An easy way to change spring shackles

An easy way to change spring shackles

Postby andrew678122 [OP] » September 4th 2016, 3:38am

I have been thinking about a 2" lift on my Astro for over a year, I even bought a pair of 1"-3" adjustable shackles. But I hated the thought of messing with the leaf springs so I procrastinated...

Then I had an idea that will benefit anyone with limited space and resources. I bought a 4x4 8' long from Lowes and cut it in half. Then I bought 2 4' safety chains from Harbor Fright.
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Put the 4x4 under the leaf spring and wrap the chains over the leaf spring and around the 4x4, pulling it up against the axle as much as possible and securely hook it into a link.
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and
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Now jack the van up (not under the rear end). The 4x4 holds the spring tensioned but restrains it, and the rear end does not drop down 8-10 inches before lifting from the floor. You'll have to play with the jack height but you can easily find a position where the shackle bolts can be slid out. I used this method to replace the stock shackles with my lifted pair, taking the lift to 2". Then the following morning I decided to take it to 3" — it took me about 30 minutes making the change.

Make sure the 4x4 is not going to hit anything such as the exhaust system when the van is jacked up. And common sense would suggest you don't get a 4x4 with major defects in it. A good 4x4 is easily capable of taking the load.

Have fun and be careful, I hate working with springs, especially big ones with lots of stored energy...
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Re: An easy way to change spring shackles

Postby Ken2.7 » September 4th 2016, 3:49am

Where did you get your shackles and thanks for the idea.
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Re: An easy way to change spring shackles

Postby Coaster » September 4th 2016, 3:53am

i dont get it - i just use a floor jack and position the vehicle so that the spring lines up with the shackle.........?

not trying to be an ***, but its always been a few minutes work for me?
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Re: An easy way to change spring shackles

Postby andrew678122 [OP] » September 4th 2016, 4:05am

Coaster wrote:i dont get it - i just use a floor jack and position the vehicle so that the spring lines up with the shackle.........?

not trying to be an ***, but its always been a few minutes work for me?

I'm working in a residential garage with about 6 inches more height than my van (under the door)...
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Re: An easy way to change spring shackles

Postby andrew678122 [OP] » September 4th 2016, 4:17am

Ken2.7 wrote:Where did you get your shackles and thanks for the idea.

I've been wracking my one remaining grey-cell but can't remember where I bought them, I do remember that I got a good deal tho...
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Re: An easy way to change spring shackles

Postby Coaster » September 4th 2016, 4:36am

ah. i see yes if u cant raise the van
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Re: An easy way to change spring shackles

Postby andrew678122 [OP] » September 4th 2016, 4:44am

Coaster wrote:ah. i see yes if u cant raise the van

Yeah I should have mentioned that in my original post...
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Re: An easy way to change spring shackles

Postby andrew678122 [OP] » September 9th 2016, 9:09pm

I have had a chance to drive the Astro with it lifted, and I really like it, and have noticed no problems. The lift 'keys' I bought for the front are the wrong size. How did I screw that up? They must be for the earlier Astro. So what I did was crank the adjustment for both left and right torsion bar's all the way up as in end-of-travel. With the shackles giving a 3" lift in the back and prolly about 2" up front it looks good, and it rides good. I'm done... until I get the next set of tires.

All things considered using a 4x4 to take the leaf spring tension is a good way to do the lift, if for no other reason than the van is closer to the ground — don't need as many blocks under the jack and jack stands.

I have a set of 2" lift, new keys for the earlier Astro, the hex hole is about 2-1/8". If anyone wants them, $30 including shipping.
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Re: An easy way to change spring shackles

Postby TurnNburn » September 9th 2016, 9:14pm

I also bought the wrong ones my first time. I didn't realize there was a year split (97?) and I thought the size described in the description was the inches of lift it would provide... not the size of the hex...
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Re: An easy way to change spring shackles

Postby andrew678122 [OP] » September 9th 2016, 11:52pm

TurnNburn wrote:I also bought the wrong ones my first time. I didn't realize there was a year split (97?) and I thought the size described in the description was the inches of lift it would provide... not the size of the hex...

It was my mistake, I knew there were 2 sizes but must have convinced myself the the later vans took the larger ones...
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