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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I'm going to replace all four springs and shocks in the coming weeks - probably OME springs and Bilstein shocks (did the same combo on my Liberty when I first lifted it and was very satisfied.)

The dilemma is the frozen lower clevis bolts in the lower control arm bushing. Didn't have that issue with my Liberty (slightly different bushing that prevents the bolt from rusting to the bushing sleeve.) I don't have a problem cutting the clevis bolts and replacing the lower control arm bushing (other than the time and hassle) but I've seen threads detailing how to simplify the process by just getting new lower control arms and new lower clevis bolts & nuts. What I DON'T want to get into is having frozen control arm bolts in the lower mount and dealing with cutting them out along with the clevis bolt.

Anyone in a rust belt area replace their lower control arms? Did you have any issues with the LCA bolts? Is the additional $300 for replacement LCA's worth it to avoid cutting out the clevis bushing in my original control arms?

If I were doing a complete lift and modding my XK for offroad purposes I'd have a different attitude about the project - but since my KJ is my offroad vehicle and is heavily modded I'm trying to keep the XK as more of a comfort/offroad-capable vehicle. I'm saving my heavy work (and my bad back) for the KJ.

Your opinions and insight are welcomed :thumbsup:


Bob
 

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My California its whole life 2010 xk had absolutely no problems with the clevis bolt.

If you've got a lot of miles its probably worth replacing the LCA anyways though, might as well do it when its all apart. I need to disassemble mine again and replace the control arm bushings...

Just remember if it is frozen and you buy a LCA you will still need the clevis so youll have to cut it out anyways
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My California its whole life 2010 xk had absolutely no problems with the clevis bolt.

If you've got a lot of miles its probably worth replacing the LCA anyways though, might as well do it when its all apart. I need to disassemble mine again and replace the control arm bushings...

Just remember if it is frozen and you buy a LCA you will still need the clevis so youll have to cut it out anyways
Good point. This new-to-me XK has been great so far but at 110,000 miles it needs some TLC to get it where I want it. Adding 30% to the cost of the springs and shocks doesn't thrill me but I may be happy to avoid the grief of changing the clevis bushing.

Anybody else change their LCA's? Any issue with removing the bolts?


Bob
 

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Good point. This new-to-me XK has been great so far but at 110,000 miles it needs some TLC to get it where I want it. Adding 30% to the cost of the springs and shocks doesn't thrill me but I may be happy to avoid the grief of changing the clevis bushing.

Anybody else change their LCA's? Any issue with removing the bolts?


Bob
Also, my bushings @ ~100k looked fine. Now at 130k they are not. Wish I just spent the extra money the last time I had this thing in pieces.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Also, my bushings @ ~100k looked fine. Now at 130k they are not. Wish I just spent the extra money the last time I had this thing in pieces.
Ya know, Lucky, the more I think about it the more inclined I am to do as you suggest and just replace the LCA's now. I'm going to be near 125K by the end of the year and who knows what shape the bushings will be in by then - and creating noises and issues. Might as well deal with it now.

I think I'm going to buy the LCA bolts for front & rear of the arms for both sides just in case I have to cut them out. If I don't I'll just return them.

Thanks for the feedback :thumbsup:


Bob
 

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Ya know, Lucky, the more I think about it the more inclined I am to do as you suggest and just replace the LCA's now. I'm going to be near 125K by the end of the year and who knows what shape the bushings will be in by then - and creating noises and issues. Might as well deal with it now.

I think I'm going to buy the LCA bolts for front & rear of the arms for both sides just in case I have to cut them out. If I don't I'll just return them.

Thanks for the feedback :thumbsup:


Bob
Happy to be of service!

Sorry i convinced you to spend more $. I wish that I had done the bushings but I was in a time and $ crunch at the time and I couldn't have the darn thing on jackstands any longer in my driveway.
The wife was just complaining about the front end noise on mine yesterday... guess it doesn't ride as quiet as her escalade.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Happy to be of service!

Sorry i convinced you to spend more $. I wish that I had done the bushings but I was in a time and $ crunch at the time and I couldn't have the darn thing on jackstands any longer in my driveway.
The wife was just complaining about the front end noise on mine yesterday... guess it doesn't ride as quiet as her escalade.
Just to give you an update... Pulled the trigger on OME HD springs, Bilstein 4600 shocks and new LCA's plus replacement clevis and front LCA bolts. Decided I didn't want to mess around with replacing the clevis bushing once I cut out the bolt - and the front LCA bolt is likely seized as well so that's another bushing I'd have to replace.

Anyway, pics to come once all the parts are here the project is completed - hopefully next weekend.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
A further update to my update - with good news...

While waiting for my shocks to arrive I decided to mess around with the XK yesterday. Crawled underneath to do some general inspection and then thought I'd see if there was any chance I could loosen the LCA bolt (the one that usually rusts in the bushing sleeve.)

The bolt loosened right up!

No need to cut out the LCA bolt like I'll have to do with the clevis bolt so now the entire project has become dramatically easier. Even though the original LCA bolts will come out easily I'm going to replace them since I bought a set just in case they were rusted and needed cut out. Hope to have the entire suspension done tomorrow assuming the shocks get here today. Unless there's a roadblock I'm not aware of I should be able to get everything installed in a few hours and then take it for an alignment. Should be sporting a new suspension by the end of the week.

I'll post details of the project (and hopefully some pics) when she's all done. :thumbsup:


Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #10
COOL I'm glad they will come out are you thinking of using some nickel neverseize on the new ones? it can't hurt.

Swanny

Absolutely.

Bought some of that the other day - those bolts will be slathered in the stuff. Still amazing to me that Chrysler designed those bushings so poorly that they'd rust solid like that.

Appreciate it, Swanny :thumbsup:


Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
OK, final update to my update...

Didn't take as many pictures as I wanted to since I found myself on a roll and just kept working instead of taking pics. There are How-To's elsewhere on the forum that detail what it takes to remove & replace components when installing new springs and shocks so here are the highlights:


* The rear springs and shocks are very straightforward. Most dificult part of installing the rear springs was reinstalling the bolt from the upper control arm to rear axle on the driver's side. The arm hits the fuel tank and prevents the axle from dropping enough to install the new, taller spring so removing the bolt enables the axle to drop. Once the spring was in place and it was time to move to the passenger/right side it was a bit difficult to get the arm and the axle bracket to line up to reinstall the bolt.

* I was able to remove the clevis bolt from the front lower control arm! My XK has spent it's life in the rust belt but obviously the previous owner washed it frequently. The clevis bolt was a SERIOUS pain to remove but I was able to get it to spin a little at a time by using an electric impact gun forward and backward until it would spin somewhat freely - didn't have to use the cutoff wheel on my grinder to cut the bolt. That said, the bolt was a rusted, pitted mess and was replaced with a new factory bolt on both sides with a liberal amount of nickel anti-seize on all bolts.

* The lower control arm was easy to remove and replace. The front LCA bolt was NOT seized to the bushing sleeve as I indicated in my post above so they came out easily. Replaced them with new factory bolts and nuts anyway since I bought a pair of them just in case. The two rear LCA bolts came out easily.

* I didn't release the upper ball joint from the spindle. Since I removed the LCA I had plenty of room to drop the shock/spring tower down and out of the wheel well.

* I took the front shock/spring assemblies to a local shop to have the new OME HD springs compressed and installed on the Bilstein shocks - and it was a near disaster for the tech who did the job. The first shock/spring went together fine but the second shock blew apart when he released the spring compressor. The rod blew right out of the shock tube and parts flew across the shop. Thank God he didn't get hurt! He believes the shock was returned to the vendor I purchased the Bilsteins from and was defective - he's never had that happen before. I called the vendor and the rep was very hesitant to believe me or the tech and is 'going to see if Bilstein will warranty the part.' I'm not naming the vendor - yet - but will if I don't get satisfaction and refund of my money. I purchased a replacement quickly at Summit Racing (their HQ is 10 minutes away from me.)

* Everything I'd read said that I should get about 2 inches of lift in the rear and 2.5 inches in the front. The rear came in exactly 2 inches taller, while the front came in FOUR INCHES taller! I didn't do this project because I wanted a lifted XK (I have my Liberty for offroad fun) but simply for the improved ride. The XK sits perfectly level now but IMO it's too tall in the front, especially with the stock tire size. Your thoughts?

* Here are the measurements: Before springs 18 inches hub to fender flare in front, 19.5 inches in rear. After springs 22 inches hub to flare in front, 21.5 inches in the rear.

* The ride is OUTSTANDING! Great control, firm but very comfortable and I'm sure is better than when it was brand new. I went with the OME HD springs rather than the medium duty and glad I did from a ride standpoint. I wish the front wasn't so high but it will settle a little if these springs behave anything like the OME HD's did on my Liberty. My wife says it's more "truck-like but not harsh - it doesn't ride like a '78 Continental anymore." Love that woman...!

* The alignment came in perfectly in spec. Runs straight and true with no vibes or shimmy.

Some pics:






Before:



After:



Sorry for the long post :cheers:


Bob
 

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Great write up Bob.

She looks really good - but does look slightly high in the front.

I had the same issue with mine when I had the 2 inch RC lift installed - it lifted the front significantly more than the back - as it is designed to since it is a leveling lift.

I have the same 4600's as you in the front and I had 4600's installed in the back also - but I eventually switched over to 5100's in the back for that little bit of extra length to allow the rear axle a little more travel.

My front springs are stock but my rear springs I replaced with the slightly heavier JustForJeeps Hemi-Rated rear coil springs (JustForJeeps Part #'s 52124213AA & 52124214AA) mainly for towing purposes.

The JBA Upper control arms and ball joints had no effect on the height in the front but the new WAM bumper dropped me maybe an eighth of an inch, so, I'm perfectly level now.

Some 265-70's would look really good on your XK Bob. :wink3:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Did it come down at all? It's going to sit higher post lift. Once the springs settle you should sit a bit lower.


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It's dropped slightly - about 1/4 inch or so - but the longer I drive it the more I like the way it sits. The "After" pic above makes the front look a little higher than it actually is thanks to the front wheel wells. Being larger than the rear it's a bit of an optical illusion - the XK sits almost exactly level when measuring the rockers. That said, I'd still like the front to sit slightly lower than the rear cuz I actually like the front-to-back rake.

Absolutely love the ride and handling now so really glad I did the project :thumbsup:


Bob
 

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Awesome. It does look good! I'm removing my 1/4" strut spacer and replacing with a 3/8" to bring the front up a half inch. Since adding the bumper and winch it dropped a hair. Once I add this, I'll be at max height for my lift which is a bit over 3.5"


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I soaked my clevis bolts in PB Blaster twice a day for a week before trying to remove the bolts.

This usually works on undercarriage or exhaust bolts that are often seized and a bear to remove.

The nuts came off the clevis bolts very easily, but that's not usually the problem, the problem usually is, and I had it, the bolt itself seizes to the inner sleeve of the bushing in the lower control arm. I could NOT hammer out the bolts with sledge hammer.

I eventually did get the bolts out without damage by alternating, pounding on it with a hammer, spraying PB Blaster on it and turning the bolt back forth in the sleeve with a big wrench on the bolt head. This would break up enough corrosion to let the bolt be pounding forward a 1/4" before the corrosion wedge it seized again, then I had to repeat the process. It probably took 2 hours to get the bolts out, but I got them out.

So, if you just removed the nuts, you may find you still have a seized up bolt that will be difficult to remove. If you removed the nuts and turned the bolt with a wrench or could even move it around with fingers, then its not seized you shouldn't have any problem.

Might note, I live on the edge of the salt belt, my Commander was a rental car in the first year of its life in the upper north east, which makes for a big difference in environment and cars in that and my area typically have a problem with undercarriage bolts seizing up.

So folks living in semi-arid Arizona, Nevada or California and areas like these, might not have any problem at all replacing clevis bolts.
 
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