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Old 01-06-2015, 08:44 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Coos Bay
Posts: 5
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Hello, I posed this question earlier on the manufacturer forum and it would seem this discussion area has a lot more activity. I am new to this, so please forgive my ignorance

Hello, new to this forum, any feed back would be greatly appreciated! I'm currently looking at a 1989 Freightliner FLD 120 for a toterhome conversion.
I test drove this tractor the other day and she runs beautifully (cummins 350) shifts beautifully, brakes are a little touchy but I guess that's to be expected without any load? I would buy this truck tomorrow (3,000) but the suspension is so stiff I thought I was going to loose my fillings! The dash on the truck looked like it was going to shake loose as well, stiff ride I can deal with to a point but bounce and shake is another story. First thing I would do is replace the shocks, tractor has 550,000 on it but I don't know if this is just an inherent problem with this model or if it is something I can remedy???

Anyone who has experience with this or suggestions on how to smooth out the ride, please let me know. Thank you, Eric

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Old 01-07-2015, 11:52 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 527

If real nice ride is a big factor for you, keep looking and find a truck with factory air ride. I made a comment on your other thread, but seeing the price of your truck ($3000), I will repeat it here. $3000 is a drop in the bucket to doing a nice conversion. You'll spend more than that at Home Depot alone, not to mention the box itself. So make sure this is absolutely the right truck for you before you start the work.

As to the ride, I had the same problem with my GMC 6500 medium duty. It has an 11000# front axle, and I am only at about 5000# empty on the front axle, so it is way way oversprung for the actual weight. Like your truck, it was built to carry far more weight than you ever will. I looked into having lighter springs installed, but the spring shop laughed at me (apparently every other truck owner is trying to stack on more springs to haul more weight) and told me I already had the lightest setup you could put under the truck. New shocks did not help a bit for ride. Airing the 22.5 tires down from the 110 psi on the sidewall to the bare minimum 70# that Michelin recommended for lighter loads made a BIG difference, but still not great. In my case the back half of my "sleeper" box is for cargo, and when I have it stuffed full of about 1200# of cargo I get far better ride. Empty is still pretty rough. Short story long, old leaf spring trucks designed for far bigger loads are just never going to have a nice cushy ride.

I would think finding an air ride setup in a junkyard for a truck like that would be iffy, plus there is way more to it than just a suspension swap, you also have air compressor, tanks, lines, controls and a whole mess to install. Probably far better to keep shopping than to do an air ride upgrade if a nice cushy ride is on your A list.

Good luck with the project!
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