1981 CJ7 Restoration - 2019.12.28

OK - I now have a complete rear axle. The next step is to attach the leaf springs and spring plates to the axle housing, then attach it to the frame, simple enough ;-)

Complete rear axle assembly ready for leaf springs.

Leaf springs attached with U-bolts and skid plate style spring plates.

As one can see above, the spring plates are built with skid plates so that the U-bolts don't get damaged when driving over stuff. These are made by Warrior Products and are quite heavy duty, probably way overkill for driving to and from Starbuck's.

After measuring the stack height of the axle tube, spring mount, leaf springs and thickness of the top plate, I cut the U-bolts with a hacksaw so the ends would be inside the gap between the top and bottom plates. Looks like I measured correctly.

Below are a couple images of the Mountain Off Road Enterprises (M.O.R.E.) shackles. Unattached, they look massive and the side plates are 3/8" thick! I'm worried these may look silly on my little CJ7.

Heavy duty shackles from Mountain Off Road Enterprises (M.O.R.E.)

It was much easier to install the leaf springs with the axle upside down. This time I got the orientation correct, unlike with the parking brake cables. Using the engine crane, I hoisted the assembly high enough to simply flip it over and set it back on the ground.

Using the crane again, I was able to lift and lower the frame to attach the leaf springs to the shackles and main eyes. This seemed very simple in theory, but with less than perfect manufacturing tolerances of all parts involved, it took quite a bit of finagling and hammering things into place. I had to undo the passenger side spring from the axle housing to get the main eye bolt to go through, then attached the rear. In hindsight, it would've been much easier to start with the main eye end, then work on the shackles since they allow for so much more movement and adjustment.

After a lot of muscling things around, hammering and cussing, I got the springs attached to the frame.

Rear axle, leaf springs and Bilstein shocks attached!

Though it's not a rolling chassis, and I won't have that done by the end of the year, this is a huge win for me. Getting this rear axle on freed up a lot of clutter in the garage, allowing be to dismantle 2 trolleys I had built to move things around easily. It's a big step toward having a rolling chassis, at which point I can assemble more things and load up the frame.

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