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[b]Ford SuperDuty V-Code Leaf Spring Installation on a 2000 Ford Excursion[/b]

[b]The Problem[/b]
It's widely known that Excursions, while sharing a similar chassis to the F-250, do not share the same leaf springs from the factory. Due to the SUV body style of the Excursion, leaf springs specific to the Excursion come from the factory so the Excursion will fit in your standard garage and parking garage. The result: front leaf springs with significantly reduced travel (on 4x4 models) that eventually sag and leave less than 1" of leaf spring travel...further resulting in a very harsh ride.

[b]Why V-Code Springs instead of standard Excursion springs?[/b]
After 175,000 miles, I had about 5/8" of clearance between the leaf spring and the bump-stop. I could feel every bump I'd drive over on the road. It was time to swap springs. Instead of swapping back to factory Excursion springs, I opted for "V-Code springs" which ended up providing me with 1.5" of additional frontend lift over my sagging factory springs.

[b]Parts Needed[/b]
(8 ) Nuts - Part # N805480-S426
(2) V-Code Leaf Springs - Part # 2C3Z-5310-HA
(2) U-Bolts - unfortunately the u-bolts I ordered at the dealer were incorrect. My Excursion has a rounded-square u-bolt style, but I was given square-style u-bolts (Square-style u-bolt Part # is F81Z-5705-BA)

[b]Tools Needed[/b]
We'll cover tools needed in each step.

[b]Estimated Time Required[/b]
6-8 hours

[b]Difficulty[/b]
7 out of 10 (1 being easiest, 10 being hardest)

[b]Questions/Comments?[/b]
Discuss them in this forum thread.

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[b]IMPORTANT[/b]: Your front OEM u-bolts for your leaf springs may be different. I ordered replacement u-bolts from the Ford dealer and they were incorrect. The u-bolts that came from the factory on my 2000 PSD Excursion are actually more rounded than these squared versions pictured here. I will end up returning these as I reused my original U-bolts. Pictured here are the square-style u-bolts, part # F81Z-5705-BA.

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SuperDuty V-Code Stamping: 3C34 ADA R 249 6

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SuperDuty V-Code Leaf Spring part number: 2C3Z-5310-HA

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Remove the lug-nut wrench from under the hood of your Excursion. We'll use the end with the rubber tip to remove the beauty cap on the front wheel.

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Pry off the lug nut wheel cover.

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Before jacking up the front end, I measured the height from the ground to the top of the wheel well. You may want to do this too so you can compare the height after you install the V-Codes.

Stock Excursion leaf springs before the spring swap created 37.5" from the ground to the top of the wheel well. (After the V-codes were installed, this was increased by 1.5" to a total height of 39"!).

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This install covers the passenger side leaf spring. When jacking up the passenger side, position your floor jack like I did in the above picture. If you're doing the driver's side, you can position the floor jack under the front differential.

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
3.5-ton floor jack

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Since we'll need to jack the truck up and lower the front end, I jacked the front end under the axle tube as high as my floor jack would go.

Using a 6-ton jack stand, position the jack stand under the frame rail behind the rear mount of the front leaf springs.

[i]NOTE: The Excursion is one heavy beast. I noticed halfway through the install after wrenching on the frontend that the single jackstand was leaning a bit. I [b]highly[/b] recommend positioning a 2nd jackstand about 1 foot behind the first one to ensure sturdiness. I eventually did this but did not get it pictured here.[/i]

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
(2) 6-ton jack stands

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With the vehicle secured on jack stands and your floor jack still maxed out under the front axle, now it's time to remove the wheel.

[b]Tools needed:[/b]
21mm deep socket
1/2" impact wrench

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With the wheel removed, we can now remove the lower shock bolt. We need to disconnect the shock so we don't over-extend it when we drop the front axle in a later step.

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
You'll want air tools. This bolt will probably be very rusty.
21mm socket (for bolt)
15mm socket (for nut)

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With the lower shock bolt removed, you can compress the shock as much as possible to get it out of your way for the rest of the project.

You may also lower the floor jack to the point where the leaf spring is not compressed and the floor jack is barely providing support underneath the axle. The leaf spring will prevent the axle from drooping all the way to the floor if you fully compress your floor jack. The goal here is to release compression on the leaf spring for later steps, but still leave the front axle supported by the floor jack.

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With the shock disconnected, we can now remove the nuts on the u-bolts. My u-bolts actually turned out to be in great shape so I decided to reuse them (considering the dealer sold me the wrong ones in the first place).

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
21mm deep socket (for the nuts)
1/2" impact wrench

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All 4 u-bolt nuts removed.

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Slide the u-bolts out from the top. They pull out quite easily.

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All 4 u-bolts removed. Notice the round mark on the bump-stop from the rubber stopper. This is from constant bottoming-out of the suspension!

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Lift the bump-stop off of the leaf spring.

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Here are the new u-bolts (left) and my original u-bolt (right). Notice how my original u-bolt is more of a "rounded square" than a square. Make sure to double-check your u-bolts with new u-bolts, if you buy them.

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Unfortunately, the front leaf spring eye-bolts are not easy to get to, so you have to remove the corner bumper supports.

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
13mm socket (for the bumper-support bracket bolts)
impact wrench

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There are three 13mm bolts holding the bracket in place. Using an impact wrench makes easy work of the bottom two.

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The top 13mm bolt for the bumper corner support bracket is in a tight spot. You'll have to resort to a 3/8" ratchet to access this one.

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
13mm socket
3/8" ratchet

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Next up, remove the nut from the rear eye-bolt of the leaf spring. Simply punch the bolt through the hole with a hammer. Make sure not to crush the threads. You may need to use a 3/8" extension (6 inches in length) to punch the bolt all the way through.

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
24mm socket (nut)
21mm socket (bolt head)
1/2" ratchet or breaker bar
1/2" impact wrench
Hammer
3/8" extension (6")

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Prepare to spend a lot of time on this step.

As you can see, I pulled out the Bernz-O-Matic propane torch for the step and headed up the nut bolt to make it a little easier to loosen this nut. Spend about 3-5 minutes doing this, got to the next step. If it still won't budget, heat it up some more. You may try some penetrating oil like JB-80.

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I couldn't fit my impact wrench in this space so I had to resort to using a 1/2" ratchet on the bolt head and a 1/2" breaker bar on the nut. On top of this, I had to use a 3-lb sledge hammer to hit against the 1/2" breaker bar to loosen the nut. I eventually got it to a point where I was able to leverage my body weight to pull down on the 1/2" breaker bar.

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
1/2" breaker bar
1/2" ratchet
24mm socket (bolt head)
24mm deep socket (nut)
3-lb hammer

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Success! Before you go pounding this bolt out, you'll need to remove a support bracket on the front of the radiator for the trans cooler. Please proceed to the next step -- this bolt will not be able to be removed until the support bracket is removed!

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This photo is actually from the driver's side -- but it applies to the passenger side leaf spring eye-bolt as well. This bolt runs into a support bracket for the cooler that's mounted to the front of the radiator. See next step for removal.

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Fortunately for us, this bracket is simple to remove with a 3/8" ratchet and an 8mm socket. It's somewhat hidden behind the rubber radiator support strap -- just hold it aside with one hand while you use your ratchet on the bolt. Fish the bracket out when finished (don't drop the bolt!)

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
8mm socket
3/8" ratchet

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With the support bracket from the previous step out of the way, you can now punch the eye-bolt out from the front of the leaf spring. Use a hammer and a 6" extension for a 3/8" ratchet.

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
6-inch extension for 3/8" ratchet
Hammer

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Before we drop the front axle, we must disconnect the way bar. If we don't, the sway bar will prevent the front axle from dropping all the way and separating from the leaf spring.

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
13mm socket
1/2" impact wrench

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With the sway bar disconnected from this side of the front axle, the axle can now have full range of motion.

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Now it's time to lower your floor jack. Keep lowering it until the axle separates from the leaf spring. The leaf spring has a short stud that fits into a notch in the top of the axle. This should separate naturally by dropping the axle with the floor jack -- you may need to pry it apart with a large screw driver.

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The blocker beam on the front of the Excursion was blocking my ability to drop the leaf spring completely out from the front end. So, I removed the blocker beam. There are two brackets on each side (the very rusted brackets). The plastic front facia (below the bumper) is also connected to these brackets and it removes as one large piece.

There are 2 facia bolts on each side that you need to remove. These are the two bolts connecting the plastic facia to the rusty blocker beam bracket in this photo.

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
13mm socket
impact wrench

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Position 2 jack stands under the blocker beam so it doesn't crash to the ground when you unbolt it.

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
(2) jack stands

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Unbolt the nuts from the 3 bolts on each side of the blocker beam.

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
21mm deep socket
1/2" impact wrench

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With the 5 bolts removed from each side, you can separate the blocker beam and facia from the front bumper. The rusty bracket will still be keeping everything held together due to the long studs that are binding against the stud holes.

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Lift the blocker beam bracket out of the holes in the blocker beam.

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The coast is finally clear to remove the leaf spring. You can use your 3-lb hammer to knock it out of the spring hangers. The leaf spring is somewhat heavy and awkward. I found that rotating it like this in the picture and fishing it out provided the easiest method of removal.

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New leaf spring (left) and old leaf spring (right).

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New leaf spring (bottom) and old leaf spring (top). There doesn't appear to be a significant difference when compared side-by-side (other than the fresh coat of paint). However, the old leaf springs have 175,000+ miles on them and are fatigued. The new leaf springs will be stiffer and actually do have more arch to them to provide the additional lift.

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Reinsert the eye bolt in the front of the leaf spring first (save the rear bolt for the next step for easier installation). The front spring mount is stationary while the rear spring shackle does pivot -- thus making it easier to install the rear eyebolt [i]second[/i].

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
24mm deep socket (nut)
21mm socket (bolt head)
1/2" ratchet
1/2" breaker bar

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The shackle won't initially line up with the leaf spring. No problem, proceed to the next step.

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[i]Sorry to switch angles -- this is from the driver's side, but it still applies to the passenger side leaf spring, too.[/i]

Using a c-clamp makes easy work of the task of lining the eye-bolt hole with the shackle.

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
c-clamp

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Reinsert the rear bolt and tighten.

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
24mm socket (nut)
21mm socket (bolt head)
1/2" ratchet or breaker bar
1/2" impact wrench

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I also wanted to show this bolt from the driver's side angle as well. You may run into the issue where the front driveshaft interferes with the bolt. Simply jack the floor jack up to create enough room for the bolt to clear the top of the driveshaft.

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Jack the front axle back up with your floor jack. Hopefully the stud in the new leaf spring will align with the notch on the leaf spring perch. If not, you may need a second set of hands to raise/lower the jack while you use your body to lean into the axle (or push it with your foot) to get the stud and notch to line up while the second person jacks the axle up/down.

[i]NOTE: Do [b]not[/b] kick the front hub, hub assembly, or knuckle to position the axle. Applying pressure is fine, but jarring motions will run the risk of damaging the bearing in the front hub assembly -- I speak from experience! Hub assemblies are not cheap.[/i]

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Reinstall the bump-stop/u-bolt plate. The notch in the bump-stop lines up with the nut on top of the leaf spring.

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Reinstall the u-bolts and tighten with the new nuts (discard the old nuts). Hand-tighten at first, ensuring each nut is threaded evenly, then tighten with a breaker bar.

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
21mm deep socket (nuts)
1/2" breaker bar or impact wrench if you're [i]that[/i] good

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Re-attach shock with lower shock bolt.

[b]Tools Needed:[/b]
21mm socket (for bolt)
15mm socket (for nut)
1/2" ratchet
1/2" impact wrench

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The completed install! There's actually room for spring travel again.

[b]Conclusion[/b]
This project was painfully drawn-out as I struggled with seized bolts and identifying the most efficient way to disassemble and reassemble. Once finished and on the first test drive, I noticed an immediate difference in ride quality. There are no more jarring bumps and the Excursion handles much more smoothly on the rougher roads.

[b]Notes[/b]
* The stock U-Bolts are the correct length for V-Code springs.

* I reused my standard-height front shocks. With my sway bar attached, I don't anticipate over-extending these shocks and I also don't drive off-road to really flex the suspension anyway. If you drive off-road or on terrain where you will test the limits of your suspension, you should consider upgrading to taller shocks in the front.

[b]Questions/Comments?[/b]
Discuss them in this forum thread.


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