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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I try to keep this updated with tech regarding my Jeep. Direct links are imbedded in this first post, and many others. Check the links, read, learn and ask questions

My goal is a fairly capable general purpose Jeep. It sees general utility usage, crowded city parking garages, long highway drives, lots of snow and ice conditions and scenic mountain 4x4 trails in Colorado. It's not a rock crawler...its more of a general purpose expedition Jeep and its going to go be a jack of all trades, master of none.

Index:

The beginning:

My comprehensive 33" tire build:

Mods for 33" tires

Additional Completed Mods:

Still in process:

Off-Road Utility/Camping Trailer Build

Wish List:
  • NV3550 manual trans
  • highline fenders
  • dual rate front sway bar

You don't NEED all this to run 33s, but above is what I would consider a comprehensive 2.5" lift kit to bring all steering, suspension and driveline geometry to where they should be, while still providing an exceptional daily driver and capable off road rig.

Removed mods:
JKS front track bar
Reason: didn't work.
JKS rear track bar
Reason: didn't work.
Riddler Diff covers
Reason: major clearance problems, front track bar & gas tank skid interference.
Homemade 23mm bumpstops
Reason: Removed from front. Welded on 3/8" plate & tapped spring pad for bumpstops. Used in the rear to make 1.3" bumpstop extension.
Homemade t-case drop (6061-T611 aluminum)
Reason: installed SYE/CV shaft.
Zone Off-Road front cam bolts
Reason: installed Rokmen control arms. Caster now at 6.2 with HP D30 swap.
Daystar 0.75" spacers for front & OME 933 front springs
Reason: went with 934 front springs after installing winch.
Homemade Tire Carrier
Reason: weight reduction & trade for Unichip Q (for hi-perf engine mods to come)
Kilby Gas tank skid
Reason: weight reduction - went to Savvy gas tank skid.
2 Explorer fans and 2 "Severe Duty" fan clutches
Reason: Overheating issues while idling, belt squealing at higher RPMs, didn't work as good as stock. More info here in this Explorer fan thread.
Explorer 46mm calipers from Vanco kit
Reason: Upgraded to Explorer Sport Trac 48mm calipers with Black Magic Brake pads and Centric rotors thanks to mrblaine (www.blackmagicbrakes.com)
Currie 1" MML
Reason: Chasing driveline vibes. Replaced with Brown Dog rubber w/ super block brackets. Did not notice a difference in vibes between the two.
JeepMedic engine skid & tummy tuck
Reason: Weight loss program - went to Savvy UnderArmor tummy tuck and engine skid. But the JeepMedic is still a great design.
Rear TrueTrac
Reason: Jeep no longer a daily driver in snow, so went to ARB.
Front TrueTrac
Reason: Jeep no longer a daily driver in snow, so went to ARB.
 

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This post/info=my opinion
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Suggested Readings

General:

Suspension/Steering:

Engine:

Drivetrain:

Brakes:

Other Build Threads:
 

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This post/info=my opinion
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Pictures!

Before Lift:


After Lift:


Front suspension:


*See more info here: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/unlimited04s-lj-build-778715/index20.html#post11060714


*NOTE: This JKS track bar hit the Riddler diff cover big time...both have since been replaced


*this combination proved to have major clearance issues, resulting in 1.5" less uptravel than stock*
Read here:
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/tj-front-adjustable-track-bars-0-3-5-does-yours-hit-fit-738948/

JKS Quicker Discos:


*Bumpstops have since changed, see here: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/unlimited04s-lj-build-778715/index20.html#post11060714

Ground clearance:
Before:


After:


Rear Driveline Angle:


---------------------------
The biggest problem encountered during the lift install is the passenger side rear shock mount: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=778320



I used a 1/16" HSS steel bitt to drill a pilot hole, then followed it with a Cobalt steel drill bit completely drill the bolts out. Tried to chip the weld-nut off with a tool steel chisel, it sure busted up the nut, but isn't doing much to the weld. The weld must be fairly high tensile strength stuff.
 

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This post/info=my opinion
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I can't comment on the ride yet because there is no right rear shock and i'm bouncing all over the freakin' place. I can't go over about 40-45mph because it bounces like crazy. Can't comment on vibes yet either because I can't drive highway yet, and when I am driving, I'm bouncing....

But here's somes measurements of the gains:

Before-
Drivers Rear: 33.25"
Pass Rear: 33.25"
Drivers Front: 33.5"
Pass Front: 32.75"

To the Tummy Tuck: 11.125"
Lowest point on the front control arm frame side bracket: 9.25"
Front Bumper: 17.875"
Rear Bumper: 15"

After-
Drivers Rear: 37.25"
Pass Rear: 36.875"
Drivers Front: 36.625"
Pass Front: 36.5"

To the Tummy Tuck: 14.875"
Lowest point on the front control arm frame side bracket: 12.75"
Front Bumper: 21.25"
Rear Bumper: 18.75"

Hopefully it settles a little bit, because its actually about 1" taller than I'd like. It also sits slightly nose high, or level, because of the 0.75" spacer up front, and the fact that I don't have my engine skid on. I'd hoped this nose-high would point the output shaft down a bit more and prevent me from having to install a SYE/CV or t-case drop.

Track bars still need some work. Rear axle is too far left and the front axle is slightly pushed right. Maybe off 3/8" in rear and 1/8" in front. I also put blue Locktite on the track bar, so it should be fun to loosen. Another project for tomorrow after I get the rear shock on.

As I had hoped, the ground clearance with the JeepMedic tummy tuck + 2.5" OME lift is freaking awesome. I can have a party under there :hahaha: I honestly don't know why you would need more than this for a DD.
 

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You finally did it. I see you did go with the JKS track bar. It looks like you wont be having any trouble with it hitting, although you might need more bumpstop in the front. You are running a hair shy of suggested bumpstop for 33's on those springs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You finally did it. I see you did go with the JKS track bar. It looks like you wont be having any trouble with it hitting, although you might need more bumpstop in the front. You are running a hair shy of suggested bumpstop for 33's on those springs.
EDIT: Answered here - front bumpstops
 

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what bumpstop should I have in front? The ones in there now are 23mm, which is 0.905".
With the 933 in the front normally you do a 2". With your BL you may not need that extra tho. You will be able to find out when you get your new tires ofcourse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
In case anyone's interested, here is the laser alignment data from the shop. The uncorrected toe-in and drag-link made for some white-knuckle 30mph driving, thats for sure.

Camber (L/R):
Before: -0.8/-0.8
After: -0.8/-0.7

Caster (L/R):
Before: 4.2/4.5
After: 4.2/4.5

Toe (L/R):
Before: 0.68/0.59
After: 0.15/0.14

EDIT: After dialing the suspension in over many iterations, as described in this thread, I've got a comment about caster & drive-ability.

the road crown around here sucks and at 5° it followed every defect, return to center blew, and the steering felt very dartish with little resistance and no tendency to want to go straight with no hands on the wheel/little input. I also had a harmonic steering vibration feedback (not DW) at certain speeds, which could yield DW if hitting a big enough bump. As I dialed the caster up in 0.5° increments (with corresponding toe adjustments), the vibration incrementally moved into different speed ranges, incrementally decreased, and road crown became less and less an issue. Measured & aligned each time at Firestone, via my lifetime alignment. I finally settled at 6.5° caster and the drive-ability is pretty damn good, with no wobbles, and I can hold straight on uneven road surfaces & high winds. For reference, I had this conversation with -sean-, and IIRC, he ran 7° on 30s, 35s and 37s on his L-TJ. My neighbor has a very custom XJ, he runs 33s w/ 8° caster, after cutting the inner C's off and rotating them. So I don't drink this lower caster with bigger tires Kool-Aid. I say start someplace and dial it higher until you find something you like.
from: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/p...-using-front-spring-pad-1440101/#post14488717

Also from that thread, I mentioned I've tried multiple tricks with a digital angle finder that is about +/- 0.1°. What I've noticed on the two housings I've had is a good +/- 1° variation, and that it doesn't necessarily measure the same twice in row. For example, using the socket on the ball joint or lower-C tricks, today might show 6°, but next Tuesday may show 5° and the next Tuesday may show something totally different...and none of those necessarily equal what the rack says.

If you're looking to measure caster in your garage, the best I've found is getting it on a laser alignment rack at least once, then relate that to pinion angle measured from a machined surface. Now, for future reference you know you can change the caster and watch pinion angle, and the delta will be the same. This will also allow you to calculate your caster/pinion angle separation.

For example, I recently tried to used two different angle finders to measure caster at ride height by cleaning off the top of the ball joint, and putting the ball joint insertion tool over top of it, and then putting the angle finder on top of that. This is akin to the socket on the ball joint trick, is a pretty tight fit and one would think it will give accurate readings. Nope. The angle finder showed 9° caster (and sometimes 10°), which is completely wrong. The laser alignment rack has shown 6.5° caster repeatably over several months...so the garage method was off by at least +2.5° that day.

Basically if you're looking for a correct caster measurement...the only way to know that is start with the alignment rack to get a baseline measurement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Did you get the OME HD springs, or the LJ/ZJ springs? My build's going to be very very similar to this one :thumbsup:
Front: 933 (TJ HD)
Rear: 949 (LJ Specific)

Decided against the ZJ 934 fronts after talking with OME. My friend that helped me install all this has 934 fronts with 949 rears, and he needs 1" rear spacers to sit level.

And if I'm thinking of the bumpstops correctly, I should be good. Baseline is 2" for 33s w/o BL. 2"-1.25" for BL. Leaves 0.75"-0.9" for the homemade bumpstop...which gives me 0.15" extra clearance. Plus theres a spacer in front which gives an extra 0.75".

EDIT-after adding a winch, I went to 934 springs. I'd recommend the 934/949 combo for LJ's, the 933's will work if you're keeping a stock front end with no extra weight.
 

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I had the same thing happen when I replaced my shocks. I just took a dremel with a cut off wheel to the welds. I was able to get one side of each nut cut loose. Then I took a chisel to then and knocked them off.

The biggest problem right now is the passenger side rear shock mount: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=778320



I bought a Cobalt tipped drill bit that is supposed to be suitable for drilling hardened steel, that's tomorrows project. Tried to chip the weld-nut off today with a A3 tool steel chisel, it sure busted up the nut, but isn't doing much to the weld. The weld must be 7018 or higher tensile strength stuff.
 

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Am I the only person in the world that hasn't broken those off? Even at 120,000 miles when I did my lift, the bolts came out no problem. And they were the original shocks...

You pretty much have the build sheet of what I wanted to do to my TJ. I'm probably going that same route when I get back into one too. Maybe even get into an LJ if theres one in my price range.:shhh:
 

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Am I the only person in the world that hasn't broken those off? Even at 120,000 miles when I did my lift, the bolts came out no problem. And they were the original shocks...

You pretty much have the build sheet of what I wanted to do to my TJ. I'm probably going that same route when I get back into one too. Maybe even get into an LJ if theres one in my price range.:shhh:
Ive never had a problem, 4 jeeps and no breaks. Knock on wood!:2thumbsup:
 

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Unlimited04 -
Looking very nice, hopefully you will get that shock in today.
 

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Am I the only person in the world that hasn't broken those off? Even at 120,000 miles when I did my lift, the bolts came out no problem. And they were the original shocks...

You pretty much have the build sheet of what I wanted to do to my TJ. I'm probably going that same route when I get back into one too. Maybe even get into an LJ if theres one in my price range.:shhh:
It helps to not be in the rust belt, but even here in Texas it has happened to me. The bolts are horrible quality that they put in there, they break very easily. It will probably happen to you eventually.
 

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It helps to not be in the rust belt, but even here in Texas it has happened to me. The bolts are horrible quality that they put in there, they break very easily. It will probably happen to you eventually.
What surprises me even more is my Jeep was from Illinois. I just got lucky. My next Jeep is going to be low miles, and the first thing I'll do is take off the bolts on the suspension that are notoriously a PITA and coating them with anti-seize.
 

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What surprises me even more is my Jeep was from Illinois. I just got lucky. My next Jeep is going to be low miles, and the first thing I'll do is take off the bolts on the suspension that are notoriously a PITA and coating them with anti-seize.
I would take them off and go to the hardware store and replace them with something harder and/or plated bolts. Sometimes stainless is the way to go depending on the application.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Build looks great. I would also add a ZJ tie rod into the mix or even better yet, Currie.
The ZJ tie rod is in the "Next on the List" section. I've been doing mods methodically in stages with a finally goal in mind, but funds are short right now.

BUT...the GOOD NEWS...FINALLY got the rear shock in!

It took 4+ hours and several idea attempts, chisels, BFH's and a case of beer, but one weld-nut is busted off and one is drilled through and mangled pretty good. I didn't have enough Class 10.9 or Grade 8 washers, so we ended up stacking a bunch of Grade 2 or less washers to get me home. The bolts torqued just fine to ~25 ft-lbs, the recommended spec, so I'm going to run it like this for a while and watch for problems.

Got 400+lbs of tools in the back right here (still sits level!):

I've decided to drive around with all my tools in back for a week to try to settle the springs a bit.

I also re-centered the rear axle today. Its still slightly pushed to the drivers side, but I don't think I can get it much better. One more turn on the JKS track bar may push it too far the other way.

The BAD NEWS - I've got vibes and a steering shimmy. I'm going to get the tires balanced and re-torque the front track bar some more tomorrow.

The vibe symptoms - slight steering wheel shimmy/wobble under 40mph - very tolerable. BUT - as soon as you hit 48-50mph the steering wheel shimmy hits, the vehicle doesn't become uncontrollable, but its definitely two hands on the wheel and annoying as hell. I didn't get over 55mph - and its worse under throttle, 3rd gear or OD don't matter - vibes the same. Steering wheel just shimmy's and vibes side to side rapidly. Goes away after getting below 45mph. DEATH WOBBLE? OR SYE/CV?? :brickwall

Update on steering: caster adjustment was required. Click here for more info.

Until this thing settles, I'm getting ~3.5" of lift from the 2.5" lift kit, and I've got a TT :brickwall.
 
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