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In September '99, I decided it was time to lift the TJ just a bit and give it some more clearance. My latest desert trek had convinced me that a few more inches would be helpful. Going in and out of the desert washes showed me that my approach and departure angles needed some improvement.
Having spent a few months reading the postings in one of the newsgroups, I decided to try the TeraFlex 2" lift. I had read numerous comments about it and had found no negative postings about the lift or the company.
I ordered the kit from a dealer in Oklahoma (Supplee 4WD), after trying to find a local supplier in the Phoenix area. I ordered the kit on the Friday before Labor Day and it arrived the following Wednesday, dropped shipped from Tera Manufacturing in Utah. I did a quick inventory and everything appeared to be there. Aside from the 2T lift kit, I had ordered new shocks (your old ones won't be long enough), the swaybar Quick Disconnect (QD) kit, and a transfer case lowering kit.
While I was waiting for the kit to arrive, I searched the web looking for any other information on the lift kit. I found an article posted on the Trail Quest web site. I would come to find that these few pages of first hand experience would come in very handy while I did my installation.
First off, let me state that the quality of the parts seem to be good. Time will tell as I put mileage on the springs, QD links, etc. What I found to be a major shortcoming in this kit was the directions. I am not a mechanic and have never claimed to be. However, 18 years of Midwestern farm life gave me a pretty wide exposure to machinery and the maintenance of it. During the late 70's, I also did some motorcycle grand prix road racing. I maintained my own bike, which included frame mods and engine rebuilds. I've never installed a suspension lift kit. The instructions provided with my lift kit confirmed that I knew little about suspension lifts and that it was NOT going to be of much help in my gaining any insight into doing them.
I contacted Tera and expressed my negative feelings concerning the documentation. This was the reply they sent me. I do hope that they will indeed improve the quality of their install documentation.
From: Mark Falkner [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, September 13, 1999 8:03 AM
Subject: From TeraFlex
Thanks for the detailed suggestions on our 2T instructions. I apologize for the frustration we caused you. Our other instructions are much better. We are in the process of making new instructions for the 2T. The 2T was developed and targeted to Jeep dealers so the instructions were a secondary concern. I can not remember anyone giving us any feed back on them. So when someone does take the time to give us their insights we really do appreciate it.
January 31, 2000 NOTE: On January 15, 2000, I received some information from Tera (I had requested some info on two other products) and included in it was their recently updated 2T installation instructions. They did an outstanding job on the new installation instructions. My compliments to them for their follow-up with me and the nice job they did on their instructions. New owners should be very happy with what they receive in their 2T kit.
I will also comment that the lift has seen some hard use since the Sept. 1999 installation. It does a very good job on the trail. The sway bar disconnects are easy to use and remain just as tight and rattle free as the day I put them on (you can't say that about several of the other brands available). My friends continue to comment about the incredible amount of wheel articulation and the fact that I rarely ever lift a wheel on the trail. I recommend this lift to anyone interested in an affordable lift for their vehicle. You won't be stuffing 33" tires with this lift, but it does my 32" BFGs and gives the Jeep a great overall look.
With the help of the information I gathered form the web and that of two
good friends, we tackled the lift kit installation. My comments below are not
intended to replace those that come with the lift kit. These steps are a compilation
of those from the lift kit instructions, those I found on the web, and our own trial and
error attempts. As always, the usual disclaimers apply here....I am not responsible
for your actions....use at your own risk.....and your mileage will certainly vary.
One thing that I will stress, however, is SAFETY. Please remember at all
times that you are working in and around a 3500 lb. vehicle. Chock your
wheels, set the parking brake, use good quality jack stands that are designed for the
load, and use a good quality jack for lifting. Above everything else, think SAFE.
Metric and standard sockets and wrenches
Torx bits (up to T55)
Drill and index
Tap and die set
Jack stands (tall ones for 4x4 vehicles)
Coil spring compressor
The information I got from the web stated that "there is no danger of the spring flying out on a TJ and no need of renting a spring compressor". I agree with that statement 100% as far as the rear springs are concerned. However, if you wish to install the taller springs up front, we found that we needed something to compress the springs. We ended up using 3 pry bars and 2 people to do the trick (not suggested). Had I known it was going to be like that, I would have gotten a spring compressor for the day.
Chock the front tires securely. Jack up the rear of the Jeep. Set the brake. Put the jackstands under the frame members. Leave the jack under the axle as you will be using it to lower and raise the rear axle. I found this most helpful when trying to remove or insert bolts in various holes, etc. By being able to raise or lower the axle, you can easily align the bolt or relieve the stress on it that is causing it to bind and not release easily.
Rear end installation:
Front end installation:
Using the jack and jack stands, jack up the front of the vehicle. You may wish to keep the jack under the axle for easier positioning as was mentioned in the above steps.
Here you can see the new shock, spring, and swaybar quick disconnect.
Click here if you want to see some pictures of the TJ after all of the work was completed.
Shock mount hardware reclamation procedure: