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link/coil, coilovers, or leafs?
I know, you want to know more about coilovers. But, we have to start with the basics.
Leaf springs: This is the simplest form of suspension for under your rig. No special parts required. Leaf springs are reliable, easily accessible, simplistic in design, and readily available. All that is required is a set of stationary mounts, and a set of pivoting mounts. The stationary mounts hold the springs in their prospective area, while the pivot mounts allow for the spring to compress. If pivoting mounts are not installed, the stress can rip the frame rail. This exertion of stress on the frame is what makes this type undesireable. Leaf springs transfer all stress from the road, to the frame. Another fall back, is that they do not flex like some of the other alternatives. They are limited by the length of the spring, length of the shackle, number of leaves, and spring rate.
Link/Coil: This form is by far not the simplest, however, but articulation becomes apparent. This particular set-up requires four points on the axle, four points on the frame, and four bars to correspond to the mounts. This needs two mounts on the top of the axle, two on the bottom, and the bars to run from axle mount to frame mount. This is critical, that the bars must be precise. Although, with proper measurements this can save money. Coil springs are far cheaper than coilover shocks. This set-up is far friendlier for daily drivers. There is minimal axle wrap, a smoother ride, a consistant pinion angle, and (with a panhard bar) stable lateral track. The road stress is not on the frame with this arrangement. But, it is on the coil itself.
Coilovers: This is the holy grail of buildups. This form is extremely difficult, yet simple. It is similar to the link/coil set-up, but with a few minor differences. This can be built like a 2 link. This is in part due to the shock being inside the coil. This has the most articulation, and has many benefits. If your entire suspension is built using solid axles, coilovers, and minimal links. Then, your ride height is estabolished using the coil spring and shocks combined length. The longer the coilover, the greater the ride height. The greatest complication, is that road stress is not absorbed by the frame or coil. The heavier impacts are absorbed by a mount that consists of a bolt. This mount is merely a shock mount.
Pro's and con's! Which is better?
mount type?        Leaf. solid mount
articulation?        coilover. unlimited variations
travel?                link/coil. coilover is limited by shock, this shock can be removed
ride?                   coilover. greater articulation, smaller space.
replacement?       Leaf. cheapest
Upgradeable?      link/coil. remove coils and shocks, set for coilover.