I thought I’d share a quick how to on getting a potential extra 2-3 inch’s in shock length. It all started because I’m a cheap bastard! I got a ripping good deal on some used shocks, but they were too long for my existing setup (even with SOA). After looking at the underside of my heep there are a couple of ways to locate the upper shock mounts. Option 1 is to run some square tubing across the frame rails right above the rear axle, and fairly easy to do. Option 2 is to extend the existing upper shock location using a setup similar to M.O.R.E.’s extensions. I choose option 2 because I hide my OBA tank in the same spot as option 1’s bar would take. In all fairness M.O.R.E’s stuff looks to be of excellent quality and would have graced my YJ except that living in Canada typically doubles the sale price of US stuff– that and I’m cheap. You can easily build something similar to theirs at a significant savings.
Chop Saw (nice to have but not needed)
Drill bits include ½” & 5/8” & 1”
About 24” of ¼” Flat bar stock
Qty 2 of 1” Outer Dia. DOM tube with a wall thickness of 3/16” by 1 5/16” long
Qty 2 of ½” x 3” Grade 5 or better bolts (you want a long shoulder)
Qty 2 of 5/8” x 3” Grade 5 or better bolts plus washers and nuts
First thing to do is get under your rig and envision your end result. You should see roughly where every thing should line up. Now go get your trusty grinder and cut your flat bar into 4 pieces.
2 pieces 5 ½” long
2 pieces 6” long
Dress the edges and put some nice curves on the ends to they don’t look squared and booty fabed.
Now grab the drill and put some 1” holes in one end of each piece about 1 ½” in. (Gander at the pic for a visual). Drilling a large hole is best accomplished on a drill press, but if you don’t have one then use your feet (I did!). Make sure you step up your drill sizes until you get to the 1”.
Test fit the DOM tube in the hole - You may need to file it so there’s a good fit.
Next (the hardest part in this little project), the short pieces of flat bar need to have some bends put in them so that they follow the contours of the original mount. You need to make a lazy Z in it. If you have a Oxy setup no worries – heat it up and shape as desired. If you’re like me and somewhat broke, use the grinder and cut/nick the flat bar across the face. The first cut should be about 2” in from the end on the opposite side of the hole (again see pic), second cut is about 1” closer to the hole. Remember the cuts will be on opposite faces!
Now put it in a vice and bend, mock it up on the heep once in awhile to make sure you get it just right.
Once the pieces look like they might work, go back to the drill and put some ½” holes in the opposite end of the 1” hole. This will be for the ½” bolt that will locate the extensions in the frame. I chose to drill them inboard 1”.
Right, now on to the second set of flat bar pieces (6inchers). Put a 5/8” hole 1” in from the end (again opposite the 1” hole – does this need to be repeated?). This is the hole for the 5/8” bolt that acts as the shock mount pin.
Metal melting time! Spark up the welder and weld the scores on the bent bars. Dress the welds then mock up pieces on the rig. It should be coming together nicely now. Mark the orientation of the bars with a felt or chalk so you can finish welding the bars to the DOM tubing. (see pic)
Next, mark the location of the holes you’ll need to drill in the frame, put the partially finished extensions back on to see where the holes will go. Drill the frame, again make sure you start small and work up to ½”.
All that’s left is to cut the ½” bolts so that you’re only left with about 1/2” of bolt shoulder; weld these to the bent pieces. Now weld the 5/8” bolts in the other holes.
That’s it – Paint’em purdy and enjoy longer shocks and increased travel!
OK, you read this far so time for some notes.
– you will have to cut some of your exhaust heat shield for the passenger shock.
- if this is done with the original lower shock mounts the shocks will be angled, mines nowhere near stock so this really didn’t apply for me.
- For the math challenged 1”DOM tubing with 3/16” wall leaves a 5/8” hole – just the right size for the original mount