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Changing U-bolts PITA


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Simple, right? NOT!

 

Background: I bought a fine new set of 7/16" u-bolts from Tom of Hellcreek because I had re-used my old 1/2" u-bolts when the D44 went in. Wasn't comfortable with that even though they were fairly new. Crawled under, removed one old u-bolt from the outboard left side, slid the new one in, torqued it down, and proceeded to the inboard bolt. Loosened it up, and Wham; the leaf spring plate slid outboard about 3/8" and could not get the new one in as the plate holes were out of line. Jacked it up, removed the wheel, and managed to "re-position" it correctly w. a BFH and clever jack manipulation. Torqued it down and all's well. But a major PITA.

 

I don't want this to happen on the other side. If I jack it up under the spring plate to take the weight off I won't be able to remove the old u-bolts 'cause the jack will be in the way. C-clamps? Any tricks?

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Something seems off. You should be able to pull 1 U-bolt at a time with weight taken off the axle. Try putting the entire rear up off the ground on jackstands. You don't need to be high, just an inch off the ground will give you the room to unbolt 1 at a time. Remember to use U-bolt nuts (taller). Also make sure you have the jack stands secure. comanche.gif

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I don't think jacking the axle up will help, unless I jack it up under the lower spring plate (SUA) to keep it from sliding when one u-bolt is removed. I really don't understand how it moved because the other u-bolt was tight. I've done it before. :dunno: I think the bottle jack under the spring plate as Mudtruck87 mentioned along with c-clamps if I can squeeze them in should work.

 

Remember to use U-bolt nuts (taller). comanche.gif

 

I always use Hi-nuts on u-bolts mate. :thumbsup:

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:agree: Also instead of removing one U bolt and leaving the other tight, try this. Loosen all 4 nuts equally. When the both Ubolts are hanging free replace one, then the other. Don't tighten one bolt up until you've replaced both. Then tighten all 4 nuts equally.

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Occasionally the plate on a floor jack gets in the way. I took a dumbbell, the small 10lb one and cut the weight off one end. Place the remaining weight in the jack pad with the rod pointing up. You can pick up 8-12 inches of working room doing this. Don't have a dumbell? Weld a piece of pipe to a steel plate. This is not a secure arrangement. Can have a tendency to slip, so make sure the Jeep is secured.

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:agree: Also instead of removing one U bolt and leaving the other tight, try this. Loosen all 4 nuts equally. When the both Ubolts are hanging free replace one, then the other. Don't tighten one bolt up until you've replaced both. Then tighten all 4 nuts equally.

 

Now that makes sense Jim. :cheers:

 

Occasionally the plate on a floor jack gets in the way. I took a dumbbell, the small 10lb one and cut the weight off one end. Place the remaining weight in the jack pad with the rod pointing up. You can pick up 8-12 inches of working room doing this. Don't have a dumbell? Weld a piece of pipe to a steel plate. This is not a secure arrangement. Can have a tendency to slip, so make sure the Jeep is secured.

 

I'll use the olde bottle jack w. a big 2" socket between it and the spring plate so the leaf spring center bolt can pass through it. Just enough pressure to hold the plate from slipping.

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I don't want this to happen on the other side. If I jack it up under the spring plate to take the weight off I won't be able to remove the old u-bolts 'cause the jack will be in the way. C-clamps? Any tricks?

Bottle jack.

 

Position the jack directly under the spring plate and you should have access to all four nuts, allowing you to loosen both u-bolts uniformly.

 

Otherwise, jack it up as high as possible and put jack stands under the frame, then release the jack. The weight of the axle will be supported on the spring and you can release both u-bolts evenly.

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jack up.

 

remove rear wheels.

 

place jack stands under rear uniframe rails, just in front of front leaf spring mounts.

 

lower, letting axle droop

 

remove u-bolts (all of them)

 

replace u-bolts (all of them)

 

torque u-bolts down.

 

 

u-bolt torquing should be done kiddy corner to kiddy corner on each side. i.e. do driver's front outer u-bolt front down to "tight" then driver's rear inner down to "tight", then driver's rear outer, then passenger front inner. continue this sequence until the u-bolt is tight, THEN torque using the same sequence.

 

then move onto the passenger side, repeating the sequence.

 

 

 

you will need 5 ton jack stands, or a tall jack stand of some sort. do not use cinder blocks.

 

 

you will also need a jack stand under the pinion to keep it from tilting down.

 

 

 

I use this for SOA and SUA, and have never had an issue. i've asked several reputable mechanics how they do it, and this is how they do it...my grandfather and my father have also done it this way every time they've needed to.

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