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Old 01-17-2010, 01:54 PM
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RK Install Guide (Cause Someone Had To Do It!)

Posted this a while back on JU, just thought it may come in useful to people here too.

http://www.jeepsunlimited.com/forums...d.php?t=515080

Rock Krawler 3.5'' X Factor Lift Kit (WK)
Well this was my first big project. I'm learning as I go. I've never taken any auto-tech classes so forgive me if I use the wrong terms. I am just going to explain the way I did things, I might have done a few useless things but it's better to mention it all than to leave something helpful out.

I spent a LOT of time trying to research the RK 3.5'' WK install but was able to find very little and the directions included with the kit are not very clear. Hope this guide is makes it easier for everyone else!

Tools
Jack - I bought a 6 -ton bottle jack at Home Depot for $27 or so. Works great.
Jack Stands - Again, $27 or so from Home Depot. 2 3-ton stands.
Torque Wrench - $25 from Walmart. Mine's like 2 feet long and allows plenty of leverage to start rusted bolts.
Deep Socket Set - Helpful in oddly placed areas and was necessary to remove my wheels (I don't have stock). A standard full socket set is required as well.
Wrench - Found a nice slide-lock crescent wrench at Home Depot for like $13. No more twisting the knob back and forth every 10 seconds, just slide the tab and it locks itself.
Spring Compressors - Autozone lends them out for free ($50 to borrow, $50 back when you return them). These are not the best because they can slide together (nearly lost my thumb when they finally did snap together) but they can get the job done.
Rust Remover - one bottle should do. I had bad rust as the previous owner was in the north by the sea. Road salt+sea salt=rust!
Hammer - a few different uses.
Pliers - optional, may be used to pull off tabs.

Rear Coil Spacers
These are relatively simple (hell, if I can do it with little to know knowledge, any one can).
1.) Start by pulling your Jeep to a level area. Put on the parking break and stick blocks (or any convenient objects) under 3 other tires. I used a shovel and a 2x4.
2.) Loosen the bolts on the wheel you plan to start with just a turn or two.
3.) Place the jack under the rear axle. Be sure it's centered so it doesn't tip under pressure.

4.) Slowly raise it until the tire is off the ground. Raise it a little higher now and place the jack stands underneath on a level part of the frame.


5.) Lower the jack back down to where the weight is on the jack stands and the tire is barely off the ground.
6.) Remove the bolts on the tire and pull it off.

7.) Remove the sway bar by taking out the upper bolt. It should not be under much pressure at this point but if you feel it pushing, slightly raise or lower the axle using the jack to take off the stress. When you remove the bolt the control arm will swing to its resting position and the force behind it is dangerous if not done correctly.

8.) Once the bar is disconnected, let the jack slowly lower the axle. Keep an eye on the stands. If they begin to lean, lift the axle back up and reposition the stands.

9.) Allow the axle to lower as far as your sanity allows you. I heard creaking from the stands when I got about 3-4 inches off the ground and decided not to test my luck and worked with what space I had.

10.) Remove the stock shock (you should probably have aftermarket shocks). Taking out the bottom bolt first makes this much easier.
11.) Check your jack stands. If the Jeep is unstable, replace the shock, lift the axle, and reset the stands.
12.) Once stable, put the compressors on. Compressed coil springs have an incredible level of potential energy, held back only by the compressors. Take extreme care to stay safe when working on the springs as they are DANGEROUS!!! Use only the proper tools and DO NOT BE ROUGH or they may shoot out of the compressors! Now, assuming that you are working on the left rear side with the Autozone compressors, there should be a corner in the frame just above the coil spring at the right. Turn one upside down (bolt end down), clamping as much of the spring as possible. The end of the bolt should fit in the space where the frame corners. On the left side you will want to clamp the compressor on right side up (bolt up) with the end of the bolt aimed down to an open area (I shot mine between the axel and the smaller bar to the right).
13.) Tighten the compressors evenly, not one all the way then the other but both progressively as you go. The wrench may come in useful if the coils come too close together to fit the socket. Continue tightening the compressors until the spring can slide out. The bolts can create a puzzle out of removing the spring. Shifting it around to different positions until you find one that works just takes the guess and check method.

14.) Once the spring is out, compress it as much as possible (well, not alllll the way, but as much as you can) because the smaller it is, the easier it will be to put it back in on top of the spacer.

15.) The directions said to place the spacer in and to put the spring back on top of it. I found it easier to put the spring (still compressed) back in and to squeeze the spacer in underneath it. You may need to compress the spring even more, that's a big space you need to create. Wedge the spacer into place and loosen up the compressors. Watch you hands! This is where they slammed together on me. The second time around I stuffed my foot up against them as I pulled to keep them from sliding.

16.) Once the springs back in place and the compressors are removed you can put the new shocks on. Top bolt first, making sure to get it all the way through to the receiving end. Then bottom bolt (having an extra set of hands is helpful but not required). Then tighten both bolts.

17.) Using the jack, lift the axle back up high enough to get the sway bar back into place. Tighten that well.
18.) Move the axle into position to where you can put the wheel back on. Twist the bolts into place, remove the jack stands, lower the Jeep, and you're 1/4th of the way there!

Mirror the same steps on the opposite side.

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Old 01-17-2010, 01:54 PM
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Re: RK Install Guide (Cause Someone Had To Do It!)

Front Struts
While the read spacers can be done single handedly, the front is a different story. There are shifting parts that need to be held in place, the a arm for example. I had a couple of friends come over for the struts. We had a huge problem with rusted bolts so a bottle of rust remover is highly recommended.

1.)Jack up a front side of the Jeep. Place one jack under the lower control arm (lowest piece behind the wheel, long bar going towards the axle) and either stands in the front and sides beneath the frame or additional jacks. We had 3 bottle jacks and the dangerous POS scissor jack that comes with the Jeep. This was only used to let the axle drop completely.
2.) Be sure you have the parking break on. Lift the tire off the ground and remove the tire.
3.) Remove the sway bar. Again, be sure it's not under too much pressure. We only removed the bottom bolt but it got in the way occasionally so totally remove the bar.

4.) Allow the axle drop as low as possible. We used the scissor jack beneath the lower control arm as close to the brakes as possible. This jack is very unstable so use a hammer to knock it back into place as you work. Be careful!
5.) Undo the bolt at the top of the a arm. This and the steering control bolt swivel within the joints and you may want to use two wrenches, one to hold the bolt, the other to remove the nut. This is where "the bolt" that causes tire rub comes in useful.

6.) Undo the bolt beneath the steering control knuckle.

7.) Use a mallet or hammer on either the arm (mallet) or the end of the bolt towards the ground (hammer) to knock the knuckle out. If there is too much rust, spray it and try to use a wedge between the knuckle and the connection to the a arm to get it started.
8.) Remove the a arm from the upper bolt. The a arm will swing freely at this point. Be careful not to snap the ABS line!
9.) You will see a little metal tab on the lower strut bolt. You can either bend it out a bit while leaving enough spacer for the socket to grip using a hammer or snap it right off with a hammer and pliers.
(Sorry, I think I forgot to take a pic of this one!)
10.) This is where we had the biggest rust problem ever! It took 2 hours to remove the friggen bolt! Spray the lower bolt on the stock strut with plenty of rust remover in every crack. We had one person using a ratchet to hold the locking bolt end (has a washer) and another with a second ratchet, turning the bolt on the other side. At some point you will be able to knock the bolt out of the hole with a hammer. We did this on one side but the rust on the other made it impossible and we resorted to using large wrench and a large torque wrench at the same time to be able to twist it after using the hacksaw to chop through both legs of the strut.


11.) Repeat the process for the upper strut bolt.
12.) Use a hammer to knock the strut off the shock. You may need to allow the axle to drop a little more to fit it out.
13.) If you are lucky enough to have already gotten your front shocks, those will need to go in at this point. As I did not do it (Bilstein's still got my shocks...) and I don't know anything about doing them I can't give any pointers yet.
14.) Using a hacksaw, saw the small tab on the back of the strut space. This tab will prevent the upper bolt from passing through if not removed. Just a quick cut and a tap with the hammer should take care of it. Again, be sure the ABS line is out of the way.
Below is a pic of the removed struts. The bolt at the bottom has one of the tabs from the strut to the lower control arm still on it and there is a removed tab beside it. The cut strut and the pain in the ass rusty bolt are on the right.

15.) Lube up the shock and slide the new strut into place. We found it easier to put the shock into the strut at an angle rather than putting the strut up first and trying to bend the shock into place.

16.) Put in the bolts at the top and bottom of the strut. Pretty self-explanatory.
17.) Lift the axle up to where you can bolt the a arm, steering control arm, and sway bar back into place. For the bolts that swivel in their joints, use wrenches to push against each other.
18.) Once the nuts are all back on their respective bolts, lift the axle high enough to put the wheel back on. Tighten it on appropriately and repeat the same steps on the other side and your finished!

I am VERY pleased with the outcome! Took about 12 hours or so of solid work with no experience whatsoever. Learned a lot, saved money, and ended up with a whole new set of tools. Only thing left to do will be minor trimming as the 265/70/17 Nitto Terra Grapplers are having a bit of rub at full lock. I want to get the front shocks in before I go trimming the bolt though as it comes in useful when trying to remove the bolt to drop the a arm. I am getting a little rub on the pinch weld and will be fixing it very soon.

















Quote:
Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post
And BE VERY CAREFUL when handling compressed springs. Treat them like a stick of old dynamite. Move them carefully. If they bust loose the released tension can KILL YOU.
I kept getting the banana shape going with these stupid compressors. Had to take them off and reset them a few times. Pain in the ass!

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Old 01-17-2010, 04:47 PM
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Re: RK Install Guide (Cause Someone Had To Do It!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GCL06 View Post
I am so glad you took those ****ing stupid ass nuts off. That shit looks so stupid.
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Old 01-17-2010, 04:52 PM
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Re: RK Install Guide (Cause Someone Had To Do It!)

Nice write up!!!! It's good that you learned a lot! Did you get an Alignment yet? Now take off the screw on Tail Pipe Tip!!!!!!!
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Old 01-17-2010, 05:54 PM
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Re: RK Install Guide (Cause Someone Had To Do It!)

very nice write up!
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Old 01-18-2010, 04:14 PM
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Re: RK Install Guide (Cause Someone Had To Do It!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaoul1 View Post
Nice write up!!!! It's good that you learned a lot! Did you get an Alignment yet? Now take off the screw on Tail Pipe Tip!!!!!!!
Thanks! Ya, got to know the suspension very well first hand. I got it aligned when they put the tires on; I had been snowplowing pretty bad and I might need another alignment now that I've been offroading in snow and mud lately.
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Old 01-18-2010, 04:14 PM
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Re: RK Install Guide (Cause Someone Had To Do It!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottina06 View Post
very nice write up!
Glad ya think so
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Old 01-18-2010, 04:14 PM
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Re: RK Install Guide (Cause Someone Had To Do It!)

Just so you know, that rear poly spacer should be on the top.
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Old 01-18-2010, 04:15 PM
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Re: RK Install Guide (Cause Someone Had To Do It!)

Went mudding with it today actually!







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Old 01-18-2010, 07:41 PM
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Re: RK Install Guide (Cause Someone Had To Do It!)

It appears you just backed out of that hole?
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Old 01-18-2010, 07:47 PM
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Re: RK Install Guide (Cause Someone Had To Do It!)

Eventually yes. Took a good bit of rocking and a few trees worth of branches. Did a few spins around the clearing again but avoided the pool. I had tested the depth in the middle but turned out the left side was wayyy deeper so it basically bottomed out on the mud until I was able to rock it out on a branch path. It had rained just last night.
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Old 01-18-2010, 07:49 PM
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Re: RK Install Guide (Cause Someone Had To Do It!)

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Originally Posted by GCL06 View Post
Eventually yes. Took a good bit of rocking and a few trees worth of branches. Did a few spins around the clearing again but avoided the pool. I had tested the depth in the middle but turned out the left side was wayyy deeper so it basically bottomed out on the mud until I was able to rock it out on a branch path. It had rained just last night.
Haha I was thinking to myself your left rear tire couldn't have been getting any traction. QDII would have been helpful there with your right rear tire getting traction. Looked like a decently fun time though. Would have sucked if you got stuck for real

There is an off-road park like 15 minutes from my house.... I might head up there Saturday to see what it's like.
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