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Discussion Starter #1
Rather than hi-jack other threads where Rocky Road lift kits have been installed, I thought I’d just start a new one so I could post photos as things progress. (A ‘how-to’ thread of sorts) I did a short search, and only seem to find ‘’after’’ exterior shots. Hopefully, I can correct this lack o’ installation photos. :D

These are the ‘’before’’ photos. Well, at least the start of a set of ‘’befores’’ because I need a couple of good side profile shots of how she sits now. I ordered the lift kit about 3:30 pm Friday. (Online with a credit card) Rocky Road’s time zone is ahead of here, so they were closed by then. We’ll see how soon my kit gets on the move come tomorrow. (Monday) I bought a 2.25’’ kit complete with shocks. I’ll post photos of the project as it gets done.

Here’s a link to the album page… check back as time goes on… there will be new photos later. http://www.villagephotos.com/pubbrowse.asp?folder_id=2066900

There are two photos now, with a front and rear height showing. The front is 3.25’’ from the top of the tire to the fender well, the rear is 5’’. I don’t know why it sits rear high, it always has.

Front:


Rear:
 

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Look forward to the pics and write up.
 

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They all sit high in the back. Some members of the forum have actually tried to raise the front to level it out. Personally I am fine with the attitude look of nose lower. When you change the shocks, be sure to do a search of the old posts for the use of the correct bolts/washers. Many of us had clunking noise from the shocks after installing them.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The nose down look doesn't bother me at all. I was wondering if the lift kit keeps the look, or does it level it out? I was going for more fenderwell space, and I think it'll look a lot better raised up a bit.

Thanks for the heads up on the shocks. Silence is golden. :)
 

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The nose down look doesn't bother me at all. I was wondering if the lift kit keeps the look, or does it level it out?
The Rocky Road lift raises the front about 3.5 inches and levels the XK.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yippee! I expected next week at the earliest. :D

Scheduled Delivery: 28-January-2009
Number of Packages 1
UPS Service: GROUND
Weight: 32.0 LBS
Tracking Number: 1Z4X82X40351276462
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Phase I is complete!! (As in the front end) Tonight, it’s on to phase II. (Although the back end should be a whole lot easier) This thread won’t be so much as a ‘’how-to’’ as it’ll be a ‘’what-you’re-in-for’’ post.

As is typical, anyone I could think of to call for help wasn’t home. And nobody even knew when I was going to start on it, so it wasn’t like they were hiding out. (If you don’t believe that happens, just try and call someone when you need help moving) So… I worked solo on what should be a two person job. It took 4.5 hours to do the front end.

The front end is McPherson struts, which are pretty heavy. They need to be completely removed so stud bolts can be cut off or have their heads flattened on a bench grinder. (My option)

Then, after everything’s ready, you have to hold the 50+ lb. strut assembly with yet another 5 lbs. of spacer on top of that, all while getting nuts threaded on from above. Fortunately, I’m the same size and weight as William ‘’The Refrigerator’’ Perry, (The football player) so my gorilla-length arms were long enough to reach over the fender and get the nuts threaded onto the bolts. (Not to mention one-arming the struts up in place while reaching over) That’s why I warn anyone taking this on to make it a TWO PERSON job.

The first PITA is having to remove the battery and fuse blocks. The strut bolts are buried underneath it. The passenger side’s a lot easier since only the radiator overflow needs to come out.

I will say that despite the work involved, it’s WELL WORTH IT. I drove home last night and back to work today ‘’uphill’’ both ways. It’s sits front high now. The front end went from 3.25’’ to almost 7’’ from the top of the tire to the fender well. The Jeep feels like it’s got a load of cement bags in the back. (Not with any funny handling, just that I feel like I’m rocked backwards) The Jeep normally does actually sit level, it’s just the back fender wells are higher up. The (factory ride height) bodywork does sit level rather than front low like it appears. Right now, the lower sill is noticeably lower at the back end.

Here’s a ‘’Before’’ shot.


Here’s a ‘’semi-after’’ shot. (Half done) The ‘’after’’ will be posted tomorrow when it’s complete.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Here’s a series of photos as work progressed.

The pile ‘o parts from Rocky Road:


Looking at the strut before starting:


Thing's are comin' apart:


The battery etc. removed:


Closer view of the OEM strut bolts:


Continued...
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Dealing with the original stud bolts. You have to knock them loose, then grind off the heads to clear the spring. You then turn the bolts and remove them.


The *&%$#@! bolts removed:


The strut reinstalled with the spacer in place:


Using a floor jack to get the lower A-arm bolts etc. all lined back up:


I will mention that BEFORE starting to take anything apart, pull the entire length of the wheel speed sensor wiring loose. It'll get stretched in two if you don't. It's held in place about 5 places with push clips etc.
 

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looks good, and good note about the sensor. How about getting those bolts on the top of the strut in and tight? I had a lot of fun with that mess.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
A view of the new strut bolts installed:


The wrench and socket sizes needed so far are thus:

24mm – Lower A-arm bolt.
21mm – OEM strut bolts
19mm – Upper A-arm ball joint nut and new Rocky Road strut nuts ‘n’ bolts.
17mm – Sway bar bolts.
10mm – Battery hold down, fuse block tray.
8mm – Radiator overflow tank.
6mm – Upper A-arm ball joint stud. You need to hold this from turning when reinstalling the upper ball joint.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
looks good, and good note about the sensor. How about getting those bolts on the top of the strut in and tight? I had a lot of fun with that mess.
Yeah... that little operation was straight from the depths of Hades. I used a 19mm wrench with a large bolt struck thru the box end to form a handle of sorts. I held it straight upwards with the wrench endwise on the boltheads.

I considered using a buzz box to tack weld the bolts to the OEM plate first, but decided that heating up grade 8 boltheads is a REALLY BAD IDEA. The half-hidden boltheads just have to be dealt with. :mofo:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
One last note about the Rocky Road strut spacers…

One might ask themselves why the front spacer is only a little over an inch thick when the rear spacer is 2.25’’ thick?

A one word answer: ‘’leverage’’

Because the strut and its cast iron fork mounts about halfway out on the lower A-Arm, a small amount of extra lift there translates to a larger amount at the end of the lever and/or A-arm.
 

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Good information so far thanks! Looking forwawrd to the rear... hmm that doesnt read right... but you know what I mean.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
That’s it for me. Phase II can be done by a frame shop or the like.

Having the one side jacked up to over 3 feet, which is what it takes to get the opposite wheel up, the whole thing became an insane death trap. I did attempt it, but even while trying to mash down the other of the axle from the jack, (as per RR’s instructions) I couldn’t unload the spring. There ain’t a snowball’s chance in heck of ever getting the spring out, let alone stuffing it back in with 2.5’’ more length stacked on it.

And, removing the upper control arm is a joke. No matter how you move the axle up or down, a coil stays directly in front of the bolt head, which is about 1 inch behind the perpetually-there spring coil.

The whole thing is DANGEROUS. It could easily slide sideways and drop, and the Commander is heavy. What needs to happen is a frame shop or other well equipped place with a lift needs to totally support the bodywork while the axle drops down on both sides. Or, someplace that has a serious spring compressor might be able to do it without all the disassembly. I’ll see Pete in the morning to see if he wants to take it on. (He owns a truck frame straightening and alignment shop)

The front end wasn’t that bad because the Jeep can be solidly supported on the sub-frame underneath. It wasn’t a death trap, but was just a PITA to get done.

And, with the Jeep sitting in the shop on a dead flat floor, guess what? The rocker panel measures exactly 13 and a quarter inches from the floor, front to back. It just looked front high in the uneven parking lot outside. My perception of it being a$$ low was just because it felt different than when I drove it that same morning. I’m going to sleep on it tonight. I may just call RR and get credit for the rear end pieces and parts, and the pair of shocks. The jury is out right now.

So, after abandoning the rear lift project, I re-aimed the headlights because they were certainly tilted too high, and did my 30,000 mile spark plug replacement instead.

Stay tuned.
 

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Put the floor jack under the differential. Jack up the rear end as high as possible, put on jack stands under the sub frame in front of the rear axle on both sides, not just one side like the instructions say, remove wheels, and before you let the jack down, remove the shocks, then remove the bolts that hold the sway-bar to sub-frame.

Start letting the jack down till you can get the bolt out of the upper control arm on the drivers side. After removing the bolt, remove the brake line brackets from body, then let the jack the rest of the way down.

You will see that you can remove the coil springs and put the spacer on the top of the springs. It is easier this way.

Install, reverse the way you removed.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I’ve been thinkin’

Raising it from one side on the axle alone is nuts. That’s because the axle moves independent of the body above, and the axle starts changing angles as one side drops. Should the jack slip in any way… skids on the floor, or the axle slips off the jack pad, or if the jack tips, it’s game over. (Or at least a trip to the ER via a meat wagon) The Jeep is unstable as heck (sideways as the jack rocks) in that position. But, setting the bodywork itself on the sub frames behind the axle first on jack stands would make the Jeep solid. If it’s high enough, then there would be room to drop the axle from there.

Or… cram the thing as high as it’ll go on one side, put a spring compressor onto that spring, then let the axle back down. If there can possible be a way to gain about 5 inches of space, there’s no need to take anything apart other than removing the spring itself and putting the spacer on it. Maybe a small 2 ton hydraulic jack can help force down the axle on that side. (And, with jack stands under the body to keep it solid)

I’m still heading to Pete’s place tomorrow. I’m guessing that if they have a way to compress the spring down easy, it’s just a matter of adding the spacer in. All the disassembly of control arms etc. is all about completely unloading the coil spring. Once the spacer is on and the spring resquished (is that a word?) into place, then it’s just a 5 minute shock swap out. Those are extremely easy to change in the back end of the XK. The bolts are right there, and there are no nuts (and backup wrench) to deal with.

As for all this jacking up corners, I have to say that the XK is as stiff as a Tonka toy. You lift up a corner of your kid’s Tonka truck, and being a 1 lb. Toy, it just raises up like a solid brick. The XK is the closest thing in real life I’ve seen that does that. My usual experience with vehicles being lifted on one corner is twisting frames, misaligning bodywork as it does. Do that with a pickup, (or drive on really nasty roads) and the bed tilts from the cab whose hood and fender sheet metal break lines alternately pinch shut and widen their gaps) There’s a youtube video where a guy demonstrates that stiffness while an XK is balanced on two opposite corner tires. He opens and closes the doors, which are still perfectly aligned and work as usual. The Jeep’s rocking back and forth while he does this.
 
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