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Old 05-10-2016, 02:10 PM   #1
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Leaf springs - Deaver or SMB replacement?

Its time to replace my front leaf springs. Talking to Deaver today they certainly can make me a new replacement set but suggest replacing my front and back at the same time with their specific SMB replacements. As well pan head and do some mods to ubolt/shock mount as well as new shocks from them.
He said he's done a number of SMB's, anyone out there willing to share their experiences?
Its a lot of $$$ so would like to hear if anyone experienced a difference.
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Old 05-10-2016, 07:27 PM   #2
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Great question to put out to the community gnty. I have the Deaver "package" that I believe Deaver is recommending.
The set up was a huge improvement over what the van was like before. But, though my van was stock as is came from SMB in 05,
when I bought it in 2010 it had been crashed by the previous owner and straighten out buy an orangutan. So I'm not sure if
my before assessment is what all stock '05 SMB's are like. Before the front axle had 1" of up travel, the rear was around 2"
and with the original Old Man Emu shocks with 60k miles on them. So to say it rode bad is an understatement. It was dangerous.
So to go with the Deaver setup was almost a no brainier for me At the time, 2010. It seemed to be the set up to have if you
wanted to keep with leaf springs.

It was pricey but I thought it was digestible because on mine they did the following.
Front and Rear spring packs
Bilstein shocks front with remote reservoir, rear conventional all valved to their spec
New pan hard bar with urethane bushings
New axle perch (these are to reinforce the one SMB had that seemed to fail)
New U bolts and grade 8 hardware all over
New Rear shackle to accommodate their spring
I might be forgetting something else but that's the big stuff.
Dropped off the van and a week later all good.
4,450$

To answer your question what's it like now. I feel it's what the van should have rode like from SMB. As if this should have
been the starting point. It feels like I actually have a suspension that is "working". One of the short comings is that with the
Deavers I still only have about 3"-4" of up travel before hitting the stops. However the ride is progressive and predictable. I
haven't seemed to have any weird events like death wobble, etc. Also I'm currently replacing the spring bushings because the rubber
in the conventional bushings has turned to snot allowing the springs to walk back and forth.

Finally, if I was to do it today I would wonder what is available today 6 years later that could be even better.
Even with a solid front axle. Perhaps some of the forum members close to the suspension community could chime in.
I haven't kept up with the posts involving the independent front suspensions but I could see that being
a big leap forward, albeit a very drastic one to throw your solid Dynatrac front axle out.

I hope this helps. I have no regrets for going with Deaver and an old school set up.
-Eric
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:43 PM   #3
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Night & day on my EB. Can't say why... only know going with Deaver Springs has been one of the best upgrades I've done. Others have had mixed opinions but they (Deaver) did me good. Make sure to beef-up the shock mounts up front depending on what year they did the build if needed. My 06 SMB mounts broke on me.
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Old 05-11-2016, 04:14 PM   #4
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Such great feed back you two. Thanks very much. I mainly only need the front springs but makes sense to change front and back out at the same time. I haven't heard of anyone else that is doing replacements for SMB's. I have a couple Ujoint units with ATLAS progressive springs and really like them. But i'm just not sure they have the experience with SMB's/Dynatrac etc. Maybe i'm overthinking it and there's nothing special about SMB springs per say, but i'd really feel more comfortable knowing who ever builds mine have done a number of SMB's and has experience with them. Deaver sounded like they did.
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Old 05-12-2016, 02:57 PM   #5
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Do we know what springs SMB base theirs off of? 99-04 super duty or mid 90's ford or are they custom length and spec?
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Old 05-12-2016, 09:47 PM   #6
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Expensive upgrade, but one of the best I've done. And the guys at Deaver stand behind their product and work. I had them do a few tweaks to mine after the install and they took care of me no questions asked.

Definitely recommend them. Do the full package!
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Old 05-13-2016, 12:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnty View Post
Do we know what springs SMB base theirs off of? 99-04 super duty or mid 90's ford or are they custom length and spec?
Not sure on other years, but if I recall correctly mine were Old Man Emu and they sucked... bad IMO. Again It's a heavy EB. I thought SMB ran OME springs/shocks for several years. After the new Ford body style change they may have gone with a different company. Not sure but it seems like most of the newer van owners are a bit happier. My buddy CellularSteve seemed to see a substantial difference between my van and his RB. I think it's an 05.
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Old 05-13-2016, 08:48 AM   #8
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On our 2013 I was told the springs are made by Betts.

Custom Spring Manufacturers | Coil Springs, Leaf Springs, Wire Forms - Betts Spring Manufacturing

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Old 05-13-2016, 09:23 AM   #9
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When two leaves broke on my front springpack, I unfortunately did not have the time to do the Deavers and replaced the fronts with OEM SMB springs. Mine is an '07 and SMB was having them made by Betts Truck Parts, with various locations in CA. It rides OK, but I always wonder what the ride would be like with Deavers.
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Old 05-20-2016, 11:05 AM   #10
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Well i did it...I pulled the trigger on the deavers. I really appreciate all of the feedback and info you willingly provided, it certainly swayed my decision.
Most of the negative feedback i could find was from 2008-2010 but even then deaver made it right for each of those. I'm very excited and will let you know my review when installed. Thanks again!
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