HD Engineering No lift XJ Shackle Relocation bracket Install
I purchased this set from Brian at HD in May 2013 for $130(they have gone down in price to $100 so get them now!) They were shipped the next day and arrived at my doorstep very quickly.
I was amazed at how heavy the box was when I picked it up. Poor USPS girl may have needed a few days off after delivering it. I opened it up and the bracketry and hardware are crazy. It is all ¼ inch and looks like it could support a tank.
I was pretty new my XJ and real modifications so I was really nervous about cutting it up since it was so clean. I put off the install for a while and finally got to it on 09/20/2013 when I rebuilt my whole rear end.
First support your jeep on jack stands and drop everything. I took out my rear sway bar for good, disconnected the shocks on both ends since I would need new ones for the amount of flex I would be getting with these relocators.
I left the u-bolts on to drag the springs down. Disconnect the OEM shackle from the shackle box. I had new JKS boomerangs so I disconnected the OEM shackle from the leafs as well.
Lower the axle now that everything has been removed. This should give you much better access to the spring hangers.
Now that all of that is out of the way you get to start cutting. Remove the entire OEM shackle box to the frame rail and the rear crossmember. I had a 4.5 inch angle grinder with a cut off wheel so I had to cut in stages.
Once I had the bulk of the material removed I switched to a grinding wheel and flattened the cuts down flush to the body.
Now that I had it all cut out I was almost ready to mock it up and drill through the floor. I did not have a hitch when I started this so I had to get some nut strips. I picked them up from the dealership(cost a ton…) I slipped those inside the frame rail and secured the main bracket through the frame and with a bolt in the OEM shackle location.
I marked the holes through the brackets.
Now it was time to pull the interior apart to get access to the floor.
I left the brackets in place and drilled from the bottom to make sure they were accurate.
As everyone has had to do I had to trim the brackets. I used card board to mock out the amount I had to trim and then I trimmed the plates. If you are going this far with your mods then cutting a few plates is not a problem at all.
Each side needed to be trimmed a bit different to clear. I wanted to keep the most plate that I could for strength. Not much really needs to be trimmed.
As you can see my underside was stupid rusty… I think this Jeep was originally from the northwest (dealer sticker on the hatch) and it had a lot more rust that I thought when I bought it. I took this time to grind everything from the rear seat back to bare metal. This is why I dropped the gas tank and everything else. After I got it all painted and ready It was time to finish the install.
I noticed some very slight metal crinkled by the rear cross member on the passenger side. This actually made impossible to get the brackets in the right location. I pounded it back into place as best I could, but I ended up having to grind a little on the rear most portion of the bracket where the bumper bracket mounts.
This may not be necessary on your install, but due to the slight damage I had it was. I did it on both sides to ensure that the bracket sat as far back as possible against the rear cross member.
This also meant that I had drilled the holes in my floor in the wrong place. I was able to pretty easily open up the holes a bit with the grinding wheel and a de-burring bit on my drill.
This allowed the brackets to fit perfectly where they should be.
Now for the hard part…
I wanted the brackets to be the first thing against the frame rail since I was adding a hitch and gas tank skid at this time as well. I used the extra pair of plates included with the brackets to space down the front of the skid.
Getting this lined up was a pain in my ***. I had to widen a few holes, and pry bar the crap out of everything to get it lined up. It finally did get lined up and I torqued everything to spec for the U-Haul hitch I was installing.
The last part was getting the shackles installed. The JKS shackles are super beefy, but they were tight as hell getting them in the bracket. Trying to get the washer and nut on the shackle bolt was also quite difficult. I had to loosen up the entire bracket to get enough space to wiggle the nut on the bolt. I got it all done up tight and torqued it back down.
I had originally used a different hole that was farther forward, but the JKS shackle was contacting the bracket which you can see by the scratch on the shackle. So I had to take it out and put it back in again… I used the rear most bottom hole which gave me a perfect shackle angle for a smooth ride and the best flex.
I did not get any lift out of the bracket or the shackle because the lift is lost when you get the proper shackle angle compared to a vertical shackle. This I was not expecting so I was a bit lower in the rear than I expected. Make sure to factor that into your shackle choice.
Install was not much harder than I had expected. The design and strength of this bracket is amazing. HD Engineering did a fantastic job. The hardware was perfect for the factory nut strip and nothing was missing or left to be desired. I have as much flex in the rear then I do in the front with this setup. The ride is as smooth as or smoother than my old sagging springs even though I got the HD springs with a higher spring rate.
This was easily one of my favorite mods and if your shackle angle isn’t perfect then I highly recommend a set of relocators and HD offers both a lift and no lift option depending on your needs. Like I said earlier the price has dropped so now is a great time to grab yourself a set.