I had stock steel leaf springs in my 95 awd. Yes they were kinda weak from age. I wanted a 2" lift (or more later)
Anyways, I first installed shackles, and yes it lifted, but the tires would all rub really hard off road and in fact tore some lugs off. Handled poorly.
Next I added 2 inch axle blocks along with the shackles. It handled even worse and although, yes the rear was lifted 2 more inches now (4"), it would still impact the same place if I went over a big enough bump with ONE wheel. _~
I got sick of that set up pretty quick, So I phoned some spring shops like hub city spring on the island, talked with them and gave them the measurements of my astro springs.
The told me that the springs are the same size as S10 springs and there are many variations available. I settled on a set of brand new leafs packs in a 3+1 pack. 300bux, no shipping. Installed If I wanted too, but naw, takin all my fun away!! Not.
He said they had about 7.5 inches of free arc, and that I should get about 4 inches of lift from them. He was right. I have them installed in this picture.
I also have Overland's shackles installed with them, but I use the very lowest rung, only providing about 1 inch of more lift. I'm going to remove them and use the factory ones to level my van.
All I have done to the front of this van is 2 inch body pucks and turned the torsion bars up a little bit, I will turn them up just a bit more when I drop the rear 1", so it levels out.
For the front, I wouldn't crank the t-bars too much, so about 3-4 inches is going to be the max. Get a wheel alignment. For the back, I would recommend good steel leafs over any of the add ons like blocks or shackles. Truthfully, there isn't much at overland that you cant just get locally, except maybe the shackles and index keys. Sorry George. I got all my blocks etc from Dan @ Overland, but afterwards I noticed the parts around town at different stores.
2" body blocks: 2-with 12m hole, 4 with 10mm hole. and 6 long Bolts, I forget the lengths, but they gotta fit the blocks above. Re-use your brake cable bracket and drill the hole in it up higher.
Get Good steel 4" lift leaf springs. Go to overlands website and find the rancho part number for the shock for your 4 inch rear lift, and buy shocks locally.
I dont use index keys, but you could get a bit more front with them. I don't like the wear n tear and less handling, so I keep it fairly low for a lifted.
Plus I just finally got this particular one on the road this week and Its a 5 speed. Its an 87, so the steering box has more travel than the newer ones, so you can really crank the front tires hard over if you need to. It feels like I could easily just tip it over if I was doing dumb stuff. I'll try not to do that! I drove forklifts and jeeps for over 10 years.
Anyways, It was defiantly worth doing, for me. Others will have their own stories, but thats been my experience so far. Good Luck Man.
PS, hey Timeless, tell us more about this part, I wanna know more, see pix and everything. Please oh please. Lol
timelessbeing wrote:The little nuts 'n bolts are to relocate the upper control arms. Mine were a pain, but you'll def want to do that. The upper control arm mounting points (where they meet the subframe) may have knock-outs. I'm not sure about your year, but my 2000 AWD didn't. The knock-outs exist to give you extended camber adjustment on the wheels, and they have to come out in order to get proper wheel alignment. This part wasn't in the instructions either. Good luck!