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.
Ford Bronco stock U-Bolts 3.25 inside diameter, 1/2"
thick, 8 1/2" inside to top, round bend
3 ton Jack
2 ton Jack
3 ton Jack Stands
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)
Lincoln Mig Welder (Optional)
to have on hand:
Grinder cut off wheels
Gloss Black Spray Paint
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.
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
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
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).
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.
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
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
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.