Jeep Liberty KJ Front Coilover Assembly Install How-To -
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post #1 of 1 Old 08-22-2016, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Jeep Liberty KJ Front Coilover Assembly Install How-To

Jeep Liberty Front Coilover Assembly Install

This guide is a how-to for changing out the front coilover assembly on a Jeep KJ. I used Moog’s complete assembly to ease the installation without having to go through rebuilding a strut/spring combo. I’d rate the job about 3 out of 5 wrenches on difficulty scale. So without further ado, enjoy the write up.

1. First before jacking up the car and getting to work, you need to remove the airbox and battery/tray. When I did this I found two things that required replacing, the PCV crankshaft breather hose Part# 53013723AC ($30), and a new battery tray Part# 55360639AA ($50). I wont get into their replacement, the battery tray takes 5 minutes and the breather hose required removal of the intake pipe from the box to the TB and the coolant reservoir to access one of the connections.

2. I started with the airbox, simply undo the clamp connecting the intake pipe to the box and put aside. The box is held by 3 rubber grommets that simply pop the box in and out. Don’t be afraid to pull, it will come out. Once done there is a small component held on by two bolts above 2 of the shock tower bolts. It is in the middle of this picture right next to the intake pipe opening. You can put it to the side and for good measure I put the bolts back on loose so as not to loose them.

Here are the 4 bolts easily accessible later on.

3. Now onto the battery and tray. Battery disconnect is pretty straight forward, the tie down bolt is a different size from the rest of the tray. It is located on the back of the battery, using an extension on your rachet is invaluable. Then pull out the battery and your tray has 3 mounting bolts, two of mine were broken so a new tray was ordered. One of the bolts is located deep under the fuse box mounted on the front of the tray behind the grill. The fuse box itself can be popped out using a flathead screwdriver in the slots, and be sure to pull the two plastic retainers for the wiring along the battery tray (engine side). There is also a small gray connector on the back of the try and has the same retainers to remove.

Here are the 4 bolts on the battery side, do not worry about the ones in back, your socket will get in there just fine without disturbing other components. A shot of compressed air cleaned this up for me.

All set aside, now the real fun can begin

4. Now was also a good time for me to check the adjustment of my E-brake, the rear wheels have little rubber covers on the inside of the hub assembly. Pop it open and near the spring is a small gear, using a flathead you can adjust it. Mine was very loose.

5. Place chocks behind the rear wheels for safety, then jack up the front end using the large beam just behind the bumper cover as a support. The jackstand placement is just behind each wheel along the frame. You will see a small notch where you can set the stands.

6. The KJ assembly is actually a few components, I sprayed all the necessary bolts with PB Blaster prior to removing. The forks need to be pulled and reinstalled to the new coilovers, I started by removing the pinch bolt on the fork using a 21mm deep socket. I used an impact gun to get them loose.

7. Now to remove the lower fork bolt, again 21mm with an impact gun. The good thing about this bolt is that the other side has a retaining tab so you don't have to hold a wrench on the other side.

8. Onto the upper ball joint (UBJ), I skipped a pickle fork and took advice to use some brute force instead. First I removed the 21mm bolt which is in a tough spot for an impact gun. I ended up using an extension plus a pivot socket and had the gun down by the 5 o'clock position (5 if looking at brake disc). Worked like a charm but now the UBJ is not going to just fall out. Next take a good sledge and give a few good hits on the knuckle. The best place for me was right on the corner where the UBJ slips in. I honestly thought it wasn't going to work but sure enough on the 3rd hit it popped right off. Now you have access to get the fork and coilover assembly out.

9. I popped the fork off with a little elbow grease and a large wrench between the bolt flange and the coilover to pry it loose, then working it back and forth while pulling down did the trick. Once removed it can be set aside.

10. Back to the engine back, an 18mm socket on the 4 bolts of the tower. I loosened them all then started removing each one by hand, when I got to the last one I held the coil from underneath so it would not fall and slipped it out. The MOOG replacement comes with it's own bolts and looks shiny new. MOOG Part# ST8565L andn ST8565R.

11. First I installed the coilover assembly and bolted the tower back in, but only until the rachet felt a little tight. I will return for torquing.

12. Reinstalling the fork was one of the hardest parts of this job. It takes a little bit to get it back on the assembly, hence the coilover is not completely tight to allow some movement. It does get back on there and be sure to push it up all the way and make sure your pinch opening aligns with the raised line on the coilover. I did not install the pinch bolt yet

13. The lower part of the fork was a PITA. I see now why some people may resolve to remove other front end components to drop it more for better access but I did something different. The fork has guides on the top so it sits on the bushing just right. I used the pipe from my jack wedged between the frame and the lower control arm to get some leverage. Once done the fork popped into place (you may want someone to help hold the pipe while you set the fork). Install the bolt immediately.

14. Now install the pinch bolt on the top of the fork and torque them down. 80ft.lbs.

15. The UBJ can now be put back, raise the knuckle and get the bolt on loosely. Once it is on use a pry bar on the upper control arm helps to hold it in place while tightening the bolt. Sometimes it can spin but I did not encounter that using the bar. Torque appropriately (I read 60ft.lbs. and 80 in some places so I just did 80).

16. Torque the top coilover assembly to 80ft.lbs. then head over to the other side of the car and repeat.

17. Once complete reinstall the battery, tray, airbox and your good to go.

All total the job took about 4 hours for me, I did not have access to an impact gun for one side so it was a little more trying to get things apart. I borrowed a neighbors for the other side and it went a lot faster. It was also a good exercise in checking the car while all of this was apart, as I said I found the T connector on my PCV shot as well as the battery tray.

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