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Old 08-04-2011, 01:11 PM   #1
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Suspension Basics (not a discussion of lifts) Be Forewarned...Long Story

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...

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Old 08-04-2011, 01:50 PM   #2
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My rubi came with the stiffest springs available along with a (G) rating. I think the red shocks I have are the gas ones? my ride is a bit stiff. I don't think the spring rate has a lot of effect on the ride. If you have stiff springs along with a softer shock- should make it more tolerable. My next shock will be the adjustable Rancho XL9000's

It all depends on what the buyer chooses for options. No model has a set spring rate don't think-I could be wrong.

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Old 08-04-2011, 07:51 PM   #3
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....the DNA of Wranglers is expressed in riding like a hobby horse and handling like a lawn tractor.....a feature that grows ever more enchanting the more I drive mine....having spent long years---nay decades---caught in the embrace of sports cars with their own list of foibles, or the curmudgeonly arms of pick up trucks as daily drivers, I find the Wrangler suspension a highly sophisticated blend of exotic engineering demands and a pleasant resolution of such.

My own JK Sahara rides and handles remarkably well with stock gas shocks and whatever the 'upgrade' springs may be.

Most of the roll component are resolved by not cornering as vigorously as a turn at Nurbergring.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I believe my ride already is IN the 'sweet spot' you describe. Undoubtedly tons of money can be spent looking for further improvement. If you find the magic parts, let us know.
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeeperJake View Post
....the DNA of Wranglers is expressed in riding like a hobby horse and handling like a lawn tractor.....a feature that grows ever more enchanting the more I drive mine....having spent long years---nay decades---caught in the embrace of sports cars with their own list of foibles, or the curmudgeonly arms of pick up trucks as daily drivers, I find the Wrangler suspension a highly sophisticated blend of exotic engineering demands and a pleasant resolution of such.

My own JK Sahara rides and handles remarkably well with stock gas shocks and whatever the 'upgrade' springs may be.

Most of the roll component are resolved by not cornering as vigorously as a turn at Nurbergring.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I believe my ride already is IN the 'sweet spot' you describe. Undoubtedly tons of money can be spent looking for further improvement. If you find the magic parts, let us know.
Well stated. I know it won't drive like a sports car so perhaps I am already in the sweet spot too. I still might experiment with different springs and shocks to see if I notice any differences. But I certainly won't break the bank doing so.
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Old 08-05-2011, 01:16 PM   #5
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Rear sway bar?
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Old 08-05-2011, 03:43 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bbrown626 View Post
Rear sway bar?
I think a thicker sway bar in the rear will tighten things up a little. I don't mind experimenting there either.
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Old 08-06-2011, 09:20 AM   #7
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Could your other car be a corvette? Just wondering. My jeep is a 2 door sahara and it Has the softest springs and gas shocks. I have driven a 4 door rubi and sahara and they both have a nicer ride, I believe due to wheelbase. I had a 85 bronco full size 2 door wagon. Hydro shocks and not a real good ride. I put a set of rancho 5000 shocks on it and it rode like a Mack truck. In 88 ford broncos came out with a gas shock. I ordered a set of these and put on the bronco and had by far the best ride ever!
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Old 08-06-2011, 09:48 AM   #8
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My '08 JKU Rubi has the strong coils and very competitive shocks-


Quote:
Originally Posted by KSCRUDE View Post
Could your other car be a corvette? Just wondering. My jeep is a 2 door sahara and it Has the softest springs and gas shocks. I have driven a 4 door rubi and sahara and they both have a nicer ride, I believe due to wheelbase. I had a 85 bronco full size 2 door wagon. Hydro shocks and not a real good ride. I put a set of rancho 5000 shocks on it and it rode like a Mack truck. In 88 ford broncos came out with a gas shock. I ordered a set of these and put on the bronco and had by far the best ride ever!
It doesn't ride "EASY", but the swaybars do a substantial job on corners, but

The main concideration with the 4dr jeep is --having a higher COG and mopre MASS up high--the combo of springs and SHOCKS is just about the most important consideration !!

These jeeps aren't SLALOM-champions though-ya gotta tunem for performance-

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Old 08-06-2011, 08:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjeeper10
My rubi came with the stiffest springs available along with a (G) rating.
G rating? What is that? What are the last 2 numbers on the tags on your front and rear coils?

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