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Shackle Install Question



In order to get an inch or two of lift, I was about to install a set of longer shackles that I purchased to the rear leaf springs of my '99 when I was warned not to do it. It seems there was a concern that I needed "leaf spreaders" in case the springs bowed in too far once they were unbolted from the shackles and I would not be able to make them reach back to the new shackles when I tried to re-install.
Will this happen and necessitate finding/ renting leaf spreaders to do the job, or can I go ahead and safely unbolt the rear leafs with no concern and be able to easily realign the leaf holes to the new shackles?

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Where did you find longer shackles? Who are they made by? And how much longer than stock are they? I've been looking everywhere with no luck trying to find a set (outside of a lift kit) that will fit my 91 and give me an inch or so. Any info would be appreciated.


I got them from a local 4x4 shop. They are made for 89-95 Jeep Wranglers but appear to have the same width measurements as my Explorer so should bolt right on and work.
At this point I am only trying to correct a slight sag that the rear appears to have so the ones I purchased are only about 1 1/2" longer than the Explorer shackles. Since the shackles rest at an angle, I figure this will only give me 3/4" to an inch of lift, not the entire 1 1/2". I will then even out any excess lift by cranking up my torsion bars in front just a bit.
I am sure that it would be easy to find even longer Jeep Wrangler shackles to use. I may do that if I don't think these lifted it enough for my satisfaction. At $21.95 I figured I have nothing to lose by trying.

[This message has been edited by GJarrett (edited 06-08-1999).]

hey fellas keep in mind that since you are only putting the shackles on one end of the spring you get half the extra length. ie: if its 1 1/2 longer than stock the most it will lift the rear is 3/4" if it's 3" longer than stock the most it will lift the rear is 1 1/2" ... okay so keep that in mind. also if you are hurting for shackles and have access to steel flat stock... 1/4 or 3/8 with the appropriate holes should work for you, then you can say you fabbed custom parts for the truck hahaha... good luck.

never heard of the creatures, if you do end up needing them it sounds like a good time to buy that hi lift jack, or hell you need one anyway right, use that may need a wood block but hell at least it will have 101 uses instead of one, maybe the guy that told you that wanted you to get hose stretchers and a bucket of air. good luck

You should have no trouble installing the shackels. If you find that the spring arch causes shackel reversal when unweighted, you can us a block of wood across the cord of the spring arch and then use a clamp to compress the spring. I have never had to use this method on anything with stock springs.

FYI in case you try using Jeep Wrangler shackles like I got....
You're not gonna believe it, but I just got a call from the manager of the store I bought them from and he wants me to return the shackles for a refund! It seems he is concerned about litigation exposure to his store for selling me something not specifically made for the Explorer if I roll over with those shackles on the vehicle! Sheesh we've gotten sue-happy. He is even reprimanding the employee who sold them to me.
Sooo, if you get them, you may want to neglect to mention that they are not for a Wrangler....
BTW, I shoulda thunk of this possiblity before. I had similar problems getting aircraft hardware once -- after the shop found out I was using them on an ultralight and not a FAA certified aircraft.

You said that you are compensating in the front by turning your torsion bars. What's the max you can lift the fron by using this method?

Also, are you keeping the same shocks?

I am not going to get over an inch of lift out of these, probably a little less, so I only cranked up the torsion just a little bit to even out the vehicle. I am installing the shackles this weekend to see how it looks.

When I tightened up the torsion bars yesterday I only went a few threads in and got a full inch of lift; I will see how much it settles down to in another few miles. There is a LOT longer more to screw the adjuster in so I can easily see how others on this board have talked of getting 2"+ doing the procedure, but I have also read and am concerned about things such as CV joint wear and stress, etc when you go much over an inch. The manager at the four wheel shop here said I would "really be asking for trouble in the long run" to lift it the full two inches (whatever that means).
Maybe someone else who has done the procedure and put some time on can tell us more about it.

I installed 3" shackles (for 1.5" of lift) on my 95 with no problems. No "spring spreader" needed. It has the 3" wide single leaves which are different in width and pack size than the 4 door springs. I've done other shackle lifts on my trucks in the past with no problems.(2 Scouts, 1 Travelall, 3 CJs, and a Chevy Stepside) Just use your jackstands wisely and be careful!
I raised the truck up 2"+ with a torsion bar "swap and twist". (Sounds like a new dance). I'm now in the process of backing it back down until I get some tire rub. I want to take some pressure off of the bearings and CJ joints. At full lift they can be heard. So far no rubbing except once when I got the truck airborne. Nothing broken, but I'll stick to "terra firma" more carefully! Partial torsion lift hints and instructions can be found at: Dead Link Removed
Clearance pictures with 32"x11.5"/16s can be found at:
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Pics of the lifted truck with stock and larger tires can be found at:
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95 Explorer Sport Expedition

Sorry guys! Not sure why the first link to the lift page does not work. Use one of the other two to get onto the site and then use and then link from there.

95 Explorer Sport Expedition

Rick G, thanks for replying to my post; I was really wanting to hear from you since you had done both procedures.
Now that I have evened out the front by cranking the torsion bars up a bit (the right front was a half inch lower than the left originally), I have noticed that the left rear sags a full inch lower than the right rear. I cannot figure out what would cause this (certainly not a twisted frame on a brand new vehicle?!)unless the left leaf springs are weaker stock than the right ones or something like that. Any ideas on that one?
So I am not going to install the shackles until I first take this to the dealership to correct that left side sag. I do not want the dealership having an easy out by saying the aftermarket shackles caused it. If I buy a $35k vehicle I expect it not to list like a ship!

The driver's side torsion bar is stiffer than the passenger side. After purchasing them I noticed that it is slightly shorter than the other side.My Explorer also has a slight list. I evened this out by cranking one side slightly higher than the other. I did this a little at a time to test the handling and alignment effects. No problems yet. The dealer says that the stiffer side is done to account for the driver's weight and the effects of time (sagging) under that weight. Most of the time there is no passenger.
Don't go too long on the shackles. The longer you go, the more it adversly affects handling. I learned this on one of my CJs. I at first raised it 3" with shackles alone and was sorely dissapointed in the handling. The 36" tires did not help much either!
1-2" is best.
My Explorer handles like a dream now! The shackles have not increased the stiffness of the ride in the rear and the front is stiff enough to help the cornering.
Good Luck

95 Explorer Sport Expedition
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