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Old 02-28-2016, 11:48 AM   #1
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Snapped U-Bolt, Rear Axle, 2004 F53 Chassis, Pooped Pants

Welp, make that two people that have had a U-Bolt snap on their f53 chassis. Mine is a 2004 chassis. Coming home last night towing a 4000-pound trailer. I heard a pop. Wife tells me it was just something in the drawers. I dropped something in my drawers.

I drove the next 40 miles with a lump in my throat but I didn't really feel anything different. I snoop around this morning and this is what I find:





Initially I worried that the sway bar "mod" put undue stress on the bolt, but you would think a sway bar link would snap well before a bolt.

I also now have a small leak where the driveshaft meats the pumpkin which suggests the axle shifted just a bit.

Any input on part numbers, etc. would be greatly appreciated.

FML
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Old 02-28-2016, 12:42 PM   #2
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Scary ride for you. Quite common for truck chassis though. Find a shop that deals in truck chassis and spring repair. They always make u-bolts from stock because there are many sizes and lengths. If you remove the broken one they can copy it or will tell you how to measure it to make a new one. It only takes a few minutes to bend. Or, they can replace them for you. Always best to replace both u-bolts, even better to replace all on that axle. Good luck, Larry
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Old 02-28-2016, 12:57 PM   #3
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I'll change all four on the axle.

You don't think I can get the stock u-bolts from ford?
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Old 02-28-2016, 01:03 PM   #4
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Welp, make that two people that have had a U-Bolt snap on their f53 chassis. Mine is a 2004 chassis. Coming home last night towing a 4000-pound trailer. I heard a pop. Wife tells me it was just something in the drawers. I dropped something in my drawers.
I drove the next 40 miles with a lump in my throat but I didn't really feel anything different. I snoop around this morning and this is what I find:
FML
TrapGame
I thought I owned the only coach that had strange things happen.

Last January. when I hit a dip in a rural Louisiana highway), both of the 5/8" U-bolts holding my front axle to the right front spring snapped at the top, (where they wrap around the spring stack).

It wasn't discovered until after I had driven the coach another 4,000 miles with a loud squeek under the the right front seat.

BTW a non-professional friend and I found, (and replaced), the broken U-bolts.... after I had PAID 3 different "professional service shops" to inspect the suspension in an attempt it find the cause of the squeek.

Mel
'96 Safari, 146k miles
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Old 02-28-2016, 01:10 PM   #5
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You probably can get them from Ford, they will order them from somewhere and will cost a lot more. All the same quality. Larry
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Old 02-28-2016, 01:21 PM   #6
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I do almost all of my own repairs, being a retired heavy equipment mechanic.

If my U bolts broke, I would be driving to a spring shop.

They have multipliers and motor drivers to screw the old nuts off.

Once the U bolt gets lose, the hammering from an impact gun gets lost. Now your pulling on a wrench.

Besides, you get a free re-torque.

The pinion seal leak is a separate issue.
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Old 02-28-2016, 01:31 PM   #7
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I can fix the pinion leak and I can probably just cut the broken bolt off without much issue. I just need to find the correct replacement u-bolts. Grade 8, please!

Anyone know where to look other than a local suspension shop?
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Old 02-28-2016, 01:47 PM   #8
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Go to a local truck or suspension shop. You'd also be wise to get the rear axle aligned at the same time. If things shifted enough to break a grade 8 u-bolt, there's no telling what else moved around back there. They can align it and tighten all u-bolts at the same time.
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Old 02-28-2016, 09:24 PM   #9
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I have had good luck with this company.

Michigan Truck Spring
TruckSpring.com is your source for Truck Parts & Repair. We've been selling online since 2001, and ship parts internationally. Located in Saginaw, Michigan, we have 14 service bays and are open until 11pm Monday thru Friday, and 1pm on Saturday.

About Us

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Address:3649 Wolf Road, Saginaw, MI, USA
Phone:+1 989 755 0561
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Saturday: 8:00am - 1:00pm
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Old 02-29-2016, 09:35 AM   #10
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So, the overriding consensus here is that this crap just happens and that it isn't necessarily a weight or load issue? I mean, the rated break strength for a 3/4" grade 8 u-bolt is 50,000 lbs. - surely this one was simply defective - or it wasn't grade 8, right?
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Old 02-29-2016, 10:11 AM   #11
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X2 with TrapGame. It could have been a defective u-bolt, not Grade 8 or possibly over-torqued and stretched previously. If you want to bother, a metallurgist can examine the fracture surfaces and tell you why it failed (fatigue, corrosion, tensile, etc.) Going forward, the new u-bolts should be Grade 8 with rolled threads, not cut threads, and should use Grade 8 all-metal locknuts with a hardened washer, then torqued to the correct value. You may want to re-torque after 1000-2000 miles. Do all 4 on that axle.
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Old 02-29-2016, 11:45 AM   #12
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X2 with TrapGame. It could have been a defective u-bolt, not Grade 8 or possibly over-torqued and stretched previously. If you want to bother, a metallurgist can examine the fracture surfaces and tell you why it failed (fatigue, corrosion, tensile, etc.) Going forward, the new u-bolts should be Grade 8 with rolled threads, not cut threads, and should use Grade 8 all-metal locknuts with a hardened washer, then torqued to the correct value. You may want to re-torque after 1000-2000 miles. Do all 4 on that axle.
Thanks, bub.

I looked at Ford for replacement u-bolts (only) and they wanted $65 each.

I called the people at Michigan Truck Springs. All 4 bolts, nuts and washers are on the way for $75 shipped.
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:37 AM   #13
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Thanks, bub.

I looked at Ford for replacement u-bolts (only) and they wanted $65 each.

I called the people at Michigan Truck Springs. All 4 bolts, nuts and washers are on the way for $75 shipped.
.....................Im glad Michigan Truck was able to help you.....They are top of the line and good pricing. Good Luck.
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Old 03-01-2016, 11:30 AM   #14
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Apparently the "U" bolts are over-stressed on installation. The FORD shop manual says to not re-use them, but replace them when they are removed. Similar to their head bolts on many of their engines.
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