Offroad Design Custom Leaf Springs
Design has been quietly producing our own line of custom leaf
springs for the fullsize GMs since 1998 and with better
performing suspensions becoming more and more popular we’ve
decided to make a little noise about what we do in this area.
In a nutshell, we
maximize the performance of the leaf spring suspension with more
vertical wheel travel, more articulation ability, and a much
softer ride. Our custom springs typically provide 10-11”
of vertical wheel travel (about 50% more than lift kit type
springs), articulation to rival link and coil systems (they'll
use all of a 14" travel shock in articulation) and ride quality
that lets you travel over rough terrain smooth and easy.
It's not all about wheel travel, many of our customers use our
custom springs simply to make their old truck ride nice.
They are a night-and-day difference compared to "lift kit"
The springs are built specifically for your truck based on our
experience and your needs.
We maximize wheel
travel by increasing the number of leaves in the spring which
sounds counter intuitive, but we’ll get to that in a minute. A
typical ORD front spring will use 10 very thin leaves with a length
built around an optimum shackle length and angle while still
fitting into the stock mounts. A typical "lift kit" type
spring is usually 3-5 thick leaves.
The key to long travel
in a leaf spring is the leaf thickness. Think about how far you
can flex a piece of thin gauge sheet metal and have it spring
back to its initial flat position. Now think about doing that
with a thick steel plate. The plate bends and stays while the
thin steel sheet flexes and springs back. This is why we use
multiple thin leaves in our springs. Each leaf can flex farther
before taking a permanent set giving you more overall spring
travel without damaging the spring.
We set the rate of the
springs specifically for each customer’s vehicle and anticipated
use to provide a soft ride yet still give reasonable control and
load carrying. Each spring is manufactured with the best
construction details to ensure the best fit and long life.
Military wrap main eyes are built by wrapping the 2nd
leaf around the main eye of the spring for an extra layer of
strength and security in a critical location. Tip pads minimize
friction in the spring to let it move freely and decrease wear.
US made steel and construction here in Colorado let us control
the quality of material, heat treat and craftsmanship to provide
you with a spring you can count on.
The springs also appear to have more arch than you're
used to, that is intentional. Because the springs are
softer, they'll compress more under the weight of your vehicle.
We build our spring with a military wrapped
main eye, this is a safety feature that most leaf manufacturers
An ORD custom leaf
suspension system is as close as you can get to link and coil
performance and still bolt them on your truck quickly, easily
and affordably. The bang for the buck is very high with these
Our custom front springs are good for 10-11" of
vertical travel without hurting the spring. This doesn't
have anything to do with articulation, vertical travel is simply
how far the spring can travel in a straight bump (like hitting a
speed bump). The weight of the truck generally takes up
about half of the vertical travel, so 5-6" of compression travel
from ride height is typical.
With these springs, it's easy to use up all of a 14"
travel shock in articulation. That's as much as many
Ride quality is significantly better than any
off-the-shelf, lift kit type spring.
Our custom springs can bolt into your stock spring
Because we build the springs for you, we can offset the
center pin to move the axle forward or back if you want.
Cost is typically $680/pair
for front springs, though
heavier trucks are a little more. Price is for springs
alone, most customers use our HD shackles and greasable bushings
Cost is typically $760/pair
for 52" rear springs and basically go up from there, the
spring are charged by the weight of the steel they're made from.
Call us if you're interested in longer springs.
We have springs nailed down for the
'69-'87 GM trucks and K5s/subs/crewcabs
up to ’91. We can do front springs from 2" up to 7" (the
springs are built for you, so we can spec out any height in that
range) in the stock mount points or the common extended length
front mounts. In fact, our custom springs are the best way to
put a proper spring in the extended mount systems giving much
better results than trying to adapt a rear spring to the front.
specialize in springs for heavier diesel swap trucks.
Because of the extra weight of some diesel engines (Cummins,
etc.), off the shelf springs won't work because they'll ride
lower than advertised and, because they're being overloaded,
they'll sag and bend. We can build springs for those
We can also do our custom springs for 88-98
Chevy's with our solid axle conversion kit!
What about longer springs?
In addition to leaf thickness, a longer leaf
can also be flexed more before the steel permanently bends.
This appears to be an advantage for using longer rear springs on
the front of your truck, but it isn't that easy.
It isn't all about being soft and flexible.
The key is to have a spring that is soft enough but can also
survive the travel you're asking from it. For example, if
you wanted 4" of lift, you could start with an 8" lift spring
and take all but the top leaf or two out. The springs will
settle much more than intended (maybe giving you the 4" you
wanted) and they would be very soft and flexible, but even at
ride height the spring is being destroyed because it's being
bent too far. This same effect can happen when using rear
springs on the front, they are a bit longer but they are still
made of thick leaves that can only be pushed so far before they
However, if you're looking for lots of
travel, long springs can be great if they're made for the job
they have to do. We can do our custom springs in longer
lengths as well if that's your goal.
Choose the category you would like more information on.