Leaf springs are a crucial component of your travel trailer. They provide the necessary cushioning against bumps and vibrations, ensuring a smooth and stable ride. However, it’s important to understand that not all leaf springs are created equal. Different trailers require specific types and sizes of leaf springs for optimal performance.
Replacing leaf springs is a task that should not be taken lightly. It requires careful measurement and selection of the right replacement parts. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of replacing leaf springs on your trailer, step by step.
When to Replace Trailer Leaf Springs
Over time, leaf springs can deteriorate due to various factors such as weather, aging, and weight overload. It is important to inspect your trailer’s leaf springs regularly to ensure they are still in good condition. We recommend inspecting them at least once every 12,000 miles or whenever you notice any of the following signs:
- Uneven riding
During your inspection, pay close attention to the condition of the springs. Look for cracks near the mounting plates and examine all sides of the springs for corrosion and rust. Additionally, assess any gaps between the leaves, as this indicates wear and overload. To extend the lifespan of your leaf springs, make sure to wipe them clean and dry regularly, and lubricate them as needed.
How to Measure Trailer Leaf Springs
In order to find the right replacement leaf springs for your trailer, accurate measurement is crucial. Follow these steps to measure your leaf springs:
- Jack up your trailer: Use a jack to lift your trailer high enough so that the axle is hanging freely. This will allow you to remove and replace the leaf springs without any obstruction. Make sure not to place the jack on the suspension.
- Remove the spring: To measure a leaf spring accurately, it is best to remove it without any load-bearing. Take out one spring at a time, ensuring that the other spring keeps the suspension in place. You may need special tools to remove damaged nuts, bolts, and mounts.
- Measure the length: Use a standard tape measure to measure the length of the spring. Start from the center of one eye and measure to the center of the eye on the opposite end.
- Measure the width: Measure the width of the spring by placing a tape measure from the bottom of the bottom leaf to the top of the top leaf.
- Take A and B measurements: Measure the length between the center point and each eye. The A measurement is the length between the center point and the eye on the right side, while the B measurement is on the left.
- Measure the arch: Flip the spring upside down and use a standard tape measure to measure from the floor or table to the first leaf. This will give you an idea of the spring’s arch, which changes over time.
How to Choose Replacement Trailer Springs
Choosing the right replacement springs for your trailer is crucial for optimal performance and safety. Here are some factors to consider:
Check the capacity rating of your trailer’s axle. This information is usually listed on a sticker or plate, but you can also refer to your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website.
Number of Leaves
Count the number of leaves on your existing springs. This will help determine the level of support provided by the springs. Remember that too many leaves can make the suspension too rigid, while too few leaves may not provide enough support.
Spring Size and Type
Identify the type of leaf springs you are working with. Common types include double eye springs, slipper springs with open or radius ends, and slipper springs with hook or flat ends. It is also important to check if your springs require replacement bushings or if they are still in good condition.
Tools You Will Need
Before you begin the replacement process, make sure you have the necessary tools on hand. The tools required may vary depending on the condition of your old springs and the specific replacement procedure. Here are some common tools you might need:
- New U-Bolts
- Torque wrench
- Extendable ratchet
- Breaker bar or pry bar
- Jack and jack stand
- Grinder or wire wheel
- Standard tape measure
- Soft tape measure
- Wheel blocks for front wheels
- Twist sockets
- New bolts and nuts
- Rust penetrant and sealant
- Thread locker
- Safety glasses
- Safety gloves
- Dust mask
Always wear personal protective gear, especially when dealing with rust and dirt during the replacement process.
Tips for Replacing Leaf Springs
Replacing your leaf springs doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Here are some tips to help you through the process:
- Always install new U-bolts and fasteners, but you can reuse the mounting plate if it’s still in good condition.
- Use a torque wrench to tighten the U-bolts and refer to the manufacturer’s specifications for specific torque measurements.
- Keep a pry bar on hand to assist with the removal of challenging bolts.
- Before you install the new springs, treat the underside of your trailer with rust removal and apply an anti-rust coating to protect against future damage. Allow 24 hours for the coating to dry before continuing with the spring replacement.
- Consider using thread locker adhesive to help keep the new bolts securely in place.
Shop Replacement Leaf Springs at Ames Farm Center
At Ames Farm Center, we specialize in providing durable and high-quality leaf springs and accessories for truck and trailer owners. With our wide range of leaf springs compatible with major vehicle manufacturers, you can find the perfect replacement for your trailer. We also offer U-bolts and fasteners to ensure a secure installation.
To learn more about measuring and choosing the right leaf spring for your vehicle, contact us today. Shop replacement leaf springs from Ames Farm Center and take advantage of our one-year warranty program on all new leaf springs.