Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

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NoLaFSJ
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Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby NoLaFSJ » Tue May 29, 2018 8:47 am

This weekend I finally got around to installing my 4 inch leaf spring lift kit from Rusty’s that I have been having for a couple of years. I tried to put it in when I first got it and got frustrated for a handful of reasons and called it quits. Two years, a house purchase, full renovation and a wedding later, I am finally getting my weekends back and this was on the top of my “fun stuff to-do” list.

I read everything I could find on this forum and the mothership about installing the Rusty’s kit and other similar kits. The threads about this kit in particular were immensely helpful. If you wrote one, thank you. Just doing my part to add some knowledge...

My main tips/tricks/suggestions:

1.) Take your time. Unless you’ve done this type of thing several times before or do it regularly at your job, this won’t be a fast process. I consider myself fairly mechanically inclined being from a family of car lovers/restorers and it took me two solid days to install this kit by myself (one day for rear, one day for front).

2.) PENETRATING LUBRICANT. Don’t underestimate the power of this stuff. Take the suggestion and spray down all ubolts, leaf spring bolts, shackle bolts, shock bolts, etc. Basically any nut and bolt you need to remove, spray it every night for a week before you plan to start from every angle you can hit it. I did this and it all came apart without much fuss. The captive nut behind the gas tank also held strong thank the good lord...

3.) Work smart, not hard. The parts that go right into place where you want them are the exception, not the rule. In general, most parts will need to be pried/hammered/clamped/jacked into place. Don’t wear yourself out trying to muscle something into position or damage it by using a BFH all the time. Chances are if you step back and take a minute to think about it, you can make the part do what you want by jacking, ratchet strapping or prying. Ratchet straps are your friend when you’re working alone, which brings me to...

4.) Get a buddy. I did this by myself and I’m no expert, but it would have been much faster, more enjoyable and less grueling if I had a buddy to lend a hand.

5.) Start with the rear. Just my opinion here but I started with the rear and was glad I did. I think the rear was a little more difficult, mainly due to the springs needing to be arched into place. The lessons learned on the rear made the front seem more enjoyable as it’s essentially the same process but the springs are easier to get installed.

6) About the rear springs... I’m sure there are endless ways to get them arched into the needed position, but here’s how I did it. I had a spare piece of 4”x6” treated lumber and I cut it at 42” long so it fit on top of the leaf springs just inside the two eyes. I notched each end slightly so it kind of saddled the top of the leaf which helped it to stay in place. First I installed the frame side of the spring. I then took two ratchet straps, one on each side wrapped around the spring and the 4x6, and slowly ratcheted each one little by little. With very little effort, the spring began to flatten/lengthen. Every now and then, I would lift it up into position and check to see if it lengthened enough to line up with the shackle bolt hole. Eventually, it lined up perfectly and the bolt slid right in. I’ll try to get a pic of the piece of wood on one of the old springs for a visual, forgot to take a pic when actually doing it...

That’s my contribution on this topic. Nothing earth shattering for guys that do this type work all the time but for me, this was very helpful info that saved me many headaches. If anyone is planning to do this and wants a pep talk/advice, feel free to DM me. Happy to help.

I still need to install several things to make my ride roadworthy. Track bar relocation brackets, dropped pitman arm, extended brake lines (not needed but mine are in need of replacing anyway), extended sway bar links to name a few. I know some of those things are optional but I want GREAT road manners, not just “good enough” since this will be mainly an on-road vehicle. I also have several bushings in need of replacement and lots of wire wheeling and painting needed to pretty things up. I’ll post some update pics once I get that stuff ordered and installed.

After that, new tires and an alignment and I am hoping I’ll be good to go! Some during and after pics attached for your enjoyment...

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Brian

1990 Grand Wagoneer

1979bettywhite
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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby 1979bettywhite » Tue May 29, 2018 9:32 am

Great job! Your experience was of course the same as mine. Especially in regards to the rears. Unlucky for me, even with penetrating oil applied liberally and often before attempting the install, most bolts did not want to break free. For me, I had done this before on my CJ, so I just resorted to the cut off wheel and reciprocating saw for those pesky rear frame mount bolts. I will add this to your advice for any that may be undertaking this in the future: to make it easier on yourself and save some time, just go ahead and use your cutoff wheel to cut the u-bolts holding the old springs to the axle. You won't be reusing them, and as long as you have the frame supported by jack stands, as well as the axle, and it is a full droop, all you have to deal with is the loud bang when you get finally get through the ubolts. Of course you should use all proper safety gear when doing this, but it really saves you a lot of time. Also, I now swear by the Diablo line of reciprocating saw blades. I went through quite a few standard blades barely making it through bolts. But with those blades, it was like slicing through butter, and teeth still looked new after. They are pricey, but worth it.

I installed the extended front lines from Rusty's (although I think they are really too long), as well as the relocation bracket for the rear line. If you install this one and angle it to one side, you still have room for up to a 31" spare in the rear. Hopefully you went ahead and used all new (grade 8) hardware for the spring mounts both at the frame and shackles. Also, leave them loose for a while to let everything settle in to where it wants to ride. I used stop nuts for mine, so I was not overly concerned on them backing off in the loose state.

I did not use the drop pitman arm. Alignment shop said the angle really was not bad, and I don't have any issues with return to center in the steering either.

Pep talks are always nice, especially after a full day + of rolling around on concrete exerting max effort on nuts and bolts, lol.

What tires have you decided on?

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NoLaFSJ
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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby NoLaFSJ » Tue May 29, 2018 9:50 am

I agree about cutting the ubolts 100% as long as you are safely set up for it. I used my impact which made short work of the nuts on my ubolts, but I did have to cut one that would not budge... It was definitely quick work with the cut off wheel.

Good to know your opinion about the Rusty's brake lines. I was torn between them and the BJ's and decided on BJ's due to several others saying Rusty's were excessively long. If the BJ's ones are too long as well, I'll send them back and figure something else out...

The drop pitman arm may not be necessary, but I've heard varying opinions and when I saw the angle in person, I didn't like it. So, I'll be putting one on for my own peace of mind.

I am going to go with 33x10.5 on the stock wheels with the anticipation of needing to trim slightly at the front of the rear wheel wells to prevent rubbing.
Brian

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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby 1979bettywhite » Tue May 29, 2018 11:30 am

While my brake lines are long, they don't rub on the tire, so I just left them, knowing they were better quality than stock for sure. I am hanging on to the pitman arm and may put it on at some point. I think it would bring things down almost back to parrallel. But as I said, I am not experiencing any negative characteristics right now (at least not pitman arm related). I did install a set of BJ's Heavy Duty Shackles that are a bit longer than stock. I have a little bit of wandering due to those, but it is minimal. My chief had a decent amount of rake to it after my install, and I wanted to level it out a bit. The rake on your GW is there, but not as prominent as it was on mine. I think the lower rear wheel openings help to minimize the visual appearance of the rake.

What did you/are you going to do concerning your parking brake cable? I may order a J truck cable for mine. My cable was very tight after install. When the suspension in the rear is at ride height, it is ok, but at full droop it is very tight.

Have you decided on a brand and/or tread pattern for the tire yet? There are still some amazing deals on rubber going on out there right now.

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Stuka
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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby Stuka » Tue May 29, 2018 12:26 pm

The only time you will notice not having the drop pitman arm is when you hit a big bump that causes the front end to compress. Like a freeway divider or something like that. When this happens, the wheel will be pushed to the right and the vehicle will turn that way momentarily. This is what bump steer is.

But congrats on getting it done. Throw some 31's on there and it will look great.
1981 J10 AMC 258 with HEI and Weber 32/36 DGEV Carb, T176, NP208, D44/M23 with 4.56 gears and Detroit Locker, 6" lift, 33x12.50 Cooper STT's, BJ's Offroad Rear Dozer Bumper.
2017 JKU Rubicon Lifted and stuff
Pevious Jeeps: 1975 Cherokee, 2008 JK, 2005 KJ, 1989 XJ

rocklaurence
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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby rocklaurence » Tue May 29, 2018 1:12 pm

How are you suppose to get grotestly dirty with all that plastic on the ground? It looks like an operating room-all steril. I bet you didn't even get dirt in your eyes doing the lift :P

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will e
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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby will e » Tue May 29, 2018 2:26 pm

Looks good! Always like the look of a 4" lift on the waggy's. It's how they should have been out of the factory.

I read in your posting that you don't plan on taking it off road much. I would still suggest that you trim the front U bolts so they don't hang down so low.
81 Wagoneer - 'WILL E' Retired

82 Cherokee WT - SOA/SF/high steer/Alcan springs/agr box/Borgeson steering shaft/AMC 401/performer/holley TA/HEI/BeCool/727/ALTAS (2.0/2.72/5.44)/D60 Snofighter(Yukon Zip,hubs,stubs,4.56)/14 Bolt (FF,BF shave, Discs, ARB,Artec Truss)/MTR 37X12.5/Corbeau Moab Seats/RCI 6point Harness/Hella Aux lights/tuffy console/killer32 sliders/custom bumpers and roll bar/WARN 8000/steering brace/CB/dual batts/custom TC skid plate

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NoLaFSJ
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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby NoLaFSJ » Tue May 29, 2018 2:51 pm

@will e... I will definitely be trimming the u-bolts! Thanks for looking out

@rocklaurence... plastic was to keep the fresh driveway clean so I didn’t get a talkin to from the Mrs... rest assured there was plenty dirt to go around

@Stuka... thanks for the info. What you described is what I want to prevent. For the relatively low price of the part, I’m willing to roll with it.

@1979bettywhite... I was worried the rake was going to be prominent as well but was pleasantly surprised it was not too pronounced. I think it will settle down some more once I get to driving and put some weight in the cargo area.

I haven’t given any thought to the parking brake yet. It does make sense though that it may need adjustment now after moving things around. I’ll give it a look sometime soon and report back.

As far as tires I’d love some suggestions if you know of any great deals out there currently. I like the look of MTs but it would have to be a set with decent on-road performance (relatively). ATs may be a better bet for me... I have read that the on-road performance of the General X3s is pretty good for a MT. Any one have any experience with those?


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NoLaFSJ
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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby NoLaFSJ » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:41 am

Got new tires, so I can actually start driving it again. The old ones we dry rotted and unsafe. I went with General Grabber X3s in 33x10.5.

Really liking the look! No immediate rubbing issues were apparent from the quick trip around the block. Before I really start driving it much, I may have to trim slightly at the front side of the rear wheel opening as I expected. Or just fold the lip in... We’ll see.

I have a solid game plan going forward to get the steering all sorted out and I have extended brake lines as well... I do have one question though:

Does anyone have a tested solution to extend the rear parking brake cables? They are pretty tight after lifting the frame away from the axle. I have read J10 cables may work and provide enough slack but not too much, but have not seen a definitive yes or no. I read BJs may have the correct length J10 cables but I’m not sure exactly which ones... It would be awesome if someone with first hand experience can post a link to what they used and whether or not it worked.

If I can’t get a response here, I may try creating a new thread on this topic.

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will e
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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby will e » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:02 am

Wow, that looks really sweet!
81 Wagoneer - 'WILL E' Retired

82 Cherokee WT - SOA/SF/high steer/Alcan springs/agr box/Borgeson steering shaft/AMC 401/performer/holley TA/HEI/BeCool/727/ALTAS (2.0/2.72/5.44)/D60 Snofighter(Yukon Zip,hubs,stubs,4.56)/14 Bolt (FF,BF shave, Discs, ARB,Artec Truss)/MTR 37X12.5/Corbeau Moab Seats/RCI 6point Harness/Hella Aux lights/tuffy console/killer32 sliders/custom bumpers and roll bar/WARN 8000/steering brace/CB/dual batts/custom TC skid plate

RamJetFSJ
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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby RamJetFSJ » Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:13 pm

I tried the J10 cables, and they are WAY longer. It works, but the excess length is a bit hard to secure cleanly.

Ive got 33x10.5 Grabbers (old red letters) on stock wheels also. Love the look. Those new X3s look NICE!
80 Wag in 73 attire, Ram Jet 350 power

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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby Stuka » Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:32 pm

Yeah, a short box J10 has a 10" longer wheelbase. All you really need is a half inch or so. You most likely will need to adjust the cables by the cross member, otherwise they may be pulling on the brakes causing them to drag.

I ran a 6" lift on my Cherokee and they were tight, but I never had any issues besides one brake coming on a bit when flexed out.
1981 J10 AMC 258 with HEI and Weber 32/36 DGEV Carb, T176, NP208, D44/M23 with 4.56 gears and Detroit Locker, 6" lift, 33x12.50 Cooper STT's, BJ's Offroad Rear Dozer Bumper.
2017 JKU Rubicon Lifted and stuff
Pevious Jeeps: 1975 Cherokee, 2008 JK, 2005 KJ, 1989 XJ

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NoLaFSJ
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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby NoLaFSJ » Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:55 pm

Great info guys, thanks! I will try to adjust the cables first and see where it goes from there. I agree it probably doesn't need much length added to get it right.
Brian

1990 Grand Wagoneer

1979bettywhite
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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby 1979bettywhite » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:11 am

Looking good on the lift and tires man! I considered Cooper STT Pros when I was looking at everything. AZChip has them and they look great on his rig. I just could not pass up the deal on the BFGs when I got mine. Was better than every deal out there. General makes a great tire as well.

I am in the same camp as you in regards to the parking brake cable. At full droop it is very snug. I loosened mine some from the crossmember but the hard lines are still tight. I too have heard that the J cables will work, but are really long.

You could always just ditch the parking brake cables in total and just carry a wheel chock with you everywhere. I keep one in the jeep anyway. You can get them at harbor freight for $5 when they put them on sale.

When it comes to Jeeps, what's a parking brake cable? Never rely on them to really hold things, always put a tire against a curb or use a wheel chock as a backup. Don't ask me why I recommend this :)

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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby HeavyMetalThunder_81 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:08 am

Great looking Grand Wag!
-Jonny B.
1979 Cherokee Golden Eagle - 4" lift, 33x12.5x15
AMC 360 - 4180, TFI, Headers, Dual Exhaust
TH400 - Shift Kit, Deep Pan, Aux Cooler
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R D44 - 3.54, Lock'd

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1979 Cherokee Chief - Parts
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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby fulsizjeep » Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:31 am

Looking good for sure! :-bd I have always thought that Jeep should have had offered a 4" lift for the narrow tracks by the mid 70s... :fsj:
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88 GW, 401/727/208, 5" lift, D44s/4.10s/locked up, 35s, a few Evil Twin mods, http://eviltwinfab.com and a few TT's Fabworks mods, http://www.ttsfabworks.com
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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby tgreese » Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:42 am

Can't you extend the front cable with a coupling nut and a piece of threaded rod? If all you need is an extra inch ...
Tim Reese
Maine beekeeper's truck: '77 J10 LWB, 258/T15/D20/3.54 bone stock, low options (delete radio), PS/PDB, hubcaps.
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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby RamJetFSJ » Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:05 am

The cable’s housing length is the problem. Even with the front cables removed the housings get really tight at full droop. With 4” springs and 2” blocks, I couldn’t get the ends of the cables to within 1/2” of the front tabs even at ride height.
80 Wag in 73 attire, Ram Jet 350 power

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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby Nikkormat » Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:23 pm

Hey would you mind posting a pic of the rear wheel well from a profile (side) view? I'm curious to see if relocating the rear wheel back half an inch could prevent trimming.
Gabe, "reformed" Jeep hoarder.

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NoLaFSJ
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Re: Rusty’s 4 inch lift install

Postby NoLaFSJ » Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:25 pm

Nikkormat wrote:Hey would you mind posting a pic of the rear wheel well from a profile (side) view? I'm curious to see if relocating the rear wheel back half an inch could prevent trimming.


Yes, I will get you a better pic soon. I am away from home for a while so it will be in a couple of weeks. These are the best I have on my phone... both pics are at an angle though, not head on.

I think going a half inch back would obviously help. Although, unless you are wheelin and go to “full stuff” (which I’m not doing), I’m not so sure that trimming is required at this time.

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