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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Howdy:

WHAT
Thought I'd post text & images of how I installed a set of Hellwig EZ-1000 1265 Helper / Leveler Springs on a 2nd Gen Frontier.


WHY
Last time I towed a decent load in my trailer, I was not happy with the way it rode. Everything was within limits, but, still, I did not like the way the tail end squatted and thought the handling was not as good as it ought to have been. First thing, I installed new KYB OEM-ish replacement shocks in the rear and KYB OEM-ish replacement coil springs+shock/cartridges in the front. Both were more stout than OEM, and the front coils lifted the front 2-3 inches (which eventually settled down to one inch). Good so far, but the back looked even squatty-er. I figured I needed something to lift the rear up a couple inches and that would also allow me to tow with less squat.


CONSIDERATIONS
I considered many options, looking here, there, & everywhere: air bags, rubbery deals between frame & axle, coil springs between frame & axle, another leaf or two to the stack, and--finally--old-school nightmares-of-jc-whintney "helper" springs. I settled on the latter as I WANTED a bit of lift and did not want air bag adjustments. I was willing to pay a penalty in ride comfort. Question was, "Whose helper springs?" Again, more searching. Dismissed the Pep Boys/Autozone $35 deals, as I saw a post with a fellow who tore his up in a weekend of hard use. Something more robust was in order. Almost settled for a set of Hellwig EZ-550 helpers. Hellwig had a set & part number for 2WD 2nd Gen Frontiers. It would have been easy...but I was not quite down with giving a bump to just one end of the leafs. I also wanted to limit the smidge of axle wrap I felt. Aha! Hellwig offers part number 1908, offering 2000lbs of leveling power for 2WD 2nd Gen Frontiers. Perfect...except they cost a bundle ($377+) and I could not get straight just what design helper spring they were. I then fell back to a post read here that stated they had bought the EZ-1000 part number 1265 designed for the 1st Gen Frontier and installed it on their 2nd Gen. I saw a similar review on Amazon, stating success with that part number on a 2nd Gen. And I could get them at Summit Racing for $109+ free shipping:
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/hel-1265
http://www.hellwigproducts.com/products/load-control/medium-duty-helper-springs/
Of course, your wants/needs/preferences may steer you elsewhere. In that case, God bless you and I wish you success with your chosen course of action.

INSTRUCTIONS
Hellwig's instructions are more general guides. I examined several sets for different products. They do not seem exact-application specific and sometimes not even general product specific. They are helpful in one way: they tell you to crank down the side of the helper closest the axle first. Ayup. Also, they tell you to keep the tire on the truck, but to lift it by the frame until it is nearly/almost off the ground. And use jackstands. Yeah, I am not going to be able to reach around the tire, so not so helpful. Will address below, along with the pretty pictures. Some threads here on clubfrontier and elsewhere provided both instruction and--most importantly--confirmation that it can be done.


THE PARTS: HELLWIG EZ-1000 1265
Gotta say, the parts looked well-made and robust. I like powder coating, sure enough. I will post links to the photos. Feel free to mash them and see.

All the Parts


Leaf/Helper Thickness


Bracket Bar Thickness


U-Bolt Thickness



INSTALLATION LOCATION
Here is what the rear end bits of my 2nd Gen look like.

Whole Shebang


In front of Axle


Behind Axle


[Did you see the KYB Excel-G shocks? Pretty, aren't they?]

Helpers Laying on Leaf Stack, Unloaded Suspension



GETTING IT DONE
In general, you'll want to load and unload the suspension with a jack (and use C-clamps at times) to get the helpers under the shackle behind the axle, get the helper ends nearest the axle tightened down, and then tighten down the ends of the helper springs away from the axle in a consistent manner that can be repeated on both driver and passenger sides. It can be a bit fiddly at times, but really no great whoop. Oh, you'll want a hydraulic jack or two, a couple jack stands, wheel chocks, and both metric & Imperial half-inch sockets (both std and deep). Also a wooden hammer, locktite of your preference (I used blue), and a torque wrench is a "nice to have."

I had to load the suspension to get the rear helper under the shackle.

Floor Jack Loading Suspension


At times, I was running 3 C-clamps from 4-9 inches in size. I would use them on the leaf stack and on the helpers, depending on what I needed at the time.

Using C-Clamps to Get Under Shackle (Note U-dealie nearest axle. That is not its final orientation.)


I first installed the U-bolts & hardware as stated in the instructions: "U" facing down with bracket along bottom of leaf stack. After inspecting the clearance between the threaded legs of the bolt and the brake lines I decided, NOPE. Not enough clearance, so I inverted the U-bolts so the legs pointed to the sky. I did not want the brake lines rubbing up against those nice & robust U-bolts with the sharp and clean threads.

U-Bolt Nearest Axle


Both Helpers Installed:


In front of the axle is the leaf stack clampy-do. In plenty of the helper spring posts I read, bending this puppy out was a crucial step. Did not seem so in this case. I will keep an eye and ear out for interference and update this DIY if I find otherwise.

Front of Axle


Behind the axle is another leaf stack clampy-do, but way out of the way. On the other hand, the shackle is right up in all the helper spring business. I simply used it as part of the system holding the helper in place.

Behind Axle


Two other issues to ponder are:
1. The overload leaf
2. The bump stops / U-bolt leg / frame interference.

I did not include the overload springs in the helper system, so if I am severely overloaded, the overload leaf will contact the helper spring bracket. This is something to keep an eye on over time, but I do not expect a problem. A bit more tricky are the U-bolt legs. I measured the distance between them and then width of the frame member above them, which the bump stop would normally contact in a big bump (oddly enough). The U-bolt legs measure wide enough to clear the frame member. Nonetheless, I am keeping an eye on them and examine the frame where they might contact daily. I have had a few big bumps, but so far no sign of contact. In addition to those issues, I am keeping an eye on all the bolts, nuts, springs, etc., to see if there is any movement. Once I assure myself that it is not self-disassembling in a couple weeks, I will grind down the ends of those U-bolts down to the nuts.

Whole Deal, Angle Shot


One last thing to keep in mind is uniformity between the passenger and driver side. I managed this by installing the driver side to my liking, measuring from top of bracket to top of U-bolt on the helper ends farthest from the axle. I kept those in front of the axle 2 3/4 inches and those behind at 2 1/4 inches.

As far as rear end lift, I got what I wanted, about 2 inches both sides.

Top of Wheel Well to Top of Tire: End State 5 1/2 inches


Top of Wheel Well to Top of Tire: End State Close Up 5 1/2 inches


Top of Wheel Well to Top of Tire: Begin State 3 1/2 inches


Side View of Rear



RESULTS
I have done no towing since, so I can not comment on that. Subjectively, it rides about the same over bumps, maybe a smidge more sharply. Granted, I do not live in the Great White North, where women are warm and the roads are rough. Maybe the constant pot holes and washboard surface would make it annoying or unbearable. Also, it corners better, with less body lean. And no axle wrap. So, thus far I am happy with the results. I can still crank the helpers down a good bit, as the instructions say I can bring them to within 1/8 inch of the original leaf stack. I will update if there are any changes and when I tow with the rig.

Good day and if you read this far, thank you for your time.
 

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FYI: If you select "medium thumbnail" and then use the BBcode for each photo in Imgur, it'll show the actual photo here... instead of a bunch of links.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
FYI: If you select "medium thumbnail" and then use the BBcode for each photo in Imgur, it'll show the actual photo here... instead of a bunch of links.
Roger that. I am familiar with BBCode. I linked quite a few photos and am mindful of bandwidth use by those who click on my posts. Some folk operate under bandwidth-constricted conditions and others have to pay by the byte. Those who are motivated and/or interested will click through to see the image.

================

Still no problems. Will get under the truck this coming weekend to give it a closer going-over.
 

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Roger that. I am familiar with BBCode. I linked quite a few photos and am mindful of bandwidth use by those who click on my posts. Some folk operate under bandwidth-constricted conditions and others have to pay by the byte. Those who are motivated and/or interested will click through to see the image.
It's 2017, if someone can't afford the bandwidth then they shouldn't be looking at truck mod threads >:D
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
It has been a month and nothing has loosened up, broke, interfered, or otherwise not performed as it ought. I think it helped that I used lock-tite, as the biggest problem I saw on the net was loosening of the nuts.

I also edited the original post to let the images bloom in all their bepixeled glory.

Ride and handling are good and improved relative to pre-helpers.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Four months and no issues. I am calling it good. I will keep an eye on things, but I am quite happy with the results. Ride is better, cornering, too. Not too stiff.

Second, as for load-leveling / ride-leveling, the sides are off by less than 3/16". I could dial that in a smidge, but I doubt it. Might have started off this way, as this latest measurement was more pre

Last, this kind of supports my "don't push capacities/ratings" tendency. I am not using the helpers to their fullest by cranking them down all the way. They are probably doing half to 3/4 the work. When you don't push it to the limit, you're less likely to see things fly apart or fail.

Now, if the cost for a new, higher-capacity leaf spring pack or single add-a-leaf were in the price range of these helpers, I would be tempted. But the helpers were a lot less expensive and worth the gamble.
 
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