4 lift install
1999 TJ Sport
I picked up a Basic 4 Skyjacker lift from National4wd to give the 99 TJ Sport a bit of a face-lift. I had selected the Skyjacker by feedback from current users of this product as well as extensive bird watching when out 4 wheeling. In this write up I will explain the steps I took (with the help from a couple friends) to put the lift in.
I was lucky to have the air operated lift jack as it made things so much easier. We removed the tires & started unbolting the track bar (Fig 1.0) on the passenger side. You might have to use a pry the bar to get it off. Once that is complete, I had to remove the draglink from the pitman arm, as well as the removal of the pitman arm itself. We didnt specifically have a pitman arm puller but we had a gear puller and worked well. (Fig 1.1 & Fig 1.2)
Fig 1.0 Fig 1.1 Fig 1.2
The coil spring retainer located at the bottom of the drivers side as shown in (Fig 1.3) needs to be unbolted in order to remove the spring. Next we removed the sway bar end links (Fig 1.4) we jacked the Jeep up in order to let the front axle droop down further to remove the springs. You might need to put a bit of pressure downward as well for them to pop out. After the removal of the springs the Upper Bump stops can be removed. They are basically just friction fit into the cup that is attached to the upper coil bracket, but you will need to work it back and forth pulling downward hard to get them off. (Fig 1.5)
When installing the new bump stops it was much easier with the air operated lift jack, but you could do this as well using your high lift jack. Fitting the bump stops into the upper cup we lifted the jeep up more to fit a 5lb sledge in between the bump stop and the lower coil bracket (Fig 1.6) Then lowered the jeep using the weight of it to press them in easily, otherwise they are a PITA to push in. Now it was time to install the new 4 spring from Skyjacker (Fig 1.7), and what a difference in comparison (as shown in Fig 1.8)
Fig 1.6 Fig 1.7 Fig 1.8
Now that the springs are back in we made sure to put the clip on the drivers side coil bracket back on to hold the spring in place (Fig 1.3) Next the shocks can be put in place and bolted back in. The front lower link adjustment cams need to be marked with a vertical line prior to unbolting the control arms for later reference so you can realign the marks when your done your installation. There is a small assembly of the new lower control arms, placing the two-piece bushings into the arm ends using the metal spacer through them to hold them together. The grease nipple had to be installed as well. I used a º socket to tap the friction fitted Grease nipples into the arms. (Fig 2.1)
Fig 2.0 Fig 2.1 Fig 2.2
Once all the control arms are together we installed them and made sure to find the vertical mark we made on the adjustment cams and realign them to the same as when we first took them apart. When installing them we needed to get the axle closer together in to get the control arms together. We used a ratchet strap (securing one end to the axle and the other to the frame) and were able to easily bring the axle in fit the arms together with ease as shown in (Fig 2.3) when we did this on the rear as well.
Fig 2.3 Fig 2.4 Fig 2.5
We had to do some more assembly on the front sway bar links (Fig 2.4) as well as drill the sway bar ends with 7/16 holes. With the front sway bar removed it it was much easier to drill the 7/16 holes as well as I cleaned it up a bit to repaint it (Fig 2.5) Once drilled, the new sway bar disconnects were installed and the front end was almost complete.
Fig 2.6 Fig 2.7 Fig 2.8
Now that the Control arms are in, the track bar mounting bracket needs to re-located for the 4 lift, the re-location of the track bar is æ of an inch to the right of the original hole. We used a set of vise grips with a square level and measured it as well as marking it with a transfer hole punch (Fig 2.8) Showing the before and after (Fig 2.9) of the completed 7/16 hole that was drilled. Next the track bar, steering draglink and Pitman Arm were installed.
Fig 2.9 Fig 3.0
the front is complete we basically went over everything once more to ensure we
did all that was required as well as the tightness of all the bolts within were
checked. We basically worked our way down the jeep next starting at the Skid
plate drop kit, as the price of a new shaft and SYE were not in the budget but
scheduled in the near future. Using the floor jack we placed it under the skid
plate to tight. We then removed the three bolts on each side of the transfer
case skid plate and lowered it enough to fit the square tube spacers in between
the frame and the skid plate and then tighten the 6 bolts back up.
then moved the floor jack under the rear axle lifting it up high enough to fit
some jack stands under the frame with the tires off the ground. After the tires
were removed, the rear track bar & sway bar end links as well as the shocks
were removed. With everything removed we lowered the floor jack to drop the rear
axle down just enough to remove the springs. The Skyjacker kit supplies you with
a new set of bump stops for the rear as well as a bump stop extension to
compensate for the longer coils. Removal of the upper bump stop cup using a
10-mil socket to fit the new extension in first and the cup to the extension
using the longer bolts supplied with the kit. (Fig 3.8) Then firmly push the new
bump stop into the cup. The lower stock control arms were also removed as well
as the stock rear links.
Now the new rear track bar relocation bracket in position and put the bolts in tight to hold the bracket into its mounting place. Now using a ½ drill bit, drill the new hole as shown in (Fig 3.9) now the bracket was bolted on using the new ½ bolts supplied in the kit. There was new 2 æ long bolts to go in the original track bar location using the supplied spacer sleeve but the rear track bar was not put back in until later. With the relocation bracket bolted up we placed the new coils in and jacked up the axle a bit further to hold the coils in place while we assembled the rear extended links supplied in the kit as well.
bar was reinstalled into the new relocation bracket on the axle, placing the
bolts through the holes but not tightened yet. The new links were also attached
to the axle housing at this point along with the shocks once both springs were
installed. Next we installed the rear lower control arms using a ratchet strap
to help position the axle so the control arm bolts would fit in the stock
Once everything was bolted back up we moved to the T-case linkage relocation bracket. This is where I found the Skyjacker kit cheeped out. Instead of supplying a complete bracket that bolts up to the body they supplied a small extension that bolts to the existing T-case linkage (Fig 4.0) We found that the bolts that held the extension once put together were interfering with the Torque shaft and making shifting very difficult from 2wd to 4wd. We tried several different things as the kit has two different settings (2 lift or 4 lift) so we basically drilled a different hole to get the bolts out of the way of the path of the torque shaft. When you do this part of the install, now would be the best time to replace your Linkage bushing retainer kit (Chrysler Part Number 05014148-AA Torque SH 21-105-001) as this one was completely seized and was in need of replacement as shown below in Fig 4.1 the comparison, shown in Fig 4.2 an exploded view of how the kit goes together. Once completed (Fig 4.3)it was much better than the stock kit that was put on in back in 1999, as there was no boot spring on the factory setup.
Fig 4.0 Fig 4.1
Fig 4.2 Fig 4.3
Once we almost had everything back together the tires showed up that I also purchased from National4wd. I had selected a set of four 33 15x12.5 Interco Trexus, also a new set of American racings aluminum rims 15x10. Once we seen the tires and rims we had a bit more of an urge to get them on and get this newly raised Jeep out of the garage. We did a once over on all the nuts/bolts to make sure we had everything tightened down good especially the recent replaced steering components. We finally were ready for the tires and rims. Once we bolted them on and got the true view of the new look we were quite impressed with the outcome. Only thing left to do at this time was to take it for a test drive and of course the ride was completely different from when it first went into the garage.
I had heard prior to buying the kit that there were a few problems with the Linkage as well as the transmission shifter hitting the tub of the jeep. When I was shifting gears in the test drive I had a few grinds going into 2nd & 4th as the jeep was under load, the driveline would flex and cause the body to hit the shifter and keep it from completely getting into gear. I got sick of the grinding into second so I removed the center console & shifter boot by unbolting it from the tub. I used a small air operated cutoff wheel to grind away the two locations where it was hitting the tub. I took it out for one more test drive prior to putting the console in found that the problem was solved.
** Product review after 4 Months **
It has now been 4 months after the date this kit was installed and I would have to say that I am completely satisfied so far with the selection I had made. The only real problem I found was the cheap way Skyjacker decided to to do the linkage setup. Upon installation this clearly should have just been a complete unit to bolt up to the body of the Jeep vs trying to adapt it as a small cheap metal add on bracket that just makes it possible to use. I would imagine some applications may vary as I heard from a couple different sources and others had nothing to say but really didn't clarify that they installed it. I have had to re-tightened the bolts once again in the front track bar as well as the rear sway bar add on bracket for the rear axle housing. I would suggest doing the check for tightness on all bolts a couple times once the kit has started to completely settle.
As for the flex I have seen it has been GREAT, the quick disconnects that come with the skyjacker kit, were sometimes hard to get back in but I guess most newly installed ones would do the same until they are worked in a bit. The handling of this 4" lift going down the road is rather excellent, you can certainly tell that you have a modified Jeep but the overall ride is pretty good. This kit was installed in the Canadian winter months so the terrain has been mostly snow. Once I have tested it in the spring, I will update a few flex shots to show the capability of the Standard Skyjacker 4 lift.
Jeep Specs Retail Resources Lift Kit Information
1999 Jeep TJ Sport National4wd Standard 4" Lift -
Engine: 4.0 Burlington, Ontario Incl. Front/Rear Coil Springs,
Driveline: Ax15 Manual / NP231 4122 South Service Road Front/Rear Sway Bar End Links,
Axles: Dana 30/44 L7L 4X5 Lower Links, Pitman Arm, Bump Stops
Tires: 33" Interco Trexus MT 12.5 x 15 1 800 575-7500 & Transfer Case Lowering Kit.
Rims: 15" American Racing Outlaw II http://www.national4wd.com www.skyjacker.com