Rocky Road Outfitters Budget
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.
pictures are kind of sparse for this one, but hopefully the
descriptions and advice will help...
pieces of general advice to start with:
- PB Blaster (no, WD-40 is not the
same thing). Spray it on every
nut and/or bolt you plan to put a wrench to and do it at least once a
day for 3-5 days before hand.
- Put anti-seize compound on every
thread you wrench back together.
That way if you have to take it apart again it'll be easier.
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:
- Got the Jeep up on stand jacks at the "frame rails" and took the
- Supported the axle with a floor jack
- Removed the shock
- Disconnected the Anti-Sway bar link
- Removed the lower control arm bolt (at the axle, not at the frame)
- Removed the spring retaining bolt
- 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.
- Installed the spacer and put the spring back in
- Put it all back together
You can see the result of the install pretty
well in this picture
(which was taken after whacking the fender back a little...)
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.
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.
- Since the XJ only had 63K miles on it when I lifted, the leafs
were not sagging in any way.
- The shackle will allow for greater articulation (flex) of the
spring (which is what causes the spring to wear out quicker)
- I can incorporate the shackle when I lift it higher.
installation seemed simple (as per the front, one side at a time)
- Get the XJ on stand jacks at the "frame rails" and support the
axle with a floor jack
- Remove the stock shackle and install the longer one
- With the axle still supported, remove the u-bolts
- Drop the axle away from the spring a little
- Place a clamp on the spring (very important!) and remove the leaf
- Bolt the spacer to the spring, remove the clamp and re-assemble.
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.
Now, 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
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