Jeep XJ Forum

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#1 07-05-2011 12:23:45

archie
Newbie
Registered: 02-03-2009
Posts: 14

Add a Leaf

Anyway, we run an LPG setup in the car and so the back of our 94 has
sunk a little. Now I have see 'add a leaf' solutions offered and I
would love to hear if anyone here has any experience with that and
what the results would be. Is it something you can do yourself, or
should I just order a new pack of springs? Also, if we are going that
way anyway, how far can I take the XJ up without having to change
other parts on the suspension? I don't currently feel like changing
shocks as Dutch prices are way over US prices...

Any thoughts greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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07-05-2011 12:23:45

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Re: Add a Leaf

#2 07-05-2011 12:24:35

tenk
Helper
Registered: 03-23-2009
Posts: 16

Re: Add a Leaf

an add a leaf would be just what you need.  it will get the rear of your vehicle up to where it should be.  if you want to go a little higher, you can get a 2 inch 'budget boost"  and you won't have to change shocks or brake lines.  in your case, I'd get the 2" lift with rear blocks and the add a leaf, to carry the weight.  the front is just spacers,  if you're handy you can make some

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#3 07-05-2011 12:30:02

robert
Helper
Registered: 02-05-2009
Posts: 31

Re: Add a Leaf

My favorite add-a-leaf is to take leaf packs from a Comanche, S-10, Dakota, or Explorer - anything that was spring-under with 2.5" wide leaves. Cut the mounting eyes off the main leaf and bolt it and the other leaves from the "donor" packs to the bottom of your stock main leaves. VIOLA' you now have a better-than-you-can-buy add-a-leaf. The spring under leaves will be arched more than your stock leaves and result in spring packs that are more arched - giving you more lift. Plus the lift will last longer than with single add-a-leaf kits - they tend to sag quickly because you are using ONE leaf with more arch to try to add more arch to the rest of the pack - instead of a pack of leaves with more arch adding more arch to a single flatter leaf (your stock main). Used donor leaf packs from the wrecking yard usually cost about the same or a little less than a add-a-leaf kit, and a LOT less than a whole set of new leaf packs.

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#4 07-05-2011 12:34:33

rich
Helper
Registered: 02-06-2009
Posts: 17

Re: Add a Leaf

Wont blocks kill the rear springs?
Also....
I have a BB on my 99. Its the spacer/shackles. I just replaced the wore out springs with some wrecking yard ones.
They are a little weak and and I want to "beef 'em up" a little. I was thinking add a leaf from my old pack, the one under the main.
Will this add any lift? if so ... how much should I expect?

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07-05-2011 12:34:33

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Re: Add a Leaf

#5 07-05-2011 12:35:13

archie
Newbie
Registered: 02-03-2009
Posts: 14

Re: Add a Leaf

The worst part in this is that there are few American cars at breakers
yards here. So that makes it hard to get to these cars. Leaf springs
in general have been abandoned on European and Japanese cars for quite
some time... Lots of Europeans have not taken Corvettes, Mustangs etc.
seriously as they were leaf sprung...

Anyway, so any big old pickup or similar leaf spring would work if the
car it came from would be about the same weight and the springs would
be the same amount of width. Are there any pictures online somewhere
on how to do this? How to get them to fix together. I have seen
pictures of an extra leaf being added and a bolt going straight
through the middle. Is that the best way to do it? And how does the
ride compare? We do use it it on tarmac 99% of the time. To be honest,
we still have to hit anything more adventurous than a dirt road
through a flat forest... But it needs to keep some creature comforts
and it needs to be 'sprung' still instead of being absolutely solid on
the leafs...

What are the thoughts on that? Oh, and I wouldn't want to go higher
than 2", because then I would have to change the shocks and brakelines
etc. (To be honest I'd love a 6" lift and some bigger tires, but the
cost of doing one will run higher than the worth of the car as well as
the height of my reserved amount of $$.)

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#6 07-05-2011 12:36:49

catxj
Newbie
Registered: 12-22-2009
Posts: 5

Re: Add a Leaf

Adding a leaf is basically done by disassembling the spring pack, adding the leaf to the mix and reassembling with a new longer center bolt along with some new clamps to keep the ends of the packs roughly together.
At this point, since you've removed your u-bolts and added the thickness of the extra leaf, you should (or will have to) install new u-bolts as well.
Locally, I've gone to a spring shop that sells centering bolts in various lengths and makes u-bolts to spec. This also gives the option to go with a thicker diameter u-bolt.
Service manuals will tell you to always replace the u-bolts since they are designed to stretch as they are installed, but if you are doing some fine tuning and experimenting with different setups, it could get pricey and complicated to replace them every time you take them apart!
As for where to get these parts in Europe, perhaps you could try a shop that deals more with commercial vehicles. I think I've seen quite a few leaf springs on vehicles that are designed for any kind of cargo carrying. Come to think of it, my father-in-law just junked his early 90s Nissan Vanette in Spain and I remember that had some fairly thick leaf spring packs.... maybe find something like this? Regarding the question someone else had about blocks.  In general blocks with a stock leaf pack probably are less of a good idea than a block in combination with and add-a-leaf. For something like 1" of extra lift, you can take a solid block of steel, the size of your spring perch, and basically add it to the bottom of your leaf pack in the same way that you add a leaf... hole drilled through and a longer centering bolt.

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#7 07-05-2011 12:37:27

big
Rookie
Registered: 09-27-2008
Posts: 55

Re: Add a Leaf

My old '92 XJ was sagging a bit so I installed a set of Helwig 550
half-leafs. Very simple, just jack up the rear and install with U-bolts.
However, it rides like a tank now. It is very stiff and hard but I don't
mind since I carry heavy loads. New leafs would be better but this will do
if short on cash.

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#8 07-05-2011 12:37:46

ekim
Helper
Registered: 10-05-2008
Posts: 46

Re: Add a Leaf

One of the issues that I was always told about regarding lift blocks on OEM
springs was that the springs are quite soft for the soccer moms etc, and the
blocks put enough extra leverage on those packs that they are prone to
spring wrap

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#9 07-06-2011 09:18:25

jack
Enthusiast
Registered: 10-05-2008
Posts: 149

Re: Add a Leaf

that is very true and i have seen the aluminum one break, i have seen them spite out on trail rides.
If i wanted a small amount of lift on a XJ I would start with a longer set of rear shackles.

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#10 07-06-2011 09:18:56

bryan
Rookie
Registered: 10-05-2008
Posts: 51

Re: Add a Leaf

Just get out your grinder/cut-off wheel and cut the eyes off of your old main, and voila ... you've got yourself a full-length add-a-leaf that will net you ~2.5-3" total lift (at the wheel well) when combined with comanche(or longer aftermarket) shackles.
I've done this to three XJs, and was very pleased with the results. I experienced no adverse effects on ride quality(stiffness/harshness) and still get good flex off-road.
then just cut off/grind/reshape/weld the stock axle shock brackets up to the back of the axle tube and increase your ground clearance and re-use the stock shocks.

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#11 07-06-2011 09:19:54

browner
Helper
Registered: 10-17-2008
Posts: 37

Re: Add a Leaf

I am already at approx 2 inches of lift and don't want the "stink bug" look, but want to beef up the rear springs.
Guess if it will give me 2 - 3 more inches I will have to remove the lift shackles and grab some stock ones from the wrecking yard to replace them.
Guess I should have kept the old stock shackles. Oh well.

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#12 07-06-2011 09:24:21

bryan
Rookie
Registered: 10-05-2008
Posts: 51

Re: Add a Leaf

Front : 2" poly spacer(stacked with stock isolator)
Rear: Comanche or aftermarket shackles and extra XJ main leaf with eyes cut off

Summary:
My experience has been that most stock XJs sit low in the back as the very soft stock leafs sag over time. After installing a BB(spacer/shackle) on such a vehicle, I've found the rear to appear even more squatted than before the BB install, as the 2" longer shackle only gives ~1" of lift at the rear tire/fender and the 2" spacer (when stacked with the stock front isolator) gives a full 2" of lift at the front tire/fender. Adding the extra stock rear main leaf(with eyes cut off) in conjunction with a longer shackle will bring the back up to ~2.5" or so at the rear tire/fender, leaving a nice look with a very slight rear to front rake (not 1970's hot rod rake)

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#13 07-06-2011 09:27:49

archie
Newbie
Registered: 02-03-2009
Posts: 14

Re: Add a Leaf

Would you happen to have any pics of an install you have done? Is it
necessary to shift the shock mounting points? (I'd love to keep the
welding to a minimum as I have not got a clue what it does for road
legislation to weld on an axle here.. Have to find that out as well...

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#14 07-06-2011 09:28:14

bryan
Rookie
Registered: 10-05-2008
Posts: 51

Re: Add a Leaf

I probably have some pics on my home computer, but I will not be home until May 16, and currently only have my work laptop as I'm on a business trip ... :-(

You can do it w/o relocating the shock mounts ... stock shocks will be at near full extension, but will work. You could just buy some longer shocks for a 3" lift. I
was just never a big fan of the damn shock mounts on the XJ that hang 4" below the
axle tube and get hung up on everything, so I've normally just relocated the axle mounts and re-used the stock shocks.

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#15 07-06-2011 09:28:50

robert
Helper
Registered: 02-05-2009
Posts: 31

Re: Add a Leaf

Yes, the leaf packs off pretty much any vehicle with 2.5" (~63mm) wide will work, but ones with the springs bolted under the bottom of the axle work best because they have more arch. The "bolt" through the middle of the stack of leaves is actually a special item called a centering pin. It is like a fine-thread bolt, but the head is round instead of hexagonal, and sized to fit into the centering hole in the spring perch. The round head goes on the bottom and the nut on the top.

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#16 07-06-2011 09:30:50

rich
Helper
Registered: 02-06-2009
Posts: 17

Re: Add a Leaf

Bryan,
I don't mind the rear sitting "slightly" higher, just don't want it real high.

Sounds like what you said is just what I am looking for.

Dumb question time....

This wont happen anytime soon, BUT.....

If I relocate the shock mounts, a friend can weld them, should I drain the rear end 1st?

Will the welding temp trash the gear lube?

Archie,
If this helps ya out here are some pics that I have after I replaced my wore out springs.
If your looking for some shots of re-located shock mounts... cant help you there.
I do like the idea of relocating the shock mounts but I suck at welding.
The pics are just side view's.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v455/ … 7/99%20XJ/

(hope the link works, if not go to photobucket and look for my album.. drifto77.

The pics are under "99XJ" <--- sub album, on left when you get there.

I should mention that the lift is the Daystar BB, I say its 2" but its actually only like 1-3/4.
(guess i said that already)
BTW... I am running the stock length Rancho 5000's and BFG a/t KO's in a 31x10.50x15.
I have had this set-up on the Jeep for 3(?) years.
I don't wheel hard so I have had no problems with the shocks.

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#17 07-06-2011 09:31:28

jack
Enthusiast
Registered: 10-05-2008
Posts: 149

Re: Add a Leaf

I usually get the pins at NAPA and if i remember right they are a grade 9, and don't forget to clamp the spring pack together before you remove the pin for any reason.

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#18 07-06-2011 09:32:20

BuckB91XJ
Newbie
From: Oak Harbor, Wa.
Registered: 01-27-2009
Posts: 10

Re: Add a Leaf

Gr8 allen-head bolts from Lowe's work just fine.

the major stressor for these pins is tension, not shear, so they work fine.


US Navy Chief Petty Officer
91 XJ Sport - 4.0 HO, AW4, NP231, HP D30 4.56 Aussie, D44 4.56 Aussie, XRS8000, Armor, 6&quot; lift, 32&quot; Mudders, Cold Air Intake, 2.5&quot; FM Exhaust
87 XJ
06 KJ Sport

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#19 07-06-2011 09:32:46

archie
Newbie
Registered: 02-03-2009
Posts: 14

Re: Add a Leaf

Bryan,

Do you use the biggest Comanche leaf to stick it all to, or do you use
a complete Xj spring? Any online info somewhere on how to do this? I
have secured 4 rear springs to experiment with. (All xj though...)

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#20 07-06-2011 09:33:21

archie
Newbie
Registered: 02-03-2009
Posts: 14

Re: Add a Leaf

I still want to lift the XJ about 2". So I have been looking at a budget kit
with these 2" high rings for the front and 2" longer shackles for the back.
I saw them on ebay for $90. Does anyone have any recommendations on where to
get them? The exchange rate is favorable to say the least, so I am quite
willing to ship them here.

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#21 07-06-2011 09:33:44

tenk
Helper
Registered: 03-23-2009
Posts: 16

Re: Add a Leaf

a 2" longer shackle will only get you about 1" lift.  since you only lift half the spring.
I'd get the lift like you found, and if the rear sits too low, you could get the $50 add a leaf from Jc Whitney.

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#22 07-06-2011 09:34:37

FOX99XJ
Lurker
Registered: 03-20-2010
Posts: 1

Re: Add a Leaf

I found the Daystar front spacers and Rough Country rear shackles on J.C. Whitney.

I ended up getting the kit for 1/2 price since the bushing kit for the shackles was the wrong PN.

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