Rear Coil Spring Spacers
Boy is this ugly!! or what??
I had OME rear springs, and they worked great but after installing the rear storage area, I started carrying all of the recovery gear, tools, and the other heavy stuff in the back. That placed more weight over the rear tires and so I lost an inch of lift. So I installed rubber spacer rings between the closely wound coils of the OME springs and got the inch of lift back. When fully loaded the ride quality and height was where just how I wanted it, but if I removed the gear the ride became way too stiff, and the truck assumed the stinkbug attitude.
After closely looking at my budget and all the options I decided that the way to go is Airlift Airbags inside the stock springs. The airbags in the rear springs will give me the ability to adjust the ride height to the load and in doing so keep the ride quality consistent. The OMEs with the rubber spacer have the right height, but are way too stiff and not adjustable, so installing the airbags in them would make them even stiffer. The stock springs are too soft, so the airbags ought to fix that problem..
The stock springs are shorter than the OMEs and airbags do not give lift, they only increase the spring rate of the airbag/spring combination. So using the stock springs is going to cost 3" of lift. Not Good. A coil spring spacer on top of the coil would give me some lift back, but the commercial ones that I priced were around $100, just for 2 spacers. That's not good either.
Somewhere I heard of somebody else making spacers for their vehicle out of a wood/plastic composite used in decking. They claimed that the stuff could take the load and was easy to work with regular woodworking tools. At the local commercial lumber yard I found a product called "Trex". It is about 50/50 mix of wood and recycled plastic and is advertised to be very weather resistant. It can take 625 psi of load perpendicular to the grain and has a flashpoint of 698 f (370 c). It sounded like it might do the job.
It's 1 1/2 inch thick and I cut 4 6" long pieces.
Then found the center of the pieces
And inscribed 6" circles on them.
Using the bandsaw, I trimmed the corners off. Then cut out the center of 2 of the pieces so the spacers would fit over the stock mount on the frame. I used sheet rock screws to screw them together.
There is approximately 11.6 sqin of surface area that contacts the body. At a load rating of 625 psi the spacer should be able to take compression load of 7250 lbs.
WARNING!!!! After rereading the specifications on the material used, I noticed that the load specifications for this material were for temperatures BELOW 130 f and that there was NO data for temperatures above that. If you live in a cold climate that might not be a problem, but here in Arizona in the summer, +130 f underbody temperatures are a possibility. IF these spacers fail for any reason I will post that information here.
Once I pulled the springs I took the rubber isolator from the body and placed it on the spacer.
Placed the spacer on the top of the spring and reinstalled the spring.
Before installing the spacer here is what I had with stock springs.
After the spacer install
Almost a Full 3" of lift.
It has been pointed out that sheet rock screws may not be able to take the lateral loads if any are on the spacer. As a result I will removed them and devised this method that will be better able to take those side loads. Instead of using the sheet rock screws to take any side loads, I decided to nest the sections together and let the material itself take the loads.
Using the drill press as a lathe, I trued up the outer diameter of the spacers and then cut in the step.
After the step was cut in, the other side was dished out. If you want to do this yourself and don't want to try the method I used, you could use a wood lathe. A wood lathe would be FAR safer than the way I did it. Don't have a wood lathe, No Problem you could do all of this with a hand saw, hammer and a SHARP wood chisel. This stuff is really easy to work with.
The one marked top will socket over the spring mount on the frame, and it will socket into the dish of the one marked bottom.
I then assembled them with Constructive adhesive. The adhesive is probably unnecessary, but what the heck couldn't hurt.
Here they are installed.
Notice the heat shield on the driver's side coil.
These spacers are a full inch shorter than the original ones, but the air bag can give up to 1" of lift so I will leave it as is until after the air bag install. If I still need a bit more I can always install another section on the bottom of the new spacers.
Now for the Airbag install