Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Ventura, CA
Own a Commander?: Yes
Model year: 2006
Trim Package: Limited
Power-Train: 5.7L V-8 Hemi
If 4WD - system: QD-II
Current Mileage: 1233456
Well, it's done. No pics for a couple days, I go back on shift tomorrow. And I've already started in on the "I'm Done Beer", so this may get incoherent.
Before my buddy showed up, I made a trip to the local rental yard, looking for a die grinder. But they also had a strut compressor. Now, I have a spring compressor, but it works on the inside of the spring. The strut compressor is a pair that works on the outside of the spring. For $15 a day, it was a lifesaver.
Why? When my buddy showed up, he showed me a neat trick. To explain, my buddy is actually my rookie firefighter, just finished his probation. Before this, he was a heavy fleet mechanic for 26 years, the last 10 working on our engines. I listen to him when it comes to mechanics.
The first strut, I followed the instructions. I trimmed the rubber, pried and hammered. Then I used the strut compressors to cramp down the spring, allowing even more movement. Eventually I got them all out, and new bolts in. By the time I got to the second strut, he showed up. The second strut, we tightned the strut compressors, then removed the top of the strut. Man, popping out the studs was super easy. If you can rent a strut compressor, that is the way to go. We didn't even have to cut any rubber. Re-installing, he used an air impact wrench to spin down the nuts. The rapid hits of the impact gun combined with the resistance of the uncut rubber kept the bolts from spinning in place as he tightened. No crows-foot or special wrench needed.
**Note: RR forgot to include 4 of the nylock nuts with the kit, so we went with regular nuts and lock washers. They are shipping the missing nuts, I will crank them down one by one in exchange later.***
Another trick he did was to remove the calipers both front and rear. This let the assembly drop even lower without stretching any cables or brake lines.
We had one problem at the very end, despite pre-planning for it: We were all done. The tires were back on the rears. The truck was ready to come off the stands holding the frame. Since the jack was already under the rear pumpkin, I cranked that up until the frame lifted away from the stands. But this time, there was 2 inches more suspension on the Jeep than before. That 2 inches was enough to push the rear edge of the commander into the garage door closer, causing a tiny dent and a huge paint chip. Da##it!
I'll put the rock rails on next, then send it in for the tire swap and alignment. Then pictures, I promise.