Rear suspension

Xterrian13 May 8, 2017

  1. Xterrian13

    Xterrian13 Test Drive

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    NEW JERSEY
    Can anyone tell me an easy way to beef up the rear payload on my 2013 PRO4X? Maybe helper springs or something like that to keep from bottoming out when there is a light load.
     
  2. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin Super Moderator

    Messages:
    38,752
    Location:
    Denver-ish
    The easiest way, is not the cheapest way. But if you were to replace the leaf packs with one's that have additional weight rating to them, it would greatly assist in the load capacity. If you go that route, I will recommend contacting Alcan Springs. You can specify how much extra weight you want the springs rated for. The packs are then custom built to your specifications.

    Alternatively, if you were to do some lift, you could do an Add-a-leaf for the rear. That would help with load capacity and provide lift.
     
  3. JeffPro4x

    JeffPro4x Hot Pipe Super Moderator Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,893
    Location:
    Glenside, PA
    Our springs are notoriously soft. Hellwig helper springs can I help but if you have higher mileage, your best best is replacing the whole pack. If you're looking for lift + extra load, alcan is 100% the only way to go.
    Another option is General Spring. You may gain an inch in the rear with these, but payload is increased.
    https://www.generalspringkc.com/Leaf_Springs_Nissan_Xterra_s/1946.htm

    Upgrading your rear bumper stops will also help, since stock ones are basically hunks of steel covered in hard rubber.
     
  4. Xterrian13

    Xterrian13 Test Drive

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    NEW JERSEY
    Great help! Thanks guys.
     
  5. Mixdnuts

    Mixdnuts Test Drive

    Messages:
    42
    Ok I’m just going to see if all the experts here feel my issues would be fixed with springs.
    I have a stock 2014 Pro4X (rear sway bar removed). Family trip from BC to Alberta and I’m a nice guy and let my Mother in law have the front seat. So me and my two boys in the back seat and not a lot of luggage, just a weekend trip. Anyhow, I think I might snap my neck whenever we go over a bump. It feels like the rear axle is going to smash through the floor.
     
  6. Fromfrontier2Xterra

    Fromfrontier2Xterra I bought a Taco Super Moderator Supporting Member

    Messages:
    31,992
    Location:
    All over PA
    Sounds more like you need rear shocks.
     
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  7. TerryD

    TerryD Total Tease Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,863
    Location:
    Covington, Va
    Sounds about right for a stock X. They're short on rear uptravrel and the factory bump stops suck.

    Maybe a AAL and some new socks? I ran that for a while and it really helped the ride at stock height.
     
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  8. westslope

    westslope First Fill-Up (of many) Supporting Member

    Messages:
    306
    Location:
    Wildfire country, BC
    @Mixdnuts: Add a 5th leaf or replace your rear spring leaves with something that is new and stiff.

    EDIT: See Just a Hunter's post below.

    Shortly after I bought the 2006 in late 2012, I had a mechanic switch out the shocks for Bilsteins (likely 4600s). Why? Because the rear was bottoming out hard on rough roads. Vehicle had about 120,000 km (75,000 miles).

    The old shocks were still OK and my mechanic was a little perplexed as to why I was doing this despite the explicit explanation I gave.

    Then I started reading and got another shop to add a 5th leaf. That made all the difference. The ride was stiffer, more stable and no longer bottomed out at all.

    In hindsight, I was quite disappointed with the mechanic because he should have recommended a rear spring leaf option. Between that and and his failure to diagnose a faulty rear U-joint, I stopped using him.

    These days, if I were to improve the rear spring leaves, instead of adding a 5th one, I would replace the entire unit and get something stiff enough for heavier loads and towing. That way, when you load the vehicle with heavy North American adult passengers, the vehicle will never bottom out.

    P.S. I never did switch out the stock bump stop and so far feel no urgency to do so.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2020 at 11:47 AM
    Mixdnuts likes this.
  9. Just a Hunter

    Just a Hunter Bought an X

    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    Georgia
    Guys.
    It seems some people dont fully understand the purpose of leaf springs and shocks.

    The purpose of a leaf spring is to provide support for a vehicle. It also provides for a smoother ride absorbing any bumps or potholes in the road.


    A shock absorber is a mechanical or hydraulic device designed to absorb and damp shock impulses.

    If your rear suspension feels like a pogo stick after hitting a bump in the road, your shocks may be bad.

    If your rear suspension is bottoming out and striking the bump stops, your springs are bad.
     
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  10. westslope

    westslope First Fill-Up (of many) Supporting Member

    Messages:
    306
    Location:
    Wildfire country, BC
    Good post Just a Hunter.

    I recently replaced my leaking rear shocks (likely Bilstein 4600s) with Bilstein 5100s which are advertised as having a 0" to 1" lift. The new Bilstein shocks slightly lifted the rear. As a result, the head lights should be re-adjusted higher. In passing, the ride is now much better.

    Makes me wonder if I should replaced the front struts sooner than later though they still work reasonably well. Time to replace the stock coil springs too?
     
  11. IM1RU

    IM1RU Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    545
    Location:
    SLC, UT
    ^Shocks don't give lift, the springs do. Shocks merely dampen the recoil.
     
  12. General_Tarfun

    General_Tarfun Need Bigger Tires Supporting Member

    Messages:
    684
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Yeah the rear 5100's that advertise as being for 0-1" of lift don't actually provide lift, they are just capable of fitting a truck that has been lifted 1". Basically if you install a single AAL they will work with it. If you notice the truck sitting higher after installing them it's probably just from jacking the truck up and letting the leaf packs hang during installation and will settle back to where it was quickly.

    I think the confusion comes from the front 5100's which can be adjusted during assembly to have more preload which gives lift, the rears with the same '5100' name do not have that capability though. Anyway the bottoming out problem can't be fixed with new shocks, you have to do something about the leaf pack (AAL, Full Replacement, Helper Spring, etc.) or a giant bump stop like the Hellwig SES although on a factory truck it likely will be in contact with the axle 100% of the time.
     
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  13. Mixdnuts

    Mixdnuts Test Drive

    Messages:
    42
    Thanks for the input. I checked the space between the axle and bumpstop today before and after loading up. Once loaded I only had a little over an inch of available uptravel. Time for springs for sure.
     
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  14. westslope

    westslope First Fill-Up (of many) Supporting Member

    Messages:
    306
    Location:
    Wildfire country, BC
    I realize that.

    For some strange reason, the rear end sat higher after I switched out the leaking shocks.
     
  15. FishCannon

    FishCannon Test Drive

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    So here it is again.

    The Xterra shares a rear leaf spring with the Frontier. That leaf was designed for the light weight of a pickup truck bed, not the heavy cab of an Xterra. Our OEM leafs are weak. Sagging and hitting the bump stops... these are results of a weak rear leaf spring. Most Xterras rear springs only last 60-70k miles. My 2012 had a broken leaf on each side when I bought it last year, at 95k miles. And by broken, I mean like half of a leaf on each side was missing. I'd hate to have been behind the truck when they went missing, Just saying.

    Mixdnuts and Westslope, your suspension problems are caused by inherently weak leaf springs that have only gotten worse over time. Shocks wont help. They'll dampen the motion a little, and slow the recoil a little, but will not help with sagging or hard bumps. I had the same issues as you when I bought my truck. I solved them by picking up a set of OEM springs with an Add-A-Leaf on them. They gave me about 2 inches of lift (From Stock, More like 4 inches from the sagging, broken springs), then I put some Coilover spacers up front to compensate. Before you go dropping a bunch of money on a mechanic to throw parts at it, hoping for a fix, do yourself a favor. Jack your truck up, remove the rear wheels and inspect the leaf springs. I'd be surprised (based on mileage and your accounts of what's happening) if you don't have any broken leafs.
     
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  16. westslope

    westslope First Fill-Up (of many) Supporting Member

    Messages:
    306
    Location:
    Wildfire country, BC
    FishCannon: To clarify, I am fully aware that my suspension problems were caused by weak leaf springs. That lesson might have cost me new shocks when I did not require them at that time.

    My only beef is that my mechanic at the time should have pointed this out to me. He did not.
     
  17. X-wing

    X-wing Test Drive

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Grand Junction Colorado
    Can anyone direct me to where I can find the oem drive height? Before I take my tape measure from parking lot to parking lot...
     
  18. JeffPro4x

    JeffPro4x Hot Pipe Super Moderator Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,893
    Location:
    Glenside, PA
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