Leaf spring retainer plates and u-bolts bending?

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering, Brake & Wheel Topics' started by Zedzag, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. Zedzag

    Zedzag Veteran Member

    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2002
    Location:
    Vancouver,B.C.,Canada
    I just installed my rear suspension and the leaf retainer plates bent while torquing the U-bolts to 40LB/ft. The U bolts are also bent now as a result. The U bolts were brand new. Is this common? Should I be worried? I don't want them to snap.
     
  2. Gary S

    Gary S Administrator Lifetime Gold Member

    Messages:
    23,665
    Likes Received:
    1,391
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 1999
    Location:
    Bismarck, North Dakota
    If your rubber isolator pads and your springs are thicker than the factory setup, you probably will bend the plates before they butt together like the factory setup. Make sure your pads are sitting right on the spring bolt to avoid extra thickness.
     
  3. Zedzag

    Zedzag Veteran Member

    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2002
    Location:
    Vancouver,B.C.,Canada
    I'm using poly spring isolaters. The plates are not touching right now with the U-bolts torqued up. Everything is in it's proper place as far as sitting on the springs.
     
  4. Gary S

    Gary S Administrator Lifetime Gold Member

    Messages:
    23,665
    Likes Received:
    1,391
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 1999
    Location:
    Bismarck, North Dakota
    The poly isolators are likely causing your issues. They don't compress like rubber would, so if they made them the same thickness as the original rubber, they cannot fit like the rubber ones did.
    You probably just have to live with it like this, or try rubber isolators.
     
  5. Zedzag

    Zedzag Veteran Member

    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2002
    Location:
    Vancouver,B.C.,Canada
    Yeah the darn poly looks like it's too thick. I'll probably leave it for now. I was going to make a solid isolator but I already had the poly ones and my laziness prevailed LOL. I'll get around to making the solid isolator and swap it in later.
     
  6. Nick Gifford

    Nick Gifford Veteran Member

    Messages:
    806
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Location:
    Chelmsford, England, UK
    Thing to watch here is if you are using a rear sway bar in the factory configuration; as the plate bends the sway bar bushing housing goes out of line to the sway bar end, causing it to bind up.

    Once you are happy that the pads and springs are mounted firmly, you could use spacing washers between the under side of the axle perch and the plate to ensure the bottom plate doesn't bend when torquing up.
     
  7. Zedzag

    Zedzag Veteran Member

    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2002
    Location:
    Vancouver,B.C.,Canada
    I haven't mounted a rear sway bar yet because the GW springs don't recommend one and I haven't bought one yet. I'll have to fix the situation with with the deformed reatainer plates before the rear bar goes on.
     
  8. Skaal-tel 79

    Skaal-tel 79 Veteran Member Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,417
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2004
    Location:
    CFB Petawawa, Ontario

    this is normal. those U bolts are surprisingly resilient.
     
  9. Zedzag

    Zedzag Veteran Member

    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2002
    Location:
    Vancouver,B.C.,Canada
    Good to hear.
     
  10. 1FstChevy

    1FstChevy Veteran Member

    Messages:
    1,773
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Location:
    Buckeye State
    Yup I was going to say the same thing... you should have seen my original leaf spring/shock mount plates they were almost as "U" shaped as the U-bolts themselves! :eek: Clearly though its 1/4"+ thick steel so if you somehow found a way to make it fail you're probably pulling dukes of hazzard type stunts.

    Thats how mine was from the factory; so while I wouldn't worry about it from a safety/OMG my rear end is breaking standpoint, it is and would be a more effective design to fabricate some solid spacers to go between the leaf spring plates and the axle housing. Making sure they are still thin enough to allow full compression of the leaf spring bushings & leaf springs into the housing.

    If you do a bit of searching I remember a member or 2 made some nice rectangular blocks; 2 for each side of the housing which solved the issue. Fortunately for me my new Hotchkis leafs & bushings fit just inside of everything once it was all torqued together.

    I wouldn't worry about replacing the plates themselves after having dealt with them myself. If you plan on fabricating some spacers and then installing them flat/flush with everything I'd take a shot at flipping them over then torquing the nuts just enough to flatten them out again; followed by turning them over again and final installation with the spacer block/pieces.

    Good as new. ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2009

Share This Page