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Old 11-17-2012, 09:22 PM   #1
cstrike
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Shackle Flip write up - before and after

Hey guys,

Researching threads here prior to purchasing a shackle flip kit I found tons of great information but not many details. Some threads talk about an approximate amount of lift but usually not actual measurements or before and after pictures. Also, there isn't much in the way of measurable results regarding articulation improvements. At best you will get a qualitative 'rides much better' comment. In no way is this a complaint but rather the background on why I want to post my story.

I just received a shackle flip kit from Hefty Fabworks. I called them Monday (11/11) and asked what the odds were of having the kit delivered before Thanksgiving, surprisingly it arrived yesterday (11/16). I plan to install the kit tomorrow and will take lots of pictures and measurements. If anyone would like me to measure or report on anything specific, I would be happy to try.

Here is the plan.....

To get a baseline I will:
1) Measure and report the distance from the top of the tire to the body in all 4 corners
2) Drive my Bronco onto my RTI ramp both forwards and backwards and report the results (shocks disconnected)

Next I will install the kit without removing the lift blocks and then repeat the above two measurements. After that I plan to remove the lift block but leave the factory wedge. Again I will repeat the above measurements.

At that point I will need to re-evaluate my situation. My backend needs to come up about 2 inches to be level with the front. Depending on how things turn out I am considering removing a leaf. I currently have 6, I thought these trucks should only have 5? If I make more changes I will again repeat my measurements.

About my truck
1986 EFI 302, Dana 44 SAS. I am currently running 4" Deaver coils intended for 78-79 Broncos. The coil plate on the radius arm is a 78-79 style that the previous owner modified to work with 1980+ springs. I had to cut that out and make some modifications to work with the 78-79 coils. I spent today fabbing up coil retainers because they would become unseated when I flexed out on the ramp. I figure I have the equivilant of 6" of lift.

I still use the Factory coil bucket / shock tower. The radius arms are extended and use factory height rear brackets. The rear leaves are original as best I can tell and have a 2" lift block.

Can you think of anything else I should be looking at before I pull the old hangers off? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Here are some pics to get started:

The Brackets from Hefty seem very well made. I wanted something else in the picture for reference.


Here is my truck on the ramp before I built my coil retainers. You can see the driver's coil out of its bucket in the first pic. It sure helped with flexing though!

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Old 11-17-2012, 09:48 PM   #2
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Sweet cant wait to see your numbers after all of this. Its cool that your going to spend the time to do so.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:36 PM   #3
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can't wait to see the results, and pics thanks for doing this
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:29 AM   #4
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:27 PM   #5
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Sure now somebody does this after I decided and bought......... the same ones. lol
Mine are going on next weekend. I love heftey's product.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:28 PM   #6
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OK guys, round one is complete and I have the results. I am happy overall but have to say I feel torn a bit about what I found. Again, I am looking for any advice or input both on how to make this thread more useful but also in regards to my truck.

Some before numbers:

RTI ramp results
Drivers front 67" / 638 RTI Score
Drivers Rear 82" / 781 RTI Score
Passenger front 72" / 686 RTI Score
Passenger Rear 62" / 590 RTI Score

Tire to body measurement
Drivers front 9.5"
Drivers Rear 7.25"
Passenger front 9.5"
Passenger Rear 7.25"

Here is a pic of the driver's rear, my best result:


I can't help but think that I have some binding going on limiting my rear droop. Here is a crappy pic of the drivers side shackle binding against the hanger on the ramp. I was hoping to fix this with the kit:


The other problem I will have to deal with soon is the front drive shaft grinding on the cross member. This is going to be a pain in the ass to fix but I have searched the forum and seen what others have done:


After taking all the before measurements it was time to start working. I won't bore you too much with details of the install because it has been well documented in other threads. There are a few things I would like to share though.

First off, after all these years of working on vehicles, I had never used an air hammer. After reading other threads I bought a mid range Ingersoll Rand from Amazon and can't believe I have lived life without it! I cut grooves into the rivets first with an air cut off tool then decided my grinder was better. Once that was done the air hammer made short work. Do yourself a favor and make sure you have an air hammer when doing this job.

This was the ideal opportunity to wire wheel my frame and paint it. I am not interested in a show truck but I like a nice clean look when I can. I spent some time with a flap wheel and a wire wheel to clean things up:


Another word of advice I have is to lower your gas tank. I read many threads on here where people got creative and didn't need to do this to mount the brackets but I don't get it, it was 4 bolts. I don't know, maybe not all Broncos are the same but I took 5 mins loosened these 4 bolts and was able to lower the tank a good 4". I am a medium / large size guy and this gave me the room I needed to sneak my hands in and push the bolts through the frame from the inside. It is just my opinion but the 5 mins was well worth avoiding frustration.

So I don't know how much this will help but I cut some steel bar and reenforced my shackles. I may buy new ones from Hefty but while I had these out it seemed like the right thing to do. I also ground just a tiny bit the sharp edges where the factory bends crested high points.


OK, so post flip numbers. First I wanted to measure the height I gained, not surprisingly the front remained unchanged so I will only report on the rear.

Tire to body measurement
Drivers Rear 11.5" (4.25 inches of lift!)
Passenger Rear 11.5" (4.25 inches of lift!)

Here is the stance now:

Overall I am happy with the height although I do want to lose about 2" in the rear when I am all done. The disappointing part is that there was really no change on the ramp.

RTI ramp results
Drivers front 63" (4" less)
Drivers Rear 83" (1" more)
Passenger front 76" (4" more)
Passenger Rear 64" (2" more)

This is really a wash because there is really +/- a few inches depending on tire placement anytime you climb the ramp.

Here is my theory....
Ride quality might improve from a shackle flip but the overall length of the spring system remains the same. Check out these pictures:


The shackle is inline with the spring and just has nothing more to give. I didn't gain any droop. I am hoping that removing the block and / or leaves could help with compression on one side but I doubt droop will improve unless I add more length to the system .... longer shackles. What do you tink?
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:03 PM   #7
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3rd pic from the bottom, your shackle angle looks off...
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:05 AM   #8
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I just did the shackle flip on my 95 as well using the jbg brackets. I gained just under 5 inches with there setup on stock springs. I have toyed with the idea of longer shackles as well, as its easy to max out the stock ones. I have a set of f350 drop shackles that are 3 inches longer than the stock bronco ones that i'm gonna try. Its definately a good mod to do though. I didn't drop the tank on my install though. I just left out the front lower bolt and welded the bracket to the frame. You can gain more travel by moving the front bracket back a bit as well. As was stated by someone earlier your shackle angle is a bit off and thats hurting the travel. Mine is the same, i think it really needs the front bracket moved back a bit to be perfect.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cstrike View Post

Here is the stance now:

The shackle is inline with the spring and just has nothing more to give. I didn't gain any droop. I am hoping that removing the block and / or leaves could help with compression on one side but I doubt droop will improve unless I add more length to the system .... longer shackles. What do you tink?
in this pic, if you look closely you can see the shackle is actually angled forward. figure out the difference in inches between where it's at now and what it needs to get to about 45* back. then move the front spring hanger back that far. that'll give you more droop and flex.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeizhard102205 View Post
in this pic, if you look closely you can see the shackle is actually angled forward. figure out the difference in inches between where it's at now and what it needs to get to about 45* back. then move the front spring hanger back that far. that'll give you more droop and flex.
Yeah, you guys are both right on. I had read where people were moving the front hanger back in order to recenter the wheel and didn't plan to do that. But, it is clear now that there is more to it then re-centering, there just isn't enough 'slack' in the system.

Tonight I plan to pull the block and remeasure everything, I will move the hanger too but that will likely be Thursday while I wait for the bird to cook! I am still contemplating the longer shackles in the near future. Any thoughts on removing a leaf? This Bronco is only a weekend warrior and I don't tow anything with it, I kind of like the idea of a softer more plush ride.

I am excited on closing in on my final ride height so I can order up some Bilsteins!
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:14 AM   #11
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:34 PM   #12
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Yup, fix the shackle angle and a little bit longer shackle will allow for more travel.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:59 PM   #13
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Not much to report tonight. I pulled the 1" blocks and total shocker I lost about an inch of height in the rear. I am measuring 10.75 from the tire to the body. I wasn't able to put everything back together because my u-bolts are too long. They need about 3/8" more threading but this is a good excuse to get new ones tomorrow. Even though I will have this buttoned up tomorrow I don't see any point in doing the ramp again until I change something else.

I took measurements and read a bunch of threads on here last night and will be moving the front hangers back 2 -2.5" on Thursday. This should correct my shackle angle and give me more droop. But also I really need some advice on removing a rear leaf. I am blessed with hundreds of miles of public forest roads here in N. Arizona and I really want to improve my ride on bumpy washboard like dirt roads. It would seem worth it to me to remove a leaf and give up the ability to haul for the plusher ride. Am I off base? Plus, I count 6 leaves as pictured and so I am guessing I have an extra already. Take a look at the pic and tell me what you would do if you were in my shoes. Again, flex and plushness trump the ability to tow or haul. Thanks in advance! I will ramp it again if I pull a leaf.


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Old 11-21-2012, 07:32 AM   #14
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Dammit! I have been researching leaf spring threads all night to figure out what leaf to pull and am now convinced I have 2 aftermarket springs in my pack. Look how nasty and think the 2nd and 3rd leaves are. And If I remove them both I will not have any support for the top spring. I am thinking I need to go to the junkyard and snag whole new stock spring packs.

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Old 11-21-2012, 10:06 AM   #15
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Those do look like add a leaf lift springs. I would just pull one at a time[I think the 3rd leaf first] to see how it does. I would see if you can find some picks of the stock springs to compare also. I checked my friend here at work [93] and it has 5.
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:57 AM   #16
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Looks like you do have an add~a~leaf, it is the one right under the top leaf. Your shackle angle should be right around 30*, you will get a lot better flex with longer shackles and the proper shackle angle. The idea is to set it to where you have near equal movment up or down with the tire.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:48 AM   #17
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Take your ride down to Amerian Spring and have them rework your pack. I know others have had issues with them, but they always treated me well when I lived up there. A custom pack could also aleviate your shackle issue.
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:25 PM   #18
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No need to go to the wrecking yard, you got a good set to work with. Remove the first leaf down from the top and then fine tune by removing one of the bottom leaves if necessary.

I had a little cinder track about 10 miles out on the south side of hwy. 180. It was just south of Wing Mtn. snow play area, second left after Snowbowl Rd. It was close to me as I lived in Cheshire.

Ooops, look like your out east. Have you played in the cinders there?

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Old 11-21-2012, 03:39 PM   #19
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Hijack, Cstrike the paint on your bronco looks fuzzy almost like felt! Hijack over.

Do you have anybind issues with the shackle flip kit?
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Old 11-21-2012, 06:58 PM   #20
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Thanks for the responses guys.

First off, I am comfortable pulling one add-a-leaf out but since my next factory leaf is so short I don't want to take both. I feel I need to support the top leaf.

I didn't want to do it but I think I am going to swap spring packs with my 96. I was hoping to leave the poor little guy mostly stock. I put a 2.5" Tough Country lift on there but it is otherwise all original. Check this out through, even with the TTB and stock arms it ramped as well as the 86:



The front hardly flexed but the rear did awesome!

I just picked up new u-bolts and center bolts from American Spring (thanks for the reminder BigBlue) and will remove a leaf before I put the pack into the 96. In the meantime I will install the stock springs into the 86 and see what happens. Tomorrow I plan to deal with the shackle angle.

f150inline, the truck is Herculinered. I finally have a line on the doors I want for the weekend so hopefully the whole truck can match again soon.

Swat, I am out in Doney Park about a mile from the Cinder Hills OHV entrance. Love it here and hit the cinders all the time.
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