How to Lower Leaf Springs
Lowering a vehicle with leaf springs is one of those projects that can be fairly straightforward and inexpensive, but it can also run into hours of work and several hundred dollars in materials. This project can be completed by a do-it-yourselfer with a good set of mechanics tools, but may require some outside help, such as welding. There should be no surprises though, as it is quite easy to determine your setup and know which approach is needed to perform this task.
Things You'll Need
- Socket set
Start by looking at the leaf spring in your vehicle. Determine if the axle is mounted over or under the spring, and if the rear shackle is mounted over or under the eye of the spring.
Remove the rear shackles. If the shackles are mounted above the spring eye, lowering the vehicle may be as simple as replacing the shackles with shorter ones. Adjustable shackles are available at automotive parts stores or online.
Removing a high arch spring (so called because it has a larger curve in it) and replacing them with low arch springs is the next simplest approach to lowering a leaf spring equipped vehicle. To remove the spring, unbolt the shackle, the u-bolts and the front eye through bolt. Springs are heavy; you may want a helper to assist in lifting it from the car.
Unbolt the u-bolts which hold the axle to the spring if your vehicle has the axle mounted below the spring. Remove the brake lines, drive shaft and shock absorbers. Remove the axle from the vehicle.
Use care and cut the spring mounting pads from the axle housing. Place the pads on the bottom of the housing, exactly in line with where they were on the top of the housing and weld in place. Reinstall in the vehicle using new U-bolts and mounting the axle over the spring.
Replace the shock absorbers with shorter ones to allow for correct shock piston travel if you have lowered the vehicle more than a couple of inches.
Tips & Warnings
- To maintain safe handling in your vehicle, the front suspension should be lowered an equal amount as the rear suspension.
- Lowering a vehicle may allow the tires to hit the body or frame on bumps. Be certain there is enough clearance before making modifications to your vehicle.