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Discussion Starter #1
The original leaf springs on my 2000 Xterra XE both cracked the other day. I ordered from new Husky leaf springs (69-257) from Rock Auto as well as new u-bolts.

When attempting to install the new leaf springs, the centre bolt on the Husky leaf springs is too long for the alignment hole under the axle. I noticed that on the original leaf springs the centre bolt does not stick out above the nut, but on the Husky ones the bolt sticks out about half and inch above the nut.

This prevents the new leaf springs from resting flush with the bottom of the axle because the alignment hole isn't deep enough for this longer bolt.

I haven't really seen this problem mentioned before. Is the solution to just take a grinder to the centre bolt on the new leaf springs and cut it down so that it's flush with the bolt? If so, is there anything special to be aware of before cutting that bolt? I was planning to just cut it while it's holding the leaf springs together. It seems like asking for trouble to try and take the leaf springs apart, cut the bolt, then thread them back together.

Thoughts?

(Note, this isn't a lift kit or anything. I'm just swapping out cracked OEM leaf springs for these Husky ones.)

2000 Xterra XE V6
Husky leaf springs: 69-257 from Rock Auto
Husky U-Bolts: USB072R from Rock Auto
Reusing existing shackles and all other bolts.
 

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The original leaf springs on my 2000 Xterra XE both cracked the other day. I ordered from new Husky leaf springs (69-257) from Rock Auto as well as new u-bolts.

When attempting to install the new leaf springs, the centre bolt on the Husky leaf springs is too long for the alignment hole under the axle. I noticed that on the original leaf springs the centre bolt does not stick out above the nut, but on the Husky ones the bolt sticks out about half and inch above the nut.

This prevents the new leaf springs from resting flush with the bottom of the axle because the alignment hole isn't deep enough for this longer bolt.

I haven't really seen this problem mentioned before. Is the solution to just take a grinder to the centre bolt on the new leaf springs and cut it down so that it's flush with the bolt? If so, is there anything special to be aware of before cutting that bolt? I was planning to just cut it while it's holding the leaf springs together. It seems like asking for trouble to try and take the leaf springs apart, cut the bolt, then thread them back together.

Thoughts?

(Note, this isn't a lift kit or anything. I'm just swapping out cracked OEM leaf springs for these Husky ones.)

2000 Xterra XE V6
Husky leaf springs: 69-257 from Rock Auto
Husky U-Bolts: USB072R from Rock Auto
Reusing existing shackles and all other bolts.
Absolutely cut the bolt while it is all assembled with the nut and springs in place.
 

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I just had to do this too. The replacement springs have the bolt flipped so the long part sticks up. On mine the nut was slightly bigger too, so i had to grind the hole in the spring pad a bit bigger.
76303
76305
 

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Discussion Starter #5
@NoFunBen Perfect, thanks for the confirmation. That's exactly the problem I have and that's about how much I expected to cut them down to.

I've got the new leaf springs and new U-Bolts with new washers and nuts. I'm reusing the shackles, front bolt+nut and shackle bolts+nuts. Any tips or advice before I go back out to finish this? When I first tried to install the new leaf spring, before I realized the bolt was too long, I had a heck of a time lining it up with the spring pad. The shackles are stiff and it was just a pain to figure out the best combination of lifting the springs and lower the axle, or vice-versa. I have to imagine there's a "trick" to do this a lot quicker.

Did you do the passenger side as well? I've read that the skid plate around the gas tank needs to be removed. Just eye-balling at the moment and that indeed looks to be the case. Any issues with that other than rusted bolts? Did you re-use the skid plate bolts or put new ones in?

Appreciate any insight you can offer. Just waiting for a dry day to head back out and tackle this again. Thanks in advance.
 

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@NoFunBen Perfect, thanks for the confirmation. That's exactly the problem I have and that's about how much I expected to cut them down to.

I've got the new leaf springs and new U-Bolts with new washers and nuts. I'm reusing the shackles, front bolt+nut and shackle bolts+nuts. Any tips or advice before I go back out to finish this? When I first tried to install the new leaf spring, before I realized the bolt was too long, I had a heck of a time lining it up with the spring pad. The shackles are stiff and it was just a pain to figure out the best combination of lifting the springs and lower the axle, or vice-versa. I have to imagine there's a "trick" to do this a lot quicker.

Did you do the passenger side as well? I've read that the skid plate around the gas tank needs to be removed. Just eye-balling at the moment and that indeed looks to be the case. Any issues with that other than rusted bolts? Did you re-use the skid plate bolts or put new ones in?

Appreciate any insight you can offer. Just waiting for a dry day to head back out and tackle this again. Thanks in advance.
I did both sides, on the gas tank skid plate I used a bottle jack to push the skid plate up just a little to get the bolt out of the spring. I had to do this twice because the first time i had the jack too close and then the jack blocked the bolt from coming out. moved the jack and tried again. I will attach a photo of this.

I used a Dremel with a little cylinder grinder wheel to make the hole bigger in the spring perch. I used a nut the same size as the one on the spring to test fit. I will add a photo of this too.

I did new springs, new shocks and new u-bolts and nuts. My u-bolts came overly bent to fit in the mounting plate so i first bent them to match. I think we got the same springs and parts.

Lining things up was not easy. I attached the front of the spring first, then the axle, then the shackles. There was lots of jacking the axle up and down with a floor jack and using a bottle jack on the spring to move it up and down till the u-bolts lined up. once the u-bolts were started they pulled the spring pin into the right place.

When I first put the nuts on the u-bolts I could not get the lock washer to fit as too little of the u-bolt was coming through the hole in the bottom plate, so I first got all the nuts on with no lock washer and then tighten the nuts and then went back and one at a time pulled each nut off and added the lock washer to it and re-tightened it.

76306

The skid plate was fine after this, I am sure hitting a rock or high centering puts it under a lot more force.
76307

Here you can see the hole after making it a bit bigger. And the skid plate is back to looking good.

Here are some photos of the new shocks.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
How much did you have to widen the hole on the spring pad under the axle? I'm at my wits end here. I cut the bolt down and that was pretty easy. But now the leaf spring still won't sit flush with the spring pad, instead it appears to be resting on the nut.

So clearly then isn't going into the hole. It's hard to tell if that's because the nut is too big or the alignment is just off. Regardless, no amount of jiggling and prying on my part will get the nut in, so it must be larger. When I loosely measure it compared to the old one they "appear" to be similar size, but I guess we're talking about fractions of an inch here.

I took a small, round, metal file into the hole but I'm not sure that did much other than remove rust. I then decided to round of the nut itself, since either the hole needs to get bigger or the nut smaller. Again, no progress.

So I guess the hole really is smaller than it appears. What did you use to enlarge it and by how much?
 

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The nut is very close to fitting in the hole. A drill would have been to long to fit under the axle with the size jack stands I was using. A file would take forever. It is a pain to make it fit but something anyone could do. I did use up or damage a few bits for the Dremel but once I got the right one it went well. That is to say the first one took a lot longer than the second one once I knew what i needed to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ok. So I enlarged the hole and the nut fits in. Now the leaf spring sits flush with the pad. Great. But the new U-Bolts cannot properly align with the shock plate holes.

The problem appears to be that the overload spring (the smallest leaf spring, closest to the ground) is slightly out of alignment with the other springs. In other words, rather than pointing "straight forward/backwards" it points out slightly. This is just enough to screw up the spacing for the U-Bolts as a fraction of an inch of one of the holes is now covered by the leaf.

I don't really see a way around this other than loosing the leaf spring bolt and realigning the four leafs. It's like the bottom one might have twisted as they were tighening it all down.

Problem is, I've now ground off the nut and bolt on that leaf spring set to get it to fit into that axle hole. Even trying to use the old u-bolts, which I know fit the shock pad, don't work.

Brute-force doesn't seem to be the solution because the brute-force would need to align a leaf spring under tension of that bolt, which seems unlikely.
 

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Ok. So I enlarged the hole and the nut fits in. Now the leaf spring sits flush with the pad. Great. But the new U-Bolts cannot properly align with the shock plate holes.

The problem appears to be that the overload spring (the smallest leaf spring, closest to the ground) is slightly out of alignment with the other springs. In other words, rather than pointing "straight forward/backwards" it points out slightly. This is just enough to screw up the spacing for the U-Bolts as a fraction of an inch of one of the holes is now covered by the leaf.

I don't really see a way around this other than loosing the leaf spring bolt and realigning the four leafs. It's like the bottom one might have twisted as they were tighening it all down.

Problem is, I've now ground off the nut and bolt on that leaf spring set to get it to fit into that axle hole. Even trying to use the old u-bolts, which I know fit the shock pad, don't work.

Brute-force doesn't seem to be the solution because the brute-force would need to align a leaf spring under tension of that bolt, which seems unlikely.
Looks like you got to the "yikes" part of your rounding off of the nut. I would be applying the persuasion of a large heavy hammer to the side of one end of the small misaligned spring leaf to put it in it's place. A small pipe clamp may be useful also in pulling it in to alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Happy to report that the driver's side leaf spring is now installed. A bench vice and a few good whacks with a hammer aligned the lower leaf spring into position without having to loosen the nut. There was still quite a lot of brute-force required to get the new u-bolts to line up with the existing holes on the pad, but finally it went together.

In the end, the bolt on the leaf spring needed to be cut down, the lowest leaf spring needed to be aligned and the hole under the axle needed to be enlarged.

The passenger side will be tackled tomorrow or the day after. Thanks to all who helped out, much appreciated.
 

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Happy to report that the driver's side leaf spring is now installed. A bench vice and a few good whacks with a hammer aligned the lower leaf spring into position without having to loosen the nut. There was still quite a lot of brute-force required to get the new u-bolts to line up with the existing holes on the pad, but finally it went together.

In the end, the bolt on the leaf spring needed to be cut down, the lowest leaf spring needed to be aligned and the hole under the axle needed to be enlarged.

The passenger side will be tackled tomorrow or the day after. Thanks to all who helped out, much appreciated.
Good job! So now that you have been there and done that...the next one should be a much better experience. Good call on using the bench vise for persuasion.
 
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