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Old 09-13-2007, 01:05 AM   #1
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HOWTO: TJ Front Shock Tower Mod

This mod will give you about 4" of extra up clearance for longer shocks and will convert from the stock stem top mount to an eye mount.

You'll need 5 things to complete this:
1) Visit your local Ford Dealer and ask for part #E5TZ 18183A - this is for a 1988 3/4 ton truck and looks like this:


2) new top bolts. I chose grade eight 5/8th" bolts and found them over at Northern Tools. The 5/8th's required that the holes for the shock mounts be bored out a bit, but no big deal. (I think these were only a couple bux)
3) thread lock - GET THE STUFF YOU CAN REMOVE! Yes, there is a difference. Unless you want to drill out the bolts if you ever have to remove the shocks, get the blue locktite...not the red. ($4-5 bux)
4) longer shocks (Mine are Rancho 5000's model 5036 and ran about $40/ea)
5) longer brake lines...but that is another writeup. (about $45/ea)



This mod let me move from 26" extended Rancho shocks to 36" extended shocks.
Extended:
Compressed:



Begin with the stock tower mount:

Cut out the existing tower mount but leave the spring mount. I've read that others used a Sawz-all to do this. Didn't work at all for me since there is really no space to position it or enough clearance behind the metal to not avoid hitting something. Cutting this out was a royal bitch to say the least.

A tip: use an angle grinder cut these out in two phases. For the first, use a cutoff wheel to cut the upper side and thru the middle all the way thru and toss the section away (the green in the picture below). For the second, use a heavy grade sanding disc to sand the edge down to the frame (without digging into the frame) (the blue with white writing below). This will basically delete the existing welds and allow you pop the chunk off with a claw hammer. When done, paint any exposed metal.


Once it is cut out:




Grab a hammer and beat the hell out of the portion of the wheel well shown below. This will allow the top bolt to fit. This will be on the cab side of the vehicle for both sides. Be sure to check if there is anything in the engine compartment that might get damaged from the hammering.




Now position the new mount so that the shock will remain perpendicular to how it rides on the axle:

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Old 09-13-2007, 01:08 AM   #2
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(continued)


Once you have the mount vice-gripped into position and have it verified to work with the shock, you have a choice. You can drill thru the frame and bolt the mount to the frame. Or weld it to the frame. I welded (this is a pic from the other side - the black on top is paint...I didn't have any red at the time):




Now, using a bit of the blue lock tite, put the shock in place and tighten it down:




Put it all back together




and get ready for replacing the brake lines (which is cake):


But that is another writeup...

(also, note in the second to last pic, the shock has another 4-5" that it can drop...my jack was almost topped out and the steering linkage was stretched long enuf to begin lifting the tire)

And here's a gentle pic of everything in action:

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Old 09-13-2007, 01:34 AM   #3
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Interesting mod. I've seen it on CJ's and YJ's before but never on a TJ. So how much extra travel do you feel you really got out of it? I see you have 10" longer shocks, but you also have 4 or 5 more inches of shock body. Then you move the mounting point up what 3 inches?
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Old 09-13-2007, 01:43 AM   #4
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Would this be useful on a stock rig?

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Old 09-13-2007, 09:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1BLKJP View Post
Interesting mod. I've seen it on CJ's and YJ's before but never on a TJ. So how much extra travel do you feel you really got out of it? I see you have 10" longer shocks, but you also have 4 or 5 more inches of shock body. Then you move the mounting point up what 3 inches?
In all I think it moved the upper up 4 inches. I did this because I moved from a 4.5" lift to a 5.5" lift. In doing so the extra height meant that my current shocks had 8 inches of up travel and 2 inches of down (vs. 6 up and 6 down before the lift upgrade). No problem for on-road, but is sucked big time offroad (with only 2" down). The new shocks now have 4 inches of up travel and 12 inches of down. The extra 4" up on the top mount allowed for the longer shock.

Additionally, the upper mount is now a eye mount vs. the stock stud mount. The eye mount gives more flexability on what you can put under there and is much stronger in the long run (I've seen the stud mounts strip out while wheeling).

Was it worth it? For under $200 total...oh yeah!

Thinking next I might do the same thing to the rear shocks as well


Quote:
Originally Posted by Levinoss View Post
Would this be useful on a stock rig?
Totally stock? It would probably work, but I'd be concerned about the control arms. Meaning: when this is fully extended, the shorter (stock) control arms would likely twist the new shock a good amount and may cause bending or mount point failure (especially the t-bone on the axle). However, if you get a long arm lift...it rox!
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Old 09-13-2007, 06:24 PM   #6
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Yeah, I run 14" travel shocks also and have converted the top to eye's with the JKS eliminator and I also use a Bar Pin Eliminator on the bottom of the shocks. So my upper mounting point has been moved down and inch and my lower mounting point has been moved up an inch. Sitting level I have about 4 inches of up travel and that puts my tire about a half inch from the top of my wheel well. How do you springs react at full droop? Have you had any issues with them pulling off the bumpstop?

Overall I like it and think you did a good job for a clean mod. Now outboarding your rear shocks is definitely a good idea and will provide you multiple benefits over the mounting of the rear shocks on a TJ today.

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Old 09-13-2007, 08:23 PM   #7
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NOICE flex!
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Old 09-13-2007, 08:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
However, if you get a long arm lift...it rox!
Would it have to be a long arm kit?

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Old 09-13-2007, 11:53 PM   #9
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How do you springs react at full droop? Have you had any issues with them pulling off the bumpstop?
Faught this in my head for a while but then found that as long as the springs don't fall off the bottom, they'll always (so far) land back on the top when it reseats itself. In short, I took some tension wire and strapped the bottom of the springs to the axle. Made the strap snug, but not super tight and didn't want to weld it or bracket it down since I've heard that those don't survive for long.

All that might be confusing, I know. Just picture a wire 'strap' holding the bottom of the spring to the axle. When the axle droops the spring extends, unseats from the top, falls away from the top, lets the bumpstop come free, but holds steady on the axle because of the strap. When axle droop reverses, everything (so far) falls back into place.

Have only had a chance to take it offroad once to test it, but after 9 hours of rather hard 3 to 5 diamond wheeling, it worked like a champ. Zero problems whatsoever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Levinoss View Post
Would it have to be a long arm kit?
Would suggest it, however I dunno. Might work fine. If anything, try it and if its too much for the short arms, just use limiting straps to prevent it from warping too much.
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Old 09-13-2007, 11:57 PM   #10
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Yeah, I have both springs captured at the bottom also to keep from losing anything. Have the rear captured on the bottom also.

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