U-bolts and shackle bushings

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Jul 30, 2003

I have noticed the u-bolts on my '78 40 are in need of tightening. While I do this, I also plan to replace the shackle bushings that attach to the frame. How do I do this? I have tried to get under there with a torque wrench (~90ft-lbs) but it seems like I need to take some pressure off of the plates somehow. I was also hoping for
some advice in replacing the shot stock shackle bushings. Can anyone help me out or link me to a good detailed write-up for doing these things? Thanks for reading my "Greeny" post.

'78 FJ40
4" skyjacker leafs
Black Diamond shocks
Replacing the bushings is pretty easy, first of all buy new poly bushings, the rubber ones wear out pretty quick. Specter off-road (www.sor.com) carrys any and all bushings you'll ever need, a little over priced but bushings are cheap. With the rear of the cruiser jacked up and the frame supported and all, remove the shackle bolts(this can be a PITA, a breaker bar comes in handy), then once thats done, you can push the shackle down out of the way, exposing the spring hanger and bushings. Next, use a hammer and a drift to drive out the old bushings or you can drill them out. Once you have the old bushings out, clean up the spring hanger where bushings sit, then press in the new bushings (I coated each bushing with a very light coat of grease, this helps them slide into place a bit easier). Reinstall the shackles and you have that done; while your at it ,you might as well buy greasable shackles and pins(available at most cruiser outfitts, TPI, Specter, etc.), they are very easy to install and reduce the amount of friction between the shackle bolt and the bushings. Hope that helps a little, I'm sure others will ad a bit more advice.
Make sure that you grease poly bushings with lithium grease before installation. Unless you like squeaks ;)
Thanks for the tips guys. I got a set of poly bushings from Rockymountain suspension. It was $17 for full set (all 4 shackles) plus about 6 bucks for shipping. I think the brand was daystar...Anyway, I'll give it a try, but I'm nervous that the springs will trash me or something. Do I have to take the compression off them somehow? Sorry if this sounds dumb, but I've never messed with the suspension parts.

Also, does anyone have any tips for tightening the u-bolts? Do I just crank away at them until they're snug around the axle? Any methods work the best?

Thanks again everyone for your time and ideas

you need to support the frame and the axle separately, taking most of the weight off that corner. Removing the tire helps with the unsprung weight too. Only do one shackle at a time.

While you have it supported, tighten the u-bolts. Torque specs of 90 ftlbs (IIRC) should be followed, looser can be VERY bad.
For the shackle end, I made a plate for my bottle jack. lashed the jack on the spring and jacked up against the frame until the shackle looked loose. I was able to get the shackle off and the bushings out in no time. This also helps when putting the shackle back on.

Make sure the jack is secure on the spring, you don't want that think coming loose.
Thanks Woody,

For the u-bolts, one side at a time as well?

yeah, one corner at a time is fine....with the SUA suspensions, you want the weight of the vehicle on the frame, not on the tires/axle.
Thank you again, I'm going to give it a shot.
:beer: :beer: :beer:
Thank you, I never would have thought of that.
If you over tighten the shackle bolts you may shear the collars off the new poly bushings. Then you will get to kick yourself in the ass and redo the whole stinkin deal. Not that I know this from personal experience or anything.....
Next time I will use nylock nuts on the shackles instead of lockwashers so that no pressure is needed to hold them tight and I won't be so inclined to overtighten to keep enough pressure on the locknut to prevent anything from loosening up.
Moly or grease on the u-bolts will decrease the torque required so may result in over tightening...assuming that all new hardware in excellent condition is used.

A clarification: IF you use grease on the threads and tighten to the factory torque specs it is possible to over torque them unless you have a torque procedure/chart based on that procedure. Regardless, under typical use, a minor over torque will not be likely to cause any strife as long as both nuts on the same u bolt are tightened evenly.

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