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DIY Spacer Lift Kit w/ STUCoils - Installed

26839 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Copley66
I put these on a few months back along with a new set of Monroe struts and STUCoils.

I already had STUCoils, which gave about an inch over stock on my FDII but I wanted to get more lift without any binding of the inner CV joints (especially the front drivers side) when running disconected.
I knew there were several spacer options (RRO,ebay kits,etc) but they're fixed height. I wasn't sure how tall the spacer could be so I needed something that would work with different sizes of spacers.

I ended up modifying the strut mounts by replacing the factory 10mm studs with 7/16 (11mm) x 2 7/8 rear wheel studs for mid-1960's Chevy's. These studs are SAE grade 8 which is equal to the stock 10.9 metric, and they are 1mm thicker all around so they're a stronger part than the original.

The chasis mounting holes on my Patriot were just large enough to let the new studs slide through without any grinding.

The spacers are made of 90A polyurethane extras I bought off ebay, but other durometers, materials, thicknesses, etc. can be used either separately or in combination.
The rear mounts and spacers can be installed by themselves to help with sagging from heavy loads.

After everything was built and put together, I test fit the driver side with 1" spacer, disconnected at full extension, and measured 21.6 degrees.

A 1/2" spacer disco'd on full extension is 19.8 degrees, so each 1/2 inch in spacer is roughly 1.8 degrees change. .45 degrees = 1/8".

A factory front drivers axle clamped in a vice and flexed until the inner joint binds measures around 23 degrees.

I was fairly confident 1" would work but we were heading into winter, so I played on the safe side and used a 1/2" spacer in the front and 1" spacer in back. I'll probably replace the front with 1" and maybe add a 1/2" to the back in a few weeks.

On a side note, the knurl on the new studs is higher/longer than stock, so a minimum 1/2" spacer has to be used. Also, the head of the new studs doesn't extend as far out from the knurl as the factory, which means there isn't as much area in contact with the strut mount for support.

The front mounts are thick metal, but the rear are thinner. If I had to do it over I'd add washers to the studs on the rear mounts for better support.

There were a few challenges during installation. The front drivers side was fairly easy and straight forward, the front passenger side was harder and took a lot of position/re-position attempts to everything to line up.

Installing the first rear assembly was a challenge, but the second went on easily after figuring out where to pry with the pry bar, and using a block of wood on the floor jack to compress the strut along with a 2x4 to push the suspension down.


Pry bar set -
Alignment pin set -

Though unrelated to the spacer lift, there were a few problems with the Monroe struts. On the front struts, the mounting flange for the hub was too tall and scraped on the inside of my 15" rims, so it had to be ground down. Also, the lower part of the flange is longer, and made ever-so-slight contact with the outer CV joint boot (Cardone Select axle) on the drivers side, so it had to be bent up. The boot on the factory axle is about .3 inches smaller, so it would have fit without problems.

On the rear struts, there was a problem with clearance between the narrower StuCoils and the larger diameter of the Monroe's vs stock. There was room enough to get the struts and coils assembled without problem. But after they were installed if found that as the struts moved up and down and the coils compressed, the coils would bend too far to one side and make contact with a protruding edge at the top of the strut, which pinched the dust boot and tore it. I ended up taking the dust boots off, then carefully grinding down the edge to make sure it wouldn't touch the coils on full compression.

Details on fabrication below for anyone who's interested:

Materials Used -

* Polyurethane 1" and 1/2" 90A - buy on ebay or here Polyurethane Flat Sheet Stock | Order Online | Best Prices | In Stock
* 2 Front strut mounts -
* 2 Rear strut mounts -
* 10 7/16-20 x 2 7/8" (11 mm) studs. (Moser Engineering #8050
* 10 Lug nuts 3/4 - 20

Other things you may need:

* Adjustable rear upper control arms for camber adjustment (sold by SPC, Moog, AC Delco, etc.)
* Front sway bar link extension like RRO uses or adjustable sway links like JKS quicker disconnects.
* Adjustable camber bolts for the front struts. (sold by SPC, Moog, etc.)

Tools used:
Hammer and 5/8 socket to knock factory studs out, also used the socket as a spacer to press studs into the rear strut mounts.
3/4" deep wall socket (1/2" drive) to press new studs in
Bench vise to press in new studs
Flat file
Dremel with grinder bits, sanding tools
Sabre saw to cut out spacers (IMO a band saw would be better)
1/2 drill bit to drill holes for studs in spacers
31/64 drill bit to enlarge strut mount mounting holes for new studs
Drill Press (highly recommended) or hand drill
Hole saws - 3" and 2 1/2" for center holes
Soldering gun with blade tip (for marking strut mount outline on polyurethane)

Polyurethane spacer fabrication -

If you want to use the strut mounts as templates for the spacers, do these steps before you remove the studs.

If you're buying pre-cut or "extras" of Polyurethane from ebay, etc. note that runs of these materials can vary in thickness. If you buy two separate pieces,
you want to be sure that each piece is large enough to do either front or rear together, so if one piece is slightly thicker it can be used in the back.

A drill press is highly recommended.

Front Spacer -
a. Place the spacer upside-down on top of the polyurethane,and mark around each stud for bolt holes, or you can try making indents for the mounting holes by hitting the back of the strut mount with a hammer.

b. Drill out holes for the studs with 1/2" bit, and chamfer the base of each hole with dremel sanding tool.
Drop strut mount into the holes, drill a pilot hole for the hole saw mandrel bit through center hole in strut mount.

c. Remove strut mount, use 3" hole saw to cut hole for center of the mount to fit through.

d. Insert strut mount back into poly, mark outline of strut with the soldering iron on the poly for cutting.

e. Remove strut mount, cut and sand (if needed) according to marked outline, chamfer spacer around where it fits to the bottom of the tower as needed.

The spacer should sit flat and should slip on and off the mount easily without binding. Sand where needed to make sure.

Rear Spacer -

a. Use 2 1/2 hole saw to cut hole for center tower of the mount. Put the strut mount (with mounting studs still installed) upside down into the soon-to-be spacer, and mark where to drill the holes for the mounting bolts.

b. Remove the strut mount, drill out bolt holes (1/2"), and chamfer the base of each hole with dremel sanding tool. Re-insert the strut mount, and mark the outline of strut for cutting. I used a soldering iron with a blade tip for this.

c. Remove the strut mount, and use sabre saw to cut according to marked outline, chamfer spacer around where it fits to the bottom of the strut tower if needed so spacer sits flat on the mount.

Note that the rear spacer won't fit completely flat on the mount due to the raised areas around the studs. This isn't a problem, the spacer will conform once the strut is mounted to the vehicle.

Strut Mount Stud Replacement--

Front Mounts -

b. To remove the mounting studs from strut mounts, use a 5/8" socket to support the strut mount metal around the stud base, then hit the top of the stud with a hammer to pop it out. Once all the studs are out the mount will separate into two plates.

c. Drill out each hole in both plates to accept the knurl on the replacement stud. With the studs I used, the knurl is .480" so I used a 31/64 bit.
When drilling the holes, I held the plates loosely to allow the bit to center on the existing hole so the new studs will align with the mounting holes in the Jeep.

e. Hold both halfs of the mount together, and put the new studs through. Use a lug nut on each one to secure them in place for the next step.

Check the alignment of the studs against the unmodified mount, they should be close.

f. Put the 3/4 deep wall socket down over stud as shown, then use the bench vice to press the stud through both strut mount plates.

Rear mounts -

Modding the rear mounts is basically the same as the fronts, except the metal is thinner and may bend when you press out the studs.

a. If you're using a Polyurethane spacer, remove the rubber gasket from around the mount tower. The spacer will act as the gasket. If you're using another material for the spacer (such as metal) you may have to modify the spacer so the factory gasket can be used, or use RTV, etc.

c. As above, support strut metal around the head of the stud with a 5/8" socket, and pop out the stud with the hammer.

d. Re-flatten metal on the strut mount as needed, using the vice, round punch, or whatever you can think of.

e. Drill out each hole with a 31/64 bit.

f. Put the new studs through. Use a lug nut on each one to secure them in place to be pressed in.

g. Put the 3/4 deep wall socket down over stud as shown above, use the 5/8 socket against the head of the stud as a spacer, then use the bench vice to press the stud through.

h. Check the alignment of the studs against the unmodified mount, they should be close. Because the metal on the back mounts is thin, the studs may seem loose but this won't be a problem once the strut is mounted into the chassis.

Assemble the modified strut mounts on your strut/spring assembly, add the spacer, and install!
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awesome write up, much appreciated!
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Much time and effort spent on this spacer kit design. Excellent step by step instructions with great photos. Great details.:smiley_thumbs_up:
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How much do you think this cost you. Does this compress the springs and make the ride even stiffer.
How big of a piece of rubber do I need to make 2 out of or all 4.
How much do you think this cost you. Does this compress the springs and make the ride even stiffer.
I don't remember exactly. The springs were the largest part of it. The Moser studs were about $25. I bought new strut mounts which probably cost me around $60, and the 1" urethane came in two pieces which cost around $65 for both.
One piece was 6"x12" and the other was 5 3/4" x12".

Spacers go between the strut and the frame, so they don't compress the springs.

The springs firm up the ride, but what makes the ride stiff is the compression of the rear bushings on the front control arms as the control arms tilt down, when the springs and spacers are added. Does that make sense?
Will that wear out the front control arms. Okay I just wasn’t sure how big the piece needed to be to make 2 of them. I might do this when I upgrade the springs.
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