Information, Modification

Breaking Free of Your Shackles

But, you’re thinking “I don’t have leaf springs and shackles on my Airstream” (Well, you might if you’ve got a vintage model) and you’d be correct.  I’m talking to you Standard Old Box (SOB) owners.

Helped my buddy repair and upgrade his busted shackle.  I was really shocked seeing the components they use out of the factory on a +10,000 pound travel trailer.

Curb side rear leaf spring busted loose from the front shackle. Happened while in tow. Luckily, it came to rest on the underside of the main frame channel, otherwise it could have been a catastrophic failure.
Upgraded shackle with 1/2″ steel brackets compared to factory installed 1/4″ bracket garbage. Mind you, this is a +10,000lb trailer riding on those little 1/4″ thick brackets. Probably around 15,000 miles on it when it failed.  All the original brackets showed wallowing out.  Same brackets street side were ready to fail.

This is not unusual for these SOB’s. My neighbor down the street almost had the same thing happen to his.  The only reason he caught it before complete failure was because he didn’t like how squeaky the suspension was and pulled them in favor of this kit because of the ability to grease the bolts. After pulling them he noticed the OEM brackets were near failure.  I had another camper tell me their shackle had let go on the freeway, causing the leaf spring to nose dive into the pavement and throw a rooster tail of sparks until another driver alerted him.

Not only are the brackets woefully inadequate, but they used plastic bushings (that were badly worn) as well.

Upgrade kit by MORryde

Very easy swap/repair.  This would be the very first thing I’d upgrade, or at the very least check within the first year of use.  Again, easy upgrade, maybe an hour for both sides. Having two sets of hands helps. You’ll probably want two jacks, one for each axle. Makes it easier to slip the shackles into place if you can manipulate the axles to get the leaf spring ends lined up with the middle balancer. Also, a hammer drill and breaker bar make it easier to break the bolts free. MORryde has a very good instructional video, but they show the zirgs on the inboard side. We prefer the zirgs on the outboard, since greasing them on the inboard side would require scooting underneath, and scooting underneath a vehicle should always be avoided if at all possible. Dad getting crushed underneath the family RV would suck.

Sporting the new, upgraded shackles.

Boy howdee, I thought Airstream cut corners…

Of course, with Airstream it’s about saving a nickel on galvanized screws for trim or cheap plated corbin latches, never anything as serious as this.  There’s no excuse for using thin little 1/4″ brackets on a trailer this size. Anyhoo, it’s satisfying making such an important upgrade so easily.

See You Down the Road!

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