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Suspension Questions

IdahoWoody

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Another set of newbie questions. 1997 Wrangler Sahara. I believe it has been lifted 2.5" (14.5" front spring seat-to-seat, 10" back spring seat-to-seat).

Two questions:
1) The vehicle rides very loose, like you are on slinky springs - is that generally true of jeeps and/or jeeps with lift? Is it by design for easier ride off road or could something be amiss with the suspension (see one item below)? I typically rejuvenate older muscle cars, so the jeep ride is a new experience. Just feels very loose around corners and starting/stopping.
2) The sway bark links appear to be original with one side broken and the other side heavily worn. When I go to replace the links, do I need to get a different length given the 2.5" lift?

Thank you and Happy New Year,
Woody...

Jeep Sway Link.jpg
 

imahnu

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For the sway bar links they definitely need to be replaced with some longer links. The angle is too low and should be roughly 5-15 degrees above flat. Not only that but it should help tighten up the ride as those look very worn down. For swaybar links i'd recommend the JKS quick discos

Based on those pictures i'd say from personal experience those rough country shocks are at the end of their life and replacing them with some rancho RS5000x would be a big upgrade in helping that real slinky feeling out. I'd be willing to bet you could compress those RC shocks by hand pretty easily when you take them off. If your prefer a stiffer ride you could look at Bilstein or OME shocks, some forum members like those that don't ride as soft as the Ranchos.

A Jeep with poor ride quality is usually due to a poorly designed suspension. Anything well designed and put together should have a comfortable ride. I used to believe the whole "it's a jeep thing" regarding a rough ride but it certainly isn't true as long as you use quality parts designed for your usage.

How are the control arm bushings and your ball joints? Those could be pretty worn down and causing you more issues. It appears you have stock lower (and definitely upper) control arms which could mean they're worn down after all these years.

Hope this helps!
 
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fourpointzero

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@IdahoWoody -shocks

1) You describe the same thing I used to think about my TJ: a bouncy, spongy, almost wobbly feel. And it was because all four of my Zone shocks were shot. No leaks noted. They were just done. I replaced them with the Rancho RS5000X. The feel and overall ride was improved, night vs day. Not only was I stoked with that, I was ecstatic that I didn't have to replace the springs.

2) As someone above suggested: Jks adjustable links. Though, I honestly never tried that particular product, JKS is a fantastic company, IMO.
 
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IdahoWoody

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Thanks all. Pulled one shock just to see - it is shot. Ordered Rancho's and will see what they do along with new sway bar links/bushings and steering stabilizer. Per imahnu17, will be taking a look at all the other components this weekend.

After reading many of the threads here and looking at my rig, looks like PO just threw a new set of lift springs and shocks on w/o any evaluation or consideration for the rest of the suspension components.

Are there any suggestions on the rear sway bar, do folks typically upgrade and if so, to what?

Thanks again...
 
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TRE3TOP

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Thanks all. Pulled one shock just to see - it is shot. Ordered Rancho's and will see what they do along with new sway bar links/bushings and steering stabilizer. Per imahnu17, will be taking a look at all the other components this weekend.

After reading many of the threads here and looking at my rig, looks like PO just threw a new set of lift springs and shocks on w/o any evaluation or consideration for the rest of the suspension components.

Are there any suggestions on the rear sway bar, do folks typically upgrade and if so, to what?

Thanks again...
You can, but it’s not necessary, and I probably wouldn’t in your case. Maybe check the bushing and see if they need replacement but that’s about it.
 

TRE3TOP

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Also how is the steering? Does the steering wheel have a lot of left to right movement before the wheels start turning?
 
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jjvw

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...

Are there any suggestions on the rear sway bar, do folks typically upgrade and if so, to what?

...

The rear typically gets changed to an Antirock. And that happens after an axle swap where factory bar will not fit and/or you outboard with at least 12" of shock travel and you feel like a stiffer sway bar would be beneficial.
 

Artsifrtsi

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I’d also address the other suspension bushings in the whole Jeep. That frame side track bar looks to be in sad condition, and others are probably in similar shape.

Do a thorough inspection/refresh… bushings, joints (ball and U), and bearings. Look up how to perform the dry steering test to look for worn parts.

unless you are doing serious off-roading, I’d steer away from things like the anti-rock sway bars, they are great offroad, but give you a loose ride on road… the sway disconnects would be best.
 

jjvw

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...

unless you are doing serious off-roading, I’d steer away from things like the anti-rock sway bars, they are great offroad, but give you a loose ride on road… the sway disconnects would be best.
True for the front. The rear AR is stiffer than factory. Though, I will say I liked the front AR on pavement better than the factory front.
 
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Artsifrtsi

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True for the front. The rear AR is stiffer than factory. Though, I will say I liked the front AR on pavement better than the factory front.
That I did not know. I watched a great video on the importance of keeping the rear sway bar stiff, and actually showed it’s benefit on a RTI ramp.
 
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IdahoWoody

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Thanks folks - I am tearing apart the front end now in preparation for a re-build. I notice a number of posts stating to stick with a stock rear anti-sway and links - is there not benefit to the beefier aftermarket rear sway bars? Also, any recommendations on front/rear upper/lower control arms - currently looking at Freedom and Rough country brands with single side adjustment. Thanks again!
 
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JMT

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Thanks folks - I am tearing apart the front end now in preparation for a re-build. I notice a number of posts stating to stick with a stock rear anti-sway and links - is there not benefit to the beefier aftermarket rear sway bars? Also, any recommendations on front/rear upper/lower control arms - currently looking at Freedom and Rough country brands with single side adjustment. Thanks again!
No benefit for beefier rear sway bar. Just extended links if you are lifted to keep it around level.

CA’s I suggest a JJ end and I greatly prefer double adjustable arms. If you’ve adjusted them as often as I have you’d have saved yourself hours and hours. If you are just setting them once and done, then something like the Core 4x4 Tier 3 might be worth looking at.
 
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imahnu

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No benefit for beefier rear sway bar. Just extended links if you are lifted to keep it around level.

CA’s I suggest a JJ end and I greatly prefer double adjustable arms. If you’ve adjusted them as often as I have you’d have saved yourself hours and hours. If you are just setting them once and done, then something like the Core 4x4 Tier 3 might be worth looking at.
@IdahoWoody I'll echo the same as JMT. I'd advice to stay away from RC's control arms. The joints in them don't last too long in my experience. I went to JKS adjustable arms since I frequent mud and water crossings a lot. It's much easier to clean out the rubber axle side mount vs a double johnny joint like currie makes, but if you dont have to worry about that then double JJ's are the way to go.
 
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IdahoWoody

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Thanks for the responses. While Im doing control arms likely going to look at track bars and ZJ steering upgrade. With a 2.5" spring lift do I need to go to an adjustable track bar to re-align things (Front and Rear?) or will OEM suffice? And what about the pitman arm - looks like in most of the posts to just stick with OEM pitman?
 

JMT

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Thanks for the responses. While Im doing control arms likely going to look at track bars and ZJ steering upgrade. With a 2.5" spring lift do I need to go to an adjustable track bar to re-align things (Front and Rear?) or will OEM suffice? And what about the pitman arm - looks like in most of the posts to just stick with OEM pitman?
I would wait and measure. At that lift axle shift varies. Usually I would use an adjustable rear TB, but an adjustable front may require more bumpstop, so if it’s not far off I wouldn’t worry about it. Less bump is more valuable to me than perfectly centered axles.