rear saging, leafs? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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rear saging, leafs?

robertoa1a

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January 24, 2009
Messages
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City, State
Jacksonville, FL
Year, Model & Trim Level
96 5.0 xlt 2wd white/char
I love my EXs about as much as I love America. Any hoo. I have a "96 5.0 A nice vehicle! I Cary about 300 lbs weight in the rear, tools and what not. The back was sagging a bit so I bolted on some helper springs. The helpers aren't quite enough. In fact my less attractive '97 sits higher in the rear!?

My question is, should I buy new leaf springs? If so any advice is nice.:)
 



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You could buy autozone universal shackles for 18$ and get 1.5 inches of lift in the rear, its a lot cheaper than new springs!
 






I seen them but Im curious if they might rub the trailer hitch.
 






If they do just bring em back, even if they wont take them as a return you are only out 20 bucks, thats a lot cheaper than new springs!
 






Yeah... I was close to buying them but I bought the helper springs instead because I wanted the added stiffness. The problem is the very bottom leaf. Its flat thick metal and kind of in the way. I installed the helpers any way and they leveled things out most of the way. It seems like the truck should sit higher in the rear for towing. I think I'm going to add a leaf but I don't want to mess up the geometry. Since the Axel is on top I don't want to add too much thickness there.

Do you know If those shackles have lateral slop (play) that would make It handle worse. When I pass a semi the wind blows me around a little.
 






They do have a very small amount of play, but nothing noticeable when driving, only if you get down there and shake em. And if you put an AAL on underneath the overload spring, the thick flat one, you probably aren't gaining anything from it, you should take off the overload spring and replace it with the AAL, otherwise they will just cancel each other out.
 






add-a-leaf

See next entry. Sorry
 






add-a-leaf

I had the same problem. I did an add-a-leaf and raised my 97 ex back end 2 inches and it looks and rides great. Noticeable difference and higher than when I bought the truck way back at 32K miles (have 170 on it now). The leaf restors the curve in the longer leafs in the pack, raising the back end and stiffening it up. The AAL will add 400 lbs of towing capacity as well. I used the Pro-comp add a leaf for about $30 (with shipping) off of Amazon.com. I think the order code was 13025. There is a really good thread on how to do it on the forum. Just search "how to add a leaf" it will pop up. You could also get a leaf shop to do it for about $50.

I was considering the helper spring as well, but was told it would not lift the back end only add towing weight.

I went this rout over the shackles simply because the shackles do nothing to restore the sagging spring situation. They only lift the truck. Your springs are still flat with lost stiffness. I would recommend starting with the AAL for this reason given your problem.
 






What i would do is take them to your local spring shop and have them re-arch them to give you more lift. the leafs do tend to flatten out over time.
 






You won't get any lift over stock with a recurve to my recolection. I looked into it and it was much more expensive to have the spring shop recondition the leaf pack. I think mainly due to the amount of labor required to take the entire leaf pack off of the truck, take it apart, refurb and put it back. The AAL does not require the packs to be removed.

While you are down there, replace your shocks. It helped my truck's ride tremendously with 160k on the original shocks.
 






Thank you everyone. There is a wealth of information here for me, or anyone else to go on. I'm liking the AAL idea the best because of the added stiffness height, and load bearing. I appreciate that your advice came from experience.

Yes the helper springs did crimp the leafs without much gain in height but added some stiffness when standing on the hitch. The trouble is I think they racked the angle of the U-joint down a few degrees. I'm not in love with that.

As per the AAL's My only other question is; Whats a good shade tree method for keeping the correct alignment on the rear end while the stack is loose? Do I just use a black sharpy to mark the original position?
 






Here is a good thread describing the process. The original poster disconnected the leafs from the shackles, but this is not necessary as you will learn reading through it. I did not disconnect the leafs from the shackles along with several others who posted.

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=97676

To answer your alignment question, you use c-clamps and/or locking pliars to keep the leaf packs together. Works well. There is a centering bolt that keeps the packs from falling apart. I raised this up and inserted the new leaf and dropped it back in. I replaced the old bolt (while I was at it) and then cut it off to length since I had a little too much. I am not a mechanic, just a guy who had time on my hands from being unemployed and am trying to keep my Ex going longer to conserve cash. A fairly simple project for the shade tree guys.
 






Here is another option for you,
http://www.a-1shocks.com/sensa-trac-load-adjusting/index.cfm
They do work and they do raise the back about half an inch or so. THey help to transfer some of the load from the springs to the shocks. Your springs are still doing most of the work, these just help out some. They will also stiffen up the ride which should help since you carry all that weight in the back. Combined with the AAL, your truck should sit level or a little higher in the rear.

Dan
 






I know the add a leaf would be a lot prettier. I didn't have the truck jacked up high enough the first time to get them in the right position. I got about two inches of lift. I got a friend to stand on the bumper with me (420 lbs) and it only squatted about 1/2 inch. This may not be the best way but its a $26 way. The U bolt had to be tucked over that slat. I originally had them about 10" forward. I'm stoked.

Looking at them they don't look like they could work from a mechanical stand point. There is a odd cantilevering thing going on.
 

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I know the add a leaf would be a lot prettier. I didn't have the truck jacked up high enough the first time to get them in the right position. I got about two inches of lift. I got a friend to stand on the bumper with me (420 lbs) and it only squatted about 1/2 inch. This may not be the best way but its a $26 way. The U bolt had to be tucked over that slat. I originally had them about 10" forward. I'm stoked.

Looking at them they don't look like they could work from a mechanical stand point. There is a odd cantilevering thing going on.

I've got those on my X, work fairly well actually. My problem is while I was under it tonight fixing my trailer wiring I noticed that my shackle is almost rusted in half! :eek: so I need some advice on new shackles, I had considered fabbing my own but anyone have advice on the autozone universal shackles?
 






If mine were rusted I would have bought them. The price is right. I would rather have fabed ones though. Maybe with the bolts welded in or something rigid like that.
 






autozone shackles

Yes I have a pair on my ex now, they give about 1.5 inches of lift and work pretty well, I don't know how they hold up to rust because I live in TX(no salt). And they do have a small amount of lateral play, though nothing noticeable while driving. I bought mine for 18$, and they were an excellent buy.
 






If lateral play is a worry, cut a pc of steel pipe to size,place it between the bars, run a bolt through it using the 3rd bolt hole on the Autozone shackles, and place a nylock nut on it. Problem solved.

If you want heavy duty shackles, search "War153 shackles".

Re-arching your springs will only last so long. The harder you are on your truck, the faster they will lose the arch.

I went to the Junk yard and got a set of leafs for $100. I had them take passenger sides off of 2 diff Explorer's. Drivers side fails faster due to more weight from driver & gas tank on them. A set of lift springs will give you everything you want. Cost are diff, but well worth it.
 






It will be interesting to see how the rearward addition holds up and keeps its lift. Keep us posted.
 



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I seen them but Im curious if they might rub the trailer hitch.

No they will not touch the frame of your hitch, I've flexed mine to the bump stops and they don't touch.

If you routinely carry additional weight and tow you should look into the Bolt on Springs that mount between the frame and axle. They run about $20-40 per set and the biggest benefit is they add an additional 1,000 lbs to your max towing/hauling weight! I'm planning to add some one day before next summer to help while I pull a boat.
 






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