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How To: BTF-Fabrication Spacer Lift Install

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bamnq6

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How-to: Installing a BTF-Fabrication Spacer Lift on a 3rd Gen Explorer
by Bamnq6

Spacers2.jpg


IMPORTANT NOTES:

Penetrating oils are your friend. I recommend Kroil (available at Fastenal) and PB-Blaster. You should be lubricating all the parts you anticipate removing (and some others) for at least a week. Trust me, you'll thank yourself
Given torque specs are for 2004 explorers ONLY. There are different specs for each model year due to small design changes. I HIGHLY recommend you obtain a shop manual and investigate these torque specs for your specific vehicle. A manual is ~$30 at most auto parts stores.
- Give all of your thread a quick cleaning before reassemble. Wire brush off rust and remove any lubricants. Lubricant can allow you to over torque fasteners, not good.
- I will do the best to list the tools needed for each step, if I'm wrong ... sorry.
- FYI: having you're suspension pulled apart is a perfect opportunity to touch up rust. So, Grab that Rustoleum!!
- You assume full responsibility for your actions.


Tools required:
Shop Jack
Jack-Stands (2)
Wheel blocks
Torque Wrench (20-200 ft-lbs are best)
Pitman arm puller
13mm crowfoot wrench
Ratchet Wrenches (13mm, 15mm, 17mm, 1/2" 5/8")
Standard wrenches (13mm, 15mm, 17mm, 1/2", 5/8")
Sockets (metric short and deep wells, SAE short)
Various Extensions
Ratchet
Breaker Bar
Wire Brush
Pry Bar
2x4x8' (or a pipe, or ... be creative. Anything to pry the rear a-arm down)
Several 12" zip ties (or rope, or... to hang the calipers while installing the struts)

Here we go, lets start in the front:

1) Vehicle Prep

a) Park vehicle on a flat, level, paved surface. Set parking brake and block rear tires.

b) Carefully jack up your vehicle, breaking your lug nuts loose (3/4" socket / breaker bar) right before your tires leave the ground. Place the jack-stands at the factory jacking locations (indicated by a diamond in the frame). Carefully, SLOWLY, lower you vehicle onto the jack stands. Shake the car; If the jack stands aren't positioned properly, you want to find out now, not when you're under the car.

c) With the front end fully supported, remove both front tires.


2) Strut removal - Front (the same for both sides)


a) Hit all threads with penetrating oil.

b) Remove the nut connecting your sway-bar to your sway-bar end-link (15mm).

front_endlinks_2.jpg


c) Remove the upper ball joint nut (18 mm).

front_upper_ball2.jpg


d) Remove the 3 nuts on the top of each strut (13mm). These may be a bear to remove. Take your time, use plenty of oil.
NOTICE: Don't be afraid to tighten them back down and hit the threads with a wire brush to remove broken up corrosion.

front_top_nuts_2.jpg


e) Remove lower strut bolt (24mm).

front_lower_bolt_2.jpg


f) Pull the strut out.
NOTICE: the bottom bushing of the strut is not symmetric! Take care to notice which direction the longer section points (to the rear).

front_lower_bushing_2.jpg



3) Spacer installation - Front (the same for both sides))


a) Clean the threads on the studs on the strut top mounting plate. Use your wire brush.

b) If your spacers are smaller than 1.75" you will need to trim the studs, use a hacksaw or a cutoff disk. Trim only as much as necessary!! If you thread a nut onto the stud before cutting them, the removal of that nut will help to restore threads smashed during the cutting process.

c) Put hardware supplied with the kit thru the spacer. Be sure to use the included washers. Thread on the top nut to hold everything in place.

d) Install the spacer onto the strut top plates (13mm). Torque to 22 ft-lbs using 13 mm crowfoot.

Completed Strut with Spacer

strut_assembly2.jpg


4) Strut Installation - Front (the same for both sides)

a) Unclip your wheel speed sensor wire from the brake cable. Remove the caliper (15 mm wrench) and hang it from something, zip tie it to the hub.
NOTICE: DO NOT let it hang by the brake-line!

b) Put the strut back into place. The best way to accomplish this: put the long side of the lower bushing thru the hole in the lower a-arm, drop the bottom of the strut thru the a-arm, and then stand up the strut.

c) Bolt the top of the strut spacer to the upper mount (1/2"). Torque to 22 ft-lbs.
NOTICE: Open hood to gain access to the top of the shock tower.

d) Now's the hard part, getting the bottom strut bushing bolted to the a-arm. Make sure you verify the direction on that lower bushing, long side to the vehicle rear. You'll likely need to grab a helper here. There's a little tab on the lower a-arm that ensures that lower strut bushing is in exactly the right place. You'll need to pry the bushing around that tab (behind it I believe), then press the a-arm down and run the bolt thru. Torque this bolt (24mm) to 258 ft-lbs. Might need to use a jack to compress the strut,
NOTICE: Beware it will lift the vehicle enable to compress the shock

e) Reinstall the brake calipers (15mm) and torque to 24 ft-lbs. Clip the wheel speed sensor to the brake-line.

f) Reinstall the upper ball joint to the upright (18mm) and torque to 41 ft-lbs.
NOTICE: This may require a pry bar to convince the upper a-arm to reach down that far, and a jack to compress the strut

g) Lastly (after you have both sides done) reinstall the sway-bar end-links (15mm) and torque to 18 ft-lbs.

h) Double check your work. Make sure all bolts are correctly tightened and that every disassembled part is now reassembled.

Completed Assembly

completed_front_2.jpg


i) Reinstall front tires. Torque lug nuts (3/4") to 105 ft-lbs.


6) Vehicle Prep- Part 2.

a) Move the jack stand to the rear of the vehicle. Utilize the factor jacking locations again. Remove both rear tires.


7) Strut removal - Rear (the same for both sides)

a) Hit all threads with penetrating oil.

b) Remove the nut connecting your sway-bar to your sway-bar end-link (15mm).

front_endlinks_2.jpg


c) Remove the 3 nuts on the top of each strut (13mm). Again, heed the aforementioned warnings and use plenty of oil. There is a bump-stop on top of one of these studs. You may be able to drop a socket onto the nut, and then jimmy a ratchet head onto the socket, or you can use an adapter to allow you to turn a socket with a wrench. I simply cut the rubber off mine with utility knife and then used a wrench.

rear_top_nuts2.jpg


d) Remove lower strut bolt (24mm).

e) Remove rear caliper (15mm) and hang it from something, zip ties are wonderful. DO NOT let it hang by the brake-line! Remove the bracket that attaches the brake-line to the lower control arm (10mm).

f) Remove the bolt that connects the lower control arm to the knuckle (18 or 22 mm)

rear_knuckle2.jpg


g) Pull the strut out. NOTICE: this bushing is symmetric.


8) Spacer installation - Rear (the same for both sides))

a) Clean the threads on the studs on the strut top mounting plate. Use your wire brush.

b) If your spacers are smaller than 1.75" you will need to trim the studs, use a hacksaw or a cutoff disk. Trim only as much as necessary! If you thread a nut onto the stud before cutting them, the removal of said nut will help to restore threads smashed during the cutting process

c) Put hardware supplied with the kit thru the spacer. Be sure to use the included washers. Thread on the top nut to hold everything in place.

d) Install the spacer onto the strut top plates (13mm). Torque to 22 ft-lbs using 13 mm crowfoot.


9) Strut Installation - Rear (the same for both sides)

a) Put the strut back into place. The best way to accomplish this: put the lower bushing thru the hole in the a-arm, drop the bottom of the strut thru the arm, and then stand up the strut.

c) Bolt the top of the strut spacer to the upper mount (1/2"). Torque to 22 ft-lbs.

d) Getting the bottom strut bushing bolted to the a-arm is again a bit tricky. You'll likely need to grab a helper here. Using the 2x4, pry the lower a-arm down, and insert the lower strut to a-arm mounting bolt. Be careful what you pry against, watch that brake-line. Torque this bolt (24 mm) to 184 ft-lbs. NOTICE: Remove the brake line support bracket with a 10mm socket, to allow slop in the brake line for prying.

rear_prying2.jpg


e) Reinstall the knuckle to lower a-arm bolt (XX mm) and torque to 111 ft-lbs.

f) Reinstall the brake calipers (15mm), torque to 24 ft-lbs. Reinstall the brake-line support brackets (10mm).

g) Lastly (after you have both sides done) reinstall the sway-bar end-links (15mm) and torque to 18 ft-lbs.

h) Double check your work. Make sure all bolts are correctly tightened and that ever disassembled part is now reassembled.

i) Reinstall rear tires. Torque lug nuts (3/4") to 105 ft-lbs.


10) Mental check

Run thru the process in you brain, look at the pictures above. Did you remember to re-install and properly torque everything?....YES Are there any “spare parts” ?....…..NO


11) Test Drive

Look under your truck, along running boards, and under the hood for forgotten tools. Start your truck and roll down the windows. Before putting the truck in gear, rotate you steering wheel from side to side. Drive slowly, negotiating a few corners, listening for any noises out of the ordinary, address any issues immediately!!

Now, get an alignment and you’re finished!!!

exp_on_sierra_s.jpg
 






bamnq6

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City, State
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Year, Model & Trim Level
'04 V8 4WD
Further Information: 2.25" front spacer, 1.75" rear spacer

Clearance under front crossmember:
pre-lift 8 3/4"
post-lift 12 1/4"
with 265/75's 13 3/4"

This write-up can also be found here here
 






Turdle

The Lowrider is a little higher
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OK, in the interest of keeping things on topic, since this is a "How to install" thread


We need 3 threads for these spacers.


This one for a how to ( without a bunch of confusing questions and comments

another for questions and comments, and a third for feedback.

I am cleaning this thread of all non pertinent posts, Brandon will start a Q and A thread and whoever feels the need can start a feedback thread. How does that sound?

let's stay on topic. :thumbsup:

Dicussion thread here

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2564767#post2564767

Feedback thread here

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2564771#post2564771
 






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