Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Modifications: Gen 1 SWB Body Lift Do's & Dont's
10/23/03 03:53 AM
I almost completed the Roger Brown 2" body lift on my 87 Raider today, and I have some do's and don't for those interested in doing the same. I ordered Roger's "ultimate" kit with hardware, which includes the lift blocks (10) made with some space-age plastic-type material and longer bolts with nylon threaded nuts. It runs $90 plus $10 shipping, plus tax if you live in CA.
The kit is pretty simple and well thought out, with a couple of exceptions. Roger does not include washers, so you'll have to re-use what you have and pick up extras for the bottom of the mounts, if necessary. Also, the mounts that go in at the rear and are accessed through removing the tail lights don't have bolts that are long enough, which means (1) I'll have to let him know and hope he'll make good on them or I have to pick some up on my own, and (2) at this time, I can't use the bottom bushing when attaching the nuts for now. That's not as big a problem as it sounds, as there are four points on the back of the truck, and two of four work great.
Here's what to do: Remove the lower radiator shroud. The engine is attached to the frame, naturally, and won't be going up, while the radiator and shroud are, and will be. Unbend some front brake line to allow it to extend down farther. Don't worry, there's plenty there. Disconnect the clip that secures the filler pipe on the gas tank at the frame, behind the rear driver's side wheel. Disconnect the fuel line support bracket forward of the tank. I forgot this and accidentally disconnected my fuel lines at the tank, which made me run out of gas four houses down the block. Remove the front and rear bumpers. The skid plates can left in place, as I found out, but I think it was easier to remove them because I always seem to drop something down on top of them where I can't reach, even with my monkey-like arms.
Next, you will need to remove the nuts from all ten body mount attachment points. From the front: first tap along the front crossmember adjacent the radiator to locate the "pringle-can" foil layer that peels off to allow access to the top of the first set of bolt heads. Mine looked exactly like the metal member and I could only find it by tapping. In the cabin, remove the plastic trim holding down the carpet next to the doors. The front cabin location mount bolt head is under a rubber plug where your feet would be in the front seating area, so peel back the carpet a little to find it. The rear cabin mount bolt head is accessed by unsnapping the floor carpet from the cargo carpet right where the step-up in the floor is at. There's a little open space there, and you'll find that the bolt does not have a head, rather, it is specially shaped to "lock" in place as the mounting nut is tightened when initially assembled at the factory. The next mount is at the rear of the truck, under the rear door, and is easily accessed with the bumper off. The final set is accessed by removing the tail light assembly; those also have a "captive" type bolt with no bolt head. On the bolts that require a wrench on top and bottom, I had no trouble putting a rachet on top and holding it while I applied air wrench power to the nut underneath. The ones with the captive bolts just need to have the nut removed from the bottom, and you won't need to worry about the bolt spinning.
At this point, you should be ready to raise the body to insert the spacer blocks. At first I thought using the high lift jack at the wheels wells would work, but a few clicks into it, I saw the body starting to bend under the weight, so I went with the floor jack and some wooden 4"x6" blocks to take up the space and spread the load, placing it under the middle of each side between the two cabin mounts, inside the rocker panels, outside the frame rails. Do this at your own risk, seriously, be careful, and I know, it's not all that safe to use blocks on top of a jack, but I knew the worst that could happen is that the body could fall back on to the frame. Do one side of the truck at a time. Jack up the side, check to make sure nothing's being pulled loose, or too hard, and remove the old bolts. Drop in the new, longer bolts, through the spacers, and reuse the rubber isolators. Make sure the bolts extend as far as they can, don't attach any nuts until you lower the body back on to the frame, and go slowly. I made some time-wasting mistakes here by attaching the new nuts too soon in some cases when I had to re-jack the side because some bolts weren't all the way through, or I had to jack higher to get some blocks in.
When all ten blocks are in, it's o.k. to attach the nuts and tighten them down.
Guess what? Your rear bumper won't go back on. The diamond plate will have to have a half-moon cut out to go around the body mounts that used to be below the bumper but now interferes with getting the thing back to its mounting holes. Also, the auto trnasmission selector linkage will have to be adjusted, as it is one notch off from stock, meaning that I can't select first gear lock down, and park is where reverse was. BottomFeeder tells me I won't be able to select low range without some cutting under the console, too; I haven't tried yet.
Roger includes a set of instructions! This diatribe of mine is not meant in any way to take the place of what he lays out for you to expect and to do.
So far, I'm happy with the results and will post pictures in the morning to show the difference it makes. My tires again look puny, and I sense a big dollar outlay in my future to cure this injustice.
The LWB models are different, and others have written about their experiences with that procedure. Notably, there are two more mounting points and a bracket or two that is apparently supposed to keep the body from flying off the frame in a violent collision. I'm not going there.
I'm sure there's lots I left out, but after waxing two cars, replacing spark plugs and wires on one, removing the radiator from a neighbor's Camaro, installing the body lift, then going to the AZ crew meeting today, I'm tired and looking forward to going back to work so I can relax.
Special thanks go out to BottomFeeder for special time-saving tips and to Kary for the tail light removal access info.
How'd I do here?
'87 Raider 2.6 Turbo Auto, Under Construction
'95 Montero SR, 35x12.5/15 BFG M/T KM-2's, Rock sliders, Qtr panel chop, gas tank lift, 2" BL, Aisins
'86 SWB Auto, 2" BL, 33" BFG KM-2's, 2.4l swap underway!
2012 Chevy Camaro LS V6/M6 IPF S/C
Edited by DougH (12/28/04 08:54 PM)