Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Ford Explorer Leaf Spring Replacement

Got a 2001 Ford Explorer Sport with that classic saggy rear. Looking to replace my mono leaf springs with springs from a 4 door, but having trouble locating parts swap info. I want to find some kind of database that will tell me which other year models will fit my truck…barring that, maybe someone who knows could just tell me which years I can pull from.

Also, I have the code 3 springs, and I’m assuming that if it didn’t matter which ones you used, they wouldn’t have bothered to put different codes on the springs. Do I have to find another vehicle with code 3 springs, or can I just take anything I find?

Forgot to mention, it’s a 4x4. I don’t know if that matters.

Have you considered a “helper” spring?

Yeah, I put them on, but it’s just not quite enough lift, even moved back toward the spring shackles.

If the ride is otherwise okay, perhaps new slightly longer shackles would do the trick.
The “code 3” thing is a new one on me. Sounds like a Ford-specific identifier that a Ford parts guy could clarify for you.

Air Shocks .

The leaf springs in your Explorer Sport are 2 1/2" wide where on the 4DR Explorer the springs are 3" wide.

So the springs are too wide to fit in the front spring shackles.Other than that they’re almost identical.

Why not just install the right springs for the vehicle and get the ride height back?


The 2001-2002 Explorer was low in the rear when new, this came after the Explorer/Firestone roll-over problem to make the vehicles more stable.

A quick look at the off road suspension companies doesn’t show any “lift” springs for this vehicle, perhaps due to liability reasons. Raising the ride height of this vehicle is not recommended.

Excellent point, Nevada. I’m not sure raising the ride height of an Explorer is such a good idea.

Replacing the springs with oem or equivalent new ones seems like the best choice. If new ones are not available, it may be possible to hire a company to re-temper the old ones.

Yeah, I have no interest in doing any kind of lift that will increase the chance of rolling it, I only want the rear brought up to where it should be. It’s a good 2.75 inches lower than the front, and there’s an annoying bang when I go over bumps. The replacement of the mono leaf with a multi leaf pack from the 4 door Ex is the most common and highly recommended suggestion on Explorer forums, I just cannot find information on which model years are compatible with mine.

Salvage yards have interchange information . Perhaps if you contacted one of them , they could help .

@GeorgeSanjose Yes, I agree them replacing them with the OEM units is the most desirable.

If you want to switch to the 4 door version of springs, as I recall a poster here suggested there might be a problem with the width of the spring, your vehicle vs the 4 door version ; i.e. 4 door version might not fit through the existing gadgets that holds the springs to the axel and frame. So the first thing you need to do it seems like would be to crawl under there with a tape measure and measure the width of your existing springs and whether there’s any extra room on those gadgets. When you do that, post the result here and maybe some new ideas will crop up.

Let’s see if I got this straight . . .

There’s nothing mechanically wrong with the truck’s suspension

OP simply does not like the truck’s stance

OP wants to modify the truck, so that it’s pleasing to his eyes

OP is seeking our help and/or advice with this modification

As I recall OP says the truck is sitting lower than it used to, and hypothesizes the reason is b/c the springs are sprung.

I can’t answer your question specifically but if you live in a major metro area you might check the reference section of your local library. Some of them have a decent sized automotive reference book section and there may be a Hollander Interchange manual.

Hollander is what many salvage yards use to determine what fits what. Buying Hollanders can add up to a lot of money; a lot.

You may be able to get someone at the boneyard to fish that info up for you. It won’t hurt to ask and the worst that can happen is that they may balk. If they think a sale is coming they may gladly do it.

From what I can find the multi-leaf springs provide the same ride height as the mono-leafs and are a direct fit. New springs are available and should restore the ride height. The replacement leaf springs on RockAuto fit years 1991-2002.

I believe one of us said that the Explorer Sports are supposed to be lower in the rear

Yes, after all that work it still will be lower in the rear but maybe not as low. Jack stated that it is 2.75" lower in the rear now, when finished it might only be 1" lower in the rear and he’ll be in better shape after all that exercise.