As some of you might have seen, I installed my OME lift with Dakars this last Saturday. I did it by myself with a few moments of having the wife hold a bolt or two while I worked. Since I was doing it myself I did as much research about installation problems. Most of it went as planned but I'll provide more info about where I got stuck. This is not an installation guide but just hits some of the highlights.
While I waited a few weeks for all the parts to come in I assembled some things in advance.
-Installed 885x coils on the new front shocks
-Installed bushings on rear of leafs
-Making sure all hardware was unpackaged and installed on shocks so I could see how it was going to be arranged.
Installing coils: I rented a spring compressor for free at O'Reilly automotive. They charge you for the tools and then refund you 100% when you return it. At the same time I got a ball joint separator. A pickle fork will do as well. The compressor works fine but is a bit of work. Find a nice solid, elevated surface to work on and tighten both compressors equally (4 turns on one, then 4 turns on the other) so the spring compresses equally. Take your time.
IMPORTANT: Make sure the top plate is aligned so that the bottom of the shock will bit into its bracket. You'll know what I mean if you screw it up! Basically, look at how the top plate will bolt up into the its place on the frame and make sure the bottom of the shock is turned so the "eye" is facing front and rear.
Rear leaf bushings: Some people use a hydraulic press to get the bushings in. I used a piece of pine 2x4 on top of the bushing while using a 3lb sledge making sure the bushing went in evenly. One of the leaf openings was slightly oblong so I had a lot of whacks. The other side went in painlessly. Prob 5-8 good whacks and it was in.
The rest of the prep is self-explanatory. Follow the directions and put the parts aside.
Now, for installation tips. I started with the rear.
1) Drop spare tire, get out floor jack, jack stands, stock truck jack and some ratchet straps (these help a lot). Set parking brake, chock the wheels, loosen lug nuts, etc.
2) I broke the initial torque of all bolts (3 per leaf, U-bolts), removed bolt holding parking break to leaf. The U-bolts will require a deep socket so be sure you have one that big. Most people do but I didn't. Had to hop on the bike to go to wal-mart. That added some major time to my install.
3) Watch the ABS lines!
4) Use the ratchet straps by wrapping around frame and axle. This will prevent you from lowering the rear diff too far and stretching the brake lines. Sort of a safety.
5) Remove old leaf and install new one with shackle and bolt the front of the leaf first. Now, here is the tricky part: Lower the diff as low as you can go without tugging on the brake lines (Use the ratchet straps to limit this). Now, use the other ratchet strap over the frame and the rear of the leaf to pull it into place so you can get the rear bolt through. This won't be too hard if you follow the plan above. When you do the other side, it will go much easier-it only too me 20 min to get the other leaf in.
6) Rear shocks are easy. If you need to keep the top from spinning as you tighten the top bolt, use a crescent wrench. Some recommend vise-grips or pliers but this will be easier and the shock won't get chewed up in the process.
For the front:
(Note: I was installing new UCA's so some of this might not apply to you)
1) Remove skid plate, Unbolt sway bar on both sides, remove battery (helps UCA bolt removal), and battery tray, and front grill.
2) Loosen lugs, jack up truck, set floor jacks under frame, Remove wheels. Use floor jack under lower arm and "Load" the suspension. This makes it easier to break ball joint. Unbolt Sway bar and push it out of the way. Break apart ball joint from UCA. Be sure the lower part doesn't swing forward and stretch brake lines and ABS lines. Get some bungie cords and wrap it up so it doesn't move. Unbolt UCA long bolt.
3) If you don't cut the Long bolt of the UCA it is a bit of a pain but do-able. This is why I removed the battery. Un-clip airbag wires from body in engine bay. Take a crow bar and bend the pinch weld from within the engine bay. Now go back to under the wheel well and use a crescent wrench to bend the metal so that the head of the bolt will clear into the engine bay. ( I used a crescent wrench to not have teeth marks on the sheet metal. Doesn't tear it up as much). The drivers side UCA bolt is fairly easy but the pass side is a pain in the royal ass but can be done. I used a 1/4 in ratchet extension to pound the bolt out from the rear. Be patient
4) Once UCA's are removed, Lower floor jack to unload LCA and replace shock with your new one. Now, you will have a problem getting the new OME shock to fit. I found that if you take a spring compressor and compress the spring a bit, it makes lining up the bottom hold A LOT easier. I noticed BJMoose had to use a crow bar but with this method it seems a lot easier.
5) Bolt up the new shock. Have a helper thread the long UCA bolt from the engine bay into the wheel well while you hold the new UCA and guide the bolt. DON'T FORGET ALL THE WASHERS!
6) Load the LCA again to bolt up the UCA ball joint. Attach sway bar. Tighten all bolts (AND UCA bolts!)
7) Replace wheel, remove floor jacks, install battery, grill, skid plate, attach sway bar.
8) Tighten all lug nuts
9) Enjoy new truck
Note: I removed grill in order to have access to passenger side UCA bolt. There is room to put a long bar and pound bolt in when reinstalling new UCA.
Hope some people get some useful into from this.