How to Replace Rear Leaf Springs
Rear leaf springs can eventually wear out. When that happens, you need to replace them in order for your suspension to remain effective. It’s an easier job than it looks. You can do it at home and it will take no more than half a day, even for those without much automotive repair experience.
Step 1 - Accessing the Springs
Put chocks in front of the front wheels to stop the vehicle moving. Make sure the vehicle is in “Park.” Loosen the lug nuts slightly on both the rear wheels. Raise the rear end with a hydraulic jack and put jack stand under the rear axle to keep the vehicle raised. Loosen the remove the lug nuts, then take off both rear wheels. This will give you access to the rear leaf springs.
Step 2 - Base Plate
Find the lower mounting stud for the shock absorbers, then remove the locking nut and washer. You’ll now be able to move the shocks away, and then take off the nuts and washers on the U bolts. When that’s done, remove the base plate. After this, you’ll have to raise the lower end until the axle and the pack of the leaf spring come apart. To do this, you might need to use a pry bar to remove the spring pack from the centering pin.
Step 3 - Removal
There’s a bolt on the forward mount of the spring. Remove it, and then you’ll need to use the pry bar from the mounting flanges. Once you’ve accomplished this, put the front of the spring on the ground. At the rear of the spring, take off the nuts and washers, then remove the outer plate. You’ll see that the spring rests on a shackle pin. Take it off this before you take off the shackle.
Step 4 - Installation Kit
Put the new shackle in place. There’s a steel sleeve in it, and the hinge pin of the inner shackle plate goes through this. Make sure that you have the leaf spring properly aligned. This can be difficult to judge, but it’s important if the measurement from the center to each end is different. Once you’re satisfied that the rear leaf spring is correctly oriented, slide it onto the shackle. Don’t lighten the locking nuts at this point.
Step 5 - Completing Installation
With the rear of the spring in place, lift the front of the rear leaf spring so it’s between the forward mounts. Put the bolt in place, but don’t tighten the locking nut. Lower the rear end until it touches the spring and align the center pin. You’re ready to take the new U bolts from the installation kit and install them. Only after this should you tighten the locking nuts with a torque wrench, going to the pressure recommended by your vehicle manufacturer.
Reattach the shock absorbers using the torque wrench. Repeat the removal and installation procedure for the other wheel. Put the wheels back on, hand lightening the lug nuts. Remove the jack stands, lower the vehicle and tighten the lug nuts to finish the rear life spring installation.