How to Replace Leaf Springs: A Step-by-Step Guide
Leaf springs play an integral role in your truck's suspension system. The purpose of leaf springs is to prevent the truck from slouching in the back when you haul heavy loads. Leaf springs keep the truck balanced and the tires level throughout each ride — even when you accelerate, brake and drive over speed bumps.
Steps to replace leaf springs:
- Raise the truck and access the springs
- Remove the base plate
- Install the new kit
- Complete the installation
As such, learning how to change rear leaf springs is one of the most important skills you can have as a truck owner.
There are several reasons to have your leaf springs replaced. If the leaf springs that came with your truck are no longer effective, a new set of rear leaf springs will likely improve your driving experience. If the springs are cracked, they are probably due for a change-out — even if you have not noticed the difference.
Finally, you might just want to upgrade your leaf springs with a pair that will give your truck a more dynamic lift. In any case, it’s important to know how to change leaf springs under your truck.
Step 1: Prepare
The existing leaves could be slightly corroded, so it’s important to get them off without scratching any adjacent parts that will be reused once the old leaves have been changed out for new ones. Therefore, before you go about removing leaf springs, get the suspension system ready at least three days in advance for the task at hand.
To loosen up the suspension system in preparation for the new springs, rub oil around the bolt, nuts and brackets.
Step 2: Raise the Truck and Access the Springs
With the truck parked at an ideal spot for working, place chocks before the front wheels to prevent the truck from rolling forward. Turn the rear-wheel lug nuts loose. Elevate the truck at least three inches at the back end with a hydraulic jack and place a jack stand below the rear axle.
With the truck suspended at the rear, remove the loosened lug nuts and slide off the rear wheels. Now, you should have clear access to the two rear leaf springs.
Step 3: Remove the Base Plate
This is the step where you learn how to remove leaf springs. Locate the lower mounting stud, remove the fasteners and take out the shock absorbers. Undo the fasteners from the U-bolts and take off the base plate. Raise the axle just slightly and — with a pry bar in hand — take the leaf spring pack out from the center pin.
Remove the bolt from the spring's forward mount and then set the front of the spring aside. Remove the fasteners from the rear of the spring and take off the outer plate. Remove the shackle pin and shackle. The next two steps are where you learn about how to fit leaf springs.
Step 4: Install the New Kit
With the installation kit laid out, put the new shackle in place. Take the inner-shackle hinge pin and put it through the steel sleeve of the shackle. Check to see that the leaf spring is aligned correctly. Keep in mind that the measurement between center and end will be different on each side.
With the rear leaf spring properly aligned, place it on the shackle and secure it with locking nuts, but not too tightly. Use new fasteners for this, as the pre-existing nuts and bolts could be worn.
Step 5: Complete the Installation
Now that you have the rear of the new leaf spring secured in its place, it’s time to complete the installation.
Raise the front end of the leaf spring to a level between the forward mounts. Slide the bolt into place and secure it with the locking nut, but only loosely. The spring pack is not ready to be tightened.
Bring down the back end until it makes contact with the spring and put the center into alignment. Take the new U-bolts that came with your replacement kit and put them into place. The assembly is now ready to be tightened. With a torque wrench in hand, firmly secure the nuts and bolts. After about seven days, recheck the nuts and bolts to make sure they are tight enough.
With the torque wrench in hand once again, reapply the shock absorbers.
Now that you have completed the leaf spring replacement on one side, repeat these steps on the other side. Once you are done replacing the leaf springs on the truck, reapply the rear wheels and fasten the lug nuts on each side. Pull the jack stand out from beneath the truck and lower the rear to the ground. Go over the lug nuts one last time to ensure they’re fastened.
Now that you know how to install leaf springs, it will most likely be a whole lot easier to perform leaf spring installation tasks in the future.
Buy Leaf Springs From General Spring
As you now can see, replacing leaf springs is relatively easy as long as you have the right parts. At General Spring, we provide leaf springs, coil springs, U-bolts, shackles and super springs for a vast range of trucks.
General Spring has been the industry leader in high-quality leaf spring kits and replacement parts for commercial and passenger trucks since 1965. All of the products in our catalog are vetted carefully for superior durability and build quality. We also offer customization of leaf springs to meet the unique needs of customers. All leaf springs are backed by a one-year warranty.
At General Spring, we also customize springs for rarer, older models of trucks that are no longer accommodated by the aftermarket. Whether you have old springs that need to be replaced or you simply want to get more lift at the back of your truck, we can see to a vast range of vehicle-owner needs.
Click here to see our catalog and buy leaf springs from General Spring today.