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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.
 

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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,

SO you only have 1.5" of droop? That is a bummer. Thats the major reason for running a superlift at running anything more then an OME lift height.

Otherwise looks like you did a great job on the work and the writeup! RIde height looks real good.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
SO you only have 1.5" of droop? That is a bummer. Thats the major reason for running a superlift at running anything more then an OME lift height.

Otherwise looks like you did a great job on the work and the writeup! RIde height looks real good.
An alignment did affect my strut angles slightly, and my new tie rod ends do allow a larger range of motion, so with my current setup, my droop is limited by the strut anyway. I haven't measured the exact amount of droop I have now, but I more or less have the suspension travel of an OME lift, with the space to clear 33s comfortably.

I don't know the specifics of a Superlift since I haven't been able to closely examine one, but I believe that since it uses a 4" spacer on top of the stock strut setup, you essentially get factory travel. This means that the Superlift will have more droop than me, since an OME lift utilizes springs to extend the strut further at ride height, but not as much compression, since the strut will be more compressed with stock springs at ride height.

Compression is much more important to me since in most situations, it'll lower the center of gravity much more than droop. I won't be able to keep all 4 wheels on the ground as often, but given that I've also added a roof basket and the XK is pretty top heavy anyway, I'd much rather have less rollover risk than full traction. The best of both worlds would involve a coilover setup with the Superlift cradle drop, but that's pretty far out of my price range right now.
 

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Nice work. Please report back on ride quality. For anyone looking to do this that doesn't already have a crown or rc lift to work with I would recommend 2 3/8 spacers. They are solid plate 3/8 thick... No cutting welding required.
 

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Nice work. Please report back on ride quality. For anyone looking to do this that doesn't already have a crown or rc lift to work with I would recommend 2 3/8 spacers. They are solid plate 3/8 thick... No cutting welding required.
Ride quality is much firmer than stock. I ran the OME by itself for a few days before modifying it, and the ride is the same modified as unmodified.

Personally, I prefer the firmer ride since it feels much more stable around corners and more connected to the road. However, it doesn't absorb bumps nearly as well as the stock suspension and there's a lot of jostling around on rough roads.

3/8 spacers are an excellent option to avoid cutting and welding. The stock strut mount bolts still won't be long enough, so they'll have to be replaced. I imagine that with a little drilling, lug studs would make an excellent press-in option. It's also worth noting that while I needed 7/8" to reach 23" hub to fender, I have the Hemi and around 200 lbs of extra weight in/above the cabin, so my springs have much more load on them. I've seen WKs with the Hemi use only 1/2" of extra spacers to reach the same 23" hub to fender, so I'd advise trying out one spacer first before trying to add a second one.

What tie rod ends are you using, and how much extra travel are you getting?
I'm using Moog Problem Solver inner tie rod ends (PN: EV800467) and ACDelco Professional outer tie rod ends (PN: 45A1036/45A1037). I didn't measure travel beforehand, so I can't say exactly how much extra travel I'm getting, but I'd estimate I have around 2.5" of droop and 4" of compression up front.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Is there a reason you didn't use the Moog problem solvers for the outers as well?
None except price. Both ACDelco and Moog outers are greasable and high quality products, so ultimately it came down to being able to get the ACDelco parts for around $15 less. After receiving the ACDelco parts, they physically look very similar to the Moogs as well, including an apparent change in design to a castle nut instead of lock nut and hex-end ball joint. If the price difference hadn't been so significant, I probably would've gone for Moog outers.
 

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Nice work. Please report back on ride quality. For anyone looking to do this that doesn't already have a crown or rc lift to work with I would recommend 2 3/8 spacers. They are solid plate 3/8 thick... No cutting welding required.

Nice work. Please report back on ride quality. For anyone looking to do this that doesn't already have a crown or rc lift to work with I would recommend 2 3/8 spacers. They are solid plate 3/8 thick... No cutting welding required.
Ride quality is much firmer than stock. I ran the OME by itself for a few days before modifying it, and the ride is the same modified as unmodified.

Personally, I prefer the firmer ride since it feels much more stable around corners and more connected to the road. However, it doesn't absorb bumps nearly as well as the stock suspension and there's a lot of jostling around on rough roads.

3/8 spacers are an excellent option to avoid cutting and welding. The stock strut mount bolts still won't be long enough, so they'll have to be replaced. I imagine that with a little drilling, lug studs would make an excellent press-in option. It's also worth noting that while I needed 7/8" to reach 23" hub to fender, I have the Hemi and around 200 lbs of extra weight in/above the cabin, so my springs have much more load on them. I've seen WKs with the Hemi use only 1/2" of extra spacers to reach the same 23" hub to fender, so I'd advise trying out one spacer first before trying to add a second one.


Hey, great write up and your Commander looks awesome!

where/ what brand are these 3/8 spacers, as finding them impossible to find. Have you got a link?

Once I have my OME HD kit installed I’ll check what level I am and then see whether there’s space to chuck a 3/8 spacer in front and back to get some 33s on her.

Re the jostling around on bumpy roads do you think that would be the same with the OME HD lift using the OME struts? Or will they be made to work better with the OME springs reducing that feeling? I imagine it’s probably just the payoff for having the reduced floatiness of the stock setup.
 

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Hey, great write up and your Commander looks awesome!

where/ what brand are these 3/8 spacers, as finding them impossible to find. Have you got a link?

Once I have my OME HD kit installed I’ll check what level I am and then see whether there’s space to chuck a 3/8 spacer in front and back to get some 33s on her.
Phil, I believe these are the plates he mentioned: Rusty's Spacers - Strut Plates (XK/WK)

I have been looking into this as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
where/ what brand are these 3/8 spacers, as finding them impossible to find. Have you got a link?

Once I have my OME HD kit installed I’ll check what level I am and then see whether there’s space to chuck a 3/8 spacer in front and back to get some 33s on her.

Re the jostling around on bumpy roads do you think that would be the same with the OME HD lift using the OME struts? Or will they be made to work better with the OME springs reducing that feeling? I imagine it’s probably just the payoff for having the reduced floatiness of the stock setup.
As XKTank mentioned,these are the spacers I'm referring to. The front geometry isn't exactly 1/1, so a 3/8" spacer will probably net you close to 1" of lift. My 7/8" spacer got me 2" of extra lift of front.

Regardless, you'll probably need more than 3/8" in the rear to keep the Jeep level. Most people I've seen modify their OME kits use 3/4" spacers up front (by stacking 3/8" spacers, using Bilstein 5100s, or making them like I have) and match them to a 2" spacer in the rear. This is probably the setup you'll need to clear 33s if you don't delete the rear AC.

Regarding the jostling around, that pretty much all comes down to the springs. Struts and shocks are meant to slow suspension rebound, while the jostling is caused by the suspension not compressing enough. It's going to happen with the HD springs regardless of what shocks you use.
 

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where/ what brand are these 3/8 spacers, as finding them impossible to find. Have you got a link?

Once I have my OME HD kit installed I’ll check what level I am and then see whether there’s space to chuck a 3/8 spacer in front and back to get some 33s on her.

Re the jostling around on bumpy roads do you think that would be the same with the OME HD lift using the OME struts? Or will they be made to work better with the OME springs reducing that feeling? I imagine it’s probably just the payoff for having the reduced floatiness of the stock setup.
As XKTank mentioned,these are the spacers I'm referring to. The front geometry isn't exactly 1/1, so a 3/8" spacer will probably net you close to 1" of lift. My 7/8" spacer got me 2" of extra lift of front.

Regardless, you'll probably need more than 3/8" in the rear to keep the Jeep level. Most people I've seen modify their OME kits use 3/4" spacers up front (by stacking 3/8" spacers, using Bilstein 5100s, or making them like I have) and match them to a 2" spacer in the rear. This is probably the setup you'll need to clear 33s if you don't delete the rear AC.

Regarding the jostling around, that pretty much all comes down to the springs. Struts and shocks are meant to slow suspension rebound, while the jostling is caused by the suspension not compressing enough. It's going to happen with the HD springs regardless of what shocks you use.

Ok cool, thanks. Regarding installing 3/4 spacers upfront and a 2” spacer in the rear, is this all without going over the magic 23” hub to fender limit I keep hearing about to not affect the drivetrain and geometry?

I’m guessing that it probably does. I’ve got the Hemi so guessing I’ll be on the lower end compared to the v6s etc but may be pushing the limits a bit.

Also when you say rear AC, I take it that that is air con? Is it really that heavy?
 

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Ok cool, thanks. Regarding installing 3/4 spacers upfront and a 2” spacer in the rear, is this all without going over the magic 23” hub to fender limit I keep hearing about to not affect the drivetrain and geometry?

I’m guessing that it probably does. I’ve got the Hemi so guessing I’ll be on the lower end compared to the v6s etc but may be pushing the limits a bit.

Also when you say rear AC, I take it that that is air con? Is it really that heavy?
regarding rear a/c it isnt the weight it is the clearance. There are a/c lines in the rear fender well.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ok cool, thanks. Regarding installing 3/4 spacers upfront and a 2” spacer in the rear, is this all without going over the magic 23” hub to fender limit I keep hearing about to not affect the drivetrain and geometry?

I’m guessing that it probably does. I’ve got the Hemi so guessing I’ll be on the lower end compared to the v6s etc but may be pushing the limits a bit.

Also when you say rear AC, I take it that that is air con? Is it really that heavy?
Yep, those spacers put me at 23" up front, 23.5" in the rear. I actually cut the 7/8" front spacer specifically to put me at 23". The front geometry is the one to be concerned about; it's also worth noting that to go this high, you are definitely going to need new UCAs. The stock ones will hit the spring at that height.

Also, as earlier noted, the main problem with the rear AC isn't the weight, but the lines running through the front passenger wheel well. They take away almost an inch of clearance.
 

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Yep, those spacers put me at 23" up front, 23.5" in the rear. I actually cut the 7/8" front spacer specifically to put me at 23". The front geometry is the one to be concerned about; it's also worth noting that to go this high, you are definitely going to need new UCAs. The stock ones will hit the spring at that height.

Also, as earlier noted, the main problem with the rear AC isn't the weight, but the lines running through the front passenger wheel well. They take away almost an inch of clearance.

Awesome! So i just measured my centre hub to fender distance and I'm sitting at:

18" 1/4 front left
18" 3/4 front right
19" 1/2 rear both

Does that sounds lower than stock normally? Basically means I can go up by nearly 5" and still be safe which seems crazy and must be enough to get some some 33's on!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Awesome! So i just measured my centre hub to fender distance and I'm sitting at:

18" 1/4 front left
18" 3/4 front right
19" 1/2 rear both

Does that sounds lower than stock normally? Basically means I can go up by nearly 5" and still be safe which seems crazy and must be enough to get some some 33's on!

That sounds about right, maybe a bit low in the front. Depending on the mileage on your springs and shocks, you could just be experiencing a significant amount of sag.
 
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