Front Suspension Work
I'm contemplating a suspension change to the front of my YJ. Currently, I have 2" lifted springs sitting reverse shackle. Well, at least they used to be 2" springs. They're very old, very tired, and very re-build with miscellaneous leafs I found lying around the garage. Anyways, problems I have with my current setup are:
When climbing up and over a ledge, the axle pulls away from the Jeep. Common among reverse shackle setups. REALLY a problem with Revolvers (setup reverse shackle), but I never bothered with that. The reverse shackle was originally done for better on-road performance and a more comfortable ride on wash-board roads. Since I trailer now and I've got much larger tires and much lower pressures, I don't see those being problems anymore.
When I moved my axle forward 3 inches, it no longer sits in the middle of the leaf. This effects travel, how the spring behaves and how long the springs will last. This mod will relocate the springs forward and place the axle centered, once again.
With the current setup, I find myself catching on the shackles (remember, currently reverse shackle) when backing the front up a rock. The new system will provide much more clearance in that area.
Another issue I have when backing the front up a rock is that the tire is reluctant to climb. This is because it's easier to bend the leaf forward. This wears on the springs and might even break a spring if not watched carefully. Moving the shackle back to the front of the vehicle will eliminate this problem.
One more problem I've been dealing with is steering clearance. My hi-steer setup sits directly on top of the leaf springs. I'm constantly destroying the rubber boot where the drag link connects to the tie-rod, and I've also worn out the "toe" adjuster on the tie-rod. Both of these failures come from not enough clearance between the tie-rod and leafs. The reason I lack clearance is because the leafs are at such an angle to ground, and the axle is mounted so far forward on them. This modification will rotate the leafs 5 degrees closer to level. That, combined with locating the axle centered on the leafs, will provide more than enough clearance for the steering.
The last problem is the leafs themselves. The ones I have are tired and worn out. Over the past month, the front of my Jeep has sunk 2" and pretty soon I'll be sitting on the bump stops. Included in this project are 4" lifted springs (manufacturer to be determined). When I french the spring hanger and located the shackles on the front bumper, this 4" lift will actually only net 2" of suspension lift. That way I should sit at the same elevation that I normally do. (remember, this is a SOA setup)
12/12/03 - Design
I drew my design changes in AutoCAD. Looks pretty easy on the screen, but I know that "frenching" the spring mounts inside the frame is going to be quite a project. Here's a "before" shot and an "after" shot showing the design idea and differences. Also, there's a picture of how more space will be gained for the steering components.