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Rubicon Express Extreme Duty 5.5” TJ Lift Kit
By Chad Crowell

REAR END INSTALLATION

On Day #2 we set out to install the rest of the lift. We got the rear end finished, but as time was getting short, we elected to make sure the rear end was completely set rather than trying to squeeze the front end in before running out of daylight. We decided on a Sunday in two weeks to do the front end. For now, with the rear end finished, the Jeep sits Hot-Rod style! Here are the details of the rear end installation:

  1. Chock the front wheels and park the Jeep in gear.
  2. Measure the length between the new control arm mounting holes on the skidplate and the control arm mounting holes on the rear axle. Use these measurements as starting lengths for the new control arms.
  3. Remove your stock muffler and exhaust piping if not done yet.
  4. Raise the rear end and place the frame on tall jack stands. We used 6 ton size.
  5. Remove the rear wheels with a ” socket.
  6. Remove the rear swaybar (15mm), swaybar end links (18mm & 15mm), trackbar (18mm, 15mm & T55), trackbar bracket (if removing old lift), and shocks (18mm 15mm, & 1//2”).
  7. Disconnect and unscrew the axle breather and hard brake lines from the brake line junction and remove the old brake line.
  8. Install the new brake line using the breather fitting and reconnect the breather through the junction. Connect the other end of the new brake line to the frame-side brake line using the supplied bracket and clip.
  9. Bend the solid brake lines along the axle a bit to stretch them enough to reach the new junction. This has to be done because the new junction is smaller than the stock one.

    Ready to yank out the old stuff! Making the hard brakelines reach the new junction takes a little stretching.
    Ready to yank out the old stuff! Making the hard brakelines reach the new junction takes a little stretching.

  10. Bleed the brakes.
  11. Remove the old control arms (13/16” lowers, 15mm uppers) and springs.
  12. Install the new trackbar relocation bracket. Use the provided instructions.
  13. Install the new upper bumpstop extensions under the bumpstop cup. This is done by removing the bumpstop and removing the bolt (1/2”) inside the cup.
  14. Install the new extended bumpstops.
  15. Using a grinder, cut the stock lower control arm mounts off the frame. We found it easy to cut through the weld on the outside and bottom of the frame, and score the weld on the inside of the frame. Then use a crowbar and large pliers to rock the mount back and forth until the mount breaks off. Paint the bare metal to prevent rust.

    When installing the new shocks...prepare for trouble on the outside driver side upper bolt! Grind off the rear lower control mount brackets.
    When installing the new shocks...prepare for trouble on the outside driver side upper bolt! Grind off the rear lower control mount brackets.

  16. Remove the old springs.
  17. Set the new lower control arms to the length you measured above. Leave the jam nut loose.
  18. Install 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.
  19. Set the new upper control arms to the measured length.
  20. Install the new upper arms with the adjustable end toward the axle. Make sure the zerks are installed so they are accessible for future greasing. Finger tighten the mounting bolts.
  21. Allow the axle to droop and install the new springs.

    You may want to install the tires and set the jeep on the ground to check your pinion angle. Use a bottle jack under the pinion to adjust it up and down while adjusting the length of the upper arms. We managed to get the pinion perfect on the first try, but installing the trackbar later revealed that the axle was sitting too far back and the trackbar rubbed the gas tank skidplate very badly. This was with about 3/4” thread out on the lower arms. We shortened the lower arms all the way and readjusted the upper arms to set the pinion angle correct, which gave the trackbar barely enough room to pass the gas tank. Still good cause to pull off the gas tank skid and cut some material away, or invest in the Kilby Enterprises skidplate, which allows for more clearance in this area.

    The new springs will pop right in. The rear track bar was hitting the skidplate, so I ran the lower control arms all the way in.
    The new springs will pop right in. The rear track bar was hitting the skidplate, so I ran the lower control arms all the way in.

  22. Once you have set the arms to the correct length, tighten the jamb nuts. (Hint: instead of trying to center the arm sections and tighten the nut, rotate the arms to the clockwise side, then tighten the nut so the arms don’t misalign as the nut is tightened).
  23. Torque the control arm mounting bolts to 130 ft. lbs. on the lowers and 75 ft. lbs. on the uppers.
  24. Using a grinder, cut off the stock lower shock mounts.
  25. Weld in the new lower shock mounts so that the mount juts out from the rear of the axle, not the bottom as the stock ones did. This will space the lower portion of the shock out from the axle and keep it from hitting the spring pad. The shock mounts should be angled inward a bit.
  26. Paint the new shock mounts and axles area to prevent rust.

    Grinding off the stock shock mounts was a pain.  Welding the new ones on is tough due to the angle. The new shock mounts installed...hope my ugly welds hold!
    Grinding off the stock shock mounts was a pain. Welding the new ones on is tough due to the angle. The new shock mounts installed...hope my ugly welds hold!

  27. Install the new shocks with the smaller section downward (press the bar pin into the upper end of the shock using a vise).
  28. Install the new swaybar end links, and reinstall the swaybar.
  29. Install the frame end of the new trackbar. The bend in the trackbar goes at the frame. Torque to 130 ft. lbs.
  30. Set the heim joint in the axle end of the trackbar to the center of its thread travel. Install this end of the trackbar into the new bracket.
  31. Install the wheels and set the Jeep down.

A large vise works great for installing the bar pins. The rear end completed.
A large vise works great for installing the bar pins. The rear end completed.

You will now need to adjust the rear trackbar to center the rear axle under the Jeep. You may want to drive the Jeep back and forth a few times to have the suspension settle a bit. Then, observe the rear of the Jeep and if it is off center from the axle. If so, remove the axle end of the track bar and thread the heim in or out as needed.

Once the axle is centered, tighten the jam nut on the heim joint and tighten the track bar mounting bolts. Centering the axle is a pain, but using a bottle jack against the wall pushing against the Jeep rocker panel will move the Jeep body over pretty well in relation to the axle.

Click to enlarge.  The rear end is complete.
Click to enlarge. The rear end is complete.

Double check all mounting bolts on the rear suspension for tightness. Sit back and take a look at your stink bug TJ! I drove mine around like this for two weeks with no ill-effects. After a hundred miles or so, check all hardware again for loosening. Also, check the length of your driveshaft. Rubicon Express said it won’t need to be lengthened, but mine looks like it could use another inch or two. I’ll check with Tom Wood and find out if it needs to be extended.

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Intro | The Plan | Skidplate | Rear End | Front End | Impressions