FAQs & Tech

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Please scroll down for answers to the most frequently asked questions about Alcan Springs.  If you have more questions afterwards, please don't hesitate to email billford@alcanspring.com or call us at 888-321-0870 or 970-241-2655.

What makes Alcan Springs any better than others?

Do Alcan Springs ride soft?

How much lift height do I need?

Should I stay with spring-under or go to spring-over?

Do you shot peen your springs?

Do you make left and right springs?

Will I need longer spring shackles?

How long will my Alcan Springs last?

    Scroll down for FAQ answers.  And please refer to the diagrams below to help you understand and measure spring parts.

            Semi-Elliptical Spring:

            Quarter-Elliptical Spring:

Information you'll need to provide us when you order quarter-elliptical springs: 1) weight on axle; 2) length of spring needed (point A to point B);  3) ride height; how much arch you want in the spring under load (how many inches below the bottom surface of the spring pack at point A does point B need to be under load?)  4) shackle length from center of eye (point B) to center of eye (point C).

Q: What makes Alcan Springs any better than others?

A: Alcan Spring only makes custom springs.  Unlike mass-produced, one-size-fits-all leaf springs, each Alcan Spring pack is individually made to fit the particular needs of your vehicle and your ride-quality desires-firm, soft, towing, load-carrying, racing, rock-crawling, etc.

This is why it's so important for you, the customer, to give us as much detailed information about your rig and your needs as possible. 

For example, let's say your vehicle is mostly a daily driver and never gets off-road, but tows a boat and hauls camping equipment. Your rig will need a different spring setup than the same type of vehicle that doesn't tow or haul but is out flexing it up on the rocks every weekend.

Sure, it takes extra time to figure it all out.  But the key is good communication between Alcan Spring and the customer.  And the most important information is an accurate estimate of the weight your rig hauls or tows, and the weight of ALL accessories such as bumpers, winches, extra gas cans, tools, racks, roll cages, etc.

After twenty years in business, we have many, many customers who agree with us that Alcan Spring custom springs deliver much better quality, satisfaction, longevity and performance than an off-the-shelf, mass-produced spring. 

Q: Do Alcan Springs ride soft?

A: The balance between soft ride and load carrying capacity is the great tradeoff in any custom spring design. Practically every customer tells us they want both.  And because Alcan Spring custom designs every spring pack, we can achieve the balance you need, provided we get accurate information.  That's why the weight information you give us is so important.  For example, if you tell us your pickup carries 350 pounds all the time, that's how we design your springs.  Your springs will ride soft with that 350 pounds aboard. 

However, if you decided not to carry that 350 pounds anymore, then you might feel a firmer ride. It takes that weight to help make the springs flex, and flex equals softer ride. 

You may have noticed the same effect with a heavy-duty pickup truck.  When it's empty it rides like a buckboard.  But when you load it down, the ride feels softer. 

Again, one great advantage of a custom spring is that we can vary the pack to give you the best compromise.  Most mass-produced, off-the-shelf springs are available in only one or two version-softer or heavy duty.  Alcan Springs can give you far more choice and flexibility.

Q: How much lift height do I need?

A: This is harder to answer than many customers realize at first. It depends on how you plan to use your truck. In most cases, the reason for a lift is to make room for larger-than-stock tires.  And if you don't use your rig off-road or in conditions which flex the axles too much, then you can get away with a moderate amount of lift-depending on the tire size you want to mount.

But the problem comes in when your axles articulate, that is, when the tires move up into the wheelwells.  Then, no matter how much lift you have in your springs, you still can't force a too-big tire into a too-small wheelwell.

You may need to install bumpstops or a body lift, or modify wheelwells and fenders to keep big tires from doing damage under extreme suspension flex.

Q: Should I stay with spring-under or go to spring-over?

A: We are asked this question every day and it is hard to provide a one-size-fits-all answer.  Here are the issues:

Axle wrap (unwanted deflection or bending of a spring caused by torque to the tires) is more often a problem with spring-over setups than with spring-unders. Axle-wrap can be major or minor to fix, depending on numerous variables such as lift-height, spring flexibility desired, vehicle weight and load, engine power and gearing.  We have made changes in our spring design to help stop the bending of the springs without hindering flexibility or compromising the ride quality.  But if you have a torquey V8 and low gears, you may have more of an axle-wrap problem than the springs themselves can handle, and you may need to install a torque rod of some type.

A spring-over setup is going to articulate easier than a spring-under mostly because the spring-over is flatter so the main leaf can roll up on its side (twist) easier. The spring-under setup in a 5" lift or higher will not articulate as easily in a light-weight vehicle. But, for example, a spring-under Wrangler with 300 pounds of extra weight in the rear and a bumper and winch on the front could do as well as a spring-over (just with less ground clearance). 

We are also finding problems with spring-overs on stock weight or lighter vehicles that are used for rock crawling. When the vehicle is put in a very steep uphill climb, it puts all the weight of the vehicle on the rear axle. In most cases, this will bend the front half of the rear springs.  We have made some design changes to help with this problem.

Orbit-Eye bushings are a great way to improve articulation in either spring-over or spring-under setups because the main leaf does not have to roll up on its side (twist) as much as with stock bushings. The lengthwise twisting action of the spring when articulating shortens the life of a spring, so the Orbit-Eye bushings help with that problem, too.

We build as many spring-overs as we do spring-unders and we find that the issue is not which setup is right or wrong or better or best; it is what best suits your needs, the specific rig you are outfitting and how it will be used.       

Q: Do you shot peen your springs?

A: No we do not shot peen.  Testing has shown that shot peening is most beneficial in heavy material like big truck springs that are using full taper leaves.  The big point here is that all springs-whether they're leaves or coils-begin their fatigue cycles on the very first day of use.  Every time the spring flexes up or down is a cycle.  Try taking a thin piece of metal and bend it back and forth until it breaks. Note the heat generated and the small crack at the bend.  All springs do the same thing-over a much longer span of time, of course--and all the shot peening in the world won't change that.

Q: Do you make left and right springs?

A: Yes, for vehicles that were designed to have them and in certain exotic applications.  For example, some vehicles such as Toyota 4x4 trucks and 4Runners have front springs with different arches and heights on the left and right.  Yet some spring companies make identical front springs and expect you to use a block or shim plate to make the truck sit level.  However, in all such left/right cases, Alcan Spring makes the correct left and right springs without ever relying on blocks or spacers. 


Q: Will I need longer spring shackles?

A: Longer spring shackles are a relatively inexpensive and effective way to get the best performance out of lifted springs.  Are they absolutely necessary?  No.  But because most lifted springs are arched higher than stock, they're actually longer than stock.  And when the suspension flexes, the shackle end of the spring moves farther than stock.  That's why shackles that are 1" to 1 " longer than stock often allow the new springs to work better.


Q: How long will my Alcan Springs last?

A: If we could give a pinpoint-accurate answer to questions like this, we'd be on Wall Street making billions!  Seriously, it's very difficult to predict spring longevity because there's no way to know exactly how you'll use your rig.  In our experience, a vehicle that is 50% on the road and 50% doing mild 4-wheeling will get the longest use.  Many of our customers are happy for years; some of our hardest-core 4-wheelers wear out their springs in a couple of 'wheeling seasons.

At Alcan Spring, we use the finest spring material available and handcraft it with our best care and skill. We inspect the material and workmanship at every step of the process.  And if by chance, there's a material flaw we overlooked that makes the spring fail or not work right, we'll fix it right away.  Simple as that.  All we ask is that you not abuse the springs and that you use them according to the specifications and information you provide when we build your springs.

CLICK for Home Page CLICK to see About Us CLICK to see Making Custom Springs CLICK to see How To Order CLICK to see Alcan's Products CLICK to see Links