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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I finally got around to finishing up the install of the bushings for the leaf springs. I have a 98' ext cab 4cyl truck and I ordered the parts from 4x4parts.com. My truck was hitting the bump stops with only my 250lb dirt bike in the bed. Most likely from the weak springs and worn bushings. I have done it before and it definitely tightens up the suspension. So, on to the writeup.

Proceed at your own risk. I take no responsibility if you get hurt doing this.

First pic just shows the suspension, second shows how to support the axle.




Make sure the frame is supported and then support the axle. Placing the jack stand here makes it easier to take the springs off later.

Then take off the nut on the bottom of the shock, 17mm. Next take off the wheel and remove the 4 nuts on the u bolts. They are large, 19mm I think or something around that size. Then the axle should be supported by the stand, you may have to lift it a little with the jack, but you want the weight off the springs so you can remove the shock mounting point. No need to undo the top, just twist the bracket that is under the axel to slid it out the lower shock hole. You will understand when you get there.

This is the rear of the leaf spring that needs to be burned out. The other 2 bushings are 2 piece and can be pulled out easily.


Start the burning, you can use a torch or even a campfire. I used a burner my mom had for crawfish.






Once it's all burned thru, use some long pliers and pull out the metal sleve, it should be easy to pull out. This is what you are left with.


Now comes the hard part. You have to remove the metal cup the bushing came in. It was pressed in, so its a pain to get out. The idea is to make it collapse upon itself to separate it from the spring eye. I started where the spring eye looped around.





This is what you want to happen.




Here you can see it all cleaned up with the bushings sitting next to it.


Remember to grease everything up before installing the bushings.


I cleaned up the upper bolt on the shackle, it was rusty with some pitting. I just sanded it down and greased it.


I then rounded the edges on the upper shackle bolt. It will make installing it easier.


Install the other bushing on the spring and install the bushing on the frame. Then comes the hard part. Start the bolt on the bushing.


Then start squeezing the bolt thru with a pair of adjustable pliers. Its a really, really tight fit. Squeeze it thru then put on the other side of the bushing. Then put on the plate and work it thru. Then put on the nut ASAP and tq it down.



That is the hardest part. Then just reassemble in reverse order and enjoy the tight suspension.This is the second time I have done this. I carried close to 800lbs in my old hardbody and it didn't touch the bump stops on the 20hr trip I made at the time.

Good luck.
 

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Good writeup! I did this on my '97 Hardbody a couple of years ago. My rear bushing with the metal sleeve was in pretty bad shape. I tried pressing it out, but I didn't have a vice large enough, and it was Sunday so I couldn't take it anywhere... My eventual solution was to cut the sleeve carefully with a sawsall. I did a pretty good job of cutting through it 90-95% of the way and then hammering it out the rest of the way to avoid cutting the spring eye.

I like the idea of burning the bushing out, but do you have any concerns about the heat weakening the metal?

Heath
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I thought about that, but the metal doesn't get that hot. The burner is on it for only about a minute before the bushing rubber starts to burn on its own. Once it starts burning, it will swell and burn out in about 3 minutes. So, it really doesn't get that hot. I also let them cool down on its own, I wouldn't drop them in water or anything, that could cause a change to the metal. Maybe I should have mentioned that.
 

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You're probably right... that spring is one heck of a heat sink!

Heath
 
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