Thursday, April 14, 2016

All Jacked Up with No Place to Go or Stableload Lovin"

I got home today to find Fed Ex had delivered the Torklift Stableloads but before I could even open the boxes the phone rang and I was told my truck was ready at the dealership. Away I went to pick her up -- I had some preventive maintenance work done so that she wouldn't resent the new camper on her back. She's a 2006 Ford F350 diesel with the 6.0 motor and I've been wanting to bullet proof the motor for years. Mission accomplished! No more blown EGR cooler worries. I expect to get another 150k miles out of her before she needs to retire. We'll just see what happens.

The Drill Device as it arrived from Torklift

When I arrived home I set the shop up to do the Stableload install. I jacked the truck under the hitch with a floor jack, cinderblock, and short 2x6 board to allow the suspension to drop and open the spring packs. Take my advice, go ahead and raise the truck completely off the ground at least an inch or two, you'll need the space.

A floor jack is a lovesome thing

I needed to drill the lower overload leaf springs only at the forward end because the rear of the leaf already had a hole in it. After marking the hole locations I fussed with the drilling device Torklift sent me but gave up on it for a while. Marking the spring was easy. Getting a bite with a drill bit was harder. The directions call for you to use a 1/4 inch drill bit to make a slight pilot hole of 1/8 inch diameter. I gave that up and tried the supplied bit (one of four) and it worked much better.

Wedging my arm against the concrete I thought I had it licked. Shavings began to peel off the bit, stopping periodically to lube it with oil. Then the progress slowed and my arm began to tire. I returned to the drill device and took more time to get it set properly. It was problematic because the springs have a rounded end and my hole was a bit too close to permit the device to bear against it properly. Great, now I need to drill the other side to match, don't I?!!

Assembling the Wedges

After getting the device set and the drill running with one hand I began cranking up the pressure with a socket in the other. I didn't even bother lubing the hole. She was finished in about a minute! I did have to reverse the drill a few times at the end to get the hole cleaned out but it worked really well. Should have started with it. The second hole was done much quicker with less effort still using the same drill bit. I have three left for other projects.

This end of the leaf had about 7/16" space above it to mount the Stableload wedges and I knew it was going to be tight. The rear ends had plenty of room and I could just drop the bolt in easily. I had to wait for SWMBO to get home to assist me on the tight ends. It took a crow bar and bracing against the rear axle to get the overload spring away from the spring pack in order to drop the bolt in. I also cut the bolt by 3/8 of an inch to make it shorter. Finally achieved the install after fussing with it for an hour.

This was the easy end!

The wedge packs ended up being 3 deep on the rear ends and 2 deep on the fronts. I will probably have to adjust the fronts down to one wedge, but we're going to try it under load first. In all the install of the adjustable lower Stableloads took me about 3 hours, but I'm slow with my own stuff. I like to digest it fully and work relaxed.

Next up was the upper helper spring Stableloads. They are a breeze to install once the original rubber bumpers are removed. I fussed with getting them off for 30 minutes before I figured out an easy solution. Use two giant screwdrivers and grab them with one hand to keep them together while prying and the bumpers come right off.

Prying off the factory bumpers

I'm glad I didn't destroy them or cut them so that I can reinstall them during non-camper periods. I figure the ride is going to be way too stiff to leave them on with no weight. The lowers I can swing out of the spring pack if I jack the rear. I like that.

So, there you have it. Stableloads installed a full day before I need them. The trip to Boise to pick up the camper is going to be a rough ride but an adventure never the less. Lots more to come on actual performance so stay tuned.

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