Leaf Spring Troubleshooting Guide
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Leaf Spring Troubleshooting

leaf spring installation

Leaf springs are an integral part of your vehicles suspension. Because they are made of steel, they require very little maintenance compared to other suspension components. But like anything over time, leaf springs can break and cause problems such as sagging, a rough ride and more. Below is a list of common issues that can be related to your springs. Please use this as a general troubleshooting guide and a good starting point. Your suspension has many moving parts and they should all be checked thoroughly. If your springs are bad and you want to know what caused them to fail, please check out our article on Broken Leaf Springs - What Causes Springs to Fail.

Leaf Spring Rough Ride Diagnosis


Symptom Probable Cause Remedy
Harsh ride, tires off the ground Seized spring hardware. Ability to flex is taken away from the spring because bolts/pins in the end of the spring or shackle are bound up. Replace seized hardware. Possible bushing , spring, or shackle replacement if damage has occurred. Shorten preventative maintenance intervals for greasing.
Harsh ride, tires on the ground 1. Tires over inflated. 1. Adjust the tire pressure.
2. Suspension is contacting bump stops or frame. 2. Check suspension for damaged components or weak springs. Weak springs may be flat or reversed arch where they had previously carried weight and retained their arch. Replace damaged suspension components and spring assembly as needed. Do not exceed axle load rating.
3. The vehicle is over-sprung. 3. Replace spring with an assembly with a lower weight rating.
4. Vehicle is under-sprung / overloaded. 1 4. Replace springs with an assembly with a higher weight rating. Verify suspension rated capacity before changing to a stronger spring.


Leaf Spring Troubleshooting Guide


Symptom Probable Cause Remedy
Vehicle leans to one side 1. One or more leaves broken. 1. Replace the spring assembly.
2. Weak or worn out spring assembly. 2. Replace the spring assembly.
3. Mis-matched spring replacements. Capacity or arch different from side to side. 3. Replace springs with matching set.
4. Frame Bent. 4. Check frame rails for visible damage. Refer to frame specialized repair shop.
5. Mixing old and new springs or new springs with different manufacturers. 5. Always replace springs in pairs to avoid a lean.
6. Damaged or failed shock absorbers "locked" in position. 6. Replace shock absorbers.
7. Worn suspension components ( Hangers, pins, bushings, and shackles). 7. Replace worn components.
Vehicle wanders 1. Broken spring leaf. 1. Replace the spring assembly.
2. Alignment out of specification. 2. Refer to alignment specialized repair shop.
3. Worn steering parts. 3. Replace worn parts and have front end aligned.
Vehicle bottoms out 1. Vehicle is overloaded. 1. Reduce vehicle load. Upgrade to heavy duty springs. Verify suspension rated capacity before changing to a stronger spring.
2. One or more leaves broken. 2. Replace the spring assembly.
3. Weak or fatigued spring assembly. 3. Replace the spring assembly.
4. Incorrect spring assemblies installed in vehicle. 4. Replace with correct spring assemblies rated for weight and arch.
Frequent spring breakage 1. Vehicle driven incorrectly for terrain or vehicle overloaded. 1. Reduce speed when loaded heavily on uneven terrain. Reduce weight carried by vehicle to suspension rated capacity.
2. Loose U-bolts. 2. Replace U-bolts and check torque as part of a preventative maintenance interval.
3. Broken center bolt. 3. Replace center bolt and U-bolts. Replace spring assembly if any signs of damage.
4. Worn spring and hanger bushings. Worn spring shackles/bushings. 4. Replace worn components and shorten PM interval for greasing.
5. Worn shock absorbers allowing excessive oscillation. 5. Replace shock absorbers.
Noisy spring 1. Broken center bolt or loose U-bolts allowing excessive spring movement. Clunking, snapping, and popping. 1. Replace loose or broken components. Replace spring assembly with any signs of damage.
2. Worn spring hangers. Worn or broken spring shackles allowing excessive movement. Clunking, snapping, and popping. 2. Replace worn or broken components. Replace spring assembly with any signs of damage.
3. Worn spring bushings or pins allowing spring end play. Clunking, snapping, and popping. 3. Replace worn or broken components. Replace spring assembly with any signs of damage.
4. Bent spring clips contacting spring causing squeak. 4. Bend spring clip to clear spring leaves. If spring leaves show wear or damage replace spring assembly.
5. Missing spring slip pads causing squeak. 5. Replace missing pads.
6. Excessive spring friction causing squeak. 6. Lubricate lightly between spring leaves with graphite grease.

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