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How To: Leaf Spring Removal / Installation / Swap

MountaineerGreen

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This guide should work for any leaf spring removal and reinstallation, whether it be for Add A Leaf ( AAL ) or the F150 Leaf Spring Mod, 4" Superlift Spring installation, 4 door leaf pack into a sport, etc.

My Mountaineer is modified almost everywhere. Some of these pictures will look different than your Explorer/Mountaineer, but the basic stuff is still there. In these pictures, I am installing 4" Superlift springs.

So lets begin. As always, safety is up to you, and any modifications you may perform are not necessarily endorsed by myself or this site and especially the Ford Motor Company. Proceed at your own risk.

I began by blocking the front wheels, jacking the rear of the vehicle up by the center of the rear axle. I generally don't recommend that you jack up any vehicle this way, but that is the only way to get the frame high enough to let the suspension hang at full droop.

Place jackstands in front of the front spring hanger bolts. Make sure the jack stands are high enough the suspension can hang at full droop even after you add the springs, if they are lift springs. You don't want to get done and figure out you can't get it off the ground.

While the jack is under the differential, remove both rear tires, slowly lower the jack and let the weight of the truck rest on the jack stands.

Only remove one spring at a time, you need the other side intact to hold the axle in place.

Should look about like this:

IMG_0435_Medium_.JPG


I started on the passenger side:

IMG_0436_Medium_.JPG


It also may be necessary to remove the sway bar links, especially if you are installing lift springs.

Remove the lower shock bolt. The nut is an 18mm, the bolt head is 15mm.

You may have to have to drive the bolt out, rust can seize the bolt in tight.

IMG_0437_Medium_.JPG


Next, remove the 10mm bolt that holds the clip that retains the ebrake cable, the bolt interferes with removal of the nuts on the U bolts.

IMG_0439_Medium_.JPG


With that removed, its time to remove the spring plate and ubolts. The nuts on the ubolts are 18mm and you will need a deep well socket.

IMG_0450_Medium_.JPG


Remove the four nuts on the ubolts and the spring plate should come off. You can leave the ubolts on the axle or remove them.

Support the axle with a jack or jackstand, after your remove the front or rear bolts, the spring will fall and it is heavy.

Remove the rear bolt and or shackle, it uses a 21mm wrench or socket, but a 7/8" will do if its not super tight. Removal of the spare may help, especially if you have to drive the bolt out of the spring.

A picture of my shackle, its ugly, crappy I know. :rolleyes: Now that I have the new springs, they won't be used any more.

IMG_0447_Medium_.JPG


Now all that holds the spring on is the front bolt. It's an 18mm bolt head, the backside nut has a clip on it, you won't have to hold it with a wrench.

IMG_0446_Medium_.JPG


Once you pull that bolt out, the spring will come loose, a helper may be needed.

Spring removed and supported by my sway bar link:

IMG_0440_Medium_.JPG


To reinstall the spring, start with the front eyelet, put the bolt through. As many times as I have had my springs out, I seemingly alway forget this and wrestle and beat and bang before I take the shackle end loose and do the front first. Trust me.

Put the jack under the spring, raise it up to the shackle, put that bolt back in.

Lower the axle back on the spring, make sure the hole in the perch sits over the center pin (aka bolt) in the leaf spring. Put the plate on the bottom of the spring, the center hole goes over the center pin also. Run the nuts up on the ubolts, make sure you tighten them in stages, like you would lug nuts. When you are done, the threads through the nuts should all be close to equal.

Re-install the shock with the nut and bolt.

My spring installed:

IMG_0441_Medium_.JPG


The process is the same for both sides, the driver side does not have the 10mm bolt.
 


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MountaineerGreen

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I forgot to add its always a good idea to drive a few hundred miles, then check your U bolts again- they usually loosen up a little.

I am open to comments/questions about this, please feel free.
 




Gator Jeff

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Awesome thread! I'm about to convert from the mono-leaf to the 4 door leaf and the guy at the parts guy seems to think that 4 door leaf are too long. He's wrong, right? Also, any thoughts on what spring code to get? Thanks
 




Charlie

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Awesome thread! I'm about to convert from the mono-leaf to the 4 door leaf and the guy at the parts guy seems to think that 4 door leaf are too long. He's wrong, right? Also, any thoughts on what spring code to get? Thanks

Yep, a 4 door leaf pack is the same length. BTW, do you know how much of a lift a 4 door leaf pack gives a sport?

Nice write up, btw, should help a lot of people out:thumbsup:
 




Blacksheep Josh

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This should most definitely be a sticky if it isn't so all ready. Gonna help a LOT of people.
 




Bill Johnson

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spring swap

Wondering if I could leave the tires on with the jacks taking the preassure off the axles if I need to remove both sides and swap out. I would think the shocks and tires could remain on the vehicle as long as it is jacket up with tires just touching the ground.


Your thoughts?

wjohnsono@dchs.org
 




corkey

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the plate under the spring that holds the u bolts has to come off , it is also the lower spring perch,,, so,,, off it goes,, as it is under the spring,, not by the axle,,
great info in this post ,,
 








Bill Johnson

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07 explorer sag

Well, I swapped the left and right rear springs and the sag to the left is the same. Where to go now? The shock had gas but no recoil without pulling. Shocks and or booster springs?
 




wargear

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man, this will help me a lot if I can find the funds for it, ty very much :D
 




BlackHawk09er

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Thanks for this awesome thread

def will be using this on spring break

Tom
 








gmanpaint

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Evan,
This thread will help me remember what to do. I have already swapped my originals with another set of stockers. But this time, i got some lift springs, and the shackles are going bye bye! A refresher read is always nice! Thanks a bunch!
 




1996BLKBauer

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I am doing this, well I actually not doing a lift, just replacing the springs to get rid of the sag I have on my 96' 4 door, but I am installing new front mounts, since I live in IL and the rust can be a little but harsh. but is it safe to place the jack stands infront of the mounts? I have always placed it on the mounts before.
 




Maniak

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Thats where I placed the stands when I worked on my springs. I used tall jackstands so the back was higher than the front (stink bug look).

Using the really tall jack stands in the rear also helped since I could put the axle itself on 3 jack stands and just float it there when I took off the springs.


Rebuilding the rear springs.. by maniak_az, on Flickr

~Mark
 




Maverick265

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A huge thanks goes out to whoever wrote this guide. I'm a beginner on working on cars and the local shop quoted me $2600 for leaf springs and rear shocks. I'm saving about $2k doing it my self.
 








manousos

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THANK YOU for this write-up. I just finished switching out the monoleafs on my 99 Sport with a 4-leaf pack from an XLT. Looks and rides so much better now
IMG_2404.jpg
 






Join the Elite Explorers for $20 per year. Gets rid of the ads! New $5 per month "try out" option.

Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose fix problems yourself and learn which modifications work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create and save more private Conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.




ThatExplorerDude

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Can anyone show a before/after picture of a 2nd gen XLT 4 door with stocvk springs and the swap from the f-150 with a regular size tire? I have 28's on mine at the moment.. Im just wanting to make sure it doesn't look goofy
 




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