After running a Crown (Rough Country equivalent) lift for a year, and finding its limits while off roading, I decided it was time to upgrade. I initially planned to go for OME HD springs alone, but after trying them out and seeing no additional height over the spacer lift, so I decided to go for a modified OME. I didn't go for OME shocks, instead using Bilstein 4600 stock struts up front and Monroe F-150 Load Levelling shocks in the rear.
Here's where I was at before, with the spacer lift. Ball joint angles were pretty bad, so I decided to go for JBA UCAs as well. For a modified OME, that's an absolutely necessary upgrade.
The OME springs are around 1" taller than stock, and each have one extra coil. They're also slightly thicker, contributing to a higher spring rate.
The JBA UCAs are significantly more beefy than stock, and the ball joints also have significantly more travel. They're also replaceable with the same ball joints that many 1/2 ton Chevys in the 90s came with, so if you need to you can get replacements at any auto parts store.
The OME springs alone put me at 21" hub to fender up front, and 22" hub to fender in the rear, almost exactly what I had using the Crown lift before. The ride was much improved, but I really wanted the extra height to clear my larger tires.
So I set about modifying the Crown lift to stack on top of the OME springs. In the rear, there were no problems. Stacking the spacers onto the springs left me at 23.5" hub to fender, and after notching the gas tank skid plate to allow the control arm to drop further, everything worked well. I removed the rear sway bar since with HD springs and Monroe load levelling shocks, my rear end was plenty stiff enough.
Up front, I had a much harder time. First I tried to just stack the spacers on, and encountered major problems. I sat at 24.5" hub to fender, where the UCAs contacted the spring. Without the UCAs connected, the shocks extended to 25", where the tie rod ends maxed out. The suspension was completely ruined, with no downward travel. I wanted to end up at 23" up front, which is the height most WK forums recommend as the maximum height. So I decided to trim the Crown spacer down.
I started by separating the top strut mount, hammering the bolts out. I used deep sockets around the bolts to give them room to fall through, and used a hammer to pound them out. With the bolts removed the strut mounts separated into two pieces.
Next, I cut apart the Crown spacer and cut out the bolts. I carefully cut the spacer apart right at the weld on one side, so I would have an easier time welding everything back together later.
Next, I trimmed down the metal tabs to shorten the spacer. I did some careful measuring and decided to trim each tab down to 1/2", leaving me at a 7/8" thick spacer overall.
Next, I bolted the spacers and strut mounts together to form a single unit, and welded everything together. I also added 3" long 1/2" diameter grade 8 bolts since the original bolts wouldn't be long enough. I welded them to the strut mounts so they wouldn't spin when I reinstalled everything.
After reassembling the entire front end, I ended up at exactly 23" hub to fender up front, and 23.5" hub to fender in the rear.
During this project, I also replaced my lower ball joints, inner and outer tie rod ends, and half shafts since at 170k miles they were all pretty worn out and the CV boots were torn. I plan to rebuild the half shafts with new grease and new boots so that I have a spare set, but the front end angles don't look too bad. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the angles at the moment, but I'll be sure to take some later and add them.
I've hosted a set of full size pictures and descriptions here
, with some additional images as well detailing some other parts of the installation.