This week we’re kicking off a series of DIY maintenance, fixes and upgrades to my 1969 Jeep Wagoneer with the installation of a four inch lift from Hell Creek Suspension. With leaf springs front and rear, this is about as simple as suspension modifications get: jack it up, unbolt the old springs and shocks, bolt the new ones in. The simplicity of this job makes it a great first “major” modification to a car to attempt. In fact, I got my start performing this very install on my 1991 Jeep Wrangler as a junior in high school. Because the Wagoneer has a spring-under-axle configuration up front and spring-over-axle out back, what we cover here applies to modifying any leaf-sprung vehicle, either lifting or lowering.
You can see the the video that things go pretty straightforwardly with only a minor snag when it came to the U-bolts and the new mounting plates. There’s no movie magic there, I did it all in my driveway with basic tools and it took a whole day instead of half like I was hoping. You can even see my neighbors walking their dogs by.
There are only two points not pictured, but worth mentioning. One, I soaked every bolt in penetrating oil the day before, which really speeds up the unbolting process. Two (and there’s a hint of this at the very end), the added height had my driveshaft drooping down and rubbing on part of the gas tank skidplate. That skidplate was a previous owner add-on that mostly just collected oil, so I removed it.
This is the first of what will hopefully (*cough*) be a long series of DIY features using our project cars as examples. Sound off in the comments about what what you’d like to see more of, less of, or other projects you’d like us to work on.
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