Tahoe Leaf Spring Replacement Installation

Discussion in 'Tech Info' started by Phone Man, Sep 29, 2015.

  1. Phone Man

    Phone Man Full Access Member

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    Well after driving around with my sagging rear for a while, it was time to replace the worn out leaf springs. I figure I would give my experience and 2c. While it may seem an easy enough job to do, its always nice to have a little info before hand, so I wrote this up.

    From my research there was a lot of talk about dropping the gas tank to get to the bolts and other discussions on leaf spring length. I have a 2dr and the tank did not have to drop. I have copied a size chart posted by Retorq in another discussion that is accurate. The 2dr needs a 54" spring.

    The hardest part of this job is getting the old bolts out. You will need a good 1/2" breaker bar (my 3/8 broke), a small steel mallet, torque wrench and probably some heat such as a MAP gas torch. Also get some PB Blaster penetrating oil, WD-40 isn't going to cut it.

    As far as ordering goes, good luck in finding free shipping, not gonna happen. Each one is around 70lbs and will cost about $100 for shipping so factor that into your cost. I got mine from General spring of Kansas City. They also were the only ones to have an HD version, 2200lbs instead of 1750. They were $129 each as apposed to $99 so I figured WTF and got the HD's. Link... http://www.generalspringkc.com/product_p/22-909hd.htm.

    You will also need new Ubolts. Forget Ebay, get them from rockauto.com They are quality pieces. You may also want to get new shackles, one for each side. They come with 2 bolts and a bushing. You wont need the bushing since the spring already has it installed. You will however need a new bolt for the front of the spring so order 2 (one for each spring) when you order the springs. After you pound the hell out of the old bolts to free them from their rusted grasp, they will be useless.

    Ok, so raise the back of the truck by the rear axle and support the truck by the frame on jack stands. Leave the jack under the axle. CHOCK YOUR FRONT WHEELS!

    upload_2015-9-29_20-28-2.jpeg


    Start by removing the bolts from the spring's Ubolts and removing the top plate, bolts and bottom bracket. I ended up cleaning and painting the bracket and plate.

    upload_2015-9-29_20-47-14.jpeg


    The top plate hole is chamfered to fit the bolt only one way.

    upload_2015-9-29_20-47-43.jpeg

    Next, begin removing each bolt from the back and front of the spring. If you plan on replacing the shackles, and you should, then you only need to remove the bottom bolt. At least on the 2dr, you do not have to drop the tank. As you can see, if you have a factory hitch, there is a hole in the side large enough to fit the head of the bolt and slide out. The reason the bolts have the nut facing the outside is because in the future you may need to bash the bolt out with a hammer and you need room to swing. I was able to install the bolts the same way without an issue. It helps to have a large punch or a similar size bolt to hit it the rest of the way through the bushing. Mine fought their way out all the way home.

    upload_2015-9-29_20-52-10.jpeg


    I ended up removing all the bolts and springs from each side (at this time you may want to clean and paint the parts). This left the rear hanging with the shock pressing down and making it twist a little. Not a big deal, you just have to muscle the rear into place after the springs are installed. I also added some grease to the bolts before sliding them into the bushings. Also if you install new shackles, install them on the spring first because you will not be able to put in the top bolt... you can tighten it later.

    upload_2015-9-29_21-2-34.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
  2. Phone Man

    Phone Man Full Access Member

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    Install all your bolts and tighten accordingly. The one thing I didn't like about the new shackles is that there was a lot of space between the bushing and the shackle steel. I tightened the bolt enough to close the gap a little without binding.

    upload_2015-9-29_21-11-26.jpeg


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    [​IMG]

    The ride overall is a little stiffer. Im thinking its because of the HD springs but the lazy bounce and sway is gone. Also the back raised a good inch at least. I have torsion keys in the front at the minimum and even with them, the back is a little higher. Overall, im happy with them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
    bowtiefreak likes this.
  3. SunlitComet

    SunlitComet OBS Jedi-Do Good

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    looking good i will check them out for mine as well.
     
  4. Phone Man

    Phone Man Full Access Member

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    Update: These springs are stiff and ride a bit hard. They also raised the back around 1.5-2 inches.
     
  5. SunlitComet

    SunlitComet OBS Jedi-Do Good

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    so far so good then. good work.
     
  6. Dneel81

    Dneel81 Full Access Member

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    Thanks for the write up. I'm doing a shackle flip to lose the lift blocks on my 2 door. If those old-arse pansie springs don't stop axle wrapping and farking up my pinion angle/geometry/crap after the flip, I'll get some beefier springs. Appreciate the parts chart.
    DN
     
  7. moviewithnotitle

    moviewithnotitle Full Access Member

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    Phone Man,
    Can you explain this statement a little further: "The ride overall is a little stiffer. Im thinking its because of the HD springs but the lazy bounce and sway is gone."

    I'm particularly interested in the mention of "Sway". I have similar issue where the rear-end tends to gently sway/drift side-to-side while on the highway. I'm not concerned for my safety...YET...but it's a growing problem in the last few years and I would like to try and correct it. I've been thinking it might be bushings (my 96 still has the original bushing on the leafs).

    Your thoughts?
     
  8. Dneel81

    Dneel81 Full Access Member

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    Phone,

    I'm trying to figure out if I need new springs. I've ditched the lift blocks in my truck, done a shackle flip in the truck with a zero rate. My axle wrap is still awful and shows its head by a bad acceleration vibration. I'm trying to figure out if I need a CV joint or if my springs are just shot. Your setup looks stock. Any experience with axle wrap on your rig before/after the spring swap?
    Thank you

    DNeel
     
  9. SunlitComet

    SunlitComet OBS Jedi-Do Good

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    post some side shots of whole vehicle as well as wheel areas as well as ones looking forward and backward from on the ground to visualize the under-body.
     
  10. Dneel81

    Dneel81 Full Access Member

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    SLC,
    I've already torn into the front end rebuild but here are some pictures nonetheless. Luckily I snapped one of her stance before I cut up her front end...God please forgive me for still running those ridiculous wheels. Waiting to pull the trigger on some MT Classic IIIs.

    20160112_174559_zps8ewovioc.jpg

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    20160113_202822_zps5ihsply9.gif
     

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