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  #1  
Old 10-09-2018, 11:32 PM
fallbalance fallbalance is offline
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Default Stuck, broken leaf spring shackle, need quick advice

Hey everyone!

​​​​​​I registered on the site specifically so I could post this question. I'm in a pressing situation here, and I'm hoping for some good advice.* I'm driving a 1995 Ford Ranger, 2.3l, stick shift, 2wd.

On my way home from Montreal today, on a 200-mile trip, I hit a pothole that caused my left front leaf spring shackle to completely sever, leaving the front of my leaf spring free-floating.* I noticed the difference in driving immediately, as the truck sounded a bit different, shifted slightly differently, and pulled to the right slightly.* I pulled off on the nearest rest stop, got under the truck, and quickly discovered what had happened.

I debated limping home slowly on back roads, as the truck seems to ride pretty well still... But to be safe I looked up how dangerous this is, and I was scared off.* Not only might I be in danger, but this could be a serious road hazard for other people as well.*

Tonight, I returned back to where I stayed in Montreal, and I'm trying to figure out my best plan of action tomorrow.* Obviously I need to get this fixed, but it would be much more comfortable if I could get home first, or I can lay in my driveway and get onto the truck and really analyze things better.* Also, at my home back in New York I have a mechanic that I know and trust that I can consult.

The truck is sitting in the parking lot of the rest stop tonight as we speak, and I need to decide what to do by tomorrow evening.* I had a good friend recommend trying the leaf spring back to the frame with a ratchet strap and driving home on back roads at 50 miles per hour. He thought that it would be fine for the 150 miles it's going to take to get home.* I'm averse to having a tow truck pull my Ranger all the way back to my home in New York, and having to cross the border... That sounds like an expensive tow.* I'm also averse to just bringing it to the nearest mechanic where it is, because I don't know the credibility of who I might be bringing it to, and that also means I would have to stay away from home for a longer period of time.

Do you guys have a suggestion about the best way to make a quick Band-Aid fix so I can fairly safely get home?* Is my friends ratchet strap idea sound?

I had the thought while laying under the truck that perhaps, since this is rear wheel drive, the differential might help keep the rear axle in place... Between that and the intact right leaf spring, perhaps this would be enough support to get home slowly?

Any help is much appreciated here... Sorry to be introducing myself to the community with such a time sensitive and pressing question... It's certainly not a fun situation to be in.

Broken leaf spring shackle https://imgur.com/gallery/VNgM869
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  #2  
Old 10-10-2018, 04:21 AM
Dirtman Dirtman is offline
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Default Re: Stuck, broken leaf spring shackle, need quick advice

You know the answer. Bite the bullet and have it towed home. There is no safe way to drive with a broken spring hanger.
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  #3  
Old 10-10-2018, 09:53 AM
VelociRanger VelociRanger is offline
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Default Re: Stuck, broken leaf spring shackle, need quick advice

Until I saw the picture my advice was going to be to run some bolts through it, you'll be fine. Now, that is no longer an answer. Really, you only have two options, one being what Dirtman said and just get it towed. Your other option, which seems more sensible to be, is to just take it to the shop nearest you. Find a ride via Uber or some other ride sharing up, buy the part you need, and transport your vehicle to the shop and tell them exactly what's wrong and all you want done is them to replace the hanger. When you get home, have your mechanic you trust do a thorough inspection and make sure that's all that needs done. It's a fairly simple fix and should be done in a day by a shop.
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  #4  
Old 10-10-2018, 10:37 AM
fallbalance fallbalance is offline
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Default Re: Stuck, broken leaf spring shackle, need quick advice

Thanks for the response and advice guys... This is a huge help.

I'll probably do one of the two options you mentioned VelociRanger.

I'm just spitballing here, but what do you think about the idea of putting a u-bolt around the frame and the shackle, and clamping it down tightly? Do you think this would keep it in place well enough to get home (then bring it to my local mechanic to do a proper fix)?

I'm just looking for alternatives because the logistics suck on this one with any path I take... The truck is in a parking lot in a pull off in the country, an hour away from here (Montreal) and three hours from home (Syracuse). If I found a local mechanic where it sits now, it's a lot of hours of back and forth driving. However, if this is how it must be, then that's that I suppose.

Thanks again.
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  #5  
Old 10-10-2018, 11:04 AM
VelociRanger VelociRanger is offline
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Default Re: Stuck, broken leaf spring shackle, need quick advice

If you have any tools on you that could complete the job, it's a really simple/easy fix. Otherwise, I wouldn't try to put a u bolt on it and drive it, but that's coming from someone who put gum on their starter ground to get home. you could try, but it's not safe for you or other people on the road, even if you take all back roads. I understand the driving and the situation, but I've learned it's best to do the thing you dont wanna do in order to not have to worry about problems that came from doing what you wanted to do. Best of luck, I hope all comes out well. Keep us posted!
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  #6  
Old 10-10-2018, 01:20 PM
fallbalance fallbalance is offline
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Default Re: Stuck, broken leaf spring shackle, need quick advice

Thanks! Well, I contacted a local mechanic who is going to look at it tomorrow morning. Hopefully he can fix it without much trouble (or cost).
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  #7  
Old 10-12-2018, 09:53 PM
fallbalance fallbalance is offline
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Default Re: Stuck, broken leaf spring shackle, need quick advice

Hey again. So, I wanted to update this thread on my progress. The mechanic that I left the truck with has been very good... surprisingly fast and a great guy to work with. I think I lucked out there. I dropped the truck off at his place on Wednesday night, talk to him on Thursday morning after he had already looked at it and decided what to do, and somehow on Friday morning at 11 he had already received the parts and done all the work. I feel like this was just enough time for me to make breakfast and tie my shoes.

When he looked at it originally he suggested that I also replace the bracket on the other side. I considered the option but decided to just go with fixing the first bracket for the time being. However, when he actually got it up on the lift, he said that the other bracket broke from the weight of the truck being suspended on whatever point he's used. So, consequently there was now by necessity double the parts and double the labor to finish both brackets. He seems like a very honest person, so I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that the other bracket was probably already compromised and ready to break... possibly because it was receiving more force after the first one broke.

On top of this, I asked him to replace the rear differential plate and refill the gear fluid because it is always been slightly leaky and very rusty. I noticed after the first bracket broke that it was leaking much more quickly... I'm assuming the axle was twisting and shifting and skewing because there was no longer a solid attachment on the left leaf spring, and consequently this put stressful forces on the pumpkin, which caused the already rusted seal to open just enough for fluid to leak out. When the mechanic looked at it, he said there was still a decent amount of fluid in there still, and the gears looked healthy... So that's good.

The total cost ended up being about $650 (after tax). The two leaf spring shackles were $200, and the new differential plate was about $100... So Parts alone were 300 (approximately), and I'm guessing labor was probably about $100 per hour, and the job took him about 3.5 hours... I don't know, this is just an estimate because I wasn't able to actually go pick it up tonight. I'll have to wait until Monday to see the breakdown of the bill and drive the truck home.

Does this seem like a reasonable bill to you guys? It's in the range of what I expected... Minus the opposite side shackle breaking, of course... But, that may be a blessing in disguise, because it might have otherwise broken on the way home again!
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  #8  
Old 10-12-2018, 10:04 PM
Dirtman Dirtman is offline
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Default Re: Stuck, broken leaf spring shackle, need quick advice

Parts prices seem really high but mechanics always markup parts and there may have been some expedited shipping involved. Labor seems fair.
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  #9  
Old 10-14-2018, 09:04 PM
fallbalance fallbalance is offline
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Default Re: Stuck, broken leaf spring shackle, need quick advice

Oh, ya, that's true -- he did get the parts really fast, so maybe he did expedite shipping, because I was stuck 'on the road'. As long as you guys think the overall price is in the ballpark of what would be considered fair, then I'm good with it.

Everything seems expensive to me these days.
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  #10  
Old 10-22-2018, 02:53 PM
dvrich dvrich is offline
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Default Re: Stuck, broken leaf spring shackle, need quick advice

I believe computersoc has changed his user name.
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Last edited by dvrich; 10-23-2018 at 01:53 PM.
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  #11  
Old 10-27-2018, 05:17 PM
fallbalance fallbalance is offline
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Default Re: Stuck, broken leaf spring shackle, need quick advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by dvrich View Post
I believe computersoc has changed his user name.
I don't follow --?
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