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Old 12-07-2021, 12:24 AM   #1
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Add a Leaf or Helper Springs for a 4X4

My van is a 2004 Ford E350, RB that was converted to 4X4 in 2005. I have mounted shocks in the past but the Bilsteins I installed 6 years ago will no longer stop the van from rolling even when cornering slowly or dampen the hard jolt from speed bumps.

Front spring packs have alwaus acted mor like "I" beams than progressive springs. The front springs have gone from flat to a slightly reversed arc (forward ends are pointing down about 3/4" from flat/horizontal).

I am looking for a short term fix that will provide temprary support for all 4 spring packs quickly and cheaply. We are plannning to head to Arizona in a week and will be on the road until the end of January. I want to avoid bottoming out my new Fox shocks using something like a helper spring set or an Add-A-Leaf kit.

Helwig makes a set of helper springs that might work and they look like I can install all 4 in 2 to 3 hours. They also have an Add-A-Leaf that is even cheaper but I have to undo the "U" bolts to install them. From what I have read, the nuts on the "U" bolts will be difficult to remove. Since I do not carry a torch, it will be a very slow process.

I've spent several hours searching on-line for shops that can build new spring packs or re-arc the original springs. I must be doing something wrong because most shops that are listed on the first search page will make spring packs but it looks like they are located East of Denver. I have a call out to Betts (Betts in Fresno built the original spring packs) but would be interested to hear about other shops in Arizona or New Mexico that will build or re-arc spring packs for my van. Opinions and insights are welcome.
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Old 12-07-2021, 08:55 AM   #2
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I removed my u bolt easily with a breaker bar and didn't use a torch. And if you would need one: Harbor freight or ace have them for USD 20-40, plugging onto regular propane containers you're using on your standard camp stove.
In case you destroy them, you could order new ones at general springs or so.

What you could also do before you untighten them is cutting the threads of the "left over length" above the nuts.

Sounds like the quickest and easiest fix.
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Old 12-07-2021, 03:52 PM   #3
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Alcan springs is in Grand Junction, Co on the western border. Probably couldn't make a set in time but they might have parts where could do it yourself. If not hit a junk yard and start looking at leaf springs on 1 ton trucks. Look for a short leaf with some arch to it. If the nuts on your U bolts face up you have a good chance. Drown them in PB blaster. You would better off to get new Ubolts and nuts. They are not meant to be reused. But are fairly easy to find.
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Old 12-13-2021, 01:48 AM   #4
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https://www.denverspringandsuspension.com
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Old 12-13-2021, 01:56 AM   #5
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I had Denver Spring and Suspension add-a-leaf on my van. They will weigh each corner, front and back an determine size, length and which layer to locate the leaf for the height your looking for. New U-bolts all around. Had them do the alignment, too.
Extremely happy with them, the lift and the alignment! https://www.denverspringandsuspension.com/
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Old 12-13-2021, 02:13 PM   #6
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I had Deaver springs install a new set of springs all around several years back. They got it level but after a few months it started to sag a bit in the rear so they shipped me a helper leaf and I had a local shop install it. Been fine since. Most heavy equipment shops should be able to to do the job for less than the smaller shops. I was quoted 400+ bucks by a suspension shop to do the job but a local heavy equipment shop did it for 125. It was worth getting quotes.
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Old 12-14-2021, 09:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb View Post
I had Deaver springs install a new set of springs all around several years back. They got it level but after a few months it started to sag a bit in the rear so they shipped me a helper leaf and I had a local shop install it. Been fine since. Most heavy equipment shops should be able to to do the job for less than the smaller shops. I was quoted 400+ bucks by a suspension shop to do the job but a local heavy equipment shop did it for 125. It was worth getting quotes.
Using a "big truck" shop is the only way to go on most any van/truck spring issue. Even our largest or heaviest E-Series are like toys to them. In fact when it come to aligning wheels in the 16" diameter range often times they don't have the proper tools to fit them, they're too small.

NO man wants to hear that!
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