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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Finally got around to installing my ADO add-a-leafs.

The directions were honestly inaequate:
  • No mention of shocks topping-out at full extension before the axle comes loose from the leafpack
  • Leaving out unhooking brake lines and ABS wires from their hooks
  • No itemized step for removing the overload leaf horizontal clamp nut while tension on the rear end makes that possible
  • No mention of the incredibly tight axle shock bolt that required around 4' of leverage to break loose
  • No menton of requiring something to stop the pin-bolt from rotating when trying to pull the nut

Additionally I don't see how the supplied leafpack bolt would work if one wants to use their factory bump-stops (too long by lot) and the pin-end was too large for the hole in the spring perch.

329784


This is the factory bolt put back into the ADO leafpack both without and with the nut:

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Now, in my case I decided to add some used Timbren rubber springs so I was able to use that long pin-bolt because it tucks up inside of the Timbren nicely, I'll be using the truck for towing so I was not comfortable removing my overload leafs without something in their place:

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But due to the design of the ADO supplied u-bolts I did not feel I could use them. Comparison to OE:

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Note the much more gentle bend-radius. This is the result if one tries to use these:

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That gap would be larger than the sheetmetal tabs on the factory bump stops. I was concerned about spring or ubolt damage. For now I used the OE u-bolts and cut some flat stock to go between the timbrens and the top leafs to even prevent those from rubbing like this at the corners. I plan to revisit this to at least replace the u-bolts with new, but for now it's back together.

Now, at this point I stopped taking pictures because I ran into trouble. The supplied longer pin bolt was too big a diameter at the pin, it would not fit into the hole in the spring perch on the axle. Confirmed with venier calipers, something like .545" for OE, .575" for the ADO part. I ended up having to pull the whole thing back apart again so I could chuck the pin bolts in my drill press to spin them, taking a file to them to bring them down to something like .559", which was enough to fit.

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With an empty, open bed the truck previously sat 36" at the rear wheel well. Now with a fiberglas canopy and some stuff in the bed it sits at 37". I'm going to give a couple weeks to see if it settles out, then do the front. For the front I'm leaning towards SPC UCAs, Pathfinder V8 springs, and Bilstein 5100 shocks to allow me to pick probably the second ride height position, aka one above stock.

I had the benefit of a lift, I don't see this being fun to do on a driveway with jackstands AT ALL.
 

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Looks good man. I remember from doing the PRG ones on my old truck the new leaf pack center bolt needs to be cut after install. It’s long because of the extra arch of the AAL.
 

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Sorry you had trouble, but they do have a video on how to install them although I think it is off the vehicle, as well as there are a lot of other resources for generally installing aal's (videos and forum how-to's). Pretty sure I got NO instructions with my aal from Nisstec. However, I have installed them in the past on other vehicles, and I had watched ADO's video among others and read an install how-to on here which included the mention of unclipping lines from the axle. While maybe they could have thrown in a mention of some of these things, many of these items are not documented or similarly documented by all the others. Some of the install stuff is just assumed you'll be watching for like lines getting pulled. I installed mine with just jack stands and my floor jack. I had to add blocks to the back of mine as well afterward as the front was just a tad high for me, and I had to grind the pins on the blocks down in height as they bottomed out on the axle tube inside the perch. Some of these things I've just come to expect when modifying my vehicles. Maybe they threw the wrong centering bolts in with yours and they were meant for a Toyota or something.
 
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I hope you trimmed that bolt and didnt stick that excess 3 inches into that rubber bumpstop thing you added.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry you had trouble, but they do have a video on how to install them although I think it is off the vehicle, as well as there are a lot of other resources for generally installing aal's (videos and forum how-to's). Pretty sure I got NO instructions with my aal from Nisstec. However, I have installed them in the past on other vehicles, and I had watched ADO's video among others and read an install how-to on here which included the mention of unclipping lines from the axle. While maybe they could have thrown in a mention of some of these things, many of these items are not documented or similarly documented by all the others. Some of the install stuff is just assumed you'll be watching for like lines getting pulled. I installed mine with just jack stands and my floor jack. I had to add blocks to the back of mine as well afterward as the front was just a tad high for me, and I had to grind the pins on the blocks down in height as they bottomed out on the axle tube inside the perch. Some of these things I've just come to expect when modifying my vehicles. Maybe they threw the wrong centering bolts in with yours and they were meant for a Toyota or something.
I've worked on enough RWD vehicles (mostly seventies Chrysler products) that issues with lines etc were no surprise, but I could see a novice that just got his or her first truck and is looking to mod it not understanding the extra complexity.

The lower shock bolt and nut came as a nasty surprise though. What I presume is a JIC bolt and nut (ie, the head smaller relative to the threaded shaft size) wouldn't allow a regular shallow-depth socket to fit onto the nut because the shaft of the bolt was too large to fit into the well within the socket, so I had to use a deep socket to get any purchase on the nut, which tends to throw-off the angle on hard torque. The ratchet didn't stand a chance of turning it. The longest admittedly-cheap breaker bar felt like it was going to break. The electric impact and the air impact did nothing as well. Finally I ended up putting this together:

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The jack handle fit perfectly on the handle of my second-longest breaker bar, extending the length to over 4', and without slop between the two. Was actually a mild pain to separate them afterward. If I'd been doing this directly on the ground it would have been very difficult. Granted, this was Nissan's torque from the factory, but noting this would have been nice and would have helped budget for time if nothing else.

It took probably three hours to do the first side, and once practiced and with some assistance got the second side done in about 30 minutes.

The product itself seems fine, the ride on the fairly aggressive road test actually felt improved. Granted first day, so hard to say if they'll settle-in over time or not. Also that might affect the feel imparted by the Timbrens if the clearance reduces, we'll see. Plus I haven't driven with the camper off yet either. I'm hoping the improvement in ride quality is from the reduction in unsprung weight from the overload leaves being pulled out. Suckers are heavy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I hope you trimmed that bolt and didnt stick that excess 3 inches into that rubber bumpstop thing you added.
It's about two inches. Right now it isn't trimmed. We'll see what I do with it.
 

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There's a video of the guy doing it on a bench. I have the same thing, watched the video, and it was a breeze.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
There's a video of the guy doing it on a bench. I have the same thing, watched the video, and it was a breeze.
I saw that video. The actual work with the leafpack assembly itself wasn't an issue.
 

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:D
No mention of the incredibly tight axle shock bolt that required around 4' of leverage to break loose
I don't know what torque wrench Nissan uses at the factory (lol), but I remember having to drive to a local shop to have them use their extra-heavy duty impact gun to loosen the lower bolts on my rear OEM shocks back when I was installing my lift.

Additionally I don't see how the supplied leafpack bolt would work if one wants to use their factory bump-stops (too long by lot) and the pin-end was too large for the hole in the spring perch.
IIRC my Deaver AAL instructions mentioned to cut the bolt after installation, otherwise the OEM bump stop won't fit

...Now, at this point I stopped taking pictures because I ran into trouble. The supplied longer pin bolt was too big a diameter at the pin, it would not fit into the hole in the spring perch on the axle. Confirmed with venier calipers, something like .545" for OE, .575" for the ADO part. I ended up having to pull the whole thing back apart again so I could chuck the pin bolts in my drill press to spin them, taking a file to them to bring them down to something like .559", which was enough to fit.
(n)That sucks, not everyone would have the tools to mod the pin to fit. ADO is on the forums, I wonder if they'll respond.

But due to the design of the ADO supplied u-bolts I did not feel I could use them... Note the much more gentle bend-radius.
(n)(n)That sucks part 2, I wouldn't use those U-bolt supplied by ADO either if they're shaped like that.

In case you're looking for good aftermarket U-bolts, I would recommend Nisstec U-bolts, I have them on my truck (along with their center pin bolts) and they are shaped right to fit perfectly, also no requirement to drill out the OEM U-bolt plates like other brands I've seen.

I had the benefit of a lift, I don't see this being fun to do on a driveway with jackstands AT ALL.
It's not that bad, as long as you have enough jack stands and clamps 😁

This post makes me reconsider, I was thinking of going with their U-bolt flip kit but now I don't know.
Thanks for sharing your install experience (y)
 

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Installing my Deaver 2 leaf pack was a bear. Lots of extra work fiddling with stuff, cutting down the leaf pack center bolt, drilling out the ubolt plates for the larger ubolts exc. More work than their performance is worth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It's not that bad, as long as you have enough jack stands and clamps 😁
This was what I had initially started out with, in case I needed to completely disconnect the axle from the suspension and keep it from rotating forward and down under the weight of the differential pinion.

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Because I only unhooked one side at a time I ended up only needing two, one on the differential housing near the pinion and one on the side I was working on. Two were necessary because the travel on the acme thread wasn't far enough to account for the entire span needed to easily move the setup up and down while working, one stand ended supporting the axle while the other could be reset at that interference-fit collar right above the painted part.

Also ended up using the lift itself for some of that sort of thing, if I wanted to put more pressure on the suspension without changing the jacks I would just lower the truck a bit, being careful not to put so much pressure on the stands that the suspension would compress all of the way and lift the back end of the truck of of the rear lift arms.

The stands are pipe support/welding stands each rated to 2500 pounds, normally I use them for extra safety holding the vehicle up since my floor is only just adequate for the lift, but they work well for axles and other stuff that needs supported. I'd like to get more but I'll never get as good a deal as I got on these three, which were free. I'd gone to buy a toolbox on Craigslist, the guy was moving, the ex-company he worked for supposedly had been contacted repeatedly to come get 'em but they never did so he threw them in the the toolbox that I was already buying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Installing my Deaver 2 leaf pack was a bear. Lots of extra work fiddling with stuff, cutting down the leaf pack center bolt, drilling out the ubolt plates for the larger ubolts exc. More work than their performance is worth.
I get that these are small companies, and that when one is an expert at something it can be difficult to remember the whole multitude of steps that are required and might prove stumbling blocks for a novice or even an experienced amateur, but it would really, REALLY help when trying to budget time.

I'm lucky. I have two daily drivers, a dedicated workshop with lift, and a bunch of stationary tools. I had the drill press to chuck the pin bolts into in order to file them down to fit, I had the bandsaw and some metal flat/bar stock to cut down to replace the flat bottom flange of the factory bump stops. I could have even drilled-out the plates if I had wanted to use the supplied U-bolts, but when we held 'em up to compare they stuck down below those plates by enough that I didn't want to risk them hanging up the truck on offroad obstructions.

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So the things I would change about this kit:
  • Switch to metric hardware to match the truck
    • This might alleviate the pin problem
  • Choose different U-bolts
    • Metric threads for the same reasons as above
    • Diameter suited to match the truck without requiring drilling
    • Size the U-bolts to match the application, even if they still allowed for the use of the overload leaf they could still be much shorter
    • Either:
      • better 90 degree bends
    • Or:
      • Switch to a U-bolt-flip design with the threaded ends pointed upward instead of downward
    • Proper torque reference, especially for the U-bolts when they do not match the diameter of the originals
  • More thorough directions and caveats for the truck
    • Explicit instructions to cut the pin bolt if it's intentionally shipped too-long
    • Information on required modifications to the ABS harness mounts and brake lines if retaining he overload leaf to avoid damage due to excessive droop
Like I said, the actual leaf pack seems fine. There were spacers, it was clear which end was forward, etc. It rides nicer and it may even have felt like less axle-wrap on acceleration. The improvements that it could benefit from are all secondary, either add-in parts that could be sourced elsewhere or documentation so someone that doesn't know what they're doing isn't going to end up stymied when they're halfway disassembled on their driveway late on a Sunday and needs to get their only vehicle moving again before a work shift on Monday.
 

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Gotta love the world of aftermarket, it took me way too many years to realize that almost NOTHING aftermarket fits perfectly, on any vehicle. Especially when it comes from a smaller company. I have cursed at aftermarket parts soooo many times over the years because you never anticipate the fitment and/or installation issues... Looks good though, the leaf packs are definitely a shortcoming on these trucks (and the toyota)
I'm really not a fan of that weird U bolt they provided, it looks like it was two pieces?!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Gotta love the world of aftermarket, it took me way too many years to realize that almost NOTHING aftermarket fits perfectly, on any vehicle. Especially when it comes from a smaller company. I have cursed at aftermarket parts soooo many times over the years because you never anticipate the fitment and/or installation issues... Looks good though, the leaf packs are definitely a shortcoming on these trucks (and the toyota)
I'm really not a fan of that weird U bolt they provided, it looks like it was two pieces?!
I guess I'm spoiled by my experiences with Mopars, even the '73+ "quiet ride" B-bodies that went to a more GM-style bushing-isolated front subframe instead of the rigidly-installed K-frame still had a lot of strong aftermarket support. It probably helped that the Big 3 often sourced parts from the same suppliers (saginaw, delphi, sanden, even each other) so aftermarket could spend a lot more time on development because much of what was made would have very wide ranging applications. Plus the automakers themselves through their diverse racing sponsorship and participation would develop aftermarket performance parts.

I have a book on Mopar chassis designs and changes that spans from the introduction of the unibody cars in the late fifties through the Dakota in 1995 or so. And in that era too, the same engines, transmissions, and differentials could often be found across nearly all product lines, so the information and parts for a '70 Cuda AAR might well be usable in an '81 Dodge St. Regis or even a 1993 Dodge B-150 cargo van if one felt so inclined. Once cars and trucks stopped sharing everything between them it became harder because with a diverse landscape its too costly to build everything for every vehicle.

I think what you're seeing on that U-bolt are witness marks. My guess is that the manufacturing process was first cutting to length, then tapering the ends, then die-cutting the threads, finally bending. It's possible this was done hot so that the material was easier to work, which would mean anything clamping the bar down along the way would have a better chance of leaving bite-marks on the steel. If the whole thing was done by one machine in a series of steps in rapid succession then there would be forces imparted on the bar in many different orientations, making it all the more likely that it would leave deep marks.

I am still of the opinion that some of the engineering choices on the Frontier were specific to avoid cannibalizing sales of the more expensive Titan. The rear springs and the fuel tank size (and frame crossmember spacing) allude to this. Granted sharing a fuel tank with the Pathfinder with its independent rear suspension also contributed to the small size and weird shape, but it should not have been that expensive to have designed a bigger fuel tank for the trucks, particularly the crew cab long wheelbase. Oh well. We work with what we have.
 

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Wow! That's quite the breaker bar setup to remove that shock bolt! I used my Milwaukee M18 mid-torque impact and it spun them right off. I love battery tools. I should mention that my truck has only 20k miles on it and the first 18k of that was spent in AZ.... no rust. Completely understand your frustrations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wow! That's quite the breaker bar setup to remove that shock bolt! I used my Milwaukee M18 mid-torque impact and it spun them right off. I love battery tools. I should mention that my truck has only 20k miles on it and the first 18k of that was spent in AZ.... no rust. Completely understand your frustrations.
This was only 43,500 or so and is also an Arizona truck. I'm not sure why it was so tight. Torquing it back to the supposed factory 148 ft-lb was achievable with a standard 1/2" drive torque wrench.

It doesn't initially make sense why it has to be that tight since the bolt is acting like a piece of rod with pressure applied upon the side of the rod, but perhaps they chose that torque because the bolt-as-rod is so high-grade to withstand that side pressure that to achieve proper bolt stretch it simply has to be tightened down that far. But I could see this being achieved with just some kind of thread locker too.
 

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My truck was barely a year old, always garaged, no harsh weather.. and we couldn't get it off without having a shop loosen it. In my how many years of working on vehicles, that lower rear shock bolt was the tightest bolt I had ever seen. LOL
 

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Finally got around to installing my ADO add-a-leafs.

The directions were honestly inaequate:
  • No mention of shocks topping-out at full extension before the axle comes loose from the leafpack
  • Leaving out unhooking brake lines and ABS wires from their hooks
  • No itemized step for removing the overload leaf horizontal clamp nut while tension on the rear end makes that possible
  • No mention of the incredibly tight axle shock bolt that required around 4' of leverage to break loose
  • No menton of requiring something to stop the pin-bolt from rotating when trying to pull the nut

Additionally I don't see how the supplied leafpack bolt would work if one wants to use their factory bump-stops (too long by lot) and the pin-end was too large for the hole in the spring perch.

View attachment 329784

This is the factory bolt put back into the ADO leafpack both without and with the nut:

View attachment 329785

View attachment 329786

Now, in my case I decided to add some used Timbren rubber springs so I was able to use that long pin-bolt because it tucks up inside of the Timbren nicely, I'll be using the truck for towing so I was not comfortable removing my overload leafs without something in their place:

View attachment 329787

But due to the design of the ADO supplied u-bolts I did not feel I could use them. Comparison to OE:

View attachment 329788

Note the much more gentle bend-radius. This is the result if one tries to use these:

View attachment 329789

That gap would be larger than the sheetmetal tabs on the factory bump stops. I was concerned about spring or ubolt damage. For now I used the OE u-bolts and cut some flat stock to go between the timbrens and the top leafs to even prevent those from rubbing like this at the corners. I plan to revisit this to at least replace the u-bolts with new, but for now it's back together.

Now, at this point I stopped taking pictures because I ran into trouble. The supplied longer pin bolt was too big a diameter at the pin, it would not fit into the hole in the spring perch on the axle. Confirmed with venier calipers, something like .545" for OE, .575" for the ADO part. I ended up having to pull the whole thing back apart again so I could chuck the pin bolts in my drill press to spin them, taking a file to them to bring them down to something like .559", which was enough to fit.

View attachment 329790

View attachment 329791

With an empty, open bed the truck previously sat 36" at the rear wheel well. Now with a fiberglas canopy and some stuff in the bed it sits at 37". I'm going to give a couple weeks to see if it settles out, then do the front. For the front I'm leaning towards SPC UCAs, Pathfinder V8 springs, and Bilstein 5100 shocks to allow me to pick probably the second ride height position, aka one above stock.

I had the benefit of a lift, I don't see this being fun to do on a driveway with jackstands AT ALL.
I had to go check my ADO u-bolts after seeing this. Mine look to be seated fine with the stock bump stop plate but there still may be a gap there. This is after about 5000 mi of use. I don't see any signs of rubbing or grinding in the corners. I had mine installed -- didn't attempt it myself. But I wish I had primered and painted them before they were installed since they're not coated or treated in any way and rust really quickly. I cleaned up the visible rust and painted them after the fact, but that's only getting at the visible surfaces, and looking art these pics I obviously missed the tops. I think I'll be replacing them anyway.

329866
329867
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
My truck was barely a year old, always garaged, no harsh weather.. and we couldn't get it off without having a shop loosen it. In my how many years of working on vehicles, that lower rear shock bolt was the tightest bolt I had ever seen. LOL
the only screw-in components that I've faced tha were worse were the thread-in upper ball joints on old RWD Mopars. you're talking a ball joint sort-of exterior threads on the housing that is meant to be bitten-into by the threaded hole in the upper control arm. the special socket for the job is only available in 3/4" drive or bigger (I think mine's 1" drive) and to use it with consumer tools you end up using adpters.

If I remember right, it required a 6' long piece of galvanized fence pole on a ratchet. Each turn remains pretty tight because it's interference-fit.
 
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