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Old 06-18-2024, 09:32 PM   #1
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Exclamation Leveling my ride

I got a 2000 international DT466e 7.5 window(28ft), dognose style bus.

Air bags in the back, just leaf springs in the front.

Despite being fully built out she squats in the front, a good 2-4 inches lower in the front than the rear. Well, this is really messing with living in it. My sink doesn't drain right, neither does my shower, and putting it on blocks every time is annoying. Plus I do not like the squatty look.

Spring and axle shop recommended blocking up the front, and also adding a helper leaf springs to level her out. Thoughts on this? They quoted me $1000-$1600 out the door.

I know how to order longer ubolts(shape, thickness, length etc). But I cannot find an off the shelf block, and I don't know suspension leaf springs well enough to know how to buy the right one (or where to buy). But $1600 seems high.

Anyone with more experience able to help me spec it all? I can do this work myself, just need to know where to find the parts and how to spec it.

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Old 06-18-2024, 10:42 PM   #2
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I lifted my whole bus. Check out my post here. There a few about it. The front was simpler than the back because i messed with my pinion angle and torque rod.
Personally i don't think $1k-$1600 is very high. I would charge more myself. messing with leaf springs can be dangerous and on heavy duty is real work.

ubolts $300
lift blocks $200
Helper springs $200-500


There is huge liability messing with the front axle. I'm fulling expecting to be turned away when i go in for an alignment and they see lift blocks that aren't factory.


If you want, you could do it yourself, just keep a lot of 6x6 or bigger cribbing around and don't trust a jackstand and jack with your life. In my case, i found lift blocks from hendrickson that fit above the axle, but they were pricey and would've been a special order. I cut apart a steel tractor weight that had a 1.5in thickness of solid steel. On pickup trucks, guys use aluminum blocks, but dont even consider that for these heavy beasts.



As an alternative 1.. I added a dump valve to my rear airbags. I can activate a 12v solenoid which sends air pressure to a port on the leveling valve. This action will evacuate the air from the rear and drop my rear about 4-5 inches to the bumpstops inside the airbag.


Alternative 2 would be adding air helper springs in the front above the existing leafspring. This will give you a bit of air ride in the front as well.
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Old 06-19-2024, 12:27 AM   #3
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i've ordered and am waiting on new springs. the front of my 93 has sagged quite a bit and the ride is real tough.
for parts, im about $1500 a side. springs, shackles, ubolts. shocks

hoping it all goes together sometime in july
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Old 06-20-2024, 08:30 AM   #4
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This is great info! I'll check out your post too. Couple questions for you.

1) I've considered helper airbags, and that would be my first choice to level it out. (custom controls would let me rise/lower each side individually to level the rig out at camp, I'd also get some air-ride like you said)
My question is that I have looked through the internet and I have found about squat for information on these big rigs for adding air-bags to the front axle. So I just haven't had a good starting point.

2) Part of my squat is likely fatigued leaf springs. I measured the height of the arch and compared it to the Stock arch height unloaded.

Stock arch height is 4 11/16" unloaded.

Currently my arch is 1 1/2" loaded.

From what the internet says, the springs should have only compressed 1" to 1 1/2" under load. This would imply my front springs are fatigued, and have flattened at least 1 1/2."
Since I only have 1 1/2" before my springs are "flat" that doesn't seem like a lot of up travel in my front suspension!


1 1/2" gain in height with new springs, plus a 1" Solid steel block would get me leveled out, or close enough to it.

Do you think I am wrong in any of the above? Do these bus springs squish more than others?
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Old 06-20-2024, 08:59 AM   #5
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@fo4imtippin

also, When I did do a search for Air helper springs. Looks likes an RV kit is the closest I can find. It does look like it works for 3" wide leaf springs, and 5000lb is quite a lot of support, I would guess I wouldn't use all of it, maybe 2000-3000lb support to get me that "cushion" and ride height.

Here is what I found, thoughts?
https://www.etrailer.com/Vehicle-Sus...t/AL88101.html
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Old 06-20-2024, 09:00 AM   #6
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I'm hoping this is my problem as well. Just old springs.
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Old 06-20-2024, 09:23 AM   #7
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You have probably done this but before you do anything with the front springs have the weight on the front axle measured so you know if the weight is properly supported by the springs. It is quite dangerous to have the front springs over loaded.
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Old 06-20-2024, 09:42 AM   #8
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nice lift fo4! i checked out your link and i really like the the front lift look of you bus. dang, and the crane on the back...cool! i hope my spring replacement comes out that nice.

most of my suspension question threads have broken out in the middle of other threads. the info is hard to find. buried in unrelated threads. i tend to ramble.

but, what i've gleaned from all the wisdom here.

air is a consistent suspension. a new air ride should ride about the same as a 30 year old system. the bags wear and get replaced, but the ride quality stays consistent.

spring suspensions wear over time. the steel flexes, rebounds, and after milllions of cycles, it loses its ability to rebound. over time, ride quality goes down.

ive looked for air bags for the bus. sounds like a cool solution but i havent found a bolt in one. it'd have to be a custom solution, as far as i know.

so... instead of transferring the failed springs onto a self engineered air bag or installing a helpers to compensate for the failed springs, i'm choosing just to replace the failed springs.

i got replacement springs on the way straight from bluebird based off my vin.

im certain that i'll gain some front lift back. hoping it gets a lot of lift back (like fo4's) and the ride smoothes out.
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Old 06-24-2024, 06:13 AM   #9
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How much did those springs set you back? I’ve never considered replacing mine. Great that they can send exacts the correct ones based on VIN.
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Old 06-24-2024, 08:14 PM   #10
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hey...

i havent seen the freight bill yet, so idk what the shipping was.

the quote was:

2. springs $876.42 each

4.spring pins $65.69 each

2.shackle assy. $237.69 each

4.shackle bushing $16.37 each


about $2600 + shipping and labor tdb

springs are bluebird, shackles are aftermarket
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Old 06-27-2024, 09:24 AM   #11
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If it drives good and nothing is bad on the front end I’d leave the front alone.
To level it for living time I’d
Let the air out of the rear bags to lower the rear.
I do this on my F-700.
Just takes a few 1/4 turn valves
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