So we just received the Rugged Ridge 4”-5” Coil Spring Lift Kit with Shocks (part#18401.60) from our friends at Rugged Ridge and we couldn’t wait to get it out of the boxes. This kit requires the use of a drop pitman arm (part#18006.55) separate from the kit and we also ordered a few additional parts for the front end (adjustable track bar (part#18205.08), inverted drag link (part#18205.23) and a steering stabilizer (part#18475.03)). When I spoke with the guys at RR regarding the kit they said that on their rigs they just install the kit and the pitman arm so we’ll see once we finish our install whether the additional front-end parts make a difference.
All of the parts in the kit are individually labeled and numbered and are very well organized. We decided to start with the rear (we figured it would be quicker because there are less parts). The new shocks and springs that come in the kit are a lot larger and more substantial then the OEM shocks and springs. The new lower control arms are a substantial improvement over OEM as well. The remainder of the parts are brackets that lower parts that would be otherwise too short once the new springs, shocks and control arms are installed (brake line relocation, parking brake line relocation, raised bracket for the bump stops, etc.). As Charlie told me at the beginning of the build – its mostly nuts and bolts, not a huge deal. We’ll see if he is right.
So we wanted to see exactly how much lift we were going to get with this kit when we were finished so we measured the rear bumper before we started- we had about 26 inches from ground to top of the rear bumper which we taped off so we were sure where we ended up. After that, we jacked it up and got to work. RR says it takes 8 hours to do the whole thing. So we set the timer and started ripping parts off.
Since our Black Bear is new the old parts came off in a flash. RR gives you step-by-step instructions and for the most part they are very easy to follow. This is our first Jeep build so we figured we might have a bit of a learning curve. There were two of us and our Roadfly mascot Rosie the boxer helping out (she sat around even more then Matt did during the build). We ran into only one minor snag on the whole install. The kit contains spring retention brackets which amount to round disks that mount at the bottom of each spring — ostensibly to hold the new springs in place. They are mounted with a single bolt and a tiny washer and nut on the bottom. The trick is that there is very little space between the axle and the bottom spring mount to feed the washer and nut in. This took as a while using a small magnet from the top. The second one went much quicker as we honed our technique on the first one. We were a bit confused as to the need of these retention brackets since the OEM springs just sit on the mounts and aren’t “retained” in any way. When we jacked the Jeep and let the axle down a bit with the frame sitting on jack stands the OEM springs simply fell out. I spoke with RR about these and they said they use them to help keep the springs from rattling. We’ll see. We were close to leaving them off all together since they were such a pain to install.
Other then that, the install of the rear was very smooth. We measured our mark on the rear bumper after we finished and we are at 31.5 inches. That’s an increase of 6.5 inches – of course that’s without settling and with the front still sitting at the stock 25 inches. So we were done in about 4 hours with the rear, more or less right on target with half of RR’s estimate. We were going to get started that afternoon on the front but we were missing (or we lost) a crush sleeve for one of the rear brackets. So we stole it from the front and now have to wait for RR to send us a replacement. So in the meantime we are rolling around in a half lifted Jeep. It looks kinda cool. We are getting lots of comments from people on it. That’s for sure.