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Sky Manufacturing Shackle Flip Kit


If you have read my write-up on my Superlift install you would know that it came with 2" blocks to raise the rear end. This is not the best way to do it but it held up for a few wheeling trips.  I ordered a Sky Manufacturing Shackle Flip kit a while ago and a had a new set of U-bolts made for the axle a few days ago at Rite Way Axle and Suspension in Sun Valley. I also increased the size to 9/16" for additional strength. 

FYI Ford Bronco stock U-Bolts 3.25 inside diameter, 1/2" thick, 8 1/2" inside to top, round bend

Tools used:
Safety Glasses
Ear Protection
3 ton Jack
2 ton Jack
3 ton Jack Stands
Large Hammer
Metric & SAE socket set and wrenches
4 1/2" Grinder with cut off wheel
Air Chisel with various bits
18V Cordless Drill
3' Breaker bar
cheater bar (3' x 3/4" galvanized steel pipe)
Impact Gun
Lincoln Mig Welder (Optional)

Stuff to have on hand:
Rust Remover
Grinder cut off wheels
Gloss Black Spray Paint

Here is a look at the shackle flip kit. It as made of laser cut 1/4" steel and computer welded. You can also do this with shackle mounts off a Ford F250 but that involves spending a day at a junkyard removing them from a donor truck. For $125 + shipping this is worth not having to do that. 

The reason I had to have the U-bolts made is when I installed the lift blocks I had to cut the stock U-bolts off due to not having a 18mm deep socket on hand. 

OK Let's get started. Jack up the rear end and place jack stands on either side of the frame. Remove the tires and let the jack down just enough to remove most but not all tension on the leaf springs. Spray every bolt and nut with rust free before hand. Even with my rust free Bronco this lubricates them and makes things go much better for you. You might be able to skip the next step if you still have the stock suspension but keep it in mind if you need to remove the factory wedge to get your driveshaft angle correct after the install. 

Well the first cheap tool did me wrong happened. I bought a Wal-Mart Impact gun and it sucked. I could turn them without much effort by hand but the gun cried in pain. So there I was in 94 degree weather removing 8 13/16" nylon lock nuts by hand. At least I'm in the shade. Once you have the U-bolts removed pull out the blocks and lower the jack as much as the shocks will allow. If you are stock you might want to remove them first.

Now its time to disconnect the rear of the leaf spring. Make sure you loosen the 18mm bolt and 18mm nut. I have the wrench on before removing the shackle mount bolt. I ended up having to put the bolt back in since the top one was tightened by Hercules. Swing the shackle and pull the leaf spring down and out of the way. 

The next step cost me an hour, a lot of bitching to myself and is the reason I didn't do this in one day. Removing the rear bumper. There are three 18mm bolts and 21mm nuts on each side. After letting the Rust free sit for a few minutes I attempted to remove the nuts. The three on the right side of the photo below.

Man were they on way tight.  I used a 3' breaker bar and it wouldn't even budge with the full pressure of my legs. I added a 3' cheater and they started braking loose, that is until cheap tool #2 broke. A Pittsburg Tool 21mm deep impact socket. I guess it wasn't built Ford Tough( an update 5/28/05 HF swapped the socket set out for free). I dug up another 18mm 1/2" Craftsman socket and continued. I then removed the rear bumper (That sucker is way heavy). 

A after install update. I brought the impact socket set to Harbor Freight later and they swapped it with a new set no questions asked. A+ for them. 

With the bumper removed its time to cut off the four rivets holding the stock shackle mount on to the frame. You can use an air chisel but if you have a 4 1/2" grinder with cutoff wheels it will take less than 5 minutes per side to cut them off. Cover up and try to aim your sparks away from the gas tank em'kay.

Once you have the rivets cut smack the mount with a hammer and it should pop off. Cut what remains of the rivets flush with the frame then use a center punch or an air chisel with a center punch bit to pop what remains of them out. Use some spray paint to cover all exposed steel to prevent rust.

By this time it was getting dark and I was hot and tired so I decided to stop and make it a two day project. More to come tomorrow evening. OK It's tomorrow and it's another 95 degree day. I didn't get started until about 3:00 pm when thermometer stopped going up and started going down. Here is a pic showing the difference in the two brackets. The original has the shackle going up to the leaf spring while the flip kit points it down. Also the new mounts have a left and right side. Notice the tops holes. Once is closer to the edge. That hole goes towards the back. 

Now you are almost ready to put this thing back together. You need to enlarge the rivet holes in the frame to 1/2" Use a drill and a 1/2" bit to enlarge the holes where the rivets were. I started with a new 1/2" bit but it was too aggressive and kept trying to rip my arms out of the sockets each time it grabbed a notch in the hole. I switched to the type of bit in the pic below. Yes I bought it after seeing Paul Jr. use one on American Choppers. It worked great. 

OK this is the point where I skipped a step. In order to get all four nuts and bolts on the new shackle mount you need to drop the gas tank. Mine was half full of gas and I was still going to remove it anyway. there are four 15mm nuts with 13mm bolts on the front and back of the tank. I was able to break the rear ones loose by double locking wrenches. With the axle in the way there was no way I was going to get the front ones loose. I ended up placing the rear two bolts on and just welded the mount to the frame. It is recommended anyway. I also tack welded the front bolts in place just incase I have the tank out some time in the future. 

Next I hooked the shackles up to the mounts. I had to use a hammer to bang them into submission. They were a tight fit.

Now it's time to re-align the axle with the leaf springs. The easiest way to do this is to use two jacks. One for the lift and another for the angle.

Many others have remove the factory wedges at this point but I didn't like the angle the driveshaft was at.  The pic above is with the wedge installed. I got all 8 nuts ( I reused the ones from the lift kit since the new ones were not lock nuts ) slightly tight and got everything aligned just right before cranking them down. 

I rechecked all the bolts I could to make sure everything was tight then jacked it way up to get the tires back on. Swapping out the blocks for the Sky Manufacturing Shackle Flip raised the back end an additional 3 1/2". It was dark by this time so I will take some before and after photos later. 

I installed a lift kit within a year so I had extended brake lines and longer travel shocks. If your ride is stock you might need to remove them or be real careful you don't extend the travel limits of them. If you're stock you will have to get extended brake lines anyway. You don't want to flex it going down a big hill and snap your brake line. 

A week after the install I decided the 3 1/2" difference between the front and rear of the Bronco was enough justification to order a pair of 6" Superlift coil springs to bring the whole Bronco to a 6" lift. 




last update: 5/22/2005