U-Bolt Plate Help


RangerJoey

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Hi All,

I just received a set of new leaf springs, hangers, and shackles and am doing my driver's side for the first time. I also went ahead and picked up new U-Bolts. Trying to reinstall everything, I'm noticing my non-OEM leaf pack that sits on the axle block will not fit through the U-Bolt retaining plate. That same nut on the OEM leaf pack slips right through. Not sure the original size nut, but the new pack looks to be 18mm.

Should I just drill through the OEM cover plate or was I supposed to replace that when I picked up the new U-Bolts?

(U Bolts are still 1/2" x 3" Round)
 


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JamesH

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That's slightly confusing. You shouldn't drill out the spring plates, if the new ubolt don't fit then you gotta the wrong size. but I think you are talking about the centering bolt for the spring pak. That, i would say don't worry about and drill out to fit. Normally replacing the plates isn't done unless they are broken.

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RangerJoey

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Thanks for the reply man! And yes, I should've said, it's that centering bolt. To be honest, the new U-Bolts are OEM identical, (spec wise), but just doing a test fitting before installation, they seem really snug. That could also be that the retaining/cover plate is almost 20 years old.

But if there's not function to the centering bolts, to hell with them I say :D
 

JamesH

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Yeah. The top isn't a huge deal, but the u bolt holes are usually reinforced,so you don't want to mess with them,you can always replace the center bolt with a new one or try to transfer the your old one over too.

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cstarbard

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Yeah. The top isn't a huge deal, but the u bolt holes are usually reinforced,so you don't want to mess with them,you can always replace the center bolt with a new one or try to transfer the your old one over too.

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Sorry to hijack for a moment, but I was hoping you could explain how the u bolt holes are reinforced? I had never heard that before and am just curious

I'm glad you mentioned it because I have drilled some u bolt holes out on plates before :shok: Wish I had known
 

JamesH

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The metal is thicker on some, most of the Tacoma's that I do at work have a strip of extra steel run on the underside as a "backup"/ reinforcement. I'm not 100% sure on Ford, but I know the Toyota's and almost every Chevy I've crawled under there is something extra around the u bolt holes so if the rest of the players fails they bolts don't just fall off. I'll see if I can find any pics later to show you guys.

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JamesH

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cstarbard

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Thanks for the answer on that. Makes sense.

I don't know if the plates on my Ranger are reinforced like that. They look like pretty much flat stock with no extra support. I'll have to go look at a spare one in the garage

Assuming they are in fact just flat stock with no extra reinforcements unlike those nice Toyota ones, is it still a bad idea to drill the holes out? I suppose that the larger the hole the less material around the hole, i.e. weaker

Thanks again
 

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"I don't know if the plates on my Ranger are reinforced like that."

Most of the older ones I have worked on are not. (Late 80's and early 90's) They are a much simpler design. When I swapped in my 8.8" axle, I considered drilling the plates from the 7.5. but that would have been essentially elongating and enlarging the holes which would have been difficult and dangerous with a handheld drill or even a drill press. The drill bit would have wanted to catch and grab. I went to the junk yard and got plates with the holes I needed. Much easier and safer and no issue of " Did I weaken this and make it dangerous to drive on?".

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