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Old 01-06-2019, 01:01 PM   #1
BIG BLOCK JIMMY
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new front leaf springs sitting crooked

I can't find a post for this referring to new springs and not a lowered truck. I had all new skyjacker 4" lift springs installed on my 1972 Jimmy 4x4. After the install I found the ORD heavy duty shackles and attempted to install yesterday. I did not loosen any bolts other than the rear shackle bolts after I relieve the tension on the springs.
Everything appears to be correct/centered and I measured the frame, axle and everything I could think of to see if something was bent. I also played around with the jack stands and floor jack to see if it was just the way I had it lifted.
The greaseable bolts are too SHORT too, but that's another story.
Any help would be greatly appreciated
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Old 01-06-2019, 02:30 PM   #2
BIG BLOCK JIMMY
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

I sit corrected on everything being straight. The drivers side of the front axle is approximately 1.5" further forward than the passenger side of the axle. It has been quite interested trying to keep it in one lane since I bought it, which might explain some things.
Everything frame wise is original and in great shape. no signs of repairs or mods.
I'm embarrassed to ask this, but..... Is it just that bad out of alignment?!
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:30 PM   #3
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

Could 1 of the springs be in backwards? Measure from the spring eye to the center bolt on both sides.
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Old 01-06-2019, 07:10 PM   #4
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

Thank you for your response!
I just checked that again and they are correct. The cause of it is the front axle assembly is further forward on the driver's side than the passenger side. The only thing I can think of is the frame is bent....I don't even want to think that, let alone type it!
All other measurements appear correct. So other than the horrible thought above, what would cause the axle to be out of square?
I know it's out of alignment, because of the way it drives, but I have a header situation to figure out before I can drive it again and take it to get checked out. I don't think that could/would cause this, but I'm grasping at anything.
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:52 AM   #5
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

If there's 1" difference...I would think that it would be very obvious that the frame was bent....and easy to see that amount.....that's a huge difference.
But since you've measured the springs to be sure one is not installed backwards....that doesn't leave much else to cause the issue.
It also seems to me that if the frame is bent that much...the front end sheetmetal would be all out of whack?
Sorry..I can't offer more possibilities or advice, except to figure out what's going on before you put it back on the road...
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Old 01-07-2019, 11:32 AM   #6
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

Just want to say what has already been said. Measure both left and right leafspring from the front eyelet to the center bolt. Then both again from the rear eyelet to the center pin.

If they check the same side to side, then it is time to worry
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:57 PM   #7
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

let's back up a bit...

1: who installed the lift springs and when?

2: at this point am i understanding that you are ONLY installing the new rear shackles?

3: how did it sit with the old shackles? AND are you able to reinstall them as a test?
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:03 PM   #8
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

Another thought:

In your first picture showing the shackle mis-alignment: how are you supporting the vehicle?

It's my guess that you have the suspension flexed somehow, especially since you still have the axle connected to the leaf springs and it appears the tires are on the ground.

Raise the truck evenly on both sides, OR it might be required to jack up under the axle on the side that is mis-aligned to match the angle.

OR Another way to do it (and maybe more work but it make more sense in my mind) would be to remove your axle from the frame (frame suspended with jack stands) and then you are only wrestling with the leaf spring and shackle itself. Get the leaf set up, then re-install the axle.
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:11 PM   #9
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

The springs being backward shouldn't be possible since the rear spring bolts are 7/16" and the front spring bolts are 9/16" is it possible that the center pin bolt is broke or just not in the hole in the spring perch in the axle housing?
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:49 PM   #10
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

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The springs being backward shouldn't be possible since the rear spring bolts are 7/16" and the front spring bolts are 9/16" is it possible that the center pin bolt is broke or just not in the hole in the spring perch in the axle housing?
Bing, bing, bing....This seems like the best bet so far

ALTHOUGH, the way it is supported, may have something to do with it, all speculation on my part
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:36 PM   #11
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

i'm willing to bet nothings broken and you are having trouble lining things up due to the way you are jacking up the frame.

if it was fine before you tried to change the shackle why would it now be way out of whack?

But if you do remove the axle from the vehicle the check the pins, you should easily get the shackle bolted up then slide the axle back in and lower her home.
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Old 01-07-2019, 06:59 PM   #12
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

Thank you all for responding. Here's the back story:
I bought the truck from a classic car dealer whom fixed/ added newer parts to include a steering rebuild kit, i.e. tie rods, ball joints and all that good stuff. I'm 99.93% sure they did not do any type of alignment.
The leaf springs were old and I do not believe they messed with them. The steering has been horrible since I bought it. I installed a new gear box and swapped out the rag joints for u-joints and pretty stuff. Steering still horrible.
I knew all the bushings were shot, so I ordered a new 4" lift kit from skyjacker along with a truck load of other parts (monster trans and T's transfer case) and had a "custom shop" install all of it.
They did catch that someone previously installed the rear blocks backwards and they mentioned that the front axle is as I stated ~1.5" out of square. By that point they had my Jimmy for over a MONTH and I just wanted it back!
As I laid under the jimmy attempting to figure out how I was going to make the FOURTH set of headers work (whole other nightmare) because the passenger side tubes were hitting the rear of the front passenger side shackle bolt....hence the new ORD shackle and so on.
The original shackles were old as grease and tired. I could force the springs to appear almost straight, but the axle obviously isn't going anywhere.
I measured the frame over and over, all the body panels are lined up, very little rust to hide anything and it all looks original. No signs of previous damage.
I placed a jack stand ~4" behind the rear shackle which held the front tire 3" off the floor, then put my floor jack just on the inside of the shock mount and slowly raised it until the pressure was off of the rear shackle. I played around with several different lift points to see if I screwed up the jacking procedure, but it wasn't moving where I wanted it to.
I guess I need to remove the entire spring for further investigation.
Sorry for the long post, I tried to make it short
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Old 01-07-2019, 07:02 PM   #13
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

You say the steering is terrible - can you elaborate on the symptoms?

Also how does it track while driving straight?
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Old 01-07-2019, 07:08 PM   #14
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

Yes, I put the old shackle and bolts back in the new bushings just to get the truck off the jack.
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Old 01-07-2019, 07:13 PM   #15
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

On the interstate it drove pretty good steering wise.
On any kind of winding road anyone with me I believe may have wet their shorts. It felt like the chassis wanted to walk out from under me. I found other's with that issue on here and I hoped it was just really bad out of alignment.
BUT, the axle needs to be correct before I bother with that.
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:13 PM   #16
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

Plenty of good advise here, my basic question, 105" wheelbase for Jimmy's and Blazers, should be identical measurements side to side, center axle to center axle....Just a thought.
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:41 PM   #17
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

A front end alignment would not correct the axle being 1 1/2" forward or backward on one side or the other if I'm not mistaken it would only change caster & camber as well as toe in or out the axle is mounted to the springs and both should measure the same from front mount spring bolt to center pin bolt if both measure the same only thing causing A 1 1/2" difference is frame out of rack and that much out would show up on body mounts core support mounts.
Or when they put the new springs on they didn't align the center pin up in the axle on one side. Changing rear shackles would not set the axle forward or backward as the front spring hanger is stationary on the frame and both springs are the same as where the center pin is located on both springs
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:36 PM   #18
BIG BLOCK JIMMY
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

Yes Sir, I agree with you. I'm thinking that my previous steering issue is because of the alignment and the axle issue is because of the recent leaf spring installment. I don't know when I will have the time to remove the leaf spring, but that's where I will commence the investigation.
Thank you all again for your time and thoughts.
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Old 01-08-2019, 12:31 PM   #19
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

On my front end the passenger side shackle mount is crooked. When I replaced the springs/axle on the front I found this out, your picture of the shackle brought back vivid memories. I ended up just loosening everything to allow me to get the bolt through the shackle mount and then allowed the bushing to deform when I tightened, so my axle is strait-ish. Although not explaining why or how your front end is wonky this was my fix. Perhaps the custom shop did not install correctly and has your front bound up forcing the left out of line? I would jack it up, loosen all front axle bolts and see how she sits, m2c.
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Old 01-08-2019, 06:55 PM   #20
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

As unlikely as it may be for a front axle, check to see if you have spun an axle tube in the center section. This will result in the two front spring perches not being on the same plane, or parallel with each other. I have had this occur on a rear axle and it causes the same symptoms. Just a thought.
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:51 AM   #21
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

Grab a tape and measure from the front of the rear rim to the same on the front. Do both sides and compare. Find a similar hole in the frame on both sides and measure to the axle tube as far outside as you can both front and rear axles.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:51 PM   #22
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

Well I'm confident that the frame is straight. I pulled a spec sheet that has chassis diamentions and she's right on. The axle tube appears to be correct as well. I work 7 days a week so time is limited, but I will figure it out and will let you all know what the culprit was. It just seems that it would be very obvious to see....
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Old 01-11-2019, 09:15 PM   #23
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

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Originally Posted by BIG BLOCK JIMMY View Post
Well I'm confident that the frame is straight. I pulled a spec sheet that has chassis diamentions and she's right on. The axle tube appears to be correct as well. I work 7 days a week so time is limited, but I will figure it out and will let you all know what the culprit was. It just seems that it would be very obvious to see....
Good to hear the frame is straight....if it was me,at this point, I would just loosen everything...drop the axle off the springs and hang the springs first....then bring the axle up to them....making sure that nothing was in a bind...
Anyway best of luck with it...!
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Old 01-12-2019, 02:02 AM   #24
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

What about the spring mount on the differential tube? Maybe someone moved it outboard a bit?
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Old 01-13-2019, 09:47 PM   #25
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Re: new front leaf springs sitting crooked

For all my friends on here that have taken the time to respond to this post, I would like to give you a good laugh.
The axle is still not right, but on a lesser note in regards to the picture showing the grossly misaligned shackles.....well, after actually reading the instructions I observed that I used both sets of the lower bushings on the same side. After removing everything and installing them correctly, all was well. The springs were off center a little but nowhere near what the picture showed. The passenger side was complete in 30min from start to finish. I was happily embarrassed that I was an idiot.
I wasn't going to volunteer my dumbassery to the wife, but she keep asking too many questions as to how I was able to get them on, until I caved and fessed up.

Again...the axle is still not in the correct alignment, so for now that's still a mystery and I won't be able to investigate further for a few weeks now.
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