Leaf spring replacement?


joe8918
11-22-2006, 11:00 PM
I have a '96 Cherokee 4x4 and the leaf springs are pretty much shot. I would like to know of any reputable brand that would be a good replacement to the ones on right now. Currently, the shot ones are the stock springs.

Also, any idea on how difficult the job to do it would be? I am very capable but want to know if I could do the job with a guy or two on a Saturday? Any suggestions? I heard that there is something about the bushing to the frames always being stuck and you need to cut through them to remove? Please advise.

Ray H
11-22-2006, 11:30 PM
I have a '96 Cherokee 4x4 and the leaf springs are pretty much shot. I would like to know of any reputable brand that would be a good replacement to the ones on right now. Currently, the shot ones are the stock springs.

Also, any idea on how difficult the job to do it would be? I am very capable but want to know if I could do the job with a guy or two on a Saturday? Any suggestions? I heard that there is something about the bushing to the frames always being stuck and you need to cut through them to remove? Please advise.

If you arent looking for any lift, I think Quadratec or 4Wheeldrive Hardware sells replacement springs. If you want a bit of lift, OME springs are about the best (but lots of$$$). They have lift springs ranging from 2" to 3".
Removing and replacing the springs isnt a big job unless you run into rust issues. A common problem is for the spring eye bolts to rust to the nuts that are welded to the inside of the frame rails. If that happens and you break the welds on the nuts, you are in for a bit of work, cutting through the floor panels to access the inside of the frame. Ive never had to do this but have read plenty about it. I can probably come up with a write up if you need it.
Dont forget, you will need new u bolts also. Those can be almost as expensive as the springs.

AlohaBra
11-23-2006, 12:10 PM
Depends on where you live...salt on the road equals rust and stuck bolts.

Out here in Cali..my screws are on tight but removable. My u-bolts were reusable.

Stiffness and lift are another consideration.

Search this forum, ....others have used JC Whitney and quatratec. The quatratec HD has a slight lift 1 inch or so.
http://www.quadratec.com/products/56010_11.htm
If you want lifted springs...they are a lot of aftermarket to choose from.

You can make some also, called a bastard pack.
A common one is made from S-10 springs cut shorter. You use the original XJ top spring and put the S-10 pack under it (by cutting the eyes off and making the top leaf shorter). Some folks use Datkota truck springs. Other folks buy another XJ spring set and cut off the eyes and add it below. All of these should give you a lift. Anyway you can design your own.

You can also do an AAL(add A leaf)....use the long one IMO...you won't have to remove the spring at all in this case and it might be the cheapest senario.

Careful...use C-clamps if you pull the center pin and unwrap the leafs.

There are writeups about this on the web.

IrishChef
11-23-2006, 11:28 PM
My u-bolts were reusable.


As most u-bolts have their threads rolled and not cut, you should never re-use them. The proper torque can't be maintained due to the minor deformation caused by the initial tightening. But, hey, it's your rig.

AlohaBra
11-24-2006, 12:29 AM
You do have a good point about the U-bolts...and I had not heard that before ...and I did reuse them for now.

I guess all the brand vehicles that I worked on professionally...well I never did u-bolts.

Stick89
11-24-2006, 07:42 AM
There was or is a write up on swapping out XJ springs anda replacing with a spring pack from a Dakota on NAXJA....just went ther and searched....evidently they are having some techinal problems at this time...I'll try later and see if I can find the article and post a link to the write up
Found it.......Lottsa pics and info here..........................
http://www.naxja.org/forum/showthread.php?t=50083&highlight=Leaf+Pack+Swap

joe8918
11-26-2006, 08:12 PM
Thanks for all the info. You guys rock! Yeah, I live in MI so those the U-bolts must be rusted on.

-Joe

fredjacksonsan
11-27-2006, 07:35 AM
You may want to also consider having the existing springs re-arced and adding a leaf; I've had that done to a couple of older cars and it works great, and is pretty cost effective. The places I've had it done usually have "spring and alignment" in the name.

AlohaBra
11-27-2006, 12:17 PM
Here is a do it yourself version...

http://www.go.jeep-xj.info/HowtoMainLeaf.htm

joe8918
12-05-2006, 09:03 AM
I would like to know the opinion on the ride if I were to go with the replacement part as shown below:
http://www.quadratec.com/products/56010_11.htm#details
I'm assuming that this set-up would be more beefy than the stock OEM part. Would the lift be any higher? How much of a lift to the leaf springs would be allowable before I have to start thinking about changing the shocks and this like that? Sorry about all the questions but I am not knowledgeable in suspensions for XJ.

Thanks.

AlohaBra
12-05-2006, 11:12 AM
Two of the recomendations are worth looking into first:

*Fred's suggestion...rearcing them at a spring shop.

*add a leaf (AAL) http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/VehicleBrowse/tf-VehicleBrowse/s-10101/N-111+1997+200728794+600003426/c-10101
I like the looks of the Warrior at the bottom. The Rough Country is only $40.
__________________________________________________ ______________

Your question on the... http://www.quadratec.com/products/56010_11.htm#details
Answer:
Expensive...but higher quality job. You need two... plus the bushings. The same shocks will work...maybe 1 inch higher (??)..

*Here is some others that people have used:
http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/Product/tf-VehicleBrowse/s-10101/Pr-p_Product.CATENTRY_ID:2005969/p-2005969/N-111+1997+200728794+600003427/c-10101

joe8918
12-06-2006, 01:56 PM
The Quandratec in question as you have recommended is a 7" arch and they also have a 5" arc. I asked Quadratec about this. As I said, I really want to utilize the towing package I put on so would it be advisable to put on the 7" arch or the 5" arc. It's hard for me to visualize how it would look in my XJ because the leaf springs are really flat right now. Quadratec says that there is a 2" deflection from the rear end weight and I just want to make sure that I won't have to do any more mods. after the leafs (7") are installed. Should hI have any other problems? Will this be best for towing?

Thanks for your help so far.

AlohaBra
12-06-2006, 02:34 PM
Here is a couple of old posts for you:

http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=550965

The factory "up county" spring has a 1" lift.
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=127765

This link has all factory numbers:
http://www.rigidsteel.com/y131pC3tIGk0.html

The stock leaf spring is almost flat. If it was mine and I did not want a lift...I would look into the helpers. Or the spring shop for advice.

IrishChef
12-06-2006, 11:06 PM
The Quandratec in question as you have recommended is a 7" arch and they also have a 5" arc. I asked Quadratec about this. As I said, I really want to utilize the towing package I put on so would it be advisable to put on the 7" arch or the 5" arc. It's hard for me to visualize how it would look in my XJ because the leaf springs are really flat right now. Quadratec says that there is a 2" deflection from the rear end weight and I just want to make sure that I won't have to do any more mods. after the leafs (7") are installed. Should hI have any other problems? Will this be best for towing?

Thanks for your help so far.

Joe, go with the HD springs....if you're going to tow, that's what you want. You won't need any mods, all the stock stuff will work.The price is pretty cheap, they'll give you the 1" that you'll need. Helpers are ok, but not worth it with a beat spring pack. Ditto the re-arching for a tow rig. Don't over-think this, you can do it very easily. Just my 2 cents worth....

AlohaBra
12-07-2006, 12:49 AM
Alright..I am going with Irish...
New springs...heavy duty are the way to go....

Cost effective...cause you will be happier with new stuff.

joe8918
12-07-2006, 09:05 AM
Thanks your input. That's what I was told by a guy who's pretty knowledgeable. Quadratec tech also said the same thing.

AlohaBra
12-07-2006, 12:52 PM
Here is something else you might be interested in....to extend you shocks a little and the make the top mount sturdier.

http://www.rocky-road.com/xjbarpin.html

wagonbldr
12-12-2006, 04:40 PM
Found this website that had a good cheap option for a 4" lift. www.lunghd.com (http://www.lunghd.com)

joe8918
12-18-2006, 10:05 AM
Please bear with me...I'm almost done with this topic. I have the parts from Quadratec and need to understand something.

1.) The leaf springs come without the bushings installed. Is there any difficultly that I will experience with putting them in? I was helping my dad with some bushings for a inner tie rod on Saturday and that was a little bit of a challenge. Any tricks? We used a bolt and washers and nut to draw the bushing in. Anything easier?

2.) I heard that the front bushing attachment fastener is something you definately do not want to break because it's a weld nut with no access if it breaks. I live in MI so we have a good amout of rust possible. Should I just drench it with PB Blaster? If it breaks what do I do besides freak out?

3.) (Non-Jeep related but still a question that you experts might know) I just got a few muffler and when they installed it the bend is in such a way under the current limp spring that when the new one is on it will definately hit the tail pipe. Is there any trick I can do with heating up the muffler and kind of bend it myself? I'm assuming no but I'm just trying to save some bucks if I can. Please advise. I do not have easy access to an aceltelyne torch or anything to really put direct heat on it other than a blow torch. Plus it's really close to the gas tank so I don't want to risk a "thermal event". Please advise.

Thanks for your support so far.

-Joe

Ray H
12-18-2006, 11:21 AM
Please bear with me...I'm almost done with this topic. I have the parts from Quadratec and need to understand something.

1.) The leaf springs come without the bushings installed. Is there any difficultly that I will experience with putting them in? I was helping my dad with some bushings for a inner tie rod on Saturday and that was a little bit of a challenge. Any tricks? We used a bolt and washers and nut to draw the bushing in. Anything easier?
The bushings should be tight. I use a bench vice and assorted sockets to squeeze them in. Grease them up, they will go much easier.
2.) I heard that the front bushing attachment fastener is something you definately do not want to break because it's a weld nut with no access if it breaks. I live in MI so we have a good amout of rust possible. Should I just drench it with PB Blaster? If it breaks what do I do besides freak out??
Just dont break it. Thats the best advice. I think I would steer clear of air tools while trying to remove them. By hand you have alot better feel for what is going on. I have confidence you wont break them so Im not going to the trouble of looking up a writeup to fix it yet;).
3.) (Non-Jeep related but still a question that you experts might know) I just got a few muffler and when they installed it the bend is in such a way under the current limp spring that when the new one is on it will definately hit the tail pipe. Is there any trick I can do with heating up the muffler and kind of bend it myself? I'm assuming no but I'm just trying to save some bucks if I can. Please advise. I do not have easy access to an aceltelyne torch or anything to really put direct heat on it other than a blow torch. Plus it's really close to the gas tank so I don't want to risk a "thermal event". Please advise.

Thanks for your support so far.


-Joe

Youve got a metal tank, as opposed to the newer plastic tanks, so I wouldnt worry about melting the tank and exploding. Just kick and push until the exhaust clears everything. If that doesnt work, take it to someone with a torch. Shouldnt take them more than a few minutes to get it done.

AlohaBra
12-19-2006, 07:45 PM
On the exhaust clearance..where is it going to hit?

You could move the hanger over or flip it. Or you can cut it off with a cutoff tool and clamp a new one in place. Or even the same one...you can take it to a muffler shop and they have a spreading tool to make it a larger diameter so that it will slip over the old part.

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