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Old 10-28-2015, 08:03 PM   #1
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Leaf vs Radius Arms, Which manufacturers and when?

I am looking at several different 4x4 vans and was curious about these two different 4x4 conversion styles. Which companies use which and when did they switch? Or was it only an option ever?

Any people that have owned both that can chime in with opinions?

Thanks!
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Old 10-28-2015, 10:14 PM   #2
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Re: Leaf vs Radius Arms, Which manufacturers and when?

Leaf: SMB, U-Joint, & Advance 4x4. Salem Kroger did them too while they were around

Radius Arm Solid axle (aka current Super Duty): QuadVan, a few S/Ks before they closed.

Quick and dirty run-down: Coil springs generally ride better, and offer better control in some situations because caster angle is controlled. Leaf springs can offer more articulation, provided there is enough bump travel. That said, the overall ride and handling is affected by many more things than just what type of spring they have.

Are those really the only two setups you are considering? There's also TTB IFS (Agile OffRoad and early QuadVans), and 4-link trailing arm solid axle (Quigley).
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Old 10-29-2015, 06:47 PM   #3
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Re: Leaf vs Radius Arms, Which manufacturers and when?

I wouldnt be interested in the TTB, but I didnt know that Quigley used a 4 link, that's pretty cool.

Did they switch to this at some point or was it an option?

Thanks!
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Old 10-29-2015, 08:20 PM   #4
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Re: Leaf vs Radius Arms, Which manufacturers and when?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedAddict502
I wouldnt be interested in the TTB, but I didnt know that Quigley used a 4 link, that's pretty cool.

Did they switch to this at some point or was it an option?

Thanks!
That's the only setup Quigley has ever done on the Fords. I'm not a huge fan. Conceptually its fine, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Plenty of threads on here about the poor ride and handling quality of the Quigleys. Basically, it doesn't have anywhere near enough bump travel, and the angle of the trailing arms means the axle has to push forward during bump, just like forward-shackled leaf springs. Once the setup has any sort of wear in the bushings (which is inevitable because of the inherent binding), death wobbles ensues.

Not all is lost though. Better shocks and taller springs (ala Agile Offload RIP package), as well as upgraded bushings can makes it behave well enough. But why not just do it right from the start with a QuadVan?

TTB definitely has the best ride out of the box, since it offers more travel for the same right height. I did test drive a TTB and SuperDuty-based solid-axle QuadVan back to back, and was surprisingly impressed with the solid-axle setup. I think there's more potential for good high-speed off-road tuning with TTB, but its components aren't as robust as the SuperDuty's Dana-60, and I prefer solid axle for towing very heavy loads. If you're just doing old-fashioned rock-crawling, than setup with the most travel will generally perform the best regardless of spring or linkage type.
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Old 10-31-2015, 02:24 PM   #5
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Re: Leaf vs Radius Arms, Which manufacturers and when?

Even in the different categories there are many differences. We use leaf springs and in that dept there have been many different setups thru the years on other conversions. Shackles up front, shackles in the back, spring length, off the shelf vs custom, different steering setups, many many options.

I only say this because I spend a lot of time discussing how we get our leaf springs to do so well in all conditions. Most guys say that leaves are terrible, etc.

We removed many coil sprung 4x4 van suspensions and replaced with ours. 100% of the time the ride and handling is better and the owner feels more confident in the rig.
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