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Shackle Reversal for Big Fords

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Cole Quinnell | Writer
Posted December 1, 1998

Smoothing the Ride in F-350s

Step By Step

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  • The Off-Road Unlimited shackle-reversal kit comes with new shackles, a track-bar mount, sway-bar endlink extensions, fasteners, and a front crossmember which houses the front spring mounts. The kit provides a 2-1/2-inch lift up front, and you can fit a 35-inch-tall tire on the truck without any other lift. Off Road Unlimited also offers a kit for Jeeps that suffer from the same front-mounted-shackle design.

  • The original front-mounted shackles don’t do a great job of absorbing shockloads, and the bushings in the frame usually wear out with about 30,000 miles of use.

  • We followed Maurcio Natera as he installed a shackle-reversal kit at Off Road Unlimited to show you the details. With the vehicle properly supported by the frame, the air dam and front bumper must be removed, as well as the original shackles. The Off Road Unlimited crossmember seats on the framerails, and one of the frame holes will line up with the crossmember mount.

  • You’ll wear out a few drill bits with this step: Drill 1/2-inch holes per framerail to finish bolting up the crossmember. The 󈨠-and-later Fords have a boxed frame and Off Road Unlimited provides a spacer to install in the framerails to keep them from collapsing when you torque down the mounting bolts.

  • At the rear of the springs, the original spring mount bracket must be cut and new holes drilled. The kit includes a template for this, and the modification is simple. Then the shackle simply bolts to the mount.

  • To correctly align the track bar with the 2-1/2-inch lift on the front, Off Road Unlimited provides a bolt-on track-bar bracket. You do need to drill two holes in the old bracket using the new one as a template.

  • Also to deal with the lift, a 4-inch dropped pitman arm is required. These aren’t included in the kits, but Off Road Unlimited offers them.

  • The original brake lines will be long enough, but you need to bend the metal portion up slightly (as shown).

  • The original sway-bar endlinks need to be cut in half and the ends inserted in the provided sleeves in order to lengthen the links 2-1/2 inches. Have the parts welded together once they are adjusted to the proper length.

  • Flipping the bottom overload spring will raise the rear of the truck, which almost evens things out. To completely level the truck or have a slightly rear-high stance, Off Road Unlimited offers a new spring pack. The ride with the shackle-reversal kit installed is tons better

If you own a '92-'97 F-350, we don't have to tell you what cool trucks these are. Of course, we also don't have to tell you how they ride on the highway or how that front suspension deals with potholes or other abrupt changes in the road surface. Off Road Unlimited offers just what these trucks need: a shackle-reversal kit.

From the factory, the front spring shackle is mounted at the front of the springs. The problem with this design is that the springs have to absorb all of the impact from road variances. By moving the shackle to the rear of the leaf springs, the suspension can use the shackles as well as the springs to soak up bumps and jars. And it'll even smooth out that highway ride.

The installation is simple, and almost all of it can be done at home.


Off Road Unlimited