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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok guys. I know it's been covered a thousand times. And ive searched a bunch and looked over most post's related to lifting trucks. Im getting a 6in lift. Specificaly it looks right now from SkyJacker. Im not majorly knowledgable about vehicles in general, but I am a fast learner, and I do pay attention. So, here goes the questions. I have a Mudding truck, cost me a whole $300. It's a W100, Power Wagon, Short Bed, flare side. Currently it consists of a strong running 318, Dana 60 rear (tig welded w/3.88 gears), Dana 44 front. 727 transmission, full time transfer case, and a 3in body lift. Roll bar too but thats not important. It's a beater truck, I have to make a alternator bracket so it can stay charged, install a gas tank, and replace a rear leaf spring.

Now, heres the questions. This truck was lifted before, with a 6in lift. I need to know EXACTLY what I have to do to it when I put the 6in lift in. Im not talking about the 6in lift itself, but all the other neccessities when lifting a truck. Pitman arm drop? Steering box? Transfer case drop? Lengthening the drive shafts(it has a "custom" drive shaft to fit the D60 rear, but it was run with that before so im guessing it works) etc.

I know i have to replace the rear leaf spring, thats a duh, since skyjacker uses blocks in the rear. but what else is ABSOLUTELY required. Remember this is a $300 MUDDING truck. It's not street legal by a long shot, and it won't be driven on the road. Theres a set (at least front set :)) of 38 Super Swamber Boggers waiting for it if that changes anything which I don't think it does.

Anyway thanks for the help. im sure i'll ask for clarifications. But thanks a ton before hand. time for bed....

-myers
 

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Well, a lot of people use them, but spacer blocks are a bad idea. It's a whole lot better to go with full spring and/or shackle flip lift. the folks at Rocky Mountain Suspension have generally been really good about helping Dodge folks from RCC.
 

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You will need longer brake lines, shocks, some sort of steering correction and longer driveshafts. Most of that stuff should come with the kit minus the steering and d-shafts.
 

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OK, here goes.

Starting with the front suspension, there are many things you may need to address. Installing the springs are not too hard, getting the old ones off may be the most difficult part. But I would start by soaking every bolt in penetrating oil for a few days before you pick up a wrench. Once you remove the bolts, the springs come out. Then inspect what you have. I would recommend that you replace all the load bearing bolts with new grade 8 bolts, and go one size larger if you want even more strength. Replace any bent, rusted out, or otherwise damaged hangers and shackles.

When you install the new springs you should have new poly bushings. Grease these so that they don't squeak before you install the springs.

Many front lift springs come with shims already bolted on. I would recommend you remove them, before you install the springs. These shims are often added to reduce the angle on the pinion, but they have an adverse effect on the caster alignment. To do this, you must remove the center pin. The best way to do this is to use two C clamps. Don't try removing the pin without the C clamps as the springs will fly apart.

After you install the springs, you will need to lengthen the brake lines and buy longer shocks. For the steering, I would suggest you convert to a cross over steering system. There is a How To subject covering this.

Before you mess with the suspension, disconnect the driveshaft and mark it so you know how it goes back together.
Once you finish the lift, reinstall the driveshaft and make sure it doesn't bind when you spin it and that there is enough slip engagement in the slip joint. You don't want it to be over extended. If you discover binding, you will need to do some additional work to the driveshaft, but you can ask about it if you discover you have it.

Some things you should beware of. Never use lift blocks on the front suspension. It's just too dangerous. Make sure you have more than enough length in the brake lines and make absolutely sure they do not chafe against any part.

At the rear you have several options to lift. If you plan to replace the springs, once again soak all the bolts in penetrating oil and later replace them with nothing less than grade 8 bolts. Grease your poly bushings and install the springs. It's a good idea to snug the U bolts at this point and rest the weight of the truck back on it's axle.

At this point you should address phasing the rear driveshaft. If you have a CV joint at the transfer case end of the driveshaft, you should turn the axle pinion so that it's inline with the driveshaft. This has two advantages. It reduces vibration and reduces wear on the U-joint end. This can be done by installing a pair of shims between the springs and the axle. (This is why I suggested just snugging the U bolts, You will need to remove them again) You will need to determine how much angle you need to turn up the pinion so that it will be inline with the driveshaft.

If you have regular U-joints at both ends of the driveshaft, you should have both U-joints operating at the same angle at both ends. This will allow the vibration of one joint to cancel out the vibration of the other. Just in case you are wondering. You don't nessarily need to worry about phasing the front driveshaft, because you're likely to spend more time in 2wd then 4wd, and when you are in 4wd, you not likely to be running it at highway speeds where vibration is most noticable.

Again you'll need longer shocks and brake lines, making sure that they do not chafe. After you have completed the lift, go back and recheck every bolt. Recheck the bolts again after driving the truck and do not over torque them.

Good luck

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, cool. So now the question goes to cost. Are there ways that I can lift the truck without a lift kit. Agian, it will not be driven on the road, and probably never over 35mph (i can't imagine going 35mph on a 4x4 trail)

I've heard of the shackle flip. But will this give 6in lift front and rear?

What about substituting different leaf springs? GM? Ive read 63" GM springs.....

Agian this is a $300 mudding truck. Im not keen to paying over $500 for a complete 6in lift ($411 for lift, $75 for shocks, allowance for anything else)

I still have to buy my tires :)

thanks a bunch. -myers
 

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FalGrunt said:
Ok, cool. So now the question goes to cost. Are there ways that I can lift the truck without a lift kit. Agian, it will not be driven on the road, and probably never over 35mph (i can't imagine going 35mph on a 4x4 trail)

I've heard of the shackle flip. But will this give 6in lift front and rear?

What about substituting different leaf springs? GM? Ive read 63" GM springs.....

Agian this is a $300 mudding truck. Im not keen to paying over $500 for a complete 6in lift ($411 for lift, $75 for shocks, allowance for anything else)

I still have to buy my tires :)

thanks a bunch. -myers
You must have discovered that new springs aren't cheap ;D

OK there are several products that allow for more lift and are cheaper than 6" lift springs. However most of them are limited to how much lift you will get and some have drawbacks. To get 6 inches of lift will mean that you will need to combine different products to gain the lift you desire.

Here are your choices;

Rearched leaf springs; Some spring shops have the capability to rearch a set of springs. It's not that cheap, and if done wrong, the springs could sag back to it's original arch shape. You might be able to gain up to 6 inches of lift, but they can be much stiffer due to the process of rebending the springs.

Add-a-Leafs; an Add-a-leaf is a single highly arched spring that is installed into the existing spring pack. When the factory spring pack has an Add-a-Leaf, and tightened down, the springs conform to the new arch provided by the Add-a-Leaf. They are relatively cheap, won't sag over time, and not too hard to install, however they can cause a stiffer ride with reduced suspension articulation. Maximum lift is 2.5 inches.

Blocks; These are nothing more than a type of spacer, which is mounted between the springs and the axle. For safety purposes, do not use blocks on the front axle. It's very dangerous.

The factory already uses a 3 inch block at the rear. You can use a taller block but you should only add one inch more, but don't stack blocks. Blocks are pretty cheap, but they have the problem of causing excessive axle wrap (Commonly known as Bunny Hop) You could eliminate axle wrap with a pair of traction bars, but then this drives up the cost and complexity of the lift. And it doesn't address the front suspension at all

Shackles and Hangers; This is the method of lift which raises the springs from the frame of the truck. At the front, it consists of lengthened shackles and hangers. There are many ways to extend the front axle hangers. One method is to bolt in a 3 inch square tube under the frame and bolt on the stock hangers onto it, however there is a set of plans on this site showing how to make lift hangers. You will also need longer shackles for the front springs.

At the rear you will need to make a shackle flip. The cheapest and easiest way to do this is to remove the rear axle hanger, and install it in place of the shackle mount, then mount the stock shackle upside-down. For the hanger, you could install a stock 73-87 4x4 Chevy hanger. For even more lift you can redrill the mount holes slightly lower on the frame.

The RCC plans available on this site allows for 4 inches of lift using the stock springs and no rear lift blocks. It's not overly expensive, but the down side of this mod is, it requires fabrication and welding, and takes alot of labor to install, as you will need to cut off all of the rivets holding the stock hangers.

Body lifts; A body lift uses spacers to raise just the body over the frame and allows for larger tires without suspension mods at all. It's relatively cheap, and easy to install, requiring little modification. The downside is, it doesn't improve suspension operation and you are limited to a max of 3 inches of lift.

Finally, you can cut out the wheelwells. Cutting out the fenders costs nothing more than the price of Sawzall blades, There is no limit to how much you are willing to cut out but the down side of this is appearance and removing the inner fenderwells as these will become useless. For the rear wheelwells, you may need to make wheel tubs and if you expect to go muddin, you'll need tubs for the front too, or cover the engine from mud splash.

You can combine some of these ideas to gain the lift you desire. A 3 inch body lift along with Add-a-Leaves will get you close. Add-a-Leaves and fender cutting will work, a shackle and hanger lift along with Add-a-Leaves will work, etc.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well I am getting a lift, namely thanks to Chris Iverson (or at least were working it out right now). But I just wanted to know alternatives. It's just kits are exspensive and annoying, but im learning. A great thanks to all of you. I'll get pics before and after and have someone post them for me. Thanks agian everyone! -myers
 
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