While the front springs were removed, we took the opportunity to
replace the factory upper arms with RE adjustable arms. I probably should
have replaced the stock lower arms as well, but for now, I'll live with
it. Depending how everything handles, I may or may not put a set of RE
fixed lowers in later on. I had to reign in the budget a little bit and
decided this was what I would sacrifice during the initial build-up.
Installing the arms are pretty straight forward. Remove the old arms and install the new ones. We pulled both of the upper arms at the same time so we could roate the axle forward just a bit. As I did not know what length I would be going with, I adjusted the arm to be 1/2" longer than the stock arm.
The uppers use 15 mm bolts at each end of the arm. You
will recycle the hardware at the frame end of the arm but RE supplies a new bolt
and nut for the axle end. A friend told me to install the heim joint end
at the frame for the front arms and at the axle for the rear arms, so that is
what I did. The bolts at each end of the arm were torqued to 55 ft. lbs.,
which is what the factory manual specifies.
After we installed the passenger side arm, I took at quick look
over at the driver side and noticed that I had flipped the passenger arm over,
which caused the grease zirk to be facing up. It was easy enough to pull
the bolts and correct the problem, since we had not torqued this side down
yet. Not much else to say about the control arm install. Once I
figure out what I am adjusting, I'll be back with some more info.
This is a last shot is a fast forward to the point where the springs and arms are all in place up front. The axle is still drooping from gravity, so I extended my existing shocks just to see how they fit. Hmmm....just a bit short it would seem.
Once the tires were back on, we took full compression and droop measurements for the front shocks. They came in at 25.25" extended and 17.5" compressed, with the existing 3" of bump stop extensions in place. I'll be calling the local 4x4 shop to see how close I can find a pair of Ranchos to fit these measurements.
Sooner came well before later and I ended up dumping the stock lower control arms and installing a new set of RE adjustables. The reason behind this was the loss of the caster cam bolt adjustment because of my D-30 axle mod. Don't you just love the cause and affect that Jeep owners live with? [insert big grin] I ran out of adjustment range with the upper arms so the only recourse was to install adjustable lowers.
The install went well and was just as easy as the previous control arm installs, except that we fought with getting the old stock arms out of the newly beefed up brackets. Once we figured out a big hammer was the proper tool for the job, it was a piece of cake.
More of Round #2