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F150 springs in Explorer


January 18, 2014
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City, State
Western MA
Year, Model & Trim Level
How to swap in F150 springs for rear end lift (95-01 Explorers+Sport Trac at least to '05)

*Note: I can't and won't be held responsible for any mistakes you could make that could either injure you, someone else, damage the truck, or tools. Proceed at your own risk!*

First, i went to my local u pull it yard, and looked for trucks. I didn't see any that were from 1986 and older, as other threads have specified. instead i found a good looking 1994 F150 with the single cab, "Flare-Side" bed. the truck was immaculate prior to being T-boned and sent to the junk yard. Because i didn't have time to spare other people the parts that were in my way, i ripped the bed sides off to have easier access to the leaf springs. I brought a scissor jack, and placed it between the axle tube and the underside of the bed, and lifted to get the weight off the springs that i needed. I then cut the U bolts about 3/4 of the way through and began loosening the nuts on them, they snapped with ease. Use extreme caution and proper protective equipment when doing this! the rear shackle bolts were almost seized from the few winters they had seen since the rear suspension was replaced on this truck (no more than 2 years old when i got everything!) i also got the front spring hangers for use on a future project, since they had absolutely no rust on them.

*Note: the springs i pulled out of the F150 were 3" wide

Now begins the fun part!!

At my friends shop, we took out my factory leaf springs 1 side at a time, replacing the old with the new before moving to the other side. on my truck, my factory U bolts (reused since no rust) took a 3/4" deep socket. I left the U bolt plates attached to my shocks just hanging when disconnected. I also had to replace my rear shackles with the plate style lift/lowering ones from auto zone. Explorer factory leafs are 2.5" wide, new springs are 3" wide. on the front of the leaf spring (closer to leaf pack through bolt) i ground the sleeve and bushing to be flush with the spring, and with a 4# sledge hammer i opened up the front hangers a little bit. once the front was wide enough to accept the new spring, i just put a small jack under the spring eye and lifted it into place, then put the bolt through before i had a chance to forget. Then i moved onto bolting the spring to the axle. First, to secure the leaf pack together, i used threaded rod and 1 washer and nut on top, 2 under, when the pack was tight i welded each side to make sure they won't come back out. When bolting the axle to the springs, you will lose about 1/4" of wheelbase length. doing one side at a time, the axle will be crooked until the project is complete, loosen the 2nd side of U bolts before tightening the 1st to make this easier. Next is the rear shackles. to make things easier, use a die grinder with a cutoff wheel to cut off the anti-spin tab from the rear shackle bolt. Then, using a strong impact gun in reverse on the bolt head side, and an air hammer on the freed threaded end, power the bolt out of the bushing. Then simply install the new shackles with all new fasteners and preferably Loctite or a thread sealant of some sort. I didn't cut down the sleeve and bushing length at the back of my leaf springs, but if i did, my shackles would be a little more straight. I put my leafs with the minimum setting on the adjustable shackles, and with the stronger new suspension. i am about 3.5" above stock in the rear, with a 2" TT up front (until i install some coil overs and a drop axle kit)

I didn't get a chance to take pics of the install process as i was on a time crunch, but i will get pics of the before and after on here soon. Good luck to anyone else attempting this project, hopefully i can be of help. Also, my truck rides like a cadillac now compared to the sagging old leafs that were in it. I can also carry a lot more weight before the rear even levels out with the front.