So I promised a write up and some pics on the install so here it goes.
NOTE: I am not trying to replace the directions provided by Rocky Road; this is just a recap of my experience.
CAUTION: If you are not mechanically inclined I would suggest that you have a shop perform this installation. While the lift itself is not hard the complications that can arise when installing the front may prove to be too difficult for some. RROs instructions assume a bit too much, IMO. The instructions indicate 1-person could perform the lift. I disagree. There are many occasions in which and an extra set of hands are certainly necessary.
My buddy and I performed the installation in my driveway over the course of two evenings, about 9-hours total. He was a Chrysler mechanic for nearly 8-years so he has a lot of specialized tools. And, he and I have been working on cars and lifting Jeeps since we were 13 so 1) we are pretty knowledgeable and 2) we have a good working chemistry. We usually know what the other is thinking which helps when things aren't going as planned - which always
All right now on to the good stuff.
The Instructions suggest starting in the rear. I concur. No surprises when installing the back I don’t think I took any pics of the rear install – sorry.
Pretty simple, jack one side of the vehicle, properly support (don’t forget to chock the wheels), remove the wheel (if using hand tools break lugs prior to jacking).
The RRO instructions don’t mention anything about the felt liner. Well, it needs to be moved out of the way. Simply remove three of the retaining clips with a small flat head screwdriver and pull the liner inside out. Don’t worry; it will retain its shape when it goes back after the install.
Then remove brake line clip and sensor. Then remove the lower shock mount bolt, upper control arm bolts and disconnect one end of the sway link. This is why if you plan to install BWoody links it is beneficial to do it now.
With the bolts removed stand on the lower control arm and have your buddy pull the spring out. Next, remove the shock and install the spacer with the new hardware. Then, install the new spring spacer atop the LCA, retaining the factory rubber isolator with the new bolts. Don’t forget the huge washer underneath the LCA (I almost did). You will need to have your buddy once again stand on the LCA to create as much space as possible to for the spring to go in. Using your jack to help support the weight and compress the spring you can more easily re-install all the bolts.
Now, be sure to triple check EVERYTHING you touched and go to the next side.
The front is definitely not as easy as the rear. The RRO instructions say it will be more challenging – they weren’t kidding!
Start with supporting the vehicle, etc. Follow the instructions and the recommended bolt removal and re-installation order – works great.
Be extremely careful removing the coil & strut, you do not want to damage the CV boot.
The picture in RROs instructions show the axle hanging freely and it mentions that it MAY fall out and it is not a problem. While it is true it is not a problem it is not true that it can be “tapped” back into position – at least very easily; it is a bit more complicated than that. The axle it what gave us the difficulties.
Getting the axle back in
This is probably the most important information that I can offer.
You will need to have the strut attached to the LCA and the LCA reconnected to make this work.
Getting these two bolts in is very difficult – keep them nearby for you may have a short window of opportunity when all the holes are lined up.
We connected the strut first using a jack, two pry bars and our feet. The strut should be held loosely in place up top. Once we got the bolt in we quickly hand threaded the nut.
The LCA mount was just as difficult; two pry bars, two feet, two hands and a jack.
The, Sway Bar, Tie-Rod and Knuckle (UCA) bolts can remain disconnected.
The axle use a Tripod Joint.
Tripod Joint: These joints are used at the inboard end of car driveshafts. This joint has a three-pointed yoke attached to the shaft, which has barrel-shaped roller bearings on the ends. These fit into a cup with three matching grooves, attached to the differential. Since there is only significant movement in one axis, this simple arrangement works well. These also allow an axial 'plunge' movement of the shaft, so that engine rocking and other effects do not preload the bearings. A typical Tripod joint has up to 50 mm of plunge travel, and 26 degrees of angular articulation. *Source - Wikipedia.
With the spacer in you will not be able to get the axle level with the differential housing; it is just not possible due to the limitations imposed by the strut fork. If you are somehow able to get the axle level then yes, the axle should tap right back into place. Seeing as we couldn’t get the axle level we had to explore many different options.
We were finally able to get the axle back in by positioning the yoke in a “Mercedes-Benz Symbol” orientation (1-pt at 12-O’clock, 1-pt at 4-O’clock and the other at 8-O’clock). We removed the retainer rings carefully – see picture, so we could see what we were doing. The last thing you want to do is break the CV boot.
Then grabbing the two lower points of the yoke we squeezed the end closest to us upwards helping to level them out. We also had to push the front end (end nearest the differential) of the top point downwards to help level the yoke out in order for it to slide back in.
We then pushed on the axle (used our bodies against the disc brake and knuckle – which BTW is extremely heavy and considering the height at which you are working there is not much leverage to take advantage of) with constant force and the axle popped back into place.
After we popped it into place we carefully and quickly installed the knuckle bolt (we had it and the nut in VERY close reach) so it would stay in position. The sway bar and tie rod followed.
Again, nearly 2 hours to install the rear, but the second side only took like 30-min once we knew what we were doing. The front passenger side took about 4-hours and the front driver’s side was just under 3-hours. So we learned a bit and improved. If I did it again I am sure it would go a bit faster. If going to a shop I would expect to be billed 6-hours at a shop; maybe 4-hours if it is an off-road performance shop and they are use to this.
So, that is basically it. Notice the lift helps to level the Jeep out and provides much greater height in the front over stock. BTW, I measured this in the road, which is flat, not my driveway.
I plan to get 275/60r20 (32.99" x 10.83") Yokohama Geolander ATS tires on the Overland 20s. RRO installed a 275/55r20 (31.91" x 10.83) but a lot of members have that tire on their stock Wk2s. RRO says you can go taller with minor fender trimming - I don't see the need for that. However, I don't think you can go any wider that a 10.83" tire without a wheel spacer. I may even need a small wheel spacer to run a 10.83" tire - there is not much room inside that wheel well.
I apologize for the lack of detailed photos. I’d be happy to answer any questions for anyone. Still haven’t driven it yet; going to get an alignment tomorrow morning.
Hopefully the install goes better for you with these tips.