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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I finally got a tracking # on my new shocks/struts. They should be here Wednesday, so I can install the lift this weekend....


I have tried to read as many threads about the install, as possible. Some information indiciates that I do not need to remove the spindle from the control arm. However, one of the articles that MarkMC linked to (for strut replacement on a TB) indicates that detatching the upper ball joint from the control arm, thus lowering the spindle, is neccessary.

Is that in fact the case?
 

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Sometimes the strut with its threaded studs on top, is longer then the opening that the steering knuckle will naturally droop to. And it's difficult to wedge it back into position. I've heard three ways to get over this hurdle. I use #1.

1) get a small bottle jack to push (somewhere safe) the upper or lower control arm down 1/2" to create an opening.

2) remove upper ball joint and let the steering knuckle droop down, thus lowering the lower control arm.

3) disassemble the yoke mount from the bottom of the shock, install the strut (shock + coil spring) into the upper perch, then reassemble the lower yoke back onthe shock and get it back onto the tapered bolt on the lower control arm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
3) disassemble the yoke mount from the bottom of the shock, install the strut (shock + coil spring) into the upper perch, then reassemble the lower yoke back onthe shock and get it back onto the tapered bolt on the lower control arm.
If the lower control arm is not low enough to allow the strut to be removed, how would I get the lower yoke back onto the lower control arm? Wouldn't the spring have to be compressed further, or the lower control arm dropped?

I may use method #1 if that's easy/safe.

That is the one that you recommend?
 

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I haven't used methods 2 or 3, but I never popped the upper ball joint out until a while ago. Now I know how easy it is, especially with a small tie rod end puller helping, I'd probably do that. I just changed out two upper control arms in about an hour and a lot of that was for taking pics.

The big issue with removing the struts is that they seem to be easy to get out, as long as you get the lower control arm part off the tapered bolt. I posted the now-ubiquitous pittman arm puller picture years ago when almost nobody was replacing struts and installing spacers because the vehicles were all too new to be modding.

But they have to be tilted in to get them back installed, and that tilting makes them a bit longer, and their weight isn't pushing down on the lower control arm, so the opening shrinks.
 

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So I finally got a tracking # on my new shocks/struts. They should be here Wednesday, so I can install the lift this weekend....


I have tried to read as many threads about the install, as possible. Some information indiciates that I do not need to remove the spindle from the control arm. However, one of the articles that MarkMC linked to (for strut replacement on a TB) indicates that detatching the upper ball joint from the control arm, thus lowering the spindle, is neccessary.

Is that in fact the case?
You have at least, 4 sets of instructions available to you.

1) Mark's , included with the lift.

2) The link on Marks instructions from Truck Test Magazine.

3) Online and printable from the BDS website.

4) The above post & knowledge from the " ROADIE ".

Plus the many , many posts located on this forum.

I used a combo of all of the above.

Here's what I did. And to add, I have a fairly complete tool chest at my disposal (ie) Floor jack and compressor/ air tools. Spray all nuts and bolts a few days ahead with penetrating oil.YMMV here.

Flat-level work surface. Set E-brake & block rear tires, jack up and support both sides on suitable stands. Pop off the tires and get the lay of the land.

Take off the brake line bracket ( 2 10mm bolts ) and unclip the ABS electric line.( small screwdriver ) Be careful and do not nick,pinch or sever this cable. Bad things will happen.

Undo both upper strut mount bolts, but leave the forward/front on a few threads . This prevents a sudden decent and injury to fingers & privates.

Unbolt upper ball joint cinch bolt and detach. Upper A-arm should come off with a few light taps. Nothing is going to fall off here. Tip brake assy to the rear and tie off if you want. Again, going now where.

Loosen lower strut mount bolt and remove. The hard part is now. Remove the nut from the tapered attachment to the lower A-arm. This can be a bitch, I lucked out and had an old adjustable Proto gear puller that fit perfect . Popped off with no probs.

Compress springs, remove old struts. Install new struts and spacers per instructions. Re-install the unit in reverse order. Pass side ( initial ) took 2 hrs due to learning curve. Driver side was removed and re- installed in 30 Mins. No BS.

You also had questions on the rears. Have to go to an appt. at the tire shop now. Will be back with what I did later....HTH......MIKE
 

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Sometimes the strut with its threaded studs on top, is longer then the opening that the steering knuckle will naturally droop to. And it's difficult to wedge it back into position. I've heard three ways to get over this hurdle. I use #1.

1) get a small bottle jack to push (somewhere safe) the upper or lower control arm down 1/2" to create an opening.

2) remove upper ball joint and let the steering knuckle droop down, thus lowering the lower control arm.

3) disassemble the yoke mount from the bottom of the shock, install the strut (shock + coil spring) into the upper perch, then reassemble the lower yoke back onthe shock and get it back onto the tapered bolt on the lower control arm.
All roadies options are viable and will work. For myself I installed the new strut assembly back into the vehicle by using one spring compressor to give me the angle I needed to get it back in place. Once you get your hands dirty it will all start to make sense. Good Luck.
 

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Thank you very much for your walkthrough. I eagarly await your "rear steps".
Ouch....

This is the fourth try to explain my efforts with the McMaster rear lift. Damn this forum and its widgets.

Get the rear end up and secure as before. You can take off the rear tires for more working room if needed. ( I did ) as you again need to undo & relax the stress on the brake/ABS lines. The E-brake cable is taut, but workable. I had a floor jack to use under the rear Diff. to raise and lower as needed to remove both lower shock bolts...The driver side panhard bolt and both lower sway bar end link bolts.

Sounds like a lot of work , but is only 5 nuts/bolts total. The spacers slip right in with a rubber hammer persuasion or better yet, an extra set of hands to jiggle the whole rear boggie.
1 hour max to install McMaster lift blocks with Z71 springs, including a beer break . God Bless air tools.

The stock lines are somewhat maxed on the down stroke ,but will work. Now working on bracket extensions to help out on the articulation with the lift and 71 springs. Next week will help to prove out that thought. Stay tuned.

Again, hope that helps & happy lifting...............Mike
 

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Addendum to above post. Should have added that the proposed home brew extensions mentioned were for the rear brake line and ABS cable mounting systems. Probably OK , with stock shocks, but seem to be at the limit, to my eye, with the longer Bilstein or Avalanche shocks when axle is fully extended/articulated.

The alignment was good after the install according to the hands free/75MPH test on the freeway.

A week later after the new tire upgrade, the alignment was so close, that the guy did not even charge me for a minor tick. I tossed him a sawbuck for PR and later work reasons.

Oh, forgot pic on lift.....sorry
 

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