10-25-2008, 01:07 AM
Join Date: Sep 2008
The add on leafs experience.
So after not listening to 2 or 3 members of this forum and reading countless post's regarding the subject I decided to try the add-on-leafs to gain the advertised 2''.
It was cold here in Concord, NH. I'd say about 40 degrees, 50 in the garage. After working 8:30am-9pm I was tired (and still getting over the flu) I had to do something to keep myself from thinking about how much I feel like shit. I decided to go turn a wrench and have myself a beer.
After attempting to jack up the Jeep (95 Rio Grande) up by the frame with my ultra slim floor jack (used for my slammed EX-E30) I knew I was ultimately defeated, but continued anyway. I ended up needing 1 patio block on the floor, and two 2x4 pieces between the jack and the frame just to get the wheel off the ground a half inch. With the sway bar still attached.
I disconnected the sway bar and the wheel immediately touched the ground. Then I decided to hang it up. Feeling unsafe although I have previously blocked a jack on uneven ground I decided to bolt everything back together and wait until tomorrow.
I actually got out of work at a decent time 8:30am-6:30pm. I picked up my two girls and went on the search for the highest jack I could find. I quickly came to realization that a high lift jack is not available at regular parts stores, or wal-mart around here so I ended up getting a 12 ton 18 1/4 inch lift bottle jack. Without the sway bar attached it lifted the wheel about 2 inches (maybe a little less) with a single 2x4 between the jack and the frame.
I bolted the add on leafs up with the supplied U bolts, plates, and lock washers then lowered the Jeep to the ground. I took a step back and immediately said "WTF"? I couldn't see any lift at all so the tape measure came out. I gained a whole half inch. Measured from the bottom of the shock tower to the nut at the bottom.
I had some lift shackles on hand anticipating the severe let down (because of the views of members of WF), so I figured I would give them a shot. I pulled off the add on springs and let her down to the ground to start fresh.
These shackles are again a universal part that I've seen on serious JEEP's around town. So not expecting much after the previous let down I went at it.
I figured to max them out was too much stress on the tired springs, and by my figures the min. wasn't enough (only an inch of lift) so I went midway. I forget what the figures were (even though I took them an hour ago) I seem to remember 3 inches of shackle so 1 1/2 inches of lift. Anyway I had to stand on the springs to get the bolt holes to line up with the shackles.
As I was straightening out my tools (thinking how nice it was to not be working under a BMW that's as old as I am), I remembered reading a post saying extended shackles are hell on worn, stock springs. At this point I'm really tired, dieing to sit and have a beer with my girl Kate-Lin, and play with my puppy Bowser, and Deanna's already in bed (11pm). I'm re-thinking all of the positions I had the the add on spring installed. In the middle, toward the rear, toward the front. As I walked through the door and something just kept pulling me back to the garage. I was debating on taking the add on springs back for the cash or putting them to good use. I even thought about doubling them up for height (which I did not try).
I stuck the add on spring under the spring pack (centered) to help the stock springs with the extended shackles in the front. I've been drinking so I haven't taken her for a test drive yet. I plan to put on the extended shackles for the rear tomorrow morning and see how ride quality is on city streets/ highway..
The difference between the front and back is like satin impervo against the gripper. For you non painters out there it's like lockers vs. stock, even night and day.
My plan as of now is to keep the add on springs on the front, and shackle the rear (to keep some ride quality). The test drive will ultimately decide.
Does anybody have a good alignment that really works? or should I start with the standard 1/8in. in and go from there?