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Hello.  I'm new here and I figure a few of you have a good idea of what the underside of my dream RV should look like.  I've fallen for a lovely 92 Dolphin.  It's the V6 3.L model with the 6-hole lug pattern.  In the purchasing negotiation, I've had two mechanics take a look at the frame.  The first (who admittedly IS NOT an RV kind of a guy) got all excited about the way the leaf springs were attached to the frame by means of a metal block (appx 3x3x8 inches) connecting the two components.  In other words, the springs are welded to the block and the block is welded to the frame.)   He was horrified and thought this had been jury-rigged mod to allow for the air-lift bags.  Mechanic #2 likes RVs and takes a look.  He says that's the way the things came off the line, and it's all proper and good.  Other than this issue (or, I hope, non-issue), the truck has been meticulously cared for, drives nicely, and has repair logs.  The house is impeccable.  A penny for your thoughts?  Thank you kindly.

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I have a similar RV (same chassis, different year, same leaf spring configuration, airbags installed).  It's a non-issue.  That's my vote.

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My concern is how do you remove the leaf springs in the event you need to change the axle? Unless Toyota has changed their drivetrains the axle sits above the top leaf. The only way to remove the axle is to lower the springs usually via the shackles. If they’re welded to the frame this would be impossible to do. 

Maybe I misinterpreted your explanation.

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FRED--Gee, I hadn't even got so far as to worry about the axles.  Anyway, I think you're saying  (and you can sing along here if you like) . . . the leaf springs are connected to the shackles and the shackles are connected to the frame members.  So . . . what does a shackle look like?  I hope it looks a lot like the 3x3x8 rectangular chunk of metal that I described, this will all make sense and you will not have misinterpreted.  Otherwise, I'm lost.  Back to you.

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We'd love to see a pic!

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Odyssey:  No can do right now as it's not in my possession and I wasn't savvy enough to get a snap yesterday when my head was under the rig.  You mean to tell me my words didn't paint a clear picture?!!

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1 hour ago, Dan's Moving Castle said:

Odyssey:  No can do right now as it's not in my possession and I wasn't savvy enough to get a snap yesterday when my head was under the rig.  You mean to tell me my words didn't paint a clear picture?!!

Your words painted a beautiful picture, but you know what they say a real one is worth! 

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I have had 87 and 90 Dolphins and now have a 94 Winnebago. I have also looked under or crawled under another 15-20 Toyota RV's.  On none of these was the leaf spring welded to the frame. at any point.  

Wish I could get pics to transfer from my phone to my laptop but they won't so words will have to do.

As the leaf spring flexes two things happen.  One is a small change in length because of less or more curve in the spring.  The other is a change in the angle between the frame which does not move and both tip ends of the spring which do pivot slightly.  The shackle is a means of allowing for the changing length.  It has four sections.  One is a bolt with bushing that goes through the frame.  Another is a matching bolt with bushing that lies parallel to the first bolt and goes through the end of the spring.  The other two sections are links between those two bolts.  On my Winnebago one link is welded to the head of both bolts, creating a U shape but laid on its side.  After the U is slid into the spring  and frame then the other link is put on and held by a nut on the end of each bolt.  The two links transfer weight from the frame to the end of the spring.  Because the shackle is free to pivot at each end it allows for changing length as the spring flexes and also allows for the slight pivot at the end of the spring  Shackles are usually (always?) at the rear end of the spring.

Spring end pivot at the front end of the spring is handled by a single bolt/bushing which goes through both frame and spring.

Not saying things can't be done another way,  just that this is the usual way.

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These are what shackles should look like. The single picture is the new ones I fabricated out of 3/8” flat stock so as to allow me to adjust the ride height. The double picture is the new shackle next to the factory unit.

I’ve never seen leaf springs welded in the manner you described. The shackles are attach to the rear of the leaf springs and bolted to the chassis. I hope you never have to drop your rear axle.

65E72BA9-9357-497E-8BC7-3FD1C7508D08.jpeg

8B6AADCB-C58B-4D87-ACBB-82616DB58FE2.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

One end of the spring has to move otherwise it would not work. Usually the front end is fix in place and the rear shackle moves. A spring end has rubber bushings so welding would trash them and take the hardness out of the spring. It would not surprise me if it had plates welded to the frame but the spring welded to the plates seems highly unlikely it may have been some ones attempt to gain ground clearance. Where in Maine are you? I'm near Fryeburg if you are not in Fort Kent I could have a look.

Edited by Maineah

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