How to Build a Shackle Lift

By Prev Info - January 21, 2023

Shackle lifts may be custom-made for your car

Building shackle lifts is an effective way to gain better control of your sport utility or four-wheel drive vehicle. Shackles are rectangular-shaped pieces of metal that are used to increase the distance between the frame of the vehicle and the suspension system. Shackles come in various lengths. Although you can custom order shackles, it's also possible to build your own.

Things You'll Need

  •     4 rectangular pieces of metal, 5 to 7 inches long and 1 inch thick
  •     Drill press
  •     1/2-inch or 1/4-inch drill bits
  •     Angle iron
  •     Metal grinder
  •     C-clamp
  •     8 1/2-inch bolts
  •     Spray paint
  •     Safety goggles
  •     Work gloves


  1. Ensure that the steel metal slabs are equal in length and are the right measurements for your vehicle. This information can be found in the user's manual for your vehicle, by checking with the vehicle manufacturer or asking an authorized automobile technician.
  2. Mark a round spot about a half inch from each end of the slab for the bolt holes. All the holes should be the same size and should be large enough to fit the bolts securely. Do the same with the other three rectangular metal pieces.
  3. Clamp one metal slab to the workbench. Use the drill press to form a hole in the marked spot for the bolt. Do the same with the other end of the metal piece. Continue drilling each metal slab until you have two bolt holes in each of the four metal slabs.
  4. Clamp one metal slab to the workbench. Mark each corner of the metal pieces a half inch from the outer corner edge. Use the angle iron to cut off both corners of each end of the metal piece. Repeat with all the metal slabs.
  5. Use a metal grinder to smooth the outsides cut corners to make them rounded. Repeat with the other three metal pieces. You should now have four metal slaps with rounded ends and a bolt hole in the middle of each end.
  6. Spray paint each of the newly built shackle lifts with black paint or any other color you wish. Let them dry for 24 hours before using the bolts to attach them to your vehicle.

Tips & Warnings

  1. Applying machinery oil to the bit of the drill press can help prevent it from getting stuck while drilling the metal slabs. This will also help keep the bit cool. Use a quarter- or half-inch bits to make the bolt holes.
  2. Ensure that your vehicle can handle the length of the shackle lift you are planning to make before installing them.
  3. Wear safety goggles while drilling and grinding metal to prevent metal fragment pieces from injuring the eye.
  4. Do not try to hold the metal while you are drilling, cutting, or grinding it; always use a C-clamp to prevent injury to your hands.
  5. Ensure that your work space is free of paper and other flammable items to avoid starting a fire with the metal sparks.