03 Safari 4" OLV Lift Install

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papagreen75
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03 Safari 4" OLV Lift Install

Post by papagreen75 » Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:48 am

So I started out the day planning to R&R upper and lower ball joints. After finishing only the drivers side upper, I changed my course. I figured the front end lift would be pretty simple (and it was...so far).
I started by Jacking up the drivers side. I stacked some blocks and lowered the van onto them. Then I took my factory jack and snugged it up for extra support should the blocks break.
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This is what it looked like when I got the wheel off.
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I removed the caliper and rotor and hung the rotor to the fender well with a zip tie.
ImageNext I took the two bolts out of the upper ball joint. I then drilled 1/4" holes into the tops of the two remaining rivets. I then used an air hammer to knock the tops of the rivets off. I then drilled a 5/16" hole thru the centers of the rivets. What a pain in my ginny. I tried hammering on them with a punch and 3lb sledge. No use. Ended up drilling all the way thru the rivets and then air hammering the bottoms of the rivets off. Once the holes were cleared, I was able to twist the ball joint out of the upper control arm. I tried using a c clamp to remove the stud of the ball joint from the knuckle but it only twisted my american made c clamp. So next I rented a ball joint press from the local auto part store. It turned out to be too large. The bottom plates wouldnt fit in the knuckle with the clamp because the cv boot was in the way. After returning the ball joint press and buying a pickle for, I was back in business. Two whacks of the 3lb sledge on the BJ and it popped right out. Installing and relocating the new one was easy as pie. BTW I did have a 3 ton floor jack under the control arm while doing this and was able to manipulate it up and down as needed. I then installed my new Rancho 5000 shock but broke the zip tie when tring to get it extra tight.
ImageSince the day was half gone, I decided to go ahead with my lift kit install. It has been sitting in the storage shed since last summer. I ordered it right after I bought the van. I had just been to cheap and lazy to install it. First I opened the hood and removed the intake, upper and lower fan shrouds. Next I popped the three plastic pins and two bolts out of the bottom of the bumper cover (my back two on the outside edges were already broken off). Then I had to figure out how to remove the grill to get to the upper bumper mounts. Take off the lower lights and you can get to the rest of the screws that you cant see that are holding the grill in. Then take off the grill. Now you can use a flat blade screw driver to pop out the 5 top plastic clips that hold in the top of the bumper cover. Next two bolts on each side hold the bumper to the brackets. This all came off easy. Here is what it looked like stripped down.
ImageNext I took the three body bolts out on the drivers side. I then used two blocks and the factor jack to lift the front end on the drivers side (under the radiator/dont pinch the condensor tubing) until the blocks fit in. I put locktite on the new bolts and installed them thru the new blocks. This was also a very easy process.
ImageWhen I lowered the van back down I noticed that I forgot to loosen the ebrake cable and kinked it just a little. It is now hanging loose below the van (might get to that tomorrow).
The passenger side blocks went in very easily as well. I got the other shock replaced just before dinner. Then the rain came as I was putting the bumper relocation brackets, bumper and cover on.
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Looks like the rain has let up. Will get the passenger side BJ swapped out before dark and update you all on my progress tomorrow. Wish me luck. This is my daily driver and I have to drive it to work on Tuesday.
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papagreen75
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Re: 03 Safari 4" OLV Lift Install

Post by papagreen75 » Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:51 am

Guess this site doesnt like my HTML. Here is a link to my photobucket album:
http://s1186.photobucket.com/albums/z37 ... n%20build/
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Wheel off just getting started
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astroturf
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Re: 03 Safari 4" OLV Lift Install

Post by astroturf » Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:32 am

papagreen75 wrote:Guess this site doesnt like my HTML. Here is a link to my photobucket album:
http://s1186.photobucket.com/albums/z37 ... n%20build/
Great Pix PapaGreen...

Maybe a Moderator could clean up those pix links???

Thanks Again, Jim

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Re: 03 Safari 4" OLV Lift Install

Post by justice » Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:37 am

i fixed your pic links, very nice pics

in the future when linking from Photobucket, use the option with the [IMG] tags
I have a ban hammer and I ain't fraid to use it!


Current - 2004 Astro Cargo


Former
95 Safari (money pit - sold)
93 Astro Cargo (totaled)
85 Astro - (Bought for parts and scrapped)
92 Astro Conversion (sold)
87 Safari Shorty (sold)

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Re: 03 Safari 4" OLV Lift Install

Post by timelessbeing » Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:38 am

looks like you have some hot spots on your brake disk.

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Re: 03 Safari 4" OLV Lift Install

Post by astroturf » Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:43 am

justice wrote:i fixed your pic links, very nice pics

in the future when linking from Photobucket, use the option with the [IMG] tags
You Sir, are The Man.

Thanks, Jim

papagreen75
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Re: 03 Safari 4" OLV Lift Install

Post by papagreen75 » Mon Jul 04, 2011 4:45 am

Well it's almost bed time and I didn't get as far after dinner as I had hoped to. Thanks to the roll of plastic I had laying around the garage (I never throw anything away), most of my tools stayed dry. Too bad the wheel was off the passenger side. The rotor got soaked and looks pretty bad now.
I started putting the grill on and coudln't get it to fit. Had to remove the bumper cover, bumper and lower the bumper relocation brackets one notch. Reinstalled and it fits pretty good.
Passenger side ball joint just as big of a PITA-Hole as the other one. Even keeping my drill bits lubed with motor oil didn't stop me from burning up two more bits. Stopped there and took a break.
Had just enough time to cut the lower fan shroud with a hack saw before it was time to tuck the kid in and get cleaned up.
Couple of things I need to do, adjust the brake line bolt on the drivers side. The brake line mount needs to be moved 1/4 turn counter clockwise to reduce the stress on the cable. Might turn my rotors if I have the time. Then theres that pesky ebrake cable.
Will post more updates tomorrow night.
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Re: 03 Safari 4" OLV Lift Install

Post by LiftedAWDAstro » Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:26 pm

Nice job. Looking good so far. =D>
Current rides:
2013 Toyota Tundra DC 4x4
2008 Dodge Nitro 4x4
2005 Nissan Sentra 1.8S Special Edition

Mileage spreadsheet

Vans owned:
1986 Safari 2.5L 4 speed manual - scrapped
1995 Astro 2WD conversion 4.11 posi, shift kit, DHC rock rails - sold to Skippy
1998 Astro 4x4 D44, D60, NP231, full hydraulic system with 9k# Milemarker winch and snow plow - sold to Lockdoc
2003 Astro AWD all stock - traded for a 3/4 ton truck
2005 AWD, 4.10's - sold to skippy

papagreen75
I am merely driving my van
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Location: Colorado Springs

Re: 03 Safari 4" OLV Lift Install

Post by papagreen75 » Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:51 am

Slept in a bit this morning and got started at the crack of brunch. I finished buttoning up the front end and installed my freshly modified $10 junk yard lower fan shroud.
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Then I moved onto finishing up the passenger side lower ball joint. Just as big of a pain as the drivers side and the only really hard part of the whole job.

I dropped of both front rotors to be turned and came back home to try installing the new torsion bar keys. For this I blocked the front end and put both of my jacks under each side of the van for extra support.
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Using the modified c clamp I was able to remove the adjusting block and take the tension off the bar and it was loose inside the subrame.
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The problem was, that it was rusted to the key. After whacking on it with the 3lb sledge for a while, the phone rang and my rotors were done. I sprayed both keys and the slot in the control arms at the other end with penatrating lube before I left to pick them up.

When I got back I sprayed them again and installed both rotors.

10 more minutes of pounding and I finally gave up. I reinstlled the adjusting block and used the air impact to set both t bar keys to 4 full thread grooves left below the adjusting block. I installed my upgraded front tires and rims and moved onto the rear. It was starting to get hot and I was burning up the day on those damn t-bar keys.

Here is a shot of what it looked like once I had the rear end blocked again with the factory jack snug right next to the blocks for extra support.
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I just followed the directions supplied by Dan at OLV. This was about the only part of the entire set of directions that were straight forward. Before lifting, loosen the brake hose bracket above the gas tank. Lift and support rear of van. Remove shock. Loosen bolts that hold the springs to the axle. Remove bolts holding in springs on both ends. Install new springs, shock and slap the wheel back on.

Yeh, it sounds easier than it was. I used a lot of spray lube on those crusty bolts and got lots of dirt in my hair and eyes while working under there. The extra floor jack made it pretty easy to manipulate the rear axle up and down while replacing the springs. Those bolts were tough but not so bad that I needed the turbo torch. Here are some shots of the drivers side finished.
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Put my new to me free H3 wheels on and down the road I whent.
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I did have some very minor rubbing and shaved the front bumper cover with a hack saw. I used some blue painters tape and a tape measure to outline both sides. Then just trimmed them back a bit. No rubbing in the rear at all and I havent had any rubbing on the fender wall yet. Sorry no pix (it was almost dinner time). I also installed the ebrake relocation bracket, thank goodness mine wasnt a rusted clump. A little tugging and it slipped right out of the sleave.

In all I got almost 5" in the front and about 5-1/2" in the rear. I picked up five H3 wheels with nice 265/75R16 Hankook Dynapro ATM's on them. Had my buddy at the tire shop pull the tires and sold them two days later for what I paid for the wheels and tires. Saturday I scored a set of Uniroyal Laredo HD/T 245/75R16's on craigslist for $250 with 70% tread and even wear (13-14/32"). I think they look just right for the height. Will try to get some glamor shots tomorrow and post them as a follow up.
I still need to get back under the front and do the knock outs on the control arms, so I can get rid of the seriously positive camber that I have going on. On the brighter side my turning radius is much better this way. Maybe the alignment shop will take pitty on me tomorrow and do my lower ball joints at the same time.

I have gotten some really good use out of this website over the past couple years. I hope that somebody gets as much from this I as I have. I am mechanically inclined and have a bunch of nice tools. I seldom use them. Anybody out there thinking of lifting and their van should do it. It was a ton of hard work. I could have used an extra set of hands a time or two. I took my time and worked as safely as possible. One 9hr day and 8 more hrs today. Next time I could shave a lot of time off just by knowing what I am in for.

In total I would rate this job as 3-G*d Damn's, 4-Sh^t's and one small burst of 3 Sh#t F&ck's in a row. Oh yeh, and 1 bloody nuckle and a half a galon of GoJo.

Must have tools: factory jack, 3 ton floor jack, hard level surface (my driveway slopes and made parts of this a PITA/refer to paragraph above), large jack stands (wish I had some), pickle fork, air impact, air hammer with sharp chisel and pointed punch (regular pointed puch will do), 3lb sledge (or bigger if you can swing it), 3/8" ratchet w/sockets (10mm/13mm/15mm), 1/2" ratchet, breaker and assorted extensions, 1/2" drive sockets 15mm/18mm(x2), 21mm, 7/8", combination wrenches to match all sockets listed (ratcheting kind worked great for me), large flat blade screwdriver, dikes, needlenose and channel locks, good drill with 2-4 new 1/8" & 5/16" bits, some motor oil to keep the bits from buring up to fast, grease gun, hack saw, patience and determination.
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Re: 03 Safari 4" OLV Lift Install

Post by astroturf » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:13 am

Wow PG, The finished product sure does look good.

Thanks a lot for sharing.

Jim

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timelessbeing
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Re: 03 Safari 4" OLV Lift Install

Post by timelessbeing » Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:53 am

Great photos and writeup =D>

The nice tools will def make the job easier, but you can get by without 'em. The only power tools I used were a air impact wrench and electric drill.

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Re: 03 Safari 4" OLV Lift Install

Post by Herbie » Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:56 pm

Great pictures and good job not hurting yourself, but I can't believe nobody has said this yet:

YOU SHOULD NEVER EVER EVER USE CINDER BLOCKS TO HOLD THE WEIGHT OF YOUR VAN!!!! :yikes: [-X :yikes: [-X

Holy crap, I've seen those things crumble under the weight of a Honda civic that had it's wheels stolen. Do yourself a favor and extend your life by investing $45 in some Harbor Freight Jack Stands, at least!!!

I don't like using HF tools in "mission critical" places (i.e. where a tool failure could injure me), but I'd feel a thousand times better about HF jack stands over cinder blocks.
"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: 03 Safari 4" OLV Lift Install

Post by timelessbeing » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:49 pm

Herbie, I think he has the cinder blocks backed up with one or more jacks.

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Re: 03 Safari 4" OLV Lift Install

Post by LiftedAWDAstro » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:54 pm

Looks awesome! Nice job!!!! :supz:
Current rides:
2013 Toyota Tundra DC 4x4
2008 Dodge Nitro 4x4
2005 Nissan Sentra 1.8S Special Edition

Mileage spreadsheet

Vans owned:
1986 Safari 2.5L 4 speed manual - scrapped
1995 Astro 2WD conversion 4.11 posi, shift kit, DHC rock rails - sold to Skippy
1998 Astro 4x4 D44, D60, NP231, full hydraulic system with 9k# Milemarker winch and snow plow - sold to Lockdoc
2003 Astro AWD all stock - traded for a 3/4 ton truck
2005 AWD, 4.10's - sold to skippy

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Re: 03 Safari 4" OLV Lift Install

Post by Cobra » Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:55 pm

those rims look like they are designed for an auto inflation system i like them
1998 GMC Safari AWD, BFGoodrich AllTerrain T/A
Jet performance tuner 91 octane preset, Jet under-drive pulleys
Rancho 999000 series shock, on-board controller to be installed later
DHC rock rails and skid plate Add-A-Leaf
G3500 front calipers
Zexel Torsen Diff
11" drums
180 amp Alternator
Long tru-cool 4590 trans cooler

1997 in storage (project coming soon)
1992 Chevy Astro "Z" vin (engine/trans in storage body crushed)
1995 Chevy Astro need lots of help project vehicle

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