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Old April 7th, 2018, 19:35
alloriginaltone alloriginaltone is offline
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Reinstalling Front End

After much rust-induced frustration I have the entire front end off and will replace everything new. I am reusing my Dana 30 axle. I am also reusing my steering box.

I have pressed the control arm bushings into the axle mounts...but that's about it.

I will lift the jeep about 2.5 to 3 inches. I purchased lift-appropriate fixed lower control arms and adjustable upper arms. I have an adjustable track bar. I also have bar pin eliminators for the shocks. I have all the parts (as well as replacement bolts since I had to cut several off and others are just plain foul).

My question is what is the order in which you would approach the installation of components?

I am sure someone with a sense of humor will say...install them in the reverse order of taking them off. Yes...I understand rotors would go on after the wheel bearings...hoping for a bit more insight from people who have done this before to save me from excess struggling.
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Old April 7th, 2018, 20:26
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Tim_MN Tim_MN is offline
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Re: Reinstalling Front End

I installed several front axles by myself, it can be done with two floor jacks. Make sure to open up the body side control arm mounts with a pipe or pry bar as necessary. IIRC, I loosely installed both sets of control arms on the axle. I raised up the axle and installed the upper control arms. The axle will now pivot so you can place the coil springs and jack up the axle to capture the coils. Use a bottle jack or the factory jack on the pinion or the sway bar mounts and a come-along or ratchet cargo strap, and raise or lower the axle as necessary to to align the lower control arms with the mounting holes. I have a large 12 inch long line-up/alignment punch that I use to maneuver the bushing sleeves so the bolts can go in. Once the axle is fixed in place, the other stuff can be installed in any order. Wait until the tires are on ground to tighten the control arm bolts to the final torque spec.

Originally Posted by bimmerjeeper

I'm starting to realize people on the Jeep forums are highly expert mechanics .....

Last edited by Tim_MN; April 7th, 2018 at 20:32.
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Old April 8th, 2018, 06:59
alloriginaltone alloriginaltone is offline
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Re: Reinstalling Front End

Excellent stuff. Thank you. All others welcome.
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Old April 10th, 2018, 16:43
WB9YZU WB9YZU is offline
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Re: Reinstalling Front End

Pretty much what Tim said.

Leave all the other stuff off, it will just get in your way or hang you up.
No sway bars, no track bar, no driveshaft - nothing.

Loose fit everything below.

Install the UCA(s) 1st (Doesn't much matter which side - chassis or axle).
Attach the LCA(s) to the Axle.
With floor jack (not a bottle jack), put the center section on the jack and lift it to a point where you can put the springs in without them simply falling on the floor; then continue on until the springs hit the bottom of the bucket.

Here is where I change things a bit. I grab 2 ratchet straps - one per side, and pull the bottom of the axle until it rotates and brings the LCAs into range of the LCA mounts. I then push the LCAs into place and center them with a small bolt to hold them in place while I get the larger bolt.

Once the axle is in place - tighten the control arm bolts finger tight.
Assemble the rest of the axle & tire, and put it on the ground.
Leave off the Track Bar and Sway Bar links for now.

Verify your front driveshaft angle is about where you want it.
(Stock is straight on, lifted is slightly low).
If it is not where you want it, adjust your LCAs or add shims to the adjuster to get it where you want it (For me 3" was all the way forward).

When you're satisfied with that, torque the CAs to spec.
Track bar and Links are a different discussion.

Last edited by WB9YZU; April 10th, 2018 at 16:46.
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Old April 14th, 2018, 08:53
alloriginaltone alloriginaltone is offline
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Re: Reinstalling Front End

Thank you WB9YZU. If you would share your comments and thoughts on the trackbar, that would be great. I am assuming it is to do with centering the axle...but please elaborate
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Old April 14th, 2018, 20:34
acruz95 acruz95 is offline
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Location: South Orange County
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Reinstalling Front End

This might be stating the obvious (also known as things i should have done but didn't)...

a. Paint the exposed metal on the axle especially the hard to reach areas like under the LCA mounts
b. Replace rear main seal if necessary...much easier without the front axle in place
2000 XJ, 32x11.5's, 4.5" lift, etc., etc.
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Old April 14th, 2018, 20:51
alloriginaltone alloriginaltone is offline
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Re: Reinstalling Front End

Here's what I learned today installing the lower control arms and upper control arms and mounting the axle.

It's way way way easier to install the arms on the frame side and then work the axle into place rather than installing on the axle first. I appreciate the advice, but after doing it myself I am surprised two people suggested installing the arms onto the axle first - which leads me to believe perhaps I was doing something wrong.

Having said that, as soon as I "gave up" and removed the axle side, installed the frame side and went back to the axle side it was very quick and easy.

There are a few reasons I can see to install the frame side of the control arms first:

1. The holes on the frame side are pretty hard to see if you're working from jacks on the ground.

2. It's really hard to line everything up if you're wrestling the arms into the fixed non-movable frame.

3. Things tend to be in the way as you are connecting it all up. LCAs bumping into jack stands and stuff like that.

So, with that experience in the books, I can't recommend the axle-first method. I would go with the frame first method in the future.
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