Little bit more today: Managed to finish building the front shocks at work today. Machined the cross-bar for the lower mount after work, and pressed the bushes and cross-bars into the shocks before I left. Got home and started to pull out the original monotubes. Got them out without too much fuss thankfully, as this was only the beginning.
Out with the old:
Compare the pair:
It wasn't until I fitted the new shocks to the vehicle that I realised my mistake - I'd forgotten to measure the size of the lower shock eye.
The eye is a little too big for the mounting bracket, so the shock won't sit down properly. I spent so long making sure I'd grabbed the right cross-bars and was getting the lengths and valving right, that I'd forgotten to make sure the lower eye would actually fit and just assumed it would.
Missed it by that much...
I'll grab the dremel from work tomorrow and grind out the mounts where necessary. On the bright side, the new bump-stops look like they'll limit the up-travel just enough for the shocks to work on full up-travel. Down travel isn't an issue, as these shocks have more than enough movement in them with the standard control arms (620mm/375mm open/closed).
Also managed to pick up an old alloy non-winch bar from work for very cheap. Currently painted white, but I'll be sanding it back and painting it in grey hammer-tone before fitting it to the xj. Will also be modifying it a little to get the approach angles as good as, if not better than standard.
I'm now at a point though where I'm tossing up whether to go short- or long-arm again. Short-arm is cheaper and easier, but long-arm offers better/more flexibility with a smoother ride. Seeing as I won't be taking it too much higher than where it's sitting now, is there much advantage in going the long-arm upgrade over the short-arm? It's sitting at a full 2" over a standard sport with 300kg in the boot, so around 3" over a limited/classic.
Any opinions/ideas are greatly appreciated.