The installation was really very straight forward, being a true bolt-in swap. The only fabrication consisted of making new hard brake lines for the housing; the rest of the project was done with wrenches. The process is simple enough that just following the photos will show you how easy the swap really is, but always remember the safety side of things when you are working under a car. Axle housings are heavy so if you are working on a lift remember to put safety supports under the front bumper, and if you are working on jackstands be certain the vehicle cannot move after removing that rear weight. Use proper jacks and supports to raise and lower the housing and be certain the springs are completely unloaded before removing the shackles.
Since removing the rear housing involves dropping both leaf springs now would be the perfect time to replace both the front spring-eye bushing and the rear shackle bushings. We used a set of urethane bushings, U-bolts, and lowering blocks sourced from Performance Online. Our new adjustable gas shocks are also from Performance Online and will go a long way to controlling those springs. These changes along with the additional grip offered by the limited-slip differential helped us reap substantial performance gains.
A quick test-run through our slalom course bears that out. Our times dropped dramatically. On our 420-foot, seven-cone slalom our times dropped from 7.53 seconds to 6.51 and our average speed increased from 38.3 to 44.2 mph. Pretty impressive results when you consider there was no fabrication involved, just simple bolt-on goodies.
And so, as it may be time for you to consider a similar third member swap, follow along and you can see this is a simple and rewarding weekend job. We’ll give you time to get that done, then next issue we’ll show you a very cool front suspension upgrade.