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.
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
Illustration #1: Body Mount Locations
Begin the installation by removing the radiator overflow bottle. (See
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.
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
Photo #6: The Rear-most
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
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
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,
think we were wrong on both counts (read on).
Photo #13: Body Height
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
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.
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.
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.
#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.