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How to: Install an Add A Leaf (W/ Pics)

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Old 03-21-2009, 10:26 PM   #1
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Post How to: Install an Add A Leaf (W/ Pics)

Alright guys, I got the rear suspension TSB in november and since then the back of my truck has been too low(IMO) because my old leaf pack had an AAL in it along with my 1" block. Thursday I went down to Wheeler's Off Road in Grants Pass, OR and picked up a new AAL from them to get the back of my truck back where I wanted it. They didnt have one that would fit my TSB pack perfectly, but that wasnt a big deal to me. They gave me a 1.5" AAL for a Tundra, and all I had to do was trim about an inch off one end and reinstall the antifriction pad for it to fit in my leaf pack.
Here is one method of how to install an AAL under your Tacoma(there are some other methods, but this is what worked well for me):

**Please note that I am not liable for any damage you cause to yourself or your truck while following my installation guide or after installation. If you aren't mechanically inclined, don't have all of the necessary tools, or just don't feel comfortable working on your suspension HAVE A PROFESSIONAL DO THE JOB INSTEAD.**

***I have recently made a few enhancements/clarifications to the writeup due to a few people having some little catches during the install: Guys, just to further elaborate: If you don't have good tools, the mechanical experience, or the time/patience to do the work, Let a professional do it! When working on a truck or anything else, there will often be some unexpected hangups; Be prepared to have some. Things almost never go together flawlessly. This job might take someone experienced an hour and a half to complete, yet others may take 4-5hrs if they are less experienced or end up with a hangup(like breaking a rusted U-bolt as I did) and this is common. Just go with it and things will work out well in the end! Good luck and peace!***

Necessary tools:

-A quality floor jack(not just a little one from autozone or Wal Mart)
-(2)jack stands or sufficient capacity
-A 1/2" ratchet drive
-A Torque wrench
-1/2" drive sockets in: 21mm (lug nuts), 17mm (lower shock mounts), 14mm deep (leaf pack centering pin), 19mm deep (this was the size of my U-bolt nuts, yours may be different)
-17mm wrench
-1/2" drive breaker bar and 'cheater bar' for extra leverage
-A large 'C-clamp', or a heavy duty 'Quick grip' if you dont have a big C-clamp.
-Pry bar
-4" angle grinder or die grinder w/ a cutoff wheel
Optional but helpful:
-A creeper
-Pneumatic, or electric impact wrench

Disassembly:
1. Park the truck on a hard and level surface, set the parking brake and block in front of and behind the front tires so the truck cant roll.
2. Jack up underneath each each side of the axle and remove the tire, once tire is off set a low jack stand under axle right behind the brake drum.

3. Remove the lower shock bolt and swing shock free of it's lower mount so the axle can droop.

4. Unbolt the U-bolts on each side of the axle and set the U-bolt plate and bump stop under the axle, or elsewhere out of the way. It may take some work to get the U-bolts off depending on their condition. Mine were dirty and rusty and required multiple coats of penetrating lube and working them back and forth a bit with more lube before they would come off. One of them even snapped, thus I had to go get new ones and will install the new U-bolts at the end.

5. Remove the bolt holding the bracket that holds brake lines to the axle on the driver's side to ensure you don't put too much strain on the lines if you happen to jack up a tad too high. Jack up under the receiver hitch until there is about 3" of clearance between the leaf pack and the spring perch. This will give clearance to install the AAL into the pack.

6. Clamp the leaf pack securely, and then loosen and remove the factory centering pin. Slowly release the clamp to loosen the tension in the leaf pack.


Installation and assembly:
7. Make sure the main leaves and plates are alligned, then clamp them back together with the clamp(dont clamp the AAL, or overload leaf with them) to give room for the AAL install. Next, put some marine grease, or other thick grease on the antifriction pads before installing the AAL into the pack. Place the new centering pin through the factory overload spring, then through the centering pin hole in the AAL. If the AAL has one end that is longer, that end should face the rear of the truck. Next, slip the centering pin up through the rest of the leaves and spin on the nut a few turns by hand. Remove the clamp, align all the leaves and tighten down the centering bolt's nut.

8. Cut off the excess threads of the centering pin with the cutoff wheel so that the bump stop will fit back over it over it. If you are also installing a small block, place it centered in the pin hole on the axle pad.

9. Ease the jack so the axle lightly contacts the leaf springs. Manipulate the axle/leaf springs so that the centering pin drops into the centering hole on the leaf perch on the axle. *Make sure it goes into the centing hole, not one of the other open spaces in the block if its one of the cast style ones.*

10. Lower the jack the rest of the way. Reinstall and torque the factory U-bolts to factory spec(I guesstimated to 75ft-lbs or so), or longer U-bolts if also installing a small block as I was.

11. Reinstall and torque the lower shock bolts. Be careful not to force the bolt back through and mess up any of the threads.

12. Jack up under each end of the axle to reinstall the tires and remove the jack stands. Torque the lug nuts to approx. 80 ft-lbs

13. Set the truck back on the ground an enjoy your new AAL!


**NOTE**
You should re-check the torque of the of the U-bolts and lug nuts after driving the truck a bit, maybe 25-50 miles. It will allow things to settle into place and possibly loosen a little thus re-torquing them is necessary.
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Old 03-22-2009, 12:24 AM   #2
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Very nice! Back end looks good up higher. I am going to toss a 1" block on my TSB spring pack to bring my back up to get the "rake" back. Did you have to install longer brake lines?

I see you went back to the shiny wheels.
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Old 03-22-2009, 06:38 AM   #3
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.
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FWIW, the FSM states U bolt torque is 35 lb-ft. Many people have been torqueing them to 85 ft-lbs. (myself included)
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Old 03-22-2009, 07:29 AM   #4
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re

Just did the same thing on my 09 yesterday, very simple and straight forward. Nice write up Chris!
.02
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Old 03-22-2009, 07:46 AM   #5
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.
chris4x4 is one of the sharper tools in the shedchris4x4 is one of the sharper tools in the shedchris4x4 is one of the sharper tools in the shedchris4x4 is one of the sharper tools in the shedchris4x4 is one of the sharper tools in the shedchris4x4 is one of the sharper tools in the shedchris4x4 is one of the sharper tools in the shedchris4x4 is one of the sharper tools in the shedchris4x4 is one of the sharper tools in the shedchris4x4 is one of the sharper tools in the shedchris4x4 is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hydrabyte View Post
Just did the same thing on my 09 yesterday, very simple and straight forward. Nice write up Chris!
.02
Eric did this write up.
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Old 03-22-2009, 09:23 AM   #7
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Pulled the trigger to quickly, normally see Chris4x4 everywhere but not the case here. Still a NICE write up Eric!
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Old 03-22-2009, 09:25 AM   #8
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.
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TO ADD:
On the driver side, where the brake lines meet the axel, remove the bolt on the brake line braket. This will prevent the brake lines from breaking is you drop the axel to far. In the pics, it looks like the OP had them pretty taught.
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Old 03-22-2009, 09:54 AM   #10
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Good Help for future add ons!
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Old 03-22-2009, 10:59 AM   #12
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Thanks for the compliments everyone.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris4x4 View Post
TO ADD:
On the driver side, where the brake lines meet the axel, remove the bolt on the brake line braket. This will prevent the brake lines from breaking is you drop the axel to far. In the pics, it looks like the OP had them pretty taught.
Yeah, that wouldn't be a bad idea too. I bent my brackets slightly to allow more slack and made sure not to drop the axle too far. In the pic they actually aren't that tight as they're pretty flexible and just look like they were taught, I just went as much as I was comfortable with while keeping some slack.
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Old 03-22-2009, 11:47 AM   #13
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Not being a wiseguy but being serious with this question.

What was the reason you got the TSB done in the first place? It seems getting the TSB done for you, then required you do do everything again that you had already done and had to buy new parts to do it.

Thanks...

I ask this because had I not read anything about the leafspring TSB, then I would not have known about this issue and since you already had a a AAL to yours, then why get it done?
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Old 03-22-2009, 01:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam1234 View Post
Not being a wiseguy but being serious with this question.

What was the reason you got the TSB done in the first place? It seems getting the TSB done for you, then required you do do everything again that you had already done and had to buy new parts to do it.

Thanks...

I ask this because had I not read anything about the leafspring TSB, then I would not have known about this issue and since you already had a a AAL to yours, then why get it done?
Well, to best answer your question, I haul large loads quite regularly. These vary from a dump trailer with a yard of 2" drain rock or a yard and a half of topsoil, to a backhoe or Bobcat loader, to a cord-cord and a half of firewood, to fun stuff like a trailer with 3 quads and another one in the bed. I regularly bottomed out my leaf springs, even with the aal in it, so when I heard about the TSB I knew it was for me. The requirement of having to add another AAL was not an issue for me. I am quite mechanically inclined and the AAL was only $70. So all it cost me was the time of getting the TSB done(one day without my truck), $70 for the AAL, and an evening of time to do the install. Well worth it when the truck is loaded down so constantly.
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Old 03-22-2009, 04:19 PM   #15
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Thanks and makes sense to me now. By the way, great pics and great write up.
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:54 AM   #17
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wow that seems incredibly easy! That just convinced me to go ahead and install my entire lift myself. Thanks for the write up. Like the way your truck looks!
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Old 03-23-2009, 11:33 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbcs1987 View Post
wow that seems incredibly easy! That just convinced me to go ahead and install my entire lift myself.
+1. I've got an AAL that I need to put on.
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:36 PM   #20
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ok so im in no way trying to be rude, because in asking out of ignorance, i was told that add a leaf is unreliable, meaning i was told the aals break easy, only asking cuz i wanna lift my truck that way i think its cool
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