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Northern Virginia Jeepers Association
September 20, 2018, 05:31:13 AM

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Author Topic: Really in need of a hand. Leaf spring bolt nuts broke off inside.  (Read 352 times)
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InsideTheXJBox
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« on: September 06, 2018, 12:41:32 PM »

Hey guys. This is not how I wanted to make my official club introduction, but here goes.

Iím Greg. I live in Alexandria and my Jeep is a 2001 XJ. Iím new to the Jeep world. Bought my XJ with 157,000 miles on it two years ago.Been using it since then to carry my kayak and camping equipment, but now Iím interested in some moderate wheeling. Iíve wanted to attend a meeting or trail ride with it since I found out about this group 2 years ago, but my leaf springs were inverted and shocks were worn out. I know a lot of jeep clubs arenít fans of XJs so I didnít want to show up in a worn out station wagon.

Two weeks ago I passed one of my industry certifications and bought myself a DPG Offroad ultimate old man emu 2.5 inch lift kit, new ZJ upgrade steering components, and some rugged ridge off road recovery hooks for the front. I attempted to do the install myself in my open air carport. I worked on it all weekend and took off today and I got everything done except for putting in the new rear shocks and leafs.

Iíve lost count of the number of broken,  mismatched, and spinning bolts that Iíve discovered throughout this job. I have learned bowl extraction, angle grinding, and air chiseling. I was almost out of the water when I use my cell phone camera to look into one of the frame rail holes to find out why the leafspring bolts were not coming out. It turns out that the two front leaf spring bolts nuts are completely broken off of the frame rail. I was able to get one of them out by cutting through the pushing bolts, but now I have no idea how to get a new one in on both sides. I understand there is a way that you can remove the seats and carpeting and cut an access hole to weld a new nut in, But I donít know how to weld and donít own a welder. I could get access to one from a friend, but Iíd really like to reach out to people that are more familiar with jeeps and may have dealt with a similar situation before.

Iíd really like some help with this. I was really hoping to be able to attend the September meeting as my first meeting after installing the new parts and to go to the fall crawl coming up, but now I canít even drive to the part store without using my family car. I know that asking for help isnít the best introduction, but Iím in a situation now where I canít even get it to a off-road shop because of one of the leafs has been cut (stupid).

Iím not in any type of hurry other than trying to get to some of the meets this fall so any help available at anytime would be extremely appreciated. Ample beverages and food will be provided to any and all willing to help. Iíll leave and sponsor someoneís entry to the next trail ride if they can help me fix this. As of now, the Jeep is immobile. The photo was taken with my phone through the hole in the frame rail about a centimeter wide. Otherwise Id just thread a new bolt into there

Thanks in advance for even considering this.

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overhead
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2018, 01:32:56 PM »

Hey welcome, we've all been there. No real hate on Xjs here. can you take some pictures a little further back so we can see whats going on where? the close up picture is great but we can't see what we need to see to offer guidance or see if we can help.

Good luck and don't get to to frustrated with it.

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The only thing about a Yj that's reliable is its mechanic.

Joey to Mike- That's more like it! Never done.....just outta money at the moment.

atjeep-Every time a YJ passes inspection, an angel gets it's wings.
Jeep Freak
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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2018, 01:43:05 PM »

Definitely no hate on XJs here, and we have several people that know quite a bit about them, so hopefully they'll chime in (paging nosigma). I'd also like to add that if you have another vehicle that can get you to the member meeting on sunday, just drive that. No one is gonna hate on you for showing up in a DD instead of the Jeep.

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'93 YJ SOA on 36s
'13 JKUR
InsideTheXJBox
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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2018, 01:48:42 PM »

Thanks for the replies. Iíd really like to attend the meeting Sunday but Iím solo parenting our two year old while my wife runs a vendor tent at a festival in DC. Iím assuming itís not the best to bring a kid.

Anyways...here are some additional pics.

Passenger side.

Driver side has shock removed but leaf is still intact. Front leaf bolt nut is still attached but free spinning. Rear shackle bolt nut is loose but the design is dumb and Iíll have to remove the shackle or remove the factory hitch. That chassis nut may break so Iíd almost rather remove the hitch than risk it. Passenger sleeve is definitely loose and the nut fell into the cavity. Only cut the out facing side. Inside bushing bolt hasnít been cut because cutoff wheel is only grabbing into rubber and wonít contact the metal bolt. Still canít get bushing to pop out.  Tried with a pickle fork.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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highlandercj-7
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2018, 02:58:30 PM »

The front spring bolts are a royal PIA as you see. Especially on a crusty XJs, but I had issues with bolts on newish XJs too. You will have to cut them out in pieces. Then make that access hole so you can get the remaining bolt out and get a wrench in to hold the nut. That way you will not have to weld it. Once you are done fab a cover to cover the access hole. Seal around it and screw it down. That way it's there if needed again and you do not have to weld anything.

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HighlanderCJ-7
InsideTheXJBox
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2018, 03:32:21 PM »

Thatís an awesome idea. I saw someone else had cut an access hole around the bolt hole and welded it back together. Youíre suggesting I just cut a piece of metal that will cover the hole and run self tapping screws through to secure it to the body?


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overhead
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Crap, someone call Trevor.
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2018, 03:36:20 PM »

Thatís an awesome idea. I saw someone else had cut an access hole around the bolt hole and welded it back together. Youíre suggesting I just cut a piece of metal that will cover the hole and run self tapping screws through to secure it to the body?


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or rivets, really anything metal to metal NOT FIBERGLASS. DON'T FREAKING FIBERGLASS THE TUB

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The only thing about a Yj that's reliable is its mechanic.

Joey to Mike- That's more like it! Never done.....just outta money at the moment.

atjeep-Every time a YJ passes inspection, an angel gets it's wings.
RFH_98TJ
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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2018, 06:36:04 AM »

Just mind streaming here:

Can you cut it crossways with your cutter, rotate it, then cut it again?  If you can get the outer leaf ring off then it should be easy (easier) to get the rest of it off or at least get your cutter down to the bolt.  Perhaps NOT cut the bolt so you have something to hold onto when trying to remove it.

If that doesn't work, how about a Sawzall cutting up against the frame to get the bolt off?  Then I guess you could just drill it out?

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98 TJ 4.0 Sport 5-speed - 4" lift on 33s, 4.56 on D30 with Lock Right and Ford 8.8 LS, more stuff to come

- Frank
InsideTheXJBox
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« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2018, 09:55:40 AM »

I think Iíll cut the leaf eye chunk by chunk then cut the bushing with a hot knife


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highlandercj-7
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« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2018, 10:26:56 AM »

Thatís an awesome idea. I saw someone else had cut an access hole around the bolt hole and welded it back together. Youíre suggesting I just cut a piece of metal that will cover the hole and run self tapping screws through to secure it to the body?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Yes

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HighlanderCJ-7
InsideTheXJBox
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« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2018, 06:24:59 PM »

Iíd like to say a major THANK YOU to RattleTrap55 for coming through when I was in a pinch. He was aw some enough to come to my place with some extra tools and help me get these leafs out. We got the old leafs out then struggled with getting bushings in the new leafs (thinking wrong bushings) and worked for hours on getting the front leaf nuts out. Couldnít break the welds and couldnít get the bolts out after we cut the leaf bolts away. Was able to cut the access holes in the leaf perches, but we couldnít get these nuts to give up the ghost.

Operation bust a nut continues.

Thanks Garner for all of your help. Youíre a stand up guy. Canít wait to get out there on the trails with you and the other members. Really hoping to have this thing back together by the Fall Foliage Run.

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highlandercj-7
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2018, 07:18:40 AM »

OK, they are that solid and the nuts are not busted loose from the frame, like you originally though? If so that's a kind of a good thing. Flush cut the bolt on the face of the nut and start step drilling it out, eventually you will be able to tap the nut and reuse them.

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HighlanderCJ-7
InsideTheXJBox
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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2018, 08:42:14 PM »

Ended up getting access to an acetylene torch. Got the nut cherry red and went to it with a punch and hammer. Well, I busted two nuts and finished happy. Time to reinstall.


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nosigma
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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2018, 09:47:04 PM »

Done 4 or 5 of these.  It sucks.  Have welder will travel on most of the jobs.  Glad to hear you got it done.  Willing to assist with any xj problems.

John

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VirginiaZJ "Frank, Stop. Don't come down here"
Somebody: "Is John in a predicament?"
VirginiaZJ "The front of his Jeep is facing me now"
Somebody: "Yeah, I guess that's a predicament"

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Thought I saw nosigma at eastern mountain sports but it turns out the guys xj had been sideswiped
InsideTheXJBox
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« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2018, 09:15:16 PM »

Done 4 or 5 of these.  It sucks.  Have welder will travel on most of the jobs.  Glad to hear you got it done.  Willing to assist with any xj problems.

John
Thanks for the offer. Taking a meekend day this Friday to finish up. Hopefully have it at the alignment shop on Saturday


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