My shocks have a rigid metal stone guard on the top end (OME's). When I tried pulling the lower end over to the LCA on the rear axle things got particularly tight at the top of the shock between that and the frame / gas tank and skid.
I ended up doing a DIY version of AEV's shock shifters. It involved fabbing up an upper bracket to relocate the top of the shock in addition to doing all the work on the lower mounting point at the axle. It was a fun project but I work slow and it took a loooooong time.
One benefit is that by doing the upper bracket you can get a new alignment for the shock mounting hardware (bar pin) so that there is no binding on the upper or lower bushings
when at ride height. It helps a little. Also, it puts the shock alignment much closer to a perpendicular orientation to the angle of the lower control arm so it's more efficient.
The way the TJ's axles move during suspension cycle is odd. I had never thought there would be as much movement as there was and in what directions.
First step on doing something like this is to remove the rear springs, disconnect the rear swaybar, and remove the foam bump stops from the cups (leave the cups). Then flex out the suspension:
- Full droop for the whole axle
- Full compression for the whole axle
- Compress the left and droop the right
- Compress the right and droop the left
- Axle set at ride height
If you're doing a DIY you need to do the above and carefully observe how and where the axle is moving. Then make design decisions based on that. Here's a write-up I posted on JF that goes over what I did and shows a bit more what's happening up top:
DIY Shock Shifter Write-up
This is the top of the shock and you can see how the upper
end is moved forward and rotated ~90 deg.
My unscientic method of making brackets.... cut / drill the mounting
point, bolt them on, then keep adding steel until the bracket is built.
The geometry was too complicated here for me to do anything more elegant than this.
Here's the main plate being cut out after I experimented
with a cardboard template.
The new bracket tack welded together just enough so I could pull it off
the rig for final clean-up and welding without it shifting and moving.
The brackets after final welding.
And the upper brackets installed on the rig after
painting.... waiting for the shocks.
One issue with this method and the upper relocation bracket is that
it pushes the shocks down about an extra 1" or so. So they hang a
bit low than Mudb8's lower brackets. . . .
. . . . but they tuck off out of the way tight-ish to the tire. So far on the
trails I've not had an issue with whacking them on the rocks I've driven over.
Bottom line, is that I love the result from the upper and lower shock shifter mod. The rear of the Tj is MUCH more stable and doesn't have the wiggle it had with the stock shock arrangement when going over bumps and such. It feels great.
However, if anyone wants to do this, I highly recommend BUYING AEV's SHOCK SHFITER KIT!
Jeez, but it would have saved MUCH time and hassle. It's worth it alone just for the upper brackets. Otherwise you're having to reverse design the thing and monkey about much more with the suspension to figure out the geometry.
Big thanks to Mudb8 on his development of the DIY shock shifter and this thread. It was a big inspiration.