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4Crawler Offroad
Custom Leaf Spring Shackles

Visitor # 181034 since 13.AUG.2001


NOTE: Due to high order volume, it may take some time for production and shipments to catch up. Order backlog could be up to 4 weeks.

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NOTE: Due to high order volume, it may take some time for production and shipments to catch up. Order backlog could be up to 4 weeks.

Introduction:

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 shackle.

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 advantage.

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.

Prototype shackle bolt retainer

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 better solution.

Shackle Tabs

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.

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Custom Length Spring Shackles:

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 spring shackles:

Rear 4Crawler Shackles '89 and later pickup rear shackle 2" over Rear Shackle
(A) 3" longer rear shackle
'84-89 4Runner, '79-'88 Pickup
(B) 2" longer wide body rear shackle
'89-'95 Pickup
(C) 2" longer '89-'95 Pickup
w/ stock shackle for reference
Toyota wide body front shackle

Braced front shackle

(D) Wide body unbraced front shackle,
2" over stock length,
3/4" hardware
w/ drilled polyurethane spring bushings
(E) Wide body braced shackle
3.5" over stock length w/
18mm hardware for stock bushings
(F) Braced rear (3rd gen p/u)
5.5" over stock length (9" c-c)
For a rear Chevy spring install
2" longer than stock Tacoma shackle Note the factory offset built into the shackle plates
(G) Tacoma Rear Shackle
'95.5-'04 models
(H) Tacoma Shackle Installed
Note: The shackles match the factory
offsets on inner and outer plates
(I) Shackle Spacers to make
your own wide body shackles,
thickness/hole made to order
Greaseable Shackle Bolts .LSPV Bracket .LSPV brkt / Coil Spring
(J) Greaseable Shackle Bolts (K) Load Sensing Prop Valve
Bracket - For Toyota/Leaf Spring
(L) Load Sensing Prop Valve
Bracket - For Toyota/Coil Spring
Spring Shackle Examples

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 desired.

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 lift.

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.

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Ordering Information:

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Purchase w/ small US shipping
- Adds US$8.00 shipping automatically
- For bushings, bolts, sleeves, etc. that
- fit in a small envelope
Purchase w/ uninsured US shipping
- Adds US$14.00 shipping automatically
- For shackles, etc.
Purchase w/ insured US shipping
- Adds US$17.00 shipping automatically
- For shackles, etc.
Purchase w/ other shipping option
- Add custom shipping cost to order total

Hole/ID:

Thickness:

Hole/ID:

Thickness:

Order a set of 4 shackle spacers;

+ $8.00 for US shipping

Order a set of 4 shackle spacers;

+ $24.00 for International shipping