter brakes. I load my truck heavy ususaaly around 19-20k. I have been as heavy as 24k! I replaced the back brakes at around 50k miles and the fronts I replaced at 65k but that was only because I lost one of the pads. There was still more than 50% pad left. When ever I have a load I put the tranny in tow haul mode which gives real good engine braking by changthe shift points so the tranny shifts down.

ProTouch Groundscapes
01-16-2010, 05:10 PM
i dont know why we all waste time posting, its apparent Gravel Rat lives on the side of Mt. Everest so all of our experiences pale in comparison...

White Gardens
01-16-2010, 05:27 PM
GV, what was the wheelbase on the truck you bought.

I'm finding cab and chassis F-550's with the 141" wheelbase. That would be excellent for turning.

Gravel Rat
01-17-2010, 01:20 AM
For a truck wheelbase I need a 165 reg cab the truck needs a 11.5 foot flatdeck I haul long lengths of lumber that can be upto 20 feet long I have hauled 24 foot long beams what is wrong with 12 feet of over hang :laugh:

I'am still considering a newer truck ie a 05 or newer. I have read in quite a few places on the net that the new suspension is a vast improvement over the leaf springs.

I even read that a guy spent a hole pile of money to convert a 2001 F-450 4x4 into the newer suspension. The truck is a 200 inch wheelbase with the old suspension it had a 79 foot turning circle and with the new suspension is was 68 or 58 can't remember it was a considerable difference. A truck like my F-450 has a fairly large turning circle never measured it, like I said if I pull out onto a street I need to cut over 1 lane to make the turn.

I looked up the brake spec's on the 05 and newer F-450/550 the brakes are larger than what is used on the previous models. The brakes on the 05 and newer 450/550s don't share any parts with the F-250/350 trucks like the previous F-450/550 trucks do.

Good braking power is on my priority list I already have had too many scary rides with over heating brakes and places where the brakes don't hold.

You have to watch going down a hill the brakes can over heat real easy which ends up with no brakes. My old 1 tons it wasn't uncommon to decend hills in first gear (4spds) the 5spd trucks was in second gear. Just the way it is when your decending a good highway grade with some curves and a truck with 3 tons on its back.

The F-550 I used to drive is supposidy on its third set of front brakes if its the case the truck needs brake pads every 27,000 miles.

Mr. Digger
01-17-2010, 03:47 AM
what about this trucks GR it would be a little bit of a drive for you but. If you flew fights are about $125 from van to calgary. Its 4x4. It has reasonable miles. Tires look good. And it looks like it has some options.
http://www.autotrader.ca/used_cars_Light+Truck+&+SUVs_details/CALGARY_Alberta_2006_FORD_F-550+XLT+12'+FLATDECK_3509223.html?srcid=6904134&source=27&pgno=1&srt=10&CompanyID=20080502122424188&r=calgaryalberta&ad-attributes=photos

Gravel Rat
01-17-2010, 04:41 AM
I have been looking at trucks from Alberta too.

Still debating do I want to have a 4x4 yes it works for some of the traction issues I have.

For one you have more parts to wear out and more parts to service. A 4x4 pickup is far different than a F-450/550 that weighs 9000lbs empty.

Like I said it cost my neighbour down the road big money to have the front axle repaired in his 550 4x4. All 4 ball joints replaced both U joints replace in the axles new seals etc and 2500 dollars later.

The other thing I don't even know if 4 wheeldrive will help in the places people want me to go. May get down into a place and try get back out and I can't now you have to find one of the contractors 4x4 backhoes to come and pull you out. Tow truck can't get you unless the truck has 2000 feet of winch cable.

Drove across a part of a persons yard that has grass on it the otherday. My truck sunk 6 inches into the ground with a empty truck. Soon as the front tires hit the grass they started to sink. I felt the truck sink and oh crap I made it but left a little mess with some deep tire ruts.

I have a choice buy a 4x4 with 108,000kms (67,000 miles) for 27,000 or buy a 2wd with 56,000 kms (34,000 miles) for the same price. A difference of 52,000kms is quite abit which is 2 years worth of driving for me.

Alberta has lots of 4x4 F-450/550s they work fine because your dealing with flat land and mud.

In the lower corner of this province if you want a 4x4 450/550 you have to order it new they usually are not stocked on dealers lots. A 4x4 option adds over 5000 dollars to the price of a truck.

White Gardens
01-17-2010, 11:32 AM
I have been looking at trucks from Alberta too.

Still debating do I want to have a 4x4 yes it works for some of the traction issues I have.

For one you have more parts to wear out and more parts to service. A 4x4 pickup is far different than a F-450/550 that weighs 9000lbs empty.


I'm considering that also. With weight in my 87 350 dually dump, I can plow snow with little to no problems. But, it's nice to know you have the 4wd capabilities when you really need it, say if someone runs you into a ditch, etc...

If I find a 550 with 4wd, I question how much it actually would get used. I've gotten 4wd trucks just as easy as a 2wd.

If you are worried about it, how about a winch in the front of the truck to help you get unstuck.

Gravel Rat
01-17-2010, 01:55 PM
The thing with 4 wheeldrive you take more chances and get stuck farther into a bad little hole.

Where I have gone with my trucks the driveway is barely wide enough to fit the truck. You can't back in because your unable to see out the mirrors the brush and tree branches are in the way.

It is time to force the homeowners to pay for a machine to carry material in or out of their jobsite.

Gravel Rat
01-17-2010, 04:13 PM
Another thing I'am wondering how far do I really want to sink myself into debt.

With 2010 starting with barely any work going on. One of the owner operator dump trucks said he has worked 1 hour this month. Hasn't made enough money to make a truck payment or the insurance.

Anybody in the excavating business are sucking the bank account dry to keep paying the payments with no work out there. Some contractors have given up on paying bills and owe other companies 40-50 grand and upwards of 100 grand.

Heard on the news this morning that the USA economy is going to be dead for sometime to come. The economy isn't recovering at a slower rate than what was predicted.

That will effect the lumber industry around here which effects everything else. No market for the logs no work for the loggers and resource industry that spreads the money around.

If I bought the 03 F-550 4x4 my payment would be 460 a month. Sell the 03 F-450 for 15 grand it would pay for 50% of the F-550 and use the rest to pay off other debt.

Sure hope the homeowners spend some money this year on landscaping or home renovations. If not I don't think the landscapers and builders will beable to survive another year of very little work.