Doing shackle bushes, what are some tips?

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Nov 7, 2017
Melbourne, Australia
I need to do some shackle bushes. Some in the front, some in the rear. I understand the basic plan - jack it up, take the weight off the spring, pull out the shackle bolts, replace the bushes, rinse and repeat...

But I imagine there are some serious tips that you guys have for dealing with the drama that’s bound to arise. What should I look out for? What preparation do I need to do? Any specific tool I should have on the ready? Am I mental to do this with my factory bottle jack?

I use the OEM bottle jack to fine adjust the springs, mainly to get the fixed pin end lined up so it's easy to slip the pin into place. I use my 3-ton floor jack for the heavy lifting.
You've got to completely unweigh the frame from the axle housing so the spring isn't under any tension. I can't visualize how you'd be able to do that with just the OEM jack. I use a highlift jack. Sometimes the bushings can be dug out with no issues, other times, the bushing if it's been in there forever welds itself to whatever it's inserted into and won't come out without using fire. Map gas torch. I've personally never had to resort to fire, but plenty of guys have. If you use fire, you'll need a fire extinguisher too. Grime & paint and bushing can ignite.
A few random tips...

Don't be in a hurry, don't expect it will go quickly, and don't get discouraged. It would help to soak everything in a penetrating oil a few days in advance (several times). You will need 2-3 jacks - at least one to lift the truck and one to shift the spring up or down (minutely) to get the pin back in. You may/may not need a torch to heat or melt out the bushings. Don't over-torch - just heat things enough to free up a stuck bushing and then drive it out while it's hot with a hammer and socket - and have a fire extinguisher or at least a spray bottle of water for minor rubber fires. A 5 lb. hammer or maul can be useful. On US-spec '60 series, you need to lower the exhaust to get it out of the way to gain access to the left rear shackle (it would hit the tailpipe when driven out). Grease everything liberally upon reassembly and apply anti-seize compound to all bolt threads. The bolts are tightened to a very low torque spec so that you don't cause the suspension to bind as it cycles. Be safe in how you chock and jack up the truck, so that it doesn't fall off the jack while you're doing this work.
if they are rubber bushings, there is a good chance the pins and shackle pins are all corroded and pitted. not sure if you had planned on replacing these.
air hammer works well for driving out the pins.
I would just do all of them.
Here's what I did. rebuild or replace stock shackles??

run the nuts out on the shackle pins to the end but leave them on if your going to beat on the pins with a hammer. That way you won't bugger up the threads. You will most likely have to replace some or all of your shackle pins if they are corroded as mentioned above.

I did use a drill bit to chew up the bushings if the pin didn't want to come out. After you get the one side plate off... Just keep drilling all around the pin until most of the bushing material is gone.
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The reason the bushing go in the first place is due to the corroded pins. They get all pitted and coarse and then chew up the bushing in no time. Don't even think about putting new bushings on corroded pins. If you only have new bushings you're not ready to start this job. You should have replacement shackle/pins or at least have the materials to rebuild your shackles/pins.
I like having a torch handy for getting those stubborn pins out :)
A putty knife sometimes comes in handy to get the edge of the bushing past the hanger or into the shackle if they are not the stock type that come apart. Put one side in then use use the putty knife in between the bushing and mount or shackle then use the spring as a lever to slide the bushing past the edge. A little lube will help.
I've had to burn out one pin in all the time I've been doing this. The only real heat I had was a weed (the yard variety) burner hooked up the BBQ grill propane tank. Plenty of heat. Someday I'll buy a MAP torch.
I recently helped a friend install CCOT lift kits on 3 FJ62s. The 2nd and 3rd went predictably faster than the first. One tool recommendation that will save you lots of headache is 12 Ton jack stands from Harbor Freight - a set of 4 extend high enough to get all the wheels off the ground, even on a lifted vehicle.

If you’re going to all the trouble to replace bushings, I’d also recommend replacing your shackles with greasable ones if you don’t already have them.
finished my driver's side rear shackle today. unbolted the exhaust at the rear most hanger as the exhaust is in the way of the pins when you try to push them out. loosening the exhaust gave it enough wiggle room to get the shackle pins out. had to drop the spare tire to get enough room to put an impact wrench on the shackle pin nuts. The bottom pin was toast but surprisingly the top was ok. I used a large pry bar, a bf hammer, a drill to eat up some old bushings, spray lube and bushing lube. A large jack stand to put the under the frame and get the tire about 8 to 10 inches off the ground. Bottle jack to push against the spring and the frame to get the spring down. (sprint tension will want to pull it upward)

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