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


myf16

Active Member
Joined
July 22, 2012
Messages
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City, State
northern California
Year, Model & Trim Level
96 Explorer XLT 4WD
I just completed this job on a low-rust (Florida/California) 1996 Explorer.

PB Blaster and a breaker bar were sufficient to remove the nuts from the U-bolts. The breaker bar alone probably would have done it.

The shock mounts do not need to be removed. Just rotate the U-bolt plate by 180 degrees about a vertical axis. I.e., twist the lower half of the shock relative to the upper half.

Don't remove the leaf springs from the shackles. Leave it attached at both ends. Raise the differential to create space between leaf spring and axle.

With about 2" space(not enough to insert a grinder), I used a Dremel cutting wheel to slice one side of the round head and make it flat. I sliced the other side flat too, but I think that's overkill. With one flat side you can put a vicegrip on it and it will not turn. I used an iron pipe to extend the vicegrip handle to 2 feet long. I put a 15mm socket and breaker bar on the bottom nut. Lots of PB Blaster. I would have tried a torch but I didn't have one.

On one side the nut came off. On the other side we snapped the bolt, which was just as good and a bit faster.

Reassembly was trouble=free, as described in the OP except that I avoided having to reattach the shocks and leaf springs. Total time was under 3 hours including lots of Dremel time and cleanup.
 

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Tylerneu

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January 18, 2016
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 Ford Explorer XLT
Thank You

I just completed my AAL (also warrior shackle) lift using your write-up. Just wanted to say thanks for the great resource it really helped me
 


Jake100146

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April 9, 2016
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City, State
Australia
Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 Ford Explorer
I used the pro Como add a leaf 2.36" today..

I have only completed one side and it hasn't lifted the rear at all??

Do I wait to put the other side on and it will lift up 2.36" at the rear?

Please help?

Thanks,

Jake
 


Jake100146

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April 9, 2016
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City, State
Australia
Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 Ford Explorer
Hi all,

Just perchased pro comp add a leaf and in talked one on the passenger side today.

I run out of time and only finished the passenger side so I will do the driver side tomorrow.

Though I noticed that when I lowered it back on the ground it hadn't changed my ride hieght at all on the passenger side?

Is it just because I only have one side done or am I doing it wrong?

Thanks heaps,

Jake
 


wiggle wagon

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February 2, 2012
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City, State
Vancouver, BC.
Year, Model & Trim Level
90 Bronco II 97 Explorer
I just did the left side of my AAL today. Like many, I didn't drop the leaf pack or unbutton either end. I didn't see the point.
The U bolts weren't rusted so they came apart easily and were reused. I replaced the load carrier leaf with the AAL in my application mostly to simplify reassembly.
The job would have gone faster if my angle grinder hadn't died halfway through the OEM center bolt. So I have no idea how long its supposed to take.
Instead of clamping the pack together I just wound everything back together with the new (larger of the two) supplied center bolts. Note that the Pro Comp 13120 AAL is a universal fit part for any smaller leaf sprung truck. It isn't Explorer or RBV specific. The salesman at 4Wheel Parts thought it was Toyota specific, actually. $48 Canadian.
An observation of the finished product is this: The original leaf pack is a lousy design. Although the AAL restores arch to the leaf pack, the front of the leaf towards the spring hanger still has negative arch after the truck is back on the ground. In fact, there is a bolt head above the leaf (its how the spring hanger is mounted) and an obvious mark on the leaf where that bolt rubs. While on jackstands there is a 2 1/2" space between them. Before the AAL is added the truck is riding on that bolt at times. Thats a lot of de-arch and an obvious point of failure. Down the road a ways I will replace these leaf packs. I'd prefer something with a "military wrap" on the front. Maybe the Old Man Emu 1 1/2" packs. (ARB CS042R)
Depending on the weather (its supposed to snow) I might do the right side tomorrow.
Truck is a 97 5.0 AWD.
 


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