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Suspension Lift (level of difficulty)

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by skink4president, Apr 1, 2006.

  1. skink4president

    skink4president Registered Member

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    Hey guys. I'm about to purchase a tuff country 2.5/3" lift kit from ORD for my 73' K5. Serious suspension work like the installation of springs is something I've never tackled before. I've got a jack and stands, a big a$$ breaker bar and a 250 ft/lb torque wrench but no compressor or any air tools (impact wrench, etc.) and limited space.

    The trucks a daily driver and I'd need to have the work done in a weekend. I always prefer to do the work myself but what kind of knuckle busting am I getting myself into here??? The suspension is completely OEM save for some new shocks so the spring eye and u-bolt nuts have not been removed since the guy from Detroit put them on:yikes:

    Thanks again for any responses!
     
  2. cbbr

    cbbr 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    THe lift should be simple and straightforward, but you better have someone around to help, make parts runs and a ride for the next week just in case. I was amazed at the little things that came up the first time I did a lift.
     
  3. muddybuddy

    muddybuddy 3/4 ton status

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    its not that hard at all. i installed mine in about 4 hrs, i believe.

    jack up truck, put jack stands to support frame take off/cut off old ubolt, take off shocks, drop axle. then take outspring eye bolts, use a bfh and hit the springs, should knock them out of the mounts. then install new bushing on new springs and install into eye mounts. then jack axle up in place install ubolts andshocks. then do the same thing for the front. the rear might be a lil tricky because of the factory shackle. when i installed mine, i had to use ratchet straps to move the shackle down so the springs could get in.

    you can do it!
     
  4. Leper

    Leper 1/2 ton status

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    Don't forget to have new brake lines handy.
    The spring eye bushings may give you some trouble, so spray everything down with penetrant a day or 2 prior to starting removal.
     
  5. jk3078

    jk3078 1/2 ton status

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    A tubeing wrench will make removal of your old brake lines much easyer. Are you doing steering corrections? If so this can be time consuming for first timers but might not be needed with this lift. Two floor jacks also makes lifting/aligning the axle easy. Take a hacksaw to the u-bolts, cutting them about half way through will let them twist right off when you put the torque to it. Over all this job i'snt to hard for a novice but a weekend might be a bit short for a truck this old. Get started on friday night? Good luck and post up!
     
  6. the beast

    the beast 1/2 ton status

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    This is great advise. My buddy & I did my 4" lift in a weekend with steering upgrades and what not.

    I can say though that getting the bolts out of the original bushings was the most difficult part. Mine were frozen in. took a couple hours for just the front two bolts. :doah:

    Some non-air tools that may help the cause are a torch and a angle grinder w/ cut-off wheels. Faster than a hack saw. And you can use the torch to heat bolts or nuts that may be stuck.

    Don't forget after any type of suspension work, you should have the trucks alignment re-done. If not, bet on ruining your tires. Make sure you factor that into your time frame.

    If you're really unsure, host a wrenching party. Offer Pizza and drinks and all the locals will be more than happy to lend a hand. :waytogo:
     
  7. willymonster

    willymonster 1/2 ton status

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    install

    lube every thing up with wd40 a couple of days before you start and try to have a sawzall handy for those 30 year old bolts that dont want to give up their home. if you new what you were doing i would say no problem unfortunatly you have never done one before so try to hook up a ride for the following week . its really a very easy job but i have done countless and like others were saying its those little things that pop up that will turn it into somthing you werent expecting . although it could go smooth as silk and you may not have a problem . dont be afraid it is a basic install :laugh:
     
  8. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    i'd like to reiterate that. also, don't forget the brake fluid. might be good time to flush your brake system anyway.

    the hardest part of your lift is going to be getting the truck up in the air by the frame. get some TALL jack stands and lots of good flat boards. it might help if you can take the tires off the truck to bring the body down lower to the ground. were it me, i'd try and just let the truck sit on the ground on the axles w/ no jack stands under it - maybe some boards or something under the front to keep the brake backing plates from supporting the weight of the truck tho. then lift the body up and support it by the frame.
     
  9. k5freak44

    k5freak44 1/2 ton status

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    2.5/3" lift, wont require new brake lines right away. your driveshafts will be fine, but you might need to correct your steering.
     
  10. gravdigr

    gravdigr 1/2 ton status

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    On a '73 I can almost guarantee he will need new hard lines in the back unless he's lucky and they were new a year or 2 ago. I didn't catch where he's from but in the northeast if the brake lines are more than 2 years old They will not come off the rear cylinders without destroying the hard line.

    Edit: I see he's in Orlando. Rust could definitely be a problem with the humidity there and the fact the state is surrounded on 3 sides by salt water =o)
     
  11. DirtyJim

    DirtyJim 1/2 ton status

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    if you really want to make sure you get it done in a weekend rent a cutting torch. most of my bolts were rusted into place and had to be cut off. if you already have the kit make a list of all the bolts you need to "reuse" and get new ones.
     
  12. chrisb420

    chrisb420 1/2 ton status

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    i had all my springs replaced in a few hours by myself. but if you are replacing the steering arm sometimes it can be a p.i.t.a. have a BFH handy and dont be afraid to use it
     
  13. cbbr

    cbbr 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    All of the "don't forget" responses are things that I forgot (or just didn't know) and like I said, have someone around who can go on parts runs.....
     
  14. bear76

    bear76 1/2 ton status

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    Lots of PB Blaster, start spraying everything a week ahead time. Spray everyday when you get home.
     

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