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Performance Modifications If you plan to modify your Jeep Commander, tell us about it in here.

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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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So the fun begins

I just picked up my K&N 77 CAI - the first true mod to date. Ordered the RR 2.25" lift and the spidertrax 1.5" spacers to fit a new set of 265/70-17s. We've got a trip to AZ planned in March, so the lift, spacers and tires will go on the day we get back - CAI tonight though. Just wanted to say thanks for everyone's posts, it's made researching and now modifying a lot easier. I'll post pics once the lift is in place.
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 04:24 PM
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Let us know how it does for you on your trip and avg MPG if you can remember I am always curious.

Thanks!
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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Will do - mpg is obviously one of the reasons I'm installing the CAI before the trip, and leaving the lift and tires off until we're back. With mostly in-town driving and the snorkel removed with a drop in K&N filter, we've been averaging 13.9. I'd love to get the in-town number up to 15.
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 05:33 PM
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bjamrow-
I installed the same lift on my XK. The directions make the install seem like a snap, it isn't. It's not bad, but there was a bit of learning as I went along. This was the first IFS boost I had done. I have some experience to share if you're interested when you get back and start your lift.


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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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I would love any advice/feedback you'd be willing to share. I've checked into having a local dealer install it as well as Avenger 4x4 here in the Springs - but thought I might give it a go myself first and save $250.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 07:33 PM
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The front ended up being easier than the rear for me, though the directions implied the rear would be the easy part.

On the front at the bottom of the strut is the strut fork (that spans the CV shaft). Both mine came off pretty well, but before I put them back on, I clamped them in a vise and gently 'spread' them out just a bit - not even noticable to the eye. They went back on the strut super easy, no pounding.
To get the new longer strut mount bolts into the strut top plate (after removing the factory studs), I ovaled out the top plate holes just a little. Don't go crazy, just enough to allow the bolts to seat. You may have to use a dremmel to relieve the actual coil spring right where the bolt head is trying to seat against the top plate. You'd be removing very little material from upper edge of the spring where it meets the rubber, not effecting the spring structurally. (This will make more sense when you're looking at the actual parts - sorry if it's a little vague right now). Once you have all four bolts seated against the top plate, put the spacer over the bolts and lift the strut/spacer into position. Use two people to put the strut back into position if you can.

On the back, the directions tell you to jack up one side of the axle to full compression, allowing the other side of the axle at full droop to release tension on the coil. That was scary, working on a loaded suspension. Didn't like that at all. And it didn't really work. I still had to use the factory jack to push the axle downward even more to get the spacer in. To do it again, I would jack up the jeep and let the axle hang on its own. Then using the factory scissors type jack, place it between the chassis and axle and 'jack' the axle downward. You will still need to unbolt the upper, drivers side control arm at the axle. I also unbolted the brake caliper because the brake line became a limiting factor. At that point the axle can be manipulated downward enough to get the spacer under the spring.

Contrary to what you may begin to think during install that the rear brake lines will not be long enough or the upper control arm is going to hit the fuel tank at full droop - Once everything is bolted back together, the rear stabilizer bar prohibits the axle from drooping too much. Brake lines will be fine and the control arm won't contact the top of the fuel tank during your off-roading. Below is a picture showing the stabilizer bar hanging the axle, and the brake line with a little slack. That wheel is off the ground.

As for the shocks, I used the washers/bushing combo as outlined in the directions. Top bolt is 75lbs of torque, the bottom is 85, I believe. Much less than that and you'll get the infamous shock clunking a lot of guys have complained about.

I did mine a few months ago, so I may remember something else that made the install easier. If I do, I'll let you know. Good luck!



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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjamrow
Will do - mpg is obviously one of the reasons I'm installing the CAI before the trip, and leaving the lift and tires off until we're back. With mostly in-town driving and the snorkel removed with a drop in K&N filter, we've been averaging 13.9. I'd love to get the in-town number up to 15.

Maybe it's the weather, but I've been gettin' 17 MPH plus all week...........
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 08:56 PM
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I had the rusty's lift kit installed by a local 4X4 shop and they put the rear spacers on top of the spring. I noticed yours is on the bottom. Does it make a difference?
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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During the week - my wife drives this so it is really short runs back and forth to different schools for the kids - kills our mileage. And thanks for the detail Kmax. I ordered the kit now so that I would have time to familiarize myself with everything, and this helps out a lot. The hardest part is going to be waiting to put the lift on until after we get back.
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 11:52 AM
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Crzcajun -

Rocky Road puts their spacer on the bottom, other manufacturers put them on the top. I don't think from a design standpoint it matters other than to put it where that specific kit instructs you to. I think BDS also puts the spacer on top.

bjamrow-

I had the kit for about a month before I installed it and it did help to be familiar with it. In fact, by the time I installed it, I didn't even refer to the directions. I'm sure you've noticed the directions aren't written with too much professionalism, more like someone standing over your shoulder telling you how to install it. My total install time was about 8 hours. 3 for the front, 5 for the back. That sounds rediculous but I spent so much time jacking around with the rear axle, trying to get the one side to hang down while the whole back of the jeep was about 4 feet off the ground (at the bumper) with only a floorjack under the opposite tire. I can't believe looking back that the jeep didn't flop off the jack sending it through my garage wall at about mach 5. Like I said, working on a loaded suspension doesn't appeal to me at all.


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