Express Extreme Duty 5.5 TJ Lift Kit
By Chad Crowell
The front end
should be a quicker installation than the rear end, being that there
are no shock mounts to deal with. In my case, already having the
4.5 kit, I also did not have to switch out the front brake
lines, as the two kits come with same length lines. We began our
third day on the installation.
- Chock the
rear wheels and park the Jeep in gear.
the length between the new control arm mounting holes on the skidplate
and the lower control arm mounting holes on the front axle. Use
these measurements as starting lengths for the new control arms.
- Raise the
front end and place the frame on tall jack stands. Place the stands
close the the skidplate so the new arms will clear them when installed.
suspension before changing out the components.
the length from the skidplate to the axle mounts for a starting
- Remove the
front wheels with a ¾ socket.
the front swaybar end links (15mm), trackbar (T50, ¾) and
shocks (5/8, ½). It also helps to disconnect the drag
link from the pitman arm (18mm, fork separator) to allow the steering
to move freely.
the new brake lines (T40, tubing wrench) using the provided brackets
- Bleed brakes
- Pull out
the old bump stops and, using a ratchet and extension inside the
spring, remove the bumpstop cup (15mm). This will help get the
springs on and off.
- Remove the
old control arms (13/16 lower, 15mm upper). Be sure to note
where the cam is located on the lower arms so you can reset the
Use a small ratchet inside the spring to remove the bumpstop
tools make removing the arms much quicker.
- Lower the
axle as far as possible with floor jacks and remove the old springs
and bumpstop hardware. You may also have to remove 1 or 2 spring
retainers (13mm) that grab the spring on its lower pad.
- If you are
replacing your 4.5 kit, the lower bumpstop extension is
the same size as the new one, there is no need to replace it.
Otherwise, drill (5/16) and tap (self tapping bolts-provided)
the lower spring pad to accept the bumpstop extension, then install
the new track bar bracket using the provided instructions.
- Place the
bumpstop cups and new bumpstops inside the new springs, and install
the springs, making sure the base of the spring is rotated into
You'll need a 5/8" drill bit to drill out the stock track
bar mount, and a 1/2" bit to drill through the frame.
these long springs popped right in with the tall jackstands
the spring retainer(s) to the lower spring pad.
- Cut off
the lower control arm frame mounts. You may need to unbolt the
exhaust pipe from the exhaust manifold to move the pipe enough
to score the inside of the passenger side mount.
- Paint the
bare metal to prevent rust.
- Set the
lower control arms to the length measured before you started,
leaving the jam nuts loose.
the new lower control arms with the adjustable end toward the
skidplate. Make sure the zerks are installed so they are accessible
for future greasing. Finger tighten the mounting bolts. You may
want to tighten the axle end of them, resetting the alignment
cam as it was before removal.
- Use a bottle
jack to raise/lower the pinion of the axle. Driveshaft angle is
secondary to caster angle in the front axle and should be set
at an alignment shop for proper handling and tire wear. I simply
angled the face of the differential straight forward, as that
has been the direction used before with good results.
the rear end of the upper arms. Lengthen the forked end of the
arms until they will easily mount to the axle mount. You may have
to slightly adjust the pinion up or down to get the bolts through
the axle end of the new front track bar. Leave the adjustable
off the front brackets.
|| I replaced
the torx bolt on the track bar axle mount with a hex head
for easier maintenance in the future.
the new shocks by pressing the bar pins through the lower bushing
and mounting using stock hardware. New upper bushings and nuts
are provided with the shocks.
- Thread the
bumpstop cups into their mounts through the spring and tighten.
Press the new bumpstops into the cups.
wheels and set the vehicle on the ground.
- Check pinion
and alignment angles and adjust as necessary.
all control arm hardware and jam nuts. Lower arms get torqued
to 130 ft. lbs. And uppers to 75 ft. lbs..
the new swaybar disconnect hardware.
the stock hardware to install the new OME shocks.
it on the ground and re-installing the wheels.
take Rubicon Express recommendation and get a Currie AntiRrock
swaybar for the TJ. Rubicon said it works very well with this
suspension both on road and off. I installed the Antirock before
the lift, so my swaybar hardware was already installed and this
step was not necessary.
the drag link to the pitman arm. Be advised, that your alignment
will be off and you should eyeball the toe-in and steering wheel
alignment before driving. Get a professional alignment afterwards.
- Adjust the
front track bar to the center of its thread and prepare to install
it. Torque the track bar mounts to 130 ft. lbs.
- Have someone
sit in the Jeep, turn the ignition on, and turn the steering wheel.
This will cause the entire vehicle to shift side to side and allow
easy adjustment of the track bar. Center the vehicle above the
axle, adjust the track bar, and install its frame end. Tighten
the jam nut once you are satisfied.
Intro | The
Plan | Skidplate | Rear
End | Front End | Impressions