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.