Express Extreme Duty 5.5 TJ Lift Kit
By Chad Crowell
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
- Chock the
front wheels and park the Jeep in gear.
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.
- Remove your
stock muffler and exhaust piping if not done yet.
- Raise the
rear end and place the frame on tall jack stands. We used 6 ton
- Remove the
rear wheels with a ¾ socket.
- 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).
and unscrew the axle breather and hard brake lines from the brake
line junction and remove the old brake line.
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
- 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.
- Bleed the
- Remove the
old control arms (13/16 lowers, 15mm uppers) and springs.
the new trackbar relocation bracket. Use the provided instructions.
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.
the new extended bumpstops.
- 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.
- Remove the
- Set the
new lower control arms to the length you measured above. Leave
the jam nut 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.
- Set the
new upper control arms to the measured length.
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.
- Allow the
axle to droop and install the new springs.
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
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.
- 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 dont misalign as the nut is tightened).
- Torque the
control arm mounting bolts to 130 ft. lbs. on the lowers and 75
ft. lbs. on the uppers.
- Using a
grinder, cut off the stock lower shock mounts.
- 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.
- 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!
the new shocks with the smaller section downward (press the bar
pin into the upper end of the shock using a vise).
the new swaybar end links, and reinstall the swaybar.
the frame end of the new trackbar. The bend in the trackbar goes
at the frame. Torque to 130 ft. lbs.
- 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.
the wheels and set the Jeep down.
| A large
vise works great for installing the bar pins.
|| The rear
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.
to enlarge. The rear end is complete.
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 wont need to be lengthened,
but mine looks like it could use another inch or two. Ill
check with Tom
Wood and find out if it needs to be extended.
Intro | The
Plan | Skidplate | Rear
End | Front End | Impressions