with Bryan ‘Zig’ Zeigler

The X Gets a New Street Friendly Look

After owning my X-90 for a year and putting 40,000 miles on it with my 200 mile/day commute to work, I found myself needing a new set of tires. Being the 4×4 junkie that I am, I could not force myself to buy tires without giving my X-90 a new look. Due to the high number of miles I drive each week (200 miles a day), I needed a street friendly set up.

I decided to install the Calmini 2 Suspension System and 1 wheel spacers from Trail Tough. Both products were direct bolt on modifications.  I had run a Calmini 2″ Lift Kit for few years on my Sidekick. It rode and performed well, both on and off road so I decided to use it again on my X. After ordering new bushings, shocks and struts I was ready for the install.

Suspension Lift Install:

Lift your vehicle and properly support it with jack stands.


I began with the front of the vehicle: 1- Disconnect the front sway bar end links from the lower control arms and pivot the bar ends out of your way


2- Remove the lower break line clip (directly above the caliper) and pull the line out of the holding bracket. (Note: DO NOT remove the brake line, it will only cause more work for you later).

3- Remove the brake caliper bolts from the back of the caliper and let the caliper hang from the brake line.

4- Support the control arms with a jack stand and loosen (do not remove) the control arm pivot bolts that hold the control arms to the frame. (note: be sure to place the jack stands where they will not be in the way of steps 4-6) 

 5- Disconnect the half shafts from the differential. The drivers side is removed by the three bolts shown in picture 5. The passenger side is a pry-out design. Be sure not to damage the axle clip or the housing when prying the axle loose.

6- Remove the upper strut nuts. This is done by raising the hood and removing them from inside the engine compartment.  7- Disconnect the three bolts that attach the ball joint to the control arm and the two lower strut bolts. Save the hardware. Let the Hub assembly hang from the vehicle. You may want to support it with a jack stand to keep it out of your way (note: be careful not to damage your passenger side axle seal as the half shaft slides out of the differential).   8- Use Caution during this step: Use a floor jack to support the control arms. Remove the jack stand that had been supporting the control arms and slowly lower the floor jack until the front springs can be removed. 9- Remove the control arms.

14- Remove the two brackets that hang each side of the differential from the frame and replace with the new Calmini brackets.

10- remove the upper strut mount from your old strut.

11- tap the mounting studs out of the bracket with a hammer.

12- flip your upper strut mount upside-down and install onto your new strut.

13- Attach the new Calmini control arms to the frame using the factory hardware. At this time only hand tighten the hard ware to allow for easier assembly. Make sure that the tie-rod is above the control arms. 

14- Install your factory coil springs into the control arm cup and upper spring mount. Be sure that the smaller (tapered) end is in the upward position and that the bottom end of the spring is correctly placed in the positioning groove of the control arm. Use a floor jack to compress the spring until the ball joint mount can be attached to THE TOP of the new control arm.

15- Install the hub assembly to the control arm with the factory ball joint bolts (3 on each side)


16- Attach the hub assembly to the strut, with the two factory lower strut bolts. Be sure to slide the passenger side half shaft into the differential housing before you attach the strut. Re-attach the driver’s side half shaft. 

17- Torque control arm bolts, ball joint bolts and lower strut bolts to 50-75 lb/ft.

Now it’s time to begin on the rear or the vehicle. Make sure that the vehicle is still safely supported by the jack stands and use a floor jack to slightly raise the rear axle.

18- Remove the rear shocks and save the hardware.

19- Remove the rear springs by pulling down on each side of the axle until they are loose.

20- Install the new rear coil springs with the pig tail end in the up position. Make sure that the coil springs are properly seated in their mounts.

21- Install the new Calmini rear shocks and boots

22- Tighten and check all rear end hard ware

 23- Install your new larger wheel and tire combo and lower the vehicle off of the jack stands. Have the front end aligned, and enjoy your X-90s new look and extra ground clearance.

Trail Tough Wheel Spacers: 

Due to the extremely narrow appearance of the X-90 and not wanting to purchase steel rims, I installed Trail Toughs 1 wheel spacers. They are a quick and easy modification to give your vehicle a wider stance. The spacers come with everything you need for the install; spacers with new wheel studs already inserted and mounting nuts to hold the spacers to your factory studs.

1-     Jack up your vehicle and remove wheels.

2-     Install Trail Toughs wheel spacer onto your wheel studs with the supplied nuts. The spacers simply slide onto your factory wheel studs and are held in place by the supplied wheel nuts.

3-     Reinstall your wheels on the wheel spacers studs with your existing lug nuts and enjoy.


If you want to go wider with your stock aluminum rims, or just want a little extra width to your vehicles stance, this is a quick and easy mod to achieve the task.

I hope to do a few more modifications to my X-90 soon, and will keep you updated on my progress.


08/11/10 14:52



Leave a Reply