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Old 10-25-2008, 01:07 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 38
The add on leafs experience.

So after not listening to 2 or 3 members of this forum and reading countless post's regarding the subject I decided to try the add-on-leafs to gain the advertised 2''.


It was cold here in Concord, NH. I'd say about 40 degrees, 50 in the garage. After working 8:30am-9pm I was tired (and still getting over the flu) I had to do something to keep myself from thinking about how much I feel like shit. I decided to go turn a wrench and have myself a beer.

After attempting to jack up the Jeep (95 Rio Grande) up by the frame with my ultra slim floor jack (used for my slammed EX-E30) I knew I was ultimately defeated, but continued anyway. I ended up needing 1 patio block on the floor, and two 2x4 pieces between the jack and the frame just to get the wheel off the ground a half inch. With the sway bar still attached.

I disconnected the sway bar and the wheel immediately touched the ground. Then I decided to hang it up. Feeling unsafe although I have previously blocked a jack on uneven ground I decided to bolt everything back together and wait until tomorrow.


I actually got out of work at a decent time 8:30am-6:30pm. I picked up my two girls and went on the search for the highest jack I could find. I quickly came to realization that a high lift jack is not available at regular parts stores, or wal-mart around here so I ended up getting a 12 ton 18 1/4 inch lift bottle jack. Without the sway bar attached it lifted the wheel about 2 inches (maybe a little less) with a single 2x4 between the jack and the frame.

I bolted the add on leafs up with the supplied U bolts, plates, and lock washers then lowered the Jeep to the ground. I took a step back and immediately said "WTF"? I couldn't see any lift at all so the tape measure came out. I gained a whole half inch. Measured from the bottom of the shock tower to the nut at the bottom.

I had some lift shackles on hand anticipating the severe let down (because of the views of members of WF), so I figured I would give them a shot. I pulled off the add on springs and let her down to the ground to start fresh.

These shackles are again a universal part that I've seen on serious JEEP's around town. So not expecting much after the previous let down I went at it.

I figured to max them out was too much stress on the tired springs, and by my figures the min. wasn't enough (only an inch of lift) so I went midway. I forget what the figures were (even though I took them an hour ago) I seem to remember 3 inches of shackle so 1 1/2 inches of lift. Anyway I had to stand on the springs to get the bolt holes to line up with the shackles.

As I was straightening out my tools (thinking how nice it was to not be working under a BMW that's as old as I am), I remembered reading a post saying extended shackles are hell on worn, stock springs. At this point I'm really tired, dieing to sit and have a beer with my girl Kate-Lin, and play with my puppy Bowser, and Deanna's already in bed (11pm). I'm re-thinking all of the positions I had the the add on spring installed. In the middle, toward the rear, toward the front. As I walked through the door and something just kept pulling me back to the garage. I was debating on taking the add on springs back for the cash or putting them to good use. I even thought about doubling them up for height (which I did not try).

I stuck the add on spring under the spring pack (centered) to help the stock springs with the extended shackles in the front. I've been drinking so I haven't taken her for a test drive yet. I plan to put on the extended shackles for the rear tomorrow morning and see how ride quality is on city streets/ highway..

The difference between the front and back is like satin impervo against the gripper. For you non painters out there it's like lockers vs. stock, even night and day.

My plan as of now is to keep the add on springs on the front, and shackle the rear (to keep some ride quality). The test drive will ultimately decide.

Does anybody have a good alignment that really works? or should I start with the standard 1/8in. in and go from there?

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Old 10-25-2008, 10:01 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2008
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DAY 3:

So after helping load my EX-E30 onto a dolly (royal pain) I went out to do the rear shackles and noticed the bolts hit the gas tank. I've got to go pumpkin picking in about an hour so I just tightened them back up and came inside. After reading a post regarding the subject I guess you can pull the spring off to the side and wiggle the bolts out after and just replace them facing the other way (nuts on the inside). I'll give that a shot later today when I get in. The front end actually rides nice not stiff at all. I'd actually say it rides better.

I'm starting to wonder though if the shackle lift is just going to get in the way of itself? It hangs down so low. Did I actually gain any clearance or did I lift it just to have more to get hung up on?

Any way I've got to go drive around with my front end all jacked up and my back end down low.. Should be fun to see peoples reactions on the highway.

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Old 10-25-2008, 01:34 PM   #3
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Location: Washington state
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I did a add a leaf in the front end of my Jeep to correct the sagging from the extra pounds of the V8, I like it. The V8 makes the springs flex very well and the rides is just fine. I did a add a leaf in the rear to replace a small broken spring. I got the 2 1/2 lift springs and I got the long ones that are about 3 1/2 feet long. They lifted great and ride great. I guess the outcome changes for everyone.
95 YJ TBI Vortec 350, 700R4
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Old 10-25-2008, 05:08 PM   #4
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almost like we know what we're talking about huh?
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Old 10-25-2008, 07:28 PM
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DAY 3 part 2

I actually kept them on the front along with the shackles which ride really nice. Really brought some life back to the springs.

After pumpkin picking I went out to install the rear shackles (yes I've been driving around with only the front lifted). With a 20 gallon tank there is no way to get them out, or maybe my tank is aftermarket. I removed part of the bushings and pushed the bolt to the side with a pry bar it still hit the tank, It simply wont fit... I tried everything and have come to the conclusion I'll cut the heads off and pull them out backwards (which I'll do tomorrow) If I can safely get a saw in there just to avoid messing with the 3/4 full gas tank.

I'm not going to install the extra leafs on the rear unless I think they need it after the shackles. You've got to remember These aren't add-a-leafs.. They install under the spring pack. They definitely do not have the 2" they advertise. Alone they gave me a half inch, and with the shackles they greatly improved ride quality.. We'll see how long they last though. I'm sure they'll last me through the winter at least. I'll take pics whenever my mom's done with my camera.

18derrick Has a very different application and product, installed very differently. Once you see the pics you'll know what I'm talking about. I'm actually glad I put them on the front. It wasn't a loss at all. 1/2inch taller, and put some life into my springs after the extended shackles. I may even use them on the rear too. I have to get those shackles on first.
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Old 10-26-2008, 08:14 AM   #6
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 128
I've been running stock springs and 4" shackles (2" lift) front and rear on my YJ for about four years now, no issues other than having to cut the welds off the bolts and adjust the steering stops because of the tires I put on (31-10.5 on stock steel wheels). Steering is a little more darty because of the pinion angle change (need to shim that) but no driveline vibrations or anything.

The front shackles do hang down quite a bit below the bumper, but I haven't had any clearance issues with them. Disclaimer - I also don't go rock crawling or anything with it. Dirt roads, fire roads, and on a piece of land we own I've used it to clear brush (8' tall briars), but nothing that would cause an approach issue.

I do remember having to pull my tank skid plate down, tapping the rear upper bolts out, and having the heads rubbing the poly tank...but no holes. I reinstalled them the other way

Once I get over my motorcycle wreck this past summer and can work on stuff / lift heavy stuff again, I plan to put a "real" spring lift on it.

Oh, and one tip for jacking up with a "small" jack: jack it up by the differential pumpkin(s), *then* put your jackstands under the frame rails.
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Old 10-26-2008, 07:55 PM
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That's an awesome Idea. O whell I bought the biggest bottle jack I could find I'm sure it'll come in more use...

I went with 6 inch shackles.

DAY 4:

I ended up cutting the rear bolts (scary next to the gas tank) then jacking between the spring and frame to slide the lowers out/ get the 6 inchers in. I just set my saw on the slowest setting. At first I used a diamond tip blade used for cast Iron, took me like 20 minutes to get through. It was a much smoother cut though. No wiggling of the blade or kicking. I switched to a regular metal blade that did it in well under a minute. A little hairy next a tank. I didn't need the extra springs for the rear.

All in all I'm happy with the results especially considering what the parts cost.

See I do end up in a few rocky situations. Nothing major, and that's definitely not what we go looking for, but it happens. The front may be an issue but I doubt it considering that's where I'm looking. In the rear the springs would hit before the shackles so I'm not concerned.

It was a great experience, and Wranglers are a blast to work on. Leaf springs were a whole new world for me. I'll post some pictures when I get my camera back, and I'll definitely keep posting regarding the life of the add on springs/ really cheap lift setup.

All in all I'd say it took a total of 2 or 3 hours with zero experience on a Jeep. I definitely gained 2 1/2 or 3 inches (over 13yr old suspension) at least. I forgot to measure the exact gain.

Not bad to last me till spring. I'm still running stock size tires I believe. They are the meanest snow tire I've ever seen, have metal studs, and the treads / nubs are at least an inch deep. I haven't got stuck yet.

The sway bar I dropped down about 3/8 inch with some spacers. (May be less) to avoid pre-load, I don't know if it was necessary but I have no issues on the highway. I was unable to get the top of the links to let go to install the quick disconnects. I guess I can blame lack of ambition, and replacement parts for that. Maybe I'll do that next weekend with a set of new links, or if I get out of work at a reasonable time one day this week.

Shifting into 4 wheel has never been easier! I used to have to use two hands to shift it into both 4 high and 4 low. Now it's a piece of cake.

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