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Old 12-31-2011, 11:48 AM   #1
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Suspension advice for stock '85 CJ-7

I bought this Jeep, my first, just before deploying this past July. I'll be back soon, and want to put a little lift, new wheels and tires. I want to run 33's, and from what I've looked at, the best way to go is a 2.5" suspension lift with a 1" body lift. I've seen that a YJ spring-over conversion is best. I don't know what any of that means. Can anyone throw some advice/experience/info my way? Thanks!

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Old 12-31-2011, 04:44 PM   #2
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Well first off, welcome! You've taken your first steps into a better place.

There's literally hundreds of ways you can go with the suspension. What you're talking about is usually just called a spring over conversion (sometimes shortened to SOA for spring over axle). The name says it all, you're taking the axle and putting it under the spring, instead of over it like it is stock. This is a good way to get 3"-4" of lift really cheap, as you're using mostly stock parts, but it requires a lot of fabricating/welding/etc and it messes up the geometry, so if you go that route make sure you're correcting driveshaft angles, steering, etc. The YJ part of the name just means you're using YJ springs instead of CJ springs. They're a little longer and a little wider.

I don't like body lifts at all myself, I prefer just using a larger suspension lift, but if you absolutely must go that way I'd say 1" should be as big as you go. Any higher and you're making yourself top-heavy without adding any flex. A taller suspension lift will give you the tire clearance you want as well as the longer suspension travel. But that's just my $0.02, keep it or spend it.

To run 33's you're going to want about 4" of lift, there are kits out there that will replace the entire spring/shock (may as well if you're going that high), or there are options out there to add a leaf to your springs, but I think that only goes up to 2". May as well replace the whole thing if you're doing it at all, I'd think, but it's up to you.

Sorry about the lecture!

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Old 01-01-2012, 01:59 AM   #3
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I'm running OME yj springs. They are hard top springs and add about 2 1/2" lift. I have OME shackles which add 3/4" or so. And a 1" Daystar body lift.

My cj has a good ride and flex. I am running 33"x12.5x15 mtr's on a 15x8 rim.

Very pleased. Similar height to my 4" rough country lift I use to have.

You can go SOA or a lift but you don't need both to run 33" tires. One or the other will give enough clearance.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:35 AM   #4
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I guess I don't understand if it's worth the extra money and headache to do an SOA on my Jeep. Is it worth it to do the SOA instead of a standard suspension lift? I wouldn't know where to start with an SOA. Sure there are those amazing threads about it, but I don't have the tools to do something like that myself I don't think. How much would it cost to have someone do an SOA for me?

Should I just do a standard BDS suspension lift? Will I get the same look and ability to go offroad, riding some trails and doing nothing more than some moderate rock-climbing? I won't be taking my Jeep on any extreme trails at all.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:54 AM   #5
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Based on what I'm reading I think a standard lift would be great for you. A SOA is cheaper than a standard lift if you do the work. I'm not sure about what a shop would charge....if you could find one that would even do it.
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:03 AM   #6
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I think you're right. A standard lift is probably what I need. Thanks!
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RussTreider
I think you're right. A standard lift is probably what I need. Thanks!
I would recommend going to a yj lift. 4wd.com makes a conversion kit. You can also call and let them put a kit together.
Only modification is drill out a rivet and move the front spring hanger forward. YJ springs are the same size front and back.
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:12 AM   #8
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Why a YJ lift? What brand makes those? So it's a lift made for a YJ, that I'm modifying to work on my CJ?
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RussTreider View Post
Why a YJ lift? What brand makes those? So it's a lift made for a YJ, that I'm modifying to work on my CJ?
Correct. You buy a lift for a YJ and install on your CJ. The rear springs are the same on a CJ and a YJ but the front is different. Going to a YJ spring in the front does 2 things. The spring is 1" longer and 1/2" wider....making it the same dimension as the rear. The added length is the reason the front spring hanger needs to be moved forward. You would also need new shackles but I assume you would replace everything anyway. I put all new spring hangers on when I did the install as well...along with u-bolt skid plates.

I am running the same spring on all 4 corners. OME is the brand I went with because I feel they are best. But also the most expensive. If you are on a budget it may not be for you....just buy a standard cj lift.

Here is a example of the conversion kit for a YJ spring swap:
4 Wheel Drive Hardware Part BSS683 - CJ Spring Conversion Kit for use with YJ Springs by 4Wheel Drive Hardware® for Jeep

You can do some searching around to see what all is out there. Tons of options out there. Pick the one that fits your jeep and your budget. The full suspension swap with everything I did was about $1400.
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Old 01-01-2012, 01:30 PM   #10
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Attachment 86772


That is a picture of my parents 81 Scrambler.
3 1/2 YJ lift running 33x12.5x15 duratracs.
I did the YJ spring swap and love it. Was easy to do. I did use the YJ spring/ubolt plates but had to have a welder friend of mine cut off the shock mounts off the CJ plate and weld them onto the YJ plate.
My parents are in their early 60's and dad likes the ride so much of his Scrambler that he told me yesterday that it is going to be his daily driver

I really think if you go with the YJ spring swap you will be very happy.

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