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Dick Cepek’s 3 1/2″ YJ Lift Kit


     A friend to the 4x4review staff recently bought a 1993 Wrangler. He purchased it bone stock for the reason of building it up himself. After a few months had gone by, and seeing our rigs, it was decided that his “new” rig needed a lift.

We headed over to Dick Cepek in Tucson, AZ. and saw Ray Sommer who set us up with a Dick Cepek brand 3 ½ inch lift kit (part #’s to follow) this kit is designed to fit Jeep YJ’s from 1987 to 1996. This is where the interesting part began. Due to the popularity of YJ lifts, the kit itself took over 4 weeks to come in. The shocks and install kit weren’t the problem, but the actual springs themselves are what took the longest. Our patience endured, and the springs eventually showed up.

Let us all here at 4×4 review be the first to tell you that the wait was worth it. To be honest, Ray mentioned that we could have gone with a different manufacturer, but we made the decision to wait on the Cepek brand. The lift proved to be right at 3 ½ inches and the springs were soft and controllable right out of the box. We ran into no major snags during the installation and all parts fit nicely. The instructions were a little lacking but we made it through it okay. After all, if you’ve done one leaf spring lift, you can do many more without headache.

PART #’s: 3 ½’ box kit – 64200, Front Springs – 84002, Rear Springs – 84102, Dick Cepek Series 88 Front Shocks – 88009, Dick Cepek Series 88 Rear Shocks – 88116 

Ensure all parts are present and not damaged. Of course, always inspect your kit and all parts for damage and their presence before beginning any project… First, before we put the YJ on jackstands, the stock sway bar drop links need to be removed. Follow the install instructions for this. Next, was to chock the rear tires, set the e-brake, put the trans in neutral and put jackstands under the frame rails directly behind the rear hangers for the front springs. Now you’re ready to remove the front tires and shocks.

FRONT

Remove TORX bolts that retain brake lines Next was to remove the bottom end of the track bar from its mounting bracket and tie it up out the way. Next step is to remove the torx bolts (see photo) holding the brackets for the brake lines to the frame (This really was a chore on the driver side due to the location of the air box). After removing the torx bolts, remove the U-bolts holding on the spring plates (see photo). Take care in removing these because they will be reused later. The remainder of the spring removal is performed one side at a time. Place a floor jack under one side of the axle tube inside of the leaf spring pack and jack until the axle separates from the spring pack. WARNING! Always be careful in where you support the axle or the frame when removing springs, as a rule of thumb, if you have a spring under lift (such as ours) you have to support the weight of the vehicle by the frame AND the axle itself before removing the springs. If you have a spring over lift, you must support both the frame and the spring, then lower the axle to the ground and rmove the spring from the hangers and shackles.Remove U-Bolt Nuts

Loosely attaching spring hanger/shackle bolts After the stock springs are removed, you must take the time to lubricate the new spring eye bushings and sleeves with a water resistant, Lithium based grease. Loosely attach the springs to its hangers (see photo). Note: Pay close attention to the proper sleeve diameter placement as explained in the install instructions.

Re-position the front axle onto the springs being sure to align the tie bolt into the spring perch holes. Next, install the bumpstop extension brackets. These are held in place by one of the U-bolts. Follow this by torquing the U- bolts in an “X” pattern to manufacturer specs. Tighten U-Bolt Nuts

Install track bar re-locating bracket Next is to install the track bar re-locating bracket (see photo). Make sure that the bracket is vertical before tightening it to the axle bolt.

After both sets of front springs have been installed and torqued properly, install the new front shocks. Tighten upper stem mounts only until the rubber grommet starts to swell and torque the lower mounts.

Now is the time to install the brackets that will lengthen the location for the stock brake lines (as shown in previous photo).

Finally, install the front wheels/tires and torque lug nuts. Lower the vehicle off of the jackstands and onto the floor. Tighten the front spring shackles and stationary ends. Now attach the track bar to the new Cepek bracket. Lubricate the sway bar drop link bushings and install them in the new link eyes. Remove the tapered studs found at the top of the stock links and install them in the new extended links. Torque the top and bottom link ends.

REAR

Now to the rear, jack the rear of the vehicle and put jackstands beneath the frame rails, directly in front of the rear springs’ front hangers. Chock the front tires and remove the wheels/tires, and shocks.Jack and secure vehicle, remove tires, etc.

Next, install the rear brake line-relocating bracket per the install instructions. Unbolt the bottom of the rear track bar and tie it up out of the way. Remove the rear U-bolts (as you would in the front). NOTE: When removing the rearmost bolts on the shackles, it may be neccassary to cut the bolt heads off and pull them through away from the gas tank. Apparently the gas tank is installed (at the factory) after the springs are and JEEP never took this into consideration. (See Photo) Cutting rear bolt head off

Lubricate and install the spring eye bushings into the rear springs using the same procedures as the front. Note: the thick end of the degree shims already installed on the spring packs should point towards the front of the vehicle (They are pre-installed and permanently attached to the springs in our kit). Do not fully tighten the spring eyebolts yet. This will be performed at a later step.

As with the front, the compression travel bumpstops are held in place by one of the U-bolts. Torque the new rear U-bolts, flat washers, and Nyloc nuts using an “X” sequence. Install the new track bar bracket per install instructions.

Finally, install the new rear shocks. Note: some models may not have adequate clearance between the shock body and the axle tube. If this occurs, either use a smaller shock body, relocate shock brackets or use shocks that can be installed with their bodies at the top position. Install rear wheels/tires, remove jackstands and lower the vehicle onto the floor. Tighten the rear springs’ shackle and stationary ends. Manually bounce the rear of the vehicle to “seat” the springs. Attach the track bar to the Cepek bracket. Tighten U-Bolt Nuts

T-CASE LOWERING KIT

Lower Skid plate enough to slide spacers in place The final step to the lift process is to lower the transfer case. Loosen but do not remove the three bolts that tie the transfer case to the skid plate. Position a floor jack beneath the skid plate to support the transfer case. Lower the assembly enough to install the sleeves included in the kit (see photo) Then install the new tapered washers and ½”x3″ hex bolts included in the kit. Now torque the transfer case mount bolts. Align spacers with holes with a screwdriver

Go through the final procedures steps included in the install instructions closely. After that is accomplished, its time for the trail test. See our before and after photos. The difference is exciting for what it did for the wheeling capabilities and for the vehicle appearance.
Additional Notes: always go back through each step and retighten/re-tourque bolts. One set of bolts that you do not want too tight are the bolts that retain the spring packs to the spring hangers/shackles. they should be snug but not too tight. They should be loose enough so that you can turn the entire bolt (head side) with a wrench with some ease. Let the NyLok Nuts and/or Lock washers do their job. This gives you a little more articulation and minimizes any binding.

Gone Wheelin'   Great Articulation

   

 
Description Notes Rating
Ease of Install Not bad. This install was done with hand tools!!Took approx. 5 hours for three guys, but don’t forget that that number is a little high due to photos, notes, and pizza breaks!
Ease of Use What a difference tire and ground clearance can make.
Performance Very Good
Durability Needs further testing, but so far so good! N/A
Appearance Lots of attention to detail here. Dick Cepek powder coated most of the parts and even the nuts and bolts were cad plated!
Drivability A complete difference(for the better) from the morning run before the lift compared to the afternoon run with the lift. Even with the anti-sway and track bars disconnected (We don’t recommend this for street use!) we saw an increase in the on-road driveability.
Comfort John (Jeep owner) told us that even with the gas charged shocks that the vehicle rides better then with the stock springs.
Price in comparison to related products Dynamite to the next “big” name brands
Was it worth it??? 100%
Tools Required 3/4″,7/8″, 13/16″, 7/16″, 1/4″, 18mm,(wrenches and sockets) 4 jack stands and a good sized floor jack. The one metric socket is needed for the front track bar removal. It is also necessary to have a pry bar, hammer, and torx sockets for the front brake line bracket removal.
Editors Notes This was a fun install. The three of us here at 4x4review, with the help of the vehicle’s owner had no trouble with this install. Patience is always recommended and as noted above, we used hand tools to do this install! The front brake line brackets needed to be bent down slightly and the front sway bar drop links needed to be heated with an ordinary propane torch purchased at the local hardware store to get the old rubber bushings to come out. The final snag to tell you about was the rear spring shackle bolt. We had to cut the original bolt off due to the fact that the bolt cannot be removed without dropping the gas tank. We opted to cut it off and replace it with a new bolt. We all think you will agree this is a whole lot easier than dropping the tank. That’s it! With those few snags to deal with, again we say that this kit was well worth the wait and the performance it provides couldn’t have made us any happier…TS

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