BDS 3.5″ GlideWrangler Lift in a CJ – Part 4

I picked up the Rancho RS9000 shocks and a set of bump stops from OK Auto. I then proceeded to install them into the Jeep. The fronts (a) are very easy and the rear ones are almost the same, I also reconnected the swaybar disconnects (b).

On a sidenote, before I began this project I intended on flipping the steering tie rods to gain clearance and eliminate the need for a drop pitman arm. This is accomplished by reaming the top of the steering knuckle to match the contour of the tie rod end and installing a metal cone into the bottom of the knuckle to match the straight end if the tie rod. First the tie rods were removed (c) then I measured them to determine how far the reamer should be driven into the knuckle. The reamer I used was a Snap-On hand reamer I borrowed from Jason at OK Auto (Thanks Jason!). It took a while to ream the holes but I took my time to get the depth right. I then installed the cone (e), I needed to file a couple of them to get the right fit.

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The tie rods were then reinstalled in an upside down position (f & g). There is about a 3″ gain in clearance with this done (h). This should keep the nasties from bending tie rods so easily.

With all this stuff being completed I took the Jeep back to my test stump, I noticed that the front shocks seemed a bit short. The shocks I had only left about an inch (i) of inward travel on the stump and I think the axle might compress more so I looked for a shock that better fit the requirements. The Rancho RS9000 shocks come in many different lengths so it was easy to find what I needed. The new front shocks I got allowed 2″ (j) of extra inward travel with my Jeep on the stump, a true test will be on an articulation ramp. I also played around with bump stops (k), an important part of a suspension system that is often overlooked is the bump stops. These devices keep the suspension from over compression, which can damage the components of the system like the shocks, springs, body parts, etc. Rancho also offers many varieties and lengths of bumps, I measured my Jeep and got the ones that will stop the axle just before the shock bottoms out (l)

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Now with the shock/bump stop episode finished I drove the Jeep a while, I need to play with the shock adjustments yet and I also noticed that the Jeep seems to wander a bit. I am going to add a set of 2 degree shims to the front to correct the caster angle. Another issue I have is driveline vibration. My Jeep has a CV style rear driveshaft, (a) this style requires the pinion to point at the trans yoke. Now with the added lift the angle is off, I decided to make some modifications to the transmission skid plate to lower the trans 3/4″, this should correct the angle. The late 70’s CJ’s used a massive pan type skid plate and the transmission mount was about 2″ tall, I simply cut down the mount and welded in a new flat piece. This allowed me to lower the trans 3/4″ while at the same time also allowing me to remove a 1/2″ spacer between the frame and the skid plate to gain 1/2″ clearance.

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Below is a before and after picture. There is still stuff to do. I need to cut the u-bolts, install the Rock Equipment skid plates and re-attach the bottom of the front bumper. It never ends…



If you have any questions you can e-mail me or give a call to OK Auto at 908-454-6973, they can answer most any questions.

Check back for future reports after some trail and street use.

UPDATE: I have been driving the Jeep and it rides great. The shocks make a big difference and playing with the adjustments have improved the ride drastically. I also had an opportunity to wheel with the Jeep a little and the trail performance was good too. The Jeep seemed just as flexible as before and the increased clearance provided better off-road handing and manners. I also noticed that with the springs being a bit stiffer the Jeep seemed more stable in off camber situations. So far this modification has been worth it, I’ll compile a report after more use.

UPDATE 2: This suspension has been successfully serving this Jeep well for over 10 years now.