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

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Old 05-27-2009, 09:00 AM   #41
sne43
Minnesota
'97 XLT, 4.0 6 Cyl., SOHC
 
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Using this thread, I completed my AAL project last weekend on my '97 ex. The Pro Comp 3120 worked great. I was trying to lift the sagging rear of the truck and get about an inch rake on it. I also replaced my four shocks while I was at it. It drives like new and looks better than I ever remember it. Stiffened up the rear and the overall stability is greatly improved. I would highly recommend doing this to an old truck.

Some of the folks on this thread recommended not removing the leaf from the shackle. I went with this technique and it was easy. You need an extra person to roll the axle to the rear in order to drop the centering bolt into and out of the leaf pack, but the rest is solo. The other question I had was whether you can use the existing U-bolts, and found that I could without a problem.

In addition to the shocks, I also took all the rust off of the spare tire and painted the rims with three coats of Rustoleum (de-rusted and painted the tire hanging bracket as well). Living in Minnesota, I found that there are some parts under the back that are almost rusted through and that I need to replace. In process looking for those parts as well.
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Old 05-28-2009, 08:30 PM   #42
1brutas
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I am new to this site , was researching this idea and you did an excellent write up on this. It's most appreciated!
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Old 06-14-2009, 02:30 AM   #43
Ford_Racing_Guy
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just did the Procomp AAL kit tonite

i was able to get away with not dropping the leafs and not disconnecting the swaybar.


just simply jacked the axle up, disconnected the brake cable bracket. the u-bolts loosened right up with an impact which was pretty sweet, i was expecting some difficulty.
i didn't have to grind the bolt head off, i simply put a vice grip on the top and heated the nut with a Mapp Torch and it loosened right up, slide the bolt out pretty easily.

i did buy the c-clamps but i ended up using vicegrip C-clamps instead, much easier and quicker to adjust especially when installing the new leafs.

I did not have to buy additional bolts, i bought the procomp kit through Summit Racing, and the kit came with 2 sets of bolts, one set was narrow, the other set was the same thickness as the ones removed.

They are much longer but i was able to just jack the axle up until i had clearance to slide them in, once i got the leaves on and the nut handtight i took my die-grinder with a cutting wheel and cut the excess off the bolt (a saw-zall would work just as good), tightened the bolt up and then cut the remaining excess off again.
took about 2 hrs, stuff wasn't too badly rusted, i did have to heat the shock bolts up as well to remove. Used antiseize where needed, also put medium grade theadlocker on the center bolt and u-bolts.

Looks good, rides good, pretty happy with the price of the kit and simplicity of the install.

The writeup and pictures sure helped give me an idea of what i needed to do.

This Forum is always very helpful.




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Old 06-16-2009, 03:35 PM   #44
99ExploratorySUV
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I just finished installing this today, same Pro Comp kit 13120. I used those different grade 8 bolts, didn't feel like cutting the ones in the kit, even though they did include the thicker correct width sizes. I agree with Ford Racing Guy it's definitely a good idea to thread lock those U bolt nuts, just for extra precaution. Also, just an installation note that should be definitely heeded, after installing the center bolt, and then tightening up the U-bolts, GO BACK AND TIGHTEN THE CENTER BOLT AGAIN. I noticed after torquing down the U-bolts really tight that the center bolt nut became loose, because torquing down the U-bolts compressed the spring pack further than I was able to after installing the center bolt. I was able to tighten the center bolt as the nut stuck out from the shock mount. So, it's probably a good idea to check that, as the nut on mine was finger loose.
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Old 06-21-2009, 09:52 AM   #45
wangmauler
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add a leaf EXP13120

I was just curious - on 4wheelparts.com, you have to select your year, make, model, and drivetrain - Point is, according to that website, the leafs for my 1998 explorer sport (which is 4wd), does not exsist - unless its 2wd, in which case its $123.99, NOT the $34.99 quoted at the beginning of this article - any sugestions what I should do? or just skip the AAL?




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Old 06-21-2009, 07:53 PM   #46
wangmauler
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anyone? haha? hard to believe noone else has the same issue I have...?

ps

also, do i need to add 2 of those items to my basket, or is it a PAIR being sold...no info on that in this article either...?




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Last edited by wangmauler; 06-21-2009 at 07:55 PM. Reason: PS
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Old 06-23-2009, 03:01 AM   #47
Ford_Racing_Guy
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i believe the sport's don't have the thick spring pack like the 4 doors.


they only have a mono-leaf i believe, think there are helper spring kits out there just for the sports.

or you can swap out the mono-leafs for a spring-pack out of a 4 door.




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Old 07-02-2009, 11:42 AM   #48
sne43
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Question Add-A-Leaf Spring Pack Bands Now Loose

Second post in follow up to my install about a month ago. I have a new issue that has cropped up after the install. I noticed a ratling noise coming from under the truck and finally got under there to see what might be causing it. The metal bands that are around the leaf pack at the forward end are now loose and making the rattling sound. Both Drivers and Passenger sides effected. Possibly, the new curvature has caused it. I think I can just tighten them up but would like some input.

Can anyone tell me how to fix this problem?
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:55 PM   #49
ShadowRaven
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So I have an 02 Explorer Sport and I'm definitely looking into doing this. http://www.summitracing.com/parts/EXP-13120/ Is that the correct AAL then that I will need to do this install? Thanks guys.




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Old 09-10-2009, 06:44 PM   #50
Brandon96
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I have purchased the Summit Racing kit, just received it today. It came with two sets of centering pins. Both are slightly over 5in long except one set appears to be 3/8in thick, and the other set appears to be between a 1/4in and 6/16th of and inch.

My question is, could this be a new thing Summit Racing has thrown in? From what I understand you all have only received 1 set.. or did you all get two sets like I did? Will these puppies work or are they simply just too long?
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Old 09-10-2009, 07:54 PM   #51
specialized7
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i got my AAl on yesterday, it took me about 5 hours, 3 of which was the left side alone, snapped a u bolt using the breaker bar on it, easy fix.
i didnt undo the sway bar, i also didnt drop the whole leaf pack. i also didnt unbolt any brake lines.
i had to cut about an inch and a half off the bolts that came with the kit just to fit them under the axle, then i slid the bolt threw and used c clamps to hold the spring pack together tightened, dropped axle put ubolts and shock mounts on, bolted up shocks put wheels on done.




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Old 09-10-2009, 09:07 PM   #52
Brandon96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by specialized7 View Post
i got my AAl on yesterday, it took me about 5 hours, 3 of which was the left side alone, snapped a u bolt using the breaker bar on it, easy fix.
i didnt undo the sway bar, i also didnt drop the whole leaf pack. i also didnt unbolt any brake lines.
i had to cut about an inch and a half off the bolts that came with the kit just to fit them under the axle, then i slid the bolt threw and used c clamps to hold the spring pack together tightened, dropped axle put ubolts and shock mounts on, bolted up shocks put wheels on done.
Will be doing this tomorrow in that case

I have a serious 'gangster lean,' I'll post pictures here of before and after measurements.. see if it fixes that at all.
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Old 09-12-2009, 12:55 AM   #53
ShadowRaven
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon96 View Post
Will be doing this tomorrow in that case

I have a serious 'gangster lean,' I'll post pictures here of before and after measurements.. see if it fixes that at all.
Yeah, I actually just got done doing an AAL and I had to use the larger bolts that came with it due to the 2.5" bolts I bought not being long enough. They work just fine.




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Old 12-19-2009, 10:50 AM   #54
FishinFord
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In the first few pictures what type of shackles are those? are they WAR 153's? they look bigger. And if you add a leaf do you have to put on longer shocks?
thanks,
-Kug
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Old 12-19-2009, 11:48 AM   #55
V8BoatBuilder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FishinFord View Post
In the first few pictures what type of shackles are those? are they WAR 153's? they look bigger. And if you add a leaf do you have to put on longer shocks?
thanks,
-Kug
Looks like the shackles on the 1st page (DavidMMMMM's truck) are the Universal AutoZone shackles, without a crossbar.

I didn't not need longer shocks.




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Old 02-02-2010, 06:57 PM   #56
Brandon96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon96 View Post
Will be doing this tomorrow in that case

I have a serious 'gangster lean,' I'll post pictures here of before and after measurements.. see if it fixes that at all.
Sorry it took so long, I forgot about this;

I have written down that the Driver's side before was 31.4" to the center of the Wheel well, and 32.4" on the Passenger's. I then swapped the springs and then added the AAL's and ended up with 33.1 on the Driver's and 33.7" on the Passenger's.

You couldn't really notice it anymore...

This was the before:


Best I have of After:


I recommend NOT using them with the Torsion Twist for your lift.


I later got some custom ones made by Thurston Springs, a local shop.




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Old 02-02-2010, 06:59 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by ShadowRaven View Post
Yeah, I actually just got done doing an AAL and I had to use the larger bolts that came with it due to the 2.5" bolts I bought not being long enough. They work just fine.
I also used the Longer Bolts, I never thanked you for letting me know before I got into it... so Thanks!




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Old 02-11-2010, 02:08 PM   #58
irish222222
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Thanks for the great write-up. This got me started in the right direction and it was actually a fairly easy job. I had a real bad lean to the drivers side. I added the add-a-leafs and while I was doing the install I swapped the pass leaf to over to the driver side. It finally sits level!!
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Old 03-10-2010, 03:32 PM   #59
FloridaState
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Just literally got done doing this. Great write-up, it really helped. Except we also didn't need to remove the leaf from the shackle, partially because we couldn't get it off. Even though I'm in Florida, my Explorer was originally from Delaware, so it was rusted to hell. We just could not get the bolt out so we decided to just try it with it on, and it was fine. The only drawback was that we couldn't swap the driver and passenger side ones to get rid of the lean, so it still leans, though only slightly. We also only had to cut off one of the center bolts; the other we used a pair of vise-grips and an air wrench to get off.

I am somewhat pleased with the results. It made the X pretty level, as it was sagging in the back a good bit. But like I said, it still leans to the left slightly, like it did before. We'll see how it does once it settles in and everything, but so far I'm not so sure if it was entirely worth the effort. It balanced it out more, which was good, but it still has a little bit of that gangsta lean on it which is extremely annoying and something I was really looking forward to getting rid of.
Time will tell.
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Old 10-29-2010, 06:40 PM   #60
2TimingTom
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Just finish my install using this thread as a guide.

I didn't cut the OEM centering pin off- I only have a dremel so it would have taken awhile. Vise grips on the top and a breaker bar on the nut. I swear I was cutting new threads the whole way out.

I also didn't remove the leaf pack from the shackle- I tried, the bolt on the left side wouldn't budge. So I took the shackle off the frame.

The super long centering pin that comes with the Pro-Comp kit, I used that to make sure they stayed centered while compressing everything with the c-clamps. Once compressed all the way, I swapped it out for my new 2.5" long 3/8" grade 8 bolt recommended in the first post.

End result puts my fenders 33" high on the left and 33.25" on the right. I started at 31.625" on the left and 32.25" on the right. Maybe if I get really ambitious I'll swap left to right someday.

While I was doing this, I replaced the shocks that were on there for some Rancho RS5000 shocks (part #'s: RS5185 and RS5374) front and rear. The Ranchos are for "lifted suspensions 1-2.5". A side-by-side comparison to the ones I took off, the Ranchos compress to the same length but can extend farther. Seems like a winner to me.

Overall the ride is a little more firm, but it's all in a good way. The shocks I took off were probably worn out. When I backed out of my driveway and over the soft curb before, the truck would rock back and forth pretty violently. Not anymore. Handling on the highway use to feel vague and numb- I'll update this once I get out on the highway.

Thanks for the write up with pictures. My hands were too nasty to even touch my camera during my install.




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