Installing the Rubicon Express 4.5 Extreme Duty Spring Lift Kit
Before I purchased the RE lift kit I search the internet for a set of instructions. I found a couple of write-ups but no instructions. Then I emailed Rubicon Express and never got an answer. I am going to borrow heavily from the instructions that came with the kit. I hope RE doesnt mind.
First, this is what the kit contains:
- 2 Front Leaf Springs (5 springs)
2 Rear Leaf Springs (6 springs)
4 Shocks (Doetsch Tech 3000s)
2 Front Stainless Steel Extended Brake Lines
1 Rear Stainless Steel Extended Brake Line
1 RE Transfer Case Drop Kit w/ Hardware (1)
2 RE Sway Bar Disconnects
1 Track Bar Bracket
1 Front and Rear U-Bolt Set (8 total)
2 Front Greasable Shackles
2 Rear Greasable Angled Shackles
4 Main Eye Greasable Bushings
4 Degree Shims (2.5 by 4 by 2.5 degrees)
1 Drop Pitman Arm
Required (and desired) Tools:
- Factory Manual (mostly for torque specifications)
- Basic set of hand tools including sockets, wrenches, hammer, breaker bars,
- Pliers, Torx/Phillips/Standard screwdrivers, etc.
- Pitman Arm Puller
- 1-5/16 socket for Pitman Arm Nut
- Floor Jack
- Jack Stands (2 Pair)
- Wheel Chalks
- Torque Wrench (150 foot pounds)
You may also want:
- Air powered impact driver
- Long Cheater Bar
- 12 Punch
- PB Blaster or WD-40
- Brake Fluid
I put the kit on a 1993 Wrangler (YJ) and most of the bolts were pretty rusty. My son sprayed the leaf spring bolts, shackle bolts, drop pitman, and other bolts with PB Blaster every day for a week before we started the project. This helped on most of the bolts. (More on this later)
We started on the front end (harder).[list=1][*]Block the rear wheels of vehicle.[*]Raise the front of the vehicle and support the frame with jack stands. I put them just to the rear of the front leaf springs.
[*]Remove the front wheels.[*]Remove the front shocks. Save the mounting hardware, as it will be needed for the new shocks. I put mine in a zip lock baggie to keep parts separate.[*]Remove axle end of track bar.[*]Support axle with jack stands.
[*]Remove U-bolts and spring plates. You do not need to re-use the u-bolts or nuts. Set them out of the way.[*]Remove spring eyebolts. This was easier said than done. The bolts at the end of the spring that is attached to the jeep (not the shackle end) were very difficult to remove. The bolt was rusted to metal bushing that goes inside of the rubber bushings. The nuts came off with a breaker bar but the bolt would not budge. I tried removing it with a ½ impact driver with no success. I went out and bought a larger Ύ impact driver. It couldnt remove it either. I finally got out the grinder and spent an hour making sparks until the grade 8 bolt head and extended threads were gone. I had also tried to cut the bolt with a saws-all but my metal blade would not handle the grade 8 bolts.
[*]Remove the springs. [*]Remove the shackles and bushings from the frame. Punch the inner steel bushing out first, then the rubber bushings are easy to remove with a pair of pliers.[*]Remove brake hoses from hard brake line at top of frame rail. Again, this hardware was seized up. The factory manual recommended using a spanning wrench. So I went out and bought one. It would not fit over the hard line so it was useless. The rubber brake hoses are held to the top frame rail with a torx head screw. After many attempts to remove it with a socketed torx bit I finally got smart and hooked up the air driver. It came right out. I had to remove the air cleaner box and support on the drivers side to remove that brake line. The support was held in with a few rivets, which I drilled out. Then I rotated the bracket out of the way (left one rivet in). Using a wrench I tried to loosen the rubber brake line from the hard line. I rounded off the nut. Got out the vice grips. That worked. Quick, put a container under the jeep to catch the brake fluid. Remove the other end of the old brake cable at the brake calipers.[*]Mount the new metal angle brackets to the top of the frame rail where the factory rubber hose was attached to the hard line using the original bolt.[*]Connect the stainless steel lines to the hard lines running through the new brackets. The brake line is held in using a c-clip. These were not included in my kit. I picked up a couple at Auto Zone.[*]Attach brake lines to calipers.
[*]Lightly grease front shackle and main eye bushings. (The front shackles are straight and have a spacer and third bolt in the center.)
[*]Prepare the springs by putting the larger inside diameter bushings in the spring eye on the end with the full military wrap. This end will connect to the main spring end (towards the center of the jeep). The shackle end of the spring gets the smaller diameter bushings. Install shackles and springs on the vehicle. (Do not tighten spring eyebolts at this time.)[*]Install the new U-bolts. Torque to 65-80 ft/lbs.[*]Install front shocks. (This may differ slightly depending on which shocks you purchased with your kit. Follow the instructions that came with your shocks, if any.)[*]If you havent remove the old sway bar connectors do so now. Re-using the old hardware install the new sway bar disconnects. I used new cotter pins from my parts box.
[*]Torque spring eye bolts. The ½ bolts on the shackle end to 65-80 ft/lbs. The 9/16 bolts on the other end to 75-90 ft/lbs.[*]Remove old pitman arm. This can be difficult. Use a 1-5/16 socket to remove the nut. Use a pitman arm puller to remove the pitman arm. I borrowed one from Auto Zone. I had to use a 5 foot long cheater bar attached to my breaker bar to break it free.[*]Install the new drop pitman arm. Torque to specifications in factory manual.
[*]Install the front tires.[*]Lower the front of the vehicle.[*]Install the front track bar with the new bracket. (The small end of the new T-bar bracket will fit into the slot underneath the factory T-bar mount. It is a tight fit.) Note: the original track bar mounting point was thicker than the new mounting bracket. The original bolt was not threaded far enough to tighten the nut fully. I had to add about ½ of washers behind the bracket to get it tight.
You are finished with the front. Take a break. The rear is easier.
[*]Block front wheels of vehicle.[*]Raise rear of vehicle and support the frame with jackstands.[*]Remove the rear wheels.[*]Support the rear axle with jackstands.[*]Remove the shocks.[*]Remove the rear trackbar. It will not be reinstalled.[*]Remove the u-bolts and spring plates.[*]Remove the rear springs. Again, I had to get out the grinder.[*]Remove the factory brake hose. Only one in the rear.[*]Install the new brake hose.[*]Prepare the springs by putting the larger inside diameter bushings in the spring eye on the end with the full military wrap. This end will connect to the main spring end (towards the center of the jeep). The shackle end of the spring gets the smaller diameter bushings. Install shackles and springs on the vehicle. The rear boomerang shackle points towards the front of the jeep and does not have a center bolt installed. (Do not tighten spring eyebolts at this time.)
[*]Insert shim between spring and spring pad on axle. Thicker end of shim should be at front of vehicle. (Pinion points up.)[*]Install U-bolts. Torque to 65-80 ft/lbs.[*]Install rear shocks. I had to install these upside down due to the clearance lost when rotating the axle to line up the pinion.[*]Torque spring eye bolts. The ½ bolts on the shackle end to 65-80 ft/lbs. The 9/16 bolts on the other end to 75-90 ft/lbs.[*]Lower axle so that it is at full droop. Rotate the rear driveshaft to insure the yokes do not bind. If shims are properly installed, this should not occur.[*]Install the rear tires.[*]Lower vehicle.
If you are going to install an SYE and not the transfer case drop then skip the next 5 steps.
[*]Install transfer case drop by supporting one side of the transfer case with the floor jack.[*]Remove hardware from one side of crossmember. (3 bolts)[*]Install spacers and new hardware.[*]Tighten to 55 ft/lbs.[*]Repeat on the opposite side.
Continue Lift Install
[*]Bleed brake system according to factory manual. Inspect all brake hoses and lines for leaks, kinks or damage.[*]Grease all zerk fittings on the new bushings.[*]Check all bolts, and lengthen drag link to center steering wheel.[/list=1]
Give it a test drive.