Leaf springs are found on most pick-up trucks, older Jeeps, and classic cars. A leaf spring is fundamentally different from a coil spring, because it holds the axle in place and provides suspension travel, where a coil spring just provides suspension travel. The majority of leaf spring systems into built elliptical shapes, however, there are a few other variants of leaf springs.
Leaf springs are typically cut into long rectangles and then bound collectively by metal clips at one end and a huge bolt through the center. Finally, the leaf spring is attached on the vehicle’s axle through U-bolts, fixing it in its intended position. The big benefit of a leaf spring is how it spreads the load over two points on the chassis, making it very popular for heavy-duty applications.
Because of the amount of metal sandwiched together, leaf springs provide significant support between the wheels, axles and chassis of the car. This suspension can withstand massive vertical loads placed on them because of their strong construction.
In addition, vertical loading is dispersed across the long leaf spring instead of just around a little spring and damper. Without the size and strength of a leaf spring, there’s a chance that a small spring and damper can produce an intense force too powerful for the suspension to hold.
Most aftermarket leaf springs are either designed to increase ride height by a stiffer and more arced design or they’re designed to provide massive amounts of suspension travel. Either way, many aftermarket leaf springs provide much better ride quality than OEM leaf springs, however, that’s not always the case.
With coil springs, damping is crucial to controlling the movement of your suspension and leaf springs are no different. Without high-quality dampers, the leaf spring can absorb and exert energy as quickly as it likes, which typically results in the axle bouncing up and down very quickly.
Compared to coil springs, leaf springs are slightly better at damping because of the friction between every steel plate, however, high-quality dampers are still necessary to control body movement.
Leaf springs followed a straightforward design and were economical compared to earlier spring and damper products. For this reason, they became the number one option the moment cars started becoming completely mass produced to guarantee dependability while cutting down expenses.
Typically, at one end of a leaf spring you’ll find a shackle which connects one end of the leaf spring to the chassis. The shackle allows the leaf spring to expand and contract its length, since the compression of the leaf spring changes its length. The shackle itself can be upgraded to longer or shorter shackles which can either raise or lower ride height depending on the shackle’s orientation.
Vivid Racing has an extensive selection of High Performance Leaf spring products for cars and trucks. We can also help you get what you need to achieve a high performance suspension setup including lowering springs, dampers, coilovers, sway bars, and poly bushings.