Leaf spring rebuild

Zebaru

New member
Well, since I had the rear all torn down to put in the new gears, I finally got around to fixing the horrible sag in my rear leafs. My OME JC1A packs were just not up to the abuse and extra weight I put my poor Xj through. The leafs were tweaked pretty bad right at the front of the perch - you could see the bend in each individual leaf even after the pack was off and seperated.

To fix it, I had planned to just shove in a main leaf with the eyes cut off from a stock pack, but when I pulled the stock main out and laid it next to my OME main, I found something interesting - the stock main is longer by about an inch! Well, since the stock main was still in great shape, I decided to use it as the new main leaf. I couldn't bring myself to cut up my OME main (I paid good money for those leafs), so I had to do something else to support the pack.

I was going to use the stock second leaf right below the OME second leaf, but after reading around it seems that a leaf in any position will contribute to the pack similary if done right. Based on that, I decided to use the stock bottom leaf, as it fits perfectly underneath the smallest OME leaf. This way it doesn't interfere with the OME spring clips, and my leaf spacing stays consistent.

In addition to the new leaves, I used my press to take the permanent bend out of the old leaves. I'm not sure this was a great idea, but I figure if I couldn't get that bend out the springs were pretty much worthless, so it is worth a shot. I guess if I break a leaf anytime soon we will know it was a bad idea...

Anyway, the resluting pack has six evenly spaced leafs, and with the MJ shackle, nets me about 3.5" of lift. based on some initial hi-lift testing, it droops further than my old pack by several inches thanks to the longer mains. I can now actually use all the down travel on my rear shocks. I dont have the interleaf liners yet, but before I am totally done I will have a full length UHMW PE tape applied to each side of the leaf that should get rid of alot of interleaf friction and keep them soft despite an extra leaf.

In order to stop the sag from showing back up, I have two things planned: lengthened bump stops and traction bar. The bump stop pads will be somewhat like the DPG ones, but with a step to lower them a bit below the top of the spring. I'm not sure about the traction bar yet, but I will cook something up before I get out in the crazy stuff again.

Intersting note, my srings had such a weird shape that I only needed about 2 degrees of shim before and will need my old 6 degree shims with the new pack. The extra height accounts for some of that, but not all. Also, I measured my front end and it only sits at about 2", so I will need to do something to push it back up (maybe some OME 934's).

My jeep didn't look very lifted because it wasn't...

Travis
 

Dirty Harry

Moderator
Staff member
I think that the "kink" in the springs might have been intentional. If you look at this page on ARB's site it mentions the "Flat Axle Seat Area". I don't know why the main leaves would be shorter though, that does not make any sense.

I've found that adding longer leaves to the pack doesn't degrade the ride quality as much as adding shorter leaves, and usually a press doesn't have much effect on spring steel, but it sounds like the combo you have might work out for you. Trial and error is the best way to go and the good part is that this didn't cost a dime either!
 

Zebaru

New member
I remember looking at my OME leafs when I first got them and being somewhat depressed that they had neither military wraps, nor flat seats...

Even so, in the last year, I looked at those springs many times, trying to convince myself that they weren't sagging, or warping, or something. What convinced me finally that the kink wasn't supposed to be there is that it was only on the front side of the pack, and pretty much inverted.

If the leaf had a flat for the axle seat, then a regular spring below it would fit on the outsides and the gap would be in the middle. In my springs the gap was up in front of the axle seat area. I was a little suprised that my press straightened the kink, but it put them back pretty much to the curve of the not kinked stockers, so that's good I guess.

I'm hoping that since the arch of the shorties matches the arch of the rest of the pack, that they will work with the pack instead of fighting it. We will see once I get it out and broken in. If they suck, then I will go back to the drawing board...

Travis
 

Dirty Harry

Moderator
Staff member
Zebaru said:
I remember looking at my OME leafs when I first got them and being somewhat depressed that they had neither military wraps, nor flat seats...

Hmm... that is surprising. The only bad thing I've heard about Old Man Emu is the lack of lift their suspension provide. I know that they recently (within the last year) came out with "Dakar" springs that are made in Asia and not in Australia, but in talking to ARB reps they told me that the labor was the only difference, not the actual specs of the springs.

How long ago did you buy them and who did you buy them from? Maybe you could warranty them.
 

Connect

New member
Well I put a AAL in mine for lift, and so far I can't notice a bumpier ride or noise. Some of my old friction pads were lost and frankly didn't work any more, so I put marine grease on their and I haven't heard any gripe from the packs yet. I did however clamp the pack real tight so I don't get a whole lot of droop, but I didn't have a whole lot of brakeline to work with so I kinda needed to keep it.

One thing I do notice, is that at the end of my AAL which is right under my main, the main is starting to buckle under the stress. I don't want to bend it back because it makes it a whole lot weaker once you start bending it :)
 

Zebaru

New member
Dirty Harry said:
Hmm... that is surprising. The only bad thing I've heard about Old Man Emu is the lack of lift their suspension provide. I know that they recently (within the last year) came out with "Dakar" springs that are made in Asia and not in Australia, but in talking to ARB reps they told me that the labor was the only difference, not the actual specs of the springs.

How long ago did you buy them and who did you buy them from? Maybe you could warranty them.

I've got no real complaints about the springs. I totally abused them by inverting them way to many times and carrying way too much crap around all the time. There is alot of talk on NAXJA about them not being up to the task of big loads and the sagging that results. I reckon if I had taken care of the problem in it's infnacy, I could have saved the pack with the OME add-a-leafs.

These are about three years old, and I got them from DPG. I guess I could look around the ARB site to see what kind of warranty they have... They ususally only cover defects though, and I don't know if my pack failure really counts. The funny thing is that everyone (even me) talks about how expensive OME stuff is, but when you pull out the catalogs and compare OME prices to other high quality products like RE, you can see that the shocks are the big ticket item, and the springs are pretty reasonable. I only paid about $420 for my OME leafs and coils...

Travis
 
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