Rubicon Express Spring-Over AxleÖ

by Gilbert Verkuijlen

                   

 

Here is the Jeep still stock

 

Like the subject says: I did the SOA on my Ď88 YJ 258. I wonít give the instructions, but Iíll try to describe the problems Iíve encountered, questions I had, and maybe give some advice for future SOA installations. Iíll also give you the story of getting home. I have to warn you: donít ever drive a Jeep like I did to get home. First, it is time to thank some people. Special thanks go out to Lars Soo and Jim Bailey, which helped me to get the Rubicon Express SOA kit in The Netherlands. Furthermore I want to thank Craig Myers, Alan Wicker, Mike Garner, Dion Davis, Louie Belt and Jefe Reynolds for their technical advice.

 

Before we (the Spring-over team: Wim "the man next door" van de Pol, Gilbert "eight-ball" Arensdorff, Mari "my uncle" Vekuijlen and myself) did the installation, we hang the Jeep with some straps on tackles. Danny "the lowrider" Drube couldnít make it, but was mentally with us. Then we hoist up the Jeep, so we could walk under it. The first problem that I encountered was removing the pitman arm. I couldnít get it off the drag link AND the steering box. I tried it with my cheap pitman arm puller and an expensive puller from somebody else, but it wouldnít get off the steering box (it got off the drag link after a half-hour). Wim decided not to spend more time on it and cut it with a grinding-machine. Finally the pitman arm got off. I had the luck that I could use all the tools that you can imagine. Especially the airtools were handy.

The SOA Kit

 

The next important step was welding the perches. I could lay hands on a cheap angle finder to measure the angles. After welding the rear perches, the angle finder fell in pieces. I measured the perches on the front axle with measuring tape. I could only lower the front axle by removing my exhaust pipes (I donít have a stock exhaust system). When we tried to disconnect the rear brake-line from its mounting location, the steel brake line broke. Wim tried to repair it by cutting a small piece off it and re-routing the brake-line. When we tried to bleed the brakes, we found out that it didnít work, because it was leaking brake-oil. Mounting the new shocks seemed very easy, but wasnít so easy. We started with the rear shock at the passenger side. We had a lot of troubles with the top bolt. When we finally installed it on the top, we noticed that it wouldnít fit at the bottom mounting location. The axle hit the thick part of the shock. We decided to install it upside down.

Here is the Jeep hanging aroundÖ

 

After installing the drag link to the drop pitman arm, we noticed that the drag link hit the underside of the front-driverside spring pack when turning to the right. Does this mean that my drop pitman arm isnít low enough?? Can I do something about it, besides buying a new pitman arm?? Later, I cut a leave (from a spring pack) and put it between the perch and spring pack in the front (at both sides). The last step was adding the front brakeline extensions. We couldnít get the rubber line off the steel line. Then we decided to mount the brakelines under the frame by carefully bend the brakeline. Now I have more than enough brakeline when it extends downward during axle droop, and didnít have to use the brake line extensions. I donít see a downside of this setup. I didnít disconnect the rear driveshaft from the rear axle, but slide it out the transfer case. I havenít lengthened my rear driveshaft yet, so it is very short. Later, I installed a CV driveshaft. We connected it while I lowered the Jeep on its four tires.

Here you see the spring pack on the axle

 

The story of getting home (about 40 miles, again: donít try this at home):

I HAD to drive the Jeep back home that night. Well, I drove it home with only a half inch of the slip yoke in the transfer case, so I had to be very careful for holes etc. (I drove home in 4WD). I couldnít make sharp turns to the right because of the drag link that would hit the springpack. I couldnít attach my exhaust system, so no exhaust system while driving home. Because of the broken brakeline, I also couldnít use my brakes when I drove home. I used my emergency brake for braking. Conclusion: I drove home while I couldnít make sharp turns, had only a half inch of the slip yoke in the transfer case, without an exhaust pipe and without brakes. Maximum speed was 25 miles per hour. Iím not proud of this, but I really had to get the Jeep home.

The result: The Jeep with SOA

 

I ended up with 6" lift in the rear and 6.5" in the front (I used 5 leaves in rear and front). Later, I added some leaves, and now I have 7 leaves in front and 6 leaves in rear). BTW I bought SAE wrenches, but I did the whole job with metric tools (especially the 19 mm and the 22 mm are important). I only used two torx bits.

The SOA in action on some kind of a ramp

 

 

                   

Gilbert Verkuijlen.
E-mail: Gilbert@moab.nl
Website: www.moab.nl