BDS Add-a-Leafs...QUESTIONS?! | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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BDS Add-a-Leafs...QUESTIONS?!


Explorer Addict
July 11, 2002
Reaction score
City, State
Indianapolis, Indiana
Year, Model & Trim Level
1993 XLT
Hey all, today I went to the pull a part place, got my F-150 spacers then bought a new set of BDS add-a-leafs. I'm reading the instructions and I see that it says somthing about installing the supplied leaf alignment clamps. The only hardware that came with my kit was four pins w/ matching nuts, I don't even see where four pins will go according the instructions . What the heck are leaf alighnment clamps?? Why four pins when the instructions only mentions 2? Do I need new u-bolts, the instructions didn't say I did until nearly the end of the procedures? Any helpful hints, or pages the describe instalation particularly well? I tried the search function but didn't come up with much for BDS. I REALLY applogize for all the questions, the instuctions are vague, and this is my first gentil! :)


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Are the AALs the long leaf kind? Are there holes near the ends of the leafs, not just the one in the middle? The things near the ends of these packs are leaf alignment clamps. I have never heard of them being supplied with AALs, but then again, I have never heard of BDS AALs.:D

Most AALs come with four bolts. Two should be one size, while the other two are another. Just use the two that match your exsting center bolt.

Thanks Robb. I think i'm understanding the process much better now. I just went out with a caliper and measured the stock nut and compared it to the new one from the kit. The new one is smaller by ~.123", i'm assuming that since it's an aftermarket kit their may be small differences like this but they will still work. I'm going to try to describe the picture I have in my head now. The new pin goes in just like the one in your picture, I cut off the excess pin so that when i remount the axle the nut will fit into the opening in the stock spring perch. Now there is a difference in your picture compared to mine, on your leaf springs I see two spring clamps, mine only has one, and also unlike yours mine is just a metal band that can't (as I see it) be taken off unless I cut it off. After I clamp the stock springs together and remove the stock pin, the instructions say to carefully remove the clamps. This will unload the springs so I can install my new leaf, since I only have one spring clamp the stock leaves will just kind be held together loosly by that clamp. I then install my new leaf and pin, leaving it loose, use my clamps again to recompress the spring, and tighten the pin. I only have a couple of questions now.

1) Do I just reuse the stock u-bolts? The instuctions don't mention anything about installing new ones until near the end, and they act like the new u-bolts are included (their not).

2) Any thing wrong with my picture? The spring clamp?

3) There is no torque spec for the new pin. Do I just get it really tight? Or use the factory spec which I don't know?

Thanks for all the help Robb. I'm kinda **** about wanting to know how to do something before I do it so I really appreciate the help. I'm also going to call napa tomorrow before I put the f150 spacers in and get some 2.75 degree camber shims for the front since the stock ones are pretty much turned out all the way and the tires still kind of point in at the top.

Thanks again!

Please ignore that pic in regards to which way to put the center bolts (pins) in. Those leafs are setup for spring over, so the bolts are in the opposite way you would want them. The round head of the bolt is meant to go into the spring perch.

Unless your AAL is a long-leaf type, you shouldn't need to undo your stock single allignment clamp. Just from memory (which isn't very good), when I put in my PC AALs, the leaf ended up being the shortest leaf, outside of the flat helper spring. So I just added it directly above the helper leaf and did nothing with the allignment clamp.

I agree with the c-clamp method of taking apart your stock pack. That is what I did. Just remember tho, you will probably not be able to unbolt that nut on the end of the bolt. It is probably VERY rusted there, and your best bet will be clamping the pack in a vise and using a SawZall on the nut.

I wish I could help with a center-bolt torque spec, but I have no idea. I would try to research it tho, because I have heard that they can be overtightened and break.

About the alignment clamp. I have seen some people unclamp them or cut them at the top and just spread the tabs up. This will allow it to do its mission of aligning the leafs, but may also allow more flex of the pack. This seems like a good idea if flex is a priority to you.

And yes, you will be able to re-use your stock ubolts (from memory again). I don't think I had to replace mine. Just take a look at the ends of your u-bolts and see how much thread is left. If you have about 3/8" of thread showing, you will be fine.

Also, if you are doing this in the next few days, start spraying all the bolts with penetrating oil now. That will help greatly. And, if your instructions for removing the leafs are anything like my AALs came with, forget them. The method for removing the leafs in Chiltons is a better, quicker, and easier method.

Hey thanks for all the help Robb. I think i'll call the place where I bought the add-a-leaf and ask about the center bolt torque. I agree that I won't have to undo my alignment clamp to put the add a leaf on...mine will also be the shortest leaf. I don't really see a need for the clamp though, I can easily move it around with my fingers so I don't really see it serving any big purpose, and if removing it or modifing it would give more flex bonus! Thanks for all the help, if Napa has the camber shim i'll be working tomorrow!