The Mighty Merc – Overdue Refresh
The end of 2017 and all of 2018 was nutty to say the least. Between work going crazy and the fun of building a house, the Merc has been neglected a bit. Very few wheeling trips, and zero preventative maintenance. Things have started to balance out a bit now on the home and work front, which meant I have been able to sneak some garage time in.
One of the motivators here is that we have CO/UT on the books again for mid-September, and I really want a less punishing ride out there this year! Most of the work that will be going into the truck this year will be focusing on getting ready for that trip, and trying to fix some things that have been annoying me since the inception of this build. So the refresh is starting out with the two top annoyances. The loud exhaust, and collapsed suspension.
The exhaust I had been running was the general joe basic glass pack shot out the back. The flex pipe I had on there was failing, the glass pack blown out, and the exhaust didn’t quite reach all the way out from under the rear of the truck:
So some sawzall action, and a few miscellaneous parts got me a quieter exhaust. Still not quite as quiet as I would have liked, but you can at least hold a conversation going down the road now:
Now that we weren’t going deaf, it was time to address some suspension concerns. I needed to remake the front leaf mounts as when I put them on originally, they were off a bit and caused some binding. I blame sleep deprivation from a newborn in the house causing that issue.
There was also the issue of a lack of up travel. Things had settled down a bit to the point where I had about a half inch of travel before I hit the bumps. I liked the low look, but my back was hating the ride!
So after dropping the front end out of the truck:
I hammered together some new leaf mounts and glued them on:
I will say it was a bit disappointing putting these back on as I have had visions of at least doing a Radius Arm setup if not a 3 link on the front, but lack of money mean that we’re sticking with leaves for now:
Speaking of leaves, the front packs were just done. They had over 30 wheeling trips on them from the truck so they had settled a bit, and the mains were bent on both packs as well. So I ordered up another replacement pack from Crown:
I knew that I wanted a touch more lift out of the stock pack, so I cut up a leaf out of the old packs and added it to the new ones. It splits the difference between the last two leafs on the pack:
Bolting it all back together:
And moving onto the rear:
For the rear, I did the same mix and match to get some additional lift to match the front. So out came my stash of random leaves to hack up and bastardize:
After mixing and matching a bit, I wound up with a 7 leaf pack to get the height and the ride I was after. From this:
Once all that was done, I started putting some miles on the truck to see how it would settle out. After a couple of weeks of daily driving it, I am quite happy with how it worked out. While it is taller than I wanted it to be, it rides so much better.
I haven’t had it off road yet, but the few rougher rock roads I have been on make me think that the off road experience will be much improved as well. Currently we have the Badlands on the schedule for 4/6, so that will be a good shake down run.