1996 S10 Leaf Springs Installation
- 1). Loosen the lug nuts on the rear wheels one turn each using the lug wrench. Block the front wheels so the truck won’t roll. Raise the rear of the truck by placing the floor jack under the differential housing. Place a jack stand on the frame just forward of the front spring mount. Lower the truck so it rests on the stand. Do the same to the opposite side.
- 2). Continue removing the lug nuts and rear tire/wheel assembly. Remove the spare tire. Soak all the hardware to be removed with rust penetrant. The hardest part of replacing the leaf springs is removing the hardware due to rust or corrosion. Spray the mounting bolt and nut which acts as the front spring support. After that, spray the U-bolt nuts and the two bolts and nuts in the rear shackle as well. Do the same to the opposite side. Include the nut on the shock mount stud on the anchor plate. Allow a few minutes for the penetrant to work.
- 3). Look at the clearance between the nut on the front spring mount and the fuel tank while the rust penetrant is working. On rare occasions the tank is so close to the nut it is impossible to insert a wrench on the nut. If this happens to be the case, you will need to lower the fuel tank to gain access to the nut.
- 4). Look at the same nut on the passenger side to see if it is hidden by the exhaust pipe. If so, you must lower the exhaust to gain access to the nut. Look at the point the axle sits on the leaf spring. Notice the flat metal plate welded to the bottom of the axle tube, which contacts the spring. It has a hole in the center which sits atop a locating pin in the center of the leaf spring. This keeps the axle positioned properly for correct tracking and prevents it from moving fore or aft. The U-bolts run over the top of the axle down through the lower anchor plate that sandwiches the spring to the axle. The anchor plate also has a stud for the mounting of the shock.
- 5). Place the floor jack under the center of the axle tube on either side of the axle. Raise the jack just enough to contact the axle tube but do not lift it at this point. Doing one side at a time is much faster and easier to control. Some manuals state the use of two extra jack stands however this makes it hard to manipulate the axle. It is not going anywhere when done one side at a time.
- 6). Use a socket and remove the nut securing the shock to the anchor plate. Pull the bottom of the shock off the anchor plate stud. Remove the four U-bolt nuts on the bottom of the anchor plate with a socket. Once you remove the nuts, it may be necessary to tap the anchor plate down using a hammer.
- 7). Loosen the top bolt and nut in the spring shackle using a socket and wrench. Remove the lower shackle bolt and nut that secure the spring to the shackle. Lower the rear of the spring to the ground.
- 8). Remove the front spring mount bolt and nut using a socket. Remove the spring from under the truck. Raise the side of the axle about two inches with the floor jack so it doesn’t interfere with the installation of the spring.
- 9). Install the front of the spring by sliding the spring bushing up into the front spring hanger support. Insert the bolt from the outside in with a washer and nut on the inside. Run the nut down with a socket on the nut and wrench on the bolt head, but do not tighten it yet. Both front and back spring mounts must be left loose until final adjustment.
Lift the rear of the spring and push the bushing up between the two shackles. Insert the bolt outside in with a washer and nut on the inside. Again, run the nut down with the use of a wrench on the bolt head and socket on the nut, but do not tighten yet.
Lower the axle tube so the hole in the axle mounting plate intersects the pin in the spring. Install the U-bolts over the axle and through the holes in the anchor plate. Install the nuts on the U-bolts under the anchor plate.
Torque the U-bolt nuts in a staggering pattern — left front outside, right rear inside, right front inside to left rear inside — to 18 foot-pounds of torque. This is done so the U-bolts are tightened evenly. Now torque them in the same order one final time to 73 foot-pounds.
Raise the axle tube until the distance from the axle to the frame — next to the rubber bumper — is 6.46 to 6.94 inches. Torque the front spring mounting bolt and the two bolts in the rear shackle to 89 foot-pounds. Move the floor jack under the opposite side and repeat the same process. Lower the truck to the ground.