View Full Version : Leaf springs and shocks

September 18th, 2017, 16:52
Couple questions.

I'm replacing the bushings/shackles on the old '96 XJ leaf springs and I'm not sure how to go about disconnecting everything. Since the springs are under load I just don't want to jump into taking things apart on my first go round here. So do I just basically jack the rear end up so the tires are off the ground, then disconnect the front and rear ends of the leafs? At that point if I can get enough access to the ends I'm guessing I won't have to disconnect the springs from the axle.

And on the shocks.. Need to replace all 4 and need advice on a good brand/model. Basically my rigs always on the road and I just want a good quality OEM replacement...not economy and not heavy duty.

September 19th, 2017, 03:36
its been a decade since I did the rear springs on an XJ, but youre going to have to support the body with jackstands while you remove the leafs. id support the body with jackstands, support the axle with your jack, unloosen the leafs from the shackles and then lower the axle with the leafs still attached, then remove the center pin. for install Id install the leaves then line the axle up with them.

for shocks, on my 95 I used to own I ran Monroe sensatracs front and rear, even with 3" springs she rode great for a DD

September 19th, 2017, 06:09
1996 leaf springs are probably old, worn, and tired, and should be replaced.

If you want to continue to use them, and only change the bushings, you would need to jack up the read end, and support the BODY with floor jacks.

I would think replacing the bushings will require the use of a 20 ton shop press minimum. I'm not sure a ball joint press with an impact is going to be able to do the job. So plan on dropping the axle, and the reattaching everything.

Also read up on replacing rear springs, for lots of information for dealing with the rusty bolts you are going to come across. You will likely have at least one bolt that you will need to cut. Have extra bolts on hand. Even for the ones that come out, some will likely be knarly and you'll question re-using them.

Start spraying with penetrant a month or two before you plan on doing the work to keep the amount of cutting to a minimum. :)

And put anti-seize on the shackle/leaf spring bolts on re-assembly so they come out easy next time.

Remember bushing bolts get tightened with the tires on the ground.

September 19th, 2017, 10:55
jack up the axle so wheels are off the ground, put jack stands under the frame, disconnect springs from axle (cut u-bolts probably), lower jack with axle still on it, remove springs from body

September 19th, 2017, 19:44
Thanks for all the good info. Yeah plan on doing a number of week's worth of PB blasting. PITA but I'm sure it'll be worth it. Other advice I've gotten is to MAPP gas the bolts before wrenching on them to help loosen the lock tight put on at the factory.

September 20th, 2017, 07:19
You're going to be fighting 20+ years of corrosion and rust in the threads, not locktite. I do recommend adding heat to the mix if it's an option for you. Heat and a good penetrant let me drop all my rear shock bolts without breaking any of them, which is a minor miracle. The thermal expansion from the torch does a good job of helping break the corrosion that would otherwise freeze your bolts in place.

September 20th, 2017, 07:33
I used MAPP gas to hear my leaf spring bolts, 20 years of Chicago Winters amazingly still came out without breaking anything. Added new bolts all around with antisieze after.

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September 22nd, 2017, 08:43
When I did mine, I broke 3 of the 4 bolts for the upper shock mounts. Just drilled and tapped. It was definitely a pain, but worked out alright.

September 22nd, 2017, 10:16
Same here but had to cut the spring off the bolt. A few melted spots of carpet and retapping the upper shock bolts and about an hour of an impact running full power and it's apart.

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September 22nd, 2017, 16:46
For shocks, I just replaced mine using KYB Excel-Gs all around for OEM ride quality. I have yet to replace my leafs, although with 281K on them, they're probably due.

September 23rd, 2017, 04:11
Thanks for that tid bit there about thermal expansion breaking up corrosion. Seems like a good work up procedure then would be to alternate heating and penetrant for a couple weeks before trying to break em loose.

Someone suggested I look into either OME or Bilstein shocks for just good overall ride quality and durability. Only Bilsteins I've found so far are the 4600 series which are considered heavy duty. Is this the functionality level I should be aiming for...heavy duty? I'm only stock and don't really carry much weight around.

And I haven't been able to find OME anywhere just individually for sale. I guess maybe I'm not searching right or something.

September 23rd, 2017, 09:36
One thing to note if you're gonna try and heat the bolts is that there's a really good chance that your bushings will start to burn, so you may not want to keep driving around on them. I soaked mine for a few weeks, then torched them the day I was ready to replace everything.

For OME shocks, I know Rocky Road Outfitters sells individual parts. I've also seen OME on Amazon, but I haven't looked in a while.

September 23rd, 2017, 09:49
Quadratec sells OME shocks, too. A few places do but you have to know what part number you're looking for

September 23rd, 2017, 16:06
They can be purchased from 4 wheel parts and amazon too. Any of the off road shops that sell OME lifts like DPG Off-road or Metal Cloak would also have them.

September 24th, 2017, 12:50
(cut u-bolts probably)

They should be replaced anyway so you might want to make life easier.