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Old 10-10-2011, 11:48 AM   #1
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Suspension differences in 2012 JKU models

Ok, so from what I can see there are three different suspension setups on the Sport, Sahara, and Rubi

What I'm trying to figure out is which will give the best on road handling. All of the jeeps will be sufficient for my (moderate) off road needs (towing my dirt bike trailer in to trailheads, skiing etc)

I'm looking to get a six speed with a min. 3.73 final gear ratio. So far in my test driving, I've found that a sport s with 17s seemed to provide the best on road handling, but it wasn't back to back with a Sahara, and I haven't tried a rubi.

Originally, I was thinking that the rubi would be overkill and not needed for what I'm doing, and I know the tires won't be the best choice for me.

At any rate, reading the specs, the Sahara and the Rubi seem to be tuned to allow softer rates at higher speeds. While that might give you a more comfortable on road ride, it seems like that would actually give you poorer cornering on road.

Can anyone help me with clarifications on that?

BTW tested a 3.23 and a 3.73 six speed and the difference seemed to be quite noticeable in on road performance as far as get up and go.

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Old 10-10-2011, 12:00 PM   #2
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It's actually just the opposite. The Sahara and Rubicon have gas shocks which will give a stiffer, not softer ride.

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Old 10-10-2011, 12:03 PM   #3
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Daggo's right.

Wrangler suspensions are made up of coil springs and shocks.

The coil springs come in a varity of "stiffness" ratings that vary from jeep to jeep. Stiffer coils are often--but not always--linked with options like the hard top, 4 doors, tow package, and the Rubicon trim level. They're pretty random though.

As to shocks, the Rubi and Sahara come with gas shocks. The Sport comes with hydraulic shocks. Gas shocks are "better" and will produce a stiffer ride.

All that is to say that the Sahara and the Rubi should have a "stiffer"--but better--ride than the Sport.
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Old 10-10-2011, 01:16 PM   #4
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Thanks

So just to be clear, the website says:

Tuneable Monotube Shock Absorbers have a proprietary Low Speed Tunable (LST) valve technology that is firm at low speed for improved feel on the rocks and a relaxed feel at higher speed for optimum highway driving.

That's for the Sahara. My concern is that the "relaxed feel" in highway driving may in fact be actually softer for higher speed cornering (than Sport S) My goal for this is getting the performance the best I can for the drive up to the mountain to the ski hill

Also, is there anything in the shock systems that I would need to upgrade in addition to the shocks themselves? (I'm planning on a second set of rims to set up for winter tires anyway so the wheels is a wash) I'm thinking that a sports with aftermarket recaros and uprated shocks might be the way to go, but I'm wondering if I will end up with better handling overall from a Sahara or Rubi.

Thanks again folks for the opinions. I know you get similar questions quite often.
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Old 10-10-2011, 01:16 PM   #5
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Rule out the Rubi right away due to tires, which will be an issue.

The following will result in a stiffer ride:
  • Towing, especially max towing package
  • Hard top instead of soft top
  • 18" wheels instead of 17" wheels (Sahara has 18", IIRC)
  • Gas charged shocks, on Sahara and Rubi
  • BFG MT tires, on Rubi


Note also that a 4 door would in theory be a better ride because of the longer wheel base, but the Unlimiteds do also have stiffer springs than otherwise identical SWB JKs by default. I don't know if that is a wash or not, but I wouldn't choose between a 2 door or 4 door based on that alone, anyway.

FWIW, my Rubi with dual top and max tow has a 6k-7k GVWR per the VIN. That's pretty crazy, and you do feel it. My TJ with Old Man Emu springs rode a bit softer, although the longer control arms and longer wheel base of the JKU makes up for it well enough.
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Old 10-10-2011, 01:25 PM   #6
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Ah,

First off, I'm only looking at Unlimited. (Have a pair of 3.5 year olds and this will become my daily driver)

The Max tow package I'm guessing might be the key then. I tested a Sport S with Max tow vs a Sahara without. (also 3.23) Overall, I thought the S was more fun to drive and handled better, and I'm guessing it was the max tow. So, I think I need to probably aim for a Sahara with Max tow, or look at just the Sport S and upgrade the suspension. Sounds like my original thoughts of the Rubi are correct, and that's not the way for me to go.
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Old 10-10-2011, 01:38 PM   #7
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It is difficult to compare handling because we are talking multiple set-ups.
Different wheels: 16", 17", or 18" depending on what model and package.
Different tires: 225/75/16AT, 255/75/17AT, 255/70/18AT, 255/75/17MT
Different shocks: Sahara and Rubi get high pressure gas shocks
Different coils: Tow package? Hard Top? Someone playing spin the bottle?
Not to mention Jeep making things even worse:
Sport and Sport S get the normal duty suspension
Sahara gets the Heavy Duty suspension
Rubicon gets the Performance suspension

What does that even mean?
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Old 10-10-2011, 01:39 PM   #8
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Softer would mean more body roll, so it's not better for cornering. Besides that Wranglers don't "corner" at all. What the adjustable valving means is that the harder a hit it takes, the stiffer or harder to push the shock in. It will be more forgiving on gentler terrain, but not as soft as the hydro shocks on the Sport. They feel "mushy" in comparison.
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Old 10-10-2011, 01:51 PM   #9
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So sahara and rubicon are less comfortable onroad and give a more comfortable offroad driving ?
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Old 10-10-2011, 02:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daggo66 View Post
Softer would mean more body roll, so it's not better for cornering. Besides that Wranglers don't "corner" at all. What the adjustable valving means is that the harder a hit it takes, the stiffer or harder to push the shock in. It will be more forgiving on gentler terrain, but not as soft as the hydro shocks on the Sport. They feel "mushy" in comparison.
They're pretty funny in a wind tunnel, too.
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Old 10-10-2011, 02:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panthermark View Post
It is difficult to compare handling because we are talking multiple set-ups.
Different wheels: 16", 17", or 18" depending on what model and package.
Different tires: 225/75/16AT, 255/75/17AT, 255/70/18AT, 255/75/17MT
Different shocks: Sahara and Rubi get high pressure gas shocks
Different coils: Tow package? Hard Top? Someone playing spin the bottle?
Not to mention Jeep making things even worse:
Sport and Sport S get the normal duty suspension
Sahara gets the Heavy Duty suspension
Rubicon gets the Performance suspension

What does that even mean?
Yup, that's why I'm confused and trying to figure it out

My personal thoughts are that 18" AT, lower profile tires (so the 255/70 ?) with stiffer suspension, at road speeds, should provide the best onroad handling. (BTW - yes I know it's not a sports car, that doesn't mean I can't aim for the best cornering I can get out of it. Right now I use a VW Eurovan camper for a lot of the stuff the Wrangler would be replacing, and I feel like I should be able to at least get the Wrangler to match that. Also, the general handling is super important for me as I often tow up twisty mountain passes to get where I'm going.) But I'm trying to sort through your above questions to figure out exactly what the suspension differences mean on the up level trims
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Old 10-14-2011, 01:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panthermark View Post
Sport and Sport S get the normal duty suspension
Sahara gets the Heavy Duty suspension
Rubicon gets the Performance suspension

What does that even mean?
Gotta agree that Jeep doesn't really do anything to clarify the difference. FWIW, part numbers for the shocks on Sport, Sahara and Rubicon are all three different. Sport (and Sport S) have a smaller diameter shock tube than the other two. Sahara and Rubicon have gas-charged shocks. This doesn't necessarily change the ride, it just helps prevent the oil in the shocks from foaming (which causes them to lose effectiveness) when driven agressively.
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Old 11-17-2011, 09:17 PM   #13
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I have run into the same question. I am looking at a 2dr, auto with hard top for a daily driver and commutes every other weekend (about 400km round trip highway driving). I was thinking if I am driving this thing at 120km/h (thats like 70m/hr right?) for 2 hour trips .

Does anyone have any ideas what the difference between the 'normal' duty suspension, and the 'performance' suspension offered on the Sport S packages mean?

Or even the differences between the gas shocks and Sport S shocks? (do they offer the same stiffness?)
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Old 11-18-2011, 06:53 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recreate.me View Post
I have run into the same question. I am looking at a 2dr, auto with hard top for a daily driver and commutes every other weekend (about 400km round trip highway driving). I was thinking if I am driving this thing at 120km/h (thats like 70m/hr right?) for 2 hour trips .

Does anyone have any ideas what the difference between the 'normal' duty suspension, and the 'performance' suspension offered on the Sport S packages mean?

Or even the differences between the gas shocks and Sport S shocks? (do they offer the same stiffness?)
Once again, gas shocks will give a stiffer ride than hydro shocks, which in my opinion is a better ride. YMMV
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Old 01-01-2014, 09:49 AM   #15
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I recently installed a set of heavy duty springs on my 13 jku sport s, after removing the leveling kit. When I installed the leveling kit I also swapped out the shocks to Rubi shocks. Now, I am trying to...correct... my suspension due to poor handling. Should I look for "sahara" shocks. If so does anyone have their respective part #'s? I've also heard that Monroe's make good shocks for JK. Does anyone know if they would be a good match to the heavy duty suspension? Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-01-2014, 01:18 PM   #16
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Define "poor handling".
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Old 01-01-2014, 02:49 PM   #17
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ummmm

Quote:
Originally Posted by daggo66 View Post
Define "poor handling".
Can you let me know what you mean by "Define"....
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Old 01-01-2014, 04:29 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RenegadeUL13 View Post
I recently installed a set of heavy duty springs on my 13 jku sport s, after removing the leveling kit. When I installed the leveling kit I also swapped out the shocks to Rubi shocks. Now, I am trying to...correct... my suspension due to poor handling. Should I look for "sahara" shocks. If so does anyone have their respective part #'s? I've also heard that Monroe's make good shocks for JK. Does anyone know if they would be a good match to the heavy duty suspension? Thanks in advance.
I suspect your handling issue is more the springs then shocks. HD springs are designed to carry steel bumpers, winches, armor and rear tire carries with heavy tires. Without the extra weight to soften these springs the factory shocks cannot control them.
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Old 01-01-2014, 04:49 PM   #19
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Can you let me know what you mean by "Define"....
The term "poor handling" is subjective. If he wants useful answer, he needs to post useful information. Is that simple enough for you to understand?
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Old 01-01-2014, 08:56 PM   #20
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We could use some more "poor handling " characteristics. Is it bouncing all over the road, darting, bumpsteer, corner roll, or just a harsh ride.
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Old 01-01-2014, 11:05 PM   #21
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The term "poor handling" is subjective. If he wants useful answer, he needs to post useful information. Is that simple enough for you to understand?
This isn't a thread about "poor handling". I'm not asking for you or anyone else to diagnose my "poor handling". I am asking if specific shocks work better with specific springs.

WHERE in my original post did I ask for help from YOU in diagnosing my "poor handling"?

I knew there was a reason i don't post in this forum... Keep your shithead comments to yourself.

I'm out, you guys can keep this bullshit up if you'd like.
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Old 01-02-2014, 12:08 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by RenegadeUL13 View Post
Now, I am trying to...correct... my suspension due to poor handling. Should I look for "sahara" shocks. If so does anyone have their respective part #'s? I've also heard that Monroe's make good shocks for JK. Does anyone know if they would be a good match to the heavy duty suspension? Thanks in advance.
As per Your questions :
In order to answer your questions regarding shocks if we don't know how the Jeep is handling we can't pass on qualified info. No one is trying to fix your handling issues just trying to determine if it is a shock or spring issue. With that said, you mention you installed HD springs. I don't believe shocks are the problem at all. Hard springs are just that and shocks can't soften or control the ride.
Sahara shocks are definitely better then sport shocks.
If you have a lift in the 2" range you would be better off with longer shocks anyway. Best all round shocks are IMHO the Rancho RS9000XL adjustable.
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Old 01-02-2014, 12:15 AM   #23
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To the OP.... Generally speaking the Sport (S) is just base suspension, the Sahara has the most road friendly suspension, and the Rubicon off-road suspension. There are many upgrades available to the Sport but in the end upgrading a Sport will just put you up to the same price as Sahara.
As for handling, don't get too set on those short test drives, too many variables like tires also play a big roll in ride quality and handling.

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