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Old 06-07-2009, 12:45 AM   #1
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My SOA Conversion Plan; please critique. . .

I've been doing a lot of reading on the different forums about the SOA conversion. . .I've read all the threads that I could find, asked the questions I had that I didn't already see the answers to, and spent the last week compiling a parts list and comparing the different brands to each other to come up with my own SOA Conversion plan. . .I'd like you guys to take a look at it and make sure I'm not leaving anything major out. . .let me know if I have.

First off the idea behind my SOA conversion is not to be the "BEST" suspension lift ever. . .I know there are compromises involved with a SOA lift (as there are with every lift) but the idea behind this for me is to get a sizeable lift (4-5") for less (not including labor that I will be doing myself. . .including welding, I have my own and I'm one quarter away from having a degree in Welding Technology) than what a similar SUA lift would cost (minus shocks becuase those aren't in a lot of the lift kits anyway). Right off the bat I'm making some compromises because this lift won't stay on forever. . .this is a temporary lift while I'm working on a custom suspension system of my own. . .I will be keeping the D30/D35 with this SOA because I don't want to spend money on axles that I will be getting rid of when I do the big build later. . .with that in mind I won't be running tires any larger than 33". . .with that said here's what I have come up with for a basic SOA conversion that will be safe and reliable and won't break the bank right off the bat (the prices are from manufacturer website or retail catalog):

-RE SOA Conversion Kit $309.99
(includes F/R anti-wrap spring perches, HD SOA spring plates, drop
pitman arm, track bar bracket, shock adapter brackets w/hardware, T-
case lowering kit, F/R extended brake lines). . .I picked this kit because
it's cheaper than buying the parts separately and is a good point to start
from. . .
-RE replacement center pins (5/16" for stock leafs) $9.90 ($4.95/pr.)
-RE YJ D30 front U-bolt kit $37.95
-RE YJ D35 rear U-bolt kit $37.95
-M.O.R.E. steering brace $66.00
-GoFerIt Tie Rod Flip Kit Inserts $36.00 (18.00/pr.)
a compomise hear for budget sake. . .the custom suspension system
won't re-use any of the stock set-up at all. . .so once again I don't want
to waste a lot of money here, but I do want to address the steering
problems that a SOA brings with it. . .let me know if this is not enough
-ProComp ES3000 shocks $151.96 ($37.99 ea.)
this is an area of compromise. . .I'm hoping these will be better than
stock, but I don't know if they will work for a lifted vehicle since the
catalog doesn't give a lift range. . .if they won't work then I will go with
Bilstein 5100 series shocks. . .once again I'm compromising here because
of budget and the plan to go with long travel coilovers for my custom
suspension lift so I don't want to spend a ton on shocks that I'm gonna
get rid of later. . .
-M.O.R.E. traction bar $236.00
I may fabricate this myself. . .I'm listing it here just to show that you
know I know I need to address this situation

Total Cost to me $885.75; which is within $100 of the cheapest lift kits which include shocks or up to $400 cheaper. . .plus I will have better articulation and better ground clearance and will have addressed all the major issues of a SOA conversion (that I am aware of) with plans to upgrade any potential weak areas (T-case drop vs. SYE & CV driveshaft).

Things that will be done at the same time:
-Prothane Poly YJ bushing kit
-Prothane Poly Transmission mount
-Quadratec Poly Extended Axle Bump Stops

Future upgrades to the SOA:
-SYE & CV driveshaft (either Advance Adapter, based on their reputation or
the Rugged Ridge Mega Short Shaft because the longer the driveshaft
the better. . .I would appreciate some input on this). . .this will be the
first upgrade as soon as I can afford it
-M.O.R.E. rear boomerang shackles 99/16" bolt w/3/8" lift)
-M.O.R.E. front shackles (no lift)
-steering stabilizer (if I feel it is necessary after driving the YJ with the SOA)
-Skyjacker sway bar quick disconnects

Please let me know if I left anything major out or if anything I have listed sounds like a bad idea or is heading for trouble.

Thanks for your help and lending your experience!!!

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Old 06-07-2009, 07:20 AM   #2
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I think you have hit it pretty much on the head and have a good direction to start in. Here are a couple of items you may want to look at.

Shock mounts, buy some tabs and weld them where you want them because more than likely the old ones will not work for you.

Extended brake lines you will need to relocate the existing lines to under the frame not through it. This will gain you some room and help in the future as well.

If your shocks are basically throw aways for your future suspension go on EBay and look up Rough country shocks for a YJ they will have different lengths listed by amount of lift. I got a set of 6"+ shocks for 125.00.

Traction Bar, I would do some research for (Bam Bar).Since you are able to fab yourself this is a better device than a MORE traction bar as it is centered over the axle allowing the most articulation.

As for the SYE I use the Rugged Ridge super short on my current YJ but youll have to be careful here as it is only for electronic speedos. If you have a 92+ YJ then you should have wires coming out of your tcase for the sppedo, but if it is 91.5 or older then it may be cable driven and you would need to either buy a new dash cluster or buy an electronic conversion module for the cable at the tcase.

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Old 06-07-2009, 09:21 AM   #3
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A factory Jeep Cherokee pitman arm is longer and cheaper than an aftermarket drop arm for you YJ. I did my YJ in two stages like you and I think my only regret is that I spent alittle more money having to refab things to switch from Dana 30/35 over to Dana 44/60 instead of just doing it in the first place. BUT I do understand the money thing and I had to do mine in two stages.... My 2 cents........... Keep us updated.
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Old 06-07-2009, 12:56 PM   #4
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im running a soa with a 1.5 add a leaf with 33'

ive had it in for about 1 year

i left my sway bars and track bars out
got a slip yoke elimenator and a cv drivshaft extened break lines and drop pitman arm

other then that i reused the purches u bolts and everthing else

it drive preficlty straight and has no problems besides the sway when i take turns but its not bad at all

i had to get new u bolts for the rear so far but other then that everyhting is holding up just fine and i wheel the piss out of her so just do what you said so far i would sugest just hold off get axles because theirs nopoint of doing things twice the soa drive good and ill give it a 5 star rating in the woods
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Old 06-07-2009, 01:24 PM   #5
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Thanks guys. . .appreciate the feedback and suggestions!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 78cj7 View Post
I think you have hit it pretty much on the head and have a good direction to start in. Here are a couple of items you may want to look at.

Shock mounts, buy some tabs and weld them where you want them because more than likely the old ones will not work for you..
I didn't think about those. . .no problem to get those at all. . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by 78cj7 View Post
Extended brake lines you will need to relocate the existing lines to under the frame not through it. This will gain you some room and help in the future as well..
Thanks for the tip!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 78cj7 View Post
If your shocks are basically throw aways for your future suspension go on EBay and look up Rough country shocks for a YJ they will have different lengths listed by amount of lift. I got a set of 6"+ shocks for 125.00..
Yeah. . .they are gonna be throw away; I'm not a big fan of EBay, but I'll give it a shot (and Craig's List as well). . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by 78cj7 View Post
Traction Bar, I would do some research for (Bam Bar).Since you are able to fab yourself this is a better device than a MORE traction bar as it is centered over the axle allowing the most articulation..
I'll check it out now. . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by 78cj7 View Post
As for the SYE I use the Rugged Ridge super short on my current YJ but youll have to be careful here as it is only for electronic speedos. If you have a 92+ YJ then you should have wires coming out of your tcase for the sppedo, but if it is 91.5 or older then it may be cable driven and you would need to either buy a new dash cluster or buy an electronic conversion module for the cable at the tcase.
I've got a '94 so I should be set with the speedo. . .what is your opinion of this SYE??? Do you have any experience with any of the others (personal or otherwise. . .ProComp, Advance Adapters???)??? I like the idea of a longer driveshaft, but if I spend the money on a SYE I don't want to get one of questionable quality. . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikes139 View Post
A factory Jeep Cherokee pitman arm is longer and cheaper than an aftermarket drop arm for you YJ. .
Thanks. . .but the RE SOA kit comes with a DPA so I'm not actually buying one. . .might be something to think of for an upgrade if I feel I need it after driving it with the RE unit though. . .

I
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikes139 View Post
did my YJ in two stages like you and I think my only regret is that I spent alittle more money having to refab things to switch from Dana 30/35 over to Dana 44/60 instead of just doing it in the first place. BUT I do understand the money thing and I had to do mine in two stages.... My 2 cents........... Keep us updated.
I totally understand what everyone is saying about the D30/D35 axles. . .but this is what I'm gonna use for the SOA. . .I will be getting new axles in the future, but when I do it will no longer be a SOA set-up. . .I will probably end up with a Ford 9" in the rear w/a 4-link and coilover shocks and in the front it will definitely be a D35 TTB from a Ford Ranger upgraded with D44 30 spline axles, D44 outer knuckles and stub shafts, and the larger D44 spindle, hub, brakes, etc. . .this will be with coilover shocks as well. . .this is gonna be my big fab project for the YJ. . .it won't be JS1 (JeepSpeed Challenge legal, but YJ's aren't eligible for that series anyway). . .it will end up very unique and I will be VERY happy with it!!!
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Old 06-08-2009, 06:28 PM   #6
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i had to read through that pretty quick, everyone's right on. i'm not a fan of the kits though, they leave bolts and plates under the axle that reduce the beneficial ground clearance of this suspension.

and making perches and t case drop kit is stupid easy, or i found perches for 20 bux a pair so i just ordered them and got them the other day out of laziness. for 10 bux a peice, i'm not gonna make them

the bushing kits are bs also, you don't need sway bar mount bushings, and sway bar like bushings, and you don't need tie rod boots and some other junk they sell you in there. i just bought the spring bushings.

i also didn't see what springs you are using, not the originals i hope, you can but i'd recomend modifying them a little.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:00 PM   #7
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jpdocdave. . .I was planning on re-using the stock springs. . .what modifications would you suggest to make to them???

Thanks!
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Old 06-09-2009, 09:45 AM   #8
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jpdocdave. . .I was planning on re-using the stock springs. . .what modifications would you suggest to make to them???

Thanks!
it never works well if they are original, since the newest yj now is 14 yrs old. the springs are tired, and when you put them soa they will sag, and have axle wrap immediately, or very quickly. your best option is new stock replacement springs, or rubicon express makes a spring designed for soa that i asked for some feedback on and everyone seems to like. i'm gonna use those, but they are 160 a peice.

if you have to reuse your stock springs, this is what i always do in that case. find another set of stock springs, disassemble donor pack. cut the eyes off both sides of the main leaf. disassemble your packs you're using. remove the second longest spring, and replace it with the main spring you cut the eyes off of the old pack. this gives you a full length add a leaf, and it isn't gonna be stiff or ride harsh like an add a leaf kit you buy.

let me know if that made sense or not.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:27 PM   #9
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I have had the Rubicon Express spring over springs on mine for about 6 years now. 2 years as just a spring under setup and the last 4 as a spring over setup. I ran them spring under until I could afford the SOA set up. A buddy of mine did SOA with stock springs and had to add extra leaves to his to keep axle wrap down. Even after adding extra springs they wrapped more than my R.E. springs.
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Old 06-09-2009, 03:12 PM   #10
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Thanks jpdocdave and Mike139. . .I will add some stock YJ spring packs to my list of stuff to check out when I'm in the junk yard tomorrow. . .along with YJ shift boot, Explorer 8.8 and some stuff for our '79 F-150. . .

. . .I don't think our springs are that old, we bougth the YJ as a rebuilt about 3 years ago. . .but I don't know if they were new springs at the time or just salvage springs. . .I'll have to check the rebuild list and see. . .maybe I'll get lucky and they used new spring packs!
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:53 PM   #11
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Thanks jpdocdave and Mike139. . .I will add some stock YJ spring packs to my list of stuff to check out when I'm in the junk yard tomorrow. . .along with YJ shift boot, Explorer 8.8 and some stuff for our '79 F-150. . .

. . .I don't think our springs are that old, we bougth the YJ as a rebuilt about 3 years ago. . .but I don't know if they were new springs at the time or just salvage springs. . .I'll have to check the rebuild list and see. . .maybe I'll get lucky and they used new spring packs!
you can post a pic of them. are they dead flat right now? most are. if they have a hair of arc left which is all they had they're ok. if they are completely flat, which most are it will get you by w/ some modification like i said. if they already have any sagging, or downward arc, i'd find new springs.
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Old 06-09-2009, 05:20 PM   #12
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Thanks for the tip. . .the GF just drove up in it. . .so I'll go out and have a look see!
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:40 PM   #13
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I would say IF you can swing it, go ahead and do the coil spring conversion. Use the money for the coil spring conversion that you would put towards leafs. You would just be out the coil springs perches on the Dana 30/35 when you do your upgrade with the other axles.
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:47 PM   #14
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i've considered it, but its so friggin expensive.
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:50 PM   #15
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i've considered it, but its so friggin expensive.

I TOTALLY understand that. I had to do the 2 stage thing myself. I am not totally done with stage two but the wife thinks so.
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Old 06-10-2009, 01:42 PM   #16
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Yeah. . .to just do a basic coil spring conversion I would have to fab the control arms front and rear at the very least on top of getting the coil springs and the coil spring perches. . .I think it would end up costing me more than the SOA (I haven't priced it out yet, but that's just an educated guess. . .)

I checked the springs they are not completely flat. . .they have some arch, and by some I mean a little. . .just enough to say that they aren't flat. . .is that all they normally have new???

I'll try to post up a pic. . .
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:39 PM   #17
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Just picked up an XJ front CV driveshaft from the local salvage yard today for the SYE part. . .

. . .$45 sure beats the heck out of $300+!!!

The parts buying has started!!!
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Old 06-11-2009, 09:27 PM   #18
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The parts buying has started!!!
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Old 06-12-2009, 07:56 PM   #19
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i priced out my soa last week. its going to be roughly 3g's. some re springs. custom made shackles front and rear. sye and new d shaft. cross over steering. rear disk conversion for my d44. i cant wait to see how it works with my reversal of the shackles!
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:54 PM   #20
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I know that the shackle reversal kits are kinda pricey (I looked at them. . .the reason for them is great!!!, but they are too expensive for what they are). . .based on the prices I saw I'm just gonna cut my own plates in the shop using the optical tracer for the pasma cutter to do this myself. . .

. . .I have my own welder so I'm definitely not paying for that mod!!!

3G's is an awful lot for a SOA conversion. . .I know you're using new springs and a SYE/DS is pricey as well, but how did your cost get that high???

I'm under grand for the entire thing including shocks and SYE/DS. . .the only part that I'm re-using is the springs I'm replacing all the other parts. . .
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:57 AM   #21
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3G,s is an awful lot IMHO as well, I would place it at 2 on the high side if someone is doing it for you. Are you paying a regular shop rate to someone to have this done? And if you are are they a Jeep/4x4 shop, I wouldnt have a regular garage doing this kind of work as it is probably a learning experiance for them as well,
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Old 06-13-2009, 08:56 AM   #22
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he's probably including the d44 disc brake conversion, and the re springs are 165 a peice. it can add up there real quick, with steering to.
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Old 06-13-2009, 12:03 PM   #23
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Even with that I think he must be getting charged a high dollar for the install. I have d60's in mine, 538 gears, spool in the rear, detroit for the front, high steer, steering, Re SOA springs, boomerang shackles, mega short sye, cv in the rear, 7" slip shaft in the front, and I dont have 2k in that entire setup. But, I did the labor myself.
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Old 06-13-2009, 12:05 PM   #24
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Your set-up sounds really good 78cj7!!!
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Old 06-13-2009, 02:42 PM   #25
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if he's paying for professional labor he's doing well. almost 2 grand in parts, and thats a lot of labor.

i could see the parts adding up to almost 3 if you just look in one place, and add shipping. 78cj7 you're probably like me, you know exactly what parts you need, so you can shop for each part and decide where to get the best deals.
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Old 06-13-2009, 02:50 PM   #26
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I did lots of shopping around. . .and I changed my parts list quite a bit from what I started a quite a few times, even since I posted what I thought was my final list.

I tried to weigh cost vs. benefit. . .I wasn't shopping for the cheapest parts thats for sure, but I wasn't going to pay 4x as much for the same part for only a questionable amount of increase in part quality. . .I ended up sticking with companies like BTF, RE, RuffStuff, etc.

I guess if you don't have your own welder, or a friend with a welder, or you don't know how to weld your labor could go up pretty quick. . .I just got an estimate to get a 250V outlet put in so that I can run my welder up to it's full capacity if I wanted (haven't needed to yet. . .I can weld up to 1/4" on normal household outlet as long as it's got a 20A breaker) and they wanted $490 to put in one outlet. . .I went and priced the parts and will be doing it myself for less than $60!!! so I can see where the labor cost can skyrocket!!!
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2" 4WD Hardware Body Lift

Eventually
D44 TTB 4WD IFS Conversion w/coilovers & bypasses
4-link rear w/coilovers & bypasses

'49 Jeep Willy's Pick-up Truck
350SBC/TH350/NP205
14-bolt rear/D60 front 2/40" BFG MTR's on H2 8-lugs
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Old 06-13-2009, 03:19 PM   #27
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if he's paying for professional labor he's doing well. almost 2 grand in parts, and thats a lot of labor.

i could see the parts adding up to almost 3 if you just look in one place, and add shipping. 78cj7 you're probably like me, you know exactly what parts you need, so you can shop for each part and decide where to get the best deals.
You could be right Doc, I am an old SeaBee so I do almost all of my own stuff cars, house or whatever. i havent paid regular labor costs for anything in years , maybe he should find someone close who is a board member I dont charge that much when I work on peoples jeeps.
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:09 PM   #28
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You could be right Doc, I am an old SeaBee so I do almost all of my own stuff cars, house or whatever. i havent paid regular labor costs for anything in years , maybe he should find someone close who is a board member I dont charge that much when I work on peoples jeeps.
exactly, i get the pleasure of charging those outrageous rates where i work, but save that money at home. my shop is over 100/hr now days. dealers in my area are closer to 150
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Old 06-13-2009, 09:38 PM   #29
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for those who tink 3'gs is a bit here is my list of parts.
re1440 springs - 50/per one so 200 for the whole set.
twz spring perches 40/pr
twz su bolt plates 10/ea
twz ubolts 15ea
twz lower shock mounts 25/ea
teraflex pass knuckle 325
twz drag link 145
twz tie rod 155
ream pitman and driver knuckle 40
rancho rs5168/rs5118 42/ea
np231 sye 295
cv shaft 345

total 1959.27
plus labor 50/hr 10hr
(all twz parts are cut in shop and welded)
500
total with labor 2659.27

plus its my buddies shop so. even if i am getting charged a bit much i really dont care. and i know its a good price. only getting the best parts. the steering is all dom tubing. i dont trust my welding on my own vehicle i tend to mess up on my own stuff and do perfect work on others.

his website is
www.twiztedengineering.com
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Old 06-13-2009, 09:41 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by punkafi888 View Post
for those who tink 3'gs is a bit here is my list of parts.
re1440 springs - 50/per one so 200 for the whole set.
twz spring perches 40/pr
twz su bolt plates 10/ea
twz ubolts 15ea
twz lower shock mounts 25/ea
teraflex pass knuckle 325
twz drag link 145
twz tie rod 155
ream pitman and driver knuckle 40
rancho rs5168/rs5118 42/ea
np231 sye 295
cv shaft 345

total 1959.27
plus labor
(all twz parts are cut in shop and welded)
500
total with labor 2659.27

plus its my buddies shop so. even if i am getting charged a bit much i really dont care. and i know its a good price. only getting the best parts.

his website is
www.twiztedengineering.com
what about brake hoses? and trac bars and sway bar links/discos, unless they are getting ditched all together.

500 labor is nothing

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