2002 Ford Ranger - Leaf Springs Need Love, TooPosted in Project Vehicles on March 1, 2006 0) (
The last thing many people think about on their vehicles is leaf-spring maintenance. Because of the type of abusive work environment that leaf springs are designed to operate in, it is easy to install a set and forget about them for the life of the vehicle. Due to improper loads, inferior spring metal, corrosion, and other leaf-spring hazards, leaf springs can slowly lose their ability to articulate or hold ride height over time. Just like anything else on your vehicle, leaf-spring packs need to be maintained from time to time.
For a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on when refurbishing, or "race prepping," a set of leaf springs, we turned to leaf-spring experts Deaver Spring in Santa Ana, California. Deaver Spring has been around since 1892, back when the primary customers were those with horse-drawn carriages and when a series of overhead belts and pulleys powered the equipment. Since those olden days, leaf-spring technology has improved by leaps and bounds, and Deaver still uses equipment running off the same belt-and-pulley system. Many of the high-end lift kits from other suspension companies you are no doubt familiar with use private-label Deaver-made spring packs. While its application list is extensive, Deaver places a heavy emphasis on the 4x4 community.
Back when we were running a lift kit on our Project RangeRunner Ford Ranger, we had Deaver build us one of its custom long-travel spring packs. Jeff Crosby, who operates Deaver with his father Gary, nailed down what we wanted on the first try. Ride quality, height, and spring rates were exactly what we were looking for, yet at 500 pounds, we still had enough load capacity for the tongue weight of a trailer or all the gear we take when exploring the backcountry. Seeing as we have changed the mission of RangeRunner, we had to decide what to do with our rear leaf pack. Since we felt that this pack worked so well with our truck, we decided to keep it and have it de-arched, retuned, and race prepped. Follow along as Deaver ace spring-fitter Erik Wehn took us through the process of refurbishing our leaf pack.
Lastly, Erik reinstalled our Deaver Springs, where once again, the desired ride height and performance were right on the money and we were able to enjoy our 17 inches of rear wheel travel.