Tech Tips

Leaf Spring Replacement
1986 Grand Wagoneer Leaf Spring replacement:

The rear leaf spring are an axle under mount and the front are an axle over mount. So there are 2 different processes. The process is fairly self evident, so I'm going to mainly cover some of the LEARNING'S from when I did mine. The Haynes Manual covered the steps very well. 

The first thing I learned was that Slick 50 makes an EXCELLENT penetrating spray. Second is start at least 2 weeks in advance of starting the job spraying all bolts, nut and joints with penetrating spray. I believe this made my job a lot easier. I heard a lot of complaints about how hard it was to remove the leaf springs. My was a piece of cake, and I'm not much of a cook!

I had 3 floor jacks available when doing the job, it came in very handy as you'll see later. 

I started with the rear axle first. 

I lifted one wheel at a time to keep the vehicle as stable as possible. I tried to figure out where the static/neutral position of the leaf spring would be.

The elevated side was place on a jack stand with the wheel close to the ground.  Placed a floor jack under the axle, supporting the axle slightly. 

Remove the wheel.

Loosened the U bolts around the axle. Then lower the axle slightly to take the strain off the spring. You will be able to see the axle separate slightly from the leaf spring.  

Remove all of the U bolts, make note of inner and outer to insure they are reinstalled on the same side.

Loosen and remove the bolt on the fixed side of the spring. Then I removed the shackle from the frame, by removing the bolt and nut. 

The leaf spring is now free. Remove. 

Putting the leaf spring back is just as easy. It really is reverse order of the removal process. 

When placing the axle back in place make sure the pin in the leaf springs inserts into the mount hole on the axle. This can be tricky. This is where the extra floor jacks come into play. 

Lifting the opposite site of the car can help with the alignment of the axle to the spring. 
If the pin is still not aligned place use the 3rd floor jack. Let's say the pin is too far forward. Place the floor jack in front of the axle on the leaf spring. Lifting slowly will "push" the spring back to the axle. Of course the can place pressure on the pin. So I gave the axle a sharp "kick", on the axle housing the direction it needed to go and they went together. 

Actually the front axle gave me more trouble going together, than the rear. 

The process is the same except for:
1. Releasing the U bolts. Instead of lowering the axle, the axle will need to be lifted slightly. 
2. You'll also have to remove the steering damper and the connectors for the sway bar from the leaf spring. 

Kevin Smith