Fix a broken jeep on Easter Jeep Safari 2022

Repairs take place due to track faults. If you like off-road driving and have not yet had a fault on the trail, just wait. It all happens at some point if you are four-wheeled enough, and it does not matter how new or well prepared your rig may be. New parts also fail, and at one point or another it is inevitable that you will fail. We’ve seen it a hundred times, and it’s happened to us many times. To set the stage for this story, we were on an industry tour, the Skyjacker Suspension race, on the Top of The World Trail near Moab for the Easter Jeep Safari 2022. Everything went well until a call came over the radio reporting a broken rig. It seems that this cool 1993 Jeep YJ, built and owned by Mountain Off-road Enterprises (MORE) and controlled by Blase Shaball and Mike Maigatter from MORE, had problems with a broken leaf spring center pin and some loose U-bolts. Always down for a good track fix, we went their way.

This is the situation we found it. The status of the Jeep was that the driver’s side of the axle moved independently of the leaf spring, indicating a broken leaf spring centering pin. The U-bolts were loose on both sides of the shaft as well. Cronie’s Dave Chappelle and Chris Durham were on site and had started working on the best way to do the repair. A high-lift jack had been used to lift the side of the jeep. Photo by Blase Shaball.

The first step in this repair is to disassemble the loose U-bolts and check what is broken or missing on the leaf spring. In this case, one or two of the smaller leaf springs from the gasket had been moved and fallen out, which further loosened the coupling between the shaft and the leaf spring.

As a suspect, disassembly revealed that the centering pin of the leaf spring was broken. We needed to get the leaf springs back in place so that we could replace the broken pin, which is necessary to prevent the shaft from moving around in relation to the leaf spring, but first we needed to find something to replace the pin. We dug out a 3/8-inch bolt that was long enough and Chris rounded off the bolt head with a battery-powered grinder.

We used a Phillips screwdriver to get the spring blades in line again, and Dave replaced the ground level bolt 8 instead of the leaf spring centering pin. Photo by Blase Shaball.

With the replacement centering pin in place and the tightening, we went on to the next step, which means that the shaft is placed correctly on the leaf spring. We used a pair of latches to get the shaft and spring in line, but the leaf spring did not go into the shaft as we all had hoped it would.

We then used the jeep’s winch to try to pull the axle forward, but no dice. It was determined that part of the centering pin of the original leaf spring was still in the shaft housing and prevented the leaf spring from being positioned correctly. We tried to hold up the spring from the shaft to remove the broken part, but we lacked space to get the broken part out.

Chris Durham decided (correctly) that the easiest next step would be to remove the leaf spring from the jeep. This would allow us to remove any broken parts from the shaft so that the leaf spring could be located on the shaft. Photo by Blase Shaball.

With the leaf spring removed, we discovered that the end of the old centering pin was hammered into the shaft housing. With the help of a drill, a drill to open up the house (and a little patience), Erik Jokinen from Torque Masters Industries was able to fish up the broken part.

When the broken part of the centering pin was removed, we were able to get the leaf spring back on the shaft. Yes, we used everything at hand – stones, small stirrups and latches – to get the spring and shaft back in place. From there, the U-bolts, U-bolt plates and shock absorbers could be reinstalled and tightened according to the specifications.

With the track repair done, the MORE Jeep was back on track.

More Easter Jeep Safari 2022 coverage on Four Wheeler

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