Dodge Pickup Shackle Replacement

This morning I finished my first Dodge Pickup shackle replacement.  It wasn’t a big deal once I figured out what I was doing.  The first day drove me nuts.

Last week I hit a pothole and heard a loud metallic bang under my truck.  I thought the tires had kicked something up.

A few days later I realized there was more to the story.  I heard a grinding metallic noise when the frame of the truck twisted.

It was time to do some investigating.

Once I got under the truck the problem was obvious.  Fourteen years of road salt rotted away the shackle and the driver’s side leaf spring was up against the bed of the truck.

Dodge Pickup Shackle Replacement
The upper bolt has been removed with the stubborn lower bolt remaining. The wet spot is PB Blaster to help free the bolt.

The replacement leaf spring shackle was under forty dollars.

There was just enough room between the frame and the bed of the truck to get a Torx T55 socket in.  Within half an hour I had the upper bolt out.

The tricky part is the lower bolt.

First, the nut was rusted to the lower bolt.  I used my 3 inch air cut off tool to carefully cut the nut without cutting the bracket.  The nut twisted off with ease.

The lower bolt wouldn’t budge.  Fourteen years of road salt rusted the bolt to its bushing.

I tried to get the bolt out by:

  1. Spraying the bolt with PB Blaster.
  2. Hitting the bolt with a 3 lb hammer for several minutes.
  3. Using an air hammer to try to shear the head off the bolt.
  4. Using a 4 1/2 inch grinder to try to cut the bolt.
  5. Burning 3 Sawzall blades trying to cut the bolt.

I’m proud to say there was no profanity.  I stayed calm and enjoyed the day as best I could.  Getting angry wasn’t going to solve anything.

After six hours I called it a day.  I moved the bolt 1/4 inch and it wasn’t going to move without damaging the bracket.

There had to be a better way.

Secret Weapon for Dodge Pickup Shackle Replacement

Dewalt Six Inch Grinder Dodge Pickup Shackle Replacement
The secret to Dodge Pickup shackle replacement is a 6 inch grinder. IT HAS TO BE SIX INCHES. Not 4 1/2 inches and not 5 inches. You need a 6 inch disk on the grinder to get the job done.

I purchased a Dewalt Grinder (I could only find the 5 and 6 inch model online) that can take 4 1/2, 5 and 6 inch grinding wheels.  It comes with three different guards.

I like the Dewalt Grinder because it’s compact and light weight.  The long handle gives good control and leverage.  The paddle switch is easy to operate. Finally, you can adjust the guard without tools.

I installed the 6 inch guard and cut off wheel.  The 6 inch wheel has a much larger radius than the 4 1/2 inch wheel on my old grinder.

6 inch verses 4.5 inch cutoff wheel Dodge Pickup Shackle Replacement
The red wheel to the back is a 6 inch cut off wheel.  Both wheels are brand new.

I put my respirator, safety goggles and gloves on and went to work.  After 2 minutes of intense sparks the bolt dropped to the floor.

I lay under the truck dumbfounded. Dodge Pickup Shackle Replacement really is that easy!

I thought I was going to cut the bolt in two places.  When I jiggled the pieces they fell apart.  What a lifesaver a 6 inch grinder is for Dodge Pickup shackle replacement.

Dodge Pickup Shackle Replacement
The new shackle next to the old. I don’t know where all the metal from the old one went but holy cow did it go!
Messy Workbench after Removing Shackle
My workbench at the end of the first day. I kept grabbing tools hoping one of them would do the trick.

I could have completed the job in another half hour.  I took the time to put paint on the heavily rusted bracket.

I’ve been using a product called Corroseal on rusted surfaces that need paint.  First I use a needle scaler to remove flaky rust then a wire brush on a die grinder to get the rest.

I use Corroseal Cleaner for degreasing before paint.  Rust-Oleum Flat Black was my choice to cover the frame.

Shackle Cleaned of Rust and Coated with Corroseal
I used a needle scaler and wire brush to clean the bracket that holds the shackle. I then coated it with Corroseal which converts rust into a paintable surface.  The purple is Corroseal that hasn’t completely dried.
Painted Shackle
I painted the new shackle with Rust-Oleum flat black.  It couldn’t hurt!
Dodge Pickup Shackle Repiar Anti-Sieze Bolt
Before installing the new bolts I smeared anti-sieze all over them.

I tightened the top bolt while it was touching the bed of the truck.  This caused trouble when I raised the truck to line up the bottom hole.  I had to rotate the shackle into position.

Dodge Pickup Shackle Repair Jacking Frame
By jacking up the frame of the truck I lowered the shackle into position.

A twist of the wrench rotated the shackle into position.  I was lucky to be turning in the direction that made the bolt tighter.  I’m not sure how that’s going to work on the other side.

Dodge Pickup Shackle Replace
The newly painted bracket and shackle.
Completed Dodge Pickup Shackle Repair Back
The back side of the shackle bracket with a fresh coat of paint.

Word of Caution about Dodge Pickup Shackle Replacement

The side the new shackle is on is 1 to 1 1/2 inches higher than the other.  They are both the same size shackle.  I’ve triple and quadruple checked.

I’m going to order another shackle and replace the other side next week.

Apparently it’s best to replace both shackles at once.