Jump to content

Shock upgrade ideas?

Rat baby

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 14
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Maybe I'm wrong but shocks wont really lift a truck, maybe a tiny bit if your shocks are junk.... you could actually drive around with out shocks, truck wont be any lower, just be over bouncey.... 


Maybe your thinking about air shocks?


Are you trying to raise the whole truck? 

Or just the rear for the heavier loads?

If that's the cause air shocks will get you back to ride height with the extra weight... 

They even sell the self leveling add on air bag kits.... add it right to you existing setup.... something like this...


  • Like 2
Link to comment

Gas (nitrogen) charged shocks may lift a car a fraction of an inch but dion't count on this as this isn't the intent of any make of shock absorber.


There are air shocks that have a bladder that air can be added to to lift and level loads.


There are add on springs and clamps that can be put on existing shocks to increase the load carrying capacity of a vehicle.



I had a '79 Bronco and drove it without front shocks for 5 miles. I'll never do that again. The truck started to bounce and without the shock to dampen this it can get out of hand. The front wheels came right off the ground on the highway!!!

  • Like 2
Link to comment

That was coil spring, no resistance. Leaf springs are self dampening from friction. Shocks help for comfort on  car but how many leaf spring trailers have you seen with shocks? Shock mounts were meant for shock loads not cargo weight. Extra leaves clamp on or add  a leaf is the cheapest and simplest way to go. The clamp ons do make noise. If is in your budget air bags are the best option.

  • Like 2
Link to comment

Yeah it was like a Pogo stick.


Leaves will have some dampening but shocks are a must for vehicle control more than comfort. Agree an extra leaf or more is the best for added weight and ride height but may be hard to live with when empty. My 521 rode like a Cadillac when there was about 600 lbs. in the back.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
2 hours ago, bottomwatcher said:

 If is in your budget air bags are the best option.

Bags will help the best with load leveling. My old man used to put bags on all of his cars in the late 80's/early 90's, for when he had four of his buddies in the back of the Caprice 😂

54 minutes ago, datzenmike said:

My 521 rode like a Cadillac when there was about 600 lbs. in the back.

Seconded. I think my 720 rides better when I have a couple hundred pounds in the back. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
9 hours ago, bottomwatcher said:

Leaf springs are self dampening from friction.


Ah, no......

For the same reason 'friction shocks' were abandoned in the '30s.

From any physics book 101 on friction: 

The very nature of dry friction, as it takes a lot of force to get the surfaces sliding, but once they do, the force required to keep them moving is vary little.

This is the same reason clutch LSDs chatter, and hard street tires, once you have broken them loose, seem to slide so easily.


  • Like 1
Link to comment

I have tried them add on leafs for the cab/chassis 720 trucks, they are terrible and I will never use them again.

What I did was add 2 extra leafs in my leaf pack on my 521 work truck, then I added overload air bags for when I was going to haul firewood, I also had coil over shocks, it was a bit rough when empty, but with the trailer I pull around the ride is fine which is most the time.

Originally before I installed the coil overs I had air shocks, they worked alright, but they are meant to have at least 25lbs pressure in them all the time, it was rough when empty, when I took them out and installed the coil over shocks and the overload air bags, when the truck was empty the air bags had no air in them so the truck had a decent ride, just before loading firewood I would fill them up to 60lbs and then go get the firewood.

  • Like 2
Link to comment

I have an add a leaf in the rear of the 720 to level the lift on the front. Stiff but quiet. I put a bolt on leaf overload on an astro van that I had. It stiffened the ride and gave a small lift. I know this because I drove it into my shop then after installing the springs had to shim the shop door higher to get out. The overloads made noise oiling didn't take it away. I have 5 leaf spring trailers none have shocks or need them. The biggest had 7k of 26ft boat on it and I towed from FL to Maine. Maybe somehow trailer springs are different but are still leaf springs. Always when buying new shocks the difference was much more noticeable in the front over the rears 

  • Like 2
Link to comment

Very helpful. The shocks I was looking at said they would lift my rig 1-2” but now I understand what I’m really after is something to help under load. The last load of wood I got had me bouncing big time. Not very fun. Don’t like to strain my old girl. Would I just need bags on the back or would they be needed up front too? 

  • Like 1
Link to comment

There are various types of overload springs. With a little ingenuity, one could adapt any one of those different types, but I don't think that is what the OP is asking.


Air bags are the best bet, if what you're trying to do is just add some load carrying capacity. They don't change the static spring rate at ride height and won't affect your daily driving. I use them on my tow rig, but on my heavy Chevy (K30 dually 4x4) I have the leaf type of overload.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

There is a point where no matter what type of suspension/air bags/shocks/coil over shocks you have you are still going to bounce around when you go over speed bumps, hit a pot hole or make to sharp a turn too fast and it starts rocking, shocks that fit our small trucks will mean nothing as the fact is you are loaded to the max or overloaded, if you had shocks that dealt with these types of weights it would ride like it had no suspension when empty.

Either don't haul so much weight or get used to bouncing around every so often, just don't expect air to fix anything except the ride height.

I have hauled mass amounts of weight in my 521 work truck, one time when stripped my old roofing off and I hauled all my old roofing to the dump I rolled over the scales going in at 7200lbs and I still had brakes, I weighed 3400lbs leaving, I had 3800lbs on my truck, this is way overloaded(more than double what the axle was rated for), the point is even though I have 2 extra leafs in my leaf packs, even though I had coil over shocks and airbags in the rear, it still bounced around and rolled to the sides unless I was carrying lighter loads.

Here is a photo of my driver side rear setup, it had a firm ride when empty.


Edited by wayno
  • Like 1
Link to comment

A 'smooth' ride is one with lots of suspension travel so that the 'shock' has a longer distance and more time to absorb and dampen energy. Keep that in mind.


A 'good handling ride' is a combination of good spring rate and shock absorber that together control suspension travel. There's no correct combination for this and it depends on the driver's subjective experience of what's right for him. It will be above 'smooth' ride and probably below 'hard or harsh' ride.



If you increase the spring rate, add leaves, to make them stiffer in order to carry a heavier load, they won't flex or travel as far and the ride becomes firmer, stiffer and even harder. Only when you are carrying a heavy load will the suspension flex enough from the added weight, to return some of the comfort. Here you can also add a lower flatter helper spring that the rest of the leaf pack settles on when loaded. It allows normal suspension flex without a load and supports it when there is. It IS a compromise solution.


Shocks have nothing to do with ride height.


Ride height is a function of weight and the spring rate. If sagged, and you want to raise it back up, have the leaf spring re-arched. The spring simply supports the height in a higher position and the rate and ride quality remains the same. If you add a leaf or a coil to the shock you will raise the ride height but you are also increasing the spring rate and it will ride harder.


An air shock or air bags allow you to add height and extra load capacity as you need it and then return to normal ride quality.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.