The leaf spring suspension has been around since before the Model T and has been used for more than 100 years because of its high load capacity as well as its ease of use. Pickups today can be seen with leaf spring suspensions in the rear, and it's also an easy way to lower the truck as well, by removing a leaf from the pack. This will allow the leaf spring to sag, lowering the vehicle in the process.
Things You'll Need
- Jack stands
- Tire iron
- 1/2-inch ratchet and socket set
- 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set
- Open-end wrench set
- 24-inch pry bar
Lift up the vehicle using the jack and place it on jack stands. Make sure there are stands on the axle and the frame, and that the vehicle is secure before you crawl underneath it. Remove the rear tires, using the tire iron, and set them to the side.
Unbolt the U-bolts that secure the leaf spring to the axle, using a 1/2-inch ratchet and socket. Use the jack to lift up the axle, then lower it down a little bit off of the jack stands, to give you enough room to access the bolt in the middle of the leaf spring pack. Unbolt that bolt, using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket and an open-end wrench.
Pull off the overload spring on the leaf spring pack. This is the bottom leaf on the pack, which is completely flat and thicker than the other springs in the pack. This should be enough, but if you want to remove another spring, use the pry bar to open up the clamps on the ends of the leaf spring and then pull off leafs until you get the one off that you want. Put the pack back together, using a C-clamp to hold everything together, then bolt the pack back together using a 3/8-inch ratchet and socket and an open-end wrench. Reinstall the clamps using the C-clamp.
Tips & Warnings
- Removing leafs from a pack is a guessing game of sorts. You can remove all but the main one if you want, but you'll get less desirable results, including axle wrap, twisting of the leaf springs and excessive drop. Typically, you want to remove the overload leaf or the middle leaf in the pack.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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