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Jeep Wrangler Modifications

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  • Thanks Paul,
    I called Dirk @ DPG and he was very helpful. I ordered the ultimate kit and he helped me come up with some spring combinations that fit my needs - I'll let you know how it turns out. I'm doing the install myself... Hope I can handle it!

    - B
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Glad he was able to help ya! You'll really like the OME kit.

    -Paul
  • karlw90karlw90 Posts: 59
    Any recommdations on how to find a reputable place to install a lift kit? I am in the Chicago area, and I can't seem to find any place does lifts - most seem to just modify imports. I find it hard to believe that everyone does the installation themselves. :confuse:
    It seems OME is the way to go, assuming I get a 3" lift, how much do you think it would cost for the kit + installation?
    Thanks!
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Karl, do you have ANY mechanical experience at all? Do you have a socket set, channel lock pliers, wrenches, and a jack with jack stands?

    Prior to doing my own lift, I had really only changed the oil on my cars. I am NOT mechanically inclined, but since I got the Jeep, I've:

    - replaced the entire radiator and hoses
    - replaced the thermostat
    - changed the brakes (front and rear) on multiple cars
    - dropped the gas tank to install armor
    - installed new electrical lighting etc.

    The point I'm making is that the OME instructions are VERY VERY easy, regardless of which setup you choose. OME's instructions are VERY good and step you through it. Instead of paying a shop to do it, you really can do it yourself. I KNOW there are at least 2 4x4 groups in the Chicago area. If you join up, you'll make some friends who can show you the beautiful areas around there offroad, and probably find somebody willing to help you for the cost of a deep dish pizza and some beverages for their time.

    You learn more about your Jeep, you can save probably about $400 in labor, and have the satisfaction in knowing you did it yourself.

    -Paul
  • beerhunterbeerhunter Posts: 6
    Okay, I got my kit from DPG, "the Ultimate", and when all parts were in I was going to do it myself with a friend. Then, while discussing the job at work, another pal, who happens to own a bodyshop, "says don't do it! Come on down to the shop and let us help you put it in." Thank god.

    I'm pretty mechanically inclined, and have done a few things on a car, and figure I can do anything with good instructions but the 7 hours we worked on that lift would have easily been 10 or more if I were on my own. The air guns, hydraulic lift, and plethora of tools were a great help and the use of all of his fancy extensions and swivel attachments made getting to the tough bolts easier. But because neither I or the guy helping me had ever done this before (and I had never seen the underside of my Jeep before) the reading of instructions and general deciphering of info took a little more time than expected. I could probably do the job now in 1/2 the time knowing the process. So, do it yourself, sure... but ask that pal with all the cool stuff to help 'cause it would have been a [non-permissible content removed] without all of the equipment and tools.

    BTW, I am going in for my alignment and I have driven about a 200 miles on it, do you think I've done any permanent damage. It seems to go straight when I let go of the wheel, but my steering wheel is not straight and that bugs.

    Dirk really took care of me and I really like the ride with the OME shocks and springs!! :shades:
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    I knew Dirk would take care of you. His ultimate kit is actually easier to install since you don't have to fiddle with the trackbar relocation bracket.

    Having a knowledgable helper who has the power tools will definitely make life easier! I did mine 100% alone while my wife and son were at scuba diving lessons in about 7 hours, and that included dropping the tank. I had only muscle-powered tools, but my Jeep was 100% rust free (from the desert of California).

    As for the alignment, you can do it yourself with just a wrench, a tape measure, and a helper. Follow the steps on www.4x4xplor.com/alignment.html and it will also show you how to recenter your steering wheel. It is ridiculously easy to do. If, after you do this, you don't feel comfortable with your alignment, then spend the $$ to get it done professionally. But I've used this method both after my lift and after replacing the tie rod and my TJ tracks straight and true.

    Let's see some pics of your lift!

    Here are a couple of mine this past weekend.

    image

    image

    -Paul
  • 4rider4rider Posts: 96
    I was reading a BL write-up the other day and it said that transfer case linkage drop is NOT needed when you have the MML done together with the BL. Is this is true?
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    This is gonna sound cliche, but it really depends on the Jeep. I did the BL and MML at the same time and I have ZERO problems with shifting in/out of 4wd hi or lo, and I have no gear shift issues with my AX-5 manual transmission. I also have a Tuffy console, and the size of the opening for the gears and shift lever is a bit different (bigger).

    With a 1" MML, the engine by the mounts will go up 1". The actual lift at the t-case is a bit less, so you MIGHT need the linkage drop.

    Most people do the BL/MML, then see if they need to do the linkage afterwards. Some MML kits come with that linkage. My JKS BL/MML setup did not but I didn't need it.

    -Paul
  • goducks1goducks1 Posts: 432
    I have the Smittybilt nerf bars with the integrated step and they did not require drilling on my 98 TJ.
  • 4rider4rider Posts: 96
    thx. I just went uder the Jeep and really could not tell for sure how much MML will lift up the t-case either.
  • beerhunterbeerhunter Posts: 6
    Whaddia think about this...

    Before I got my lift I had a bit of a wobble in the steering at 45 mph while accelerating and decelerating. Now that I have lifted the suspension, the wobble has become more pronounced. I was speaking to a mechanic friend of mine who suggested that because I have 31" tires the steering dampener(that horizontal shock) might not be strong enough to handle the larger tires. He suggested that I get a more high performance unit.

    I thought that a tire might be out of balance creating some sort of harmonics at a certain mph.

    any thoughts...
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    The stock steering stabilizer should handle 31's with no problem. If it is leaking, replace it. You can get a heavy duty one from Napa or AZ for a decent price. If/when mine leaks, I'll get an OME to match the rest of my TJ's suspension. A steering stabilizer is not meant to FIX these issues, but it may mask them. There is an underlying problem you need to address.

    1. You may have a balance/alignment issue.
    Check out www.4x4xplor.com/alignment.html for a DIY alignment process.

    2. Check for loose steering components.
    You should also have somebody sit up in the TJ and turn the steering wheel back and forth. While they do that, look at EVERY joint in your steering system and look to see if something lags behind when the wheel is turning. Your pitman arm, coming out of the steering box will move. If anything lags behind that in starting to turn, you have a loose joint. I found my front track bar was loose at the frame and that contributed to a VERY loose steering. Another likely culprit would be the tie rod ends. I have tightened all of mine. If you DO find loose joints, take the joint off to see if the holes have been ovaled to allow more play.

    The photo below, from 4x4xplor, shows the various steering and front end components.

    image
    -Paul
  • unlimitjunlimitj Posts: 19
    Is the wobble still only at 45mph?
    I had a similar experience at the same speed, but it was more of a vibration that I could feel through the steering wheel and not really a wobble. It turned out to be my front right tire. It had a plug in it from a nail and the more the tire wore down, the more weight it required to balance. In that case a re-balancing and re-distribution of the wheel weights did the trick.
    Paul hit the nail on the head (nice graphic), the steering stabilizer will not cause a wobble, but a worn stabilizer or smaller than required stabilizer will "show" you more wobble than a new or upgraded one. Yours should be fine with 31's.
    Have you already aligned the front?
    Another often overlooked spot is the sway bar disconnects. They should slide on and off with no effort while sitting level (and they probably won't be the same length). If they don't, you have some "pre-load" on your swaybar which will make the sway bar "search" more for level after hitting a bump, possibly causing some of what you feel as wobble or "longer than normal oscillation" as the suspension tries to dampen itself out.
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    The stock steering stabilizer should handle 31's with no problem. If it is leaking, replace it............ A steering stabilizer is not meant to FIX these issues, but it may mask them. There is an underlying problem you need to address.

    Nicely put. Good pic too.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Hey, I'm on a roll today. :D

    BTW, for the sway bar, you can get collars to mount inside the swar bar mounts that will keep the swaybar from moving side to side over time. I think I actually saw it on the 4x4xplor.com site (btw, I have no affiliation with the site other than using it for good information and writeups).

    -Paul
  • beerhunterbeerhunter Posts: 6
    Wow Guys,
    I really appreciate the wealth of knowledge and experience that you folks share on this site. The picture really helps in the visualization of the parts I havent dealt with yet.

    I'm getting the alignment tomorrow and I'll check the balance of the tires as well. As the condition did exist prior to the lift, I know that it is probably not caused by it or anything I did during the process. But, It is more pronounced probably due to the added height.

    Yes, it does only happen at 45 MPH. I'll check those tires
  • beerhunterbeerhunter Posts: 6
    Speaking of disconnects...the disconnects were a bit of an enigma as I didn't have a way to measure the 10 degree angle required inthe directions. I measured them and discovered them at 12 degrees and just over 10.5 inches in length. I will shorten them and re measure. but you say that they should eaily slide on and off? won't the sway bar droop or rise according to the length of the disconnects?

    what about the left to right movement in the swaybar? does that equalize itself? I measured and centered before placing the disconnects. The bar was not easily moved with my effort, but I could see the weight of the body probably moving it easily. I'll check the rest after the alignment!

    and then .... a picture! ;)
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    I've lined my sway bar up roughly with how the frame bends at that point and I haven't had an issue yet. If you are on any incline or parked in an uneven area, removing the disconnects can be a royal pain. Once you get one disco off, the other comes off easily.

    The swaybar can move back and forth a bit, but I don't think that would cause the issues you're referencing. You can add some collars as described here:

    http://www.4x4xplor.com/swaybar-fix.html

    and that should keep that from happening as well. Why Jeep didn't do this on the TJ is beyond me...

    -Paul
  • unlimitjunlimitj Posts: 19
    Paul said it...look at the picture in the instructions...best guess and you'll be all set. The bend in the frame rail is very close to 10 deg.
    The Quicker Disconnects that come in your kit are awesome. Not sure if you noticed during the suspension install, but your front driver-side spring is slightly taller than its passenger counterpart...and the rear passenger side is a little taller than the rear driver.
    So...use the driver side of your swaybar as the base. Set your swaybar where you want it (as close as you can) and adjust the QD up or down until it is exactly where you want it and torque it down.
    Then, move on to the passenger and adjust the QD up or down until it slides easily on and off without any real effort. What you will find is that your passenger side QD isn't exactly the same length as the driver side and that's okay. Every Jeep is different and the beauty of the adjustable QD is the ability to fine tune and get it exactly right.
    On level ground, you should have no stress at all on the sway bar. It will always be easy to get the first QD on, but if you find that you have to move the vehicle up or down to fit the other one on, then you need to go back and re-adjust.
  • diegotexeradiegotexera Posts: 11
    Hello all...been a long long time since my last post! I hope all the Jeepers out there in Jeeplandia are doing well and that the mud gods smile down upon all of you! lol

    Anyway, I have a 98 Wrangler Sahara with 32" x 11.5" x 15 BFG AT's on American Racing 15's with negative offset. The suspension is stock and this tire size is more than likely the biggest possible tires you can stuff into a stock TJ. However, it doesn't come without it's drawbacks. I have experienced some loss of articulation but only because of the stoc k fenders rubbing against the tires. I'm thinking of throwing on the 6" Bushwacker flares but since I have a Sahara, I'm worried that I won't be able to keep that Sahara plastic trim that goes on the rocker panels. I have the stock steps and the rig is green. So...I've been dreaming up a few mods that would entail the modification of certain areas of the car to flat black...like the Bushwacker flares...so, the question is: Will the Bushwacker flares fit nicely with that plastic rocker panel thingie? Does anyone with a Sahara have the Bushwacker flares?

    That is all....

    Ya'll be cool...

    Diego
    Miami, FL
    98 TJ
    Warn 8000
    32" x 11.5" BFG AT's
    A hell of a sound system!
    ...and a big 'ole smile :)
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