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evilpsych 11-28-2002 11:36 AM

Discussion on Lift Installation Tips
I thought after all of us have installed various brands/types/sizes of lifts, that we should have a discussion regarding tools you wish you had to help you install your lift. Use this thread to list pieces you really wish you had and what vehicle and lift you were trying to install.

When I was installing my BDS 3.5" on my YJ, I really wished that I had tall tall jackstands with a wide platform underneath and a taller floorjack for the axle. Also various deep-socketed large size wrenches would have been nice.

Tips: Don't bother with a pickle fork when trying to remove your pitman-arm, just get one of these:: Pitman arm puller
autozone carries a different version of this that is wide-jawed and can ben used for ball-joints as well. makes it much much easier..

Installing leaf spring axle shims is easier when you have two or more clamps to hold the pack together so you can unbolt the center stud and position the shim underneath it.

You don't *need* two people to install a lift, but it sure is handy to have a 2nd person with his own set of tools, makes certain bolts easier to install and remove, as well as bolting skid plate pans back to the frame.

SamFromCO 11-28-2002 01:49 PM

My lift installation suggestion is PB Blaster. Soak every bolt that gets removed for a few days before you start. Ditto on some good, big jackstands. A large floor jack is a big help.

evilpsych 11-28-2002 02:05 PM

yeah.. ditto on the PB blaster, used it too..

93jeepyj2.5 11-29-2002 01:14 AM

My suggestion is, DON'T lay under the spring while unbolting it......I learned the hard way and had a bruise on my chest for about 1 month.

I unbolted it from the u-bolts, and then unbolted it from the front shackle, while I was laying under it. OUCH!!!!!!

Dont make the same mistake as me.

rustyCJ 12-06-2002 12:07 AM

when putting new leaf springs on, slide the main springeye bolt through the hanger and spring from the inside of the frame outward so that the you can look down at threads, not the head of the bolt. this will make it much much easier for the next person that owns your jeep to drive out that rusted bolt. i wish the previous owner of my jeep had done it.

tube yj 12-06-2002 11:50 AM

if your jeep is as nasty as mine, i suggest buying a huge hammer. Also air tools are great.

macb 12-10-2002 08:57 AM

put a 3" teraflex lift on my 2kTJ - took most of a day, several people from the local 4x4 club where there - you know how it goes...the more help you have the longer it takes! We used a pitman arm puller (2, we broke the first one and had to rent a backup). The other special tools were a spring compressor, big floor jack, big jackstands and several 3 foot long peices of 4x4 lumber to get the jackstands up a little higher.

On the spring compressor get the 'outie' kind (like for struts)... we found the inside style just got in the way and we ended up doing the old 'stand on that end'! had to disconnect the lower arms in the front to get enough movement to get the springs in when uncompressed.

I would also recommend a good right angle drill since you have to drill out the spring pads front and rear to get the new bumpstop extensions on (I am going to probably take mine off once I lengthen my brake lines)

and read the d@mn instructions! we missed one step and it added another 45 minutes going back and doing it right.

XtraWorm 12-21-2002 12:53 PM

I live in Michigan, rust capital of the world, and needed my cutting torch to remove the springs (started the rubber bushings on fire, so preotect your fuel lines). The sleeve that the main eye bolt rides in was frozen to the bolt on all four springs, not removeable by hammering. If you don't have air tools at least have a 1/2" breaker bar.


tj2kbob 01-02-2003 11:57 PM

If it's your DD, make sure you can finish what you start before you start it...otherwise you might be out there until who knows how long or rushing to get it done..either way, you would want to take your time and do it right the FIRST time

JeeperJ 01-09-2003 02:29 PM

I had the same problem with my hanger bolts. Could not hammer them out! I don't have a torch so I had to cut them off with a grinder! PITA Also, My big breaker bar was my best friend on the job !!!!!

Jerry Bransford 01-12-2003 12:19 AM

The best advice not already given I can offer is for TJ owners not to install a dropped Pitman arm on any but the most extremely tall lifts. A DPA will just mess up the geometry between the drag link and track bar and cause bump steer on lifts 5 or so inches or shorter. I'm running a 5.5" suspension lift and I am still running the stock Pitman arm with no bump steer issues.

CJs and YJs generally always need a DPA after a lift installation to avoid bump steer, but installing a DPA on a TJ will usually only cause bumpsteer. Look at a TJ's drag link and you'll see that it's parallel to the track bar even if you have a tall lift. You'll then see that installing a DPA would lower the driver's side of the drag link so it's no longer parallel to the trackbar... which is what causes bump steer. The reason TJs don't need it is because the steering geometry was redesigned from what CJs and YJs had... and is the reason it doesn't usually need a dropped Pitman arm.

By the way, bump steer is where the steering wheel is forced left and right as the front suspension moves up and down... and happens when the drag link and track bar are not parallel to each other. The term bumpsteer comes from the fact that if you hit a bump or dip in the road, the steering wheel will bump one way or the other, often violently.

sivarock 01-18-2003 08:45 AM

Installed a 4.5" Rubicon Express on my 2002 TJ. Took 10 hours start to finish, normal bull@$%&! around included. Here are my suggestions on lift installation:

1.Spring Compressor is a must, can't imagine how I would have compacted those springs otherwise.
2.Take it easy when removing factory components (if possible), you may find you'll want to re-use many of your brackets and bolts for a more factory fit. When removing, keep stuff together in a box or bucket.
3.I agree with above comments, maintain factory pitman arm, have no problems and maintains excellent geometry.
Instructions say you can complete with "Basic Mechanic Handtools", I guess you could, but what a PITA!!! I wouldn't of bothered withhout the following tools:
1.Spring Compressor (Used strut kind, worked great). Be careful with positioning, still needs to be removed after you get it on.
2.AIR TOOLS!!! Impact and Socket a must! Grinder is never a bad thing to have around. Didn't need though.
3. 1/2 Drill, needed to drill 5/8s hole, standard drills will not hold this large of a bit, bought from Lowes, am planning on returning today.
4.Two good friends who know a hell of a lot more than you do! Couldn't have done it without the boys. Oh yeah, and have pizza delivered at lunch!
Have fun and take pics!!!

jeep4fishing 01-22-2003 05:55 PM

Make sure you do one corner at a time. With both leaf packs off my axle slide forward 8 - 10 inches and I had to use a floor jack to reposition it. Of course I couldn't just push it back into place without undoing all the steering links etc. I used the arch motion the jack's arm takes to move the axle back into place (slow and painful - had to reposition about 4 times). Also if your new to the wrench turning game it helps to see how the other side is put together if you have problems getting the first side together.

Most of my nuts and bolts were welded with rust and I broke a good socket wrench. I used a combo breaker bar and my hi lift jack handle (for the really tough ones) and eventually got all the rusted crap to turn.

Stock swaybar upper studs are a kick in the pants to try to remove too. If you have access to any kind of cutting tool other than a hack saw just go to that first. I wasted time trying to hammer them out, use visegrips to turn them, and metal chisels to pry them out. I eventually cut the threaded side and drilled out the pin portion. They appeared to be tappered, the cold may have been a problem too.

Finally the main eye bushing and sleeve were difficult, but once we figured out the trick they were easy to remove. If you don't want to reuse them (we put poly bushings and greasable bolts in) just drill the bushing in about ten different places we then used a propane torch to heat the sleeve untill it expanded a bit and pushed out on the drilled bushings. As it cooled it was loosened and pulled out with a pair of channel locks.

A lot of patients, a great brother who didn't mind flying to Kansas from Salt Lake and 16-18 hours of swearing and knuckle bashing is what it is all about. Good Luck to all.

dscrotty 01-28-2003 11:24 AM

-Do everything one side at a time.

-Don't take the leaf spring out to install an AAL, do it while it's still attached.

-Make sure EVERYTHIJNG is disconnected before removing something (like a T-case).

-If you can't work in a garage, stop when the sun goes down or when the temp drops below freezing, whichever comes 1st.

-Always use jack stands

-Do the problem stuff first. Example, my driver's side leaf spring eye bolt was fused to the bushing sleeve. I did this side 1st knowing it would take the longest, when I was done, the passenger side was cake, making for an overall happier install job.

-If the bolt/nut/whatever is stuck, don't spend hours killing yourself trying to loosen it, because it's not gonna happen. Cut it off and replace it. your back/arms/leegs will thank you in the morning.

-Racheting tie-down straps work great for re-aligning axles with leaf spring pins and control arms.

-If it's in the way, remove it (whenever possible), don't try to work around it.

BIG SEXY 02-17-2003 07:37 PM

I just want my neighbors set-up!!!
He is about 65yrs old and is retired,He used to work on half the tractors in the county and if you need something, HE'S GOT IT!!
He has the welder,torch,engine lift,TALL jack stands(for tractors)drill press,air comp-and all tools to go with it,ETC...He is great,and lets me use his shop all the time(25x30 shop with T.V. coffee maker and all the comforts of home)I practically live over there,my wife rolls her eyes when I tell her I am going over there because I will come back with a new bumper or something we made!!!

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