83 CJ7 Shackle/Suspension Question - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 35 Old 09-03-2021, 09:02 AM Thread Starter
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83 CJ7 Shackle/Suspension Question

Hi all,

I've never owned a leaf sprung Jeep before, and as such I've never had to deal with any of the suspension issues that come along with it, so excuse me if I ask obvious questions...I promise I have tried to understand this at least a little bit from other posts and internet searches.

I recently got my hands on an 83 that had what I think is a 4" spring lift installed, along with some lift shackles (1" if i had to guess). The Jeep wandered pretty significantly over 30 miles per hour, and I was told that is likely because the lift shackles that were installed in the front were reducing the cambor to unsafe levels, and that I should swap them out for some stock shackles. I ordered some stock length CJ shackles and put them on yesterday, and I don't think the angle of them is correct. I did some research and got a bit confused with the different designs of shackles, and when/why to do a shackle reversal etc... I've posted a couple of pictures of how they look now, and would like any input about something I may have done wrong, or if this angle is acceptable. If it's not good, any input on ways to correct it would be awesome too.

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post #2 of 35 Old 09-03-2021, 09:18 AM
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Those springs seem to have way more arch in them than my 4" lift springs do. The bottom of the shackles should be pointing in the opposite direction than what they are now. I don't see any way to correct it either as you have the full weight on them and they should be laying flatter. Can you take some pictures of it from the side at a distance?
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post #3 of 35 Old 09-03-2021, 09:21 AM
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Those springs look to be a bit more than 4 inches of lift. Either that or they are so stiff that they cannot compress any with the light weight of a Jeep CJ.

The stock shackle length won't help in that regard, so you would need longer ones to get the arc of the springs down more. This present other problems with steering issues and chamber is not so much affected as castor angle is. High lift springs, large diameter tires and long shackles screw with the castor angle tremendously and is the reason why your CJ is all over the place while driving. You will probably need 6-8° wedges between the axle pad and leaf spring packs just to get your castor angle back to the sweet spot of 6°+ castor angle.


I know everyone just about enjoys the look of lifted CJ's but their are limitations on just how far you can reach the sky before total loss of controlled driving reveals it ugly head.
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post #4 of 35 Old 09-03-2021, 09:23 AM
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Yes, something definitely is outta whack. It isn't your shackles and in this case longer ones would have helped. Your caster still would need checked. But as it is, something else is wrong. It almost appears your frame is setting on jack stands. The shackles angle has no set angle to be but it typically is about 20-25 degrees (roughly) with the bottom being forward of the top. I want to say your springs are bent but what are the odds of both being bent the same. I would say they are too short. Check the distance between the spring eyes when there is no load on the springs. I know that stock length is about 42". Can you find any numbers or branding on the springs to help figure out what ones they are? I'm guessing they aren't for a Jeep.
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post #5 of 35 Old 09-03-2021, 09:28 AM
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It looks like you may have torqued the shackle nuts (too tight) prior to putting the weight of the vehicle on them.

You should not torque them until after you have put weight on the front suspension, and bounce it up and down a couple times to make the suspension settle.

Looking at the amount of exposed threads in picture two, it looks like you may have the hardware too tight, not allowing the suspect to flex at all.

Jack the front enough to make take the weight, loosen the suspension by loosening the shackle hardware and lower the full weight on the springs and it should settle, with a better shackle angle. Torque that nuts enough to hold the shackles in place without preventing the shackles to move and flex.
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post #6 of 35 Old 09-03-2021, 09:31 AM
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These guys ^^ are more experienced with suspension than me, but I was also thinking the springs look too short. The hanger angle is all wrong. I would second getting a measurement of the springs eye-to-eye while under no load.
More pictures from farther away would be helpful as well.
And What do the rear springs look like?
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post #7 of 35 Old 09-03-2021, 09:37 AM
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Here's what my 4" lift springs look like. Notice the shackle hanger location. Yours is correct, almost in line with the hole in the frame. You can rule that out as being the problem. Check the other end of the spring and make sure the other guy didn't move that mount back, likely he didn't. The distance on the shackle bolts is 3", factory spacing. 4" is really all you'd ever need on a CJ but even that won't help in this case. Were it me and I wanted it right I'd get some YJ style springs that are 2 1/2" wide and swap them. I'll look up a thread for you on that.
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post #8 of 35 Old 09-03-2021, 09:38 AM
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Springs with that much arch in them require a longer shackle than stock to work properly. The camber can be corrected with shims between the spring and the spring perch. IIRC I'm using 4* shims with the BDS 6" lift wrangler springs. The shackles I'm using are heavy duty, 6" between bolt holes with a 2" built in cross brace that keeps them from flexing side to side. High quality polyurethane bushings also help.
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post #9 of 35 Old 09-03-2021, 09:40 AM
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https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/o...stall-1245523/ Good reading even if you don't do the swap.
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post #10 of 35 Old 09-03-2021, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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Dang fellas, I thought this was a slow board! Thanks for all the help I've attached a couple more pics of what I've got....I've also attached pic of the shackles that I removed, and a pic of how it looked with them on. It sounds like I should put them back on. I don't have time right this second to put the jeep up and swap them back or to measure the springs as I'm technically at work .
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post #11 of 35 Old 09-03-2021, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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post #12 of 35 Old 09-03-2021, 10:51 AM
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I was going to post a comment on your other thread until I see you started a new one after the shackle swap. You asked about whether new springs are in your future...I think new springs are most definitely in your future and now you see why the previous owner used the longer shackles. It’s real hard to start throwing answers out to a problem with limited information or pictures.

YJ springs, in whatever size lift you choose, will put you way ahead and are well worth the effort. I don’t know anyone who has ever made the swap and said it wasn’t worth it.
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post #13 of 35 Old 09-03-2021, 12:23 PM
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It looks like you have a 6" lift which the longer shackles are part of the lift. Do they have a cross brace welded in? I would not drive the Jeep with the small shackles on it as you may break something if they flip up against the frame. Something else to keep in mind is extra weight in the Jeep like a winch, tool box in the back, full size spare, etc, etc will help the ride. The other thing is check all the bushings, if questionable, replace all of them. I agree with going to the YJ springs but I think you will be fine once you get everything else ironed out.

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post #14 of 35 Old 09-03-2021, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack61 View Post
It looks like you have a 6" lift which the longer shackles are part of the lift. Do they have a cross brace welded in? I would not drive the Jeep with the small shackles on it as you may break something if they flip up against the frame. Something else to keep in mind is extra weight in the Jeep like a winch, tool box in the back, full size spare, etc, etc will help the ride. The other thing is check all the bushings, if questionable, replace all of them. I agree with going to the YJ springs but I think you will be fine once you get everything else ironed out.

Thanks. There is a cross brace welded into the larger shackles, and I'll reinstall them along with some degree shims. I'm thinking I'll try out 6 degrees unless you guys think 8. If there's a way to know without knowing one's exact caster I'm all ears. I'm not going to be driving this fella more than around the block until I can get the wander straightened out and get it to the alignment shop to see exactly where the caster is at. As for the YJ conversion, the thread posted earlier is a wealth of information that I've only read a few pages into, and seems like something that would be an awesome (next) summer project as it's gonna be cold here pretty soon. I can use the winter to see if i can source any of the parts on the cheap, too.

Thanks again for the assistance guys
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post #15 of 35 Old 09-03-2021, 01:55 PM
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BTW your sway bar links are way to short for the amount of lift you have

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