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Add-a-Leaf Install: Step By Step "How-to"

Discussion in 'Explorer - Ranger Shocks, Suspensions, Lift Kits' started by V8BoatBuilder, January 15, 2004.

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    1. V8BoatBuilder

      V8BoatBuilder Transplanted Bostonian

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      To complete the lift, the rear needed to be raised about 1.5" to match the front. A single Explorer Procom 13120 Add-a-leaf, ordered from Summit Racing did the job nicely. After installation, the final lift of my truck including TT, AAL, Shackles, and 31x10.5" tires puts the apex of the fenderwells at about 35 3/4" from the ground. I started with the fenderwells at around 32-33" from the ground with no lift and 235/75R15s. The ride is excellent with EE swaybars, Rancho 9000x shocks on all four corners and the Spring modifications. I currently have the rear Ranchos set on "1" and the fronts on "3."

      Add-a-Leaf Install Writeup

      Parts/Tools Required
      1. Explorer Pro-Comp Single Add-a-leaf, P/N 13120
      2. Two grade 8 machine bolts, 2.5" long x 3/8", hex head. Nuts to go with them. These will be used for new spring center pins. (The bolts/pins included with the Procomp kit are too narrow and too long.)
      3. 18mm Deep drive socket.
      4. Air Impact and cut-off setup
      5. Lots of PBBlaster
      6. Two c-clamps
      7. Basic wrenches, etc

      Procedure
      1. Jack up rear of truck, place jackstands as high as they can go right infront of rear spring hangers.
      2. Remove wheels. Spray everything with PB blaster.
      3. Disconnect the shock absorbers at the bottom, let them hang.
      4. Remove e-brake cable retainer from passenger side u-bolt/shock mount.
      5. Use an 18mm deep drive socket in your impact gun :D to remove the u-bolt nuts. Remove the shock mounts from under the springs. The axle will hang from the swaybar, and the springs will sag much lower than the axle. Be careful.
      6. With the rear axle hanging by the swaybar, place a jack under the center of the differential, and jack the axle up. Place some jackstands underneith it, and disconnect the swaybar. BE CAREFUL OF THE HYDRAULIC BRAKE LINE. It is very easy to drop the axle too far and stretch the rubber hose.
      [​IMG]

      7. Remove the bolt holding the rear of the leaf spring to the bottom of the shackle. Lower the spring to the floor.
      [​IMG]

      8. Place a c-clamp on either side of the leaf spring center pin.
      9. Grind off the head on the leaf spring center pin and remove. You won't be able to undo this one. Trust me. Once the head is off, punch out the bolt.
      [​IMG]

      10. Slowly undo the c-clamps and release tension on the leaf pack.
      11. Insert the AAL above the overload spring, and below the last leaf. Insert the new center pin bolt and use the two c-clamps to re-compress the leaf pack.
      [​IMG]

      12. Tighten and center the center pin. 3/8" is the maximum you can fit through the center hole on the AAL, but is slightly narrower than the metric bolt removed from the lead pack.
      13. Remove C-clamps, and reattach the leaf pack to the shackle.
      14. Using two hydraulic jacks, raise the spring to meet the axle, and lower the axle to meet the spring. Again, be careful of the brakeline. The center pin bolt head should fit in the recess in the leaf perch on the axle.
      [​IMG]

      15. Re-install u-bolts and shock mounts. Sequentially tighten the u-bolt nuts so that the length is even on all four legs. Torque these puppies down with the impact gun.
      16. Reattach the shock absorber, and the swaybar. Reattach wheels, and lower.
      [​IMG]
      Swaybar Mounting bolt

      My lower shock mounts were VERY rusty, and with them removed I used this as an opportunity to wirebrush and grind them down. I painted them with 2 coats of Rustoleum primer, and 3 coats of black Rustoleam Paint.
      [​IMG]
      Repainted Shock mounts

      Sticky at the top.... please please :cool:
       
      Last edited: January 17, 2004
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    3. dreamr

      dreamr Well-Known Member

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    4. CodePoet

      CodePoet Well-Known Member

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      Nice writeup! I wish I would have had a writup like that before I did mine....dog chewed up the directions!! Mine has plastic pads at the ends of the leaves...did you leave yours? I've since ripped one of them out, it had worked out somehow...just curious. Good Job

      Later
      CP :D
       
    5. izackary

      izackary Well-Known Member

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      congrats on your 200th!

      *pops a beer for trent* :chug:
       
    6. hydroxy

      hydroxy I like to fiddle...

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      I like the way your shock mounts look =P did you paint them?

      Nice writeup.
       
    7. V8BoatBuilder

      V8BoatBuilder Transplanted Bostonian

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      Thanks! I should have taken a before pic of them. The rust was unbeliveable. Not just surface rust, but the scaly kind... eww... :p

      I really feel the AALs have made my ride a whole lot better. Here's why: The spring pack is now stiffer, and my Rancho shocks are set at 1. This leads to a much smoother, less neck snapping jolt over potholes, since the shocks are set low and aren't as stiff. I previously had them between 3 and 5 to control body lean into corners. Howeber, the stiffer spring pack dampens the roll, along with the EE swaybar. Savvy?

      Couldn't be happier. :D
       
    8. V8BoatBuilder

      V8BoatBuilder Transplanted Bostonian

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      My Leafs do have plastic circular inserts at the ends, and I didn't touch them. The three main leafs are held in place by permanent clamps (which weren't disturbed) as well as the center bolt. There were also some thin steel plates seperating the leaves around the center bolt, I left those too.
       
    9. izackary

      izackary Well-Known Member

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      Aaron, was this done in your own garage? I think it'd be a good idea for us to hang out again so you can help me out with mine. ;) You didn't need extended U-bolts, i see?

      (If you'd like, we can sorta make a trade...your help for the spare and *ahem* parking at WoW. :p)
       
    10. V8BoatBuilder

      V8BoatBuilder Transplanted Bostonian

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      Yea - all my work is ALWAYS done in my garage at home. I have an industrial 230v heater that will warm the garage to a comfortable 60 degrees even if its below zero outside. I'd be more than happy to help you install AALs, now that I've done it once it shouldn't take long at all. I didn't need extended u-bolts, and was able to re-use the old ones. Last spring I did have to cut off the shock mount bolts, so those were already new. If your u-bolt nuts are rusted on, hardened suspention u-bolts can be had for $5/each at Autozone up the street. I had purchased 4 of them, and ended up returning them all. The most annoying part of the install was driving about 30 min each way to Woburn to get Grade 8 hardware for the center pins mid job, there's none availible near my house. :rolleyes:

      Thanks again for the tire, and yea - As soon as I dropped Tim off in JP, I realized we never got $$ back to you for the parking.
       
    11. hydroxy

      hydroxy I like to fiddle...

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      what did you use to take off the rust?

      Do you goto GMU btw?
       
    12. V8BoatBuilder

      V8BoatBuilder Transplanted Bostonian

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      I started by using a 2" wirebrush in a handheld electric drill, and a toothbrush sized wirebrush. I also used a hammer and a round-head punch to dislodge a lot of the flakes. I then finished it off with a 1/2" diameter wheel in my air rotary/detail tool.
       
      Last edited: April 28, 2004
    13. AspenX

      AspenX Well-Known Member

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      Great write up, thanks! It's gonna come in real handy pretty soon.
       
    14. bozemanmt16

      bozemanmt16 New Member

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      why would you remove the leaf pack from the shackle, its just extra work for nothing.
       
    15. JeSSeJohn

      JeSSeJohn Member

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      THANK U !THANK U! THANK U! this will make my AAL project go soooo much smoother!!!
       
    16. izackary

      izackary Well-Known Member

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      mine too! let me know when you're outta school, Aaron!! :D Hopefully I can get ya to help with mine. Maybe my ball joints too....we'll see.

      latah
       
    17. Skeets'91EB

      Skeets'91EB Active Member

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      Nice write up, I'll remember this thread if my shackles dont give me the lift I need
       
    18. Rodeo Joe

      Rodeo Joe Elite Bostonian

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      Hey, we can have a Mass. spring upgrade! ;)

      Joe
       
    19. davidmmm69

      davidmmm69 Well-Known Member

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      sometmes you do not need to take the whole spring out I just did it this weekend and added 2 add a leafs on each side and left the spring attached at beth ends.. it was easy with 2 people and some clamps..
      also everythiung unbolted fine. with a 18 mm socket...

      the only tough thing was getting the old shocks off you have to have tiny hands to unbolt the top ones..
      the u bolts were just long enough for the 2 extra leafs per side.
      i wish the kit came with longer shocks as these were not long enough.
      if i unbolt the bottom as you see it in the picture i have about 1 inch where i could pull them down. not long enough,...
       

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    20. Raminator157

      Raminator157 Mopar Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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      Nice write up Aaron. If I ever come down south to Visit you. Do you think both of us could add some leafs to my X?
       
    21. V8BoatBuilder

      V8BoatBuilder Transplanted Bostonian

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      Yea - shouldn't take more than a few hours, but might require some grinding and new bolts.
       
    22. davidmmm69

      davidmmm69 Well-Known Member

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      it is easy but a little tough putting 2 extra leaves in each side while the front was still connected to the vehicle...
       
    23. SkanlaxJMO

      SkanlaxJMO Well-Known Member

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      how did you go about doing 2 leaves? do you need a larger center pin? How did you insert them into the pack? Other then that is was like a normal AAl install?
       
    24. davidmmm69

      davidmmm69 Well-Known Member

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      larger center pin.. but wow is it a rough ride.. it was a normal install.. simple.


      does this help any..
      thanks
       

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    25. Ford_Racing_Guy

      Ford_Racing_Guy Well-Known Member

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      did you guys swap the driver side leaf pack for the Passenger side?


      i know some have done this in the past to help eliminate driver's sag.

      and also...did the metal band for the leafs come with the kit?
       
    26. SkanlaxJMO

      SkanlaxJMO Well-Known Member

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      davidmm69 yeah that does did you stagger the leaves between the stock ones?
       

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