Doesn't it seem strange that most places only offer 3" longer
spring shackles? For example, most stock Toyota 4Runner (and
mini-truck) spring shackles measure approximately 3.5" center to
center (T-100 shackles are approx. 4.5"). I wanted longer shackles
but not 3" longer, so I decided to make my own. The first ones I
made involved buying a 3" longer "Rubicon"
shackle from Downey Offroad,
redrilling one hole in the desired location and cutting off the excess.
While this worked fine for shorter shackles, it was somewhat expensive
and time consuming.
The Downey Rubicon shackle design uses two, unbraced
side plates with straight 18mm through bolts and nylon lock nuts to
hold the shackle together. This design allows the side plates to move
independently, which reduces stress on the suspension and allows for
greater articulation. However, I found the Downey design has one fatal
flaw, that is that the bolt tends to remain fixed inside the
spring/frame bushing, thereby forcing the shackle side plate to rotate
on the bolt. Over time this metal-to-metal contact leads to wear,
opening up the hole in the side plate, leading to sloppy handling on
the road. But worse yet, the back and forth rotation of the side plate
under the nut can cause it to work its way loose, ultimately leading to
a loss of the nut (I know, it happened to me) and possibly the entire
In fact, if you run the Downey Rubicon shackles, be sure to check
the tightness of the nuts periodically!
One nice feature of the Rubicon shackle design that I do like is that
removal is very easy, since you can pull each bolt out separately. If
you've ever struggled with trying to pull out a one-piece shackle out
of the frame and the spring at the same time, you can appreciate this
In light of the above problems, I decided I could make a better
shackle, taking the good features of the Rubicon design, and correcting
the weaknesses. My first attempt was to tack weld the bolt head to the
side plate. It worked for a while, but it made shackle removal
difficult as now you could not pull one bolt at a time. So, I ground
out the welds and decided to come up with a better solution.
I then came up with a retainer (photo above) to hold the bolt (and thus
the nut) fixed to the side plate without restricting the inherent
flexibility of the design. While this retainer works well it takes a
fair amount of time to make and I figured there had to be an even
My final solution was even simpler, I basically combined the two
previous ideas into one. By welding tabs on the shackle to prevent the
bolt from turning, yet still allowing it to move independently, I think
I've solved all the problems with the original Downey Rubicon shackle
design and I've given up none of the benefits. Also, as an unexpected
side benefit, the tabs help to protect the head of the lower shackle
bolt from damage scraping over rocks. The tabs take most of the abuse
and leave the head of the bolt fairly unscathed.
For the shackle side plates themselves, to ensure perfect alignment
between the bolt holes, all 4 shackle side plates are tack welded
together prior to drilling. After the holes are drilled, through all 4
side plates, to the proper size for the bolts, the side plates are
separated and then any final work such as bending or welding in bracing
is done. For unbraced shackles, you can use the "witness
marks" on the side of the plates to put the plates back together
as they were drilled. THe plates will have from 1 to 4 dots stamped
into the side, and if you keep 1 next to 2 and 3 next to 4, the plates
for each shackle will be next to the one they were drilled with.
The shackles use stock size hardware to provide the proper fit in the
stock Toyota spring and frame bushings. Since the side plates are cut
from lengths of 3/8" x 2" steel flat bar, any length shackle
from 0" to 3.5" over stock length can be made to suite your
needs. Pictured below are some examples of custom 4Crawler
Note that the 2nd generation Pickups ('89-'95) have a shackle hanger
that is wider than the spring itself. We offer two options for this,
one is a wide body shackle (A) with welded-in-place spacers, or a
stepped-down shackle similar to stock (B). You can compare the size of
the stock shackle to the longer units. Note, with stock rubber spring
bushings, it is necessary to remove the steel sleeve in the spring eye
to install the 18mm bolt directly. It is also possible to get the
shackles set up with a bolt to fit inside the stock steel spacer if
Also available, custom front shackles. Same basic options as the rear
shackles, braced or unbraced, wide body or bent
side plates. Also available is custom widths, top and bottom. An
example is the Tacoma ('95.5-'04) shackle shown in pictures (G) and (H)
above. The factory shackle hanger is not centered directly above the
spring for some reason. Instead, the factory shackles have a different
offset on the inner and outer shackle plates. By exactly duplicating
the factory offsets, the 4Crawler Tacoma shackle ensures that the rear
springs are not put under the added stress caused by a symmetrical
shackle (as many common shackle designs use) and ensures that the rear
axle alignment is preserved.
Also available, custom machined shackle spacers (I) for making your own
wide-body shackles. Simplifies shackle fabrication since no bending is
required. Common thicknesses are:
Turned from 1.75" OD billet steel, they cam be made with nearly
any thickness and center hole size.
And now available are greaseable shackle bolts (J). Bolts are
gun-drilled through the head, cross-drilled with a center groove to
allow for grease insertion into the bushings or OrbitEye/Johnny Joint
type spring end. Then the hole in the head is tapped for 1/4-28 thread
low-profile grease zerks. Use of this size thread allows the zerks to
be removed and replaced with a short, flat-headed screw to prevent the
zerk from being scraped off by a rock on the trail.
For Toyota pickups and 4Runners, a bracket to raise the sensing rod on
the axle for the Load Sensing Proportioning Valve (LSPV-BV) is also
available (K, L). Bracket is made to order, it is sized to match the
Also, if looking for shackles to use with non-stock springs, for
example, the popular Rancho 44044 springs are 1/4" wider than the
stock Toyota springs and therefore cause problems when used with
shackles built for the stock width spring. If you can provide the
specifications of the spring and hanger setup you are using, 4Crawler
Offroad can probably make a shackle to fit your exact needs.
For shackle and hardware dimensions, see the
information in the table in this link. We'll use those
dimensions as the basis for the custom shackles unless you advise us
otherwise. For example if you have aftermarket springs or bushings that
use different size hardware, let us know so we can adjust the design
for your shackles. Also, some vehicles may have variations in hardware
dimensions that may affect the design of your shackles.
14mm - 9/16in.
19mm - 3/4in.
14mm - 9/16 in.
19mm - 3/4 in.
Order a set of 4 shackle spacers;
Amount of lift:
1.0 in./ 25mm
1.5 in./ 38mm
2.0 in./ 51mm
2.5 in./ 63mm
3.0 in./ 76mm
We can also build LSPV brackets with multiple holes in there to allow
for adjustability. The series of holes can be spaced at about 1"
increments from about 1" up to the maximum lift you specify, so a
3" bracket would have holes for 1" and 2" and 3" of
lift, while a 4" bracket would have holes for approx. 1",
2", 3", 4" lifts. This is a good option if you have just
installed new springs and/or are unsure of the total lift you have. New
springs will tend to settle with time and use, so your 2" lift
springs may start out with 4" or more of lift then settle down to
the 2" height after a year or so, as they settle, lower the LSPV
sensing rod on the bracket to compensate.
Amount of lift:
2.0 in./ 51mm
2.5 in./ 63mm
3.0 in./ 76mm
At this point, you may have questions about spring shackles:
And here are some answers:
If all this is too confusing, 4Crawler Offroad would be more than happy
to consult with you on your specific application. With a few simple
measurements and some basic information, it should be possible to
figure out exactly what you need for your application.
TOOLS NEEDED: You'll need a floor jack, jack
stands, wheel chocks, an assortment of wrenches/sockets as need to
remove the old and install the new shackles (M18 bolts need a 27mm
(1-1/16") wrench), rubber mallet and some good graphite-loaded
wheel bearing grease.
Offroad if interested in more information on any of these items)
And please be sure to send
us a working, valid e-mail address if you want a reply