GChanMako enjoys working on, improving, and modifying his Jeeps.
The capable Jeep Cherokee XJ 1984-2001 is a mid-sized 2- or 4-door hatchback with a uni-body frame and a box like shape. Known for the Inline 4.0L 6 cylinder motor and AW4 transmission, which made for a reliable and capable off-road vehicle.
In this article, we will be discussing how to install 2-inch lift spacers on the front of your Jeep Cherokee and 2-3 inch lift rear add a leafs.
Strength Test of Add A Leafs
Make Sure You Have All the Correct Parts
For this kit, we should have a pair of polyurethane 2-inch spacers, a pair of rear steel add a leafs, and 2 pairs of leaf spring bolts.
Please read these instructions over a few times and familiarize yourself with the installation process. The night before it might be wise to liberally apply penetrating spray on the bolts you will remove to help loosen them and make it an easier install.
Remember to take your time and do things right inspecting parts and cleaning necessary parts along the install process. If any part is worn, damaged, or in need of replacement when removing them would be a perfect time to replace them.
Guide to Installing the Front 2" Spacers:
Before you begin make sure the vehicle is parked on a relatively flat surface with plenty of space on either side of the vehicle to move around. Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheels, leaving them still attached and use a heavy duty jack under the front pumpkin to lift the front of the Jeep.
1. Place axle stands to support the Jeep, make sure you do not put them on the axle tube as you may need to drop one side of the axle to remove the springs easily. Because the Jeep Cherokee XJ has a uni-body you can put the stands under the body frame rails. Leave the jack supporting the axle under the pumpkin.
2. Remove the wheels from the axle and set to the side out of the way.
TIP: I use the wheel to sit on as a stool as you may be sitting on the ground a lot this becomes a real handy tip, so use it!
3. It is easiest to do this one side at a time. Rather than dropping the whole axle. Starting on one side, disconnect the lower part of the sway bar end links. Disconnect the lower shock mount. You can also disconnect the tie rods to make this easier but I usually don't.
At the bottom of the coil spring there could be a spring clamp, remove that clamp by undoing the bolt. Also you can disconnect the track-bar as well but again this is optional and I don't unbolt it.
4. Now you can slowly lower the axle on the one side enough so you can remove the coil spring. Watch your brake lines so they do not get overextended. You may need to do some manipulation to get the coil out or use a coil spring compressor to get them out. Also remove the coil spring isolator and inspect them both for damage, cracks, or wear. MAKE sure you take notice of how the coil seats into the bottom coil seat mount.
TIP: a coil spring compressor may help aid in putting the coil spring back in when installing the 2" spacers.
Installing the Front 2" Spacers:
- Now that you have remove the coil spring, you need to remove the bump-stop cup. This is located on the end of the tube that the new 2" spacer will go over. CHECK FIT THE SPACER first and if it will go over the cup with no problem then you don't need to remove it.
- Now put the new spacer over the tube and push it all the way to the top. If you had a rubber isolator you can choose to reuse it or discard. If you reuse it, it may add additional lift to the front.
- Next re-install the coil spring and make sure it is seated in the coil seat as before.
- Reconnect the coil spring clamp if you had one, if not it may be a good idea to get one. Reconnect the trackbar and tie rod if you disconnected them.
- Then reconnect the lower part of the shock to the mount and reconnect the bottom of the end link.
Once all this is done, you can proceed to the other side and repeat this installation.
Finishing Up the Front Install
Once you have repeated the other side then make and everything is torqued to their correct specifications put the tires back on. Hand tighten the lug nuts and lower the vehicle to the ground. Then tighten each lug nut in a star pattern until tight. Recheck after 50 miles.
Guide to Installing the Rear Add a Leafs
You will need two large C-clamps for this installation.The contents of the leaf pack are under pressure and the clamps are used to hold the pack in place when removed. Then you can slowly undo the clamps to relieve pressure on the leaf pack. You may want to lubricate the leaf spring eye bolts the night before for an easier install.
The new leaf spring will be placed in the existing spring assembly which is a pyramid shape. The Placement Example – if your number 1 spring is 30” long and the next one is 22” long, the new Add-A-Leaf Spring should be place between them. Some vehicles will have a flat helper stack. YOU SHOULD NOT INSTALL THE NEW ADD-A-LEAF SPRING IN OR BELOW ANY HELPER SPRING(S).
1.Loosen all the lug nuts on the wheels prior to jacking up the vehicle. Raise the rear of the vehicle with a heavy duty jack, support the frame rails with jack stands and remove the lug nuts and rear wheels. With the floor jack, raise the rear axle enough to relieve tension on the shock absorber and remove the bottom of the shocks mounted to the axle. Disconnect the axle vent hose from the axle housing.
2. Make sure the axle is well supported and remove the axle U-bolts and attaching hardware. There should be a nut and washer on each prong of the u-bolt, if the u-bolts are rusted or not long enough now would be the time to get new ones before proceeding. Remove the spring eye bolts and/or shackles and remove the springs from the vehicle. These are located on each end of the leaf spring pack. Use C-clamps or large bench vise to hold the spring assembly securely together.
3. If applicable, remove any spring leaf alignment clamps. Using vise grips to hold the head of the center bolt, loosen and remove it. If the bolt is rusted to the pack, a hammer and heavy duty punch may be used to drive it out. Two sizes of new bolts are supplied in the kit. Carefully remove the C-clamps or undo the vise and lay the disassembled spring aside.
4. Apply a small amount of grease to both ends of the Add-A-Leaf. Re-assemble the leafed springs using the proper sized new center bolts/nuts with the new add a leaf in the proper place. Tighten the assembly till its tight and cut off any extra of the leaf spring center bolt.
5. Loosely assemble the completed spring assemblies into their respective axle mounts. Replace the U-Bolts, nuts and washers and torque to factory specifications. Re-install the spring eye bolts on both sides and/or shackles and torque to factory specifications.
6. Reconnect axle vent hose and install shock absorbers. Put wheels on and hand tighten the lug nuts. Lower vehicle and torque all lug nuts to the proper specifications. Then test drive the vehicle to make sure the leaf spring pack is correctly installed. After 50 miles re tighten all bolts.
Now the entire kit is installed and you should have a little more lift height in the rear but this should settle after a while. The ride may be changed a little and you should get an alignment. You should not need new shock absorbers for this kit, but the stock ones will wear faster.
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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.