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Old 11-26-2012, 02:22 AM
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FAQ's and my experience lowering my WK

There are lots of how to DIY threads and this website has lots of good information spread out by many users. The search function is at the top of the page to the right side. Before you ask a question, consider that it has already been asked, some questions getting reasked weekly... And this is not to patronize anyone, it's just damn good advice.

So this is how I went about lowering my WK Jeep. I have a 5.7L 2wd limited.
I installed OEM srt8 coils with srt bilsteins

Step 1: I read everything I could find on this website and others. Everytime a question popped into my head, I looked for it. When I finally couldn't find it, I'd ask. If no one answered my question, I'd go out in the dark with a flashlight (if needed) and figure it out for myself.
  • Will SRT coils fit my jeep? Yes. That's what I have. I like them.
  • Will aftermarket coils fit and how do they ride? Yup, but each one have different ride heights and ride qualities. One guy said bwoodys were softer than SRT Eibachs. Another guy said the bwoody's were too rough for commuting and went to H&R's. Another guy has SRT Eibachs and loves them! Everybody is different, including you.
  • Do I need to change control arms or anything else? Not unless they are broke or worn out. Some guys might want aftermarket Upper Control Arms (JBA is a popular choice) for alignment issues on road magnets, bwoody's and srt eibachs. But for OEM SRT, WK Eibach and H&R's, this should not be needed. If you are going to be upgrading your brakes to Brembo's, you might need new hardware also in this area. This is not a Brembo thread, so I won't even try to answer those questions.
  • Do I need new shocks/struts? Most likely you will be buying one of the two bilstein shocks, but other options exist. Generally your stock shocks are not for lowering application, but there are those who have done it...
  • Do I need new isolators and strut mount? This would be the idea time if you want to replace those, but I didn't bother. I guilty of being cheap. I have seen those who say you should because you can't tell if the rubber is bad just by looking at it, as it may be breaking down internally. You'll have to decide for yourself?
  • Is it easy? That depends on how my experience you have. It also depends on where you live. I'm in California, so rusted bolts was not a problem for me. You have to gauge your ability.
  • How long does it take to do this? I've seen many posts by guys claiming they can do each wheel in an hour. One guy even went so far as to say 30 min per corner! Took me 15 hours and I thought I did a fine job. Another guy did the job with his cousin, and including beer breaks, 12 hours.
  • Do I need different wheels? No. Your OEM stock wheels and tires are fine. But you will want new wheels when you finish...
  • Do I need srt swaybars? Should I do the front, rear or both? Swaybars help with the left right sway of the vehicle (the coils control up and down of each wheel). In theory better swaybars makes for better cornering. There are entire threads dedicated to this topic. I figure it this way, the SRT engineers must know what they were doing. If you just get one or the other, you may/might/could unbalace your front to rear sway qualities and increase understeer or oversteer risks. You should do both.
  • Do I need bwoody swaylinks? Lubricate, Lubricate, Lubricate. Yes, everyone who has them, swears by them, but you must lubricate them or they will squeak or even fail. I"m lazy, so I stayed with OEM links. Besides, I live in world with pot holes and don't like being jarred everytime I hit something bigger than a road reflector.
  • Where do I buy all this stuff? Can I get it in one place? Yes you can, send your money to bobharly @ paypal. I'll tack on +100% of the price to do your shopping for you. I bought my srt coils from a member online. I bought my shocks/struts and swaybars from a mopar dealer online. I bought my swaybar bushings and assort nuts from the Jeep dealer down the street. I bought my swaylinks from a member on another website. I bought my tools from Sears and couple of different places online. JustforJeeps dot com is the best place to go for a one stop shop if you want all OEM parts and a hassle free experience. Otherwise, be prepared to shop around. Check out the vendor list on this website, most give discounts, like J4J, to members and be prepared to shop around.

Step 2: The waiting....
  • Save your money.
  • Sell stuff on craigslist.
  • Siphon money out the his & hers checking account, telling her that it's for something else that's important.
  • And keep waiting. It takes a while if you really want those Srt bilsteins.
  • Go test drive a srt8 jeep while you wait. It will help you fantasize what your jeep will be like after this mod...

Step 3: Your parts have arrived and you think your ready to install them. On the day of my build the following events occured:
  • The wife asks you to do a small project that will take a couple minutes. 3 hours later I was done...
  • Wife leaves with the kids for one hour walk. She takes her car keys with her (you don't know this yet). You begin taking stuff apart when you realize your deep set socket set does not have an 18mm?! It must be a mistake, but it's true. You search your tool box once, twice and three times before despair sets in. You go to the neighbors house (You know the guy with the 1970 mint Mach 1 mustang, cause he has tools!), but it's Sunday so he's not home. You try your other neighbor (who is handy like you), but once again it's Sunday, he's not home either. You begin doing a tool check to see if anything else is missing? What! No 21mm either?! You swear you will never shop at H@bor Fre1t again. (Two weeks later you will go there anyways only to regret AGAIN. Don't do it man, you get what you pay for...) You can't find the keys for the other car to go to Sears?! You calm down and begin taking other stuff apart, because eventually the wife will return. Minutes later she returns and wonders why you are just getting started? Has it really been an hour?
  • Things are going good now. You had lunch, got those two missing sockets, pulled everything apart, put the new strut and coil together, and installed it. Heck, even the infamous clevis bolts didn't give you any grief! Life is good. Just one more nut to reconnect the UCA (upper control arm) to the steering knuckle. "Huh, threads are binding? That can't be right. Must be the nylon nut resisting me. I'll just apply more pressure..." and one hour later, "...I've tried vise grips, box wrenches, open ended wrenches, and even drilling the hex tip to try and lock up the ball joint from spinning and NOTHING WORKS! #$%&^*%#$##$%!!!!!!!" and then five minutes after that, "Wait a minute I have two nylon nuts??? If this one came from the strut, then this one is for the UCA! They look the same? They are both 18mm? But the threads are different?!" You eventually get the wrong nut off and trash it for good measure and get the right one on. The threads are a bit chewed up, but still seem to work fine. You add blue thread locktite to be sure. Mental note, don't mix up hardware from different parts of the car...
  • You notice your radiator is leaking while installing your front swaybar bushings. A week later you will find out that's another $630. Plastic radiators don't last as long as the 5 year/100k mile Mopar Antifreeze they put in them. Ironic if you ask me.
  • Next day, other front strut goes smooth, sort of. The top nut on the strut, that holds the whole coil assembly together, is rusted on solid. The hex nut breaks off in protest. The only way to liberate the old coil and reuse the strut mount and isolators is cut the old strut off. Bust out the reciprocating saw! Maybe you should have listened to dad and ordered those parts too...
  • The rear is a piece of cake in comparison. Everything comes off and goes back on. It takes a little bit of thinking to wiggle the rear swaybar out, but much like the rubic's cube, once you figure it out it's easy.
  • You are almost done. Just need to torque down the sway link nuts to the stabilizer bar. Manual says 90 lbs! Wow, but ok. You can't seem to get a good grip on the nut and the back of the sway link stud uses a torx T-40. You dial it down to 70 lbs because you don't want to strip anything, get a real good grip and PULL!!! SNAP, WHACK and finger is bleeding! Where is my T-40? Broke in half! Try again. Same result. Out of t-40's, so you're done for the day. Both sides are as tight as you could get them. You'll just order new torx bits that don't come from Horror Freight and try again later.
  • Put tools away, lower truck and stand back to admire. Doesn't look lowered??? Get out tape measure, because you were smart enough to measure before you started so you could compare. You don't like the numbers, maybe you made a mistake. Remeasure? Wonder if you wrote down the wrong numbers for "before"? The inevitable conclusion comes to you. You only dropped 1/4" in front and 1/2" in the rear! You read all the threads? It was supposed to be a 1" drop!!! Argh?! Stay calm, someone will know, you can just ask. (After two weeks of getting measurements from different people you realize that your old shocks where bad and the springs were sagging. A 1" drop if for a relatively new jeep which does not have +60k miles on it. You are at the ride height of a SRT8, everything is perfect, you just never considered that your old springs were wearing out. Who would have thought of that?!) Turns out everything is OK. Take test drive and smile! It is that cool and you did it yourself!
  • Three weeks later, stumble across a thread and find out that there maybe a misprint on the torque spec for those sway link nuts! Could it be 65 ft lbs??? Update to follow if confirmed...

Step 4: Wheel Alignment ***Don't forget the Wheel Alignment, ask for srt8 specs!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg UCA ball joint threads jammed.jpg (194.6 KB, 49 views)
File Type: jpg Cut Strut to liberate old coil.jpg (303.7 KB, 52 views)
File Type: jpg Jeep Lowering After shot.jpg (211.0 KB, 69 views)
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:42 PM
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Re: FAQ's and my experience lowering my WK

Rear shocks torque specs???

So it appears that information gets periodically updated or changes. So I"m gonna take the advice of this link discussion and use 65 ft lbs for my rear sway links.

Still need to get that alignment done...
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:01 AM
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Re: FAQ's and my experience lowering my WK

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Old 11-29-2012, 12:08 AM
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Re: FAQ's and my experience lowering my WK

that my sir is a damn good post
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:33 AM
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Re: FAQ's and my experience lowering my WK

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Originally Posted by akimball View Post
that my sir is a damn good post


Thankyou. I wanted to give back to the jeep community. We come to websites like this for technical specs, but we find experiences and meet people who share their's.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:26 PM
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Re: FAQ's and my experience lowering my WK

OK, so I recieved my Armstrong 18mm torque wrench adaptor (box ended) and my replacement torx T-40's (I can feel the weight of these and they are much better quality than Hardly worth Freight tools). I also ordered replacement UCA ball joint nuts from jeep today and will get a die to clean those munched threads. I think I need a die that is M12 x 1.5 to finish the job. Then off to get my wheels aligned!!! It's like I'm done come this weekend. Maybe I'll even change the oil and air the spare tire while I'm at it.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:07 AM
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Re: FAQ's and my experience lowering my WK

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Originally Posted by bobharly View Post
It's like I'm done come this weekend. Maybe I'll even change the oil and air the spare tire while I'm at it.
Well I got the oil changed and aired the spare...

But, I was ambushed with a christmas cookie party and then that night the family dog ran away from grandma's house. (Sounds like a song that needs to be written?) So I was loaded up on santa sugar cookies, while the wife was calling animal shelters and taking picture flyers out to them. We all feel bad because we don't know where our doggie went? I am hopeful that some good Samaritan has taken our doggie in and will return her to us soon. Fingers crossed.

Next weekend I'll wrap this thread up, barring holiday "surprises".
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Old 12-18-2012, 12:52 AM
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Re: FAQ's and my experience lowering my WK

Dog rescued, lost three pounds from being sick, gained three pounds from santa cookies, and another round of x-mas parties I'm ready to finish this up... Or am I?

Step 4: Alignment. Drive over to the alignment shop. Shop owner likes the look of the jeep and want to know how I lowered it. Sitting in the garage is a lifted JK with some 35" tires. The jeep gods must have guided me here. 20 minutes later he's done and says it was pretty easy. He tells me that the srt and non srt specs are basically the same, but my print out says srt so I am happy. The alignment seems to help the ride, but I can't explain why? It's just better. My wife says it feels more "even". Anyways, don't forget your alignment. It is a good thing.

Step 5: Tighten up that rear sway bar and replace the UCA ball joint nuts that gave me grief during the install.

The sway bar nuts were loose, but now armed with my armstrong torque wrench adaptor and a new T-40 torx I set two work. Rear wheels have to be removed, but all goes smooth. I use the new specs of 65lbs and have no problem tightening them down. Aside from it being cold, wet and the sun setting, all is going smooth.

So after the cross threading debacle of the driverside UCA ball joint I decided to replace both nuts with new ones. A cheap and simple repair, and why not do both sides? So I started on the passenger side this time. Since I can see the nut without removing the front wheel I figure why bother? So I take the old nut off, the nylon part looks pretty worn out. I put the new nut on and run it up the threads. Then I get my torque wrench and my armstrong adaptor and set to 70 lbs. But since the tire is still on, it's easier to turn the torque wrench upsidedown. So I just reverse the rotation of the ratchet on the torque wrench and begin applying torque. It keeps getting tighter (at this point envision your kids crying in the background and wife yelling at you to hurry up....) and tighter and tighter. But no click? I begin to get that sinking feeling that I'm over torquing the joint, but it should click right? Maybe just a little more? I'm almost done right??? Frustration sets in and finally I surrender and go tend to the kids wondering what I'm doing wrong? 20 minutes later kids are asleep and the sun is setting. I go out, tighten it a bit more and begin to think that I must be well over 100 lbs??? At this point I've tried both of my torque wrenches when I begin to think, what if torque wrenchs don't work in reverse rotation? Flip the wrench over, wedge it in there to get it on the nut and yep, I'm definitely at 70 lbs! Loosen the nut up, tighten to 70 lbs again. Spend the rest of the evening angry at myself for such a simple mistake.

Soooo...

I have now overtightend the ball joint to the point that I have that fear that I may have compromised the stress tolerance of the metals. I would just describe the sensation as the ball joint (which uses a conical shaft to fit into the top of the steering knuckle) was just being pulled deeper and tighter into the steering knuckle. Like I could have just keep on going, I never got so tight that something was about to snap (It's a distinct feeling that steel has just before it fails). So the ball joint and nut are steel and the steering knuckle appears to be aluminum. So now I need some advice. I see no external fractures in the steering knuckle and I have no way of knowing if the threads on the ball joint or the nut are stretched beyond being safe. I am estimating that I went 1.5 to 2 full turns beyond when I reached proper torque. I am certain that the ball joint now seats a little lower than it used to, but I don't know how much these metals can deform before they fail.

Any ideas if I need a new ball joint or steering knuckle?
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:15 AM
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Re: FAQ's and my experience lowering my WK

looks great dude. are those stock JK sahara rims and tires? 32s fit lowered?
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:36 AM
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Re: FAQ's and my experience lowering my WK

Ya those are jk sahara rims and I'm running 255/55 r18 general grabber UHP's. I picked up the sahara rims to replace the chrome clad summit rims. I can't stand chrome clad rims, they are so "cheap" (even though they are expensive to replace). Eventually I want to get some srt reps, but I'm out of play money right now. I think the overall tire size is 29" tall. Thanks for the compliment.

This jeep continues to be a rewarding adventure. It has been fun modding my ride.
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:21 PM
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Re: FAQ's and my experience lowering my WK

Sounds like one of my "this is easy for everyone else but NEVER goes easy for me" stories, lol

As far as your balljoint situation:the balljoint itself it made from a hardened metal that would require significantly more torque to break than you were applying (in the neighbourhood of 300 ft-lbs or more). However the spindle is made from aluminum and its likely you have started to deform it. I would recommend removing the wheel and inspecting around the top for any signs of fracturing or cracking. Hopefully all you've done is enlarge the tapered hole that the balljoint goes into, but considering the stress on those parts i'd double check for safety reasons. If you really want to be safe, you'll need to replace the spindle. You'll definately need the proper balljoint tool to remove it,as i'm sure it's seated way to firmly in place to simply knock loose with a hammer, like is recommended.
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Old 12-21-2012, 01:04 AM
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Re: FAQ's and my experience lowering my WK

Quote:
Originally Posted by 05wkguy View Post
Sounds like one of my "this is easy for everyone else but NEVER goes easy for me" stories, lol

As far as your balljoint situation:the balljoint itself it made from a hardened metal that would require significantly more torque to break than you were applying (in the neighbourhood of 300 ft-lbs or more). However the spindle is made from aluminum and its likely you have started to deform it. I would recommend removing the wheel and inspecting around the top for any signs of fracturing or cracking. Hopefully all you've done is enlarge the tapered hole that the balljoint goes into, but considering the stress on those parts i'd double check for safety reasons. If you really want to be safe, you'll need to replace the spindle. You'll definately need the proper balljoint tool to remove it,as i'm sure it's seated way to firmly in place to simply knock loose with a hammer, like is recommended.
Hold on, I need violin music to go with this post!

Wow, those are some tough ball joints! I haven't taken the joint apart, but I do not see any cracks or fractures. I see little metal shavings around the nut that I tightened. I was thinking the same thing, that I have just enlarged the tapered hole. I was actually hoping that the aluminum around that joint is really thick and it might be fine. After all, the brake mounts attach at 140 lbs of torque, but then again that's not a tapered hole. This whole situation reminds me of motorcycle training. When you drop your helmet, you may ruin it from just a 2 foot drop. You can't see the damage, but it could be there, little micro fractures waiting to fail when you need the helmet the most. My wife asked me how I would know if the spindel/knuckle was ruined. I said I could remove it, have it cut up into slices and have it examined by a high power microscope for fractures. But then that's not so useful... Do I need a ball joint tool, or will a sturdy joint puller work like when I separated the UCA ball joint for my struts?
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