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Teraflex 2" WJ Lift

By Adam J. Sycz

Jeep is an off-road machine, make no mistake about it. But the general demand among ordinary Joe's and soccer moms contributes to making the Grand Cherokee more and more like a highway-mobile. WJ is a very nice compromise but a compromise nonetheless. If you think of doing any type of off-roading you should consider lifting the Jeep to gain some ground clearance. It also makes the Grand look much better in my opinion.

TeraFlex's 2" lift provides a perfect way to inexpensively improve Grand Cherokee's ability to cross rough terrain. Many people, including myself, start off with this lift before dealing with more advanced mechanics associated with going any higher. It will also not affect your highway driving too much making it a perfect solution for folks who do a lot of driving but do take their Jeeps to play off-road from time to time. At the moment of writing this is also the only 2" lift system available for the WJ.

On a scale of difficulty from 1 to 10 I'd give it about 3 or 4, unless of course you're a seasoned mechanic then it is a 1.

Suspension Disassembly - Front
Since the front part is by far harder to do than the rear, this is a good place to start while you have your full strength available. Quite a few things have to be unbolted and as I found out on my knuckles, taking shortcuts is painful. Unless you are doing this on the professional lift I'd leave the rear wheels on for safety reasons.      

 

Now for the unbolting. This part is quite simple unless your bolts are old, tight and rusted. Then treating them with WD40 or similar penetrating lubricant is necessary. Braking a bolt at that point would be undesirable to say the least. If you have 2 jack stands available then put your front axle on them so that the front sits about an inch or so above ground with wheels on. After taking the wheels off apply following procedure to both sides:

  1. Disconnect front sway bar - I suggest taking the sway bar links out completely at both ends, no reason for things dangling while you work
  2. Unbolt the track bar (at the axle on the passenger side)
  3. Unbolt shocks at the top and bottom and remove completely - not necessary but I'd recommend it

(*) Some people have pointed out that they did not disconnect their track bar (thus saving themselves some work). You may try that. I just followed the instructions which had said "Disconnect the track bar", so I did.

It's important that the axle is well supported or at that point it'll drop on you like a sack of potatoes and you're bound to brake something. To get the shock studs out at the top you'll need a 15mm flat wrench (not too long) and either a 1/4" small wrench (good luck) or a 1/4" socket. Use the 15mm to hold the nut in place while turning the stud clockwise with the 1/4". On the driver side I found a breather tube set atop the stud mounted by a plastic sleeve. Just pull the sleeve upwards to remove and put aside - don't loose it though.

The hardest part by far in the front is removing the springs. Unlike the rear you'll need to compress them about 4" in order to get them back on once all spacers are in place. The good news is that you do not have to use a compressor to compress the spring but only to hold in the compressed state. This speeds things up.

spring.jpg (162908 bytes)Before you do anything, use some masking tape or a drop of paint to mark the position of the spring. I suggest putting a mark, which will be inline with the axle. You must put the springs back in the exact same position to avoid possible costly side effects. Then with your front axle on jack stands either:

a) lift the side you're working on with a hydraulic jack (not recommended)

b) put the jack on the other side underneath the axle, raise it a bit to remove the jack stand from there and then slowly lower the jack until the axle just hangs on for deer life by itself. Then put something not to tall underneath the dangling side so it dangles no more.

This operation should provide you with the maximum compression of your front spring. Now you will have to keep the spring compressed after it's been removed. To do that a good spring compressor would be desired. If you either don't have one or like myself ended up renting a piece of crap, which had almost killed me, you might try a lo-tech approach.

  1. Get a nice nylon or other strong type of string - fisherman store is a good place to get those. Those for whale fishing should be ok.
  2. It should not be to thick cause it is hen harder to put on, mine was about 1/16" in dia.
  3. With the spring compressed, tie all the rings together - I'd recommend at least 3 points on the circle, this way nothing will slip and there will be equal amount of pressure on all links.
  4. Be generous, suddenly decompressed spring can do some serious damage to your truck and your body, I've seen that happen.

           

Once you're sure the spring will hold, start leveling the axle out with the jack. If you used a string approach, do it slowly so if that the links brake it'll not cause any damage. The spring might decompress slightly but if you've done the job right it'll be no more than 1/2". Once you get the axle leveled, you should be able to get the compressed spring out quite easily.

With the spring out, it's time for the front bump stop. The rubber bump stop is mounted in a sort of the cup and getting that fat pig out gave me a major hassle. I tried to follow TeraFlex's skimpy manual to no avail. After observing my bloody hand I found that using a big and long screwdriver to create a lever and just push the sucker out was a 10 second process. Just put it between the edge of inner fender and the front or rear of the bump stop and then press inwards. With the bump stop out, you'll need to remove that cup as well. You'll need a 13mm socket as there are 2 bolts holding it up to the body.

The last piece to remove, which may have just fallen out by itself, is the upper spring insulator ring.

At this point you may as well remove the spring and the bump stop at the other side as well by now tilting the axle the other way using previously described method. If you're done and you smoke, have a cigarette, the worst part is over.

Spacer Kit Installation - Front
Now that you back from your cigarette/coffee break, it's time to put things back together. First relocate the bump stop cups by padding them with supplied by TeraFlex blocks and using longer also supplied bolts. Do not use the self-tapping ones, they're for the rear. With the cup now hanging visibly lower, plug the bump stops back in.

Use the supplied TeraFlex insulator (one which looks sort of like a top of a snorkel) and put it first up on the spring column where the original insulator was. Then put the original insulator back only now it will be set 2" lower at the bottom of the spacer insulator. If you are doing it alone, you may want to tape them around together and then to the body to stay in place while you go and get the spring.

Now set the spring back in place. Bottom insulator has a groove with tabs but you don't have to worry about squeezing the spring in. As long as the spring is in its original position it'll be pressed in place by the weight of the Jeep. With the spring in place, jack that side up (or lower the opposite) to close the gap between the top of the spring and the bottom of the top insulator pack. Once all is tight, decompress the spring by either removing the compressor or cutting the string - just make sure your axle at that end is well supported.

The other side goes just in the same, though you may have to do a little running around with jack stands and such to the axle tilted the other way.

Suspension Reassembly - Front
When I said the worst part was over, I may have lied actually. Since you've lifted the body (or dropped the axle if you will) your track bar is now a bit short and its mounting hole is misaligned by about 1/2" or so. Getting it back proved to be a real bitch for me because essentially you have to shift your axle towards the driver side by about that much. There may be some more correct way of doing it, but I just used a piece of a 4x4 block for that purpose. For your amusement here is how:

(*) Some people have pointed out that they did not disconnect their track bar (thus saving themselves some work). You may try that. I just followed the instructions which had said "Disconnect the track bar", so I did.

  1. Get the Jeeps original jack
  2. Cut a 4x4 to the length of space between the rotor and the wall minus about 8-10"
  3. Use the jack to push on the 4x4 which then in turn pushed laterally on the axle (from passenger side to the driver side)
  4. Got the holes to align and bolted up
  5. Technically your front axle is not a bit too much to the left and as you can imagine, you would need an adjustable (or longer) track bar when going to say 4" lift. With the BB however this is ok.

I actually have a video of that - it's hilarious. But no matter what you do, be prepared.

With the axle now comfortably sitting straight on jack stands put the shocks back in and don't forget that breather tube (if you have one) on the driver side stud.

Reattach the sway bar and after putting the wheels back on you are done with the front. Another cigarette?

Suspension Disassembly - Rear
Now after dealing with the front the rear is a piece of cake. The hardest part is unbolting stuff and that's not hard at all.

  1. Unbolt the shocks at the bottom
  2. Detach rear sway bar links

Good news is you don't have to deal with compressing the rear springs. Just tilt the axle as far as you can and the spring will come loose. Again, before you do that, mark the spring position. I had to press on the axle with my hand to lower it an additional 1/2" or so but since it's just dangling there it's not a problem. I also removed the rear bump stop (at the bottom) since it was easy enough to reinstall and gave much more maneuverability for the spring fitting. I left the other side alone until I was done on this one.

Remove original spring insulator from the top of the column but mark its position as well.

Now tilt the axle the other way and remove the other spring, insulator and the bump stop in a similar fashion.

Suspension Reassembly - Rear
Just jack up the axle so that you can put the sway bar links and reattach the bottom of the shocks. Put the wheels back on and you're done!

 

Final Touches
This is the part where you look at your rig and say "Wow! This looks gooooooood!" - I did. Seriously though, throughout the job make sure that you put things back together the way they were and tighten all nuts and bolts as per specifications and requirements. Failing suspension components are nothing to laugh about. Pay attention to the sway bar links and make sure they're tight or you will have some serious rattle going on.

   

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