4" OLV Kit on the way - ball joints, other suspension issue?

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Herbie
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4" OLV Kit on the way - ball joints, other suspension issue?

Post by Herbie » Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:36 pm

OK, after nearly two plus years of research, waiting, and building out other aspects of my van, I finally pulled the trigger on the Overland Vans 4" lift kit last week. I'm now semi-patiently waiting on delivery. I've done my diligent research here on the forum, so I'm trying to answer as many of my own questions as possible, but I've still got a couple I'm hoping the learned community can help answer:

I've learned that this is probably a good time to do the ball joints, especially since I've recently detected a "groan" from the front-right over certain bumps, etc. I've read a couple of people recommending MOOG parts, but I'm open to all suggestions. Best place to get these? Any other parts I should plan on replacing while I'm in there, given that I have a noise?

The ball joints will need to be greased, right? (And so will the rear hangers, if I understand correctly) So I'll finally need a grease gun so I can do these before driving out? Yes, I've gone my whole life without a grease gun, as all the DIY stuff I've done to this point hasn't been greased components. Any hints there?

One thing that has me concerned: My van seems to have a definite right-side lean right now, more pronounced in the rear. Not sure if I have a busted leaf or what, but is this something I should be concerned with fixing BEFORE I install the lift kit, or is it reasonable to see if replacing the rear springs/hangers/etc. fixes it before I worry any more?

Shocks: I ordered and plan to install the shock relocation tabs, so I'll be able to use stock-length shocks, but I'm not sure about the state of my current shocks as I bought the vehicle used a bit more than a year ago. I haven't detected any driving behavior that makes me suspect their condition, only the aforementioned "lean" when parked. Is it OK to try to get by on those for a while or should I just do it right the first time? Also, Bilstein is right down the way from me, and I've had good luck with them on other vehicles, so I'm feeling loyal that way. Good choice, or stick to the Ranchos or whatever?

Let me run the list of other gotchas, etc. I've gleaned from my reading and tell me if I've missed anything:
* Best to do one end at a time
* Remove the front bumper first thing
* Work one side at a time on the subframe bolts, etc.
* Remove the knockouts when the upper arms are out so I can have it aligned later. (These come out with pliers, or chisel, or what?)
* Replace ball joints while I'm doing the relocation.
* Be conservative in how much I use the OE torsion keys to boost the front (already planning to skip the OLV keys)
* Trim fan shroud
* Trim front sill/fender area once I have the bigger tires to test
* I'll probably need to drop the tank to get the left side bolts for spring hanger out, yes? Will need to re-install same way since I plan to do the rock rails, right?
* Got the bumper relocation brackets, so I should be good on that.

The upside is that I'll have access to a shop with a lift to do the work. The downside is that while I follow instructions pretty well, I'm still a relative n00b and I may not notice if the instructions are lacking.

Thanks everyone. I can't tell you how excited I am, as this is the culmination of literally YEARS of planning that started when I stumbled across T.Low's van and this site.
"My minivan is cooler than your bro-truck"
2003 Astro AWD Astrolander/ZMB - GTRV Top Transplant, 4" OLV Lift, NP233 T-case, evolving interior
1995 Safari GTRV Organ donor - gutted and gone.
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Re: 4" OLV Kit on the way - ball joints, other suspension is

Post by timelessbeing » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:15 pm

I did not have to lower the gas tank to replace the springs.

However, my brake cable adjuster was solidified into a rusty clump. I ended up undoing the end inside the rear brake drum instead. (I have no idea if that's the best way. Just my solution). Maybe soak the adjuster in releasing agent ahead of time, along with the body bolts, spring hangers etc.

Moog is a must.
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Re: 4" OLV Kit on the way - ball joints, other suspension is

Post by Herbie » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:52 pm

OK, more learning what I don't know:

I know I should do the upper ball joints. Lower ones too? Should I replace the idlers while I'm in there, or wait for a "reason" on those?

EDIT: OK, I ordered upper and lower balljoints. Seeing the prices on idlers I'm inclined to wait until I know I NEED those. :yikes: Plus, now I can look at the design and figure out if there's a way to build de-stress them in the lifted position...
"My minivan is cooler than your bro-truck"
2003 Astro AWD Astrolander/ZMB - GTRV Top Transplant, 4" OLV Lift, NP233 T-case, evolving interior
1995 Safari GTRV Organ donor - gutted and gone.
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Re: 4" OLV Kit on the way - ball joints, other suspension is

Post by timelessbeing » Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:18 pm

idlers are probably the simplest maintenance item on the van after oil changes. Should take 30 mins. I would replace those when it's needed. How much do ball-joints cost?

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Re: 4" OLV Kit on the way - ball joints, other suspension is

Post by Herbie » Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:37 pm

timelessbeing wrote:idlers are probably the simplest maintenance item on the van after oil changes. Should take 30 mins. I would replace those when it's needed. How much do ball-joints cost?
Rock Auto was the cheapest I found with a little searching, $137 shipped for two uppers, two lowers.

Glad to hear the idlers aren't too hard to do!
"My minivan is cooler than your bro-truck"
2003 Astro AWD Astrolander/ZMB - GTRV Top Transplant, 4" OLV Lift, NP233 T-case, evolving interior
1995 Safari GTRV Organ donor - gutted and gone.
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Re: 4" OLV Kit on the way - ball joints, other suspension is

Post by doyoulikeithere » Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:10 am

hi Herb.
What year is the van you are lifting? did it have fiberglass, or steel leafsprings?
You wont need to buy spring hangers, and You wont need to drop the tank to change the spring , UNLESS, you had fiberglass springs, and are switching to the newer style spring hangers for steel springs. If you already had steel springs the hangers are good and you wont need to drop the tank because you dont need to change the hangers.
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Re: 4" OLV Kit on the way - ball joints, other suspension is

Post by Herbie » Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:54 pm

doyoulikeithere wrote:hi Herb.
What year is the van you are lifting? did it have fiberglass, or steel leafsprings?
You wont need to buy spring hangers, and You wont need to drop the tank to change the spring , UNLESS, you had fiberglass springs, and are switching to the newer style spring hangers for steel springs. If you already had steel springs the hangers are good and you wont need to drop the tank because you dont need to change the hangers.
Gotcha. Yeah, 2003 van, steel springs.

After a little more careful attention to how she drives, I'm thinking shocks are in order, too. Going to have to place a call to the local Bilstein and see what they recommend.
"My minivan is cooler than your bro-truck"
2003 Astro AWD Astrolander/ZMB - GTRV Top Transplant, 4" OLV Lift, NP233 T-case, evolving interior
1995 Safari GTRV Organ donor - gutted and gone.
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Re: 4" OLV Kit on the way - ball joints, other suspension is

Post by loopie » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:42 pm

The regular Bilstein HD are the only ones listed to fit....not their fancier ones :cry:

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Re: 4" OLV Kit on the way - ball joints, other suspension is

Post by Herbie » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:27 pm

Well, like Rastafari said in his thread, it looks like the Overland Vans kits are getting drop-shipped from multiple places - the first couple of parts have trickled in (keys and hangers), still waiting on the rest...

Have all of my moog parts sitting in a box, along with my shiny new grease gun... C'mon OLV!
"My minivan is cooler than your bro-truck"
2003 Astro AWD Astrolander/ZMB - GTRV Top Transplant, 4" OLV Lift, NP233 T-case, evolving interior
1995 Safari GTRV Organ donor - gutted and gone.
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Re: 4" OLV Kit on the way - ball joints, other suspension is

Post by Herbie » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:38 pm

Heh. Leaf springs arrived last night. UPS Guy was grunting as he carried the pair to the door.

Tomorrow makes 3 weeks from the order date. We'll see what I have by then...
"My minivan is cooler than your bro-truck"
2003 Astro AWD Astrolander/ZMB - GTRV Top Transplant, 4" OLV Lift, NP233 T-case, evolving interior
1995 Safari GTRV Organ donor - gutted and gone.
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