On the vast majority of motor vehicles, the rear suspension system is supported by leaf springs — those three or four-layer panels that consist of steel strips. The load capacity and ride height of a given vehicle is determined by the curvature and leaf count of the spring kit. Thanks to leaf spring, the rear of the vehicle are given elevation to compensate for extra backload weight. This keeps the vehicle horizontal, as opposed to slouched. None of this would be possible without leaf spring hangers and shackles.
Vehicle and trailer leaf spring hangers attach the leaf spring to the chassis frame at both ends, while shackles are placed between the hanger and spring eye at the rear of each leaf spring. Each part of the leaf spring assembly comes preinstalled in vehicles of all types, but as with various parts throughout a vehicle, the hangers and shackles eventually wear out. Therefore, when the time for replacements does arrive, it's important as a vehicle owner to know how to install rear shackles and hangers.
What Are Leaf Spring Hangers?
When you change out the leaf springs in a truck, SUV or van, it's crucial to take note of the related parts that keep the springs in place and that allow the springs to function as intended. These related parts include the bushings, shackles and hangers, which are integral to the function of the leaf springs. Without these parts, the leaf springs would have no flexibility and would therefore be unable to elevate the rear of the vehicle when it's most necessary, such as when a vehicle carries a heavy back-end load.
The hangers are attachment pieces that connect the leaf springs to the chassis of an automobile at both ends. Without rear leaf spring hangers, a vehicle would have no back lift, and therefore slump at the rear and possibly drag across pavement when heavily loaded. Consequently, a vehicle that lacks leaf springs is liable to have burdened rear axles and tires, due to the excess weight that would impact the back.
When Is It Time to Replace Leaf Spring Hangers?
As time takes its toll, leaf spring hangers can develop rust and begin to crack in spots. As issues like this start to take hold, it's necessary to change out the hangers before the problem spirals out of hand and dangerously impacts your vehicle's suspension.
Fortunately, leaf spring hanger replacement kits can be purchased for a vast range of makes and models from the world's leading automakers. Best of all, these replacement kits are relatively easy to self-install, even if you only have basic car maintenance skills. A quality leaf spring hanger kit will give optimal support to a motor vehicle for many years, through all kinds of weather and driving conditions.
What Are Leaf Spring Shackles?
Leaf spring shackles are located within the suspension systems of motor vehicles. At each end of the rear axle, the leaf spring shackle plays the crucial role of ensuring that leaf handles make the right changes. Even though a large percentage of drivers are unaware of its effects, the leaf spring shackle lift is responsible for a motor vehicle's ability to remain balanced at the rear.
As the part that links the leaf spring to the rear hanger, shackles make it possible for the leaf springs to move as needed. This is necessary for the function of the suspension system, because the front end of each leaf spring is mounted to the chassis and therefore unable to offer flexibility. When a vehicle owner trades out the OEM parts and installs a leaf spring shackle replacement kit, it's the back end of the spring that's accessed.
Why Do Leaf Springs Need Shackles?
If it wasn't for the presence of the shackle, the leaf spring would be incapable of flexing. This would be particularly troublesome when a car has to ride over speed bumps, because the vehicle would hop at the rear and hit back down, thus subjecting the vehicle to possible damage. In driving conditions where bumps are encountered numerous times across long distances, the rear axles and tires would bear severe weight and impact from the up-and-down thrusts.
With the leaf spring shackles in place, all four tires can maintain contact with the pavement throughout a commute, including when driving over speed bumps. As with the OEM parts installed on newer vehicles, a leaf spring shackle kit is made to endure years of thrusts and rocky riding conditions in wet and dry weather.
Various features come into play when you deal with replacement shackles for leaf springs. Whether a shackle is long or short, the benefits within the vehicle are noticeable. With longer shackles, a vehicle gets substantial ground clearance and elevation, while shorter shackles are good for lowering. The length of a rear leaf spring shackle kit will correlate to the size of a vehicle, and it's generally advised to match the size of the OEM parts when you make a replacement.
When Do Leaf Spring Shackles Need to Be Replaced?
Though built for high endurance, the shackles that originally come with a vehicle will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Over the course of your ownership of a given vehicle, the shackles are liable to fatigue, corrode and ultimately crack as time and the elements take their toll. If the problem is allowed to persist, the vehicle will make troubling movements and be rendered less reliable. In a worst-case scenario, the shackle on at least one side could abruptly give way on an interstate highway, many miles from the nearest auto shop.
Therefore, it's crucial to replace worn leaf spring shackles before the problem gets out of hand and the vehicle becomes a hazard to you, your passengers and fellow motorists. When the time comes to replace the OEM shackles, a new leaf spring shackle kit will help ensure smoother rides on all terrain. With strong and fully functioning shackles, rides are safer and more comfortable for everyone involved.
What Is the Difference Between Shackles and Hangers?
For a lot of vehicle owners, the distinct functions of the leaf spring hanger and shackle are somewhat confusing. Simply put, both parts play crucial, yet distinct, roles in a vehicle's rear suspension system. Whereas the hangers connect the leaf springs to the vehicle's chassis, the shackles make it possible to properly change the length of the leaf springs. Without the shackles at the rear of each leaf spring under a truck, van or car, the leaf springs wouldn't even serve much purpose.
In summary, the hangers support the leaf springs, while the leaf spring shackles keep your tires in contact with the pavement throughout the bumpy rides that characterize rough and uneven terrain. For all drivers, but especially for owners of trucks, who often ride in unpaved and treacherous terrain, the functions of rear leaf spring shackles are of utmost importance.
How to Replace Leaf Spring Hangers
When the time comes to buy rear leaf spring hangers for your vehicle, you'll need to check the make and model of your vehicle and find a kit that matches. As with various other parts in a motor vehicle, leaf springs and related parts are designed in different sizes to suit the demands of different vehicle types. Therefore, if you need a replacement kit for a Chevy, Dodge or Ford, you'll need to look up those brands and find a kit that's made for your exact vehicle, whether you own a truck, van, SUV or car.
Leaf Spring Hangers for Chevy Automobiles
Chevy leaf spring hangers are crucial to the operation of the suspension system in Chevy/GMC trucks, vans and SUVs. The hangers connect Chevy leaf spring shackles to the chassis frames in all models from the automaker, such as the Chevy Blazer, Yukon, Tahoe, Sierra, Suburban, Silverado and Jimmy. Whether your Chevy model is new or old, large or small, there's bound to be a rear leaf spring hanger kit suited for your vehicle.
Truth be told, Chevy OEM leaf spring parts are built for years of use across all terrain and weather conditions, but eventually these parts do give way, and replacement Chevy leaf spring parts become a necessity. For that reason, it's best to be armed with knowledge about leaf spring parts replacement before the day when you find yourself in need of a new hanger kit for your vehicle.
Leaf Spring Hangers for Dodge Automobiles
Dodge leaf spring hangers are integral to the rear suspension of all makes and models from the automaker. On newer Dodge vehicles, the OEM leaf spring hangers attach the shackles to the undercarriage frame. As with other trucks and vans from competing automakers, Dodge leaf spring hangers make it possible for the springs to provide the flexibility a motor vehicle needs on challenging terrains.
Whether you purchase a new or used Dodge vehicle, however, the rear leaf spring parts are bound to eventually wear down over time. Fortunately, replacement leaf spring hanger kits can be purchased for a vast range of Dodge, Chrysler and Plymouth vehicles, such as the Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 models, as well as the Durango and Mini Van.
Leaf Spring Hangers for Ford Vehicles
On Ford trucks and vans, the rear suspension system is vital to the balance of the vehicle as it moves over rugged terrain, particularly when backloads are heavy. As such, Ford leaf spring hangers and shackles are crucial to the operation of all vehicles that the automaker has manufactured over the years. Due to the enduring popularity of Ford models throughout the decades, aftermarket demand has remained steady for a vast assortment of replacement parts, which have allowed classic Ford models to remain on the road years after their initial assembly.
Despite the strength of the OEM suspension parts in Ford vehicles, the individual parts do give way after years of use. If worn hangers and shackles are not replaced in due time, disaster can ensue for the automobile in question. Therefore, when the time inevitably arrives to change out these crucial parts of your vehicle, leaf spring hanger replacement kits will give your vehicle a whole new lease on life.
When the time comes to replace the front or rear hangers in your Ford vehicle, leaf spring hanger kits can be purchased for a vast range of Ford makes and models, including the E1250, E250, E350, F1250, F250, F350, Ranger, Explorer and Excursion. The moment you determine that your leaf spring parts are due for replacement, get new shackle and hanger kits for your Ford model vehicle and enjoy the improved performance that these new, optimized parts can provide.
How to Replace Leaf Spring Shackles
As the OEM leaf spring shackles begin to wear down on your vehicle, you'll need to find a replacement kit for the make and model of your truck, van, SUV or car. Therefore, it's important to know where to look for these parts to ensure that time isn't wasted once the problem with your preexisting shackles rears its ugly head.
As it stands, some of the worst shackle mishaps are due to procrastination on the part of vehicle owners. If you do your research in advance of any problems, you'll know exactly where to turn and what to buy the moment your vehicle must be equipped with a new rear leaf spring shackle kit.
Are Larger Leaf Spring Shackles Good for Your Automobile?
When people first do research on how to replace rear leaf spring shackles, they'll often hear about options that could change the suspension system, such as larger shackle sizes. Quite naturally, an increase in shackle length could seem like an upgrade to a lot of vehicle owners. After all, if you're going to change out the shackle, why not upgrade to different parts that might improve your vehicle's performance? Thing is, there are crucial factors to consider before you make such a change.
For starters, a lengthier shackle will place greater distance between the leaf spring and chassis, and this will have numerous effects on how your vehicle operates. Shackles, after all, are designed to hold springs at certain lengths, and the proper length for one vehicle model or type can easily differ from various others. If the size of the replacement differs from the OEM part, the leaf spring shackle lift will indeed be affected.
With a lengthier shackle, the axle will rotate downward along the shackle side. Also, the front axle's castor angle will be decreased, and this will negatively impact the vehicle's high-speed steering stability. Moreover, the steering will be less capable of resuming center positioning after a left or right turn. Additionally, a lengthier shackle will increase the vehicle's pinion angle and droop-down travel while lessening the angle of approach and departure.
How to Install Leaf Spring Hangers
It's relatively easy to replace a rear leaf spring hanger. The process of hanger installation is comprised of several simple steps. Regardless of the vehicle type, the process requires a jack stand and a leaf spring hanger kit.
- The vehicle will need to first be hoisted onto a jack stand with the use of a jack. You'll also need either a flashlight or a small stationary light to set up under the vehicle in order to clearly see the leaf spring and hanger.
- Next, the leaf spring must be removed from the hanger. In order to remove the rivets that hold the OEM hanger in place, use a hammer to push them out.
- With the old hanger out of the way, fasten the replacement hanger kit into place and attach it to the leaf spring.
Aside from the sometimes stubborn nature of fastened rivets, which can be difficult to remove, the process of hanger installation is easy for the average handyman to master. Once you've finished one side, the other side should be relatively simple. If you get lost while attaching the new hanger on the first side, look across to the alignment of the OEM hanger on the other side for reference.
How to Install Leaf Spring Shackles
The installation of replacement leaf spring shackles is an easy task if you have the right tools, as well as the proper kit for your vehicle. Even if your auto handiness has been limited to tire pumps and oil changes, the change-out of your shackles should be easy to finish in under an hour. With the following steps, you'll know how to install shackles on your truck, van or car.
- With the floor jack situated under the rear of the chassis, elevate the vehicle rear from the pavement. Place jack stands under the vehicle to keep it in raised position.
- Bring the jack down to allow for a drop in the suspension, as this relieves vehicle weight from the shackle and makes it easier to take out the mounting bolts.
- Take out the lower mounting bolt that connects the spring and shackle, then bring down the axle. The spring should release itself from the shackle at this point.
- Take out the upper mounting bolt that connects the shackle to the chassis frame, then dislodge the OEM shackle.
- Put the replacement shackle into place with a mounting bolt. For now, keep the bolt loosely fastened so that the spring and new shackle can be properly aligned with one another.
- Elevate the rear axle once again, place the shackle in alignment with the spring eye, and slowly work the two together. If the holes of the shackle and leaf spring don't align, raise the jack even higher, bit by bit, until the holes line up properly.
- Connect the shackle and spring eye with mounting bolts and fasten tightly.
- Elevate the vehicle, take out the jack stands, then lower the vehicle back to the ground.
- Double-check the shackles to verify that the mounting bolts remain fastened under the full weight of the vehicle.
As with leaf spring hanger kits, it's best to finish one side before you start the other. Once you've learned how to install leaf spring shackles on your vehicle, it will be easy to do again anytime down the line when your next vehicle needs new shackles.
Leaf Spring Hangers and Shackles From General Spring
Leaf spring shackles and hangers are among the most important parts on the underside of your vehicle. As key pieces to a vehicle's suspension system, hangers and shackles allow the leaf springs to function properly. As with many vehicle parts, however, leaf spring hangers and shackles eventually wear out and need to be replaced.
When you need new shackles or hangers for the leaf springs under your Chevy, Dodge, Ford or Toyota, check out the inventory here at General Spring, where we provide a range of shackles and hanger kits for numerous makes and models.