So you are driving down the trail after a hard bump or after really flexing out your suspension when you notice that your leaf-sprung Jeep is riding funny. It is either riding stiff and bouncing or leaning to one side, even though this part of the trail is flat. You stop the Jeep and get out to see what has happened. Once you walk around the Jeep, you notice that one end or one corner of the Jeep is sitting unusually low. Chances are that one or two of your shackles have inverted. In this month’s installment, we will show you a few things to get your shackles sitting pretty again and help you prevent this from happening again.
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Once your shackle or shackles have inverted, driving on them is harsh and jarring. It’s also a great way to bend a spring. Stop quickly and grab a long prybar. Shove the prybar between the shackle and frame (or bumper in our case) and try to leverage the shackle back into the position. If you can’t get the shackles to return to vertical, you may have to jack the Jeep up a little to get the weight off the springs and shackles. Either way, keep your head and body parts clear of the prybar, as springs store lots of potential energy and you don’t want to get whacked if it suddenly releases.
Once back home from your trip, you need to deal with the problem to keep it from happening again. Some companies sell boomerang or anti-inversion shackles, or you can add longer shackles (but that will change your pinion angle and/or caster). You can also limit the uptravel of the axle by lowering bumpstops, or add some sort of kicker behind or in front of the shackle that won’t allow it to fold back too far and invert.