Custom Rebuilt Leaf Springs From Sacramento Spring – Review

Forging Custom Leaf Pack for 3rd Gen Tacoma

Manufacturer: Sacramento Spring MSRP: $1200
9.5
Average Score
  • Build Quality 9.5
  • Ride Quality 9.5
  • Performance 9.5
  • Adjustability 9.5
  • Value - Is it worth it? 9.5
The Last Leaf Springs You Will Ever Need, Built Specifically For Your Truck

I had my doubts about using OEM leaf springs compared to some of the great aftermarket options. How will OEM hold weight? Are they strong enough? How much taller can you make them?

After spending a whole day in-house with Sacramento Spring, I don’t think I would ever buy aftermarket leaf springs or install something like an add-a-leaf. Seeing and learning about a company that has been in business for nearly 100 years and watching them forge a set was eye-opening.

Find Them Online

Company Background

Sacramento Spring Leaf Spring Forge

Sacramento Spring is located in the industrial side of Sacramento, CA. This is a busy area full of manufacturers and businesses all supporting the backbone of California.

The shop is in a private gated location that is well-kept and clean. The owners pride themselves on keeping a clean, organized, and smooth-running shop. Brothers, Josh and Cory, are the primary owners of the business. Josh handles the business side and Cory is the leaf spring expert. You can often find some of their well-built personal projects in the shop.

Josh and Cory grew up in the industry from an early age. From working with their father off and on, they eventually obtained Sacramento Spring and carry on the business to this day. It prides itself on American-made products, putting the customer first, and being experts in their field.

Watching true blacksmithing in person with a hammer and anvil is something you don’t see all too often anymore.

Why Rebuild + Upgrade OEM?

3rd Gen Tacoma Custom Leaf Pack Rebuild

Josh and Cory wanted me to bring a set of OEM leaf packs to rebuild instead of my OME Dakar Medium Duty Leaf packs. This choice perplexed me at first, but having so much experience, they were 100% correct.

Toyota designed the OEM leaf pack’s size, bushing, and quality specifically for the Tacoma. The goal was to use as much original equipment as possible and improve or modify it to fit our needs.

In their years of experience, Josh and Cory have rarely seen the OEM bushing fail – even going back to 1st Gen Tacoma. Additionally, the keepers (brackets that hold the leaf pack in order) have rubber isolators that help with noise. Finally, the quality of the OEM steel is tempered and finished to minimize noise.

Tacoma Add a Leaf Snapped after Use

There are many reasons one may want to do this. Often for us Tacoma owners, we are looking for common things such as more lift, load carrying capacity, or to get rid of annoying squeaks.

To achieve more lift, people often opt for the trusty leaf block or an add-a-leaf. While a lift block does what it says, this only addresses the truck’s look and not the functionality. An add-a-leaf kit (overload leaf), increases load capacity and lift but does not address the root of the problem, which is the pack itself.

Furthermore, in my example, the leaf spring pads in my OME leaf pack have failed. This created a good amount of squeaks and rubbing inside the leaf pack. It was to the point where you could hear the truck rolling down the street just by squeaks.

How Rebuilding Works

Pressing Rivets Into Tacoma Leaf Pack

Cory has rebuilt many leaf packs on 3rd Gen Tacomas. So much so, that they have an in-house formula for this process.

The first formula is for everyday trucks. You come in with a broken add-a-leaf or a lift block and want to rebuild the leaf pack to be smoother, quiet, and lifted. This would be called a “1-3” leaf pack for adding one leaf and 3 inches of lift.

The process comprises of….

  • Removing the leaf pack from the truck
  • Disassembly
  • Building an additional leaf into the middle of the pack
  • Adding new isolators
  • Building new keeps
  • Riveting it all together
  • Painting
  • Reinstallation

The second formula is what I am calling their “Overland Expedition Formula” which comprises the 2-3 rule – adding two leaves for additional weight and 3 inches or more of lift. This process is similar to the one detailed above but they trim down some of the OEM leaves and add two more. Then, they reshape the whole thing to the desired lift height.

Materials Used

Custom Leaf Spring Parts

This was one part that truly stood out to me. I am a huge fan of American-made and supporting local businesses. First, all the work is performed in-house using American-made components – tempered steel, U-bolts, rivets, and isolators.

The steel used comes in uncut long strips, not prefabbed leaves. Rather, each one is cut with a shear, ground down, shaped, and hammered into the desired shape.

The same applies to the keepers, isolators, and more. The former is cut and bent in-house, even the U-bolts. I expected to see boxes of pre-fabbed ones but this was not the case. No corners are cut here and quality is chosen over expense.

Disassembly Process

High Weight Rating Air Jack for Lifted Trucks

The process starts with using some of the coolest jacks I have seen. They operate on compressed air and have a lifting capacity built for big rigs. From there, the leaf pack is removed from the truck and brought to the bench.

3rd Gen Tacoma OEM Leaf Pack Disassembly

Next, a heavy-duty cutting torch is used to burn and cut out the OEM rivets on the leaf pack. Then, the bolt is removed and the leaf pack is fully disassembled and laid out on the table.

They trim down the leaves that are going to be reused and clean up the edges. This process is important because, unlike after-market leaf packs, the edges are ground and tapered to prevent potential squeaks in the future.

Forging

60mm x 9mm American Made Leaf Spring Steel

Sacramento Spring could temper their own but instead found a high-quality American supplier that can provide the 60mm x 9mm steel needed. The steel comes in whole strips and is cut down with a hydraulic shear. The edges are finished on a huge floor grinder.

Grinding Down Leaf Spring to Form a Custom Leaf Pack

Next, the leaves are heated with the torch, trimmed, and hammered on the anvil into their rough shape. The OEM top leaf is shaped first into the desired amount of lift. From there, the following leaves are hammered and shaped accordingly.

Custom Leaf Pack Angled Overlay Section

The final touches are added before painting. This includes drilling holes for the isolators, attaching the new hand-made keepers, and more. The rivets used to attach the new keepers are oversized for strength, another improvement over the factory.

Blacksmithing

Large Metal Shear to Cut Down Leafs for Leaf Pack

When I started looking at this route, I thought it was as simple as bringing in the truck, bending the leaf pack, bolting on a prefabbed leaf, and putting it back in the truck. I was completely incorrect about this process. Cory and Josh onsite are truly forging and blacksmithing metal into a leaf pack, something I was not expecting at all.

With most off-road shops, parts sold are bolt-on. Witnessing this increasingly rare skill in action was awesome. From heating the metal to using the large equipment to make incremental bends to achieve the final result was awe-inspiring.

Custom Black Smiting to Forge Custom Leaf Packs for Lifted Trucks

If you handed me the same material and tools and told me to make one leaf match the curvature of the other, what took them a matter of 10 minutes would take me 10 hours to get the same result.

Final Thoughts

Overland Tacoma Camping on Rainy Morning

After adding two leaves and reforming an OEM leaf pack, I am shocked at how much better this performs over my original OME medium-duty leaf pack. The squeaks in the rear are now completely gone and my doesn’t squat under the additional weight.

This process is beneficial because if your truck does not sit correctly, it can add or take away lift. By hammering and forming the leaves, there is no settle-in time required. After 1000 hard miles on these leaf packs, I can tell you they ride wonderfully with all the weight.

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