Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

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LAZ 1
I get chills without my van.
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Starting a DIY lift on 98 AWD

Post by LAZ 1 » Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:24 am

Just a bit more info on a few tiddly bits involved ....
and I may be a bit too picky or retentive here ...
1.) I got a dozen of the 2" nylon reinforced body lift blocks from North Shore in Vancouver. These blocks are rated for immense loads in compression so no problems there. However, I was wondering about the play between the 12 mm OD bolts and the 14 mm ID of the blocks. I found some 3/8" COPPER pipe with perfect ID and OD to sleeve the 12 mm bolts inside the blocks.
BUT
am I being overly retentive about this?? And will the copper sleeves cause problems (eg. electrolysis eating my hardened grade 12.9 bolts ).

2. I used grade 12.9 allen head cap screws from my local Force Fastener shop. These are available in 140 mm and 150 mm lengths.
I got a few of each in case my 2" lift needs the extra length. I also bought regular grade five thick washers instead of the recommended hardened washers ... do I really need to worry about getting hardened washers??

3. 10.9 grade regular hex head bolts are available in 12 and 14 mm in various lengths. For a 2" lift, would these 10.9 bolts be adequate??

I will be doing the front end lifts on my 99 and 98 AWD Safari vans next week. My local spring shop will do the lift on his hoist for $100 per hr for the labor.

What do I need to take off to minimise billable shop time ( and still be able to drive 20 miles from my location to his shop)??
Is it even worth considering going the front lift myself ...
on a dirt surface ... with a small floor jack and two stands. I will be doing two lifts .... is it cost effective to spend $$$ on tools (buy more stands and jack) and do it myself, or just pay the PRO to do it for me??

Your experienced opinions please??
Thanks
LAZ 1

photo_van
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Re: Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

Post by photo_van » Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:31 am

I'd save the $$$$. I did mine in the dirt with a floor jack, one side at a time. I don't recall any problems.
1998 AWD/4WD
4" lift, 31x10.50's, NP 242j/c hybrid, 4.10 gears, S10 front disconnect, rack & pinion steering, trans cooler, rock sliders, ARB fridge, house battery and 100w solar, swing out rear rack with foldout camp table, bed and passenger swivel chair
dirt bag camping rig
1981 Toyota 4x4 pu
1974 John Deere 710
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doyoulikeithere
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Re: Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

Post by doyoulikeithere » Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:57 am

Dont think I would pay someone.
Its pretty simple.
2016 Yamaha XSR900 - Silver.
2006 Kawasaki KLR 650 - Red.
1990 Astro - AWD
1987 Astro - With 5 Speed & 4wd.

LiftedAWDAstro
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Re: Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

Post by LiftedAWDAstro » Sat Jul 05, 2014 4:48 pm

Buy the tools with the labor savings. It is a time-comsuming but very easy job when following directions. You will have several hundred dollars of labor charges.
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

LAZ 1
I get chills without my van.
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Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

Post by LAZ 1 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:50 am

I just spent an interesting afternoon in Duncan installing the 2" front end body lift blocks FROM NORTH SHORE into my White 99 AWD Safari CARGO van [ I phoned the order in, Purolater dropped them off at my house in Victoria the next morning] AND I have an appointment this Friday with Island Springs in Ladysmith to do a rear 4" lift adding another long top leaf, re-arcing the springs and longer shocks, either KONI or Bilstein.

The hardest part of the job was getting the top and bottom sections of the fan shroud to line up so I could fasten them together. The only potentially bad spots due to the lift were where the power steering hose was very close to the serpentine belt pulley, and the throttle cable needed to be re-routed.

OH YEAH ... on one side the @#$%^%^ 14 MM x 140 mm grade 10.9 bolt just would not line up so I ground a taper at the end, just like the stock bolt has.

After bracing the sub frame on jack stands, I used a 4' JACKALL to lift the body. Did one side at a time as recommended.
EASY - PEASY!

Interesting to measure the front of 99 with body lift blocks and compare with the 98, which has the torsion bars cranked up to full. Both are almost identical at 31" ground to wheel well with 215/75 tires.

Also interesting to see that BOTH vans with stock rear suspension have about 1" less height at the right rear. Given that the gas tank is on the left side, I wonder why the right rear gets beaten down more than the left rear???

Fri I get the rear lifted, supposedly a 4" lift with add a leaf. I will then dial the front to match height, install the larger 235/75/R15 tires, and get an alignment.

After that,
time to do some camping and exploring on some of those remote places here on Vancouver Island .
Laissez les bons temps rouler

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Re: Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

Post by AquaAngel » Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:17 am

BON sans que c'est bon.

Glad you did the lift. i have done a 2" on mine a never regret that i did. mind you it is a 2wd, but it is so easy to work under the van now.

Congrats on your upgrade

Bonne Chance mon ami(e)

:cheers:
93 Astro Van army blue [V8/350/5.7L]
------------

Chevy owned:
93 Astro cargo Van "Phantom Rebel"
98 GMC Safari AWD
09 GMC C5500 6.6L, Duramax "3 ton truck"

photo_van
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Re: Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

Post by photo_van » Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:30 am

BTW, you don't have to get an alignment; I did 4" years ago on mine and never bothered. Tires always wear even.
1998 AWD/4WD
4" lift, 31x10.50's, NP 242j/c hybrid, 4.10 gears, S10 front disconnect, rack & pinion steering, trans cooler, rock sliders, ARB fridge, house battery and 100w solar, swing out rear rack with foldout camp table, bed and passenger swivel chair
dirt bag camping rig
1981 Toyota 4x4 pu
1974 John Deere 710
Image

LAZ 1
I get chills without my van.
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Nanaimo this weekend??

Post by LAZ 1 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:43 am

AquaAngel wrote:BON sans que c'est bon.
Glad you did the lift.
Congrats on your upgrade
Bonne Chance mon ami(e)
:cheers:
I will be in Nanaimo this weekend ... maybe we should get together and compare vans??

Well actually I will start in Nanaimo and then go wherever my social director directs me. Fri afternoon I am tentatively scheduled to help the director refinish her deck [remember Tom Sawyer and the fence? ]. Then we are probably going to the music festival in Chemainus. I am pushing for camping out some where Fri night but if we work too hard on the deck, we may spend Sat nt in a comfy bed in stead.

PM me for my contact info,
and perhaps we shall meet.
[;{)
LAZ 1

LAZ 1
I get chills without my van.
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DIY 2" front end lift on AWD Safari

Post by LAZ 1 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:46 am

photo_van wrote:BTW, you don't have to get an alignment; I did 4" years ago on mine and never bothered. Tires always wear even.
Mine needed an alignment BEFORE the lift.
The van is new to me and mostly I would like a pro alignment shop to check out the front end parts for wear. I know I need shocks, front and back and I saw one end of my sway bar is cracked as well.

LAZ 1
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Re: Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

Post by LAZ 1 » Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:02 pm

Island Springs looked at my rear leafs and diagnosed them as too beat up for re-arcing. Since I am basically creating a.do it youraelf version of the TIGER MICRO MOTORHOME, which from the factory weighs in at about 5700 lbs, I want a really stiff rear suspension so we decided to go with BRAND NEW HEAVY DUTY REAR SPRINGS. There were a set of 1750 lb rated springs available which will take the rear suspension up to maximum gross axle rating of 3500lbs. Combined with new Bilstein rear shocks, the back end of my Safari camper build should be as good as it can get.

I am also a big fan of STIFF sidewalls in the tires to minimize sway and wind wander with the high / larger surface area that vans inherently have.

With the extra room at the front wheelwells due to 1.5" of fender trimming, 2" body lift blocks, and a bit of torsion bar tweaking, I can now fit 10 ply 16" tires. Found some new Mud Terrains at a good price, either 235/85 or 245/75, whichever fits best. So given the parameters of very high weight, 6' high side walls and 16" tires, I am going ahead with spending a bunch of money on suspension and tires as the first priority. A good foundation makes building on top easier and better.

Any thoughts or comments from those with Tiger Motorhome experience would be greatly appreciated. I am basically trying to recreate a Tiger which is optimised for overlanding and some serious off roading.
thanks
Larry Z

photo_van
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Re: Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

Post by photo_van » Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:24 pm

what 16" rims do you have?
1998 AWD/4WD
4" lift, 31x10.50's, NP 242j/c hybrid, 4.10 gears, S10 front disconnect, rack & pinion steering, trans cooler, rock sliders, ARB fridge, house battery and 100w solar, swing out rear rack with foldout camp table, bed and passenger swivel chair
dirt bag camping rig
1981 Toyota 4x4 pu
1974 John Deere 710
Image

photo_van
I sleep in my van
Posts: 590
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 11:38 pm
antispam: No
How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4
Location: 7000' in the Mountains of California

Re: Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

Post by photo_van » Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:24 pm

what 16" rims do you have?
1998 AWD/4WD
4" lift, 31x10.50's, NP 242j/c hybrid, 4.10 gears, S10 front disconnect, rack & pinion steering, trans cooler, rock sliders, ARB fridge, house battery and 100w solar, swing out rear rack with foldout camp table, bed and passenger swivel chair
dirt bag camping rig
1981 Toyota 4x4 pu
1974 John Deere 710
Image

Slicky
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Re: Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

Post by Slicky » Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:02 am

Come on Larry how about some pictures of the new lifted beasty?

LAZ 1
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Re: Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

Post by LAZ 1 » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:43 pm

photo_van wrote:what 16" rims do you have?
Alloy aftermarket rims on sale are ION 174 BLACK CENTER.
They look good but are listed as 8" wide.

I am wondering if the extra width will fit with my 4" lift PLUS 1.5" Wheel well trim and 245/75/16" tires??

I would like to find a set of cheap stock 5 bolt 16" rims that are stock width for test fitting but am having trouble sourcing any good used AstroSafari parts on Vancouver Island and while these rims were used on several Chev/GM applications, finding a complete set of used rims in excellent condition is tough.

LAZ 1
I get chills without my van.
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri May 30, 2014 3:52 pm
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How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

Post by LAZ 1 » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:46 pm

Slicky wrote:Come on Larry how about some pictures of the new lifted beasty?
Rear springs are in Edmonton so no rear lift for about a week. I have some cell phone pics of my re-radiused front wheel wells with the stock 215/75 tires that I will post when I get back home and on my computer.
(;{)
LAZ 1

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