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Old 05-05-2017, 11:36 AM   #31
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Little tip for those bar pins, Put the bar pins into the bushing first then put the bushing with bar pin into shock eye. I use white lithium on the surfaces then find a socket that fits the diameter of the bushing. You can push it the majority of the way in on the vice then take it out and give er a smack with a hammer and it'll go right in with no damage.
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Old 05-05-2017, 03:27 PM   #32
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^^^ good idea, I'll keep that in mind for the front shocks

I got started on the front suspension.

Got the shocks off no problem this time. Driver side shock was completely useless. Passenger side still had some life in it. Not bad for 246,000 miles! They're the original shocks.



First problem I ran into was the sway bar link bolts. They're impossible to get off. It was only after trying a MAPP torch, breaker bar, and 18v impact driver that I went online to read more about it which is when I learned that they're studded and pressed on.

I tried to get the nut on the back off but apparently it's a 18mm which I do not have a socket or wrench for. I tried a 13/16 socket (iirc) on the end of the breaker bar, but it slipped off causing me to smash my pinky into the concrete and that's when I gave up for the night.

So I think I'm just going to leave them on! I was planning on replacing them with this upgrade from Pro Comp but they might be too tall anyways for only a 2" lift. I was also planning on rigging my own quick disconnect pin but I'm running out of time and inspiration.

Here's the Pro Comp ones compared to the stock:



However, the bushing definitely need replaced. I could easily cut them off with my angle grinder and then pound the remaining hardware out with my new air hammer.

But that all depends on if those Pro Comp ones are too tall or not. Let me know what you think!

[edit: inspiration is starting to come back after reading this]

Last edited by mannydantyla; 05-08-2017 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 05-05-2017, 05:21 PM   #33
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Longer sway bar links really aren't needed at 2". You'll be fine either way. But I'd say just throw them in the garage until you make it into the 3-4.5" range. Looking good... Keep it up.
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Old 05-07-2017, 12:40 PM   #34
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Hmm, i remember having to replace the sway bar link on the driver side of my '96 (it snapped on my crappy backwoods country road) and it wasnt pressed or staked in. I think it was just a torx bolt.

did they change this on the 97+? im thinking of putting new Moog links on my 98 so i may run into issues.

in any case, yeah, those bushings look shot. and glad you are getting those shocks done, another thing thats on my list.
You're getting ahead of me!
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Old 05-08-2017, 01:01 PM   #35
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Finished the front suspension yesterday!



I was finally able to get the sway bar links off after buying a 18mm socket for my 1/2" breaker bar to get the nut off of the lower bolt. The right tool for the job!

With those removed I could get to work replacing the coil springs.

I could not, however, lower the front axle enough to freely pull out the springs because the lower control arms were hitting the bracket as shown here:



So I went to Oreilly's and borrowed their coil spring compressors for free.

I tried to use my socket driver head on an 18v Ryobi multitool but it started smoking! Bad idea.



Other than that and the fact that I forgot to put the new bump stop in the coil spring before installing, I had no problems getting the new coil springs in. And yes I made sure they springs where in the correct position to contact the lower spring pad the right way. Pushing the bump stops into place though was a major major pain in my ***! Did not enjoy that part..

Here's the new bump stop compared to the old. I may need to cut them to be a little shorter, but first I'll have to put the new tires on and do some flexing.



I decided to reuse the stock sway bar links as advised, and so I went got some new bushings for them. But when I went to bolt them to the sway bar, this happened:



Obviously the metal was severely weakened from rust and it didn't take hardly any torque at all for it to snap, so good thing it happened now and not on the road!

So I installed the larger Pro Comp sway bar connectors and I think they'll do just fine.



Finally, I installed the new Hawk brake pads and hit up all the grease points with a new grease gun.

Done!



I'm a little bit underwhelmed by the perceivable amount of lift on the front. Here's the measurements. Front:



Back:



Before and after:



19.5" in the front and 20.5" in the rear, measuring from center of rim to the edge of the fender flare. Are those measurements what they should be? I think I will definitely need wheel well trimming to fit the 31" tires which are arriving some time today from Amazon.

I still need to install the steering brace and steering box spacer, and lower the transfer case with some longer bolts and washers. 6 days until we hit the road for Colorado!
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Old 05-08-2017, 03:24 PM   #36
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New tires are here! This calls for a selfie

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Old 05-09-2017, 04:14 PM   #37
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T-5days until I leave for Colorado. And in those days I have way more to do than work on my jeep: take care of girlfriend after wisdom teeth are removed, install ceiling fan in bedroom, take down a popup camper, get all my hiking gear together, plant things in the garden, etc.

So yesterday I knocked out the TC drop.

I used my big brain and went to the HW store and bought some grade-8 bolts: M10 x 1.5 pitch x 1.5" long (they didn't have 2" long ones or that's what I would have got). And then I got 12 matching nuts for the bolts as well.

My plan was to use the nuts as spacers. 3 nuts was about 7/8". I just needed to drill out the the threads with a 3/8" drill bit (high quality one, a cheap one will not last through that grade-8 steel, I used black oxide bits). It was, however, just slightly too small yet my next biggest bit was 1/2" which would have been too much. So i removed the rest of the material with a dremel fitted with a Tungsten Carbide Cutter bit. Expensive but worth it as that bit has lasted a very long time and is still sharp. I used WD-40 will drilling and milling to keep all the bits fresh.





After unbolting the crossmember, I had a little problem with it getting cockeyed and I couldn't get the new bolts in. I solved this by using a tow strap wrapped around the rear axle and the crossmember. Did I tell you about my big brain?



Done! No more bad vibes!



Maybe one day I'll replace it with something a little more sturdy but I think it will be fine for now.

Meanwhile... I have the new tires on!!





They're 31x10.5x15 Falcon WildPeak AT3Ws. They're just barely hitting the lower control arm when the steering wheel is turned all the way, so I'll have to add some washers to that bolt on the steering knuckle. Easy.

I'll also have to trim the wheel wells I think but I'll need to do a flex test first I guess. Stay tuned!
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Old 05-09-2017, 04:58 PM   #38
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Nice job. Looking good!
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Old 05-09-2017, 05:36 PM   #39
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Some 1x1 square tubing could have saved you a whole lot of grinding.

Not sure how long I would trust those "spacers" for. As long as you are aware of the negatives of running a TC crop, carry on. Those stock crossmemebers arent the strongest but a lot of their strength comes from being up against the unibody rail. Now that its dropped with such a small contact area id be keeping a very close eye on it.




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Old 05-09-2017, 06:15 PM   #40
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Nice clean Jeep. The 97 has the nicest interior color hands down.
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Old 05-12-2017, 10:20 AM   #41
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Thanks everyone! It's a work in progress but an improved TC drop is on the list and I'll keep a close eye on it.
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Old 05-12-2017, 10:41 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LACK View Post
Some 1x1 square tubing could have saved you a whole lot of grinding.

Not sure how long I would trust those "spacers" for. As long as you are aware of the negatives of running a TC crop, carry on. Those stock crossmemebers arent the strongest but a lot of their strength comes from being up against the unibody rail. Now that its dropped with such a small contact area id be keeping a very close eye on it.

What are the negatives of a transfer case drop? Obviously it reduced the ground clearance for the transfer case. Anything else?
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Old 05-12-2017, 10:46 AM   #43
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New spark plugs installed. Champion copper plugs, had multiple recommendations for them, .035 gap.

It most definitely improved the idle and the old one's needed to be replaced as they where quite corroded and they also look a little ashy to me so maybe the engine is running lean. What do you think?


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Old 05-12-2017, 10:51 AM   #44
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And just after installing the spark plugs, I drove to my brother's house about 30 miles away and that's when the radiator decided to explode...





Had to get towed. $100 bill
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Old 05-12-2017, 11:00 AM   #45
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Alright here's what happened. Going to the interstate, first time with the larger tires, I noticed the temperature gauge went up slightly. It went one tick past the middle tick and nowhere near the danger zone, but still hotter than I've ever seen it. The temp sensor was just replaced last year so I trust it.

I also noticed a new noise coming from the engine. Hard to describe it, but I would say it was cross between a tick and a gurgle. Only at highway speeds (rpm around or over 2k) and when accelerating or going up a hill.

And finally I was running out of gas so I pulled over to fill up. Turned off the motor and that's when the radiator burst open. Steam went everywhere and all my coolant went onto the pavement. The lady in the gas stall next to me was like "oh my!!"

I opened the hood and touched the top radiator hose and it was not so hot that it burned me. It didn't smell like it overheated either, though the coolant steam was the dominant smell for sure.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!
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