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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I apologize if this a super long post, but have a few questions as I prepare for a suspension lift kit install and wondering if I could get some advice here. I watched Ry the Car Guy's video on YouTube and have these three questions:

1. Instead of jacking the car completely on 4 jack stands, can I work the front first with 2 jack stands, re-install the front tires and then move to the rear? Is there any advantage / disadvantage to this?

2. Should I try to install cam bolts myself or just bring it to the alignment shop and ask them to install it? From what I've read, an alignment itself is about $90, and hopefully installing cam bolts won't add too much on top? I am wary since it sounds like these cam bolts can be very difficult to get off.

3. Is an 18" 1/2" drive breaker bar enough? Ry has an impact wrench, but I am not inclined to buy one. Would be willing to buy a longer breaker bar (24") if that helps.

Thanks in advance, below is my game plan after watching the video for reference.
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Tools
  • Dead blow
  • Pry bar
  • Mechanics Socket & Ratchet Set (Metric & SAE)
  • Step Bit
  • Anti-seize
  • Suspension Grease
  • 3 Ton Jack Stands (pair)
  • 6 Ton Jack Stands (pair)
  • 3 Ton Floor Jack
  • 1/2” Torque Wrench - 10-150 Ft/lb - 13.6-203.5 Nm
  • 3/8” Torque Wrench - 10-80 Ft/lb - 13.6-108.5 Nm
  • 1/2” Breaker Bar 18 inch
  • PB Blaster
Materials
  • Assembled Front Struts
  • Rear Shocks
  • Rear Leafs, 4 U Bolts, Bushings
  • Shims (2 & 3 degrees)
  • SPC 87520 Cam Bolts
Cam Bolts
  1. Bring to Alignment Shop to install (?)
Front Suspension Removal
  1. Loosen Lug Nuts on Front Wheels
  2. With Floor Jack, jack each side on the frame right behind the wheel and slide a 6 ton jack stands in
  3. Remove Wheels
  4. Undo sway bar link (17mm bolt) - Dead Blow, Breaker Bar, PB Blaster, Allen (?), Combination Wrench (?) on both sides
  5. Undo 3 x 14mm bolts on top of strut - Deep Socket needed for one in rear
  6. 19mm bolt - Breaker bar, Combination Wrench - don’t back out completely yet
  7. Jack underneath lower arm, unscrew nuts at the top
  8. Coax slowly by lowering tension, removing lower bolt, and removing strut
Front Suspension Install
  1. Take assembled strut, point triangle on top of strut towards inside of car, slide top mount in and loosely spin three nuts
  2. Push lower mount down and align hole, slide bolt in and dead blow in
  3. Put nut on loosely
  4. Tighten top 14mm nuts down to 22 ft-lbs
  5. Tighten bottom 19mm bolt to 150 ft-lbs
  6. Sway bar (both sides) 62 ft-lbs
  7. Put wheels back on both sides
  8. Re-jack both sides up and remove the jack stands, then lower to rest
Rear Suspension Removal
  1. Remove spare tire
  2. Floor jack to lift both sides up right in front of the rear wheels on the frames, slide 6 ton jack stands in
  3. Floor jack to put right under the pumpkin of the axle as a stop, if space, put 3 ton jack stands on both sides of the axle for extra support (?)
  4. Breaker bar, 18mm socket, pull u bolts out x 4
  5. Undo the front of the leaf pack bolt and nut, leave bolt in; 19mm bolt and 22mm nut - breaker bar + adjustable wrench
  6. Undo the rear of the leaf pack’s bolt and leave the bolt in; 2 x 17 mm nuts - remove the shackle plate wiggle it out with pry bar
  7. Remove the front bolt and slowly lower to ground
  8. Finagle rear end of pack off by moving the shackle off
  9. Remove rear shock by removing the bottom rear shock bolt first (19mm both sides), 17mm on top
Rear Suspension Install
  1. Remove all stickers and packaging on new leaf spring pack
  2. Install 2 degree shim on the new leaf spring pack
  3. Drill 9/16 holes in the stock u bolt plates with step bit and lubricating oil
  4. Grease shackle and bushings
  5. Install bushings, slide shackle into leaf spring, then slide top into frame
  6. Push plate on and put nuts on finger tight
  7. Put front bolt and nut on finger tight
  8. Lower axle slowly onto guide pin without breaking any brake or electronic lines
  9. Install U Bolts and plates - make sure they are vertical and be careful not to widen them out - 53 ft-lbs in a diagonal pattern - measure and make sure all u bolts are within 3 mm of each other sticking out
  10. Top shock mount grease, then slide rear shock in the bottom, then into top, and put bolts and nuts back in finger tighten top then bottom
  11. Repeat on other side
  12. Raise axle a little to get the tires on
  13. Lower everything to ground then torque all the spec
  14. Remount spare
 

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09, lifted, 33's
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148 Posts
Sounds about right. Few major comments:

1. have a jack handle or some other cheat pipe to use with your breaker bar, if needed to loosen nuts.
2. before you do the actual install day: loosen the non-cam LCA bolts and see if they rotate in the bushing once the nut is loosened. if so, add cam bolts yourself or save for the shop to do. no difference either way. if you install yourself, read the BRUTAL ALIGNMENT thread. proceed to suspension upgrade as you outlined.
3. if the non-cam bolts don't rotate in the bushing aka seized in the bushing, order new LCA's since the old ones will need to be cut out since those bushings are shot. although a pain, consider it a plus since you have new lower ball joints now. use the cam bolts to install the new LCA's.
 

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2012 Pro-4x
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50 Posts
1. You totally can, not a big difference but yeah the advantage is that you only need two jack stands.

2. Ask the alignment shop, last thing I heard is that they were charging 200$ to get put them on. Not sure where in New Mexico you are but if there isn't any rust on your car they are pretty easy to get off with a long enough breaker bar.

3. If that isn't enough look for something you can slide over like a cheater bar. I have a rock rake handle that is basically a metal pipe that I slide over the breaker bar to get a couple extra feet if needed.

That is some crazy detailed plan you got there, looks like the right plan. You are correct on using the jack stands on the frame and then using your floor jack to move your rear differential and (front) lower control arms to alleviate the pressure on the nuts you are trying to remove.

Good luck!
 

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Post updates and pictures .
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@Just a Hunter, will do of course!
@boyer, Just to make sure, do you mean this thread and if I install it myself, that I should try to adjust toe-in, camber, and caster by myself using the document? I was under the impression that doing this is very difficult and I can put the cam bolts in but leave the aligning to a shop? Thanks!
@Hakkenouw, thank you - helps!
 

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2012 Xterra Pro4x
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76 Posts
I just added a OME suspension lift this past weekend. I recommend spraying all the bolts with PB Blaster for a couple of days. I had one frozen bolt that broke my breaker bar. Had to keep spraying it. I skipped the camber bolts but I might see what the alignment shop says on Monday.
 

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Registered - From Westminster, CA, USA
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261 Posts
The front eye bolt to the rear leaf springs can be a real bear.
One of mine was seized in the metal sleeve of bushing, and I finally got it by putting the breaker bar under a jack. I did that like 10 times before the metal sleeve just broke and it gave way.
A pneumatic tool would’ve been great lol
 

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09, lifted, 33's
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148 Posts
correcting a mistake: if you are not doing adjustable upper control arms, don't worry about setting the cams.

The main point i was trying to stress is if you can't even move the old non-cams, a shop won't be able to help you either most likely because the only solution is cutting the bolts and putting in a new LCA.

My non-cams BARELY came out at 25k miles. 1 of the 4 cams is now seized at 135k and they were slathered with anti seize. it's a known problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Got it, thanks for the clarification @boyer. Sounds like I should spray everything with a penetrating oil a few times a few days before I get ready for the install. Kit hasn't shipped yet, hopefully in a week or two, but will keep you all updated. I am hoping that since my X was only in California and now in New Mexico, the rust hasn't been that bad in 82k miles.

In the meantime, I found a product that might potentially more potent than PB blaster or Liquid Wrench. Does anyone have any experience with Gasoila Free All?

Thanks.
 

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The front eye bolt to the rear leaf springs can be a real bear.
One of mine was seized in the metal sleeve of bushing, and I finally got it by putting the breaker bar under a jack. I did that like 10 times before the metal sleeve just broke and it gave way.
A pneumatic tool would’ve been great lol
I cut mine off and replaced with 9/16 x 4" grade 8 bolts with stover nuts. I was getting pissed off with them. Glad I had the greaseable shackles cause I cut on of those off too lol

Sent from my SM-G975W using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hmm, question: is there any con to only installing the front strut/shocks and cam bolts, then taking them in to get aligned before installing the rear, and having a "reverse" rake (1 inch higher or so in the front)? Would that waste the alignment? Just thinking of how much I can get done this weekend upcoming, and what I can leave for another Saturday.

Otherwise, looks like my install might need to wait a few weeks or so, as a part that will be coming for the rear (shackles), won't be here for a few more weeks. Thanks!
 

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1. Instead of jacking the car completely on 4 jack stands, can I work the front first with 2 jack stands, re-install the front tires and then move to the rear? Is there any advantage / disadvantage to this?
I'm kind of late to this but I wouldn't ever put the truck on 4 jack stands and work on the suspension, all it takes it one stuck bolt you're fighting with to nudge it enough to cause it to fall off the stands. I did that with a car once and the thing almost landed on my foot, these days I either work on the front or rear and if I have extra stands I just double up.
 

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Hmm, question: is there any con to only installing the front strut/shocks and cam bolts, then taking them in to get aligned before installing the rear, and having a "reverse" rake (1 inch higher or so in the front)? Would that waste the alignment? Just thinking of how much I can get done this weekend upcoming, and what I can leave for another Saturday.
YES it would be a waste in my opinion. My front was at like 4" of lift without the rear installed. Once I put on the rear, it went down to just under 3". If you get it installed a 4" ride height, by the time you put the rear on your camber is gonna be a bit out of wack. Just wait.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@AlbatrossCafe O.K thanks for the thoughts, will wait!
@General_Tarfun that's what I thought too... thanks for confirming.

Quick Update here: Just got all the parts except the rear shackles which I'm waiting for, Ironman goofed a bit on their end (did not include it in the order when it should have), but they are taking care of me and have been very pleased with the customer service so far through their online chat portal. Rear leafs came a bit scratched up, but only on in the middle that was not wrapped up and I'm sure that doesn't matter too much. The rest came well packed.

Screen Shot 2021-05-12 at 9.21.34 AM.png Screen Shot 2021-05-12 at 9.21.54 AM.png Screen Shot 2021-05-12 at 9.22.05 AM.png Screen Shot 2021-05-12 at 9.22.11 AM.png
 

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@AlbatrossCafe O.K thanks for the thoughts, will wait!
@General_Tarfun that's what I thought too... thanks for confirming.

Quick Update here: Just got all the parts except the rear shackles which I'm waiting for, Ironman goofed a bit on their end (did not include it in the order when it should have), but they are taking care of me and have been very pleased with the customer service so far through their online chat portal. Rear leafs came a bit scratched up, but only on in the middle that was not wrapped up and I'm sure that doesn't matter too much. The rest came well packed.

View attachment 135904 View attachment 135905 View attachment 135906 View attachment 135907
Good luck !! keep us updated !!

and man ! that stuff actually looks beefy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Shackles just came in! Looking forward to installing this weekend. Just one thing to make sure I have right.

For the LCA bolt replacement:

I'm planning to take out the front suspension, and then when the strut is out, to swap out the LCA bolts. Fingers crossed that this CA rig is not seized up, ready with an impact wrench and Free All / PB Blaster.

Now, when I'm installing those LCA bolts, I'm planning to back out the old slowly about halfway (while the LCA is still supported by a floor jack, and then use one of the new ones as a temporary hold, then slide the new one in. Then when I set the bolt, should I set it as shown in the picture in the document, reproduced below?

Thanks again. I'm hoping to make a video, or just take good pictures of the whole process when I get to it.
136331
 

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That is correct for a rough alignment. Remember that the nuts should face the rear of the vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Thanks @Brunnie. I just installed my new SPC 87520 LCA bolts, thankfully my stock LCA bolts were easy to get out. I torqued them down to 100 ft/lbs while up in the air, but apparently I should do that when on the ground and under regular pressure?
136447

And thankfully finished the front suspension this past Friday. The hardest part was the bottom shock bolt. Would not come out even with my 430 ft/lbs in reverse torque wrench. Took a long time with my 18 inch breaker bar. The second one, used my jack stand handle to add 6 more inches.

Overall I think the front is looking good - I just noticed however, though that the assembly they sent me for the struts didn't come with the plastic cover. From what I've read online though, shock boots / covers are more harm than good.
136448

Then, starting working on the rear, but unfortunately, ran into another snafu. (I should have checked my packages better). One of the packages of U-Bolts was the wrong kind!
136450

Going to need to talk with Ironman to get the right ones out... can't complain too much at this point though; they were kind enough to honor their updated promotion and I got their heavy duty air compressor as well. Wondering if they just had so many orders these past few months, things got mixed up easily.
136451
 
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