When it comes to trucks, the suspension system plays a critical role in providing the necessary support, especially considering the extra weight they carry. One type of suspension system that offers great support for trucks is leaf springs. With their wide range of shapes, leaf numbers, and capacities, these springs ensure that your truck is well-equipped for towing, hauling, and everyday commuting.
Understanding Leaf Spring Shapes
The shape of a leaf spring determines the type of load it can support. It’s crucial to ensure that your truck has adequate support so that the wheels stay on the ground when going over bumps, and the bed doesn’t sag when fully loaded or during towing. Depending on your truck’s usage, you may require OEM or heavy-duty leaf springs.
Not all leaf spring shapes are applicable to truck suspension systems. Some common shapes include elliptical, transverse, and platform leaf springs.
1. Elliptical Leaf Springs
Elliptical leaf springs come in various shapes such as quarter, semi, three-quarters, and full. Semi-elliptical springs are the most commonly used for trucks. These springs have a parabolic shape and can be found on both the rear and front axles of trucks, and solely on the rear axles of cars.
Older models of small cars used the less efficient quarter-elliptical leaf springs, which resemble half a semi-elliptical spring. Manufacturers later combined the quarter-elliptical and semi-elliptical springs to create three-quarters springs, but these are now primarily found only on older cars.
There was also an attempt to enhance performance by using two semi-elliptical springs facing each other to create a full elliptical spring. However, this design option proved to be unsuccessful, as the pressure from the spring adversely affected the alignment.
2. Transverse Leaf Spring
Transverse leaf springs have the same shape as semi-elliptical models. However, they are installed under the truck with the base of the curve facing the chassis, rather than facing the ground. Additionally, transverse leaf springs are positioned along the sides of the vehicle, unlike semi-elliptical springs that are placed on the front or rear axles. Nowadays, it is rare to see transverse leaf springs on trucks or other vehicles.
3. Platform Leaf Spring
Platform leaf springs consist of a pair of semi-elliptical leaf springs, one facing down and the other pointing up. When attached to the vehicle, these springs support three points of the vehicle’s weight on each side.
Choosing Between Multi-Leaf and Mono-Leaf Springs
Another factor to consider when choosing leaf springs, aside from the shape, is the number of leaves they have. There are two types of leaf spring suspensions: mono and multi-leaf.
Mono-leaf springs consist of a single piece of metal, often with a thicker center that narrows towards the edges to provide some support similar to multi-leaf springs. While mono-leaf springs are suitable for lightweight vehicles, trucks and vehicles used for towing generally require the additional support provided by multi-leaf springs. Multi-leaf springs consist of several pieces of metal that increase in size from the bottom to the top.
Multi-leaf springs require spring clips between the layers, allowing each leaf to move independently while remaining aligned with the other leaves. A center bolt holds all the layers together, passing through the thickest part of the multi-leaf spring. To prevent squeaking and premature wear, friction-reducing insulators are placed between each layer and the leaves above and below.
Consider the Leaf Spring Capacity
Just as there are different leaf spring shapes, various capacities are associated with the number of leaves and leaf spring sizes. It is important to carefully consider the capacity of the leaf spring that meets your requirements.
Regularly exceeding the carrying capacity of your leaf springs can lead to excessive wear and premature failure. Check your truck’s owner’s manual to determine the stock carrying capacity. If your typical hauling weights exceed this limit, it’s advisable to upgrade to rear leaf springs that provide greater support. Opt for springs with a higher weight capacity than what your vehicle currently uses. Heavy-duty leaf springs may be necessary, especially for trucks used for heavy-duty applications.
The Right Number of Leaves
The number of leaves in multi-leaf springs greatly impacts the support they provide. While most leaf springs have between three and five leaves, some heavy-duty applications may require even more layers.
Having an appropriate number of leaves is crucial for maintaining the balance between stiffness and suspension. Too many leaves can make the ride stiff and less controlled, while too few leaves can result in decreased carrying capacity due to insufficient suspension.
While the number of leaves is important, it’s essential to focus on matching the load capacity of the springs to your truck’s typical usage. By selecting suspension parts that align with your vehicle’s needs, you can enhance performance and avoid premature spring failure caused by overloading.
Order Leaf Springs From Ames Farm Center
Whether you’re looking to replace worn OEM springs or improve your truck’s suspension system for higher load capacities, finding the right leaf springs is crucial. At Ames Farm Center, we offer a wide range of leaf springs for all types of trucks, including heavy-duty models and older vehicles.
As a trusted provider of springs and suspension components since 1965, Ames Farm Center offers not only a comprehensive selection of springs but also the expertise and experience needed to custom-build springs for obsolete components. With our superior suspension parts, you can count on improved performance and durability.
Visit Ames Farm Center today to explore our selection of leaf springs and place your order online. Trust us to be your preferred source for high-quality suspension parts. Let us help you find the perfect leaf springs for your truck, ensuring optimal support and performance.