LJ-10 Front Axle Rebuild


Part 1: Spring Replacement

Or: “Where’s that bigger hammer”


My LJ-10, “Wilson”, needed new front springs, shocks, and a knuckle rebuild. A perfect project for a “how-to” article, I says to myself. So here goes.


The spring replacement is first. Parts needed:

  1. Replacement springs (I used a good set from an SJ-413 Samurai)
  2. New set of spring bushings. PEP Boys auto parts sells the Energy Suspension bushings online for a good price and shipping is free. They have both OEM size and aftermarket size for ½” bolts with a choice of colors.  Part #s are: 12101 for OEM and 12102 for aftermarket.
  3. Since I was going with aftermarket bushings, I needed two ½”x 4 ½” grade 5 bolts, washers and nuts for the rear hanger and a set of aftermarket shackles.


I put the front of the vehicle securely on jack stands and removed the wheels.














And here’s the reason I needed to replace the spring.














Since I’m going to completely remove the axle in preparation for a knuckle rebuild, I next removed the tie rods. All I had to do was to remove the cotter pin, loosen the nut, and rap the steering arm sharply with a medium sized hammer a few times and it fell apart.


I then removed the brake lines and plugged them to avoid fluid loss. I made the two plugs from a couple of short pieces of steel brake line, squashed the ends and welded.


Next, I removed the shocks and u-bolts that secure the axle to the spring. The bump stops will then lift right off.


Next I supported the axle and removed the front shackles. I’ve never had a problem with removing front shackles. Just take off the 2 nuts, pull one side of the shackle off, and then slide the other side of the shackle out of the spring and the frame mount. Then let the spring front down to the floor.

I did both springs at once because I was pulling the axle completely out. Just for a spring replacement, do one side at a time.


I then pulled the axle completely out from under the vehicle.

Now you need to take the back of the spring off. I was very lucky with Wilson, I just took off the nut and the bolt slid right out with my fingers. My son, Shane was watching and he said, “Now that just ain’t right, no WAY should those come out that easy!”. He was remembering replacing the springs on "Sancho" the LJ-80, where we spent about an hour apiece getting those bolts out.


The best way that I’ve found for removing those bolts when they’re stuck bad is still not easy. Sometimes you can soak them in penetrating oil and finally punch them out with a big hammer, but sometimes you have to cut them suckers out. When you have to cut them out, I use a sawzall or a small grinder cutting wheel and cut the head off the bolt. Then I get a big hammer and a punch and beat on the end of the bolt until it actually bends the spring mounting tab on the other side enough that the bolt stub is through the hanger. Then I move it back where it was. This will leave enough room between the old rubber bushing and the spring mount to get a sawzall blade in and cut the other end of the bolt on the inside of the mount. If you don’t get yourself this much room, all you’re going to do is burn up sawzall blades against the rubber bushing. After cutting, the spring can be worked out and the mounting tab returned to normal with a few love taps from the hammer.


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