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Old 04-08-2021, 12:47 PM   #1
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Front end bottoming out - Salem Kroger build

Hi! Question for you suspension experts:

I have a 2002 E350 Super Duty that was modified by Salem Kroger. They put 2003 F250 leafs in the front, and I'm unsure whether I need to replace them. When I'm driving off trail, it doesn't take much to bottom out and hit the bump stops. While I'm fairly new to off road driving, I'm pretty sure either the springs are getting old, or they need a bit of extra lift.

My question is: how do I know when the leafs are old? I understand if they sag then it's time to replace. However, I think these leafs are designed to be sort of "flat" in shape. Do I replace them, or do I find a new leaf that adds an extra inch of clearance?

I attached some photos of the front driver leaf.

Thanks!
Attached Thumbnails
front suspension 2.jpg   front suspension 1.jpg  
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Old 04-08-2021, 01:33 PM   #2
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From the photos, it looks like you have about an inch of up travel, but it's kinda of hard to tell. Nevertheless, you need some additional travel. It's unlikely you can travel much further up prior to the diff hitting the cross member. Ideally, the bump stop hits just prior to that happening. So, to get more travel, you need to increase the distance to the bump stop at rest. The best way to do this is to increase the arc in the springs. You could simply add an additional leaf or two, but that would increase the spring rate (how much force is needed to deflect the spring upward ) resulting in a harsher ride. Ideally springs are designed for the weight of each axle eliminating any excessive rate. So, for additional travel and a better ride, a set of springs designed for your axle weight and desired lift height will help eliminate excessive bottoming, but other factors come into play too. Increased lift height may require longer shocks. You could also install softer, more progressive bump stops, but that wouldn't increase the travel any.
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Old 04-09-2021, 11:15 AM   #3
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Thanks for the advice! From what I'm gleaning, you're saying that I need to increase the arc height of my springs to get a little more travel between the bump stops and the axle. Can one simply add an additional spring? Or is it wise to buy a spring with additional springs?

Here's a link to the springs I'm looking at. The "HD" style has a higher weight capacity, and I'm wondering if that would help keep me from bottoming out? I suppose that may not give me extra height, but it will be stiffer, and from what you're saying that might help me stay away from the stops.

https://www.truckspring.com/Search.aspx?keyword=43-818

Thanks for your help!
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Old 04-09-2021, 07:38 PM   #4
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Agree with Arctictaveller
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Old 04-10-2021, 11:27 AM   #5
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A stiffer spring will reduce bottoming out at the expense of a harsher ride and possibly your spine. Springs are designed for the weight they are expected to hold up, not to keep the axle off the bump stops. If you don't mind increasing the pounding you could expect with stiffer springs, you certainly could additional leaves, or stiffer ones. If you want to improve the ride, and gain additional suspension travel, springs designed for your vans weight, with more / thinner leaves will provide a more progressive spring rate (softer at first and stiffer as the spring reaches max compression). Additional arch will raise the body up, increasing the distance to the bump stop.
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