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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2000, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
tys
 
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Adding Plow to 94 Z71, Suspension Changed Needed?

Hi-

I'm in the process of obtaining a Meyers Snow plow for my Truck. It's a 1994 4x4 Z71 w/ 350 and 5 spd. Right now the truck sits a tad bit low in the front end, compared to the rear. I have brand new HD Bilsteins installed, but that's all for things I've changed on the truck. It has 135k miles on it now.

With adding this extra couple-few hundred pounds of weight directly on the front end lower my truck substanially? Should I crank down on the torsion bars to level it before/after putting the plow on and then get it re-aligned?

What have you fellows done to your trucks when you added a plow to them?

PS. I won't be carrying the plow all the time, just the frame portion that attaches to truck in front of the grill.

Thanks
Chris

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2000, 02:39 PM
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Re: Adding Plow to 94 Z71, Suspension Changed Needed?

Your Z71 should already have heavy-duty torsion bars. Therefore, you could crank them "slightly" and get the extra height to carry the snowplow. This is a common practice for winches, etc. If the plow is very heavy, I would suggest looking into 3/4 ton torsion bars or an aftermarket kit ( I think Z71 torsion bars are the same as light duty 3/4 ton bars).

In all, your extra load-levelling will come from your torsion bars and cranking them will be alright under a load that will flatten your truck to a level that keeps your CV joints at good angles.

Nich Kenny
'89 K1500 350/700r4
post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2000, 02:46 PM
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Re: Adding Plow to 94 Z71, Suspension Changed Needed?

I don't have very much experience with snow plows on IFS trucks, but I did have to add another leaf to the front springs in my `83 1/2 ton shortbox Chevy when I put my Western plow on a couple years ago. I ran a Meyer for a couple of years on an `82 1/2 ton Blazer and it was actually heavier than the Western I use now. I had to add a leaf to the front of that truck too.

I'm assuming that your Z71 is a 1/2 ton (1500). If it already sits low in the front, the plow will just make it sink more. Even if you are only going to have the plow on from time to time, the harness stays on the truck and that in itself weighs a couple hundred pounds with the motor and all - add the plow and you are putting another 400-500 pounds onto the front suspension.

Standard shocks aren't going to help keep the front end up - they'll only help settle the front end down when you hit bumps driving down the road. I have seen some shocks in the past that are wrapped in a coil spring - installing a set of these on the front of your truck might help by acting like a set of helper springs. I have seen them at a local shop I go to for snow plow parts.

I have never done it before, but you might want to check into having the torsion bars beefed up and then have a front end allignment done. This might give you what you need to still have good ground clearance with the plow raised.

Good luck and let us know what you do / how well it works.

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2000, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Adding Plow to 94 Z71, Suspension Changed Needed?

Tonight I will investigate how off from level my truck is unloaded. I'll then look into the torsion bars to see if there is adjustment available to level it.

I read in the Summit Racing catalog last night about these air bag things that can be used in the front ends of pickups to help with additional loads, like plows, winches, etc. They cost a little over a $100 and then you can by an on-board air compressor so that you can adjust on demand. Do any of you have experience with these devices or are they just another gimmick?

The plow I'm putting on my 94 actually came from an early 80's chevy 1/2ton, so I'm fabricating the entire plow frame as it attaches to the truck. I'm making it modular so that I can remove the upper portion (which contains the pump, lights, etc) during the summer months, leaving the lower portion (where the plow a-frame mates) fixed to the truck frame. It's quite interesting and has taken much of my time. I've attached a .jpg picture of the AutoCAD design I came up with. Dimensional information isn't recorded on this picture, but I'm sure I could make it available to anyone who's interested, once I finish designing and fabricating it. What do you think??

Chris

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File Type: jpg 18-194815-plowframe.jpg (25.3 KB, 1 views)
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2000, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Adding Plow to 94 Z71, Suspension Changed Needed?

Can anyone confirm whether Z71's came with 3/4 Ton Torsion Bars or not?

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2000, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Adding Plow to 94 Z71, Suspension Changed Needed?

Can anyone confirm whether Z71's came with 3/4 Ton Torsion Bars or not?

BTW, I measured my truck tonight...the front passenger measures 35-5/8inches, the front driver measures 36 and both rear corners measure 36-1/4 inches from the ground to the fender well.

I suspect the passenger side is lower so that the truck levels out when my 200# carcus steps inside...

Chris


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