Saturday, May 15, 2010

Real Progress

After spending quite a bit of time getting things mechanically sound it's now time to make the fun changes. Started today installing my 4.5" lift kit from Zone Offroad. Got started at around 10am with a final sweeping/straightening of the garage and then everything was ready to start...

Started off by putting the bushing and grease fittings in the lower control arms. Should have done this earlier, but it didn't take too long.

Next it was bye-bye to the old shocks and starting to disconnect the sway bar and brake line brackets.

Next removed the sway bar links and then ran into my first snag. The instructions said to separate the pitman arm from the steering linkage...and it said to do so by striking the pitman arm to release the tapered seat. Well I struck and I struck and I pried and I struck some more...nothing. Seems like I needed a ball joint separator/pickle fork type tool to get this apart. So I was left with two options. Load three kids up and head to town to rent the tool or skip this step and hope it wasn't too important. I chose the later...probably not the best decision of the day.

So after breaking for lunch to feed the hungry masses at the house, I continued on. Removed the old springs and drilled and tapped a couple holes to install included bumpstops.

Next was the part I was dreading the most for some reason. Installing the new coils. The old coils came off easy by just drooping the axel, but the new springs are obviously much we just installed a bumpstop we have to get over. I already new I needed a coil spring compressor and so had it on hand. The last time I compressed coils I had a tough time with it. This time it all went well though. Took a little bit to get the compressors off as obviously there is less room to work when the spring in in place, but overall it went rather smoothly.

The next part...not so smoothly. Had to attach the new lower control arms and it appears my axle found it way rearward an inch or so. I think this just might be the reason to disconnect the steering linkage as would allow more free forward movement of the axle. After messing with it for a while I got the driver's side connected, but the passenger's side just would not line up...raised the axle up, lower it fully down, tried everywhere in between. Finally I was struck with a winning idea. I took a strap hooked it to the axle and the sway bar and pulled the axle forward the needed distance. The control arm slide into place after that. Put the shocks in place and was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Installed new brake line brackets, new sway bar links, drilled hole to relocate the track bar and started torquing everything down.

Put the tires back on and by this time it was time to head in and make supper, so I called it quits for the day. I'm sure it will settle in, but currently the front is sitting at 5.5". The process continues tomorrow.

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