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Greg Myers

Little Known Car Facts #5 Shackles

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http://www.autozone.com/autozone/accessories/Superior-Automotive-Adjustable-rear-shackle-bars/_/N-4asu?itemIdentifier=540393_0_0_

All leaf spring cars have em. Just not in the exaggerated lengths we used to see them back in the day.

up_zps8f51d85c.jpg So just what do they do ? They compensate for the change in length of the leaf spring under compression. In some applications they can raise or lower the ride height of the vehicle. rarch2.jpg

Edited by Greg Myers

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Yup, had them on my very first car, a 62 Ford. Pushed the spring down as much as it raised the car. I had to add helper springs to but the arch back in the spring. How stupid was I ?

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I had those shackles on my '69 Super Bee and the service manager said that I was racing that car after I brought it in for a trans rebuild. He didn't want to rebuild the tranny under warranty, but the local service rep told him to "fix it." and all it cost me was $25 for a tranny rebuild.

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Yup, had them on my very first car, a 62 Ford. Pushed the spring down as much as it raised the car. I had to add helper springs to but the arch back in the spring. How stupid was I ?

Yep! The springs would "un-arch" and the car would return to stock height, or lower.

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Yep! The springs would "un-arch" and the car would return to stock height, or lower.

If you were lucky. The real fun was when the extended shackles bent under hard cornering loads!

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And of course, they didn't accelerate either. Huge axle hop in most cases, and weight transferred to the nose to destroy traction. Real smart "performance" modification...yeah.

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I think when we were 16, taking off the hood was considered a performance modification. it was a simpler time.

I can remember walking down the street and stopping to watch two guys paint their car with house paint and brushes.

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I raised the heck out of my 76 Pinto like it was bad with a stock engine.

Well, like, that should, like, make it, like, faster man, 'cause, like, it's always running downhill. :D

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Also exposes the gas tank better... for bigger explosions when rear-ended... :lol:

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Well, like, that should, like, make it, like, faster man, 'cause, like, it's always running downhill. :D

Also exposes the gas tank better... for bigger explosions when rear-ended... :lol:

Well to tell the truth with it being my first and trying to hot rod it all the time it never ran enough to be in an accident. :rolleyes:

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The hot set-up was air-shocks with those shackles!

Yes it was. Then one shock would leak and the car would sit lopsided.

G

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In the "old days" before air shocks were invented. We Ford owners could put the jack handle in between the frame and the rear leaf springs and pry the shackles until they flipped and it would raise the rear of the car. The hard part was flipping them back to sit in the stock position.

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Yep, I remember that. I was trying to find a good picture to illustrate the point. B) Here's a pic in the "popped" position. IMG_5209.jpg

Edited by Greg Myers

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I loved these things as a kid, and even went to the trouble to put them on a few of my models. Of course, I didn't know at the time how stupid they are. 

Truth to tell, I still they look cool on some kinds of cars. B)

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On 9/6/2014 at 12:43 PM, DonW said:

If you were lucky. The real fun was when the extended shackles bent under hard cornering loads!

A good friend "shackled" his '62 Ford Galaxie (352 4V auto).  One night with two other friends in the car going around a small curve at a higher than normal rate of speed those shackles unloaded and he rolled it down a bank onto some unused railroad tracks.  He had two broken vertebrae, cuts and bruises, the other two had broken arms, concussions, cuts and bruises.  Lucky to be alive, seatbelts were not "in-use" then.  That being said, I did put rubber spacer blocks in the coil springs of my '65 Chevelle along with helper springs.  Those blocks kept falling out, but the helper springs kept it arse high..

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Air shocks were a better alternative. You could easily adjust them for the occasion. The secret to good handling was individual air filler valves. Had them on my '67 Cougar XR-7.

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One of the draw backs to the Air Shocks was that if you put 30 + pounds of air in them the rear axel would lose all suspension travel and in a sense became the rear suspension would be like having the differential bolted to the frame. When I put the oversized wheels and tire on my then new '67 El Camino I modified a kit that was offered to raise coil spring cars. The kit had about a 4" pipe, for lack of a better description, that went on top of the rear axle at the spring mount. This had a mounting plate at the other end that the factory spring would rest on. You were expected to drill new mounting holes in the bracket for the shocks. This also put the rear coil springs in a bind as they were now bent over instead of being straight up and down as they should have been.  This is where the Shade Tree Engineering came in. I took the 4" spacer and cut it at an angle which restored the coil springs to a more up and down position. I looked thru the catalog for the High Jacker Shocks and found that the full size Buick wagons had the same mounting hardware as the El Camino and were 2" longer. I also added traction bars to the upper control arms so that the rear end wouldn't "warp up" under hard starts. This was a 360 hp 396 cu in 4-speed truck, great fun. This netted me about 2 - 3" of lift with no suspension bind and a smooth ride. Cleared the 9" wide rearwheels with Polyglass 60 series tires fine.

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