Leaf Spring Bushing Replacement
Leaf Spring Bushing Replacement
This is applicable to most rear leaf sprung vehicles
My bushings have been shot for a while. Recently not just any bump caused a rattle, but taking corners gave me a good double clunk from the rear.
I was recently so focused with my loose steering and suspension up front I tunnel visioned the clunks I was hearing as something still happening up there. The frame spring hangers reside under the rear passenger seats and that clunk traveled up the frame making it sound like it was under or in front of me. I had already replaced almost everything bushing, and joint wise up front so I couldn't figure where it was coming from. On our Colorado trip the noises became more frequent and then apparent that it was indeed a rear suspension issue.
You can find bushings all over the internet shop sites for all kind of vehicles except the frame hanger ones for 2000-2004 Xterras. I finally found them for sale on EverythingNissan.com that tuned out to be Infinity/Nissan of Scottsdale and ordered the fronts and the back since I'd have the leafs out anyway. I also ordered a couple extra u-bolts, knowing from experience how they gum up and often become gnarly threaded or just straight up frozen requiring them to be cut off.
Here we go with another Nissan install. They don't need too much maintenance, but those foreign factory people really like to make you work to get things out and then back on.
It's a great idea to spray the bolts and nuts on the rear suspension with some PB Blaster ahead of time
Loosen lug nuts
Jack up vehicle from the rear diff and then place jack stands on the frame
Remove the rear wheels
Lower the axle to remove the load from the springs
Support the rear axle. I used stands and then a block of wood since with the leafs removed, the axle will want to dip frontward down stressing the driveshaft.
Remove the lower shock nut and slide the shocks off their stud.
Remove the nuts from the axle u-bolts. Plan for them to give you some trouble.
Now with the axle free, remove the bolts securing the leaf spring ends on at the frame hanger and the shackle. Remove leaf pack.
The spring eye bushings have an inner sleeve surrounded by rubber and then an outer sleeve.
My front ones were so bad that the inner sleeve just fell out since almost all the rubber was gone.
For the back ones I was able to try the burnout method.
Using a camp stove or torch or anything else similar, burn the bushing until the rubber catches fire and either disappears or releases the sleeve. The rest of the spring shouldn't even get hot so don't worry about it.
Now we need to remove the outer sleeve that was factory pressed in. I used a saw-zall, made 4 cuts into them with a metal blade.
This was a long process and I went through a couple blades.
Then I went to work chiseling the pieces out.
Use your friend's screwdrivers 'cuz you may break a few.
The large eye bushings were easier than the small ones for some reason.
New bushing time. My first method got it done but wasn't pretty.
I used a 1 1/4" socket positioned on top of the bushing that was lined up on top of its new home and then baby sledged it in a little at a time. I finally got it in but the edge ended a little marred up- nothing that affected the bushing performance.
The next ones were tougher to persuade in so I borrowed a ball joint press from a neighbor and that fit the bill. The other large end bushing went in nicely but the smaller one took a while. For the large one I used another large socket to push the outer sleeve and you can see on the small one I used a closed end wrench in the same manner.
You will need a large compressor to get them to go all the way in.
Button it all back up in reverse order. Spring in, u-bolts- making sure your centering pin in in the correct spot, rebolt shock, wheels, and lower. Make sure all your bolts are tight.
I ended up pretty much needing the 2 extra u-bolts and of course the dealer didn't send nuts with them so I had to run to Lowes for some 20-1.25's
No more clunk!
The press was the way to go, but even so, a very large compressor is needed with air tools to see any progress being made pressing the new bushing in.
Last edited by Skatchkins; 11-06-2011 at 08:00 PM.