Long discussion....trying to educate myself as much as possible on suspension basics. For the purpose of this discussion, I don't want to touch on the geometry of components or debate the merits of independent suspensions versus live axles. A Wrangler has what a Wrangler has. Let's limit the discussion to the basics of springs, shocks, and sway bars.
I started my research because as much as I wanted to believe I would actually take my jeep ('08 Sahara 2d, no tow pkg) off road, it just ain't happening with the exception of one trip to a lake house that was accessible by a long dirt road that any vehicle with a little extra ground clearance could have tackled. I have a mall crawler and I admit it
. Inevitably someone will tell me to buy a Cherokee or similar plush SUVShould I just buy a Cherokee or similar? No. I dig the Wrangler for its other features
With that in mind, my research has showed that mismatching heavy springs rates and light shock dampening, or vice versa, results in a harsh ride. So does heavy duty springs matched with heavy duty shocks. On the flip side, soft springs and dampers will produce a bouncy, floaty ride. What I'm trying to do is find the sweet spot in the middle to maximize the on-road driveability of my jeep. As above, it's essentially a road vehicle and will likely not see any dirt. I also own another car that is widely and highly regarded for its sporty handling with higher limits than is ever really safe on public roads while also providing a reasonably comfortable ride for daily driving. I am fully aware that my jeep will not ride like the car. However, over the years, the car manufacturer achieved its success with a strategy of lighter but somewhat sporty springs, heavier-duty shocks, and the use of reasonably thicker-than-average sway bars. Of course, the rest of the suspension is quite sophisicated but let's limit the discussion to shocks, springs, and sways.
Seems then that the same combination should work with my jeep to achieve better on-road stability. Essentially, I'd like to dial out some of the side to side rolling and perhaps some of the dive and squat. I realize it's a wrangler and may only achieve slight improvement. I'm thinking the stock Sahara springs are probably on the light side. I haven't checked the numbers but they're likely the softest available. Seems like I should step up to middle of the road numbers - something like 16-17 in the front and maybe 56-57 rears. After that, add some sportier shocks like Bilsteins but not go too stiff. Additionally, I'd like to add a reasonably thicker sway bar in the rear to help control the side-to-side rolling without inducing too much understeer.
So after my lengthy post, what do you suspension gurus think of that idea...mid-level springs, sportier monotube shocks, and thicker sway bar in the rear?
Sorry for the length of the post...