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Shackle fabrication


Active Member
January 6, 2012
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City, State
London Ontario
Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 Explorer 2wd sport
This article is a how to on building lift shackles, the first thing to keep in mind is size not so much the overall size but bolt to bolt centre to centre, this is what is going to determine your height of your lift, so the theory is every 2” between the bolts gets you 1” of lift.
(4)3/8 “X2” flat stock steel (cut to desired length) for 2 shackles
(2) 1.5” square tube cut to 3” for two shackles

Drill or drill press (preferred)
14mm (35/64) drill bit
Centre punch

Step 1:
Measure the distance at which you want the holes for your shackle, the measurements will differ from height and size of plates you choose to use, my stock shackle holes are 5.5” centre to centre I want my new holes to be at 7.5” 2” over stock giving me 1” lift, my plates are 9.5”x2” so I measured 1” in on either side giving me 7.5” between each hole centre to centre which will leave me with .75” overhang on each side after the holes are drilled at 14mm, this is also a good time to measure out for your cross brace (I centered mine) my tube is 1.5”x1.5”,measure the length of the plate and mark the centre (mine was 4.75) then I measured out half of my tube size(mine was .75” )and mark it on either side, this gave me my 1.5” centered.

Step 2:
Centre punch and drill holes at desired distance. I clamped them together and drilled them all at once (step drilling will help speed the drilling up and keep from overheating your bits.)

Centre tube on plate and weld making sure it doesn’t move (I tack mine in place first measuring it along the way before final welding.)

Centre the 2nd plate to tube (make sure it aligns with other plate) and weld making sure it doesn’t move (again I tack mine in place and measure before final welding.)

Repeat 3 and 4 building 2nd shackle.

Any questions or corrections are welcome and encouraged.

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Great work and write-up...

For future reference these are the dimensions for the Warrior Products lift shackles. You can also go with bigger bolts by going up to 9/16" thick.


Jrme i finished my shackles, very similar to yours as you already knew, u okay with me posting the pics in here since they are similar and it wont clutter up the forum any extra?

Keep in mind the center tube has to clear the frame when the shackle swings back, which is why Warrior shackles have the center bar mounted about 1/2" off center.

In other words, they can be installed upside down.


You might be able to see it better in this picture


My shackles were less work than this. Took a length of 3 inch C-channel, cut four pieces, drilled 8 holes, mitered the corners, bolted them on.

hmm turdle's came out prettier than mine..

one tip i can add, with teh thicker metal, before welding use a grinder to cut around the edges to be welded, this creates some more empty space for the weld to go in to get better penetration/strength, you can see what i mean in this picture. i really needed it since my outer edges of the tube was flush with the 3/8" plate, no corner there to weld in.

still havent found suitable bolts for them though. long 14mm is hard to come by around here.

so to add an update and put jrmes thread back up a bit, i installed my shackles, it may be worth noting that for fabricating the shackles if you use a 220v mig, put a large bolt (large but short) with a nut on it between the plates when you weld the inside edges, adding tension pushing them away from eachother, this is to counter the corner welds from "pulling" the ends of the plates together.

anyways, i originally drilled my shackles to a 9/16" bolt. This worked out well, the metal bushings in the leaf springs had worn, making the inner bore exactly 9/16 so the 9/16 bolts slid right in. it seems to be working very well.


they got buggered up while hammering them into place (weld pulling made them a bit tight) but they are in and added about 3/4" of lift.

Turdle is correct, the center tube needs to be offset to clear the frame. Also use a 9/16" grade 8 bolt. Metric is both expensive and hard to find when the 9/16" works perfect.

I build a lot of shackles and here is how I do it. I have 2 special pieces of tube I install on the bolt that is about .090" longer than the width of the bushing they fit over. This both aligns the bolt holes perfectly between each side and it keeps the shackles from closing up and when the spacers are removed after welding. The shackles will slightly close up when the spacers are removed and be the correct width to fit over the bushings without any hassle. Similar to what Blue91 described above but easier when you build several sets and all you have to do is put a sleeve over the bolt.

I also cheat and use a CNC Plasma Table to cut out my shackles :D the holes are then drilled to size for a precise fit.


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my shackles are shorter than the warriors and the tube in the center is exactly centered on the plates and i havent had any issues with hitting the frame or my receiver hitch. I have not flexed the truck out to its limits yet but it seems like i have plenty of room..

i have noticed a clunk in the rear end on large potholes recently, but these arent big enough to flex the leaf springs that much, i believe it is the original 23 y/o rear shocks that are rusted and may be binding or hitting themselves, i will try to check for scuff marks and chipped paint on the shackles tomorow.

I've looked at building up a set of shackles to help raise the back end of my '93. Just a quick question. With the added length on the shackles causing a rotation of the drive axle, has anyone noticed any problems with a change in the pinion angle? Any issues with shock mount angles?

Or am I just over thinking this?

Overthinking it, I have not noticed any pinion angle only drive shaft angle. and that is minimal (depending on ho long you make your shackles lol ).

Awesome write up but I have one question, I have a nice sized chunk of 1/4" plate. I'm curious if this would work? I know 1/4" isn't as thick as 3/8" but it's all I have at the present moment.

Great write up I will have to get some steel and build some for mine.