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Old 02-11-2014, 10:43 PM   #1
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YJ suspension questions.

Hey guys, I have a '93 YJ with a 4.5 inch lift and 33's and I don't mind the stuff ride but my wife and young kids do sometimes, I have 2 daughters 3 and 1. We don't use the Jeep all that much on the daily, they don't have a problem with the bumpy ride when we're on a quick trip to the grocery store and things like that but when it's anything more than that I feel like it's an issue. I was wondering if there is anything I can do to make the ride more enjoyable for them. Adjustable coil over shocks? Removing a leaf from the leaf springs? Haha jk on that one. I did take a bit of air out of the tires and it helped a ton but it's not quite where I want it to be. I love my YJ and don't wanna get rid of it. Is there anything I can do that wouldn't cost a ton? My wife wants a newer Jeep, which I'm okay with as long as the YJ is still in the picture. Maybe I'm asking for too much. Any suggestion would be appreciated.

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Old 02-11-2014, 10:48 PM   #2
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Are the track bars still in it? If they are removed it lets it flex a ton more. But it's a leaf spring, short wheel-based vehicle. A quality ride just isn't there. And its worse with lift springs than stock.

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Old 02-11-2014, 10:56 PM   #3
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Yea I noticed it immediately when I had it lifted a few years ago. What are the ups and downs of removing that?
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:58 PM   #4
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And I understand that I'm not gonna have the ride quality of a Lincoln Continental but anything will help. What are the down sides of taking off the track bars?
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:15 PM   #5
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Taking off the track bars will keep the suspension from binding when it flexes. It helps take some of the jerk out of a bump in the road. Some people say you get more body roll without them, but I didn't feel a difference when I took mine off.
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:44 PM   #6
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Where does the track bar come in to the equation when it comes to death wobble? Would it make it worse if it's happening already?
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Old 02-12-2014, 06:19 AM   #7
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Death wobble on a yj is from worn steering or something loose up front. If it is happening already removing track bar will make it worse. The track bar hides worn front parts pretty well but you don't need them if the front is all tight.
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Old 02-12-2014, 10:44 AM   #8
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The trackbars, go from the frame to the axle. They are the bar that is in line with the axle not the sway bar that is up front. They were an attempt at making the YJ safer on the highway, but they serve absolutely no purpose what so ever. The leaf springs keep everything in line. track bars do nothing.
I have had Jeeps in 1 form or another my entire life, and all of them up until a YJ never had a track bar on it, and they all handled fine on the highway. Hell, I had a 1978 CJ5 with a 304 V8 in it that would run like a scared rabbit, and it didn't have any track bars in it.

If you have death wobble, you have front end trouble of some sort. Anything from bad balanced tires to bearings, tie rods, ball joints. Something along those lines. It has nothing to do with track bars. Now, disconnecting a sway bar will amplify a death wobble, but not the track bar.
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:56 PM   #9
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When the lift was installed was everything tightened with the weight of the jeep on the suspension? If it was tightened with the suspension hanging, that will give a stiffer ride because it will bind when it tries to compress over bumps due to the shackles not being in the correct position. It doesn't take much for this to happen. Also depends on the lift you have, if it's a heavier duty like military wrapped spring pack or a more daily driver friendly like Skyjackers light duty. A simple test would be to loosen the shackle bolts some, let the weight settle for a short time, then snug the bolts back up and see if that makes any difference. And DITTO on what OIIIOforlife said about the track bars... get rid of them, they're not needed. But keep your anti-sway bar.
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Old 02-12-2014, 03:47 PM   #10
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I wasn't going to post in this thread since there are so many about track bar removal already.

I am posting though because you ride with your two small children! It would be irresponsible to take off the front track bar for a 'mostly' street driven YJ. They serve a purpose and they do it well without side-effects if properly setup.

The front track bar helps handling; especially in evasive maneuvers.

Even with the track bar, you must torque your front shackles properly, this still plays part in torque steer and ride quality.

There are many people who accept a "bumpy" ride in a YJ. I have seen several accounts where people remove their track bar then over-tighten their shackles to keep the axle better centered and steering tight. This results in a "bumpy" ride. A huge key on the YJ is to tighten things properly and keep the track bar for a street YJ. Will the ride be a cadillac, no, the wheelbase is short, but it shouldn't beat you to death either.

I would suggest to ride in a Jeep with a shackle reversal. There are pros and cons to it, but you may like the ride better.
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:22 PM   #11
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What tire pressure are you running? You might be able to reduce your tire pressure and get a smoother ride. I'm not recommending under-inflation, btw. You might be too high right now.
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:36 PM   #12
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What tire pressure are you running? You might be able to reduce your tire pressure and get a smoother ride. I'm not recommending under-inflation, btw. You might be too high right now.
Good reminder!
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Old 02-13-2014, 06:31 AM   #13
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If the trac bar serves a purpose then why is a jeep yj the only leaf spring vehicle to come from the factory with trac bars? Did jeep screw up or did every other vehicle manufacturer do it wrong?
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Old 02-13-2014, 09:02 AM   #14
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If the trac bar serves a purpose then why is a jeep yj the only leaf spring vehicle to come from the factory with trac bars? Did jeep screw up or did every other vehicle manufacturer do it wrong?
Ah, ignorance is bliss! Jeep YJ is not the only vehicle to come from the factory with them. If you don't want to run them, then don't.
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:33 AM   #15
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If the trac bar serves a purpose then why is a jeep yj the only leaf spring vehicle to come from the factory with trac bars? Did jeep screw up or did every other vehicle manufacturer do it wrong?
The track bar helps keep the axles centered under the Jeep. It's absolutely needed for stock coil spring Jeeps, like TJs. On leaf spring vehicles, it's not needed, as the leaf springs keep the axle centered.

They added it to the YJ, probably for safety reasons, rollover concerns, lawyers, etc. CJs never had a track bar. Many of us believe that it actually binds up the suspension, and causes more harm than good. It *might* make an improvement during quick handling maneuvers at highway speeds, but otherwise, it's horrible.

I understand your concern, but I would remove it and not look back. It makes an awesome difference in the ride. Or at least try it - they are easy to take off (and put back on, if you choose).
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Old 02-13-2014, 03:00 PM   #16
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If the jeep yj was not the only leaf sprung vehicle with trac bars from the factory then please correct my ignorance and name the other ones.
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Old 02-13-2014, 03:22 PM   #17
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One example are '99-'04 Ford trucks.

As the argument goes, they are not necessary, but they do help; even on the YJ. The springs alone do not keep the axle from moving in relation to the frame/body 100%. So the steering is a bit sloppy and dead feeling when nearing center or changing direction. Also, keeping the arc of the track bar and drag link minimizes bump steer.

If you want a cushier ride, you can loosen you shackle bolts and let the springs flex, now you have lateral movement available in the shackle. You can correct this with a track bar. Sure one can easily tighten up the shackles to help hold the axel centered, but is ruins the ride, and you still get lateral motion. You can visually see the side to side movement of the axle related to the frame/body.

You need a track bar when you have crossover steering, meaning the gearbox is on the opposite side from the drag link attachment point. The reason most leaf spring vehicles do not have them is they utilize a push-pull steering setup where the pitman arm is perpendicular to the frame rail and the drag link attaches to the knuckle on the same side of the frame as the gear box.

On top of that, the more you lift the more lateral force is applied and reason to have a TB.

And back to my first point, if something bad happens and your two babies are in the Jeep, are you going to wish you did everything you knew was reasonable and responsible to keep them safe?
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Old 02-13-2014, 05:19 PM   #18
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What brand of lift and shocks do you have? There are some lifts at a deal out there, and they ride like their name Rough, Tough etc. most of the time. There have been some good suggestions already, and loosening the shackles while on the ground, and tire pressure may do a great deal, it very well may be your leaf packs.
I install lifts for people as a side business and a lot of them choose the cheapest lift. I encourage people to research before buying a lift. Some of the expensive ones ride even worse.
In other words, most of them have the same complaint you do.
I chose BDS springs that came in my Zone lift, and they ride great for a short wheel base vehicle.
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:35 AM   #19
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I agree with most of what has already been said. Making sure your shackles are not too tight will definitely make a difference. Also, do you have greasable bolts in the spring bushings? If not, they are inexpensive and will help.

Do the chalk test on your tires and make sure you have the correct amount of air pressure. Too low may help the ride but hurt the handling and safety.

Finally the controversial issue, the trac bar. Mine have been gone for years and gave me absolutely no feeling of being unsafe on the road. The only thing I noticed was better flex off road and a much better ride on the highway. Maybe there is some minor increase in safety in extreme situations, but overall you are not putting your family at risk any more than driving a 20 year old vehicle. If you really want to be practical and as safe as you can be then sell your Jeep and buy something with a 5 star crash rating and airbags galore. Just remember you are driving a lifted Jeep instead of a sports car and you will be fine.
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:17 PM   #20
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Front and rear track bars are off! Got sway bar quick disconnects and upgraded my steering stabilizer to a dual Rancho RS7000 and replaced a tie rod end that was worn/loose. Way smoother ride n no death wobble!!! Thanks a bunch guys!!!
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Old 02-15-2014, 07:18 AM   #21
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I have been reading various threads about death wobble. i recently purchased a 94 YJ and the previous owner said it had death wobble over 40mph. i have not had this jeep out on the open road since i bought it because of doing other projects to it and the weather being crappy right now. the jeep does not have the leaf suspension. he installed a procomp coil conversion front and rear. the jeep has a 2" body lift and from what i can tell, the pro comp kit is a 4". like i said, i have not had the jeep out yet but since there are guys on here that have installed lift kits and suspension mods i would like to pick their brain as to what i may need to do or look for since i have the coil conversion.
also, if it would make a difference or not, by my calculation the castor on the front axle is just under 7 degrees.
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Old 03-24-2014, 01:14 PM   #22
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*BUMP*

I had a chance to take the jeep out around the neighborhood to see how it would handle. while cruising below 30MPH it did just fine. then i took it out on a flat stretch and creeped up to 40MPH.
the best way i can describe this is:
HOLY SHIT batman!!!
I'm in california during a quake measuring 10 on the ricter scale. my shorts filled up and i was saying my final goodbye's.

yea, i've never experienced anything like that before. now i need to figure out what is causing it. i will be removing the front track bar first........
then going through all the connection and pivot points to see if anything has play. if there are any other suggestions, i'm all ears.
again, mine has the four wheel coil conversion if that makes a difference.
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:16 PM   #23
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Do not take the track bars off if you have coils. Thats super dangerous.
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Old 03-24-2014, 04:09 PM   #24
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do not take the track bars off if you have coils. Thats super dangerous.
x200!!!!
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Old 03-24-2014, 05:55 PM   #25
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I am thinking yhe 7° of caster is your problem. If I remember correctly, probably not, it should be 2-4°. Look up the proper castor angle and go from there.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:06 PM   #26
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I am thinking yhe 7° of caster is your problem. If I remember correctly, probably not, it should be 2-4°. Look up the proper castor angle and go from there.
x2
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:02 PM   #27
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Just FYI, most semi trucks have track bars on each axle, and leaf/Z-springs or whatever you call them. Don't track bars keep the axles centered more than prevent sway? I know its not a jeep, but same concept I think.
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:58 AM   #28
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Just FYI, most semi trucks have track bars on each axle, and leaf/Z-springs or whatever you call them. Don't track bars keep the axles centered more than prevent sway? I know its not a jeep, but same concept I think.
Close. They do have track bars, that's right. But the difference is that most semi leaf springs don't connect to the frame at the front and back. Most connect to the frame at the front of each axle, then go down to the axle and not back up. So the rear side of the leaf (middle of the axle) can sway side to side, as it is not supported at the rear.
Note: I don't read the whole thread, so I hope this is relevant.
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Old 03-25-2014, 12:50 PM   #29
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Skysail,
you are correct about the class 8 trucks having torsion bars. i've been with a Freightliner/Volvo dealer for 25 years and have seen the evolution of suspensions. the Z spring setup is connected at the front (as stated) but there were other suspension set-ups that used four springs with shackles, etc.

i can understand why you are telling me to leave the track bar on if i am running the coils. i am just at witts end and would love to figure this out without having to dump a fortune into it.
if i am measuring the caster at the correct location (at the spindle) it sits at just a hair under 7 degrees. from what i have read it should be about 5 to 5.5 degrees with a 6" lift. i'm new to the jeep & 4WD world so i'm learning as i go.
here are a few pics of the steering linkage.
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:48 AM   #30
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DEATH WOBBLE IS GONE!!

i started with checking all bolts and fasteners under the front end. i found a few of the suspension bolts were not as tight as they should be and the worst was the track bar.
i also replaced the tie rod assembly because it looked like it had never seen grease before. the drag link was already replaced. i also checked for any play in the hub assemblies and ball joints. my driver side upper ball joint had some play so i replaced upper and lower. the drivers hub has just slight movement so that is on my list but not replaced at this time.
the track bar was the cure on the death wobble because after i torqued it up and drove it i could get to 50mph and didn't feel like it was coming apart.
the rest of the inspection was for my own piece of mind. my jeep is mainly a trail rig and will not see much pavement so 50MPH is good for me.

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