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Check Your Lift Bolts!


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23 replies to this topic

#1 WoodsWagon

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 11:09 PM

I didn't and now my car's body is trashed. The front bolt and lift block on the strut rod mount on the passenger's side fell out. This let the strut rod work the other two lift blocks back and forth untill the metal of the unibody began to tear. I now have one captured nut 1/2 way ripped out of the body and the whole area around the other one is cracking and tearing away. If I had driven it tomorrow, it would have ripped out. All the consequences of my car coming apart in rushour traffic would have been nasty. I only noticed it because I was under checking an exhaust leak.

I'm hoping a good welder can fabricate some patch for the whole area, but worst comes to worst the body is trash. It would have been fine if the bolt hadn't come loose.

I torqued everything down when I last assembeld this area, so it loosened from vibration and stress. My advise to anyone running a lifted rig is to check the tightness on EVERY bolt under the car at least once a month. What you don't notice can kill you, or worse, the car full of kids on their way to school that you plow into.

#2 TheSubaruJunkie

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 11:37 PM

YES! I check mine after every wheelin trip. Or at least I try to.

I installed my lift using locktite so Im hoping I dont experience anything like you did. Ive seen it before, and usually the outcome is grim.

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#3 Numbchux

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 12:30 AM

I didn't and now my car's body is trashed. The front bolt and lift block on the strut rod mount on the passenger's side fell out. This let the strut rod work the other two lift blocks back and forth untill the metal of the unibody began to tear. I now have one captured nut 1/2 way ripped out of the body and the whole area around the other one is cracking and tearing away. If I had driven it tomorrow, it would have ripped out. All the consequences of my car coming apart in rushour traffic would have been nasty. I only noticed it because I was under checking an exhaust leak.

I'm hoping a good welder can fabricate some patch for the whole area, but worst comes to worst the body is trash. It would have been fine if the bolt hadn't come loose.

I torqued everything down when I last assembeld this area, so it loosened from vibration and stress. My advise to anyone running a lifted rig is to check the tightness on EVERY bolt under the car at least once a month. What you don't notice can kill you, or worse, the car full of kids on their way to school that you plow into.


strut rod....aka leading or radius rod? the one going back from the control arm?

if so, I had mine pull out. not because of loose bolts, just because those three blocks (early AA design, I've since moved to the update one piece design), don't transfer the forces effectiently.

a buddy of mine and I fixed it, we cut out the area around each nut, welded a new nut to a big ol fender washer, and then welded that into the hole. it's been real solid ever since!

#4 Scott in Bellingham

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 09:40 AM

on my white car it has a 3-1/2" lift, on that front radius mount I kept it in the stock position and just dropped the engine and transaxle , and modified the radius bar and added a spacer on it to keep the tire centered

#5 Sweet82

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 05:47 PM

I marked all my bolt & nuts with fingernail polish when I built the buggy.
I check them on a regular basis. So far no movement:dead:.

Good advice on these old cars!

#6 Phizinza

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 06:59 PM

I had a bolt shear off and lost a lift block on the trails too. It was one of the torsion bar ones. Didn't to any damage, until I tried to fix it. Count your self lucky it came loose and didn't just shear off. Impossible to get out a 12mm stuck thread :( Finally I had to cut a hole in the body just about the nut and drill out the captive nut and use a normal one. Now I am worried about taking out any other bolt as I don't want them to shear.

#7 bratsrus1

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 10:02 PM

Hi Everybody This is Jerry, if you use maxaum strength lock tite the good stuff. I haven't had any problems of that happening, use alot of the stuff don't be cheap about it. Thanks Jerry

#8 Caboobaroo

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 11:18 PM

WOw, be glad it didn;t happen on your road trip out here or back. That could have been real nasty.... Then I think I'd be getting a PM about needing some help with it;) Shop's always open though:D

#9 WoodsWagon

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 11:18 PM

I have to figure out how to patch that whole area back together. It looks like I will have to pull the dash and HVAC to get at the backside of the firewall where the piece that's shearing off attaches to. I'll put some bolts through and use them to squeeze it together so that I can weld the rip back down. I think I have to get my drivetrain out of the way to. Mutherf'r, and I thought the car was doing great.

#10 Hodaka Rider

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 03:22 PM

Here's a question: has anyone had this happen with one of the updated AA kits?

#11 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 04:09 PM

If you use open blocks (without a tube running through them) and 1/4" wall tube, you can use the stock body mount bolts and lock washers on the top of the block, and new hardware on the bottom of the blocks. I've never had a problem with it this way. The problem comes when you are using 4" long bolts. They are both expensive, and require at least regular checking for loosening. The blocks can be built cheaper (I guess that's the reason, seems like a lot more work to me) out of thiner walled tubing, with a support in the center for the bolt to run through, but for a 4 inch lift all my 1/4" wall blocks were $5 each, and I that's including having the steel yard cut them the tubing into 2"x2"x4" blocks for me with their bandsaw (water cooled), and all I had to do was drill them. That's $90 for all the blocks to do a body lift (pre-cut mind you - they are only about $2.50 each without cutting). You re-use the same bolts for the body, so you only need about $20 worth of hardware to bolt the suspension components to the blocks. I've done four lifts now this way, and NEVER has anything come loose.

GD

#12 Numbchux

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 06:00 PM

Here's a question: has anyone had this happen with one of the updated AA kits?


not sure what you mean....all the kits run the higher risk of having the bolts coming loose. but if you're referring to the leading rod mounts getting horsed up with the new 'one-piece' blocks, I don't think so. they're a HUGE improvement!

#13 Fatz

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 01:50 AM

strut rod....aka leading or radius rod? the one going back from the control arm?

if so, I had mine pull out. not because of loose bolts, just because those three blocks (early AA design, I've since moved to the update one piece design), don't transfer the forces effectiently.

a buddy of mine and I fixed it, we cut out the area around each nut, welded a new nut to a big ol fender washer, and then welded that into the hole. it's been real solid ever since!


mine has the tree blocks and has pulled the captive nuts thru the floor:mad::mad:.
What is this updated 1 peice design?? ive never heard of it.. can someone plz upload a pic of it??
would be muchly apprecieated...
Thanx all
Adam

#14 Numbchux

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 01:24 PM

mine has the tree blocks and has pulled the captive nuts thru the floor:mad::mad:.
What is this updated 1 peice design?? ive never heard of it.. can someone plz upload a pic of it??
would be muchly apprecieated...
Thanx all
Adam


I don't know if I have a pic of it, but I've got mine out, so if I have time this weekend I can take one.

anyway, Allied Armament here in the states basically took those three blocks, and put a peice of metal along the outside edges to connect them all, that way the forces are applied more efficiently to the unibody.


Scott....I'd really like to know how you did it. have any pic of your modified radius rod??

#15 Scott in Bellingham

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 02:05 PM

Scott....I'd really like to know how you did it. have any pic of your modified radius rod??


Posted Image

heres the spacer to help center the wheel ,

Posted Image

Heres a comparison picture
Scott

#16 torxxx

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 01:36 AM

I've only checked my lift bolts twice in 10,000 miles. None were loose. I'm guessing I overtighten bolts when I installed the lift, or the rust is holding the bolts inplace.. lol

#17 WoodsWagon

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 10:09 PM

To clarify, "vibration and stress" may include 60' burnouts on 215/75R15's. The ej22 puts more force on everthing, and I've also been wheeling the piss out of the car. I think that the bolt just got jostled enough that it got a little loose, then started spinning it's self out with the vibration from the shot CV joint.

#18 Numbchux

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 01:59 AM

To clarify, "vibration and stress" may include 60' burnouts on 215/75R15's. The ej22 puts more force on everthing, and I've also been wheeling the piss out of the car. I think that the bolt just got jostled enough that it got a little loose, then started spinning it's self out with the vibration from the shot CV joint.


too much sheer force on that lift block(s) will pull it out of the framerail. whether the bolt's loose or not. it helps to have the AA one peice design, but nonetheless.

These cars aren't real tough, they'll do some amazing things, but only with careful driving, otherwise they will just fail, as you're finding out.

#19 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 02:48 AM

too much sheer force on that lift block(s) will pull it out of the framerail. whether the bolt's loose or not. it helps to have the AA one peice design, but nonetheless.

These cars aren't real tough, they'll do some amazing things, but only with careful driving, otherwise they will just fail, as you're finding out.


That's not completely true. With a long bolt going all the way through the block it certainly is. As the block flexes (and it WILL flex) it puts huge strain on the long bolts because they are forced to flex with the block. If you do as I sugest and use hollow blocks with the original short mounting bolts this bolt flex does not occur. The block is allowed to flex independantly of the mounting bolts, so puts little to no strain on them.

I've done crazy stuff with my lift - at the show (and several folks can attest to this) I went so fast down an extremely un-improved fire road that I nearly lost control, and ended up bending the front struts so badly I wasn't sure I could even drive it home. The camber is fubar to say the least. I was probably doing upwards of 35 - 40 MPH, and I was bouncing so violently I couldn't even see straight. Didn't hurt my lift or mounting bolts at all.

Long bolts running through the block is a BAD design. The bolt (and the capture nut in the frame) has to flex with the block. The taller you make the block, and thus the longer bolt you have to use, the more pronounced the flex will be. This is why any lift over 4" has to be designed to use the original short bolts. For one thing you can't even find large enough bolts, and the flex is so great at that amount of lift (5" and up) it will rip the capture nuts right out of the frame. It's stronger to use short bolts - even with a small lift. Period.

GD

#20 Qman

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 04:00 AM

That's not completely true. With a long bolt going all the way through the block it certainly is. As the block flexes (and it WILL flex) it puts huge strain on the long bolts because they are forced to flex with the block. If you do as I sugest and use hollow blocks with the original short mounting bolts this bolt flex does not occur. The block is allowed to flex independantly of the mounting bolts, so puts little to no strain on them.

I've done crazy stuff with my lift - at the show (and several folks can attest to this) I went so fast down an extremely un-improved fire road that I nearly lost control, and ended up bending the front struts so badly I wasn't sure I could even drive it home. The camber is fubar to say the least. I was probably doing upwards of 35 - 40 MPH, and I was bouncing so violently I couldn't even see straight. Didn't hurt my lift or mounting bolts at all.

Long bolts running through the block is a BAD design. The bolt (and the capture nut in the frame) has to flex with the block. The taller you make the block, and thus the longer bolt you have to use, the more pronounced the flex will be. This is why any lift over 4" has to be designed to use the original short bolts. For one thing you can't even find large enough bolts, and the flex is so great at that amount of lift (5" and up) it will rip the capture nuts right out of the frame. It's stronger to use short bolts - even with a small lift. Period.

GD


Some of your statement is right but not all is accurate. Being that I have also had both designs that are being discussed. The "hollow" blocks that you speak of are strong 1/4" steel blocks. They will bend however. Do not believe that they won't. I have bent 1/4" blocks, Broken bolts and pulled out captive nuts(that was due to rusty undercarraige though).

The only way to insure against breaking something offroad is to stay on the pavement. Oh, and not driving like Rick. I saw your car and I can't believe you drove it back home that way. Must have been a fun ride to say the least.

#21 ShawnW

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 01:48 PM

Full frame lift kit on my vehicle right now. Should be driving it around by next week. I would assume this may be the only way to decrease the possibility of this sort of thing happening but until I test it out I can't be sure.

#22 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 04:05 PM

Some of your statement is right but not all is accurate. Being that I have also had both designs that are being discussed. The "hollow" blocks that you speak of are strong 1/4" steel blocks. They will bend however. Do not believe that they won't. I have bent 1/4" blocks, Broken bolts and pulled out captive nuts(that was due to rusty undercarraige though).

The only way to insure against breaking something offroad is to stay on the pavement. Oh, and not driving like Rick. I saw your car and I can't believe you drove it back home that way. Must have been a fun ride to say the least.


Yeah - the blocks can be bent. Especially when you start getting taller blocks. Then they need external bracing. But for a 3" or 4" block, it's near impossible to bend them. I've never bent any of my 3" or 4" blocks (3" on the radius plates, and 4" on the cross-member). I have seen 3" x 3/16" wall blocks bend - there were some on nick's wagon when he bought it. He bent them without problems. My point was just that when the blocks DO bend, the bolt (and hence capture nut) won't bend with it. So you have a better chance of not being stranded, and maybe you only have to replace the block. Nick's 3/16" wall blocks were open design, and while they did bend and get "crushed" slightly, the bolts didn't come loose because they didn't go through the block.

Yeah - driving it home was actually ok. Better than I thought it was going to be. But I did only have about 60 miles to go, and it was all straight level freeway. Turning was the suck tho.

GD

#23 WoodsWagon

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 11:11 PM

Making the lift, not the body, the weakest point makes sense.

Oh whell, I would have been screwed no matter what with the bolt coming out. It didn't pull out of the threads, because a replacement bolt threaded right in and torqued down. I'm getting a mig welder lined up and a board member who is good with one will help me.

#24 WoodsWagon

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Posted 01 October 2006 - 10:52 AM

Konrad/soo welded the body back together, I tapped the hole where the bolt fell out up to 9/16. We welded a couple of washers to sandwhich the body where the farthest back bolt ripped through, and used a nut through a hole in the floor. (3rd try with the holesaw was in the right spot) I welded a brace on the rear bolt block, from the top of the block to the bushing plate. Should help a bit.

Did some testing, 2.5 hours wheeling today, 1 hour yesterday. It's spent more time in the woods than on the street since the repair. Seems to have held up fine.

RIght after we did all the wheeling this morning, I pulled out of my driveway and the CV blew. A crack and then vroooom. Threw it in 4wd and kept going.




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