I swapped my front springs yesterday. It was not a bad job, but I wish I had taller jack stands for all of this work I do on the bronco.
The ride height of the truck was (with 33s) FD: 34-1/2" FP: 34-1/4" DR: 35-7/8" PR
The ride height of the truck is now (w/33s) FD: 37-1/2" FP: 37-3/8" DR: 40-1/8" PR
I did not take a lot of pictures of the front spring swap, but I have a procedure written up:
What you'll need:
Jack (depending on how high your truck is off the ground will depend on how high of a jack you need, but you'll need to be sure it can lift the vehicle high enough to put it on jack stands and then lower enough so that you can not only remove the old springs, but also have enough room to slip the new ones in. I have a craftsman 6ton that I use)
Jack stands (These need to be able to reach the frame behind the radius arm with the vehicle lifted. The tall 3ton stands from advance auto work fine for this)
18mm wrench and socket (Lower shock mount and sway bar to T-beam mounts)
1-1/8" socket (lower coil spring retainer)
LONG extensions (You need about 16" worth of extensions here)
1/2" socket (Upper coil spring retainer)
5/8" deepwell ( sway bar to frame mount)
Whatever you need to remove your lug nuts with as well.
(first and foremost, use PB blaster or Kroil on everything before disassembling)
1-First, you need to jack up the corner of the truck under the radius arm mount on the T-beam and insert your jackstands behind the radius arm mount on the frame. My jack stands were at position 5 when I did this and I had just enough room (with 33s) to do the rest.
2- Remove the wheel, and remove the lower mounting bolt from the shock. Also disconnect your sway bar fully from the side you're working on (I removed mine completely).
3- Lower your jack until the frame is on the jack stand... then lower it some more until the spring keeps the T-beam suspended. Jack up slightly with your jack to put a little pressure on the spring.
4- Remove the upper spring retainer tab. If the parts fall, DO NOT RETREIVE THEM, just let them be until the spring is unseated.
5-Lower the jack back down until the top of the spring pops out. Now you can get your fallen parts or anything you need.
6- Insert your socket and extensions into the top of the spring and assemble so you can use a ratchet (or impact) from the top. Once the nut is out the spring is now free to be removed).
7- Installation is reverse of removal at this point. If the new spring is too tall to be installed at the height you have the truck at, just install your old spring, jack it up until your can set your stand higher, and then try again. When you go to install your spring jack up on the spring until there is some pressure on it, then your upper retainer should be easily to install. If there is not enough pressure on it the top coil of the spring will not be flat enough against the bucket to install the retainer. You will likely have to push on the spring to make it seat into the bucket as you jack it up. Be very cautious as to where your fingers are here. I torqued my lower coil retainer nut to 100lb-ft as per the manual.
I also did not install my camber cams. I figured I'll have an alignment shop tell me if I need them, and they can install them while I'm there if need be. The camber looks good at the moment, so I'm not too worried.
This is the measurement for the front shocks. This is full extension of the front suspension minus a 1/4" or so from when it binds. My fronts don't even extend this far, which bothers me.
Front spring comparison
What you'll need:
Jack and jack stands from before. Right now my bronco is sitting on the hitch frame on stands which is barely high enough to do this. I tried setting the frame on the stands to get more height but the bronco wanted to teeter on the stands if I put any pressure on the bumper. I settled for safety on this one.
Air chisel or SMALL die grinder with a grinding wheel
Angle or small die grinder with cutoff wheel
18mm socket and wrench again(shocks)
21mm socket and wrench (shackle bolts, bumper mounts)
PBblaster for all of the rusty bits
3/4" Socket and wrench for Hanger-to-frame hardware
3/8" box end wrench (Bleeder screws)
7/16" flare wrench (small brake line fittings)
5/8" Fare wrench (old brake hose)
3/4" flare wrench (new brake hose from rough country)
11/16" wrench for axle breather fitting.
I would recommend new hardware in the shackles. They are M14x130mm 9.8 . I'd HIGHLY recommend replacing them with the same size but probably not 12.9. 12.9 will snap under load (good luck trying to), 8.8 and 9.8 are more likely to bend and get you home. If you go SAE then 9/16x5" grade 8 will work just as well.
1- Go ahead and pull your shocks out. (18mm stuff needed)
2- Lift the rear via the pumpkin of the axle. Again, you'll need a beefy jack that can raise the truck but lower the axle out of the way to work and such.
3- Set the frame on your stands.
4- Lower your axle until it is suspended, and then put slight upwards pressure on it.
5- Unbolt your rear shackles from the mounts. (13/16 works)
6- raise the axle so your shackles are up and out of your way to work.
7- using your cutoff wheel cut Xs into the rivet heads of the hanger hardware. You could also cut multiple slits or whatever else will make it easier to chisel. If you have a small enough cutoff wheel you could probably buzz the heads off now, as long as you're dressed for the fireworks show.
8-Chisel of the rivet heads. You can also use your punch attachment to punch them back into the frame when you're done.
9-You will need to grab your cutoff wheel again and clip off the tips of the bumper mounts on each side to make room for your shackle hangers.
9.5- Once this is done, and you are using JBG brackets (unless they change them) you will need to drill the mounting holes to either 14mm to use your old hardware, or 9/16" if you put new bolts in (9/16" is close in SAE and will fit in your leaf spring bushings). Do this before you mount the hangers and you will save yourself a lot of work.
10- You can either drop the fuel tank here to make this easier (i didn't) or use a plethora of magnets, U-joints, and duct tape to feed the mounting hardware into the frame rails from the inside. If my fuel pump was weak I would have dropped the tank during all of this.
11- Now that your hangers are on, bolt up your leaves to the FWD-most hole and viola! Your done! Well... with that.
12- Hopefully you bought new shocks... should be self-explanatory to install those.
13- You need an extended brake line now that you've lifted the rear 4". I've hear the JBG line doesn't fit well... I used a line from Rough country and it fit right in. I'm not going to write up how to install a brake hose... but I've included wrench sizes.
14- NOW you're done. Enjoy your new ride height!