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ok, so what kind of shackle works best? what would be a good replacement? any input?
I like the ones that Deaver custom makes for his springs - and you could fab them up at home.

He takes 1/4" plate, and makes the main legs, then splits DOM to fit the legs, and welds it on each leg, with a piece turned sideways on each end for bolt access. The entire piece becomes very strong, as it is held in tension in a number of directions, and it remains a free-swinging shackle without a center bar, which should give slightly better articulation. Add a center tube if you like, but I see that design as about as bullet proof as you can get.

You can see them in the center of this picture.
 

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