Leaf spring question?

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Mar 14, 2011
Steamboat Springs, CO
Hello and good evening,
Also, thank you in advance for any advice!!

I purchased my 87 FJ60 just a few months ago and still learning all of it's quirks. One thing that had me scratching my head was the drivers side lean.....thanks to all the experts on the forum, I found a ton of info on an infamous Cruiser Lean. :)

But I am not convinced that my suspension is where it should be. The drivers side sits about 1 inch lower. It appears that I've got Heckthorn shocks, with anti-inversion/tri shackles...but on original springs....no other suspension mods that I can tell. The ride quality feels fine, excluding the sloppy steering and super bad alignment.

My question, if you can tell from the pic, is this a bad leaf spring? The attached picture is the drivers front. All four leaf springs appear to look the same with the drivers rear a bit uglier. I've seen lot's of threads saying to have saggy springs re-arched or replaced but can't find any pictures with examples of good vs. bad leaf springs?

Since the ride, for now, seems okay I'm not super stressed about this but I will have to be buying new tires before next winter. I am hoping to do 33x10.5 and don't want to run into problems if I've got suspension issues.

I'm slowly learning all the in's and out's and replacing small - inexpensive things here and there (more as learning/practice) but a $1000 bill for new leaf springs will have to be, without a doubt, "a need" not a "want" as the boss - wife, would say.

Thanks again!
That spring in the pic looks shot. Ubolts don't appear to be stock (too long) Nice bend on that ubolt as well. Shocks look pretty old too.

Rear spring pack should have more leaves than the front. Don't bother to re arc those just replace.

And 33's wont fit without some sort of lift


Awesome Tony, thank you very much!!!

My gut was telling me that these were no good, but I needed some expert eye's to confirm.

do the anti-inversion/tri shackles provide any amount of lift? I parked my 60 next to a friends and I'm sitting a good 1-2 inches higher than his fully stock one...(same sized tires on both)

Thanks again Tony...guess it's time to start digging through the couch cushions for an extra $1000 and reading the forum for the best replacement leaf springs! :)
60 springs are undersized. 62's hold up better. Yours look toasted. If the rides fine, live with it while you fix/upgrade other things. The cheap "fix" is to install long AAL's (add a leafs) on all four corners. $100 + sweat and you'll have a little lift + better handling + some additional life out of your OEM springs. Best approach is to replace them with OME or similar. $1000 or more is a good estimate. With a 25+ year old truck, the key is to be really objective about what you NEED to fix, and how you WANT it to be. Both are important and relevant. From your posts on this thread, sounds like you want to replace the springs, even though you don't need to. Starting point for most of us is to do a bunch of "baseline" maintance. That needs to be done. Once the truck is reliable (needs satisfied) then wants come next. Back to the suspension question - most OEM springs are shot at this point - and so for example the rear will bottom out on bumps, and it'll be especially severe with 4 people and/or gear on board. This can become a needed fix pretty quickly.
From looking at the keepers, those are not original springs. They are shot what ever they are. I would not be surprised if you have a broken leaf or two in the pack.

So it's time to repair/replace/upgrade/adapt/overcome.

Driverside lean is not critical, but the condition of the existing springs is. I agree that a complete suspension is where you need to go. The OME kit is the standard by which the others are measured, and for good reason. Especially if you want to run 33s.

Just me, but looking at your pics, don't waste time with AALs. You are past that. Leaf springs wear out. It' normal.

Edit: And looking at your way bar links, those do not look original either. You may already have a sagged replacement suspension. Kind of interesting. Any letters or numbers in white paint on the top of the spring packs?
I agree with CruiserDrew. Those springs are shot.

Replace the Springs, Spring hanger bolts, spring stationary bolt, Spring bushings and U-Bolts.

Buy the parts and components as you can afford them and when you have everything, spend a saturday with your buddies and replace everything.

You may be amazed how inexpensive the OME springs and components are from Kirt at Cruiser Outfitters.
is there no there no there no other alternative? junk yard semi custom... not AAL or OME. i used chevys on my 4runners (rear)..a bit of work but nice and heavy.
BTW those springs are shot.
So awesome, thank you everyone for your feedback and great knowledge!!

I was pretty sure these springs were toast, but wasnt sure. Thanks to your insights I will be putting the OME suspension kit a bit higher on the list of things to do.....not sure it needs to go at the top of the list, but it's up there now! I looked on the top of the spring and could not find any numbers of letters that would tell for sure if they were original, but then again, I'm still in the toddler phase of my learning.

As mentioned, I've seen lots of threads talking about sagging springs etc...but was never sure if this counted as a bad spring....now I know! :) I just checked out the kits available at Cruiser Outfitters, I think the Light/Medium 2-3" is going to be the way I go! :)

Cruiser Outfitters

Thank you again everyone, if not for you I would have just accepted things as being the normal "cuiser lean" and tried to stuff 33's in there....I am wondering if the existing springs and shackles are taller than stock...I measured all the way around my current 30x9.5 and have plenty of room in the wheel wells...that's why I was going to chance the 33's.

Thanks again and have a great weekend! - don't forget to tell your wife and/or mommy - "Happy Mothers Day!"
I would say those springs are not original. If your rig is sitting a couple of inches higher than another rig they have probably been replaced at some time.

And generally old 60 springs are close to flat when they are tired and worn out. Also the pic in the avatar looks like the wagon is riding higher than stock.

You could measure the height of the rig and if it's an inch or two taller the springs were definately replaced. Check this write up for the stock height measurement.The Wagon Way You should find a stock 60 was only about 70 in high when new.

Inversion shackles will provide some lift but very little unless they installed some goofy long ones. And you only get about half of the added length of a longer than stock shackle as lift. So your extra height is not from the shackles

My stockers are waaaaay worse than that.

Next weekend I'm having the wrenching party for my suspension install. I bought everything in stages. First I picked up the springs (heaviest and most expensive to ship) then I got shackles, pins, bushings, shocks, steering stabilizer, etc. etc. This worked out well for me because it gave me time to research parts and get exactly what I wanted. If you can't afford to do it all at once just stockpile parts until you're ready.
Excellent site. Congrats. You have been keeping it secret!

Thanks, we keep adding to it. Trying to get the word out, but still getting a good response considering we only opened it up in January. End of Hijack

No kidding, great site....thanks for sharing!!! Maybe someone will toss you some trail maps for Northwestern CO too!! I'll keep my eye out for some if you would be interested in putting them on your site?

So, I am a bit stumped....if my springs are not original, but the tri shackles are still shiny, my best guess is that the PO put on new shackles with used springs....what an A-hole....he should have known this was going to cause me grief!! LOL Anyways, that's the best idea I can come up with.

I tried measuring the height but not sure if that 70 inch baseline was to the top of the roof or rain gutter...So, I measured from the floor to the bottom lip..middle portion of the rear wheel well...35inches on the passenger side, 33 1/4 on the drivers side...this is with my, needing replaced, 30 inch tires.

As said time and time again, thank you so much for all the feedback!!

There is no way my current tires will survive another northern CO winter so that is a must have, no later than October. Since this is the case, I'm thinking that gives me 5-6 months to slowly stash away $2500 for new wheels, tires, and a 3-4" OME kit. In the meantime the Nickles 'n Dimes will go towards an alignment, ignition/electrical tune-up, valve adjustment, knuckle rebuild, and tracking down an oil leak (gonna start with the fuel pump then oil pres. sending unit, then seek professional help). When the money is especially tight I'll be sanding and prepping for paint! :)

I wish I could find one of you '60 guru's up here in Steamboat....a local expert would be so awesome!!

Thanks again!!
How far away are the Rising Sun guys? I know they are from Colorado just don't know where. There may be someone in the club into wagons. Check the clubhouse section for contact info.

Be happy to add some Colorado trails to the site. Send em to me at tony@thewagonway.com You can even have the credit for sending them just need to use a first name if you want the credit or the blame.... lol Besides when I make it to your part of the country I need to know where to wheel!

Could be the PO changed the springs and at a later date changed the shackles.

Ht of a wagon is to the top of the roof. But just for reference my lifted BJ60 measures 35.5 in the middle of my wheel well and my rigs sits on 33's. But I have to admit I run heavy all the time. My FJ62 on worn out springs measures 32. So that confirms that those springs were changed out at one time.

Keep us updated and welcome to the madness by the way. Gotta love those wagons.

Thanks again Tony!! I'm a good 3-4 hours NW of the Rising Sun (6-7 hrs in the 60)...but they look like a good resource. I am going to try and touch base...maybe there is some stuff up here that would bring them this way?

I've also tracked down a few resources for used stuff....maybe they'll have some decent springs, along with lots of other stuff I need! :)

I'm new to the area so I'll be doing plenty of exploring this year....so long as that suspension cooperates! :)

thanks again!

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