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Discussion Starter #1
2001 Chev 2wd extended cab long bed. Previous owner hauled a heavy 5'er and installed rear Firestone air bags. My 5'er only has about 1,000 lbs pin weight so the bags are essentially useless. My 01 also has the dual driveshaft but never any noise, if it means anything.


I'd like to permanently remove the lowest (overload) rear spring leaf on both sides, which will drop the bed 1", and rely on the air bags for leveling and "overload" protection while towing. My assumption is that the ride will improve both empty and while towing. Is there anyone here who has done this and/or can tell me if my assumption is correct or why I shouldn't?


It appears to be a simple job, ie: jack it up by the frame to relieve the weight, unbolt the U bolts, slip the leaf out, add washers to the U bolts and tighten it all back up again, but ya never know. If it is feasable I might even have it done instead of DIY.Edited by: Sneaks
 

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Sneaks, when I was pulling a fiver with a pin weight like yours, I pulled the bottom overload (that big ugly leaf) and dropped it about 1.5". No real improvement empty, but sure rode better loaded. I don't have air bags. Present fiver has a pin weight of 2800 pounds (J-scale) so I had to put it back. Still no noticable difference empty. Chevy house pulled mine for $130, and the local mech put 'em back for $80.


Mine is a C3500...if you're running a 2500 that might be a problem with weight.Edited by: jbh2000
 

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Not quite that easy Sneaks. There is a bolt that runs down through the center of the spring pack to hold it together. This topic was discussed over on RV.net. I think they were removing one of the top main leafs to get a better ride with air bags. You need quite a bit of clearance to get th bolt out. Here is the sequence I used to replace my rear shackles and install a caster shims.


1. Jack the back of the truck up until the wheels are off the ground.


2. Install jack stands under the frame just ahead of the front spring hangers.


3. Slide your floor jack under the axle housing and put a little pressure on it.


4. Remove the tires.


5. Undo all the "U" bolts.


6. Let the jack down until you have enough clearance to remove the bolt that holds the spring pack together.


7. I used a couple large "C" clamps to hold the springs together while removing the nut.


8. Loosen the clamps to let the springs relax.


9. I don't remember what I torqued the "U" bolt nuts to but it was a lot.


Hope this helps. Later! Frank
 

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I did all the steps above, but I left the tires on to save some time. I think I had the whole project done in under 2 hours. It was really easy. I also lowered the front a little to get the factory rake back. This also lowered the angle on the front CV joints, and tie-rods, lowered the center of gravity, allows for less air under the truck, and hopefully will gain a small improvement in gas milage.Edited by: Amric
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you all. My real concern was getting a better ride empty, which it was pointed out, won't happen if I remove that big thick lowest spring leaf, though it will improve when loaded. I hate to simply not use the air bags, loaded and/or unloaded, since in principle they should improve both the unladen ride and towing the 5'er if the bottom leaf is removed. It does look like a fairly easy backyard job if one is safety conscious though.


Edited by: Sneaks
 

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I don't have air bags on my HD, but have had them on several rogs in the past. On those putting the air bags @ 5-8 psi helped the empty ride with no other changes. I think that by using that low pressure the rig was riding on the bag and not on the springs. Not a big difference, but noticable on small bumps and gravel roads.
 

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If you want to improve the ride, have you looked at the front bump stops. Mine was resting hard on the bump stops at normal ride height. I don't know what they were thinking with that setup.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have about 3/16" clearance between the stop and the leaf above it on the front. Way more on the rear. If we're talking about the same thing. Bump stop on the top at each end of the thick bottom "overload" leaf. Maybe my air bags are lifting it off a bit since they are pressurized at about 7-10 lbs.
 

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Were talking about different things. Not on the rear of the truck, but on the front, there are bump stops that are resting on the lower control arms. On mine, they are adding to the stiffness of the torsion bars. I raised the front end up a full inch before I could see air between the bump stop and lower control arm.
 

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What about AXLE-RAP under aceleration and braking?
 

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JRmac said:
What about AXLE-RAP under aceleration and braking?




So far so good. I was beating on it really good yesturday. Lots of wheel spin in 1st and 2nd, but no wheel hop. Corners better to.
 

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Shortly after purchasing our '02 3500 I had the longest removable spring taken out of each side on the rear and added Air Lift Air Bags ... empty ride improved greatly (also added Bilsteins) and the towing/hauling capactity wasn't reduced ... have been well pleased with this modification ... Jim
 

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Remove it? I added two, so now my truck has 7 leafs on each side
Makes it ride and feel like a real work truck.
 
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