1 Plastic sliders are often used between leafs in the pack to reduce the friction associated between them and alleviate some noise. Not all leafs have them, and they are not always the same. This one had enough of our shenanigans and was jumping ship.
2 A few different styles of leaf retaining plates can be seen. Higher end packs (like our Rubicon Express units here) use this U-bolt design to keep the leaves aligned. Strap styles work as well but do not allow freedom of movement and are seldom reusable. The disturbing portion of this picture is the bare metal showing. This means a few of our leaves have been trying to escape along with the sliders. This is not a “fix it later” find.
3 With the rig securely on jack stands and the suspension at full droop, the old U-bolts need to be removed. Try unbolting them, but this is usually a futile attempt. We managed to unbolt one side; the other required a more forceful tactic.
4 If you have to cut the U-bolts, make sure the differential is held in location and you are well protected as you cut the U-bolt in the centre of its arc. They’re under a lot of tension and will make a “bang.” We like using a plasma cutter to keep our hands clear, but a cutting disc works as well. Safety first or you may never count to 10 with pants on again.