I guess that could be written about most weeks, but the truck proved an interesting task.  It was sitting slightly low to the right and after observing this for a few days, I finally produced enough interest to look under the bed at the frame.  A sad sight greeted me.  The shackle which connects the leaf spring to the truck frame was broken in half and the bed of the truck was riding on the end of the spring.  I looked at a couple of youtubes on the subject and took a torch to the nut with a breaker bar and after a bit of effort, managed to get the bolt removed from the lower connection.  This went through a bracket riveted into the frame and was U shaped with the shackle fitting inside with the bolt running from the inside towards the outside of the truck.  The videos mentioned about half an hour going back and forth between a torch and impact wrench to get the bolt loose.  Mine just looked at me.  About 45 minutes into the work – also including an air hammer, the center broken piece rotated about 10 degrees.  That was the last movement I was able to get before yesterday.

After more discussion, it was posited that the rubber may be allowing cushion and a press would be needed to get the bolt removed.  A design was chosen and about three days were spent building a press to handle a 2 ton press and provide that force to the bolt.  After all the welding, cutting, and planning, the press was a failure.  The bolt looked at the press and asked, “is that it?”  It didn’t even flinch.  I got a bit perturbed at this point and spouseinbox and I went to the local welding store.  I asked if setting the amperage to about 150 would be enough to cut the shackle.  With an affirmative reply, spouseinbox and I returned to the project and spent the next half hour cutting through the shackle, removing the rubber – now burned – and finally getting down to the inner sleeve and bolt.  I put the press back on the bolt and heated it with the welder.  Again, and for the last time, it didn’t move.  The press went other places and the bolt was slowly removed by melting.  That worked.  The last piece was removed this afternoon with an angle grinder.  Wow.

The bolt through the leaf spring remained.  After the first one, I was thinking, “Oh, crap, here we go again.”  So, with truck braced on jacks and jack stand and leaf spring lowered, this bolt didn’t even get a chance as I started with the grinder and removed half of the nut, then twisted it off with a pipe wrench.  The remaining piece of the shackle was not as stubborn as the first and was removed with the pipe wrench and a hammer.  The pipe wrench was opened and placed between the spring and the truck frame allowing the hammer better effectiveness.

Installing the new shackle was not a problem.  There was just a bit of fussy getting the spring into position so that the wrenches could fit.  Other than that, the assembly went without an issue.  Count another project done.

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