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Submitted By: TheRamChargerMan
Date: November 16, 2008, 11:25:54 PM
Views: 4764

Shock relocation for clearance and travel - TheRamChargerMan

As you can see, it's kinda simple to modify these.

If you look at the upper shock mount in your truck, you will notice that the bolt in the upper shock mount that holds the shock eye in place is not level. It is at a slight upward angle from rear to front. You want to get the lower shock mounts you are making to be as close to this as you can, otherwise, you will go thru shocks/bushings very quickly.

I determined the angle I wanted, and then welded the shock mounts to the flat stock. You may want to tack weld them up, and mount a shock to make sure the angle is correct for the shock eye bushing before final welding.

Ok, now it's time to do some real labor type work. Remove the u-bolts and stock lower shock mount/spring plate. You may need some wd-40 & a wire brush to clean the u-bolts up first. If you are using new u-bolts, just cut them with a grinder at the top square part. Watch out tho, as they will spring out when you cut thru. I ground off the tab for the brake line on the axle and mounted the new shock mounts where the brake line tab was. DO NOT try to knock the tab off, as it may tear the metal and make a hole in the housing ! You will have to re-route your brake lines above the shock mount, but there should be enough room/line to do it.

You may want to install one set of u-bolts and the new spring plate to determine where you want your shock mounts.

Make sure you clean up the axle tube where you are gonna weld, and it never hurts to grind a little off the surface to help the weld take. Positon your new mounts where you want them, and tack weld it. Then make sure it is square to the axle tube, and level. This is also a good time to make sure you verify your angle is correct on the shock eye bushing bolt if you haven't already.

Once you are sure it is where you want it, weld it up. Make sure the brake lines are clear of the weld area, & make sure not to blow thru into the axle tube !!!!!!!

Re-route your brake lines as needed to clear the new mounts you just put on. You should be able to just raise the brake line above the mount.

Ok, now for the upper mount. I apologize for not taking a picture before I removed it, but I didn't really plan on doing a how to on it.

The upper shock mount is basically a cross member between the frame rails right above and slightly behind the rear axle. It is held in with 4 rivets and two small bolts. Remove the small bolts (7/16" wrench) and nut from each side. The bolt goes thru the frame rail, a spacer block, the crossmember, and then the nut. I figure it was used to hold the crossmember in place while it was riveted, as these small bolts would not hold it alone.

Remove the roll over valve from the backside of the frame rail. It is held on by 2 bolts/nuts. It is designed to prevent fuel from spilling out if the vehicle rolls over thru the vapor canister. This is also a good time to replace the hoses on it. Mine were cracked pretty bad. If you need to replace the valve itself, go to Dodge. No one else has it or even knows what it is. Make sure you get the hoses right too. The top fitting on the valve goes to the vapor canister (front of vehicle) and the bottom one goes to the fuel tank. According to my shop manual, only suv's (light duty cycle variety) have this valve. Not sure why, but it does not show it for a normal p/u truck. Guess they can't roll over.....

I then ground the heads of the rivets (2 per side) flat with a pneumatic grinder, and used a center punch to mark them. I then drilled them thru in successive drill bit sizes until I was almost the same size as the rivet. I then ground the remaining part of the rivet head down to the frame rail. Using a punch and hammer, I punched the rivets out. Doing it this way, they come out very easy.

Make sure you move any fuel lines and wiring out of the way before you try to remove the crossmember. You also may need to unbolt and move the rear brake line to do this. It should just move out of the way enough without having to disconnect it. I got the crossmember out by pushing the passengers side as high and rearward as it would go in the frame rail, and by pulling down and forward on the drivers side. You may need a hammer to persuade it to move. It will come out though without a lot of trouble..or at least mine did.

It's not real heavy, but be prepared when it comes loose.

Once I had it out, I ground the rivet tabs off at an angle, leaving a triangle wedge to give the weld some front to rear strength. Do your basic weld prep on the ends and edges.

Now, find 2 bolts/nuts about 3"-4" long, and small enough to fit in the holes in the ends of the crossmember where the small bolts went before. Put the bolts in the holes, but leave the nuts off for now.

Clean the top frame rails off (weld prep) right above the holes for the rivets you just removed on both sides.

Now, slide the crossmember above the frame rail and to the other side. I said to put the bolts in first, cuz you will not be able to put them in or remove them with the crossmember in it's new position. Put the bolts in the holes the factory bolts used, and put the nuts on, and tighten them down good and snug. As you tighten them down, make sure the crossmember is centered side to side on the frame rails, and is square front to rear.

If your crossmember is like mine was, it may be tweaked a bit, and these bolts will hold it firm against the frame for welding. Mine was tweaked when it was riveted in, as the rivets weren't in the same places on each side. Maybe the guy who did it had a liquid lunch that day..who knows ?!?!?

Yeah, yeah, I know, I did a lousy job of painting over the rivet holes....oh well, in a few weeks, you won't even be able to tell from the mud & rust & road grime.

OK, now all you need to do is weld it on. Make sure you put some spray paint on the welds after they cool off.

MAKE SURE YOU PROTECT THE GAS TANK & LINES FROM WELD SPLATTER !!! Especially if you have the plastic tank.

Re-attach the roll over valve and put your shocks back on, and your done with this part of it.

Here's some pics of the finished lower end.

Now for the front shock mount's what it looks like stock with the shock off.

Remove the front shocks and the front upper shock mounts. These are held on by a 3/4" bolt & nut. There is a strengthening plate on the inside of the frame rail under the nuts. Work the bracket out.

I used the strengthening plate as a pattern to mark the new holes. I put them as low on the bracket as I could and still be able to drill the 9/16" hole needed. If you don't have a drill press, I suggest you go slowly with several drill bits in successively larger sizes. This is 1/2" thick plate, and it is hard.

I do not advise drilling holes in the frame for additional height, as they will be too close to the original holes, and may give you breakage problems.

Now, it's as easy as bolting it back on, making sure to get the strengthening plate back on and re-connecting the shocks.

If you look closely, you can tell the additional height by comparing the top stud to the fuel line or fenderwell. It doesn't look like much, but it is slightly more than 2".

Sorry the shocks aren't mounted in the final shots, but I am still in the process of doing some other stuff, and I didn't want them in the way.

This modification allows you to run the same length shocks but have more upward travel (needed for every day driving), or it allows you to run a longer shock for more droop (rock crawling type stuff). The only drawback to running a longer shock with these mods, is you WILL lose upward wheel travel, which could bottom out your shock and do bad things......

Good Luck...and Happy Wheeling !!!!!!!
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