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Replacing Leaf Spring Bushings

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Old 07-23-2013, 06:47 PM   #1
unit91
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Question Replacing Leaf Spring Bushings

I've been able to find some rudimentary instructions about this, but I have a couple questions I hope you can help with.

First, none of the instructions say anything about removing the wheels/tires. Are you supposed to leave them on while doing this?

Second, one set of instructions said to grease the bushings, bolts, inside of the front spring eyes, etc. What type grease? Regular lubricating grease like you'd lube your front suspension with? White lithium grease? What? I'm using rubber bushings.

Thanks very much for any guidance you can give.
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Old 07-23-2013, 07:03 PM   #2
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Here's how I'd do mine (and have in various forms in the past).

Jack it up and support the car under the chassis, NOT the rear axle. Get a spare jack stand that you can put under the rear axle to do 1 side at a time.

With a jack under the rear axle just slightly, unbolt 1 end of 1 side....driver spring eye, or driver shackle etc. Lower it down with the jack, it should clear enough to remove the bushing and be resting on a jack stand (though it will also hang on it's own from the other 3 points). I've found the easiest way to pull them out with grip the outside lip with a channel lock and twist it back and forth as you pull it out. Be careful not to bang your hands, and you may need to pry them out a bit too.

The shackles are a bit more challenging because you have to slide the shackle out 1st to drop the rear spring down and replace the bushings in the frame rail. Like sturdy screwdrivers and small prybars help here. You might also need a spray lube if they weren't previously lubed.

When installing, I use anti-seize and lube every part of the bushing that contacts metal. So on the front spring eye, the flat part of the bushing that contacts the bushing on the other side of the same eye, the outside that slips into the spring eye, and once it's in the face of the bushing that will contact the pocket (or shackle if in the rear). On the spring eye I lube the outside and inside of the metal insert and slide it into the bushings. And lube the shafts and inside faces of the shackles/plate.

Then just the rear up until either the spring is in the pocket or lines up to slide the shackle in. Slip the bolt/shackle through and tighten it (lube the threads too). Might have to push it around a bit with a pry bar to line it up or use a pin/large punch through the bolt hole. The shackles don't have to be torqued since the locking nut seats on a shoulder, run it up until it bumps the shoulder then make is hand tight. Torque the front though, since the pocket clamps the bushing, too loose and the suspension can walk in the pocket, too tight and it will limit the bushing from rotating.

Do 1 end of 1 side at a time. So like driver front spring eye, then driver rear shackle, then switch to the other side. That way when you jack the rear back in place it pretty much lines the spring back up.

If you're using poly, use stock rubber bushings on the shackles, it actually does make a pretty big difference.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:03 PM   #3
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When installing, I use anti-seize and lube every part of the bushing that contacts metal.

like Permatex Anti-Seize Lubricant???

So on the front spring eye, the flat part of the bushing that contacts the bushing on the other side of the same eye, the outside that slips into the spring eye, and once it's in the face of the bushing that will contact the pocket (or shackle if in the rear). On the spring eye I lube the outside and inside of the metal insert and slide it into the bushings. And lube the shafts and inside faces of the shackles/plate.

like Permatex Anti-Seize Lubricant ???

(lube the threads too). Permatex Anti-Seize Lubricant ???

Torque the front though, since the pocket clamps the bushing, too loose and the suspension can walk in the pocket, too tight and it will limit the bushing from rotating.

what's the ft lb torque for this???


Sorry for all the questions but I've never done this before and I don't want to screw it up.

Thanks very much.
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:08 PM   #4
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Yeah, I just use the larger bottle of the Permatex stuff with the brush built into the cap. Easiest to work with since anti-seize gets all over the place if you look at it funny.

I think the torque on the front spring eye is like 50-55lb-ft or thereabouts. Don't quote me on that, it's in the shop manual though.
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:25 AM   #5
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Thanks very much. Should the wheels be left on or removed, or does it matter?
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:57 AM   #6
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Take the wheels off.

Also, when ever I'm doing any suspension work I put the weight of the car back on the springs before tightening/torquing the bolts. Either with a floor jack or on the tires themselves.

Good luck, let us know how it turns out.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:14 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the help! If I survive this operation I'll let you know.
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Old 07-24-2013, 01:48 PM   #8
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I'm assuming that I can jack the car up using the differential until I get the jack stands under the chassis?
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Old 07-24-2013, 03:04 PM   #9
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You can leave the wheels on it you want, but it'll be easier with them off....they get in the way. It'll prolly take less time to remove them than work around them.

If you lube everything up real good then it's not necessary to load the suspension before torquing, since the bushings will be able to freely move. It doesn't hurt to do it though.

And yes, you can jack it up under the diff, that's how I usually do it. You can set the jack stands under the jacking locations forward of the leaves...you just want them clear enough of the front spring eye pocket to be able to work. Do NOT place them under the floorboard of the rear. Put them under jacking locations (notches), frame rails, load bearing locations etc.
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Old 07-25-2013, 07:09 AM   #10
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Started soaking bolts with penetrating oil. Noticed that the nuts for both leaf eye ends are facing to the outside - easy to get to. But the shackle nuts are all on the right side for both shackles. Does it make any difference which side the nuts are on? Facing the outside makes them easier to get to.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:43 AM   #11
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PLEASE be careful when messing with springs. Cold steel has no friends and those springs will kick your ***, eat your lunch, screw your old lady and not give a damn.

True Story

Many moons ago I decided that I needed to replace the stupid lift shackles that someone put on the fastback eons before and while I was at it replace the bushings.

Not knowing what I was doing but knowing it all I jacked the car up and put the jack stands under the axle housings and proceded to get to work. WRONG MOVE! The springs are under SERIOUS pressure when you do that.

The first three nuts came right off no sweat. But the last nut was being an absolute sumbitch and I couldn't figure out why and didn't really care. As far as I was concerned it was just being tough because it was a 25 year old car.
The only way I could get the nut to turn at all was using an extra long 3/4" breaker bar and it fought me every smidgen of the way which should have been a BIG clue.

BEWARE! When something is under pressure like that it will be tough as hell to turn.

Let me try to paint the picture:

I was laying on my back with my feet towards the rear of the car and my left shoulder, arm and occasionally my head were under the spring as I was fighting like hell to get this last bolt off. After several minutes of very slow progress the last nut was only held on by a few threads so I knew I was close. By the Grace of God Almighty I had just repositioned myself and scootched out a bit so I could get a good grunt tug or two to finally remove the last nut when all of the sudden WHAMO!!

The spring absolutely EXPLODED downward and the big *** breaker-bar & socket were blown out of my hands and sent flying across my face so close I felt it just barely graze my chin and nose. We're talking fractions of an inch lower and it would have, well it probably would have killed me or phucked me up so bad that I would have wished I was dead. It was thrown so hard that it impaled the drywall 8 or 10 feet away so that only the socket was still visible.

The leaf spring smashed into the garage floor with such force that it vaporized the chunck of the concrete where it hit and left about a 3/4" deep crater in the floor.

I was reeling and physically unhurt but the violence and speed at which it occured left me absolutely dazed and confused. If I hadn't repositioned myself at that last moment I definitely would not have left a beautiful corpse.

To this day my *** still puckers up when I have to mess with springs. Several life lessons were learned that day and thankfully I'm still around to appreciate them.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:54 AM   #12
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WOW!!!!!! Glad you weren't hurt, and thanks for the warning. If I understand what you said, you put the jack stands under the axle instead of under the chasis?
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:31 AM   #13
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Yeah. Don't do that. Check out this video I found on youtubes.






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Old 07-25-2013, 03:07 PM   #14
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Yeah, that's why I said put the jack stands under the jacking location, frame rail etc. That way the springs are totally unloaded, and all you use the jack/stand for is to drop the housing down enough to clear the bushing...just holding it up. The housing can stay bolted to the leaves. If you can't lower the spring at 1 corner down enough to get the bushing clear, then you can just unbolt both front spring locations.....change bushings and swing it back into place and then do the same on the rear.

As for the shackles...you'll see when you pull them out. The passenger side is relatively easy, but clearance on the driver side is more problematic with the tank and body panels. The direction of the shackles doesn't matter in terms of function, but there is a practical consideration as far as being able to simply get them in place.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:05 PM   #15
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Roger! I'll let you all know how it goes.
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:27 PM   #16
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...it won't.

If nothing was lubed previously, the shackles are going to be a nightmare to get apart....trying to pull it out if it's unlubed after years of use is a real bitch.
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:46 PM   #17
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Been soaking them daily in penetrating oil. Hope that will help.
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Old 07-25-2013, 07:25 PM   #18
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You're gonna hate that driver side shackle.

Just be patient using a small prybar or screwdriver....a bit on the top bushing, a bit on the bottom, back and forth.
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Old 07-26-2013, 06:53 AM   #19
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Roger that! Thanks!
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:49 AM   #20
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I'm replacing the shackles and the front eye bushings. Will silicone spray lubricant be OK to use?
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:49 AM
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