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1997 XJ - Rocky Road Outfitters Budget Boost Install

author: ThePhantum

This writeup will cover the installation of a Rocky Road Outfitters 2" Budget Boost on a 1997 XJ. I installed this in mid 2003. The install was done to accommodate BFG 30" x 9.5" AT's wrapped around American Racing Outlaw II 15 x 8 Rims w/3.75" of backspace. Be forewarned, if you are planning on doing a similar setup with similar backspacing on your XJ be prepared to cut your front and rear flares as well as the front fenders. The backspacing will stick the tires way out of the wheel wells.

The pictures are kind of sparse for this one, but hopefully the descriptions and advice will help...

Two pieces of general advice to start with:
The front utilizes 2" coil spacers. The installation was fairly simple. I did one side at a time and it went a little something like this:
  1. Got the Jeep up on stand jacks at the "frame rails" and took the tires off
  2. Supported the axle with a floor jack
  3. Removed the shock
  4. Disconnected the Anti-Sway bar link
  5. Removed the lower control arm bolt (at the axle, not at the frame)
  6. Removed the spring retaining bolt
  7. Let the axle drop away by slowly lowering the jack, watching the brake line to make sure I didn't stress it, and removed the spring.
  8. Installed the spacer and put the spring back in
  9. Put it all back together
coil spacer and whacked fenderYou can see the result of the install pretty well in this picture (which was taken after whacking the fender back a little...)

Now, although I did not use one, I would highly recommend getting a spring compressor to do the job. Here's why. I did the drivers side first and had no problem reassembling. But when I went to put the passenger side back together, I could not get the axle low enough to get the spring back in. What I did was put a bottle jack between the axle & body and slowly/carefully jacked them apart until I could get the spring back in. This is why I recommend getting a spring compressor (you can rent them real cheap). Just make sure to get one that fits on the outside of the spring.


The rear has a 1.5" extended shackle and a 0.5" spacer. I went with a shackle over an AAL for a number of reasons.

Now the installation seemed simple (as per the front, one side at a time)

  1. Get the XJ on stand jacks at the "frame rails" and support the axle with a floor jack
  2. Remove the stock shackle and install the longer one
  3. With the axle still supported, remove the u-bolts
  4. Drop the axle away from the spring a little
  5. Place a clamp on the spring (very important!) and remove the leaf pin bolt
  6. Bolt the spacer to the spring, remove the clamp and re-assemble.

Actually doing it was a PITA. First of all, the bolts. I broke 3 of the 4 shock mount bolts. It took me and a bud each with 3/4" break bars to get the lower shackle bolts to turn (this despite soaking the hell out of all the bolts with PB Blaster every day for 3 days before the install...I need air tools). In addition, the stock u-bolts were too short, and the stock leaf pins/bolts were too short.

The shock bolts - basically I had to drill and re-tap them. This is actually quite common on XJ's, so expect to have to drill and re-tap at least one.

The shackle bolts - at least they turned and nothing broke. The thing to watch out for it the upper bolt. The nut is welded inside the housing (completely inaccessible) and if you break the weld you'll be kinda fooked. Just make sure you use a lot of PB Blaster before hand (no...WD-40 is not the same thing).

The U-bolts - They were just too short. I got 4 new, longer and beefier ones from a local spring shop for $35 (I hear that NAPA has them as well). I recommend the same thing, even if yours are long enough. The factory ones are crap.

The Leaf pins/bolts - Again, they were just too short. What I ended up doing was picking up 2 longer grade 8 bolts and rounding the heads off of them on a grinder.

installed budget boost on the Jeep XJNow, after installing the Budget Boost and new wheel/tire combo, I immediately ran into a couple of problems. The first was the fact that the exhaust tailpipe was up against the shackle and would rattle like crazy. That was fixed by using a torch to heat the chite out of the pipe where it meets the hanger. Once it was hot enough I just bent it about an inch away from the shackle. Problem solved.

The second problem was due to the low backspacing I choose, I began to have problems with rubbing... but that's addressed by my fender and flare write up.

Rock On!


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