Drop Shackle How Too

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Mar 27, 2003
Myrtle Beach, SC
By Chris Inman aka jakhammer

You will need a 21mm wrench and a 21mm socket (I used deep well, but shallow should work also), a torque wrench capable of 100FTlbs, something to use as wheel chocks (I used a 2x4), 2 jack stands, and one jack (maybe a chunk off 4x4 if you use the hitch as a jack point, you will need the extra height that the wood gives, trust me, I know all about it). The install of my DJM 2 inch drop shackles took me about and hour including looking for wood and putting all the tools, jack, and jack stands away.

First, I chocked my front wheels with 2x4s. I was on a sloped driveway with the front of the truck facing the road, not a good combo. Then I tried to jack up the truck on the hitch. I could not get the tires off the ground, so I had to use the 4x4. This gave me enough height to get the rear tires about 2 inches off the ground. Next put the jack stands under the axle and drop the jack enough so that just the weight of the axle is on the stands. You DO NOT want the vehicle weight on the jack stands. This will make taking bolts out next to impossible and dangerous. I guess I should add here that you may want to put the truck itself on jack stands of added safety, but I didnt have this option, I only had 2 jack stands.

Now you can start disassembling the stock set up. Remove the nuts from the bolts on the shackle to shackle mount, then pull out the bolt. Next look at the bolt that holds the shackle to the spring. WTF! the bolt cant not be taken out, the frame is in the way! Well, take the nut off (let me back up and say that if you do both sides at the same time, you can cut a lot of time out from doing this step once instead of twice) and then let the jack down very slowly. This will let the truck come down and the spring go up into the body. Once the bolt clears the frame rail, but the bolt out. Be VERY CAREFUL on this step. I dont think you want your spring coming up through the floor or side of the box. Once you have the bolt out, remove the shackle (dont let it fall and hit you in the head like I did on the drivers side).

Now you can install the new shackles. With the spring still up past the frame rail, put in the shackle and put the bolt back through and install the nut (DO NOT TIGHTEN MORE THAN HAND TIGHT!). Next jack the truck back up until the shackle is close the lining up with the shackle mount hole. You can push or pull the spring up or down (tip, push/pull where the shackle mounts to the spring or as close to it as you can, it requires very little effort), slide in the bolt and install the nut (DO NOT TIGHTEN MORE THAN HAND TIGHT!).

Once both sides are installed, remove the jack stands (for us bigger people or those of you that like room to work, leave then there cuz its hard to get under there to work) and the the truck weight completely rest on the tires (or jack stands like I did). Now push on the bumper and bounce the truck up and down at least 10 times. This will let the bushings and shackles settle into a position that they would be in when driving down the road (not doing this step will bind the bushings and cause them to twist once torqued resulting in busing wear, possible squeaks, and suspension pre loading i.e. the truck will want to sit higher). now you can torque the bolts/nuts to the spec supplied. If there is no spec supplied (like my DJM), the FORD factory spec is 73-100 ftlbs. I set mine to 84ftlbs and have had zero problems.

Now you are done (unless you still have jack stands under the axle, jack up the truck and remove them). Just clean up and enjoy.
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