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New to TJs and off roading, need suspension knowledge

ls1_sounds

New Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2019
Messages
7
Location
Marysville, WA
Hi, I'm new to Jeeps and off-roading but have been reading and learning on the forum for a while. I used to race cars on-road and am mechanically inclined, but have a big 4x4 learning curve ahead of me. I recently bought a 2001 TJ with 118k miles, 4.0L and 5-speed, Rough Country 3.5" lift kit with Bilstein 5100s, Dana 44 rear with Detroit posi and 30 front (no lockers), 4.88 gears, 35" Goodyear tires, front Anti-Rock, and some kind of fender flares I haven't ID'd yet (maybe Smittybilt). I already fixed a couple of things including a bump steer issue by replacing the drop Pitman arm with a stocker so it's now fun to drive. It does ride really rough but that seems common with RC lifts, so I'm at 20psi to help with that. It still has vague steering and definitely needs a track bar, but there's no death wobble. I plan to start by upgrading the steering, then the suspension, one area at a time until I get it where I want it.

What is the best order to approach the upgrades? Shocks first, then springs, or something else? It's a weekend toy so I am mostly looking for off-road capabilities for trail riding and ORV parks in the Pacific Northwest. I do still want it to ride and steer well on the road so my wife or daughters can drive it on the freeway and we are comfortable driving it to the fun areas. I like the idea of a lower CG build so I'm thinking 3.5" - 4" of lift and then highline fenders or whatever is needed to prevent rubbing. I will probably stick with the 35" tires. I like what I'm reading so far about Savvy, Currie, and Metalcloak but haven't picked a route yet. I don't mind investing money in quality parts, but am not sure yet how to go about getting the best performance and I need your advice.

Thanks for the help!

-Chad
 
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Rob5589

Certified video trained differential rebuilder
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Aug 29, 2016
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6,486
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W Sacramento, Kalifornia
Welcome to the forum. If it needs a trackbar that should come first.

Ride is mostly determined by shocks. Many of us run the Rancho 5000X with great results.

Steering can be upgraded by performing a V8 ZJ set up or a Curry steering set up. Budget will point you in the right direction.

Adjustable control arms can get your caster within spec after lifting. Too little caster can cause issues as can too much. You will have to see if yours are adjustable or not and whether or not the alignment is within spec.
 
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xxdabroxx

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Messages
887
Location
Central California, CA, United States
Track bar (I would also go currie here), currie steering (it just rocks), shocks, currie anti-rock. I'd start in that order and agree with the 5000x shocks unless you have deeper pockets and want to go with Fox.
 

MutantNinjaTJ

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
347
Location
The sewers of Newer Mexico!
Currie steering set up because of the 35's, front adjustable control arms to get you caster back and that will help with the "vague" steering feeling, and toss the Bilstein's and put on a set of Rancho RS 5000X shocks. Ranchos run a bit long so do the math and make sure they fit.
 

Fouledplugs

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2017
Messages
3,215
Location
Alabama/South Carolina
Hi, I'm new to Jeeps and off-roading but have been reading and learning on the forum for a while. I used to race cars on-road and am mechanically inclined, but have a big 4x4 learning curve ahead of me. I recently bought a 2001 TJ with 118k miles, 4.0L and 5-speed, Rough Country 3.5" lift kit with Bilstein 5100s, Dana 44 rear with Detroit posi and 30 front (no lockers), 4.88 gears, 35" Goodyear tires, front Anti-Rock, and some kind of fender flares I haven't ID'd yet (maybe Smittybilt). I already fixed a couple of things including a bump steer issue by replacing the drop Pitman arm with a stocker so it's now fun to drive. It does ride really rough but that seems common with RC lifts, so I'm at 20psi to help with that. It still has vague steering and definitely needs a track bar, but there's no death wobble. I plan to start by upgrading the steering, then the suspension, one area at a time until I get it where I want it.

What is the best order to approach the upgrades? Shocks first, then springs, or something else? It's a weekend toy so I am mostly looking for off-road capabilities for trail riding and ORV parks in the Pacific Northwest. I do still want it to ride and steer well on the road so my wife or daughters can drive it on the freeway and we are comfortable driving it to the fun areas. I like the idea of a lower CG build so I'm thinking 3.5" - 4" of lift and then highline fenders or whatever is needed to prevent rubbing. I will probably stick with the 35" tires. I like what I'm reading so far about Savvy, Currie, and Metalcloak but haven't picked a route yet. I don't mind investing money in quality parts, but am not sure yet how to go about getting the best performance and I need your advice.

Thanks for the help!

-Chad
You could tuck the skid via “tummytuck” with 4 inch springs and 1.25inch body lift which would be needed for the tummy tuck anyway. UCF makes some great tummy tuck skids as well as Savvy.

Tummy tucking will get you a step in the right direction for keeping it low on 35’s. Hi-lines would also help here. But IMO, the skid should be addressed at 33 inch tires or more.

A motor mount lift will also help keeping that low cog you are shooting for and compliment the tummy tuck.

A little more help would be accomplished by a bit of a stretch. Most owners wont bother, because it is such a project. But 35’s on the short 93inch TJ wheelbase is a bit silly to me. Thats just my .02

Im assuming it already has an SYE and DC driveshaft? Its not mentioned, just curious.
 
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ls1_sounds

New Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2019
Messages
7
Location
Marysville, WA
Wow, thank you guys for all of the info and recommendations! It sounds like I need to hit the trackbar, steering upgrades, and shocks first, probably in that order. I need to check the caster still and learn how to check camber, I haven't aligned it yet other than centering the steering wheel. There is a lot of play in the steering right now though.

Is the Currie steering system worth the extra coin over the V8 ZJ setup? I need to learn more about their differences.

I haven't heard of tummy-tucking yet so I'll check that out along with the motor mount lift. It does have an SYE and I noticed it had a Spicer driveshaft sticker but I'm not sure what a DC driveshaft is. The U-joints look new but I'm not sure if they are stock or stronger.
 

Alex01

Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Joined
Mar 23, 2018
Messages
3,217
Location
Martinez, CA, USA
Wow, thank you guys for all of the info and recommendations! It sounds like I need to hit the trackbar, steering upgrades, and shocks first, probably in that order. I need to check the caster still and learn how to check camber, I haven't aligned it yet other than centering the steering wheel. There is a lot of play in the steering right now though.

Is the Currie steering system worth the extra coin over the V8 ZJ setup? I need to learn more about their differences.

I haven't heard of tummy-tucking yet so I'll check that out along with the motor mount lift. It does have an SYE and I noticed it had a Spicer driveshaft sticker but I'm not sure what a DC driveshaft is. The U-joints look new but I'm not sure if they are stock or stronger.
If money isn't an issue I would stick with the currie setup. If you have an SYE you have a DC driveshaft.

Any photos of the jeep??

Here is a DC driveshaft.

103921
 
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astjp2

TJ Addict
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Messages
2,828
Location
Utah and Alaska
With the questions you are asking, you need to read some more, post some pictures of your jeep and digest what you are learning. You also need to decide what you will do with the jeep, mall crawler (wife), rocks, mud, etc. There are so many options for different types of terrain where you are at, that it makes it a challenge to set up for all of them. I try to set up for the most likely terrain that I have near me, which is desert with some rock crawling. I am going with selectable lockers, 4" suspension and 1.25" body lift. I installed custom control arms that use synergy DDB's by Core 4x4, adjustable track bars and YJ brake lines. I still have a few things to work out like a bad transmission and I am going to upgrade my jeep to front and rear dana 44's, probably install a 4.6 stroker motor, and a few other modifications. I am out for a nice ride, so I have 12" stroke fox shocks and the brackets to outboard them. So pick your poison and good luck.
 

Honeybadger

Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2019
Messages
54
Location
SoCal
Luckily you have a rear Dana 44, building that up from scratch gets pricey. A very weak link for 35’s is the D30 front axle. Once you get the steering fixed up you may want to look @ chromoly axle shafts. Other than that I would go do some wheeling and see what you like to do and build from there.
 
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MutantNinjaTJ

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
347
Location
The sewers of Newer Mexico!
I would recommend the Currie steering if you are going to 35’s, Amazon had it for $476 not too long ago, damn good price. Wait till it shows up on your porch, you’ll see why it comes highly recommended.
 
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MallCrawlOnTons

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 9, 2018
Messages
647
Location
West Georgia
You could tuck the skid via “tummytuck” with 4 inch springs and 1.25inch body lift which would be needed for the tummy tuck anyway. UCF makes some great tummy tuck skids as well as Savvy.

Tummy tucking will get you a step in the right direction for keeping it low on 35’s. Hi-lines would also help here. But IMO, the skid should be addressed at 33 inch tires or more.

A motor mount lift will also help keeping that low cog you are shooting for and compliment the tummy tuck.

A little more help would be accomplished by a bit of a stretch. Most owners wont bother, because it is such a project. But 35’s on the short 93inch TJ wheelbase is a bit silly to me. Thats just my .02

Im assuming it already has an SYE and DC driveshaft? Its not mentioned, just curious.
Not trying to put you on blast dawg. Looking at your profile and posts, you got a stock wrangler. Were do you come up with all these recommendations for mods?
 
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Squatch

Master Thread Derailer
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2017
Messages
5,087
Location
Everett, Wash, United States
Hi, I'm new to Jeeps and off-roading but have been reading and learning on the forum for a while. I used to race cars on-road and am mechanically inclined, but have a big 4x4 learning curve ahead of me. I recently bought a 2001 TJ with 118k miles, 4.0L and 5-speed, Rough Country 3.5" lift kit with Bilstein 5100s, Dana 44 rear with Detroit posi and 30 front (no lockers), 4.88 gears, 35" Goodyear tires, front Anti-Rock, and some kind of fender flares I haven't ID'd yet (maybe Smittybilt). I already fixed a couple of things including a bump steer issue by replacing the drop Pitman arm with a stocker so it's now fun to drive. It does ride really rough but that seems common with RC lifts, so I'm at 20psi to help with that. It still has vague steering and definitely needs a track bar, but there's no death wobble. I plan to start by upgrading the steering, then the suspension, one area at a time until I get it where I want it.

What is the best order to approach the upgrades? Shocks first, then springs, or something else? It's a weekend toy so I am mostly looking for off-road capabilities for trail riding and ORV parks in the Pacific Northwest. I do still want it to ride and steer well on the road so my wife or daughters can drive it on the freeway and we are comfortable driving it to the fun areas. I like the idea of a lower CG build so I'm thinking 3.5" - 4" of lift and then highline fenders or whatever is needed to prevent rubbing. I will probably stick with the 35" tires. I like what I'm reading so far about Savvy, Currie, and Metalcloak but haven't picked a route yet. I don't mind investing money in quality parts, but am not sure yet how to go about getting the best performance and I need your advice.

Thanks for the help!

-Chad
Welcome to the forum. I'm just south of you, on the other side of the flats, in north Everett. You're going to dig on all the information that flows through these "pages"!!! Folks on here love 'em some pictures, so how 'bout it? ;)
 

Westtown Willy

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
May 10, 2018
Messages
859
Location
West Chester, PA, USA
I would recommend the Currie steering if you are going to 35’s, Amazon had it for $476 not too long ago, damn good price. Wait till it shows up on your porch, you’ll see why it comes highly recommended.
what ever could you be talking about 😁

Currie 3.JPG
Currie 4.JPG
Currie 2.JPG
Currie 1.JPG


Beautiful, that is the epitome of a Jeep right there, primarily stock in appearance with just the right extras – nice fat wheels with appropriate lift, tight & functional front bumper & no extraneous blingshit, no doubt a ton of dough tucked away underneath where it can’t be seen but sure can be experienced where it counts, great job man, trying to push towards that.
 
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Fouledplugs

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2017
Messages
3,215
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Alabama/South Carolina
Not trying to put you on blast dawg. Looking at your profile and posts, you got a stock wrangler. Were do you come up with all these recommendations for mods?
Second time you have asked and the same person liked it IIRC.

I asked a male doctor who specialized in pregnancy and giving birth how he could be good at something he had never experienced being that he was male. How could he recommend any advice for a pregnant woman.

Nice potential question to alot of folks who replied in your, “Anyone have a RockCrawler,” thread. I might have been the only one who drives a YJ daily and beyond that posted my trip Pics in the SOA YJ on 38’s.

Yes, one of my Jeeps is mainly stock. Still doesnt mean I dont know about bolt ons for TJ’s.

I learn about mods and upgrading the stock suspension the same way a lot of others do. As an example, I dont need to buy Rough Country shocks to validate my understanding that they ride rough and there are better options to select for the TJ/LJ
 
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MallCrawlOnTons

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 9, 2018
Messages
647
Location
West Georgia
I asked a male doctor who specialized in pregnancy and giving birth how he could be good at something he had never experienced being that he was male. How could he recommend any advice for a pregnant woman
Yea he gains knowledge slowly with real world experience.

Nice potential question to alot of folks who replied in your, “Anyone have a RockCrawler,” thread. I might have been the only one who drives a YJ daily and beyond that posted my trip Pics in the SOA YJ on 38’s.
Yea I’ve seen you have the stock yj. thats cool bit doesn’t answer any question I asked in that thread. I didn’t see any pics of your yj on 38s either? It appeared your yj is on 31s.

Yes, one of my Jeeps is mainly stock. Still doesnt mean I dont know about bolt ons for TJ’s.
2 of your jeeps are mainly stock you mean?

I learn about mods and upgrading the stock suspension the same way a lot of others do. As an example, I dont need to buy Rough Country shocks to validate my understanding that they ride rough and there are better options to select for the TJ/LJ
So just via reading? No experience with the mods you are recommending?
 

Fouledplugs

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2017
Messages
3,215
Location
Alabama/South Carolina
2 of your jeeps are mainly stock you mean?
Actually 3 of them are. I’d rather not argue with you or have you validate my experience and knowledge. Nor would I like to divulge info about everything I own. It’s not important and proves nothing.

If my post are wrong, leave you with questions, or without fact please do chime in. Please tell me I am wrong, you disagree, and share your justification/facts. Im open to other opinions/ideas.

Or just keep gatekeeping. If you would rather gatekeep, gatekeep everyone rather than single me out.
 

MallCrawlOnTons

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 9, 2018
Messages
647
Location
West Georgia
Actually 3 of them are. I’d rather not argue with you or have you validate my experience and knowledge. Nor would I like to divulge info about everything I own. It’s not important and proves nothing.

If my post are wrong, leave you with questions, or without fact please do chime in. Please tell me I am wrong, you disagree, and share your justification/facts. Im open to other opinions/ideas.

Or just keep gatekeeping. If you would rather gatekeep, gatekeep everyone rather than single me out.
3 stock jeeps and you on here giving advice on which products are better than others? Hmm okay.

Some of your posts aren’t “facts”. They are opinions with no experience.
And don’t get all butthurt cause I called you out on your post recommending products you’ve only read about.
And According to your tjs milage in your “build” thread Im guessing you have the least experience behind a tj on this whole forum.