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66 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Well, its time to replace my rear leaf spring bushings and air bags.

I have found the TNTC directions for removing the old bushings but haven't found anything on how to remove the hard to access rear torx eyebolts and shackles.

I've searched numerous forums and youtube but can't find a step-by-step direction for accessing/holding/removing the hardware. I have the shop manual for the big picture and torque specs but would appreciate a how-to with pics and pointers.


2,112 Posts
Front bolt is self explanatory and the rear you remove the leaf with the shackle. The nut that’s hard to get at for that bolt is held with a tab. Use a breaker bar, not an impact gun, as the gun will spin the nut that’s welded to the tab.

66 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Greetings, all!

Here is an update based on my experience changing the rear bushings on my 2007 Dodge 3500 5.9CTD 4WD dually. Sorry I don’t have any pictures but I was greatly pushed for time.

I don’t intend to claim the way I did it was the best way and would be glad to hear of any better suggestions.

170 ft lb and 110 ft lb torque wrench
24mm box wrench
24mm socket
24 mm crows foot for torque wrench
11 mm socket for a breaker bar
21 mm deep socket for U-bolt clamps
penetrating oil
emery cloth/sand paper
handful of shop towels
Stiff wire brush and break cleaner
Friend with healthy strong back and shoulders
Ability to support truck on frame and simultaneously support weight of rear axle while the spring pack is removed.
BFH and ½ inch chisel
Pry bar
12 inch and four inch long punches
8 inch C-Clamp and couple clean wood scraps at least 2 inches square
Whatever you need for the method you’ve chosen to remove the old bushings.

For a day or two in advance, I cleaned off the threads of the rear spring eye bolts, shackle bolts and the four U-clamps that held the spring pack to the axle. I lubricated the clean threads a couple of times with penetrating oil. If your U-bolts are particularly rusted up then have replacement U-bolts and nuts available.

I completed the driver side first before starting on the passenger side. This was a good thing because after I removed the shackle from the spring, I forgot which way to orient the shackle to reattach it but was able to look at the passenger side as a reference. Although I didn’t remove the driver side tires, it would have been easier if I had removed them.

Raise and support the truck by the frame.
Also, in addition to supporting the truck by the frame, you’ll need to support the rear axle just enough to keep it from dropping when you remove the spring pack. If you raise the axle too much (in relation to the truck frame) you will decrease the clearance you’ll need to wiggle-waggle the spring s clear of the truck.

Remove the U-bolts.
If you don’t have an impact wrench for this then you’ll definitely need to remove the tires to have clearance to swing a wrench. Once the U-bolts are removed, you can also remove the flat bracket that sits on top of the spring pack and helps hold the U-bolts in position.

Remove the front spring eyebolt nut, loosen the rear spring eyebolt nut, and remove the shackle bolt.
The spring pack eyebolts have a torx head that is about impossible to get a wrench on. The tip of the threaded end of the bolt is an 11mm hex shape. To remove the eyebolts, place a 24mm box wrench on the nut then position the 11mm socket on a breaker bar onto the hex sided tip of the eyebolt. As the bolt spins with your attempt to loosen it, let the breaker bar rest against the truck frame to hold the bolt still while you continue to rotate the nut off the bolt. You may need to use a second wrench to extend the length of the 24mm wrench to break the nut loose. If you have the 24mm crows foot, you could use it on a second breaker bar to remove the nut but be careful not to strip it.

You can use the same method to loosen the rear spring pack eyebolt.

The shackle bolt nut is on a tang that keeps it from spinning in relation to the shackle bolt. All you need to do to remove the bolt is turn it with a wrench. The shackle nut will fall off once the shackle bolt is backed off. The shackle bolt may be so tight within the shackle that you’ll need to unscrew it completely from the shackle. If you can get a pry bar up in there you may be able to take some of the pressure off the bolt and pull it out. Notice evildiesel’s post #2 above “…Use a breaker bar, not an impact gun, as the gun will spin the nut that’s welded to the tab.”

Remove the front spring eyebolt.
I couldn’t get a head-on swing with a punch but was able to use a skinny 16-18 inch long punch to get it started. I then switched to a shorter punch that was attached perpendicular to a long handle…I was able to hit the handle with a hammer to drive the punch. It helped to have a pry bar and second person to move the front spring eye as needed to take some of the pressure off the eyebolt as I cussed and fussed and knocked it out.

Remove the spring pack from the axle.
Now that the U-bolts, front spring eyebolt and shackle eyebolt are removed you can get some muscle and remove the springs. This was a combination of seesawing the springs on the axle, folding the shackle forward onto the springs, lifting the springs to separate the nubs under the springpack from their holes on the top of the axle, twisting the axle, more cussin n fussin, and wrenching my bad shoulder.

CAUTION: The spring pack is VERY heavy so be careful of the brake slide pins, break hose, break lines, emergency break cable and rear differential vent tube! Take it s-l-o-w when getting the springs out. I can’t imagine doing this by myself and not damaging something important. The passenger side is especially challenging due to the tailpipe and I had two other folks helping me on that side.

Remove the old bushings.
Lots of YouTube and forum guidance on this. Choices include burning out the rubber, drilling holes thru the rubber to facilitate knocking it out with an air hammer, or pressing it out in total or in parts. Study them all and decide what is best for you and your resources. I was lucky and had access to a shop press. If you try to crank them out with a ball joint press or bearing puller, remember to lube the threads with anti-seize to help with the process.

The outer metal sleeve in the OEM bushing has a flat rim on one spring eye opening and a flared rim on the other side of the spring eye opining.

BIG TIP TO SAVE FRUSTRATION, Take your time with the ½ inch chisel and carefully knock the flared lip side of the outer sleeve completely away from the ID of the spring eye. The outer edge of the spring eye is not flat, but rounded so be sure you knock the flared lip within the ID of the spring eye.

Clean up your working surfaces.
Use emery cloth to clean up the inside of the spring eyes and the shackle eye of rust, rubber, whatever.

Use emery cloth, wire brush, whatever to clean up the truck frame hangers and shackle areas where the new bushings will make contact.

Use wire brush or a wire wheel to clean up spring pack contact points for axle, axle contact point for spring pack, U-bolts, U-bolt plate, flat surfaces of nuts.

Install new bushings per instructions.
I used the Energy Suspension 5.2118G Leaf Spring Bushing Set Sold by: MotorSport Supply on Amazon. They are made so two half bushings are used at each eye. They have a center metal sleeve for each eye bolt. Unlike the OEM bushings, they do not use an outer sleeve. They come with plenty of grease and clear brief instructions. Although I could push by hand a half bushing into each eye, I could not push the second bushing half into any eye. The second half bushing always bounced back out. The center metal sleeve for each eye bolt also would lift itself out of the bushings. For the second half bushing as well as the center metal sleeve, I had to use an 8 inch C-clamp to push them in. I used a couple of clean lumber scraps to protect the bushings as I used the C-clamp. A second pair of hands really helps when pressing the center metal sleeve because it and the ID of the bushings have to be lightly coated with grease and the C-clamp kept moving off center of the metal sleeve.

TIP #1: Assemble the shackle onto the rear spring eye but leave it free to pivot. Start with it folded forward against the spring. Once you get the spring onto the axle, you’ll need to pivot the shackle back up toward its bracket. Due to little clearance within the truck frame shackle hanger, you’ll want to have the shackle raised straight up toward its hanger when you lift the rear of the axle. You can’t hardly swing the shackle into its hanger but you can lift it up into the hanger.

TIP #2: Do not try to install the shackle and spring separately. There is not enough clearance for you to install the rear spring eyebolt due to the truck frame. If you try to reverse the rear spring eyebolt you may very well tear up the tip of the eyebolt with the truck frame when you lower the truck back to the ground and the spring moves back up into position.

Install the springs back onto the truck.
Again, I suggest you get some help. Remember to take it s-l-o-w. Watch for lines, hoses and brakes. The passenger side was especially difficult due to the tail pipe. I also created an additional problem on the passenger side by unknowingly raising the axle too high with the jack stand. Once we figured out we could lower the jack stand on the passenger side of the axle and still have it supported, we created enough room to finagle it where we wanted it.

Once the spring pack is in place you can snug up the U-bolts with their top plate, and snug up the front spring eyebolt and shackle bolt. Per Dodge for all except SRT10 standard cab, once the truck is back on the ground and under weight you’ll torque the U-bolts (110 ft lbs) and all six eyebolts ( 120 ft lbs for LD and 170 ft lbs for HD).

Again, you’ll probably need a pry bar to coax the bushing into place. I found they were much, much tighter going back into the brackets. As mentioned earlier, I found it easiest to get the shackle bushing into place by pushing it straight up into the bracket as the shackle hanger was too tight a fit to swing the shackle into place.

Especially challenging was the ridiculously tight spaced, itty bitty opening for the shackle nut. This is the one on a tang to keep it from spinning while you tighten the shackle bolt. Looking up toward the shackle hanger from the underside of the truck, you’ll see the cavity for the nut has a very narrow slot opening on the bottom and on the forward and rearward sides of the cavity. I screwed the bolt thru the bushing with a 24mm socket and ratchet enough to see four or five threads. Holding the tip of the bolt tang, I slid it into the cavity from the narrow slot on the forward side and used a 24mm open wrench thru the narrow slot on the bottom to push the nut against the tip of the bolt. At that point I was able to get the nut threaded by ratcheting the bolt.

Prepare to lower the vehicle.
Double check all lines, hoses, tail pipe connections, whatever you removed or moved out of your way to facilitate removing and reinstalling the springs.

Lower truck and torque everything back to specs.

Hope this helps!

2,902 Posts
excellent write-up. this would help someone A LOT who's looking at doing anything that requires removing or detaching the leaf packs. traction bar installation, bushings replacement, reverse leveling, etc.

should make this a post in the tech section!
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