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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those of you that have OME MD or HD leaf packs and aren't overly impressed with their ride and bump compliance, have squeaks and or popping or just don't have the coin to spend upgrading to alcans, try these mods out first. I was shocked at how well these tips worked, and could be applied to a wide varity of leaf springs if need be. I should have done this sooner!

Backstory:
I can't take all the credit as Glamisdude originally had a brief post about this in a thread years back. However I think this is so important that I want to make it a how to for those that need it. My OME leaves never behaved correctly and after 70k miles were tired, dirty and worn out and frankly I was getting pissed at the harsh ride and noises. These tips reduced my noise issues, but the biggest winner is the ride was dramatically improved and at a very small cost, especially compared to new leaf packs.

Parts to get:
  • Silicone Grease with PTFE or whatever you can find for polyurethane bushings
  • OMESB99 Bushings from OME if you need a refresh. You can opt to use all of these bushings, or my preferred method is to use just the front two poleyurethane bushings and use the standard Nissan rubber bushings out back on the shackles for improved life, noise, vibration and harshness damping (NVH).
  • Nissan Rear Leaf Shackle bushings PN: 55047-EB301 from Courtesy parts or wherever
  • Simpson Strong tie plates (quantity 10 with HD pack, quantity 8 without) from Home Depot
  • Dorman 924070 Leaf Spring pads from rock auto (quantity 8)
  • PRG U bolts (quantity 4)

Procedure:
  1. Safely jack up the truck and remove the leaf springs. Alternatively, if your eyelet bushings are alright, you can disassemble the leaf springs while on the truck but it's a pain to do.


  2. Once springs are removed, remove center pins and split springs apart, making sure to keep track of the order and direction of each leaf. At this point feel free to clean the leaves up a bit with paint if yours look terrible like mine.

  3. Remove old bushings and leaf springs pads
    New pads vs old pads, old yellow OME were paper thin and useless:

  4. Prep simpson strong tie plates by drilling holes out to fit your center pins. I used 5/16" drill bit to punch through and ground away the burrs.

  5. Install doorman leaf spring pads. The dorman pads have a slightly thicker post to fit in the leaf spring holes. If you are having trouble getting them to fit, i used a utility knife to trim the diameter down a tad. It also helps to press them in using a c clamp.
  6. Begin putting the spring back together. Under each leaf (skip the overload leafs), add one of the simpson strong tie plates. The reasoning here is to limit full leaf spring metal on metal contact and allow the leaf pack to flex on the strong tie metal and leaf pads at the ends. This means the leaf springs won't grate on each other reducing friction, heat and noise. Chevy 1500's do the exact same thing and ride better than most. If you wanted to go one step further and had the time or a drill press, I would put spring pads on the HD leaf's (second two leaf springs down from the top in an HD pack, just the second leaf from the top in the MD pack) to quiet things down even further.
  7. Install the rubber Nissan bushings in the shackle end of the leaf spring. These are rubber and shouldn't require grease. This helps greatly with the squeaking. Do the truck side as well if you're inclined.

  8. On the forward end of the leaf springs, either lube with the proper polyeurethane grease or replace with OMESB99 bushings to freshen things up a bit.

  9. Reinstall in truck. Be sure to torque all bolts AFTER the truck is sitting on its wheels. Go for a drive and retorque all bolts, especially U bolts. Torque specs for reference are front eye spring bolt (84ft/lbs), rear eye to shackle bolt (77 ft/lbs), PRG ubolts (70 ft/lbs), or standard smaller Nissan ubolts (53 ft/lbs).

The result is a much more active and quiet suspension in the rear. I cannot begin to express how much better my Xterra rides. I was wondering what the deal was with the rear being so harsh and I can only assume that the leaves had zero anti friction properties even after lubing them several different times. With these cheap mods, the rear rides so much better, is much more compliant over bumps and I'm finally grinning when hitting bumps. DO IT NOW!
 

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Fantastic. (y)(y)(y)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Have you ever tried using this stuff? When I used to rebuild the leaf packs on my explorer it’s what I would use. Visited Deaver my first time to get some advise and supplies. It’s what they use on their packs during assembly. Sprayon SC0200000 $7.34 Dry Moly Lubricant, Aerosol Can, 16 Oz. | Zoro.com
I haven’t used this stuff but I’ve done grease, graphite lube and I’ve used my motorcycle chain wax lube as well. Chain wax actually seemed to work the best next to the polyurethane grease. This might be better? If others have better options please let me know!
 

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I just got a new set of OME springs (medium). Your post is very Intriguing but I'm trying to understand the physics from a non-physicist standpoint. Does the extra piece of metal between the springs just act as a layer of insulation? If the problem with noise is metal rubbing against metal, then to me it seems you could be adding more metal friction points that would eventually end up squeaking, maybe even cutting into the adjacent leaf. Again, I'm not a engineer but I'm just curious how this plays out over time. Is the smoother ride the result of the bushings being replaced or the combination of the bushings plus The Simpson Strong Ties? Is there any negative or potential risk factor to changing the original geometry of the manufacture's design? How long does this mod seem to provide positive results? Anyone able to give feedback on long term results and stability/durability of the strong-ties?


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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I just got a new set of OME springs (medium). Your post is very Intriguing but I'm trying to understand the physics from a non-physicist standpoint. Does the extra piece of metal between the springs just act as a layer of insulation? If the problem with noise is metal rubbing against metal, then to me it seems you could be adding more metal friction points that would eventually end up squeaking, maybe even cutting into the adjacent leaf. Again, I'm not a engineer but I'm just curious how this plays out over time. Is the smoother ride the result of the bushings being replaced or the combination of the bushings plus The Simpson Strong Ties? Is there any negative or potential risk factor to changing the original geometry of the manufacture's design? How long does this mod seem to provide positive results? Anyone able to give feedback on long term results and stability/durability of the strong-ties?


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The main issue with ome’s spring design is that the leaf tends to contact the one above and below after their thin leaf pads wear through (which did not take long). This causes the entire leaf to rub metal on metal instead of just at the center and end points of the leaf where the pads contact which is what it should be doing. By adding the strong tie you space the leafs apart just slightly to only allow minimal metal at the center pin and then out at the pads to contact. You aren’t really changing design or spring rate by doing this, only installing better pads and spacing at the center of the leaf to allow the springs to flex and not bind. You could opt to just do the pads and no strong tie spacing if you want to play it safe. The thicker pads will last much longer than the OME ones and I have found don’t squeak as badly.

Take a look at alcan leaves for an example. They have a large red polyurethane pad under each leaf end that allows the leaf to flex on the pad and not touch the leaf metal except in the middle where the center pin is. This is what we are trying to replicate to reduce metal on metal popping and squeaking and reduce friction in the leaf pack which makes the entire pack more “active”.
 

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Thank you! I was pretty sure the noises were coming from the springs, but it was so infrequent I thought I was losing my mind. How long did it take you to do the job? Were there any difficulties getting things back in place?
 
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