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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey gang,

I'll be tackling this install on my 1981 CJ7 258, today, and would appreciate any tips I can get. I got it from 4WD.com

It appears the rear end is pretty simple....space the brake line and bolt everything on.

The fronts are more involved, since I have to do some grinding to install new shackle hangers, but I've got a fair handle on that.

I'm most concerned about drivability issues, afterwards. I went with the 2.5" package because I wanted to avoid castor and driveshaft problems. I know shimming to create the correct angles isn't difficult, but it seems kinda band-aid-ish to me.

Anyway, I'd love to hear from any of you with experience with this kit.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey thanks, Erik!!

Yeah, Les at 4WD recommended the 4 heavy rears because I run a heavy winch, hard doors, and a hard top in the winter.

So you had plenty of castor, afterwards, without shimming? And no vibrations in the driveshaft?

Also, will the stock dropped Pitman arm work with this setup?

Thanks,

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Erik,

Dang, that's a fine looking ride!! I hope mine has a similar stance, afterwards. Are those 33s?

Chris, you may have hit on my only snag. The salesman told me I could use the existing hangers once I replaced the old frame mounts with the wider ones. Was he mistaken?

Here are a few "before" pictures of the ol' girl. I'm going to tackle the body, when I complete the suspension.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
CJFF29, expect on about $1500.

Well, I didn't get as far as I wanted to (no surprise :mad:):

The old rear springs and shocks came off easily. Unfortunately, one of the bolts holding a rear shackle mount snapped, causing a lengthy drill-punch-tap remedy.

The CJ rear shackles and bolts worked fine with the YJ springs. Of course, I couldn't re-use the shackles without giving them a little touch-up paint.

The rear springs are on.

Unfortunately, I'm dead in the water. My buddy, Les, at 4WD, assured me the shocks he was sending me were correct. Unless I'm missing something, it appears Les f**ked up.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Rojo,

You should have received one U-bolt that's about a 1/2" wider than the rest. That's the one that goes on the differential side of the front passenger spring. You shouldn't have to grind the diff.

If what you say about OME shocks is true, I find it ironic that OME markets their kits as a "suspension system". You know, all that hype about matching the springs and shocks to the specific vehicle...blah blah blah...

Apparently, they're still refining their "system" for the CJs.

On the bright side, I think I'm going to enjoy this setup when it's done. I put the wheels back on my rear-end and lowered the Jeep off the jack stands. Even without shocks, I can tell these springs have more flex and will deliver a smoother ride.

Of course, I haven't started on the fronts, yet, so my jeep looks like a 70's muscle car with the rear all jacked up and the nose almost touching the ground. :D

Good luck, and post pics when you get her put back together.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
commadore64,

The YJ springs made by Old Man Emu are suppose to have superior flex over the stock CJ springs.

I can't confirm that, yet, as I'm still working on it, but that's their claim.

I'm still waiting for my ex-buddy, Les at 4WD, to determine whether, or not, OME makes a shock that will work on the CJ.

What's funny is Les claimed to have "sold hundreds of these kits" and really tried to impress me with his knowledge about CJs. This morning it became clear he's BSing when he tried to tell me my shock mounts had been altered because my shocks "shouldn't require an eyelet at both ends". OK......

Anyway, I'm trying to get the fronts as far as I can go, today. Hopefully, I'll have a set of shocks that will work in a few days.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Another day, another hold up....

You guys were absolutely correct. The stock front Cj shackles won't work with the wider YJ springs and conversion spacer because the bolts are too short. If you want to use the stock shackles in front, you need to buy (4) 1/2" x 4.5" bolts with nuts.

Also, if you want new bushings and sleeves all the way around , you need (2) sleeves per shackle, for a total of (8) sleeves. The kit from 4WD only came with (4) shackle sleeves. So you need to order (4) more.

Four bolts and sleeves are darn cheaper than buying new shackles, but the delays and cost of finding those parts probably make it a wash. If I were to do it again, I'd buy the OME YJ shackles.

My Ol' Girl is still in pieces in the garage, so I don't have much else to share. I hope to find the extra sleeves I need in town, tomorrow...I'm sure that will turn into a treasure hunt like everything else on this thing.

Last note for the evening: OME does make an appropriate shock for the CJ. Apparently, there was a part # mistake at 4WD, and that's why I received the wrong ones...so they say. Anyway, I'm supposed to get the correct ones on Monday or Tuesday.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Yes, there are extra bushings for the hangers in those bags, but only one sleeve for the larger end of the spring.

My kit included (4) additional sleeves, in a separate hardware pack, that work for the small ends, but you need (8) total if you want new all the way around.

85LaredoCJ7, thanks, that's a fine Laredo you have, as well. What kind of surgery are you doing to her?

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
85LaredoCJ7,

Nice. I should probably look into replacing some of my steering components, as well. It's all straight, and the bushings are all intact, but they are getting a little sloppy.

Will you run a steering stabilizer shock with that setup?

It's looks like I'll need a special tool for that exercise, as well, eh?

The Ol' Girl's bumper got a facelift this morning. :)

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Thanks for the kind word, mvigo, and the tip about the shackles.

I got the front springs on, today, and they look awesome!! Here's a recap:

Picture #1 - The hardest part on the fronts was grinding the frame rivets, and punching them out, to accommodate the new shackle mounts.

Picture #2 - Front shackle installed using the stock shackles and longer bolts.

Picture #3 - I was mistaken earlier. I did have to do a little grinding on the front pumpkin so that the inside passenger U-bolt would fit.

Picture#4 - A little touchup paint took care of that.

Picture #5 - Back on the wheels...minus shocks, of course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Hey 85LaredoCJ7,

I see we have the same winch. I'm not sure how yours mounts, but I had to pull mine to remove the bumper...Good grief, I had forgotten how friggen heavy those old beasts are!!

Anyway, I wanted the readers to know that my old springs sagged noticeably from the weight of the winch. When I lifted it off, the front end came up probably an inch! After the lift, when I reinstalled the winch, the front didn't move at all with the heavy OME springs. Nice!

The other thing I noticed, when taking the Ol' Girl off the jack stands, was how much more flex there is in the system. I have to jack her up a good 8-10" higher in order to get the wheels off the ground.

I'm holding off driving her until I get the shocks on. With any luck they'll arrive, today. I''ll post "after" pics, and a complete parts list, when I'm done.

Lastly, I cannot recommend buying 4WD's version of this lift. I've already shared the screw-up over the shocks and missing parts (shackle sleeves). The final straw came yesterday when I realized they sent me the wrong steering stabilizer shock, too!! The irony is it's the exact opposite problem I had with the regular shocks. I need one that has an eyelet at one end and a post at the other. They sent me one with eyelets at both ends. AAArrrggghhh!!

Fortunately, my Jeep isn't a DD, so the delays are a little easier to swallow.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
No brake lines, only a spacer for the existing rear. There are two more similar spacers in the kit, but the instructions didn't mention where they are to be used.

There's also a small box that says "T-case drop kit". It contains several spacers and new bolts, but again, the instructions say nothing about it.

Did you have to drop your t-case?

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Cool.

Another question. My kit supplied (2) 1/4" steel plate shims for the front shackle mounts. You can see them on Pictures #2 and#5 above.

I was wondering what the purpose of lowering the shackle mounts was? Not a big deal, but unfortunately I snapped one of the steering box mounting bolts while installing the driver's side shim. Of course that led to another frustrating drill/punch/tap fix....I hate those!

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
We aren't at this point on mine yet....but are they to help the new, longer hanger from hitting the front bumper since they are moved at least 1" farther forward?
Well, duh, of course that's the reason...not enough coffee, yet. :tea:

Unfortunately, those shims resulted in a minor grind to the bottom leading edge of my bumper because the shims were about a 1/4" too long. Had I realized that ahead of time, I could have simply cut the shims instead of modifying my bumper...live and learn.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
I just notched my front bumper(stock CJ) with a jigsaw to fit around the shackle mounts and repainted it. If you do this just make sure your notches are wide enough to still get a wrench on the ends of the shackle bolts.
Great minds....see pic above. :highfive:
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
I'm more than a little frustrated with 4WD, this morning. (read pi$$ed)

It doesn't appear like I'll get the correct shocks until tomorrow.

Furthermore, my salesman couldn't even determine whether, or not, OME makes a steering stabilizer shock that fits my CJ, for crying out loud!!

So, can any of you confirm this question? And if so, do you happen to have a part number to the correct steering shock?

Alternatively, is there a bracket that will allow me to use the 2-eyelet steering shock they sent me?

Thanks,

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
Matt,

I don't care who they are or where they work, you are GOING to know way more about CJ's and their products than any salesman out there so you will always be frustrated. I know I am. However, educate them, be patient and they will eventually come through. I can't speak for OME but I have Rancho shocks and steering stabiler and they work great...
mvigo,

Thanks, I needed an attitude change.

I've got a fairly new Skyjacker shock that I can use, but honestly, I was hoping for al the components to match....it's vanity thing....;)

I can't imagine OME doesn't have a steering shock that works. But, if that's the case, I'm sure I can come up with a bracket to make this one work.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
So, while I'm waiting on shocks, I took the opportunity to refurbish my old winch.

It cleaned up so well, I had to convince my wife it wasn't new....and she's got a keen eye for new parts, beleive me. :shhh:

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
post up what they tell you...
The original salesman I spoke with, at ARB (owners of OME) was clueless about CJs, and unwilling to do the research. He said that was "beyond the scope of what he could help me with"...are you kidding me?

So, taking 85LaredoCJ7's advice, I politely asked for TR Burris. Wow, what a difference talking to the right person makes. It took TR all of about 30 seconds to narrow down the possible steering shocks to (2) models that have the right eyelet/post configuration.

Unfortunately, both of those models are 3" in diameter, which I believe is too large to work with the stock mounting bracket.

So the answer is, OEM does not make a damper that bolts right up to CJs. Bummer.

I hope to fabricate a bracket that will allow me to use the SD40 shock pictured above. I'll post a picture, if I come up with something that works.

Matt
 
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