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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been on the hunt now for something to carry the weight in/of my truck a bit better. Truck in sig plus a 160lb ARE DCU camper shell with a tool box on the driver's side that has about 150lbs in it. I have a 5,000lb trailer that I'd eventually like to tow with this truck. I load up with tools and equipment about once a month. The total load is 700-900lbs, depending on specific items that are/aren't needed.

Fully-loaded, the truck has maybe an inch from the bump stops, and it sits on the bumps if two of us sit on the tailgate. Unladen, the truck's leafs are flat enough to put a straight-edge on. They bend to a mild "W" under load.

Here's what I've found/solicited:

Airbags
Decided against this because I want something set-and-forget. Works well for others.

Timbren SES
These are like extended-length progressive rubber bumpstops. They are supposed to be less jolting than bottoming out on the factory bump stops. I liked that they are set-and-forget. Excellent pre-sales service.

SumoSprings
Like the Timbrens, but they are taller, and made of foam. Supposedly designed to have maybe 1/2" before contact. Excellent pre-sales service.

Deaver Leaf Springs
Sales rep recommended adding a few leafs to the existing pack. Cost estimated to be around $500-600.

Alcan Leaf Springs
Excellent pre-sales service. They can custom-build a leaf pack specifically to my needs. Cost estimated to be $690 with a 3-4 week lead time.

Atlas Leaf Springs
Called twice and sent an email. Been a week and haven't heard back.

General Springs KC
They make a 5-leaf HD pack for $199 per side. https://www.generalspringkc.com/product_p/69-285hd.htm
After seeing this post by shift_RUSH, this is the option that is currently at the top of my list. Sounds like the perfect mix of price and performance. Sent them an email and will see how their pre-sales service goes. I'm thinking of getting these springs first, and then the SumoSprings later on to compliment them.
 

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I would also look at OME (Old Man Emu). They have good leaf springs and I believe they have different versions like Medium and Heavy Duty. A few guys on here have them and seem to like them. They seem to be pretty decently priced compared to full pack Deavers and Alcans.
 

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I'm about to get the OME suspension setup. Medium springs, wish I'd have gone with heavy now that I'm considering an ARB bumper.

I'll post here what I think of them when they're installed. I still need to get in touch with nisstec to see if they've arrived and get them installed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
After clicking around, I called up a local shop for a quote on the OME CS150R springs (medium duty). Seems like OME's springs are under-rated, so even though the 150s are rated for 150lbs over, I think it should be plenty. One member posted that the medium duties are great for all-around and the ride isn't much more different than stock. The 151s are rated for 800lbs over, but one person posted that ARB tech said they are good for 1500lbs.
 

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2007 LE 4x4 Crew Cab Long Box
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With that much weight, I would seriously reconsider airbags. Takes all of 15 seconds to fill and/or deflate and can handle that heavy weight with any spring
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I ordered the 69-285HD springs yesterday from General Springs KC. Total cost OTD was $547.54. That includes the two leaf packs, four bushings for the rear eyes, four U-bolts, and UPS shipping.

I decided against the OME springs because some members posted about getting over 3" of lift from the 150Rs. I'm with shift_RUSH in that I want nearly zero lift, but added weight capacity. Those two wants are mutually exclusive, and the 69-285HDs seem like they'll give the least amount of lift while having added capacity. Person on the phone said I'd get around 1-1 1/2 inches of lift, and shift_RUSH got two inches iirc.

I'll try just the leaf springs first and revisit if I feel that I need bags or SumoSprings.

Here's measurements that I took in case they can help someone else.

OEM Leaf Spring Measurements:
45mm leaf pack thickness
60mm leaf pack wd.

OEM U bolts:
Square bend
M12x1.25mm x 62mm inside wd x 145mm lg
7mm thread remaining

Thickness of 69-285HD springs:
1 15/16" (49.2mm)

With 7mm thread remaining and a difference in thickness of the leaf packs of 4.2mm, technically the factory U-bolts should work. But I decided to get new ones anyway since I don't like reusing U-bolts if I can help it. Problem is, General Springs KC (like most places) makes and sells imperial U-bolts. Worst case is I might have to do some filing, or keep them for the tractor and find a place that makes metric ones, or just reuse the factory ones.

I ordered the following size:
7/16" dia x 2 1/2" wd x 6" lg
11.1mm x 63.5mm x 152.4mm

152.4mm - 145mm of the factory U-bolts gives me 7.4mm of additional length overall, minus the 4.2mm additional leaf pack thickness will net me 3.2mm additional length overall, plus the 7mm of thread left on the factory U-bolts means I should have around 10mm of thread remaining after threading on the nuts, assuming the nuts are approximately the same height. If the imperial nuts are taller then I still have some leeway.
 

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You should never reuse u bolts for axels or anything drivetrain or suspension related.

Why is there such a need for metric vs imperial hardware?


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The thing with unloaded bed and HD springs is that you will never forget. Each time you hit a bump in the road and the back end bucks your going to be pissed.

Put about 50 lbs in the airbags to haul a load of mulch/wood chips. Truck bed was then totally empty and sans camper shell. Forgot to release the air and the back end was hitting SOOO hard. Glad I was able to change my spring rate back to something a little more reasonable by just releasing air.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You should never reuse u bolts for axels or anything drivetrain or suspension related.

Why is there such a need for metric vs imperial hardware?


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The factory U-bolts are metric, but aftermarket metric U-bolts are slim pickings off-the-shelf. Imperial U-bolts are pretty much everywhere.

The thing with unloaded bed and HD springs is that you will never forget. Each time you hit a bump in the road and the back end bucks your going to be pissed.

Put about 50 lbs in the airbags to haul a load of mulch/wood chips. Truck bed was then totally empty and sans camper shell. Forgot to release the air and the back end was hitting SOOO hard. Glad I was able to change my spring rate back to something a little more reasonable by just releasing air.
Guess I'll wait and see. My truck has a 160lb camper shell and about 150lbs of tools in the tool box, so I think I'll have enough weight to not make the ride too stiff. My idea of "too stiff" is probably skewed since I have a Ford F250 crew cab long bed that's leaf-sprung all around, with 34" load range E Nitto Dura Grappler highway tires.

Unladen, the cab shakes so bad on concrete freeways that water will splash around in bottles and anything not tied down will be bounced around. And that's with the Rancho RS9000s set at full soft with the tires at 45psi all-around. When I first bought it and it had 35" Wrangler MT/Rs and dual ES3000 front shocks, it was like being constantly beat with a pillow whenever I drove it.

With about 1,000lbs in the bed, front tires at 50psi, rears at 80psi, and a 5,000lb trailer hitched on, it rides about as nice as the Frontier currently does empty. FWIW, it's not even close to touching the overload springs with that weight.
 

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Yes so if you’re not reusing hardware I would imagine a standard set would work fine then.


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HD Generalsprings installed on my '15 SV about 10 weeks ago. W/ ARE topper & no cargo, my truck handles speed bumps even better than the stock springs. Ride is just a bit firmer than stock. My greatest fear was regretting this upgrade. No regrets at all.
Springs have settled about 1/8" since installation. Currently sitting at 35 & 7/8 inches in back w/ stock sized 265/70-16s.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Installed the General Springs over the weekend. Did the entire job myself. Took me around 2 hours a side. I loosened all the bolts at once, but worked on one spring at a time so that way the other spring could hold the axle in place. Very pleased with how it turned out overall.

IMO these should be the springs that the truck came with. There is barely any discernible difference in ride quality. Did not use axle shims and have no driveline vibrations. There's a washboard part of the freeway near me, and at worst it shakes a tiny bit more if anything at all. If I was told that these were the factory springs, I would've 110% believed it.

Body roll is reduced noticeably. I have to make a hard 90 degree right then a hard 90 degree left into my neighborhood, and now I can take those corners at 25mph without feeling like I'm gonna lean into the center console. Before I'd take it at about 15mph.

The funny part is that the OEM springs were so sagged out, that the General Springs lifted the truck...to nearly stock height LOL. The OEM springs had a mild "W" shape while unladen, except my camper shell and tools. The General Springs sit nearly flat (have a tiny bit of arch).

FSM wheel arch heights for a crew cab 4x4 V6:
Front: 34.61" (~34 5/8")
Rear: 35.63" (~35 5/8")

My truck before (stock springs):
LF 34 3/8"
RF 34 3/8"
LR 34 1/4"
RR 34 1/4"

My truck after (General Spring KC 69-285HD):
LF 34 3/8"
RF: 34 3/8"
LR: 35 1/2"
RR: 35 1/2"

Again, that's with my 160lb ARE DCU camper shell with 150lbs of tools in the tool box. Without the shell, I'd guess you'd be closer to shift_RUSH and net 1/4" lift over the factory measurements.

Also, the U-bolts that I bought with the springs are a perfect fit. I have about half an inch of thread remaining.
Size I got was 7/16" (rod diameter) x 2 1/2" (inside width) x 6" (length). I bought them from General Springs KC and they are bare steel, so I cleaned 'em with brake cleaner, scrubbed them with steel wool, primed with Rustoleum self-etching primer, and painted with Quick Color flat black.

Because my truck is essentially back to stock height now, I'll consider getting the SumoSprings SSR-610-40 (1000lb) to compliment the General Springs. I'll load the truck up and see how I like it without them first. I have an aversion to the -47s (1500lb) because I do off-road with this truck and I would rather take a bit more sag while towing over having less flex off-road. Iv'e read that the -40s compress down to ~3" when the axle articulates, which shouldn't hinder off-road performance much if at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Update:

After about 500 miles on the springs, they've settled 3/8". I'm now at 34 3/8" front, 35 1/8" rear.

I've been talking with SumoSprings regarding an adequate setup for my...setup. Due to the sag and the recommended gap between the SumoSpring and the frame, they recommended the SSR-612 kit spec'ed for Tacomas, which is shorter than the SSR-610 kit that's normally spec'ed for Frontiers.

However, if the springs continue to sag, I'd probably be riding on the SumoSprings all the time anyway, just with lower ride height. So I think I'll get the SSR-610-40 kit and just ride on them from the get-go. Member problyhuman seems to have done just that with no ill effects. https://www.clubfrontier.org/forums/f26/sumosprings-initial-thoughts-182890/

I strongly considered airbags (Firestone RideRite #2558, the updated version: https://www.clubfrontier.org/forums/f26/part-2558-firestone-ride-rite-aibags-232665/ ) because several others seem very satisfied, but because of some of the "roads" that I go on, I don't want to risk tearing an airbag, having to put limit straps on the axle, or using those DayStar airbag cradles. At which point, I'd basically have pneumatic SumoSprings, when I could just use actual SumoSprings and it'd be set-and-forget.
 

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Update:

I strongly considered airbags (Firestone RideRite #2558, the updated version: https://www.clubfrontier.org/forums/f26/part-2558-firestone-ride-rite-aibags-232665/ ) because several others seem very satisfied, but because of some of the "roads" that I go on, I don't want to risk tearing an airbag, having to put limit straps on the axle, or using those DayStar airbag cradles. At which point, I'd basically have pneumatic SumoSprings, when I could just use actual SumoSprings and it'd be set-and-forget.
I have Firestone bags on my Dodge. I
Changed spring pack with a progressive one.
Removed overloads. Great off road but now it is used more for towing. Installed the airbags. Does exactly what it is suppose to do. I like it because you can adjust for different loads/ trailers.
You can’t imagine where this truck goes, no problems st all.
 

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Quick trip down to garage just now and rear HDs still sitting at 35 & 7/8" w/ no air in bags (no cargo except ARE topper). Total usage: 3+ months & 3500 miles - usually carrying an additional 450 lbs of cargo M-F.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
In an interesting turn of events, I ended up buying problyhuman's SSR-610-40 SumoSprings. He removed them before trading in his Frontier. His thread (linked above) and a few chats with him and his experiences with both the Sumos and Timbrens are what convinced me to try the SumoSprings over the Timbrens.

Installed them this morning and I'm very pleased with the results. As suspected, the truck sits on the SumoSprings (no gap between the top of the SumoSprings and the bump pads on the frame).

Wheel arch measurements:
FSM for CC 4x4 V6:
Front: 34.61" (34 5/8")
Rear: 35.63" (35 5/8")

Before SumoSprings (500mi on General Springs):
F: 34 3/8"
R: 35 1/8"

After SumoSprings (20mi test drive loop to settle the springs):
LF: 34 3/8"
RF: 34 3/8"
LR: 35 1/2"
RR: 35 5/8"

Yup, the truck sits 1/8" lower on the driver's side rear than the passenger side rear. That's also the side with the tool box that has 100lbs in it. Not sure why it was level without the Sumos and unlevel with them. Could be imperfections in the frame's bump pads (since the suspension rests on them now) or the SumoSprings. Doesn't bother me though.

As for driveability, I'm very impressed. Body roll is further reduced, as is "squat" when accelerating from a dead stop. Those hard 90-degree turns to get into my neighborhood? I took those at 30 and the truck felt planted, so I took 'em at 40 and did a small drift. Before with the factory leaf springs and no SumoSprings, I'd take 'em at 15 and the truck felt a little tippy, so I never went faster.

With no load (except the camper shell and other crap I keep in the truck), the noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) increased marginally in certain conditions. The worst is the washboard concrete freeway near me. In my unloaded F250, I'd have to death-grip the wheel because the truck would shake so bad.

With the General Springs and Sumos in the Frontier, the best I can describe it is that the medium-resonance bumps on that stretch of washboard concrete freeway are slightly more noticeable. Sort of feels like the bump you get if you're walking in a crowd and someone lightly bumps into you, just over-and-over again. Hit railroad tracks at 50, washboard dirt roads, those freakin' concrete dips at intersections for rain water drainage, cracked and potholed city streets, etc and it's all the same as before or insignificant enough to not notice. I threw some change in the cup holder and it doesn't rattle.

After the unloaded run, I loaded 500lbs in the bed and went for a loop. I biased the weight toward the passenger side, and here's the measurements:

LF: 34 1/4"
RF: 34 1/4"
LR: 35"
RR: 34 7/8"

For perspective, with that much weight on the stock leaf springs, the truck was at 33 1/4" in the rear, so I essentially gained 1 3/4" lift in the rear while carrying the same weight. The truck rides better loaded up than unloaded, which I sort of expected. I'd say the truck rides just as good loaded up with 500lbs now than it did while it was empty with the stock springs.

In hindsight, knowing what I know now, I would've liked to try the 1,500lb SumoSprings (SSR-610-47) with the stock leafs before they wore out and reverse-arched. I'm certain that would've given me nearly the same, if not a better result for less elbow grease and money. But as of now, SumoSprings has made me a customer for life. I'll get them on every vehicle that I buy that they make them for, just because they save wear on the factory leaf springs without inducing bone-jarring ride quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Took the truck off-road for the first time since installing the Sumos. Overall, it did about as well as I expected. The Sumos compress to around 2 1/4" tall, while the factory bump stops compress to around 3/4" tall, so I lost some articulation. On one particular track, I used to be able to do it in 2WD, but I actually got "stuck" this time around, in 4WD high, teetering on opposite-corner wheels. I backed up and took a line about a foot to the left and was able to make it through.

On the flip side, I have more ground clearance in the rear and a better angle of departure, so the mud guards and the trailer hitch don't scrape anymore. I'd still recommend the Sumos to anyone that's in the same scenario. The improved load capabilities and lessened body roll are a good trade-off for the loss of articulation. I can still get to where I need to go off-road, without having to drag the trailer hitch through the dirt to get there!
 

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