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A Little Something I Forgot About IRS Rearends

IRS Bad, Worse, Or Better?
Posted June 28 2008 04:43 PM by John Gilbert 
Filed under: Custom Classic Trucks Magazine, Auto Suspension, Vintage Truck Talk

Independent Rear Suspension is not a subject that is new to me, but I have to admit there's a few things about it that I had forgotten.

A universal desire all gearheads hold common, whether they be bikers, street-rodders, or into classic trucks is an affinity for goodies that increase performance. High-Performance is a catch-all expression that can be applied a vehicles's engine, transmission, braking, or suspension. In the early 80's IFS and IRS was all the rage when it came the latest and greatest big-ticket item to sling under a classic truck. Breaking it down into front, and rear for this blog I would like to focus on IRS, and my personal thoughts about it. And yes, before I move any further, I have owned IRS but only to a limited degree. My first IRS was on a '68 Jag XKE roadster, a Lotus, and then on a string of Mini-Cooper S's which I'm not sure count because they were FWD, and the rear independent suspension is just a simple mono swing-arm setup like nothing ever seen on a RWD truck. Okay, enough coffee induced babbling, and blogging uder servitude I'll get to the point. The first thing I forgot about IRS is the rear-wheels have to be aligned just like the front. With this in mind I say give me a simple live-axle 9-inch Ford, or a 12-Bolt Chevy and I'm happy. I don't think there are any real gains to be achieved in handling or ride quality. One thing is for sure, anyone with a tape measure can string the rear-wheel alignment on a live axle and then forget about it forever. Preventing rear tire wear on an IRS isn't as easy to address.The next, and this one is only a theory because I have never pushed an IRS on a truck like I used to drive my XKE, but I imagine especially on a panel truck that the IRS wouldn't handle as flat as a good live-axle. Phew, I'm glad this over now I can move on to a tech story that is do for the September '08 issue.

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Custom Classic Trucks
Custom Classic Trucks