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Longer Shocks

When I first bought my Jeep in June, it had no articulation to speek of, mostly because the sway bar was connected and the leaf springs were really stiff. I fixed this by removing a leaf from each pack, making longer shackles, and disconnecting the sway bar. Now it could flex beyond the limits of the shocks. I could ramp in the 500's with the shocks it came with, but I knew the springs had more in them then that. I went to Sears and picked up the shocks that their computer told them I needed for a Jeep with 2-4" of lift. I don't remember what the part number was, but they were too short. They were about what I had before, so back I went asking for something longer. He came back with 5118's. These are 14 1/4" long when compressed and extend to 22 1/2". This is measuring betweeen the centers of the bolt holes. I didn't measure my Jeep, but these looked about right in comparison to the first ones I tried.

I went home and installed them. They were a little too long, they would bottom out just as the axle housing came in contact with the bumpstop. The bumpstop was lowered from the frame with a 2 1/2" steel block, I think this was part of the lift kit the previous owner installed.

To get this shock thing straightened out, I took the drivers side shock off and cut the bumpstop and spacer off of the frame. I then ramped the drivers side wheel (at high speed) until I was tettering (is that a word?) on two wheels.

The suspension could compress about 2" higher then what the bumpstop was allowing, and could extend about 1" less then what my new shock were capably of. This meant that nomatter what, with these shock, I was gonna' restrict movement, but only by about an 1" or so. I could live with that.

This meant that the suspension could go up more but not down. The only way to satisfy this was to build new shock mounts that were higher then the originals. I decided to make new mounts that put the shock about 1 1/2" higher than the factory location. I used the old bumpstop spacer (how about that) and some 1 1/4" x 1/8" flat steel to construct the tower. I notched it out so that it would angle out from the frame almost exactly as far as the factory mount did, but I rotated the head of the shock 90 degrees. This allowed the shock to swing in and out as the axle raised and lowered. This is how it should have come from the factory. As it was, the shock binds on the mounts when the axle move up alot.

I welded the shock tower to the frame. This was the first time I've actually welded something directly on my frame. All of the other things I have welded just got bolted to the Jeep, so I measured and lined up the mount about 12 times before I actually busted out the welder. It went smooth as could be and is perfect. As with all the thing I make for my Jeep, they are way stronger then they need to be, but thats never a bad thing.

Now the axle can extend as far as the suspension will go, and can go up untill the tire nearly hits the wheel well. This is almost a perfect match of suspension flex and shock absorber length. As a foot note, I was able to use the factory brake hoses too. I bought new ones because my old ones were cracking, so when I installed them, I turned the fitting upwards. This allowed enough lenght to equal the extension of the new shocks, but just barly! ANYTHING more would require either moving the attachment piont of the hard line down, or longer hoses.

I made new bumpstop spacers at the appropriate length, but I dont have a pic. As you can see, at full extension, the brake hose is straight, but it isn't tight. Now all I have to do is get the rearend to move like the front. This has one major problem. At full compression, the tires hit the frame and tub, so I'm not sure theres much I can do with that.