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  1. #46
    Super Swamper
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    STEP 15:

    SUSPENSION ADJUSTMENT:

    By now I have logged probably 50-60 miles on the build, on all sorts of roads. A few things came to light and I discussed them with CgAlpha, and we decided to make some changes. First thing I noticed was that the front axle was resting less than an inch below the bump stops. This is not totally bad but, you could feel the axle hit the bumps on large obstacles (railroad tracks and speed bumps). I am using 3.5" tall progressive-rate urethane bumps. They are more firm than the stock yellow biscuits that we are used to. Considering there is currently not a winch on the THORparts bumper, AND the springs are totally new...I assumed this issue would get worse in a short amount of time. So we decided to raise the front end slightly.

    Another issue I noticed was that the 10" travel front shocks were dangerously close to bottoming out while simply driving around. Because the ride height is so low, these shocks are really pushing the limit. Even with the towers all the way up, they still seemed too long for 99% of their use. Like most high-end builds, if you want to run long-travel shocks but keep the ride height low...you must extend shock hoops up into the engine bay. That's not really an option on this truck. The nice thing is that the coil spring buckets and shock towers are adjustable...and they are adjustable independent of each other. So you can raise or lower your ride height, and also increase or decrease your shock tower length. This gives the tuner a lot of options, and these pieces can be raised or lowered with a couple wrenches in about an hour. There is a series of bolt holes on the brackets and they are spaced at 3/4", so that is the increment of adjustment you have. I decided to raise the front end by one bolt hole (3/4") and shorten the shock towers by two bolt holes (1-1/2"). Then I wanted to install some shocks that have 2" less stroke.

    Below are some photos of the Fox 2.0 IFP 10" travel and 8" travel, and also some pics of the suspension after the adjustment was made. The shocks are now sitting closer to mid-stroke on the shafts, and there is an added 3/4" of space at the bumpstops. Droop will be 2" less than before but, I honestly think travel is over-rated...especially on a dual-purpose rig like this. The truck still has a nice rake to it...slightly higher stance in the rear...
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    ALIGNMENT:


    Now that all the suspension is figured out, and adjusted...I moved on to the alignment. I could probably write volumes on just this topic but, I will keep it short since anybody doing an SAS will probably want to do something similar. Starting with a plum-bob, I adjust the track bar so the front axle is centered (left to right) under the truck. Then I adjust the tie rod to set the toe-in/out. I use a piece of string for this and I run it from the rear tires forward past the front tires. The idea is to try and get the front tires running parallel and true to the rears. Caster was set on initial installation of the 3-link...3-5 degrees. The last thing I do is the camber. This is tricky on a solid axle and most shops will just stare at you like a deer in your headlights, if you roll in there with a Dana 44.

    There are two basic ways to adjust the caster on a Dana 44. One is by using eccentric upper ball joint sleeves. The other is by using a tapered shim between the knuckle and the spindle. Both have pros & cons, and both do the same basic thing. GM builds its housings with 1.5" or so of camber (leaning out at the top). This is not a problem with stock 30" tires but, when you run 35" or larger tires...you will tend to get some scuffing on the outer edges of the tires, and it looks really weird too. If one side has more camber...the truck will pull to that side. I have always felt that having both sides the same, is more important than the actual amount of camber but, I try to shoot for less than a degree. I use angle gauges, levels, a carpenters square, and most of all...my eyeball. I try to get the front tires sitting true vertical with no visible amount of camber. This is hard to do and takes a lot of trial & error. But, I am so disappointed in alignment shop work that I trust myself more than I do them...especially on a solid axle.

    Below is a pic of some upper ball joint bushings...one is stock (concentric) and the other is a 3/4-degree (eccentric). These come in 1/4-degree increments from 1/2-degree to 1-1/2 degree. If you need more than that, you must use an offset ball joint or use a combination of these bushings along with a tapered shim. You simply thread these into the upper ball joint hole and clock them to give you the correct offset you are looking for. Also shown is a tapered shim. This one is hard plastic, and it is a 1-1/2 degree. You can see it is cut at an angle, and depending on how you orient this on the knuckle, determines the adjustment. I prefer ball joint sleeves because they are fairly easy to change. The tapered shims however, require you to remove the hub, brakes, lockouts, and spindle....a greasy job.
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    STEERING WHEEL ALIGNMENT:

    On most vehicles, this is not real critical. But on the H3, it is. After the caster, camber, toe-in, and ride height are all done...I adjust the drag link to get the steering wheel sitting centered. The H3 has a sensor at the base of the column, and it reads the angle of the steering wheel. It uses this to determine driver input and sends it to the Stabilitrac system, to help determine if the vehicle is in a skid or high speed drift. If the wheel is out more than approx. 30 degrees of rotation...it will set an error code. Plus...it just ain't right. I like the wheel perfectly centered they way it was intended. This can take quite a while to get perfect, and any other changes will effect it. That's why I wait until the very end to fiddle with the steering wheel alignment.

    If you plan to run a ram assist, its even more critical to get the alignment and steering wheel position exactly how you want it BEFORE installing the ram. More on that next time...
    Last edited by 4speedfunk; 02-20-2019 at 12:31 PM.

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    cbetts (02-23-2019), rascole (02-20-2019), SlcHummer (02-22-2019)

  3. #47
    Super Swamper
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Tardville
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  4. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to 4speedfunk For This Useful Post:

    Bowser-II (02-26-2019), cbetts (02-25-2019), JPaul (02-25-2019), rascole (02-25-2019), SlcHummer (02-26-2019), SolidusJ (02-25-2019)


 

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