2-Big Broncos 4x4 Technical White Papers
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Description and Reasoning
Why a body lift? And if so, why only one inch!!
This is what I found to work in my case; You're specific driving habits, conditions, vehicle, and other priorities will no doubt be different! I had worn and damaged Ford stock body mount bushings... old rubber stuff that has collapsed on me. They needed replacement. Also, I have a 4" suspension lift kit and 36in TSL Swampers on 15x8.5 rims -- room wasn't in any excess when 4'wheeling. I looked at and rejected the idea of using a standard 2in body lift kit due to more "body lift" then I desired; resulting looks didn't appeal to me either - so I began searching for new bushings and a custom lift "puck" material. Did I find a gem!!
Buy/Find The Materials
I expected to re-use my existing body bushing sleeves, replace the stock soft rubber with much harder polyurethane bushings then add a one inch spacer. The replacement polyurethane bushings were purchased from Energy Suspension systems, Inc. for over $100 a kit. The existing bushing sleeves had surface rust, some rusted solid - so I required a replacement for two and found them on a "parted out" 1987 Bronco. The custom one inch body lift spacer was fabricated from a raw materials polyurethane manufacture excess bar stock - $15/lb cost. I needed 10 spacers at one inch each, with room to make a mistake, I purchased nearly 13in of materials.
Also, for the body/frame mounting hardware, I ended up purchasing grade 8 bolts.
- Qty 13" --- Polyurethane bar stock at hardness of 65D
- Suspension systems, Inc. Ford polyurethane bushing kit
- Bone-yard bushing sleeves as needed for replacements
- Qty 2 --- 7" in length, grade 8, 7/16 NC size/thread bolts for tail-gate area
- Qty 8 --- 5.5" in length, grade 8, 7/16 NC size/thread bolts for The front, foot area, back seat, and rear axle bushings.
Remove The Existing Bushings
The task of removing the existing bushings and sleeves is difficult. This task required two attempts between a couple months due to my lack of experience! Now, having completed it once - I know what to expect and how to go about removing those stubborn bushings/sleeves.
I experienced no problems removing the body mount bolts using a 1/2" air impact wrench and socket. The most difficult sleeves/bolts was up front where the bolts thread up through the bushings where a nut is tighten down from top. Rust played a serious role on these... rust-buster spray and plenty of work was required.
The idea for seperating the bushings is force from top down... or another technique I understand works good is a "pull down" from underneat. I used a sledge hammer from top on all except under the dash. The bushings under the dash (very near the foot area) required me to cut them apart. After seeing these cut, I believe nothing would/could have seperated them keeping the bushing safe.
The rear bushing bolt makes
for a perfect tool
Threaded and ready for
Done. The bushing as sperated
Using a grade 8 bolt such as the rear body bushing bolts that are 6" in length... at best, I would locate and purchase a 7" grade 8 bolt for this purpose - acting as a "punch". This is what I did to remove the bushings:
The lower bushing that is
forced apart using a bolt
Compare the rear 7" bolt
Ooops. Here, the nut seperated
from lower bushing!
Complete One Side Before Starting The Other
Working from the driver's side first....
- Thread the 7in. "punch" bolt from top down into the bottom sleeve.. approx 3 turns into the bottom sleeve.
- Using a 3-5 lb sledge hammer and good aim; Hammer down on the "punch" bolt until the two sleeves seperate - or the lower sleeve nut breaks away! (Bad thing!)
- Remove the "punch" bolt and set lower sleeve and bushing on a work bench location.
- Move to next bushing location behind rear seat; Continue with "Thread the 'punch' bolt....." step above.
- Move to next bushing location behind the driver's seat; Continue with "Thread the 'punch' bolt....." step above.
- Move to the next bushing location below the dash... near driver's feet; This one required a Saws-All with a good steel blade.
- Move to the next and last bushing location below the front grill area. Work this with impact wrench removing the nut first... then removing the bolt from below.
Continue removing and replacing the driver's side bushings before starting the passenger side...
- Find a suitable location and jack up the body from the frame - driver's side only!
- Provide enough space to remove the upper bushings and replace with your new polyurathane and 1" body lift pucks.
- Using your new bolts, position the bolts in place -- only position the bolts; You're not ready with the lower body bushings yet.
Preparing Your Workspace & Body Lift Spacers
The body lift spacers were cut with a chop-saw; a better method offering smoother cuts is using an industrial band-saw.
The poly bushings had now been layed out in sequence of installation - from front to rear, driver side first then passenger side last.
On the workbench, I had my saws-all ready for the sleeves.
Once the Ford bushings have been removed, you must cut the male end sleeve where it has been flared out - cut approximatly 1/4 inch off.
Sleeve in hand, flared piece
has been cut off
Smooth the edge
Finished. Now ready for
Inspection and Repair of Parts/Vehicle
Since I knew my stock body bushings were extreamly worn, when I found damage to the frame body mount point, I was not surprised. Although this could have been repaired, I continued with the installation of new bushings and body spacers.
Stock bushings and sleeve
New stuff ready for
Damaged frame/body mount point
Finish The Driver Side
At this point, the body should have body/bushing bolts on the opposite side (passenger side for now) and new frame/body bushings and one inch spacer have been installed on the side.
Up front, the new bolts push through the upper sleeve and tighten down using lock-tie and the stock nut. The other bolts thread into the bottom sleeve/nut combo using lock-tite.
Finish With The Passenger Side
Once the driver side has bolts in place, the passenger side can be finished up. Following the same procedure, replace frame/body bushings with new bushings and spacers. Tighten all bolts once the ten bushings have been replaced. Determine the proper torque setting in a shop manual for your specific vehicle.
Kurt Hartsig -
1986 XLT Bronco
Nice additional "lift"
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