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[et_pb_section bb_built="" admin_label=""][et_pb_row admin_label=""][et_pb_column type=""][et_pb_text admin_label="" _builder_version="" background_layout="" text_orientation="" border_style=""] ZJ Grand Cherokee 4” Budget Lift...the Front-to-Rear-Swap! So you want to lift your Grand Cherokee (ZJ) three or four inches but don’t want to spend a ridiculous amount of money doing so? The “Front to Rear Swap” is gaining popularity as a great “budget” lift and might be just the lift for you! Note: This article is a bit lengthy, but should prove to be very valuable to one who desires a high-quality, yet economical lift for their Grand. What exactly is the “Front to Rear Swap” or “F>R”? In short, the F>R involves removing your stock front ZJ springs (coils) and reinstalling them in the rear of your vehicle. This provides you with around 3.5-4” of lift in the rear simply because the stock front ZJ springs are about that much longer than the stock rear ZJ springs. Make sense?...I hope so! The front of the vehicle then will get a set of longer aftermarket front springs to provide the appropriate three to four inches of lift to match the rear. Your stock rear springs can then be discarded, stuck on a shelf, or even welded together to become a mailbox post...seriously, don’t even try selling them, you can’t give them away! The three or four inch front springs that you use can be whatever your budget allows or just whatever you prefer. Common brands of coils used with this lift include, but are not limited to, TeraFlex 3.5”, Rubicon Express 3.5” or 4.5”, Tomken, Skyjacker, Rancho, or ProComp. All of these manufacturers’ springs can provide the necessary lift, however some may require the use of spacers on top of either the front or rear springs to level out the rig accordingly. For example, Rubicon Express 3.5” or TeraFlex 3.5” front coils might provide over 4” of lift to an I6 equipped ZJ with stock bumpers, yet the same coils might only provide 3” of lift to a V8 equipped ZJ with a heavy steel bumper and a winch up front. Also, the stock front springs that you install in the rear can result in different amounts of lift depending on if your vehicle came with an I6 or V8 engine, the mileage on the springs, or if the vehicle was equipped with UpCountry suspension. I’ve found that simply stacking stock “rubber isolators” (rubber spacers that sit atop the springs) on top of the springs is a great way to level out a ZJ. The stock isolators are only about 8-10$ each from your local dealership, and they stack securely on top of one another. Expect about 1/2” of lift difference from each additional isolator. Also note that the front and rear isolators are slightly different in diameter from one another (I’ve found that stock front isolators can be used in the rear, but not vice-versa). In addition to purchasing new front springs, you will also need new longer shocks all around. Stock shocks are simply way too short for a lift of this height and would bottom-out on a speed bump...so you NEED four new shocks. Many of the aforementioned spring manufacturers, as well as other companies such as Bilstein, Edelbrock, and Old Man Emu, carry shocks that are the appropriate length for this lift. Check the shock chart found in the “Grand Tech” pages on NAGCA.com for what length shocks work with what height lifts. The ride quality and handling of your ZJ after this lift will also vary greatly depending on what springs and shocks you use. Do your research and find out spring rates and shock dampening qualities before purchasing any parts. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label="" _builder_version="" background_layout="" text_orientation="" border_style=""] So that’s it? I can simply buy new shocks and two new front springs and maybe a few spacers and be all set with a working four inch lift? That sounds too good to be true! Well, not exactly...that would be too good to be true. Many other things might be, and usually are, necessary when doing this lift. You will notice after installing a lift of this height that your front axle has shifted slightly toward the driver’s side, and the rear axle has likely shifted a bit toward the passenger side of the vehicle. “Why is this,” you wonder? This is the result of lifting a solid axled, coil sprung vehicle equipped with front and rear track bars. The track bars center the axles under the body of the vehicle and also provide the lateral stability necessary to keep the axles in place; they are mounted parallel to the axles. The front axle has a track bar that is connected to the frame on the driver’s side and connected to the axle on the passenger side. The rear is the opposite with a passenger side frame mount and a driver’s side axle mount. To better understand why the axles move to the sides as they do when a lift is installed, picture the track bars mounted to the frame of the vehicle, but with the axles completely gone. If the Jeep were sitting on the ground, the track bar would be close to level in orientation and the disconnected (or axle) end would be on the opposite side of where the frame mount is. If you were to magically start lifting the vehicle off the ground, the track bars would swing down in an arc and the disconnected ends would move toward the side where the bar is mounted to the frame. Now, visually reconnect the axles, and you can see how as you lift the vehicle, the track bars cause the axles to “swing” over to the side where the track bar is connected to the frame. So how do I get my axles back under the center of the vehicle!?? Well, you could just leave the axles shifted over to the sides if they haven’t moved very much; that’s actually what most people who install a 2” budget boost end up doing simply because their axles haven’t shifted all that far. The higher you lift the vehicle, the further over the axle will swing. If you only net 3” of lift from your F>R swap, you might be able to ignore the track bar issue altogether. Most people aren’t that fortunate though, and their axles have shifted a significant amount to the sides. The easiest, and probably best, solution to re-centering the axles is to purchase aftermarket adjustable track bars. Adjustable track bars can be adjusted to different lengths to re-center your axles. These are available from JKS, Rubicon Express, TeraFlex, and KevinsOffroad to name a few. If your ZJ has very high miles, the bushings in the ends of your stock track bar might be worn out anyway, so you can look at purchasing these track bars as “vehicle maintenance” if it makes you feel better. However, one can easily spend well over 300$ on just track bars, and this so-called “budget” lift isn’t quite so inexpensive anymore. Well the track bars need to be longer, and I can’t afford adjustable ones...what else can I do??? A few things: -Purchase a rear track bar bracket that lifts the effective axle mount about 3” so the stock track bar geometry is maintained and the axle remains centered. (To my knowledge a front track bar bracket is not available through any common manufacturers). Last I recall, a rear track bar bracket is around 50$ from TeraFlex. This however, in my honest opinion, is not one of the best options though. The lift bracket places a lot of stress on the stock axle bracket, and there have been MANY cases of these brackets causing the stock bracket to rip off the axle during heavy off-roading. If your rig is used 99% of the time on the street though, and your lift is mainly just for looks or to cross a few fields and do some mild off-roading, then this relatively inexpensive bracket may work well for you. But, if you want to keep this a true “budget” lift, then you can instead... -Lengthen your stock track bars by taking the bends out of them in a hydraulic press. -Cut in half and re-weld your track bars with a spacer and a sleeve to lengthen them. -Drill new axle mount holes for the track bars to move the axles over. -Make your stock track bars adjustable with grade 8 nuts and bolts and some very careful welding. I believe there is also an article on NAGCA.com which describes how to make an adjustable track bar at home. *Disclaimer*- Please note though that none of these track bar lengthening methods should be attempted unless you are a competent welder/mechanic or this work is done by a competent welder/mechanic. Track bars are EXTREMELY important, and your ZJ is completely undriveable without one. If your home-brew cut-n`-welded track bar were to break on the street, you’d be very lucky to walk away from the accident scene. So PLEASE, only attempt these modifications to your stock track bars if you know what you are doing! If your axles are off center and you can’t afford new adjustable track bars yet, it’s not the end of the world; your ZJ will still be drivable, but may dogleg a bit on the street. Probably the worst result of this will be increased tire wear. So now I’ve selected my front springs, all my shocks, and decided how I’m going to address the track bar issues. Is there anything else I need to know or do? Not quite done yet. You will notice that with most any complete three or four inch lift kit, the manufacturers usually include some control arms. Some lift-kits come with just front lowers, others come with all four lowers, and still others come with all eight lower AND upper replacement control arms. Control arms usually range anywhere from around 50$ each for fixed length ones with rubber bushings on each end, to about 120$ each for articulating adjustable arms with a flex joint on one end, so if you were to replace all eight of them, that would add up REALLY fast! Basically, purchasing new control arms doesn’t exactly go along with piecing together our “budget” lift. So how do I know if I need new control arms or not? Every Grand Cherokee is different. Most ZJ’s work perfectly well with all eight stock control arms at four inches of lift. Others, however, might develop undesirable steering characteristics or driveshaft vibrations at only three inches of lift. By installing control arms that have adjustable lengths, you can often change the axle orientation to bring the steering feel close to what it was when stock, or, in the case of trying to stop driveshaft vibrations, you can adjust the pinion angle (angle of the end of the driveshaft as it comes out of the differential) to reduce or eliminate these vibrations. Other people simply replace their lower control arms with aftermarket ones to gain articulation (axle flex / axle droop) off-road. Or, if you’re mechanically inclined and can handle lengthening your track bars on your own, making your own adjustable control arms is not much harder. Whether or not you will need adjustable control arms is determined on a case by case basis. What about brake lines? I’ve heard I will need longer ones. If you replace your front lower control arms with aftermarket ones, you will almost definitely need longer front brakes lines. The reason for this is that aftermarket control arms usually allow for greater axle droop than stock control arms, and the limiting factor of your axle droop will become your stock brake lines. Stretching or stressing these lines can lead to tearing or cracking...and that’s bad! Usually the most inexpensive replacement for ZJ front brake lines are stock front YJ brake lines which are supposedly four inches longer than ZJ ones and are available at almost any auto parts stores. Many lift-kit manufacturers carry longer front brake lines for ZJ applications as well. Only the front brake lines will need to be replaced; the rear lines are plenty long for what your axles will do with this lift. If you keep all of your stock control arms, you *can* get away without replacing the front brake lines. They will be just about maxed-out when a front tire is drooped as far as it will go. Some people are not real comfortable with this for obvious reasons, and they opt to replace their front brake lines anyway. Again, it’s up to you and what all fits into your “budget” lift. Regardless of what you use for control arms, the front ABS lines also need to “lengthened” with this lift. But, this is very simple and involves nothing more than sliding one of the rubber grommets that surrounds the ABS line out of its bracket that’s behind the front shock, then zip-tying the ABS line to the shock to keep it out of harm''93 Grand Cherokee, it already had a lift kit on it. It was the not-so-desirable ProComp kit that was advertised as 3"" after the springs settled. I put spacers in between the coils and the mounts and got an extra 2"" with stock length control arms. It rode stiff, but still like a "" Jeep. Cornering was good, even with the 31"" of lift. I purchased a set of 4.5"" of lift. I had to re-center my axles and needed custom rear and front track bars. I also found out that when I put my 33"" of lift until I get creative with long arm suspension.) This is the concept that I''84 - '01""2018-09-20""text-light""/blogs/kevinsoffroad-com-death-wobble-experts-upgraded-factory-parts-20-years-of-experience-info-and-knowledge/jeep-wj-grand-cherokee-roof-rack-1999-2004""Jeep WJ Grand Cherokee Roof Rack 1999 - 2004""2018-06-29""text-light""/blogs/kevinsoffroad-com-death-wobble-experts-upgraded-factory-parts-20-years-of-experience-info-and-knowledge/jeep-xj-cherokee-track-bar-1987-2001-xj-mj""Jeep XJ Cherokee Track Bar 1987 - 2001 XJ/MJ""2018-06-20""text-light""/blogs/kevinsoffroad-com-death-wobble-experts-upgraded-factory-parts-20-years-of-experience-info-and-knowledge/tagged/vanlife""Show articles tagged #vanlife""/blogs/kevinsoffroad-com-death-wobble-experts-upgraded-factory-parts-20-years-of-experience-info-and-knowledge/tagged/adventure-travel""Show articles tagged Adventure Travel""/blogs/kevinsoffroad-com-death-wobble-experts-upgraded-factory-parts-20-years-of-experience-info-and-knowledge/tagged/bumpers""Show articles tagged 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