The CJ Build – Skyjacker Softride Lift Kit Install

Lift kit install

Alright, time to start putting that new suspension package on this bad boy! I went and got the skyjacker 4″ softride kit with the nitro shocks (I don’t know why, but I heard and read that the nitros were better shocks…but MAN they are pretty stiff… ) Ok, figured I’d start with the rear end first since there was less to deal with…just to see how things go. Here’s what I had to look at the first time I crawled under the thing. To get a glimpse of this for the first time was a little disheartening to say the least… YUK.

Ok, now what …

I unbolt the driveshaft and the brake lines…then unbolt the u-bolts on the axle and wheel the rear axle out of the way so I can get ready for the new leafs and shocks setup. Checkout the difference between the stock leaf springs and the new skyjackers!

 

 

This is the rear springs… the skyjackers springs come with a pinion angle shim….nice. All you gotta do is just lube up the bushings (poly) and spray some lithium grease on them and slide them in the spring eyes…. be SURE to put lithium grease on them, that way they wont squeak later on down the road once the springs start flexing well after they’ve been broken in.

Ok, so now I have the rear axle out and after looking at it…

 

 

I decided I would go ahead and get some POR-15 and at least make it look good again. I know it’s only the AMC 20 axle and they’re known for being weak and have two piece axle shafts and all….but I am not a hardcore wheeler at ALL…I just want something good enough to go out and have fun with and I’m only gonna run 35’s max on this thing, so I am keeping it and putting solid shafts and 4.56’s in it and callin it DONE. Here’s what it looked like after the paint.

 

 

Much nicer looking…and that POR-15 stuff is amazing…hard as a rock!

Ok, so after painting it and getting the leaf springs put in …it was time to re-bolt the axle to the springs…. the easiest way to do this I think is to attach the front of the springs first, and then slide the axle in, attach the springs to the axle ,and then use the jack to get the axle high enough to bolt up the shackles. I ended up getting 1-3/8″ con-fer shackles… very beefy and look pretty good. Below you can see I got the axle rolled in there ready to bold up to the leaf springs at this point.

Ok, now…after the rear axle is installed and looking nice…. I was pretty pleased at this point and SOOOOOO happy that I got SOMETHING actually DONE on this thing!!!

At this point, I had actually done several things…one of them was attaching the stainless brake lines to the rear axle and getting it set for attaching that part to the main brake lines coming from the proportioning valve. I also got the new gas tank ready to bolt in at this time too… I ended up getting my mind set on a poly gas tank so I wouldn’t have to worry about the rust problem ever again…you should have see the old one. I didn’t get pictures of it because I wanted it out of my garage immediately since it was leaking so much gas….it had holes everywhere and just moving it around the garage was splashing gas all over the place. NOT good.

Now the big problem occurred…

 

 

I wanted to take off the rear spring hangers to get them cleaned up and painted with POR and all….MAN what a nightmare this was. I let the bolts in the spring hangers soak in PB Blaster for a day to loosen them up enough to where I could hopefully get them out without breaking anything. No luck… first try on BOTH sides was exactly the same… the bolt heads spun right off and ended up looking like the picture above. SO, I cut the rest that was sticking out off with a cutting wheel then had to drill out the rest….NOT fun. I was on my back under this thing with my drill for about 2 hours or so and by the time I got out, there were metal shavings ALL over me and the floor! I did finally get them finished…but it was horrible and I was worn out from all the drilling..I ruined a drill on this job. When I reattached the spring hangers I used grade 8 bolts and put some antiseize on the threads and actually ended up having to re-tap the holes to make sure the threads were all smooth and good to go.

Ok, so finally, here’s the result of the rear end lift kit install:

 

 

MUCH MUCH better…..don’t you think? I was thrilled with it!

The front end was actually MUCH easier than the rear…..didn’t take a whole long time either…unfortunately I only got one picture of that deal during the last part of the install of the front end.

 

 

The skyjacker kit did NOT come with the drop pittman arm OR the extended anti-swaybar links….so I ordered those as well and after painting the front axle and getting it all dialed in that’s what it looked like. I was really happy with it. You can also see in that picture that I used POR on the frame everywhere I could ….sure made it look nice!

NOW for the final view of the lift kit install…I did it all in 2 days….but it would have only been ONE day if it hadn’t been for the stinkin rear spring hangers!

I want to mention that it’s EXTREMELY handy to have an engine hoist (commonly known as a ‘cherry picker’ ) in the garage to help with lifting the vehicle up enough to stick the jackstands under the frame… especially if you don’t have a big floor jack…mine stunk and was actually too small for the job, but I got by with the engine hoist pretty easily!

Ta-DA….look how much higher it sits!!! DANG. Looks lame with the little tires eh? HA!

 

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