DIY Leaf Spring and Leaf Spring Eye Bolt Replacement
The leaf spring is an integral part of the suspension system that helps make a stable ride regardless of weight and road conditions. It resists sideway thrusts in turns and absorbs road shocks by bending. But that depends not just on the condition of the leaf springs themselves but also on how secure they are held to the vehicle's chassis. One of the responsible car parts for that particular task is the leaf spring eye bolt. In time, though, the bolts in each leaf spring eye wear down often along with the wearing of bushings.
Difficulty Level: Moderate
What you'll need:
- Floor jacks
- Jack Stands
- Reciprocating saw
Step 1: Find a solid and level location where you can work with the vehicle without worrying about it rolling off or leaning when raised. Secure both front wheels with wheel blocks. And then, raise the rear part of the vehicle with floor jack.
Step 2: Make sure that the vehicle is lifted high enough to hang the axle freely. Secure the vehicle with jack stands on both sides before you start working. Also support the rear axle with a floor jack. Set it up close the leaf spring.
Step 3: The next thing to do is to take out the lower bolt from the shock absorber. Free the spring from tension by lowering the axle. Also remove the U-bolt and the spring retainer bracket. You may also need to remove the parking brake cable. If your springs are on top of the axle, carefully lower the latter.
Step 4: Remove the rear shackle bolts, but make sure to support the spring with jack stand. And then, take out the leaf spring eye bolts from both eyes. If the eye bolts are seized, use a reciprocating saw to cut through the bolt. After that, you can already remove and replace the damaged leaf spring.
The leaf springs have bolts on both eyes. The bolt in the front eye mounts the leaf springs to the chassis through a hanger, whereas the rear eye bolt connects the leaf spring to the shackle. Another bolt attaches the shackle to the frame.
Step 5: Mount the front eye of the leaf spring to the frame. Insert the bushing into the front mounting bracket followed by installing the bolts and nuts. The head of the bolt needs to face the center of the vehicle. When done, get the new bushing into the rear shackle as well as the bolt and nut for the rear eye. Note, though, not to fully tighten the bolt yet.
Step 6: Secure the middle part of the leaf spring. Depending on the design of the axle, raise or lower it in order to place the leaf spring center bolt into the hole of the axle pad. Make sure to hold the spring with the U-bolt and retainer bracket. Install the U-bolt nuts a little loose yet as well. If you have the parking brake cables removed during the disassembly, it's about time to reinstall them. After that, also connect the lower shock mount to the axle.
Step 7: When installing the leaf spring is finished, lower the vehicle for tightening of all the leaf spring bolts and nuts. Torque them to correct specifications.