The spring procedure isn't difficult if you're on a hoist, but I wouldn't want to do it on the ground. If you were able to watch it being done, you'd have the confidence to tackle the job yourself.
Measuring ride height is very straight-forward. All you need is a tape measure, but you have to know where to measure. For a lot of models, it is from real easy-to-reach points, to the ground. Some have you measure from the bottom of the side marker light lens, to the ground. Some have you measure from the top of the bumper, to the ground. Unfortunately, in all the online service manuals I have access to, I've never found a reference to or drawing for this procedure. I performed it on every vehicle I aligned, and while I was a little more tolerant of slightly sagged springs on some models, others, like the Ford Ranger and Bronco 2 came from the factory with horrendous tire wear problems, then just slightly-sagged springs made that problem a lot worse. I didn't want my name on those repair orders unless I was allowed to correct ride height as part of the job.
If you look in most Chrysler paper service manuals, you'll find a short paragraph about how they want you to measure ride height, but at first it looks really complicated. They even provided the dealerships with a special tool with a bubble level built in. To sum up their procedure, they wanted you to measure how much lower the lower ball joint was relative to the lower control arm bushing. Typically that was less than two inches. I had a drive-on hoist so the vehicles were sitting on their tires, at normal ride height. You would have to park on a smooth, flat surface, (not necessarily perfectly level). The same thing is done by measuring from the bottom of the lower ball joint to the ground, then take a second measurement from the bottom of the control arm to the ground. Subtract the first one from the second one to get their measurement.
Logic would dictate all you have to do is measure from the control arm to ground, but the whole reason Chrysler has you do it this way is to overlook tire size in the equation. Sometimes other manufacturers will provide multiple readings when those vehicles were available with optional tire sizes. Chrysler's procedure is easier and faster to copy year after year, into new service manuals, then they just have to list one spec for each of those models.
If I failed to mention it earlier, all tire and alignment shops, and most repair shops, have a small book that shows where to take the height measurements on any model and year, and what those measurements should be. The people there will be happy to look up your truck and show you the drawing. Asking for that information tells them you know something alignments, and how important correct ride height is. Since those are aftermarket books, and they know most shops don't have the special tool, they provide measuring points that are easier and faster to reach. Most of them make reference to something on the bumpers or the wheel openings.
Remember the rear leaf springs sag with age too. Those aren't really all that hard to replace except the bolts get rusted to the metal sleeves inside the bushings. Often we have to use a reciprocating saw to cut through the bolts, then the pieces can be popped off separately. If you need new front springs, we don't want the front to be up where it should be and the back end is dragging lower. Rear leaf springs can be "re-arced" too by the people at alignment and heavy truck specialty shops. We have one in my town, but I never watched to see how they do that. I do know it still requires the springs to removed from the vehicle, but it saves you the cost of buying new springs.
Monday, October 28th, 2019 AT 12:15 PM