After a long wait for Warrens schedule to work out so he could come out to California so we could do the lift, he finally got the time off.  

We installed the lift kit in two days, as I got a late start on the first day.  It would be possible to install it in one day.   I estimate we spent a total of about 12 hours on the vehicle.   We take pictures as we go, don't work really fast and did some extras, so I am sure it could be done in less time!   

The kit was quite easy to install with good instructions.  There are only a few tools that we did not have in our toolbox, namely the pitman arm puller and a smaller pickle fork than we had.    These items can be rented at some parts suppliers such as Grand Auto, Kragen and Napa.  We have a neighbor that has a nice set of tools so we were OK!  After the lift is installed, you will find that your steering wheel is out of alignment, so you will need to have an alignment done.

Warren's Wrangler Rubicon is a good test platform for this lift, as Warren is not afraid to use the Jeep to its full potential!   He purchased it as a off-road vehicle, and has not been too worried about denting and scraping it.    If there are any issues with the lift, Warren will be sure to find them!   

Tuff Country 4 Inch Easy Flex Kit Instructions

Tuff Country 4 inch Easy Flex Lift

The kit came in two large boxes.   The larger one had a UPS weight sticker saying it was 100 pounds... I believe it!
The smaller box contained the shocks and shock boots.
The Tuff Country shocks that came with the set are the cellular gas SX6000 which are basically the same as the Rancho RS5000's.   They are made for Tuff Country by Gabriel.
The heavy box had the new coils, control arms and hardware.

Day 1:

Here is the contents of the boxes all spread out.

Warren had already added a 2 inch spacer lift, so we will remove it while we install the lift.   

The spacer is easily seen here.   It is the darker colored rubber spacer on top of the coil.   The much lighter rubber is the original spring pad on top of the spacer block.

The next step was to raise and support the vehicle by the frame, remove the front wheels, then lower the axle some.   Remove the front shocks.
Warren had a problem in the past with the drivers side front tire rubbing on the rear steering box bolt on full right turn.   In this picture you can see the bolt and the rust on the areas that he was hitting.   This was due to the larger and wider tires on the stock rims.
Here you can see what it did to the tire.
The solution was to add a few washers to the steering bump stop, preventing the wheel from turning that far.   This lift may give him enough room to remove the washers.
The front shocks are held on by one nut on top and two bolts on the bottom.
Once the shocks were off, I pulled the current JKS disconnects.   We will deal with them later.
Remove the brake line bracket from the frame.   This requires a Torx T-40 driver.
Remove the pitman arm.  This requires a puller which my neighbor Mark was nice enough to provide!
Once the pitman are was we were free to drop the axle more and remove the lower control arms.
The factory lower control arms had been hit... a few times.
One off!
On the second one, I found that the threads had met with a rock at some point and were slightly mashed.
I was able to use a dremel and a cut-off wheel to re-groove the threads and get the nut off.   This was done VERY carefully!   I think we will be able to re-use the bolt.

After the lower arms were off, we dropped the axle even farther and pulled the springs out.   

The coil spacers just slip off, but not before you remove the bump stop.

The bump stop pops out of the holder and you can then remove the bolt that is under it.   Once it is off the old spacer lift block will slip right off.
The new and old coils side by side.
Time to put the new coils and lower arms on!

The new coils and arms are now in place and its time to raise the axle back into place.

The new coils just set in place.   When you raise the axle up you can make sure that they are seated properly.  

To make the bolts line up for the new arms, we had to raise and lower the axle, as well as rotate it some.   

A shot of the new lower arm in place.   Before you install the arms, you should fill them with grease and then adjust the length to 16.5 inches from eye center to eye center.   

Since I started late, this was all I got done on day 1.   I spent about 3 hours working on it today working by myself.

Day 2:

The next step was to install the new track bar bracket.  The stock bolt was put in and a second bolt hole was drilled and a second bolt installed to help keep the bracket from moving.

Attach the track bar and the steering stabilizer back up make sure that all the bolts are tight.
There are brake line bracket extensions that come with the kit.  Use the stock bolt to attach the bracket to the frame, then the provided bolt to attach the brake line bracket to the extension.
It was time for the new shocks to be installed.   
A nice trick for installing shock boots is to spray the shock body with some soapy water...
Also give the boot a shot...
When you now go to put the boot over the shock body, it slides right on without any hassles.   Once the boot is where you want it, put the provided zip tie on to keep it in place.
Here the shocks are with the boots, bushings and mounts installed.
Use the lower factory bolts to secure the bottom of the shocks to the suspension.
There are two sides to each of the top bayonet bushings.   As you can see here, the flat side goes towards the washer, while the shaped part fits into the hole in the shock mount.
Once the top bushing is on you can add the top washer and nut and tighten it all up.   You may need to hold the shaft with a wrench to keep it from spinning.  Ours was kind enough to stay put!
The kit came with front sway bar disconnects.   Warren already had JKS disconnects, and although they could be adjusted longer we replaced them with the ones the kit came with.
Here are the JKS disconnects and the new ones side by side.   You can see the length difference.
We removed the JKS disconnects from the ends of the sway bar.  Before you install the new ones, take note that the small sleeve on the new disconnects has a slight taper to match the sway bar.  Make sure that you have the sleeve the correct direction.
The new disconnect installed.
The lower pins that came with the kit and the JKS ones were the same, so we just stuck with the JKS ones.

We connected them to the lower pin and went on to the next step.

There is also a provision to mount another pin to the frame for storage of the disconnects when they are not in use.

At this point, the front end is almost done.   A few steering links to reconnect and we are all done.
The new drop pitman arm is installed onto the steering box shaft.

The steering linkage is reconnected to the new pitman arm.

Go back over the work and make sure that you have completed all the steps and everything it tight.

Once this is done, you can put the wheels back on and the front is finished.

Here it is with the front done.   You can see that it is sitting a little higher in the front.   Since Warren had a 2 inch spacer lift that we removed, he will really be gaining 2 inches, not 4.   When we are all done, We will compare before and after measurements and see how much lift the kit gave us..... for now, on to the rear!
Raise and support the rear and remove the wheels.
When I went to remove the rear shocks, I again found that the lower bolts had rock rash.   Time to break out the dremel again!
Here is the passenger side, also with rock rash.   You can also see scrapes on the axle.  I was able to clean up one of the bolts really well, but the other will have to be replaced.
The rear shocks are off and its time for the rear track bar.
There is a black plastic cover that is over the track bar bracket.  I don't see what purpose it serves, but you can remove and discard it.
Here it is off the vehicle.
Once the plastic cover is off, remove the bolt that holds the track bar in place.   This requires a Torx T-55 driver.
When I went to remove the bolt, I found that it hit the gas tank.   The easy solution was to lower the rear axle slightly to get the bolt out.
Here you can see the bolt, the nut and holder and the plastic cover.
The next step was to remove the lower control arms.   Again I found some rock damage to one of the upper mounts.
Once both arms are off, you can lower the rear axle and remove the coil springs.
Here the old and new springs are side by side.

Again, as with the front we had to remove the 2 inch spacer lift that Warren had already installed.

Pop the bump stop off so you can remove the bolt under it and then remove the bump stop.   The lift block slides right out.

Looking at what we have done so far, you can get an idea of what it takes to install a spacer lift on this vehicle.   You would raise and support the vehicle, then remove the shocks and lower the rear axle until the springs come out.  Install the spacers, reinstall the springs then raise the axle back up and reconnect the shocks.   The shocks really keep the suspension from moving too far down.  If you have the wrong shocks, you can let the suspension go too far and the spring can pop out on the trail when you flex!   Warren saw this happen to someone on a trail run.

Once the spacers were out, the new springs were installed.
It was then time to install the rear arms.   The rear arms were much easier to line up that the front.
Here Zack, one of our ASE certified Master Mechanics shows us that the rear lower arms are child's play!
The next step is to install the rear track bar bracket.

Once it is in place, install the factory bolt to hold it in place, but done tighten it all the way up yet.

As you can see in this picture, there is a small bolt hole below the stock bolt.   There are two small holes in the stock bracket that they are going to use to help keep the new bracket stable.   The lower hole did not quite line up, but since you have to drill the holes out larger either way it is no big deal.

Here you can see me pointing to the top hole.   The small factory hole in the factory bracket did line up with this hole, so we just had to make it larger.

This is the first problem we found with the kit.   The instructions say to use the provided 5/16" X 1 1/4" bolts.   As you can see in the picture, they were too long.   On the top, they hit the factory bolt that held the bracket on.   There are two possible ways to fix this problem.   We choose to replace the bolts with new ones that were 5/16" X 3/4" long.   The other way to fix it would be to cut the provided bolts off to make them short enough.

Once the two extra bolts are in, you can tighten them up and the factory bolt holding the new bracket to the factory bracket.  You can then install the rear track bar into the new bracket.

It was time to assemble and install the rear shocks.   On the passenger side, we noted that the shock was very close to the lower spring pad.

We also noted that the shock boot is just barely touching the exhaust.  We will have to keep an eye on this and see if it gets hot enough to cause a problem.

If you were to install the shocks the other way, the metal of the tube would be touching the exhaust.

As we installed the drivers side shock, we found that it actually hit the lower spring perch before it was even lined up enough for the lower bolt to be installed.
We put a small dent into the shock in the process.
The solution was to remove some of the lower shock perch.  This is done by some when they upgrade to larger body shocks, as with the new Tuff Country shocks that are larger than the factory shocks.
Once the edge was removed, there was clearance for the shock.   This should not affect anything else.

Here you can see the rear suspension finished.   All that is left to do is to put the wheels back on.

We skipped one step that you may need to do.  The kit includes extensions for the rear sway bar ends.   Warren removed the rear sway bar quite some time ago, so we did not need to install them.  It seems to me that most people with Wranglers that go off-roading are removing the rear sway bar.

The last part of the lift is to install spacers onto the transfer case skid plate.   There are two sets of spacers provided, depending on what year your vehicle is.

These spacers are very simple to install.  Support the transfer case skid with a jack, then remove the three bolts on both sides of the transfer case skid plate.   Lower the jack slightly and install the spacers between the scrape plate and the frame.  There are new longer bolts provided for this.  You can see the arrows pointing to two of the three bolts, the third was just out of the picture to the left.   The line shows the area where you would install the three spacers.   

Warrens scrape plate is not the stock one, so yours may look different.  We installed the Jeep Medic Fabrications scrape plate a while back.

This would conclude the lift, but we had a few slight additions in mind!

The reason for the transfer case scrape plate lowering blocks is to keep the rear drive line angles in check and prevent any drive line vibrations and binding.    Since for off-roading we want the most possible ground clearance, we decided to add a set of Terra Flex upper rear control arms instead of lowering the scrape plate.  

This will let us adjust the rear drive line angles without sacrificing any ground clearance.

The upper arms were not hard to install.   We started with the new arms the same length as the stock ones, then turned them out longer two full turns.  The lower arms are adjusted slightly longer than the stock arms with the lift kit installation.  This makes the drive line angle go the opposite of the direction than we wanted it to go, but also moves the axle slightly farther back which does help.   With the upper arms slightly longer, it will correct the angle and also move the axle slightly back again.   

What fun is it if you don't get to cut something off!

Warren had bent the tip of the exhaust up fairly bad, so we decided to fix the problem!

We cut it off slightly shorter and angled the bottom to help clear things in the future and not pinch closed again.
Here is the stock end.  You can see how it is partially closed off from being smashed onto the rocks.

Now we were done working on the lift.  The steering wheel was now quite a bit off when the wheels were straight, so we performed an alignment.  Unless you really know how to do this, I would not recommend you try it at home.   We have done it before, so we did it on the spot before we took it for a test drive.

We took it out for a test run.   We wanted to check to see if there were any drive-in vibrations since we didn't do the skid plate drop.   There was a very slight vibration that came and went at around 45mph, but nothing worth trying to correct.   We took it up to 75mph and it was just fine.     We then took it out to the ranch and flexed it out to see if there would be any driveline binding.   With the 4 inch lift kit and the 2 inches that we raised the transfer case during the install of the Jeep Medic Fabrications scrape plate, we thought we would have both some vibrations and binding of the driveline at full flex.    At full flex we found that the drive line was very close to binding, but it was still free.   Since we didn't do the skid plate drop, Warren will add a CV driveshaft before he does any serious off-road trips just to play it safe.   That should also correct the slight vibration at 45mph.   

The Wrangler Rubicon has a higher spring rate than the regular Wrangler, and many owners have complained about the ride.   After driving with the new lift, Warren felt that it was an improvement on the ride.

 We noted that the passenger side rear shock that we earlier found the boot touching the exhaust pipe was fine at rest with the wheels on the ground, but when flexed, the boot and the shock body both touched the exhaust pipe.    We will keep an eye on this and see if any problems develop.   Pictures of the driveline and shock are below, with a small arrow pointing to the part of the driveshaft that we were watching for bind.

After the test drive and checking for any problems during flex, all that was left to do was get some pictures of it flexed!   We were very happy with the result!     Since the shocks limit the suspension travel and keep the coil springs from poping out,  we were interested in seeing how they were when fully flexed.   Once the shocks were at their maximum travel, the springs were slightly loose, but could not come out.   This is perfect, since it means that you are allowed to flex as much as possible without causing any problems.   If the shocks are too short, you are robbed of travel.   The shocks that Tuff Country provided were a perfect length.

Here the final pictures are!

--UPDATE 8-17-2004--
First off, we have a few more flex pictures!
Second, Warren found that the new longer pitman arm was causing some interference.   He talked to some other people with lifted Jeeps and found that the opinion was that unless you go 6 or more inches, you can stick with the stock pitman arm without any problems.   He has now put the stock arm back on and this has solved the interference problem.   Here is a picture of the longer arm and the interference problem.
In the future, we will keep tabs on Warren and how the lift is doing and post any updates here.
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