Safety Note: This procedure is not for those with limited mechanical abilities. If you have any doubts in performing this procedure, contact a shop or a friend with the appropriate skills and tools. Using the correct tools, using them correctly and safely is the key in any work you perform on your vehicle.
As you can tell, this was early on in my progress to where my truck is now.
1. Find a suitable location that is flat and level. Should you have access to a garage or covered area with good lighting, use it. Jack up the rear of the vehicle by the frame to a height where the rear springs hang free, i.e. the rear wheels are off the ground. Do not jack up the vehicle using just the axle; it is just easier to use the frame to get the right height.
2. Place jack stands under the frame just forward of the front spring mount and lower the vehicle onto the stands.
3. Place the jack or a jack under the center of the axle housing (pumpkin) but do not lift the axle up yet.
4. If you have not done so yet, spray down all of the nuts and bolts that will need to be removed with a penetrant such as PB Blaster or Rust Eater and allow 15 – 20 minutes for it to work.
5. Remove both rear wheels and set aside.
6. Unbolt the u-bolts and remove the u-bolts and plate from the spring stack and axle.
7. Remove the leaf spring bolts front and rear. NOTE: On the left side spring, the front bolt also holds the e-brake bracket. This can be a pain to get back into place, but is not impossible or requires any special tools – just awkward.
8. The rear end/axle housing will now be totally supported by the jack. Raise the rear end high enough to permit re-assembly of the springs, plate and u-bolts.
9. Remount the leaf springs with them running UNDER the axle tube.
10. When you begin to reassemble the u-bolts and plate, ensure that the axle flip bracket is in place under the axle and above the spring plate. There is a hole in the bracket that will fit over the bolt in the spring stack. Align all of the components and then begin to tighten the u-bolts. Tighten the nuts evenly to keep the plate level and all the parts aligned.
The photo above shows what the whole thing looks like when it’s together. Note how the axle flip bracket is sandwiched between the spring and the axle tube as well as how the bracket ends go up in to the bottom of the stock spring perch that’s still above the axle tube.
11. Check all of your bolts and connections to ensure they are tight and aligned properly. Do this now and thoroughly to ensure everything is tight and aligned properly.
12. Remount the wheels, lower the rear end, jack up the vehicle again and remove the jack stands, lower the vehicle.
13. If you have flipped shackles the rear will sit even lower and will require a c-notch. I had to reverse my shackles (back to stock) because of this. It now sits just right for my purpose using 275/45/17 wheel tire combo.
14. Take it for a test drive and listen for any unusual noises or vibrations. You will notice a major difference in the ride quality over bumps and stability through corners, especially if you have a rear sway bar.
This was performed on my 1995 Ranger BEFORE I began my exterior mods and painting. I had flipped the shackles and ended up with the axle tube resting against the bump stops and would have needed a C-Notch to allow suspension travel. Any more than this would require major fabrication to the rear suspension.