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Leaf spring removeal

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering & Brakes' started by Raider L, Apr 12, 2021.

  1. Raider L

    Raider L Full Access Member

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    I need to change out my leaf spring bushings. I kinda have a half way idea of how to remove each end of the leaf spring, but here's my question. To change the bushings out do I need to take the whole thing, i.e. rear end leaf springs all together, out all at once? Or can I drop each end and replace the bushing and put that end back up in the shackle? I know the rear shackle is a lot more involved because there is that link, so how would I deal with that?

    There probably is a article in the tech library but I'd like to here from someone whose done it and is aware of the tricks.
     
  2. Frankenchevy

    Frankenchevy Lying Dog-Faced Pony Soldier

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    Just do one corner at a time. If you support the frame with stands, you should be able to remove the wheel and lower that corner with a jack until the rotor/drum is just of the ground. If that doesn’t completely unload the spring, you’ll have to jack the frame up a bit higher than normal before supporting it.
    By lowering one corner, you’ll unload the spring enough to loosen the shackle and main eye enough to remove the spring for bushing swaps.

    Depending on the travel of your current shock, the lower bolt may need to be removed if it becomes the limiting factor.

    Be careful to keep an eye on the front brake lines for tension.
     
    oldretiredafguy likes this.
  3. Raider L

    Raider L Full Access Member

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    @Frankenchevy,

    Thank you! I didn't think I would need to drop the whole thing, but then what? I wasn't sure.
    Will I see anything happen as the spring becomes unloaded? Like if I lower the spring down until I can loosen the bolt enough to see it move or something, will that be an indicator as when I have gone far enough? Or ease it down until the bolt feels loose enough to get out, then that's far enough?

    Now, what about the rear shackle, that link? That's what I'm concerned about. What would I look for when it's loose enough, the same thing, how loose the bolts are at each end of that link, both upper and lower? And lowering, "each corner" back there in how it's got that link, will I need to look at maybe doing both sides in the back by lowering the rear end and controlling the up and down by putting a jack under the diff?
     
  4. Frankenchevy

    Frankenchevy Lying Dog-Faced Pony Soldier

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    Loosen the u-bolts. When the axle starts to separate from the spring pack as it’s being lowered, the spring is unloaded.

    The spring only has two attachment points to the chassis—the main eye and the shackle. Remove which ever end of the shackle you’d like first. Once the axle is detached from the spring, only the weight of the spring is putting pressure on the shackle.
     
  5. idahovette

    idahovette Full Access Member

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    You will be lucky if the bolts thru the eyes aren't frozen in the bushing.
     
  6. Frankenchevy

    Frankenchevy Lying Dog-Faced Pony Soldier

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    True. I was lucky.

    Sawzall
     
  7. Raider L

    Raider L Full Access Member

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    @idahovette,

    Man! You are right avout that. When I was removing my traction bar's I was dealing with 3/4" bolts and nyloc nuts that had been on the truck for over 25 years. I removed the rear tires so I could get right to them. Then I sprayed some WD40 on whichever one I was working on. And as it always works out they all came out fairly okay except for the last damn one! I ended up having to hack saw the head of the bolt off of one end, on one side of the bracket.

    I thought, "Okay, now I can take a punch and hit the bolt shaft and it will fly right out the other side." Yeah, RIGHT! I beat that sucker until I had to stop, I was hurting myself. Then while I still had strength I hack sawed the bolt shaft on the other side of the bracket across from the first bracket. Afterwards I just knocked lightly on the end of the bolt left and it fell right off. And the center part was in the traction bar and knocked right out along with what was left of the old bushings.

    So, since that is probably the way it's going to go, like you said, I may have to leave the rear bushings to the shop who is going to rebuild my front end. They've got impact tools and if needed a torch!
     
  8. 75gmck25

    75gmck25 Full Access Member

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    For trucks like mine there are many YouTube videos of guys using a torch to burn out the rubber bushings, but my wife and neighbors weren’t crazy about that idea.

    I’ve already done my front springs (6 bushings) and will soon so the rear. —- One corner at a time, I jacked the truck up and set it on jack stands with the wheel off the ground. Then put a bottle jack under the axle tube for support.
    - I unbolted the front bushing and found the bolt frozen in the metal sleeve. From there I used a long drill bit to drill out the rubber all around the bushing and finally it all came out. After removing all the remaining rubber I used a screwdriver and punch to remove the outer metal sleeve around the rubber.
    - the two bushings on the rear of the front spring were unbolted and the bolts came right out (not rusted to the sleeve). I drilled out a little of the rubber and the entire bushing finally just popped out.

    All my replacement parts were Energy Suspension, and some of the new sleeves were too small for the new bolts. I ended up reusing the old sleeves, and rust made it a real PIA to get them into new bushings. The new poly bushings do not have the thin metal outer sleeve that was on the factory bushings.
     
  9. yevgenievich

    yevgenievich Full Access Member

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    I did the fronts one at a time using the torch to get old bushing out. Axle stayed bolted to the spring, so there was a moment where had to use a come along to lign up the spring for going back in
     
  10. Raider L

    Raider L Full Access Member

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    @75gmck25,

    When I rebuilt my truck, back in '95 I had already had it in a shop putting in the poly bushing sets front to back so all that old factory rubber has been gone long ago. As with the traction bar bushings, what happens to them is they shrink up some over time. So when you take the bolt out the bushings just fall out. Fortunately.

    So other than the bolt being fused inside the sleeve, they don't glue themselves to the poly bushing. If I can get the nut off the only problem after that is getting the bolt out of the sleeve by hitting it with a punch. Otherwise I'd have to do the hack sawing of the head of the bolt and then punch that end of the bolt shaft and hopefully the bolt would come out. I might not be able to get the saw behind the shackle, I'll have to look, and have enough room to saw. It's at that point where most guys use a torch to get in there and cut that end of the bolt off so the spring will fall free.

    If it's going to be that much effort I'd rather have the truck in the shop that's going to be doing the suspension rebuild anyway, and have them do all that. Most of what we've talked about I'm no longer physically able to do anyway. I was a lot better last year. I did a lot of that kind of work for months during the shutdown. That's when I saw the opportunity to get in there and knock out all that I did then.

    I replaced the intake manifold gasket, re-bushed the traction bars, put in a new radiator, rebuilt the whole drive shaft with new universal joints, changed out some exhaust pipe clamps, and a ton of other stuff. Then took the steering column out and rebuilt that, I'm done with and I'll put it back in a day or two, and re-did the intermediate shaft and all the crap with the coupler seal. And I've got a new steering wheel adapter, Grant, and all the stuff with it that will be going on.

    All that I've done is a drop in the bucket compared to all that I'll be putting the truck in shops that will get done, yet to come. I have all the parts for the suspension and all they will have to do is just put it all in. But it'll need a front end alignment afterwards and all but that's after the frame is straightened. Man!!
     
  11. Raider L

    Raider L Full Access Member

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    @75gmck25,

    Oh yeah, I forgot, the transmission is going to be rebuilt to!
     
  12. Dleslie212

    Dleslie212 Junior Member

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    I did all four of mine last year and replaced with Poly. The fronts both came out fine, as somebody before me had already replaced with poly. The rears were an absolute nightmare. I had to cut both the heads and nuts off both sides, and then use an acetylene torch to burn out the old bushings, and THEN notch and punch out the old sleeves that were around the old bushings. It sucked, but worth it
     

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