Spencer Low Racing 2" Leaf Shackle Installation
The following are instructions on how to install the 2" shackles from Spencer Low Racing. The 2" lift is only for the rear, and does not require lengthening brake lines, or any further adjustments.
Special thanks to Vikram at his new page www.4x4lo.com and Mr T. and MAXC.org for help with instructions on my install. You can find Vikrams original install page under his mods section. Also thanks to CharlesH for the latenight help putting in the shackles.
Please post your experience with the shackle install, or any suggestions for improvement on the instructions at the Xterra4x4 message board. Pictures of your final install are appreciated.
What you need:
- Jack stands, or a good floor jack
- 17mm & 19mm sockets, an extra 19mm socket or closed wrench is very helpful
- Xterra jack
- Tire iron
- WD40 (or Windex in a pinch).
Jack up the truck and remove one tire.
You need to lift the truck high enough to get the rear tire off the ground without using the Nissan lift point (which is under the leaf springs). If you have a good floor jack you can do this by mounting the jack under the frame just in front of the leaf hanger. When we did this truck, the floor jack wasn't tall enough so we had to jack up the truck on the hanger (not ideal) and put 4x4 blocks underneath it. After you get the truck up, remove the tire on the side you lifted.
Put your Xterra Jack under the leaf jack point, and turn the jack slowly until it just starts to lift the rear axle.
This is to remove tension from the leaf springs, and support the axle when you unbolt the stock shackles.
Unbolt the stock shackles and remove them.
Now that you have tension off the leafs, unbolt the stock shackles using the 17mm socket. Take your hammer and knock the bolts in, then turn it around and hit against the outside piece of the shackle to remove it. The shackle is made of two parts. The outside part will fall off and the leaf will still be held by the remaining part of the shackle.
The remaining part of the shackle can be hammered off the leafs. You might need someone to pull up on the exhaust to clear enough room. We also found it helpful to completely remove the spare tire for more clearance.
If you have a newer Xterra then the rubber gasket probably stayed in the top mount (as seen below). Insert the metal sleeve that came with your shackles into the upper gasket.
If you have a 2000 Xterra like mine, then the gasket probably came off with the shackle. I couldn't find my WD40, so I lubed the bolt with Windex. A little prying and it should come off. Put the metal sleeve into the upper gasket and reinstall it.
Run the longer bolt through the top gasket, and attach the nut tight enough that it's on securely, but you can still move the shackle.
Now you need to get the leaf into position to match the lower hole in the shackle.
It's possible to pull the leaf down by brute force, but we decided to use the stock jack for a more controlled way of moving the leafs into the right position. Place the jack upside down between the frame and the leaf clamp. Adjust the jack until the leaf springs move align themselves up with the holes in your shackles.
Run the bolt through, and attach the nut. The bolts that SLR supplies are not long enough to use a locking washer with. If you try, I guarantee you will strip the threads. If you can find a longer bolt that works, go for it. Otherwise you'll need to tighten the shackles tight just to get the bolt to come to the edge of the nuts thread. With the shackle in proper position, tighten down the top bolt.
With the shackles installed, remove the jack and put your tire back on.
Double check your work, and tighten everything down. You're ready to do the other side. When you're all done your truck should look like this (well except for the ARB and Super Swampers unless you have those already).
Note: You'll notice that the rear sway bars are still attached to the black Xterra we worked on. Removing the bars will allow you to realize the full articulation the shackles provide, but should only be done if you understand the handling changes this will make to your truck.