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Discussion Starter #1
Alright folks - I need some feedback on a kit I attempted to install over the weekend. My apologies in advance if this is a long winded post. This is a kit, mind you, that anyone who is slightly mechanically inclined should be able to install in a day in their driveway with nothing more than some basic tools and a floor jack.

I receive the kit with zero instructions, zero parts list, missing hardware, incorrectly sized hardware, etc - but that's besides the point.

As basis for this discussion, the following was included with the kit:

4 x coil springs
Rock Krawler remote reservoir shocks
shock mounts (top and bottom)
rear link
rear link ball joint
front & rear radius arms
pan hard bar
brake lines
spring retainers
front upper shock towers
dislocation cones
dislocation cones
front & rear driveshafts
bush kit
tie rod
steering damper
pitman arm
+ some other odds and ends

It's also worth noting that nothing under the truck was rusted, seized or corroded - so everything came apart beautifully.

I'm two 8 hour days into the install and aside from having to buy correct replacement hardware, machine down some of the hardware provided and fabricate a couple pieces to fix my shock tower and brake line mounts - everything seems to be going smoothly.

The rear is completely installed and I'm partly through the front. I'm getting jammed up on the control arms. It seems as though they're at least 1" - 1.5" too long. With the frame jacked up and the axle hanging down to do the install - as I jack up the axle to set the spring and shock - the bottom end of the spring sits at least 1.5" - 2" further forward than the top part of the shock. That's my first concern.

Second concern is regarding the shock mounts. The manufacturer of this kit told me that both the top and bottom bolt that holds the shock to the mounts should be installed with the bolt running front to back. There's only one option for the shock to mount up top - that's front to back - which makes sense. The trouble I'm having is how the bottom of the shock mounts to the axle. Not only does the geometry of the shock/shock mount in relation to the axle make it impossible to run the bottom bolt front to back (since the control arms have the springs/shocks pushed too far forward) - my gut is telling me that the attachment from shock to axle should be a heim joint. I'm no expert in wheeling and rock crawling - but as the front end articulates up and down, there seems to be the need for front/back and side to side movement of the bottom of the shock. Am I overthinking this? Is a single directional mount sufficient?

My third concern (maybe more of a gripe with this kit) is that both boots that sit above the shock towers need to be permanently removed to install the shock tower. Additionally, the coolant reservoir no longer fits in its current location and needs to be relocated somewhere in the engine bay. Is this typical when making mods on the truck that aren't factory spec?

I spent a pretty penny on this so I don't want to screw anything up - but my gut is also telling me that this isn't going together the way it's supposed to. The manufacturer keeps insisting that every Defender is slightly different and these little issues I'm seeing are completely normal and to hold the course.

I'd love to hear from anyone who's willing to put their two cents in - especially those of you who might have experience with RTE lift kits.
 

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I would chalk most of this up to you being new to installing . It looks like your biggest gripe here is the radius arms.

The way to properly install them:

Rapper ratchet strap around the axle and the tcase crossmember.
Snug up the strap.
Remove the old radius arms.
Place new radius arms with axle side bushing in place and giant washer.
Insert radius arm into frame.
Loosely install rear bushing and giant washer and nut with one thread.
Using a combination of the ratchet strap and jacks, Jack radis arm into position underneath of axle.
Using pins or spud wrenches align bolts for axle radius arm attachment.
Tap bolts into place with a hammer.
Thread nuts on loosely on axle side.
Using combination of Jack and ratchet strap pull the axle into position and tighten down rear radius arm gigantic nut.
Tighten all bolts to spec


You can now install the front springs and shocks.
Don't worry about the orientation of the shock adapter.

Yes it's normal to have to relocate items underneath of your vehicle when you're doing a lift like this that is 300% overstock height.

The front springs may be handed so put them next to each other. Install the taller spring on the driver side.

Once you have everything in place and tighten down the geometry for the springs front and rear should be correct.

I've actually installed this kid on three different trucks over the course of about six years with the rockcrawler shocks, have never had an issue.


Edit: can you show some pictures and be specific about the bolts or hardware that you had to machine? That's a new one and I'd love to see what's going on maybe there was a manufacturing issue.

Also I hope you're doing your brake lines because you're going to need to. first pothole you go over with a 3-in lift and no extended brake lines is going to rip the brake line out of the truck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
@Naplm00 - as you explained it is exactly how I approached the install the other day. After speaking with the manufacturer a few times between yesterday and today - he realized that he accidentally included springs for a 5" lift instead of the 3" lift desired. He also said that I needed to install a wedge between the axle mount and the spring cup to correct the geometry.
IMG_8764.jpg this photo shows how angled the shock is in relation to the mount
IMG_8765.jpg this photo shows how far forward the axle/spring cup sits in relation to the shock tower
IMG_8766.jpg this photo is passenger side spring installed w/o the shock. The angle seems terribly off. The bar inside isn't even lined up with the center of the cup.
IMG_8767.jpg in order to get to center of the cup the shock would need to come ~1.25" forward - creating a rub point between the shock body and the shock tower. I already had to crimp the lower part of the shock tower in order to slip the shock in while fitting it. One thought I had was to also install a wedge of some sort between the frame mount and the top part of the shock tower - thereby kicking the top of the shock backwards and correcting the angle to better match the spring.

I'll be back at it this coming Friday - hopefully no more hiccups and the installation comes together like butt cheeks lol.
 

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Well that's the issue then , with a 5in lift you have like 12 degrees of axle correction or something.

Moving to the smaller coils will alleviate most of these issues.
 

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Make sure simon sent you the correct Radius arms as well
 

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Radius arms look too long to me. Arm you positive the chassis end bushes are fully seated and the nut is tight to the shoulder on the arms?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
@Red90 - bushes are fully seated. RTE Fab said that shorter springs and a 3 degree wedge placed between the axle mount and the spring cup should fix the problem. In my opinion (albeit a novice opinion) - that won't solve the problem for the axle being pushed too far forward causing the lower part of the springs to sit so far forward.
 

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In my opinion (albeit a novice opinion) - that won't solve the problem for the axle being pushed too far forward causing the lower part of the springs to sit so far forward.
I agree. My suggestion. Take the springs out and lift the axle to the bump stops. The axle bump stop brackets should center more or less on the bump stops. If they are still 2" forward then the radius arms are wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I agree. My suggestion. Take the springs out and lift the axle to the bump stops. The axle bump stop brackets should center more or less on the bump stops. If they are still 2" forward then the radius arms are wrong.
Makes complete sense. The only problem with that is the two pieces that are circled just barely rub up against each other and don't allow the axle (without the springs installed) to be jacked up so that the bump stops touch the axle. The problem only gets worse when the hardware is installed - the bolt heads will likely sheer off with a hard enough impact. Although, I don't know if the axle will travel up that far when the wheel is on......thoughts?


453804
 

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If those touch, then that confirms the radius arms are too long. There should be a decent gap between the panhard rod bracket and the axle. The axle MUST be able to cleanly hit the bump stops under all possible axle movement.
 

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have a pic of your bushing/washer arrangement on the radius arms ? maybe someone can give a free length of rear bolt center to the machined face of the radius arm pin
 

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have a pic of your bushing/washer arrangement on the radius arms ? maybe someone can give a free length of rear bolt center to the machined face of the radius arm pin
You are suggesting that he custom modifies a brand new lift kit because it was made wrong?
 

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You are suggesting that he custom modifies a brand new lift kit because it was made wrong?


no? i think its worth seeing how he has the bushing and washers arranged on the axle side. And measuring to see if there is a difference from a stock arm length. i didint say modify anything ?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
have a pic of your bushing/washer arrangement on the radius arms ? maybe someone can give a free length of rear bolt center to the machined face of the radius arm pin
I was thinking that as well. Cut the studs off the rear of the arms and instead of a threaded rod coming out of the arms - weld an insert into the arms and allow the threaded stud to be tightened/loosened to adjust for the incorrect angle.

This is crazy, I know. After spending this much money on a lift kit - it should be perfect, or damn near perfect. I shouldn't have to go welding custom adjustments to a brand new kit.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
have a pic of your bushing/washer arrangement on the radius arms ? maybe someone can give a free length of rear bolt center to the machined face of the radius arm pin
Unfortunately I won't be back at the shop until this Friday - so I can't take any more photos. I did, however, put the washer/bushing setup back exactly as it was taken off - and they're all seated very snug and in place. The setup is as follows (working front to back): radius arm, cupped washer, bushing, chassis mount, bushing, washer, nut.
 

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no? i think its worth seeing how he has the bushing and washers arranged on the axle side. And measuring to see if there is a difference from a stock arm length. i didint say modify anything ?
Okay. I misunderstood. It sounded like you were asking him to get it machined.
 

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That's fine, there is a post recently with a guy who had the bushing orientation incorrect into solid washers in the front instead of the cup washer. Just trying to iron these things out


Yeah I'm not saying modify anything if you're bushing orientation is correct. And your frame mounts haven't been moved or bent in any way. Then there is an issue with the radius arm. Should still however get the free length checked from the machine point on the pin of the radius arm to the rear bolt center.

Luckily we had a guy here by the caster corrected britpart arms and one was bent laterally... some weird issues
 

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Discussion Starter #19
All - thank you for the feedback and help. Got the kit installed and it looks beautiful. Simon worked with me to send replacement hardware and get the suspension to where it needed to be.
 
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