I'm sure most people are familiar with the various rear suspension options available today. For the average guy, a parallel leaf spring setup with a pair of gas-charged shock absorbers is more than sufficient. Even though it has its limitations, this suspension has worked for years, and it will continue to do so for decades to come. Typically, most trucks came with "leaf-over-axle" setups, which obviously made it difficult to adjust stance until someone got the bright idea to flip the rearend housing on top of the spring. Even still, lowering can and will be quite limited, and ride quality becomes compromised easily, especially when you start removing leaves and adding blocks.
In the late '50s, the ladder bar/coil spring suspension was introduced in passenger cars and subsequently adapted to mid-'60s GM light-duty pickups. Ultimately, this setup would be replaced with the good old parallel leaf system, but it's still an option, as it gives the user more elbow room in the stance department. Furthermore, it can offer an improved ride over the leaf springs, as well as better rearend stability.
For those looking for a bit of a lowered profile, but not super concerned with achieving the ultimate passenger car-like ride, there's the standard parallel four-link. This is precisely what it sounds like: four equal-length bars, parallel to one another, connecting the rearend to the chassis. In most street rod applications, the bars can be rather short, thus restricting a smooth transfer of weight, but nonetheless, it's an effective setup if you're looking for an extremely lowered stance, especially with airbags.
Lastly, if you have performance in mind on top of the significantly decreased ride height, there are two ways you can go: a triangulated four-link (which isn't always chassis-friendly when it comes to installing it in pickups), or one of No Limit Engineering's Fatbar systems.
Unlike a standard parallel four-link, No Limit's Fatbar utilizes longer bars that, ultimately, allow better-smoother-transfer of weight. In other words, turning doesn't feel as stiff or restricted, and individual wheel travel isn't as limited or binding. Furthermore, the kit features a 30-inch Panhard that mounts behind the rearend, not on top of it, and allows substantially less side-to-side movement during travel (radial deflection, as they call it, is associated with any Panhard setup). No Limit's basic kit includes coilovers with 220-pound springs and 5-inch-stroke shocks-again, to provide a nice, smooth ride as compared to those featuring stiffer springs and shorter-throw shocks.
Obviously, this isn't a basic bolt-on kit-welding is required, and so too is the addition of a C- or step-notch in the framerails for additional axle clearance with the use of airbags, which will be demonstrated here as No Limit installs their air spring Fatbar kit on a '57 F-100.
No Limit offers its Fatbar four link kit with a variety of options from standard coilover
For many, a basic parallel leaf setup is more than sufficient; for others, it simply can't
Before tearing out the old and installing the new,...