This upgrade started out as trying to solve the problem of bottoming out the rear suspension every time I went over the slightest bump. It was really starting to get annoying, especially on the mild speed bumps in my neighborhood.
While shopping for replacement rear leaf springs, I found the PRG website and their suspension products for the Xterra. It turned out they had an add-a-leaf (“AAL”) that would give about 2″ of lift as well. Coupled with the 2″ lift hockey pucks in the front, I could easily kill two birds with one stone and fix the rear bottom out problem in addition to picking up some suspension lift.
At first, I was a little concerned since I had never really done much suspension work on my vehicles before. The reality is it is purely a nuts and bolts job. Drop the old parts, insert the new ones. No big deal as long as the right precautions are taken.
- I started with the rear springs. First step was to jack up the truck and get jack stands on both sides under the frame.
- The rear axle is going to need support when it is unbolted from the springs, so two bottle jacks were used to support it.
- A couple of nice big “C” clamps hold the existing springs in place.
- The bottom plate is removed along with the bottom leaf of the pack. It will be discarded. The new leaf is put in its place. Note the new curvature is more aggressive – that’s going to add the lift. Also note this shim on top of the springs. This is used to rotate the diff slightly to keep the driveshaft more in line and to prevent vibrations that occur in some vehicles.
- With new hardware in place to hold the springs in alignment, two more “C” clamps are used to compress the new leaf against the existing ones and force them into the new curve shape.
- Once everything is compressed tightly together, the new nut is put on to hold things together.
- The axle is bolted back to the springs and everything is tightened down. Once the wheels are back on, the new height was obvious.
- The front hockey pucks were even easier to put in. The kit came with all new hardware and new bump stops. I also ordered the new cam bolts for the alignment.
- Initial height from ground to the bottom of the fender is about 34 3/8″
- The front sway bar is disconnected first.
- The A-arm is unbolted and broken free with a hammer. I used a strap to support it temporarily.
- The shock and coilover assembly is unbolted and removed. The hockey puck is then added to the assembly.
- Replace the bump stop.
- Reassemble in reverse order.
- New measurement is about + 2″.