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Old 04-01-2010, 10:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Installing an OME kit from Petroworks

I'm almost done! I just need to replace a bolt that was rusted in and had to be cut out, and put the rear shocks on. There is also definitely a "right" order in putting the leafs on that saves a lot of headaches. This was the first time I've done this and I learned a few things- will do a write-up with pictures so the next newbie can maybe have it a little easier.

The hardest part was getting the shackles on- the Petroworks are 1-piece and and bushing inserts that came with the kits were 1/8" too long. No way were they fitting in those shackles so I had to grind them down a little bit. It was tough squeezing those shackles on over the new bushings, but I did eventually get 'er done.

EDIT:

Pictures are in gallery.


Here's what I discovered about installing the kit:

Removal of original stuff:
1) pretty straightforward. I used a floor jack to lift the frame up off the suspension, with a couple of jack stands underneath for "security". I had the best results by removing the shocks first, the front shackles next, then the rear attachment, and the U-bolts last. Any other way and there will be tension on the springs that makes the U-bolts harder to remove than necessary.

2) Deep Creep helped a lot to loosen up the bolts. All but one of mine came loose easily. The one that didn't was the last bolt- of course!- on the rear hanger. It was rusted into the sleeve and I had to cut it out with a grinder.

Installation:
1) I did this the hard way on the first one. The easy way is to first put the shackles on the correct ends of the spring. As noted above, I had to grind down the bushing inserts about 1/8" to get them to fit into the Petroworks 1-piece shackles. It was a lot easier to load the springs with the shackles on the ground.

2) Then put the U-bolts on, making sure that all the tabs and notches click into the axles and the hanger. Snug up the U-bolts.

3) Using the jack, I lifted the frame until the springs fit easily into the hanger brackets on the frame.

4) Next step was to fit the shackle to the frame. This took some light pulling with a crowbar to get everything lined up and a rubber mallet to smack the shackles on. I still ended up filing small angles in two of the actual poly bushings to help get the shackles started. Check everything and tighten.

5) Install shocks.

Total time was about 5 hours. It took 2x as long for the first one and 2x as long to get the rusted bolt free, most of that time was spent finding the grinder, finding the thin grinding wheel, finding the tool to change wheels, etc. I smashed my left hand when the jack stand dropped and poked my right ring finger into something- blood in both cases. No job is complete w/out a little blood. Tools used included:

14 mm, 17 mm sockets and box ends
rubber mallet for hitting stuff
long extension to break a couple of bolts free
Deep Creep
floor jack
4x4 under bumper to increase range of floor jack
jack stands
De Walt hand grinder for stuck bolt and bushing inserts
big flat screwdriver- useful for working shackles into position


Initial driving impressions are that the suspension works considerably better than stock. It's still quite firm, but I can feel the travel now and it's not just a jarring bump. It's also fun getting in the (slightly) taller vehicle the first couple of times.

Last edited by NMHighPlains; 04-01-2010 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default

some rocker sidebars help that "geting in" thing... especially with kids! Glad it all went together well.. All in all that didn't sound like too horrible an experience. Any time I tackle something on my zuk I plan on spending twice the time it should take... due to unexpected events that tend to occur.

The ride will be rough on short springs.. no matter how soft they are, it's the nature of the design, that's why the long springs have gotten so popular. Having some arch in the spring though does help it to be less bone jarring than stock, thats for sure!

Can't wait for the pix
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