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How To: 1st Gen Dakota 2" Body Lift - Posted: 12-29-2007, 12:34 PM
This is a write-up for installing a 2" Body Lift on any 1987-1996 1st Gen Dakota
I did the Performance Accessories 2" Body Lift designed specifically for my model and year of truck. Did it in a garage with a basic set of sockets and a buddy (pictured) within the time of about 6 hours. We ran into a couple set backs but in general it is a job that takes a full day, very easy to do though.
1. Check All Clearances
Under the hood there are a couple things you will want to do before you start lifting. Removing the fan shroud now makes life alot easier down the road, I simply let the shroud sit on the fan once it was un-bolted. On the brake master cylinder there is a round bracket under the reservoir held on with two nuts, remove these so the bracket can hang freely. As a safety precaution you will want to disconnect the battery. Then do a visual check, look for anything that might bind up or stretch when lifting the cab, aside from the brake bracket which the instructions mentioned, I had no problems with anything.
2. Remove Front Bumper
First step is to get your front bumper out of the way to be able to access two body mounts on the front of the cab. There's three bolts on each bumper bracket holding it to the frame, as well as one bolt in each fender holding a bumper support.
3. Remove Fender Skirts
On the fender wells there are rubber skirts which prevent dirt and debris from slashing into your engine, these are held in with push-in plugs which can be easily removed with a set of pliers
4. Remove Bed Bolts
There are 8 bolts holding the bed to the frame, 4 on each side. Two are at the immediate rear, and the other two ahead of the rear tires. These bolts travel directly through the frame into the bed.
5. Lift Bed
Once all the bed bolts are removed, place a jack under the bed and lift it up enough to fit the 2" spacers in. Do one side at a time to prevent the bed from coming drastically out of alignment.
6. Install Spacers And Install New Bed Bolts
After the bed is up, put the spacers in and LOOSELY install the new bolts which come in the kit, you want them loose so you can align the bed later more easily
7. Remove Cab Bolts
This is much the same as removing the bed bolts, however the cab bolts are a larger size and hold up rubber cups which help make for a smoother ride, these rubber caps/bushings will be reused so dont destroy them. The cab si held on with 8 bolts, two behind the front bumper, two immediately behind the front wheel, two in the middle of the cab, and two at the immediate back of the cab.
The two front bolts travel through the body and attach to a square nut in the red support, this square nut is held in place but small wings of sheet metal which are squished around it. When loosening these nuts the sheet metal wings bent upwards allowing the nut to spin freely, and as such not loosening the body bolts. Using a welder and tacking the sheet metal to theses square nuts would have made life much easier for us, but had no welder so we just jammed a bunch of stuff in the rad support to prevent the nut from spinning. This set us back a couple hours.
8. Lift Cab
Once all the cab bolts are removed simply lift the cab with the jack the same way you did the bed. (my buddys in this picture..he's a ford Ranger lover so now he's been caught on camera working on a real truck)
9. Install Spacers And New Cab Bolts
Again just like the bed, however this time I put the included lock tight on the bolts and torqued them down nice and tight. Dont forget to put the stock rubber bushings/cups back on when you put the new bolts in.
10. Modify Fan Shroud
With the body up two inches higher the bottom of the fan shroud binds with the engine fan. To fix this I marked on the shroud where the fan binds, and using a set of snips my buddy cut away pieces of the shroud to let the fan spin freely
11. Replace Under Hood Stuff From Step 1
The only thing I had to modify under the hood afterwards was the bracket the was removed from under the brake reservoir, and by modify I mean I just bolted it back on. Included in the kit is a 2" extension for the shifter linkage, you can cut the linkage that goes down from the steering shaft to the frame/tranny and weld in the spacer, but considering we had no welder I just bent the shifter linkage until it was straight, and as such, longer...works perfectly. Replace your front fender shirts by simply pressing the push-in plugs back into the holes.
12. Align And Secure Bed Bolts
Now that the cab is all attached and tightened down, go to your bed, line it back up with the cab, and then put the included lock tight on the bed bolts and tighten them down to secure your bed.
Now your all done! stand back and look at how much bigger your truck is, 2" doesnt sound like much but you'll be quite surprised after your done at the difference. I took some pictures to show the difference
I hope this helps any of you out there who are planning on doing the 2" body lift. If you have any questions feel free to reply, PM me, or if I'm not on here you can e-mail/MSN me at email@example.com and I'll help you any way I can.
94' Dakota Club Cab SLT 4x4 5.2L
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