Shackle bushes are an item that are often overlooked during routine maintenance. Shackle bushes live in the leaf spring shackle, they are the bush that allows movement in the suspension. Every time you drive over a bump or turn a corner your suspension moves. This movement will eventually wear out the bush.
During services these bushes should be checked for excessive wear. Although they are not completely visible without disassembly your experienced technician can see if they are worn from indirect means i.e.: location of pin in the bush, if it is offset wear is present. Sometimes they appear to be only very slightly worn but when removed they are worn through. In some instances the shackles will require replacement as well, as excessive movement can cause wear in the shackle surfaces and pins.
When these bushes are worn they allow uncontrolled movement in the suspension. This can relate to the vehicle feeling ‘loose’ on the road. Other symptoms can be noises (clunking and/or squeaking), indirect steering, tyre wear and loose steering.
Generally these are not a major job to replace. Shackle bush kits vary in price from vehicle to vehicle but are relatively cheap. The labour required is generally minor to replace these shackle bushes.
The main pic shows a worn out bush removed from the rear leaf suspension of a 75 series Toyota land cruiser. The pics below are from a D40 Navara.