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RockJock Dana 60 Rear Axle - 60-Grand: Part 2

Posted in Project Vehicles on October 16, 2013 Comment (0)
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Last month, we followed along as the crew at Currie Enterprises transferred a set of ZJ Grand Cherokee rear suspension brackets onto a RockJock 60 axle. This time, that same axle will be brought home to its new location underneath the vehicle.

While it's possible to use the adapted RockJock 60 with a stock suspension system, it turns out that that's not the only way to go. Clayton Off Road Manufacturing offers a complete ZJ suspension system that strengthens the chassis as well as increases suspension travel.

The Clayton Off Road ZJ suspension used here provides a 7-inch lift and is designed to be used with 33-inch tires, if the body stays stock, or with 35-inch tires with some fender trimming. The latter route was taken here. Bushwacker Cut-Out fender flares created the clearance and brought a clean, professional appearance on board.

1. The ZJ sits here in stock humility. It’s quite competent from the factory, but the stock-sized tires and short-arm suspension hold back the Grand’s true potential. Bushwacker fender flares have already been installed in this photo, which make the stock tires look that much closer to shop casters.

We turned to Desolate Motorsports for the installation. Time and time again, Desolate has proven itself as a shop where things get done quickly and are done right.

Could the RockJock 60 and Clayton suspension be installed in a driveway? Yes. However, this transformation involves drilling, cutting, and welding. It will take time and make noise. If you're short on time, tools, skills, or friendly neighbors, then you'll save yourself a lot of headache by working with a professional installer.

When all was said, done, wrenched, and welded, the ZJ had become a genuine trail weapon. It turns out that 60 Grand will take you a lot of places.

2. Not only are the stock control arms stubby, they’re weak to boot. Made from thin, stamped steel, it’s amazing that the factory sent the vehicle out into the world with such wimpy hardware. That’s all about to change. 2. Not only are the stock control arms stubby, they’re weak to boot. Made from thin, stamped steel, it’s amazing that the factory sent the vehicle out into the world with such wimpy hardware. That’s all about to change.
3. Not only are the stock control arms stubby, they’re weak to boot. Made from thin, stamped steel, it’s amazing that the factory sent the vehicle out into the world with such wimpy hardware. That’s all about to change. 3. Not only are the stock control arms stubby, they’re weak to boot. Made from thin, stamped steel, it’s amazing that the factory sent the vehicle out into the world with such wimpy hardware. That’s all about to change.
4. Clayton Off Road’s front suspension gets rid of the shorty stock control arms and replaces them with a heavy-duty extended radius arm system. The stock track bar, track bar bracket, and pitman arm get replaced at the same time. Clayton lift coils and Bilstein monotube shocks attach cleanly in the stock locations. Currie Johnny Joints offer rugged performance and adjustable geometry. The package includes a new transmission crossmember and integrated radius arm pivots, but they are not shown in the photo. Necessary hardware and extended brake lines complete the picture. 4. Clayton Off Road’s front suspension gets rid of the shorty stock control arms and replaces them with a heavy-duty extended radius arm system. The stock track bar, track bar bracket, and pitman arm get replaced at the same time. Clayton lift coils and Bilstein monotube shocks attach cleanly in the stock locations. Currie Johnny Joints offer rugged performance and adjustable geometry. The package includes a new transmission crossmember and integrated radius arm pivots, but they are not shown in the photo. Necessary hardware and extended brake lines complete the picture.
5. Clayton Off Road’s front suspension gets rid of the shorty stock control arms and replaces them with a heavy-duty extended radius arm system. The stock track bar, track bar bracket, and pitman arm get replaced at the same time. Clayton lift coils and Bilstein monotube shocks attach cleanly in the stock locations. Currie Johnny Joints offer rugged performance and adjustable geometry. The package includes a new transmission crossmember and integrated radius arm pivots, but they are not shown in the photo. Necessary hardware and extended brake lines complete the picture. 5. Clayton Off Road’s front suspension gets rid of the shorty stock control arms and replaces them with a heavy-duty extended radius arm system. The stock track bar, track bar bracket, and pitman arm get replaced at the same time. Clayton lift coils and Bilstein monotube shocks attach cleanly in the stock locations. Currie Johnny Joints offer rugged performance and adjustable geometry. The package includes a new transmission crossmember and integrated radius arm pivots, but they are not shown in the photo. Necessary hardware and extended brake lines complete the picture.
6. Clayton Off Road’s front suspension gets rid of the shorty stock control arms and replaces them with a heavy-duty extended radius arm system. The stock track bar, track bar bracket, and pitman arm get replaced at the same time. Clayton lift coils and Bilstein monotube shocks attach cleanly in the stock locations. Currie Johnny Joints offer rugged performance and adjustable geometry. The package includes a new transmission crossmember and integrated radius arm pivots, but they are not shown in the photo. Necessary hardware and extended brake lines complete the picture. 6. Clayton Off Road’s front suspension gets rid of the shorty stock control arms and replaces them with a heavy-duty extended radius arm system. The stock track bar, track bar bracket, and pitman arm get replaced at the same time. Clayton lift coils and Bilstein monotube shocks attach cleanly in the stock locations. Currie Johnny Joints offer rugged performance and adjustable geometry. The package includes a new transmission crossmember and integrated radius arm pivots, but they are not shown in the photo. Necessary hardware and extended brake lines complete the picture.
7. The rear suspension gets rid of the stock upper control arms and rear track bar. A pair of triangulated Clayton upper control arms centers the axle under the vehicle and works in conjunction with extended Clayton lower control arms. Subframe stiffeners tie the front and rear suspension systems together as well as strengthen the chassis. At the top of the photo, you can see the optional Clayton skidplate: big-time protection for vulnerable drivetrain components. An extended rear brake line and lift coils are part of the suspension system but are not shown here. 7. The rear suspension gets rid of the stock upper control arms and rear track bar. A pair of triangulated Clayton upper control arms centers the axle under the vehicle and works in conjunction with extended Clayton lower control arms. Subframe stiffeners tie the front and rear suspension systems together as well as strengthen the chassis. At the top of the photo, you can see the optional Clayton skidplate: big-time protection for vulnerable drivetrain components. An extended rear brake line and lift coils are part of the suspension system but are not shown here.
8. Stock suspension brackets, such as this front lower control arm bracket, are frequently deleted during the installation. A Sawzall, grinder with a cutoff wheel, and a plasma cutter are all viable options for slicing tools. 8. Stock suspension brackets, such as this front lower control arm bracket, are frequently deleted during the installation. A Sawzall, grinder with a cutoff wheel, and a plasma cutter are all viable options for slicing tools.
9. We didn’t know how long the radius arms’ caster adjustment shank was, so we just kept turning the threads until we found out. It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. 9. We didn’t know how long the radius arms’ caster adjustment shank was, so we just kept turning the threads until we found out. It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
10. The Clayton front suspension anchors to the chassis with a custom transmission crossmember. The radius arm pivots are integrated, and the center of the crossmember is removable so you can drop the drivetrain without needing to drop the front suspension. 10. The Clayton front suspension anchors to the chassis with a custom transmission crossmember. The radius arm pivots are integrated, and the center of the crossmember is removable so you can drop the drivetrain without needing to drop the front suspension.
11. How’s this for some contrast? The Clayton radius arm droops much, much farther than the stock shorty links allow. There’s a jack under the front axle, but it’s not supporting any weight in this photo. 11. How’s this for some contrast? The Clayton radius arm droops much, much farther than the stock shorty links allow. There’s a jack under the front axle, but it’s not supporting any weight in this photo.
12. Clayton’s heavy-duty track bar bracket and dropped pitman arm help ensure correct steering geometry at the new lift height. The track bar bracket bolts on but was given supplemental bracket-to-chassis welds later on for additional strength. 12. Clayton’s heavy-duty track bar bracket and dropped pitman arm help ensure correct steering geometry at the new lift height. The track bar bracket bolts on but was given supplemental bracket-to-chassis welds later on for additional strength.
13. Clayton’s heavy-duty track bar bracket and dropped pitman arm help ensure correct steering geometry at the new lift height. The track bar bracket bolts on but was given supplemental bracket-to-chassis welds later on for additional strength. 13. Clayton’s heavy-duty track bar bracket and dropped pitman arm help ensure correct steering geometry at the new lift height. The track bar bracket bolts on but was given supplemental bracket-to-chassis welds later on for additional strength.
14. Greg Gilbert of Desolate Motorsports takes some measurements before adjusting the track bar. Adjusted correctly, the axle will be perfectly centered under the vehicle at ride height. 14. Greg Gilbert of Desolate Motorsports takes some measurements before adjusting the track bar. Adjusted correctly, the axle will be perfectly centered under the vehicle at ride height.
15. Greg Gilbert of Desolate Motorsports takes some measurements before adjusting the track bar. Adjusted correctly, the axle will be perfectly centered under the vehicle at ride height. 15. Greg Gilbert of Desolate Motorsports takes some measurements before adjusting the track bar. Adjusted correctly, the axle will be perfectly centered under the vehicle at ride height.
16. The Clayton track bar uses a maintenance-free rubber bushing at the axle end of the track bar. The bushing’s eyelet is larger than stock, so the factory axle hole needs to be drilled out to fit the new size. Once the drilling is done, a captured nut is inserted through the shown slot and the track bar end is bolted home. 16. The Clayton track bar uses a maintenance-free rubber bushing at the axle end of the track bar. The bushing’s eyelet is larger than stock, so the factory axle hole needs to be drilled out to fit the new size. Once the drilling is done, a captured nut is inserted through the shown slot and the track bar end is bolted home.
17. The Clayton track bar uses a maintenance-free rubber bushing at the axle end of the track bar. The bushing’s eyelet is larger than stock, so the factory axle hole needs to be drilled out to fit the new size. Once the drilling is done, a captured nut is inserted through the shown slot and the track bar end is bolted home. 17. The Clayton track bar uses a maintenance-free rubber bushing at the axle end of the track bar. The bushing’s eyelet is larger than stock, so the factory axle hole needs to be drilled out to fit the new size. Once the drilling is done, a captured nut is inserted through the shown slot and the track bar end is bolted home.
18. Radius arms? Check. Track bar? Check. Pitman arm? Check. Coil springs? Check. 18. Radius arms? Check. Track bar? Check. Pitman arm? Check. Coil springs? Check.
19. Bilstein monotube shocks provide application-tuned damping and a fade-free design. They bolt to the stock upper and lower mounts. 19. Bilstein monotube shocks provide application-tuned damping and a fade-free design. They bolt to the stock upper and lower mounts.
20. JKS sway bar end links allow generous articulation even while connected thanks to a high-misalignment pivot design. When additional flex is called for, it’s easy to disconnect them on the trail without tools. 20. JKS sway bar end links allow generous articulation even while connected thanks to a high-misalignment pivot design. When additional flex is called for, it’s easy to disconnect them on the trail without tools.
21. Rear suspension brackets were cut off, too. 21. Rear suspension brackets were cut off, too.
22. The factory lower control arm brackets are retained on the axle, but the upper control arm mounts are ditched in favor of a bridge that provides a home for the new triangulated upper arms. This is a preliminary fitting session. Final placement will be determined with the axle under the vehicle. The diff cover is in close quarters with the bridge, but it’s still removable. 22. The factory lower control arm brackets are retained on the axle, but the upper control arm mounts are ditched in favor of a bridge that provides a home for the new triangulated upper arms. This is a preliminary fitting session. Final placement will be determined with the axle under the vehicle. The diff cover is in close quarters with the bridge, but it’s still removable.
23. Chassis stiffeners are one of the best things you can do for a unibody vehicle, and they tie the front and rear suspensions together into a single reinforced unit. 23. Chassis stiffeners are one of the best things you can do for a unibody vehicle, and they tie the front and rear suspensions together into a single reinforced unit.
24. The RockJock 60 was put in place under the Grand. Greg then took several measurements to make sure the axle was centered and that the pinion angle was correct. 24. The RockJock 60 was put in place under the Grand. Greg then took several measurements to make sure the axle was centered and that the pinion angle was correct.
25. The RockJock 60 was put in place under the Grand. Greg then took several measurements to make sure the axle was centered and that the pinion angle was correct. 25. The RockJock 60 was put in place under the Grand. Greg then took several measurements to make sure the axle was centered and that the pinion angle was correct.
26. The bridge was permanently affixed as soon as the tape measure said it was OK to do so. 26. The bridge was permanently affixed as soon as the tape measure said it was OK to do so.
27. The bridge was permanently affixed as soon as the tape measure said it was OK to do so. 27. The bridge was permanently affixed as soon as the tape measure said it was OK to do so.
28. The optional skidplate uses a welded-in tube to anchor the rear edge to the chassis. The front edge bolts to the transmission crossmember. The plate unbolts when you need drivetrain access. 28. The optional skidplate uses a welded-in tube to anchor the rear edge to the chassis. The front edge bolts to the transmission crossmember. The plate unbolts when you need drivetrain access.
29. Back on its wheels. 29. Back on its wheels.
30. Matt Carter shows how tape measure–style alignment is done. Simply measure between the tires on the front and the back of the tires, and the tires are in good alignment if your measurements are equal. It’s best to head straight to a professional alignment shop, but this stopgap alignment method prevents the tires from getting scuffed to death on the way there. 30. Matt Carter shows how tape measure–style alignment is done. Simply measure between the tires on the front and the back of the tires, and the tires are in good alignment if your measurements are equal. It’s best to head straight to a professional alignment shop, but this stopgap alignment method prevents the tires from getting scuffed to death on the way there.
31. The forklift flex test shows the huge increase in articulation and wheel travel provided by the Clayton Off Road suspension system. This is also a great way to check tire clearance. The Goodyear MT/Rs were quite a mouthful, even with the Bushwacker fender flares in place. 31. The forklift flex test shows the huge increase in articulation and wheel travel provided by the Clayton Off Road suspension system. This is also a great way to check tire clearance. The Goodyear MT/Rs were quite a mouthful, even with the Bushwacker fender flares in place.
32. The forklift flex test shows the huge increase in articulation and wheel travel provided by the Clayton Off Road suspension system. This is also a great way to check tire clearance. The Goodyear MT/Rs were quite a mouthful, even with the Bushwacker fender flares in place. 32. The forklift flex test shows the huge increase in articulation and wheel travel provided by the Clayton Off Road suspension system. This is also a great way to check tire clearance. The Goodyear MT/Rs were quite a mouthful, even with the Bushwacker fender flares in place.
33. You can see the extended Clayton rear brake line here. Lo and behold, the stock driveshaft bolted up to the RockJock 60. Most of the time, an axle swap also requires some driveshaft mods. 33. You can see the extended Clayton rear brake line here. Lo and behold, the stock driveshaft bolted up to the RockJock 60. Most of the time, an axle swap also requires some driveshaft mods.
34. The shocks bottom out right when the tires run out of clearance. This is a good fit. If you want to do abusive high-speed work with your ZJ, consider adding some bumpstops and limit straps. Bumpstops and limit straps are a custom installation and are not part of the Clayton suspension system. 34. The shocks bottom out right when the tires run out of clearance. This is a good fit. If you want to do abusive high-speed work with your ZJ, consider adding some bumpstops and limit straps. Bumpstops and limit straps are a custom installation and are not part of the Clayton suspension system.
35. The flex test revealed that the front bumper valance needed some trimming. Done. 35. The flex test revealed that the front bumper valance needed some trimming. Done.
36. A front axle truss was added to this Grand’s arsenal, along with a Barnett Performance Products front diff cover. 36. A front axle truss was added to this Grand’s arsenal, along with a Barnett Performance Products front diff cover.
37. The ZJ looks aggressive, and it’s trail-capable to match the aesthetics. At the same time, the civility remains intact. This is a rig that can take you there, through, and back in comfort. 37. The ZJ looks aggressive, and it’s trail-capable to match the aesthetics. At the same time, the civility remains intact. This is a rig that can take you there, through, and back in comfort.

Sources

Bushwacker
Portlandville, OR 97203
800-234-8920
www.bushwacker.com
Currie Enterprises
Corona, CA 92880
714-528-6957
http://www.currieenterprises.com
JKS Manufacturing
Alliance, NE 69301
308-762-6949
www.jksmfg.com
Desolate Motorsports
Whittier, CA 90605
562-698-1460
www.desolatemotorsports.com
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co
Akron, OH 44316
330-796-2121
www.goodyeartires.com
Clayton Off Road Manufacturing
203-691-8593
http://www.claytonoffroad.com

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