ChopprJock's build thread...
I finally got my OME HD installed last weekend, so I thought it was time to provide this forum with yet another build thread. :D
I have had my Jeep for a little more than a month now. She's a 2005 Limited with the 5.7L Hemi and QDII. It was high mileage but very well taken care of, kinda like me!
After buying her, I immediately joined this forum and began looking around at the other members' rides. Since this is my daily driver, I didn't want to get too wild with modifications, but I do like to get out in the bush and need a capable rig. I decided that I liked the look of the Old Man Emu lift and slightly larger tires and a quick email conversation with Kolak had one on the way to me.
As an aside, if anyone is considering purchasing a lift or other mod for their Jeep, I highly recommend talking to Kolak. He's knowledgeable, quick to reply, and gives the members here a discount. Excellent resource!
Here is my Jeep the day I found her on a local car lot:
With my OME HD on the way, I set out searching for a set of tires. Again, this forum was a big help! I initially thought about getting a set of 265's but wasn't sure if they would leave me wanting more.
One of the threads I repeatedly looked at was Omelet's. For anyone considering modding their ride, his thread is a must read- a highly modded jeep that is still daily driving capable; and a well presented, organized thread. Another great resource, and someone I would love to wheel with sometime!
I really liked the look of Omelet's ride (the Bison) in the beginning...it was exactly what I wanted for my own Jeep. He was running a set of 255's back then and I decided that IF I could find a decent set then I would do the same.
A few days later I hit paydirt on Craigslist. I found a set of 5 takeoffs from a Wrangler Rubicon, wheels included! The price was right but I still managed to negotiate them down to a ridiculously low number...
A quick ride to Columbia and I came home with these:
They have less than 3000 miles on them, the wheels are perfect, and the spare has never seen pavement. Now to wait (patiently, yeah right!) on my lift...
My OME finally came in the week of July 4th. Perfect timing! I had a four day weekend to get the lift installed...no problem, just throw it on the Jeep on Thursday, go see some fireworks, then finish up the pinch weld mod on Friday. Quick alignment on Saturday, then a day of rest. What could go wrong? :2thumbsup:
I initially intended to document the entire lift install, but decided that it's been done and done well. So I will simply show some of the things that I did differently than others, along with some insights along the way. Please keep in mind that I am no expert and that this is my first time lifting a vehicle myself.
I used my dad's garage (the uberman cave) since he has plenty of room there, along with a metric f&ck-ton of tools. Plus, it is air-conditioned. I mean, we are men, not monsters!
We got started on the front passenger side. I used Milton's (JeepN4KC) build thread as a guide. Another highly recommended read for noobs like me...
Here are a few before shots of the Jeep. You know, I really need to name her, I just haven't figured out a good one yet! I guess I will have to wait until she shows more of her personality...but suggestions are always welcome!
The passenger side went well. We went slow, took our time, and enjoyed the afternoon.
One of things that everyone says to do is to open up the hole for the the center nut on the strut. This allows for easier tightening later if the strut nut (heh!) needs more turns to remove any clanking when going over bumps. Yes, "clanking" is a technical term!
Dad has a really nice tool for accomplishing this. Not sure what it's called, but it worked great...
Here is the tool. Simply attach to both sides and then use an impact wrench. It's nice because it removes the metal in two pieces so that it doesn't get stuck in the tool.
More to follow...
I did take measurements at each of the wheels before and after the lift install. If I can find that dang piece of paper, I'll post them...
EDIT: found it!
Before the lift:
Left front- 19 1/8" Right front- 19 3/4"
Left rear- 20 1/8" Right rear- 20 1/2"
After the lift:
Left front- 23 5/8" Right front- 22 3/4"
Left rear- 23 3/4" Right rear- 23 1/8"
All measurements were taken from the bottom edge of the Jeep center cap vertically up to the bottom edge of the fender. I felt like this would be more accurate than eyeballing the middle of the center cap.
Removing the front passenger strut was simple, no issues. I did not however, trust the tiny little spring compressors that we had, so I called the nearest Autozone and as luck would have it they were open on the 4th. So one 'quick' trip later, I had a better set and was ready to go.
I say 'quick' because my parents live about 17 miles outside of what could be called the nearest town. One gas station, one local grocer, and the K-12 school. The Autozone though, was about an hour's drive!
Once I got back, it was time to clean up and go watch some fireworks. I was a bit disappointed this year that there were no funnel cakes available!! Other than that, the little town put on a nice display...
The next morning, we finished up the passenger side.
Old worn out strut
Nice new one!
The next morning, we got an early start, anticipating a quick and easy day. Unfortunately this was not to be. Somehow, in all my research I had failed to consider just how stubborn the Grand Cherokee clevis bolt could be. I was further lulled into complacency by the ease of the passenger side removal. Sigh...
Everything went well, right up until it was time to remove that bolt. Stuck doesn't even begin to explain it!!
I looked for help on the forum. Check out the conversation here...
Nothing we did worked. No matter how I held my tongue that bolt wasn't coming out! Friday ended in defeat.
Saturday, I woke up determined not to let this thing get the best of me. After working on it for a couple of hours I had had enough. I found this part online:
and decided that I would just cut the bolt. I ran out to the nearest Napa, which was about an hour and ten minute's drive and picked up two bushings. Just. In. Case. I also stopped at a dealership to pick up a couple clevis bolts. They had the bolts in stock but no nuts! (heh) Luckily, dad had a couple that were taken off of our old Ford Excursion when he replaced the suspension on it. Perfect fit!
About six sawzall blades later the deed was done, and with little to no damage to the surrounding metal. We still had to place some washers on the bolt end, then tighten the nut to pull the bolt out of the lower control arm bushing. What an ordeal! Glad to have that job over and finished!
From this point the install went fairly smooth. One thing I did differently than a lot of the threads on here was how I removed the rear springs...
Instead of removing both rear wheels and jacking up the whole rear end I left three tires on the ground and only jacked up the side I was working on. Like so...
Because of the fuel tank skid the driver's side (shown above) would not flex far enough to simply pull the spring. I used a couple of spring compressors to compress it just far enough to remove from the vehicle. I then did the same to the new spring for reinstallation.
The passenger side did not require this. Once that side was lifted, a little down pressure on the hub and the spring came right out. I did both rear sides in a little over an hour. Done and done!
Here are a few shots of the Jeep after finishing the lift install...
Before: bone stock on 245/65/17's (I think)
After: OME HD lift and 255/75/17's
And a few more...
Yep, that's my dad in the background. Couldn't have done it without you! :highfive:
Finally feel good about removing the front air dam. Looks much better!!
For anyone considering doing something like this to their ride, I highly recommend it! Even with the clevis bolt difficulties, it was a fun job and a great way to learn about your vehicle. I do recommend doing it somewhere where you have access to air tools- they are a big timesaver!
I took the jeep in for an alignment after the install and I will post the results once I get the pics uploaded. I also need to find the paper that has my before and after measurements...
The vehicle rides beautifully on this suspension. It's firm but not harsh, minimal body lean, and very stable. The aggressive tread on the tires does give some road noise but it is not too bad. Sounds like a Jeep!
Next on my list of things to do is to pick up a roof basket. I have a Thule bike setup in the garage that I think I will install until I find which basket I want. I also need to do the Hitch Mod so that my spare will fit under the vehicle. I did the pinch weld mod immediately after the lift install, but I guess I was tired because I failed to take any pictures....
After all of this work it was definitely time to have a little fun. I took my son and daughter to Six Flags. You know, I think that my son (he's 15) might be a little bit embarrassed by me sometimes.....
Looks great! I'm glad to see your doing the work yourself. You said it exactly, you learn your vehicle, plus it brings you two closer haha! You also hit the nail right on the head about having power tools, while doing my install of my lift, I used my electric impact instead of muscles. Faster and strength saver! From cranking down the spring/strut compressors to removing bolts. I look forward to seeing more of your build
Looking to sell the chrome clad rims? Or trade for something? Let me know!
Ok, found my numbers from the Alignment that I had done post-lift. I did it at Plaza Tire and Auto and got the lifetime dealio. I'm by no means an expert so I would appreciate any feedback on my current set up. How does it look to y'all?
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