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Tech Install: 2002 Silverado 2500HD BDS Recoil Traction Bars

Adding Recoil Traction Bars To Our Big Chevy

Oct 2, 2019

We're all familiar with the concept of traction bars, or at least we should be. For those who aren't, here's a quick refresher. As torque is applied to the drive wheels of a vehicle, those wheels turn and propel the vehicle forward. If the rear axle of said vehicle is suspended by leaf springs, which by nature are not rigid, the axle will attempt to rotate forward as well create what is referred to as axlewrap. Under normal conditions, the leaf springs are able to control this motion and limit movement, as too much rotation can break the U-joints, damage springs, or worse. However, when larger tires or additional power are added into the mix, the stress on the leaf springs can become too great.

This is where traction bars enter the equation. By providing support for the axle, these bars work to prevent unwanted rotation. There are a few different kinds of traction bars, ranging from solid bars to splined versions, and even ones with complex linkage designed to prevent axlewrap while not interfering with suspension travel. Desiring to build a better bar—one with all the benefits of a solid bar and none of the negatives—BDS Suspension introduced the Recoil traction bar.

Recoil traction bars use an internal, adjustable, dual-rate spring to provide as much anti-wrap force as is desired by the application while not impeding articulation or wheel travel. Installation of the traction bars is incredibly simple and adjusting them is even easier. Applications are available for Ford, GM, and Ram pickups. We installed a set on our lifted 2002 Silverado 2500HD, which sports 37-inch tires and more than 600 rear-wheel horsepower. The benefit was immediately noticeable in reduced axlewrap and wheelhop, with only a small detriment to ride comfort when cranked up tight. Overall, we're very impressed with all aspects of the Recoil traction bars. Follow along as we take a quick look at the easy install process.

Photo 2/15   |   The combination of big tires and bigger power is a perfect recipe for axlewrap. Without a set of traction bars to help support the leaf springs, broken U-joints or worse are in your truck's future.
Photo 3/15   |   BDS's Recoil traction bars are fabricated from 2-inch-diameter steel tubing that is 3/16 inch thick. Inside the frame side of the tube resides a pair of springs key to the Recoil bar's ability to provide a smooth ride while still resisting axle rotation.
Photo 4/15   |   Recoil traction bars utilize BDS's large Forged Flex joint, which features a forged housing and large 1 -inch threaded shank. The one-piece flex ball is capable of up to 15 degrees of misalignment in either direction. All this to say you'll never have to worry about this joint.
Photo 5/15   |   Before installing the traction bars on the truck, the internal springs need to be fully seated. With the Forged Flex end completely threaded in, the length of the bar as measured from the center of each bolt sleeve should be approximately 59 inches.
Photo 6/15   |   The easier of the two brackets to install is the axle bracket. We installed the brackets while working on the lift kit, however, the job is a simple one that involves removing the four U-bolt nuts. New washers are provided, and once installed the U-bolts get torqued back to 120 ft-lb.
Photo 7/15   |   With the axle bracket in place, the Recoil traction bar's Forged Flex end can be inserted and loosely bolted together. You'll want the greased Zerk facing up to protect it from potential impact from road or trail debris.
Photo 8/15   |   The frame size bracket arrives as a single welded piece that bolts to the outside face and bottom of the truck's framerail. It is powdercoated black and not side-specific.
Photo 9/15   |   On our 2002 Silverado 2500HD, the brackets needed to be mounted to the frame underneath the rear door and ahead of the crossmember. We also removed the parking brake cable guide from the driver-side rail to allow for the installation.
Photo 10/15   |   We found it easiest to loosely bolt the frame-side bracket to the traction bar and then lift it into place with a floor jack. This ensured we had it located in exactly the right spot and it wouldn't need excessive adjustment of the bar to compensate for mismeasurement.
Photo 11/15   |   A good drill bit and lots of cutting oil will be your friend while drilling the eight holes necessary to mount the brackets through the framerails. The brackets attach with -inch bolts, so get ready for pain if you don't heed this advice.
Photo 12/15   |   We love it when a plan comes together! Our driver-side framerail is getting a touch crowded with our AirDog 165 4G lift pump and Recoil traction bars. That said, if you already have a lift pump or power steps, it may be best to grab a tape measure and check where the traction bar will mount prior to pulling the trigger.
Photo 13/15   |   BDS includes a pair of jam nut wrenches with the Recoil traction bar set. These wrenches serve the dual purpose of tightening the large jam nuts on the Forge Flex ends and measuring the amount of preload that is set on the internal spring.
Photo 14/15   |   With everything tight, you can set the preload on the internal spring. Shown outside the bracket for clarity, each notch on the wrench indicates an amount of preload. With the curved part of the wrench against the bushing, the notches will line up with the end of the bar. The more preload applied, the more force the bars will exert to counter axle rotation.
Photo 15/15   |   Did you notice the square holes in the wrenches? These are provided so a -inch ratchet or breaker bar can be used to snug the jam nuts once the preload is set.

Sources

BDS Suspension
517.279.2135
http://www.bds-suspension.com

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