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post #1 of (permalink) Old 03-27-2008, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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Soa ?


So I think I've decided to go SOA when I swap in some scout dana 44's (already laying in the garage...anyone have some drums laying around for the rear? ) into my CJ7. At the same time I'll be putting in a TH400...

I plan on picking up a set of wrangler springs (anyone have some that are in their way in the garage and would let go for next to nothing? ) rather than using my lifted CJ springs...what are some good ways to prevent axle wrap? Do I need to worry about front axle wrap also?

In using wrangler springs in this set up...would the "boomerang" shackles (not to be confused with "revolver shackles) in the rear be applicable or no?

What about shackle reversal at the same time? Good idea or no?

What are some ideas to address possible steering issues? My original plan was to swap some dana 44 outers from a full size bronco onto the front axle (mostly cuz I have one in the garage)...would I be better off with something else? Can someone explain to me exactly what a high steer set up is?

Would this set up with a slightly less than 1" body lift allow me to fit 35" tires and still flex without rubbing too bad? Bigger than 35"...36" or 37"? I don't plan to get too crazy with tire size...

Other than the issues with scout axles in a CJ, can someone tell me what other things I need to plan for? I will be having a friend who has set up multiple SOA vehicles before looking over my should (and doing the "important" welding) but I would like to have as much info about my particular plan as possible before starting the work so I have the parts on hand and can just get to work when it's go time...

Thanks for helping me brain storm!

why yes, yes i am a moron

Last edited by OIIIIIIIO; 03-27-2008 at 07:11 AM.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 03-28-2008, 12:13 AM
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Search here or Google and start reading your tail off. Since I did this with Scout axles I will give you my brief .02.

Ditch the drums and swap the rear over to disk brakes. You need to cut the center section of the old backing plate out and use it to retain the axle shaft. There are several rotor/caliper variations out there. I used rear import calipers (88 Trooper) andfront Suzuki Sidekick rotors. Hand fabbed brackets for the calipers that attach to the two top backing plate bolts. There's a little more to it, but a little reading will cover the rest.

Stock Wrangler springs flex very well, but will start to sag. I am currently using 2" CJ springs, but need to change the fronts to Wrangler springs. To prevent axle wrap you can build a hop stop bar (searching will bring up many options). I used one for a couple of years, but space between the frame rails is at a premium and I and only running a six cylinder. So last winter I removed the hop stop assembly and now run seven inch long spring perches. I have not had any spring wrap issues.

Shackle reversal the way I understand and would do it. If running flat or mild lift springs, leave the shackles in the front unless you really need to keep them out of harms way. If your running 4" lift springs, the shackle reversal will help smooth the ride. Reversing the shackles changes how the axle moves when the tires contact a bump or obstruction. Instead of pushing the axle into and over the obstruction, the axle is now allowed to move backwards towards the shackle, relieving the abrupt push into the obsticle, but may result in less force/traction applied to that object to clear it.

If you have the Bronco D44 outters, swap them on. They are stronger than the Jeep/Scout design. You will need a combination of GM, Ford and possibly Jeep parts to make things fit, especially the brakes. Search... this had been covered very recently. You may be able to get by with a fabbed up drag ling and tie rod. If you have the cash, do it right once and install hi steer. I am in the process of doing this now. Again it's a mixture of parts and research will result in several different resources and ideas.

I run 35's SOA with the mild lift springs and just over an inch of body lift. I didn't think I would rub, but during a CO trip last year, it bent the rear edge of the passenger fender in ever so slightly. I would say you should be fine... with the possibility of some minor rubbing, but not resulting in damage.

I like the Scout axles. You need to cut a flat spot in the top of the pumpkin for the spring to sit. I also took the extra time to grid the wweld for the knuckles down, rotate more caster (or camber I always forget) into them and re-weld. Scout axles come with very little if any caster. You'll want about 6 degrees to have it drive nicely. If you do this, set your drive shaft angle and spring perches first, then set the knuckles. Also so this with the weight of the Jeep on the suspension/axle. I do not have a CV drive shaft. Most everyone else who does this ends up needing one. I guess I am lucky... and have a very short drivetrain. Brake lines and shocks will have to be longer and you'll probabaly have to build shock mounts.

That's the main stuff I can think of now. Keep searching... use different keay words... there are tons of articles out there and in here.

Is this the only hammer you've got?
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 03-28-2008, 12:16 PM
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Jdog hit all the main I'll add my 2 cnets worth (ok, more like .03 cents at todays prices).

Do go with the Wrangler springs. The main reason they sag is the spring wrap. The weight on them is the same...but the spring wrap will tear them up in no time. I would look into 8" perches....Maybe we can get Thor to chim in...he used 8" when he did his SOA. I'm building up a flat top d44 right now so I will be using 8"....I think I'm also going to use one of the old Cherokee leafs to beef up my existing wrangler springs.

In the front you will need to move the front perch forward about 1" because the Wrangler spring is about 1" longer. I drilled out the rivet and used the hole as one of the mouting holes for the new spring hanger...and I used a rear spring hanger as well. The Wrangler springs for the front are wider than the CJ springs (back hanger is the same size, only the front is narrow). Front and rear springs are the you swap out the front hangers...and you are good to go....good time to go with shackels that have the attaching bolt for a tow bar.

Jdog did a good job of explaining about needing a shackle reversal. If you stay with stock springs, you will be flat...which means your axle will move back as it goes up or down...hence, a shackel reversal would be a waste of time and money.

You will need to weld on shock mounts. You 'could' be dorky like some people and use your existing spring plate with the shock and sway bar studs on it...but that would defeat one of the advantages of SOA...spring travel....the length of the shock is one of the limiting factors for travel. The longer the shock, the more potential travel. If you do use your existing plates, cut off the stud for the shock and just use the one for the sway bar. I have a Rancho chart that shows the shock lengths (max, min) and travel for all shocks. When I did my SOA I was able to bump up to another range of shock that gave me 3" more travel than before.

You will need to go with longer brake lines.

Steering...this is the part that sucks. Unless you have high steer (flat top knuckles), you are going to need a droped pitman arm and expect to loose some of your turning radius. This is one of the reasons I'm doing the D44 flat top.

CV Driveshafts. For the rear, it will be almost impossible to set your angle to eliminate vibrations without a cv driveshaft. You have to lengthen the rear ds when you do the SOA...might as well do it right. Set the jeep on the springs and axles supported on jack stands before you weld the perches. Then rotate your rear pumpkin so that it points to the xfer case. Measure the distance. Now, take your ds down to a ds shop, tell them the length and tell them you want it CV. It will most likely cost you about $250 to $300 total...or you can spend $100 to have the stock ds lengthened and then 6 months later spend the $300 for the cv ds because of the bad vibrations....and thats assuming you didn't break something else.

On the front, I eyeballed it tight (not welded) and then took it to the alignment shop down the street (carefully). He then set the correct castor...then I welded the perches.

Based on my experience with this (ride and off road maners) as well as other people who have it and other lifts...the only thing better than SOA is coil over.

The below pic was taken several years ago when I was doing the setup..
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SOA Spring Pos.jpg (64.0 KB, 0 views)

AKA DDawg16
84 CJ7, SOA, 5.7LTBI, 4L60E, 35"x12.5, 4.10 gears, F/Det, R/ARB, Full Roll Cage,
D44 Flat top in progress...
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