Rear leaf spring advice needed

fortel

Adventurer
OK folks, as I waffle back and forth trying to figure out what to do suspension-wise to my 2012 Frontier CC SV, I'm back to the more realistic point that I probably won't lift it. After reading tons of posts on this and other forums and talking to some of the vendors, I'm pretty sure I don't want to go the cheaper spacer-lift route but new coil-overs, etc. just ain't gonna happen with the budget constraints (you know the drill - mortgage, college tuition, paying for braces for one kid, etc. etc.). But I've got to do something about the crappy, anemic OEM rear leafs that Nissan slaps on these trucks.

So current set up is stock SV 4x4 trim on a CC short box. OEM tires are 265/70/16s soon to be replaced with 265/75/16s yet to be determined (interesting side note - my speedo from the factory is calibrated for the 265/75/16 size that comes on the Pro4X trim so moving up size-wise on tires will actually fix that issue). I've got a Leer 100R topper with a Rola cargo basket mounted above, best guess is that combo added 200 or so pounds. Then there is probably another 50 pounds or so of stuff that lives in the back like trailbuilding tools, etc. The OEM rear leafs just aren't cutting it. I have replaced the bump stops with Timbrens but that is a poor, stop-gap measure that results in a horrible ride.

So on to the meat of the question - with the front staying stock height, will an add-a-leaf be a decent solution to remove the sag and give a decent load carrying ability or should I work towards totally replacing the leaf packs with better after-market ones? I don't want to spend money on AALs if they aren't going to do a lot to fix the problem. I'm assuming ride quality and progressive load capacity with be much better with replacement leaf packs but I'm just not sure. What has been your real-world experience and which route do you think I should pursue?
 

RonapRhys

Adventurer
I've not used the add a leaf set up myself, but I've heard some good things about the Deaver (IIRC) option. I ended up going with Alcans that had extra capacity built in (and now I need them re-arched or replaced due to carrying a bunch of weight whilst wheeling hard in Moab). If you go with Alcans, remember to let them know what you normally carry back there and they'll add the extra capacity on it for you.
 

MisterTinkle

Adventurer
My 2008 truck is similarly loaded as yours; crewcab, short bed, topper, and ~80lbs of stuff in the back. I initially went with a PRG 2" lift; space and add-a-leaf because it was inexpensive and met my needs at the time. I don't think the AAL added any load capacity to the stock leaf packs. I understand you are not interested in a lift.

I believe all the AAL options will 'lift' the rear an inch or so. And they will be a temporary fix. I had the AAL on my 2008 for ~4 years, but after a few years it sagged too much and the truck would hit the bump stops with any additional load when off-roading. I ordered Alcans with 450lbs additional capacity and 2" lift. It is MUCH better. As Ron mentioned, they will build them to your specifications. I understand people are very happy with the Deaver packs also.

If funds are an issue at this time; try the add-a-leaf. Long term solution is to replace the leaf packs.
 
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fortel

Adventurer
Thanks for the replies. I figured a total replacement of the leaf packs would be the best route but it always helps to get first hand info.

I hate to get sucked into a chain of temporary fixes. I've already started that path with the Timbrens and hate the ride quality that has resulted. And don't get me wrong, I would love to lift the truck, but in reality with a better set of tires, which it will get before summer, the Frontier will be pretty darn capable for what I do with it here in the Midwest. Its my daily driver so I hate to do anything that will result in a poorer ride quality. At the same time its a truck that I use like a truck so it is subjected to varying loads in the bed, and the stock leafs just are not up to the task.

I need to try and get a more accurate weight of the Leer cap. Haven't been able to find anything on Leer's website so all I've got is the installer saying he thought it weighed about 175 lbs. Once I get a better idea of what I think the constant added weight is I'll get in touch with Alcan and see what they say.

Feel free to share more info, I've got plenty of room in my learning curve to become more knowledgeable on these matters.
 

Robert Bills

Explorer
My suggestion would be to telephone Greg at PRG Products. He knows Frontier suspensions and will be honest about the pros and cons of each choice. My experience with him is that he won't sell you something you don't need and will tell you if an option you are considering won't work. (530) 268-2009
 

fortel

Adventurer
I've talked to both PRG and Nisstec when I was sorting through lift options. Both were very helpful. I'll most likely call both of them back and talk through rear leaf options without overall lift now that I'm backing off the lift idea. I want to make sure I have my ducks in a row with a more accurate number for the added weight load of the Leer cap and other add ons so I don't waste their time.
 

fishgeek

New member
I have a Deaver add a leaf 2 leaf pack setup... I hate them. The squeak so badly it drives me nuts. I now have the full OME suspension that just arrived that I will be swapping in.


Tip, if you do the add a leaf pack and you can't make it stop squeaking while you figure out a replacement, spray PB penetrating lube in between the original leafs and the addaleaf pack... Lousy lame solution but it will bring you some level of sanity for exactly 2 days before you will have to do it again... You will get used to always smelling like PB blaster... :) Absolutely no other chemical works as well.
 

fortel

Adventurer
Good to know. I had a gut feeling it was better to save up a little longer and try to do the whole new leaf pack route and it sounds like that is the better route to go.

I really like my truck but I have to admit I'm disappointed in the Nissan OEM suspension. In the past I've had a long bed Ford Ranger and two F150s, all of which had fiberglass caps on them, and none of them had the sagging issue with the rear leafs that I'm having with the Frontier.
 

Mo4130

Adventurer
I have had nothing but praise for my MD ome kit. Sounds like you already made up your mind about getting a full pack. Buy once, cry once.
 

fishgeek

New member
I just swapped out my Deaver 2leaf AAL for the full OME MD Leaf packs w/ OME Nitrocharger shocks. I can tell you it is Night and Day better. Don't waste your money on an AAL.
 

702krawler

Adventurer
To those of you who swapped in OME MD leaf packs, was the job fairly easy? How long did it take? Did you swap the shocks at the same time or keep the OEMs?

I'm about ready to pull the trigger (probably tomorrow) on an OME MD rear pack with either the OEM Bilsteins or Radflo shocks in the rear, along with either Bilstein 5100s or Radflo coilovers in the front. The ~$1000 price difference has me thinking of the cheaper option, but I want to be happy long term, and my front right OEM Bilstein is shot already at 30k miles, so I'm not sure I trust the OEM rears are up to the task much longer. If I'm going to replace the rears with Radflos, I feel like I might as well go all the way and replace the front with Radflos as well...
 
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fishgeek

New member
The factory blue and yellow Bilstiens are too short and weak to use with the OME pack, and besides, they are junk anyway. I used the Emu Nitrochargers to save some $$$, but many folks like the Bilstien 5125 as well. In hindsight I will probably wish I went to a rebuildable shock...

Get the EMU U bolts and axle shim also.

Did the rear swap in about 3 hours. Not to difficult. Make sure you take good care of your brake/TPM/ABS/Locker lines when you drop the rear end. I did the greasable shackles and bushings as well. Use a Moly fortified grease. Moly is important with the urethane bushings. Cover everything that pivots with grease and you should end up with a nice silent ride.
 

702krawler

Adventurer
Thanks for the input. I placed my order for the OME Dakar leaf pack (with associated u-bolts, bushings, and the like) along with Radflo coilovers for the front. I ordered from Greg at PRG and he seemed pretty adamant that the stock rear Bilsteins will last a long time, and work well with the OME leaf pack, so we will see -- worst case is I'll later order and bolt on the Radflo or Bilstein 5100s. I plan to install it all the weekend of Jan. 10th, and will let everyone know how it works and hopefully post some pics of the install for the benefit of future members.
 

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