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Trail Repair; Broken Shackle Repair on a Flattie

Replacing a Broken Shackle on a CJ2A.

Old Jeeps are cool. Ask us how we know, and check out the action from Social Distancing In Flat Fenders here (hyperlink). But old rigs, no matter how cool, are made from old parts, parts that have seen lots of use and abuse. Sadly, old parts eventually can bend and break. That is exactly what happened to our friend Ian Liljeblad during our epic flatfender excursion on his 1947 CJ-2A fondly known as Baby Blue.

So You Broke a Shackle, What to do next

Ian admitted that he had noticed that the shackle was bent, and that happens especially with the early type, forged one-sided shackles many military flatties came with from the factory. Even though these rigs are pretty lightweight, that's a lot of force being transmitted through one piece of 5/8-inch or so steel bar that makes up these shackles. The failure was indicated by a slight list to the passenger side and with one glance at the back of the rig the broken part was obvious. Luckily both Ian and the author had a spare shackle on hand and Cole Alred had a High-Lift Jack handy. The first step was to jack up the side of Baby Blue using the well-engineered rocker guards Ian manufactures and sells.

Swapping the shackles

With the jack under the Jeep, Ian began by backing out the old greaseable shackle bushings. Now early flattie shackle bushings can be normal or reverse-threaded. The reverse-threaded shackles are supposed to be on the left front and right rear corner, but after 70-plus years, anything is possible. Removing the shackle isn't too hard if you have a large enough wrench, if the parts aren't too rusted in place, and if you can keep the broken bits of the shackle from turning. Ian used some Channel Lock plyers and an electric impact to free the old shackle bolts.

Installing the new (used shackle)

Installation of a shackle is pretty simple. It's just the reverse of removal. Put the C in the spring and shackle bushing, tighten the bolt (its respective direction), and you're done. Putting the broken bits back together shows just how bent Baby Blue's shackle was just before it broke. Good work, Ian.

Vintage upgrades

So, if you don't like the idea of broken shackles, there are a couple of upgrades you can make. For one, you can add shackles from an M38-A1, which has slightly longer bolts and has an additional bar on the outside of the shackle. Also, depending on the year and model, Willy's trucks and wagons have more traditional double-shear shackles on the rear at least.