HOW TO: Install a Frankenlift *Lots of Pictures* COMPLETE!

Discussion in 'How To' started by jfortier777, Jul 23, 2006.

  1. jfortier777

    jfortier777 Full Access Member

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    So it began. My frankenlift was ready and the temp was a cool 80.

    Lets go!

    I got the OME upgrade and heres the rest of the parts.
    Rancho shocks, OME rear coils, OME struts and coils, Daystar bump stops, and I also installed Al's arms but that will be in another How to.
    [​IMG]

    First here are some measurements.
    Keep in mind that fender height is not a good comparison measurment from vehicle to vehicle but is accurate to measure differences on the same vehicle.

    STOCK Front fender passenger side -

    [​IMG]

    RRO 2.5" Front fender passenger side -
    Freshly installed
    [​IMG]
    6 months later
    [​IMG]

    Frankenlift Front Fender passenger side -
    Freshly Installed
    [​IMG]


    Draw your own conclusions from the given information.

    DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A MECHANIC OR ANYONE WELL LEARNED IN THE AUTOMOTIVE WORLD, I AM JUST SOME GUY WHO GOT INTO VEHICLE MODIFICATION ABOUT 7 MONTHS AGO. I HAD NO PRIOR KNOWLEDGE OF AUTOMOTIVE REPAIR. EVERYTHING I AM DOING IS A RESULT OF RECENT LEARNED ABILITIES WHICH MOST ANY PERSON CAN PICK UP JUST AS QUICKLY. MOST OF MY EXPLANATIONS WILL REFLECT A MATURING INTEREST, AND KNOWLEDGE BASE, OF SIMPLE MECHANICS.

    From here on the words back and front will refer mostly to the rear of the vehicle and the front end, respectively. That means a nut on the back of something is towards the rear of the vehicle, and a bolt that goes through a hole from back to front comes from the rear of the vehicle towards the front. Easy enough.


    On to the Install
    First of all jack up the jeep and remove those beautiful front wheels.
    (Make sure you pull the parking brake so the rear tires can anchor you.)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Pull out your airbox!
    Unscrew the wormdrive clamp over your intake tube and slide it off, then remove the small tube on the right side of the airbox. The whole thing sits on three small slide in rubber feet.

    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]


    Rip out the battery and TRAY!
    Undo the battery terminal and stick the wires somewhere out of your way. Then undo the one screw behind your battery that clamps it down to the tray. With the battery gone you need to locate the three nuts that are holding the tray to the body. Before undoing these 3, pull the fuse box off of the battery tray. There are a couple clips and christmas trees to free the whole thing. Dont forget to pull the small gray conenctor on the cabin side of the battery tray off as well: two christmas trees.
    So then back to the tray nuts; two are easy to spot and one will require about 18" of extension. The hidden one is directly underneath your fuse box that your have already removed.
    [​IMG]
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    GUESS WHAT! Time to get out of the engine compartment for a while!
    Crawl on over to the floor near your drivers side front wheel hub. This is where we get into the crayZ stuff. My order of operations may not agree with someone elses, and if that is the case I would like for them to add to this thread the order they completed these next few things for comparison sake.

    First unbolt the tie rod its a single nut and should not require more than a quick trigger pull on the impact gun.

    [​IMG]

    Then undo your sway bar nut and bolt. It will take a little bit of jiggling to get the bolt out and it goes through the bushing from back to front. The bolts slides out the back of the bushing and lower control arm.
    (Sway bar bolt pictured here directly below the tie rod end.)
    [​IMG]

    I do not approve of pickle forks or BJ pullers because They can risk damage to the ball joint boot if you are not very careful. Therefore I suggest a couple of raps with the hammer on the knuckle near the tie rod, and if that doesn't work, as it did not for me, Just put a block of wood under the tie rod end and put some force under it. After that, a few more smacks with the hammer will get it out of there.
    Note: Do not hit the bottom of the tie rod in order to get it out of the knuckle, it will cause you problems later if it doesnt tighten right up for you.
    [​IMG]


    Moving on:
    Take the caliper off your rotor. There are two bolts holding it on. One is at the top, towards the front; and the other is at the bottom towards the back. (DONT UNDO THE BRAKE LINE) After you take these off tap the caliper with a hammer a couple times to get it off the rotor. It doesnt take much so dont go wild on it. Whent he caliper is loose get some wire and hang it from the upper control arm, out of your way.
    [​IMG]


    If you have not done so already, now would be a good time to get some more wire and hold the tie rod up and out of your way.
    [​IMG]


    So lets take off that nut on the end of the upper ball joint. Its just one and it should come right off.
    During this time you may find it easier to put a jack under the lower control arm and adjust it as needed to redirect pressure on the ball joint and knuckle.
    After the nut is off grab more wire and hang the knuckle from the upper control arm to that when you pop the upper ball joint out, you dont have to worry about the knuckle dropping out and unseating the CV axle from the diff. (That happened to me on the last lift install). When the Knuckle is secure give the Upper control arm a few whacks from underneath and the upper ball joint should pop right out of the knuckle. If it doesnt; try hitting it in various other places (namely the top of the knuckle) to loosen it up. Like the tie rod end, do not hit the bottom end of the ball joint to push it up, this is bad and will deform the end and cause problems(more like irritating inconveniences) for you.
    [​IMG]
    There is a small hole and the other side of the barcode that may be a better location for securing the wire, I just did it quickly to fit.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    As you can see in the previous picture I have already undone the upper bolt on the strut fork (the clevis bolt). This step can be done almsot anytime as long as it is done before you undo the lower strut fork bolt. It wont be bad if you do it after, but it will be very irritating.
    [​IMG]

    Now you can take off the lower strut fork bolt that goes through the strut fork and the lower control arm. If you still have the jack under your lower control arm its time to take it out and let the whole assembly sink as far down as it will go. (Try not to let the knuckle dangle freely, as you may unseat the CV shaft from the differential as previously stated.) The bolt goes through from back to front and the nut you need to undo is on the front side of it. The head of the bolt has a welded tab on it that will prevent it from spinning while you loosen the nut on the other end. From here on your experience will be slightly different depending your your modification status. If you have a lifted liberty, you need to restrain the strut fork with something to prevent it from moving. If you are stock, than it probably is not necessary to do that, but being careful wont kill you.

    SIDE NOTE: I have a lifted liberty and am upgrading to the Frankenlift so things are slightly different as far as tension on certain parts and some visual aspects.


    See this video for removal of lower strut fork bolt after nut was removed.


    Note: Make sure you restrain the strut fork. Also I forgot to mention; after the lower bolt is out, you can remove the fork from the strut, this can be done by either lightly tapping on either side until it pops off the bottom, or you could bend the fork open a litle bit to let is slide off more easily.



    So now there is nothing holding your strut tower to the suspension system so it is ok to undo the 4 nuts on top and pull it out. The whole strut assembly is moderately heavy(more like, awkward to support) so make sure someone is holding it while you undo the nuts on top. Then take whole thing out and throw it aside.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    You are less then 1/7 of the way done with your install now. Congrats.
    Let the reassembly begin!

    Go grab your pre-assembled strut tower for the drivers side(they are handed so the passenger side wont fit...impossible to screw up.). Take teh four nuts off of it and the 8 washers. Slide it right up behind your upper control arm and into the same factory holes you just pulled the stock setup from, and then hold it there and have someone fasten the nuts on the top. There is a VERY EASY way to hold the strut tower up while you wait for it to be bolted up; just take the end of a wrench(rubberized is best if you want to keep thigns shiny and unscratched) and stick it in between the coils on the spring and use the upper control arm as leverage and that should hold it just fine.(You may want to reattach the upper ball joint for better leverage on the upper control arm, but is is only about 3% necessary. The only reason mine is attached is because of the order we did things and there were other modifications going on at the time as well.)

    Note: Ignore the fact that I switched to the passenger side before taking re-assembly pictures,but keep in mind that it looks different than the drivers side. All actions will be identical on the other side anyway.

    [​IMG]

    So now your new strut is bolted in place. Kudos!

    [​IMG]

    Note: Also ignore the new control arms I installed, just imagine yours in their Place.


    Now go get your strut fork and bend it open a little. *Open it up until you can slide it over the end of the strut. (Using the strut for the other side of the vehicle is an easy way to get it opened up just enough) Slide that baby up onto the strut and bolt on the upper strut fork bolt *clevis bolt* about 90% of the way (Tight enough to hold it on real good, but loose enough to move it a little.)

    This Next step is the hardest part of the install (though not really hard in itself).

    You need to do this very carefully because the amount of pressure generated can be very dangerous and could probably shatter a few bones in a WSC.

    Get a ratchet strap, or two if you prefer. ( I decided that one would make it easiest for me to properly align the strut fork from side to side since there is no lip on the bottom of the strut to guide the fork into its proper place.)
    [​IMG]

    Carefully wrap the strap around the clevis fork and behind your CV shaft; and continue by anchoring both ends of the strap to either your skidplate or another fixed sturdy location. Very carefully tighten the ratchet strap(s) while using a hammer to lightly tap the sides of the fork to keep it in a good position to slide over the mounts on the lower control arm. (The lower control arm has to be as low as possible until the folk is aligned.) A long aligning pin may help to get the fork and the lower control arm together, but I managed just fine with the bolt that goes back through it. So after you get the lower fork bolt back in tighten the nut back onto it.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    You are nearly 5/12ths of the way complete now.

    Rattached the upper ball joint by jacking the lower control arm back up to a normal position. (This will probably be the first time you notice how incredibly stiff the supsension is, dont worry the lift is suppose to settle after time I guess)
    [​IMG]

    Now retighten the upper strut fork bolt *clevis bolt*. (This could be done anytime after the upper ball joint and lower strut fork bolt are fastened) but the best time is now.

    Reattach everything else you stripped off in reverse order.

    Return the battery tray, battery, and airbox to their proper locations and status.

    Put the wheels back on and move on to the rear end.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I will be tackling the rear end in about 3 hours. So leave me alone for a while.


    Rear end


    So begins a tale of excitement and tragedy...


    So the first thing you need to take care of is your rear wheels. Take off the one you are starting with. I only took pictures from the rear passenger side since they are completely identical on the other side, but be sure to note that all of what you are going to see is that side, and jacks and what not need to be reversed for the other side.

    Jack position is important in this portion of the install so pay attention to the locations in the pictures.

    (This is not to say I picked the best locations, but to tip the rear end and body properly I found the spots I used to worked best for me. If there is a better way and you have good pictures to explain it, than tell me so next time I'll know.)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now the wheel is off, so take a moment to familiarize yourself with the suspenion in front of you. (Identify sharp things you dont want to bump into while wrestling the spring.) While you are looking around, reach into your spring and rip the stock bumpstop off. Its the orange thing. It pops right out and goes in really easy with a screwdriver; believe me you'll thank me later. Be wary not to bash your knuckles when you yank it off.
    [​IMG]

    Much like I said with the run through of the front end, I may have done some of these steps out of order, but really it doesnt matter anyway with the rear since everything is basically loose after its jacked up. (The steps I am writing on here are not the order I did them in, since I totally screwed up the first time I went through; they are instead the order I did the other wheel, which I didnt take pictures of.) Passenger wheel took me like 2 hours; driver side wheel took me just under 20 minutes. Thats the kind of difference good directions make. (Yes that is a stab at All J's crappy instructions)

    So anyway...

    [optional step="mostly for people with spacers installed already"] Go to your local AutoZone or equivalent and borrow a pair of "Strut Spring compressors". Use your jack to lift up the whole axle on the passenger side and then hook the spring compressors over the coils. They only need to be tightened enough to hold the springs in the compressed state after you let the axle back down. This makes pulling the spring out much much easier. By comparison this lowers the difficulty level from about 3 to a 2 on the 1-10 difficulty scale, so its probably not really even necessary, but I did it anyway for some reason.[/optional step]
    [​IMG]



    After you have the jack stands in the postions shown above, use a jack to balance the axle so that you can unbolt the sway bar. Be cautious just in case there is any tension on the bar, there shouldnt be though. There are two bolts, and they are not torqued to a ridiculous amount so they'll come off fairly easy. I had no idea the sway bar removal was so easy, so I didnt even consider it as an option until I was down to my last resort. It was the bane of my existance for the 2 hour long battle I had with the springs though.

    [​IMG]

    Now that your rear swaybar is disconnected you have gained a TON of extra up/down travel of the hub you are workign with.
    So put the jack back into the position originally shown and jack the driver side of the axel up, once its off the jack stand directly to the right of it, go about two inches higher. Things got really tipsy at this point so BE CAREFUL. Now you can remove the shock. There are two bolts, can you guess their locations?? One at the top and one at the bottom. The top bolt threads into a nut welded into the body, and the lower bolt threads into a nut on the other side of the shock mount.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The shock was your suspenion's last line of defense for keeping that spring in your wheel well. You should be able to push the wheel hub downwards and the spring should practically fall out. (If you did not take off the sway bar then this step would be inducing thoughts of suicide.) If the spring does not come out after a short fight, then you made a mistake somewhere along the line: re-check the steps and make sure you haven't missed anything.

    (PICTURE NOT AVAILABLE.... MY BAD. THE FOLLOWING PICTURES WILL COVER ANY VISUAL QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE. LOL!)


    Now you need to install your new daystar extended bump stop. I know its frightening to think that you are going to have to drill into part of your axle housing for this but you'll get over it soon enough. Anyway, its very simple, drill a whole in the center. (be as accurate as you can but dont get anal about it) I just eyeballed it and it came out pretty close to center. I used a full size drill and some elbow grease to drill the hole but if you have a 90 degree angled air drill you'll be as happy as a midget at Disneyland.
    Do not tighten it down yet!(Trust me you'll understand in a minute if you dont know now.)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Go ahead and install your new shock now. Its pretty simple. Just put back the two bolts you removed.

    [​IMG]


    As things stand right now you should have a shock installed, neither the upper or lower bump stops in place, and your sway bar is still disconnected. If this is correct than continue. If not make your situation fit those guidelines. Put your rear spring in place.
    If it is any harder than "Put it in place" than try pushing the wheel hub downwards to gain clearance in the spring area.

    If you still doesnt fit than your jack setup is probably wrong.

    I had to use spring compressors because I am a complete idiot and at that time I installed the spring I had both bump stops installed and the sway bar connected. Can you imagine my frustration when I realized how easy it could have been?
    LOL, its a learning experience for me so I was happy have aquired more information about how the suspension components work together.


    Anyway, the spring is in, so grab you bumpstops and put them in place. The top one you just push in with a screwdriver at the sides to cram it in.
    The bottom one you can now bolt down, so take the locking nut it came with and with an appropriate wrench hold the nut in place and turn the bumpstop with your hand.

    [​IMG]


    Now using your jack adjust the angle of the axle so it is level again and reattach the sway bar. (When it is at the right level it will line itself up perfectly with the bolt holes.)

    Lets see now

    New shock installed
    New spring installed
    New and old bumpstops installed
    Sway bar attatched
    Checked all bolts to make sure they are tight


    PUT YOUR WHEEL BACK ON YOU'RE DONE!


    Now go do it all again on the other side and you will have successfully completed the install.


    I highly recommend that you do this lift yourself! The only legitamate reasons I can see for not doing this install yourself and paying some guy $300-$400 would be:
    Physical disability (Lazy doesnt count, lol)
    Total lack of tools or access to borrowing them. (AKA No one!)
    You are so wealthy that cows die in your presense.


    OMG I finally finished this freaking HOW TO. I QUIT LIFE!


    Here is a taste of the finished product.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    Ok so I ran this through Word to spell check and edit. Then I noticed the page count! Without pictures this HOW TO is 11 pages long! That's like a whole freaking report! 3,571 words and each picture counted as one word. LOL anyway, I like answering questions so ask anything you'd like to.
     
  2. bigcanoe

    bigcanoe New Member

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    Awsome post, thanks for doing all this!
     
  3. jeepkj02

    jeepkj02 Full Access Member

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    Awesome write-up. This will help a lot of people.
     
  4. Bennett

    Bennett Active Member Administrator

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    x2 Great Post!! It's good to see that you did it in such a safe manner. I never thought about using a rachet strap, great idea!

    Thanks,
    Bennett
     
  5. hyde

    hyde Moderator KJ Supporting Member

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    I don't know how you guys do it. After every picture I am thinking this should be it, but it keeps getting complicated and complicated.. I would never be able to put it back together! 8-[
     
  6. jfortier777

    jfortier777 Full Access Member

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    I wont be posting the info on the rear until MONDAY EVENING so if you are waiting for it, dont. O:)


    Im just doing my part to help everyone else like me who had absolutely no instructions to install the frankenlift.

    I would like to take this opportunity to FLAME All J products a little.

    Its a great lift but the instructionsit comes with are just a copy of an article done on it. The extent of detail is pretty much...

    Take off old strut, put in new strut.
    Take off old rear springs, put in new rear springs.

    If a complete automotive-idiot like me can manage a decent HOW TO; than for sure one of their guys could write up a ten page list of steps in about 2 hours.
     
  7. VTNomad

    VTNomad Full Access Member

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    Control arms

    Are those Al's control arms?

    Great post, I'm glad someone finally got around to do a write up.
     
  8. jfortier777

    jfortier777 Full Access Member

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    Re: Control arms

    Yes!

    ...and I will add that as of now I dont believe anyone else provides aftermarket upper arms.
     
  9. jfortier777

    jfortier777 Full Access Member

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    HOW TO is now complete, feel free to look over the new pics and info.
     
  10. grogiefrog

    grogiefrog Full Access Member

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    Thanks for the post! Awesome... just awesome! And your KJ looks great! eclipsee_gold_cup.gif
     
  11. ender00

    ender00 Full Access Member

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    inventory

    I was just wondering if you could give us a list of what tools you used. maybe tool you could use instead or optional tools.
     
  12. jfortier777

    jfortier777 Full Access Member

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    Re: inventory

    Yeah I really didnt feel like doing a tool list, but i think something might be loose, so when I go through in a day or two and retighten I will size everything up and type one out.

    It really only consists of like 3-4 different sockets and some 1/2" drive tools.
     
  13. JeepJeepster

    JeepJeepster Full Access Member

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    Looks like you tore that tie-rod boot all to heck. What did you do about that? :-s Why did you even take the tie-rod off? Ive never seen anyone do that. You can also take the rear spring out if you just take the shock off, the new ome spring can be put back in without a springs compressor also. I did see where you said that but I was wanting to make sure everyone knows you do not need a compressor for this job.
     
  14. jfortier777

    jfortier777 Full Access Member

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    The tie rod has to be removed. Otherwise you will not get the knuckle and lower control arm low enough to replace the lower strut fork bolt.

    The reason its torn is because when I installed my last lift I used a pickle fork to pop the tie rod out. It was totally mutilated, so now I just shoot grease in there every now and again.

    I completely agree with you about the spring compressors, the more I think about the suspension the more I realize it was because of my own lack of knowledge that I need to use them. However since I had the bump stops installed and the rear sway bar still attached when I did that side of the vehicle I had to use them just to get the thing on there.

    I will just ommitt that step completely now that I have pretty good confirmation.
     
  15. JeepJeepster

    JeepJeepster Full Access Member

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    Haha, I see now why you said not to use a pickle fork! O:) I dont use them either, but I like the BJ pullers. Im afraid that hitting it with a hammer does some damage to it.
     
  16. Mutt

    Mutt Full Access Member

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    That is not true.
     
  17. JeepJeepster

    JeepJeepster Full Access Member

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    I wasnt going to say anything. O:)
     
  18. jfortier777

    jfortier777 Full Access Member

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    FOR REAL?!


    I really thought it was.

    LOL, I stand corrected then. I mean if Mutt says so then I better listen, or ill get "punched in the face" You have to forgive me because I am still learning about all of this stuff.

    Please do not hesitate to correct me if I am wrong. If you hadn't said somethign I wouldn't even have known.

    Im curious if taking the tie rod off made other steps easier though? Because the last install instruction I had for my first lift kit insisted that it be removed.

    So is it because the tie rod has enough play to reach that far down?


    TEACH ME!
     
  19. JeepJeepster

    JeepJeepster Full Access Member

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    Yea, it will let it come all the way down. And even if it didnt then you could turn the knuckle alittle to let it on down.
     
  20. Mutt

    Mutt Full Access Member

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    Ummmmm...........dude, I'm not a violent guy.......don't know where you got that idea from.