SJR lift in, wheel wells trimmed

General talk about the Subaru Baja.

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Acro2pilot
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SJR lift in, wheel wells trimmed

Post by Acro2pilot » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:19 am

Progress! I finished the install of the lift kit and wheel well trimming this weekend and ordered my tires. I was really hoping with trimming that I could go with 30" but the margin just isn't there without doing major work on the rear of the front wheel well so I am going with 29". I wouldn't mind so much if this were a major project but I want to get it buttoned up before the winter so it is available.

The lift I used is the SJR 4" kit designed for a Legacy, the major parts fit without any modification needed and the differences with the Baja were pretty minor. The parts in the kit are all nicely cut, overbuilt, and lined up perfectly. SJR sells these lifts with the caveat that some installer fabrication is needed and it does require some welding. The steering shaft has be to cut in half and lengthened which is the same as you would with the Legacy. The shift linkage on the Baja needed the top shaft shortened, I measured 1/2 inch and cut it 3/8 to be careful and ended up almost perfect. If I was doing it again I would have cut 1/4 inch and maybe ground it down just a hair. The rear bracket that anchors the shift linkage needed to be dropped 2 inches and pushed forward 3/4 so I used a piece of 3/4 x 3 rectangular tubing to build the drop bracket. If you go more than 2 inches you won't have the movement needed to shift due to the size of the opening in the body that the lever is in. The center bearing on the drive shaft is also different than the Legacy, SJR indicates that you flip the bearing 180deg to lower the shaft which wont work on the BAJA because the bearing flange is on the centerline. After over thinking and over engineering a drop down bracket I looked at a neighbor's super duty diesel that has a two part shaft and they used a very lightweight standoff. As it turns out there is almost no stress on this at all. I used longer bolts and 2.5 inch spacers cut from 4130 tubing and it worked perfectly. I am about to drop it at the exhaust shop to have them tuck the exhaust higher up and route it over the subframe for more clearance. So overall if you have a Baja and want to use the SJR lift I would say go for it.

Now it towers over Vinnie. Will be a bit taller once the Goodrich Mud TA KM2s are on.

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mikenmel08
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Re: SJR lift in, wheel wells trimmed

Post by mikenmel08 » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:38 pm

Got any side profile pics?

Acro2pilot
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Re: SJR lift in, wheel wells trimmed

Post by Acro2pilot » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:53 pm

Just as soon as it comes back from the exhaust shop.

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Re: SJR lift in, wheel wells trimmed

Post by Acro2pilot » Sat Oct 27, 2012 4:43 pm

Lift; 4in
Front wheel well width at bottom; 32in
Rear wheel well width at bottom; 30 3/4in
Tires; Goodrich Mud TA KM2 235/70-16 (29 inch tires)



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PenguinSub
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Re: SJR lift in, wheel wells trimmed

Post by PenguinSub » Fri Nov 02, 2012 4:47 am

Acro2pilot wrote:Progress! I finished the install of the lift kit and wheel well trimming this weekend and ordered my tires. I was really hoping with trimming that I could go with 30" but the margin just isn't there without doing major work on the rear of the front wheel well so I am going with 29". I wouldn't mind so much if this were a major project but I want to get it buttoned up before the winter so it is available.

The lift I used is the SJR 4" kit designed for a Legacy, the major parts fit without any modification needed and the differences with the Baja were pretty minor. The parts in the kit are all nicely cut, overbuilt, and lined up perfectly. SJR sells these lifts with the caveat that some installer fabrication is needed and it does require some welding. The steering shaft has be to cut in half and lengthened which is the same as you would with the Legacy. The shift linkage on the Baja needed the top shaft shortened, I measured 1/2 inch and cut it 3/8 to be careful and ended up almost perfect. If I was doing it again I would have cut 1/4 inch and maybe ground it down just a hair. The rear bracket that anchors the shift linkage needed to be dropped 2 inches and pushed forward 3/4 so I used a piece of 3/4 x 3 rectangular tubing to build the drop bracket. If you go more than 2 inches you won't have the movement needed to shift due to the size of the opening in the body that the lever is in. The center bearing on the drive shaft is also different than the Legacy, SJR indicates that you flip the bearing 180deg to lower the shaft which wont work on the BAJA because the bearing flange is on the centerline. After over thinking and over engineering a drop down bracket I looked at a neighbor's super duty diesel that has a two part shaft and they used a very lightweight standoff. As it turns out there is almost no stress on this at all. I used longer bolts and 2.5 inch spacers cut from 4130 tubing and it worked perfectly. I am about to drop it at the exhaust shop to have them tuck the exhaust higher up and route it over the subframe for more clearance. So overall if you have a Baja and want to use the SJR lift I would say go for it.

Now it towers over Vinnie. Will be a bit taller once the Goodrich Mud TA KM2s are on.

Image
This is amazing. I didn't think we could lift that much. I just went to their website and saw that they had a 6" lift for the same engine. Do you think it would have the same amount of work, or added work? How much did the exhaust work cost you? And could you post a pic of the exhaust and undercarriage and things as well?

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Re: SJR lift in, wheel wells trimmed

Post by Acro2pilot » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:26 am

The 6 inch lift would be added complications, not difficult by any means, but a few things to think about. With Subarus as you go up in lift your complexity increases. Up to 4 inches is really easy, the big issues like the engine/tranny and suspension locations and angles are easily managed, the steering shaft gets extended and shift linkage needs some brackets made. The smaller stuff like brake lines, hoses, wire harnesses etc. are all pretty easy, I needed a longer lower radiator hose and brake vacuum hose, everything else fit fine by re-routing. At 6 inches your getting into the limits of an easy lift, it is slightly more complicated in that things like brake lines will need to be extended (to properly fit mounting points) and more hoses and harnesses will need extensions. The shift linkage gets trickier for sure. Above that your doing allot of custom fab, at 8 inches and up you need to get the engine and tranny back up into the bay or it is literally hanging out below the car which looks and is ridiculous. You need to go to a transfercase to regain gearing low enough for the tires you can fit, mount a front diff, etc. In short you re-design the driveline.

To focus on your question about 4 Vs 6in lift; the tire size limitation in the Baja is not the upper part of the wheel wells. The wheel wells in the Baja are fairly "tall" and narrow, if just height was the issue you could fit 31's or so on 4in lift. If you use your tire jack and start raising a corner of the truck you can see it move several inches before you start to see any real change in the clearance between the tire and the bottom of the wheel well. Once you add in the fact that you have to account for the suspension being compressed your looking at two options, a massive amount of lift to get the tire out of the wheel well or making that wheel well bigger. To be honest there is not a world of difference between a 2, 4, or 6 inch kit in terms of how big a tire you can clear, the gains come from making the wheel well opening wider and that is limited in the rear by the door and the front by the inboard back of the wheel well. Your also limited by the spring perch on the front strut, 29 in tires are barely 1/2 in from the spring perch. After doing all the measurements and taking these things into account I went with the 4in kit and settled for 29 in tires. There are ways around these limitations, you could go to coil overs, do major surgery on the wheel well metal and subframe, I did all this on my 82 Brat that I did 12 in lift on and ran 33x16 in tires. It just depends on how much time and effort you want to spend. For me, 2 weekends of time got me the lift, tires, trailer hitch, lights, and the truck is ready to roll for winter driving and to take care of all my truck needs.

Will snap some pics as soon as I can, the exhaust was about $100 to add in all the bends and re-profile. I was happy to drop it off and get it back done.

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Denver_guy
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Re: SJR lift in, wheel wells trimmed

Post by Denver_guy » Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:48 am

Very cool. would i do this? hmmm.....

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mikenmel08
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Re: SJR lift in, wheel wells trimmed

Post by mikenmel08 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:02 am

That looks sick, we have a turbo in that color. Wonder if i can talk the wife into that?:?: How much would you say all the parts were for the lift?

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Re: SJR lift in, wheel wells trimmed

Post by Acro2pilot » Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:49 pm

SJR sells the lift for $800, you will need a foot or so of 3/4 x 3/4 square tube, lower radiator hose, some misc hoses for various vacuum hoses, and coolant for refilling. All together about a thousand to have it ready to roll. Then pick your tires, I would suggest 28in if you want an easier time, but 29 works with more work trimming.

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Re: SJR lift in, wheel wells trimmed

Post by McBrat » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:07 pm

Nice looking rig S...
'03 Baja Sport, Baja Yellow. Snuglid.
'82 Brat, custom coil/link suspension, Toyota solid axles, Samurai t-case, built ea81, 5 spd d/r, 36" swampers.

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Re: SJR lift in, wheel wells trimmed

Post by spazomatic » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:55 am

Thats badass! Hows it drive? Still have enough power? I want to lift mine, but without a low range, id be worried about the power loss. I dont think id be afraid to trim even more than you did, and fit a 30" tire comfortably.

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Re: SJR lift in, wheel wells trimmed

Post by Acro2pilot » Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:35 am

Power is surprisingly good, the most noticeable thing is that RPMs are down a bit at 60~70 when your on the highway, but still very drivable with the stock EJ25. As far as how it drives, a bit more truck like with a higher center of gravity and the tires are of course stiffer. It is still more car like than truck on road, and definitely something most people could live with as a daily driver. If you look at the Baja as a truck, this is how Subaru should have sold it.

30's are possible but it will take more than trimming, it will mean cutting and welding structural sheet metal at the base of the rear of the front wheel well. It can certainly be done, but be prepared to commit.

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Re: SJR lift in, wheel wells trimmed

Post by Acro2pilot » Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:57 am

At 92k miles total, and 10k on the lift and tires, with allot of hauling above the rated load and pounding it off-road I finally have groaning wheel bearings and a creaking front left halfshaft (due to clearing some major air on a RR crossing). Not bad considering the usage, parts are on the way and I'll get the maintenance done before winter hits.

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Re: SJR lift in, wheel wells trimmed

Post by Rizzo » Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:00 pm

That's just so sick [smilie=666.gif]
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Snorkeled
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Re: SJR lift in, wheel wells trimmed

Post by Snorkeled » Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:33 pm

How did I miss this !!! LOVE WHAT YOU HAVE DONE !!! [smilie=666.gif]

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