JKS 1.25" Body Lift on 2004 Jeep TJ Rubicon

A body lift can be done for many reasons. It's an inexpensive way to clear larger tires while keeping your vehicle's center of gravity relatively low (as compared to a suspension lift). You might also do a body lift in conjunction with a "tummy tuck" or flat belly skid to create the necessary clearance for the transfer case. Whatever the reason, a body lift is a fairly easy project that can be done by one person, with some bolt-on modification experience, in about four hours.

The JKS installation instructions were pretty good but included no pictures. Hopefully, this write-up will help anyone new to body lifts. We do not recommend body lifts in excess of 1.25" due to the added stress they place on the body mounts and mounting bolts.

Tools Needed

  • 16mm socket

  • 10mm socket

  • 7/16" socket

  • Long Socket Extension

  • 7/16" combo wrench

  • Floor Jack and wood spacer

  • Air Wrench (nice to have)

  • Small Flat Screwdriver

  • Large Phillips Screwdriver

  • Cordless Drill with Socket Adapter (nice to have)

Additional Parts or Supplies

  • WD-40

  • Blue Loc-tite

  • 4 1/2" X 7/16" Grade 5 Bolts (3-4 nice to have)

  • Fog Light Wiring Extensions (part #W82203245)

Illustration #1: Body Mount Locations


Begin the installation by removing the radiator overflow bottle. (See Photo #1)

Photo #1: Radiator Overflow Bottle

To remove the bottle from its mount, press on the circular plastic "button" near the center of the bottle while pulling upward on the bottle with your other hand. In the photo above the "button" is the small, round white area showing through the black mount about 5" below the top of the bottle. The bottle will come free of the mount. Remove the overflow hose by pinching the spring-type hose clamp with your fingers (or a pair of pliers) and sliding it upward above the end of the nipple. Once the clamp is off of the nipple, gently slide the hose straight off of the nipple. Set the overflow bottle aside where its contents will not spill.

Photo #2: The Overflow Bottle Removed from its Mount

Next remove the four screws that hold the fan shroud in place. This will allow the shroud to "float" while you lift the body of your Jeep. The top hex-head screws and the lower driver's side screw are easy to reach from above. The lower passenger side screw, is easier to reach from underneath the Jeep. Place the screws in a safe place. You will re-use them if you install a motor mount lift at the same time you install the body lift as we did.

Photo #3: The Top Passenger Side Fan Shroud Screw

Once the fan shroud is floating freely you will need to disconnect the transfer case shifter from the body. This is done by pulling back the carpet on the driver's side of the Jeep and removing the four screws found on the transmission tunnel just below the shifters. (See Photo #4) We used a cordless drill to remove the screws. This saved quite a bit of time vs. using a ratchet.

Caution! Mark the top or the bottom of the TC shifter bracket if you are going to completely remove it. This will save the guesswork and possible reinstallation later if you install it upside-down.

As we were also installing the SkyJacker TC bracket at the same time we did the body lift and motor mount lift we did not reinstall the stock TC shifter body bracket.

Next, disconnect the fog light wiring looms from their mounts. This will give you enough slack to lift the body without damaging the wiring.

Photo #4: The Transfer Case Shifter Bracket Screws

The JKS instructions suggest removing the four bolts that mount the fan to the water pump pulley. If you have taken the shroud loose, we cannot see a reason to do this. We saved considerable time and an almost certain busted knuckle or two (there isn't much clearance to get at the bolts - see Photo #5) by not removing these bolts.

Photo #5: Fan/Water Pump Pulley Mounting Bolts

If you're not very familiar with the underside of your Jeep, finding all the body mounting bolts can take a little time. Take note of Illustration #1, above.

See the photos below and Illustration #1 above for the bolt locations. JKS numbers the locations in their instructions as they are numbered in the illustration above and provides a tip on finding #5 which is the one up by the upper rear shock mount.

Photo #6: The Rear-most Body Mount

The rear-most body mount bolt is just ahead of the rear bumper. This one is easy to get to and one of the easier to install the puck.

Photo #7: The Body Mount Bolt Near the Upper Rear Shock Mount

In the photo above, the second body mount bolt from the rear - the "infamous" #5 - is just barely visible above and to the left of the aqua colored mark on my shock.

Photo #8: The Body Mount Bolt Near the Upper Rear Shock Mount (Close Up)

In the photo above, the second body mount bolt from the rear - the "infamous" #5 - is more clearly visible in the center of the photo. Laying underneath the Jeep and using a long extension on your ratchet is the best way to get at this bolt. Getting the puck on top of these two mounts is very tricky.

Photo #9: Two of the Three Body Mount Bolts Under the Door

In the photo above, you can see the next two body mount bolts - working from back to front. These two are very accessible and easy to install the pucks.

Photo #10: The Third Body Mount Bolt Under the Door

Note that the three body mount bolts under each door have "cupped" isolators on the underside of the mount. In contrast, the ones near the rear bumper and the upper rear shock mount have flat isolators. Be sure you do not get these mixed up.

Photo #11: The Body Mount Bolt Under the Grille

In the photo above, you can easily see the body mount bolt under the grille. The grille moved ever so slightly when we removed this bolt. It was very easy to push the grill back into alignment while threading the new bolt through the holes. Note this bolt also makes use of a flat (not cupped) isolator.

Photo #12: The Passenger Side Radiator "Snubber"

In the photo above, you can see the original radiator "snubber." It is the black cylinder just inside the curve of the anti-swaybar. These come out relatively easily. The new ones are not so easy to put back in.

Now that you are familiar with the location of all the body mounting bolts loosen each one so that it remains in the nut-sert with only a few threads. You're almost ready to jack up the body!

The JKS instructions suggest that you remove the bolts from the driver's side and jack up that side first and that you place your jack between the #3 and #4 body mount bolts. We had read a few other write-ups that suggested doing the passenger side first and decided to try this. We had also read that placing the jack at the rear of the door would lift the body more evenly. We decided to do the passenger side first and follow the JKS jack-placement instructions. As it turns out, we think we were wrong on both counts (read on).

Photo #13: Body Height Before Jacking

As you can see in the photo above, we marked the body height on a block of wood prior to jacking up the body to insert the pucks. We did this so we could demonstrate how high we had to/were able to jack up the body to get the pucks in. You can see the floor jack is in place but it is not putting any pressure on the body yet. With no suspension lift, this distance was 18 3/4" from the shop floor.

Photo #14: The Jack in the JKS-Recommended Location (from below)

JKS recommends that the jack be placed on the channel portion of the body. Above you see the jack between mounts 3 & 4 on the body channel.

Photo #15: The Jack in the JKS-Recommended Location (side view)

Our floor jack has a 21 1/2" maximum lifting height. It was not quite tall enough to lift the Jeep's body high enough to insert the more difficult pucks. We were, however, able to insert pucks in locations 3, 4 & 6 (rear bumper) with the jack in this position and with no assistance from a block of wood. We were not able to insert the pucks in positions 2 and 5. To insert those pucks we relocated the jack farther toward the rear and inserted a section of 2X4 as seen below.

Photo #16: Body Jacked to Maximum Height

As you can see, above, we marked the same board when we had the body jacked to maximum height and were able to insert pucks in locations 2 and 5. At this point, the body was 23 1/2" off the floor of the shop. We had no problems with the fuel filler tube or the hoses connecting the charcoal canister. We jacked very slowly and carefully, constantly checking for overstressed hoses.

One person suggested freezing the pucks for about 30 minutes and then spraying them with WD-40 to install them. We tried this and it seemed to work like a charm.

Once we had all the pucks inserted we lowered the jack and attempted to start the longer bolts per the JKS instructions. We found that a couple of the 7/16" bolts were not quite long enough to reach at this point. The bolts that come with the kit are 4" long. We found a couple 4 1/2" 7/16" Grade 5 bolts and used them. We suspect that if we had started with the driver's side we may not have had this problem. Your results may vary. J

Getting the bolts started in the body mount near the rear bumper can be a bit tricky. The nut-serts are not stationary; they slide in a track. We used a large Phillips screwdriver to line up the nut-sert and then carefully threaded the new bolt into it. Once the bolt was started - no problems.

After getting the bolts started on the passenger side we installed the pucks on the driver's side and under the grille and started the bolts. We then went around to each bolt, put blue Loc-tite on the threads and torqued them down to 25 lbs. The isolators will bulge just slightly. Do not over-torque the bolts. You may crush one of the new pucks.

Since we did a motor mount lift at the same time as this body lift we did not have to re-drill the radiator or use the new mounting hardware. We would highly recommend that you install a body lift and motor mount lift at the same time.

Installing the SkyJacker TC shifter bracket also worked well and makes a lot of sense in conjunction with a MML and BL. The SkyJacker bracket, if you are not familiar with it, replaces all of the existing TC shifter mounting hardware with a bracket that mounts only to the transfer case. This removes the TC shifter's connection to the body of the Jeep - not the best design in the first place - and improves TC shifting.

Photo #17: Installing the Radiator Grille Support

We removed the stock radiator grille supports very easily by following the JKS instructions - just pull and twist.

The final step was to install the radiator grille supports or "snubbers." These little devils can be a pain to install. We used the freeze and spray with WD-40 trick again and it made the job fairly easy. If you have problems getting the wide end of the cone to pop into the hole, we recommend using a small screwdriver to gently press the rubber through the hole.

You'll notice the swaybar is disconnected. This made the installation of the snubbers much easier. You may also notice that the fog light wiring is not disconnected. It's pulled a bit tight in the photo but there is a little slack and it does not seem to be stretched. In more extreme on and off road conditions, it has the potential for being stressed so we will add the extenders (part #W82203245) in the near future. They run about $25.00.

The bottom of this Jeep's tub is now an even 20" off the floor of the shop, exactly 1 1/4" higher than stock.


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