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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there. I'm currently thinking of building up my 80's CJ-7, but am definitely not an expert (although I'm working on it). For the first stage of this project I plan a 4" Skyjacker spring lift and 1" body lift to clear 33x12.5 BFG Mud terrains on 15x8 rims. I have a couple of questions:
1. Will longer driveshafts be needed for this setup, and will the driveshaft angle need to be adjusted (this car will also be a daily driver).
2. Will the pitman arm included in the lift kit be sufficient to counter-act any steering complications?
3. Will the Castor & Pinion angle become incorrect to the point of affecting steering with the 4" lift kit?
4. Will the Body lift require longer hoses, tubes, and wires or readjusting of the current ones?
5. Am I making a big mistake by planning on using cheap wheels to start out (around $40 ea.) rather than going with something better like the AE-589.
As you can see, I'm just a beginner in the world of 4x4 build-up, and am just trying to see if there would be any complications beyond my technical/financial capacity for installing the 4" Skyjacker lift kit with Pitman arm, 1" body lift, and 33x12.5's. Your expertise is greatly appreciated and I hope to be able to contribute to this conference in the future. Thank you.

 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Are 33s the biggest tire you plan on running? You dont need a 4 inch lift 2 run 33's. I have a 2.5 suspension lift, about 1 inch from the heavy duty
shackles anf a 1 inch body lift. I am running 33's with plenty of room, I could probably fit 35's but dont want to stress the axles anymore than I
already am. You dont have to deal with driveline angles or pitman arms either. Not to mention it is safer to keep the weight of your jeep down
lower. The only mods I had to make other than my suspension was my clutch linkage. Just a thought to remember. I dont know what your
intentions are wheeling wise so it is had to tell much more.


 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the ideas. I am planning 35's and beefier axles with lower gearing for the future, which is why I was interested in tall springs. My use will be mostly trail-oriented (I'll be wheelin' up in Maine) some mud, some rocks, but nothing too hard-core just yet.

 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Newbie,I installed a 4" skyjacker few years back on my '82-7.Perfect for runnin' 33's so you don't really need 1" body although I have the 1" m.o.r.e .Rear leafs had shims on them,also they supplied 1 3/8" pucks to drop tranfer case both to help with drive-shaft angles.I also used a dropped pitman arm.(not sure if i purchased separately).Definetly have your front end alignment adjusted after your kit is installed!Also recommend:1.longer brake lines if your gonna go wheelin.2.Change axle gears (4.10)if you want it for a daily driver!! Have Fun!!

 

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With what you have in mind presently and down the road and the reputation of Skyjacker's springs for sagging early, I'd say go with a 2.5" spring lift with the 1" body lift. This will ride quite nicely and flex well off road and give you an opportunity to address other issues with the Jeep that you're likely to have. Then in a year or two when you and the Jeep are ready, go SOA with your nicely worn in springs and shove the beefier axles and 35's underneath.

 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I really do like the idea of going with less lift, but unfortunately SOA is illegal in Maine as I just learned. Any other ideas on fitting 33's then 35's since I know springs with more curve don't flex as well? Also, in terms of sagging, will I regret going with Skyjacker springs? I was also looking at Superlift Superride springs, but didn't think they'd ride as well on-road or provide as much flex

 

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In that case, I think I'd look at the RE Extreme Duty 4.5" kit. It involves some retro-fitting up front since it uses 2.5" wide front springs. Then add a body lift and/or small shackle lift if needed to clear the 35's under articulation.

 

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buggy leafs are cheaper than shackles if you use your old stock springs and will net you 1-1.5" lift and 4-5" of droop. To use in the front requires a shackle reversal though.

 

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How do you get a 1"-1.5" lift out of a buggy leaf in the rear when it rests up against the frame wehre the shackle mount would be? This is a CJ, not a YJ. Also, I wouldn't suggest trying to pull this off with the crappy stock CJ shackles, so he'd be buying new shackles anyway.

 

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Hey CJNewbie,

I am a situation similar to you. I have been agonizing over the problems associated with a large (4") lift on my CJ. I have to say that, in my opinion, which may not be worth much:), that you will have many more issues to deal with if you go to the 4" lift over a 2". This may not be a problem if you are will to spend the $$$$, but I think I speak for most people when I say that is always the limiting factor. First you will have to replace your driveshaft. You will have to get a transfer case lowering kit and change the pinion angle on you axles to reduce vibration, which you will notice if you plan to do lots of onroad driving. The pitman arm should reduce complications, but having the longer arm can cause problems due to stress on other steering components, as can larger tires. The brake lines will have to be replaced also. The thing I really don't like about a 4" spring lift (at least in theory), is that you gain height by arching the springs, which gives less articulation. Finally, I don't see a problem with the wheels, cheap or expensive, your choice, just make sure you have room for the tires. the early 80's CJ's have narrow axles which could cause problems with tire rubbing when turning.

hope this helps
CJay and the ramblings of the insane
'84CJ-7

 

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You could also try National Spring. Supposedly they make some high-lift springs in the 4"+ range that flex really well, but they are pretty steep $$$$ as I understand. You've got kind of a catch-22 there - you want big tires, but not arched springs. You can go with a big body lift, like 3", and less-arched springs, but body lifts that big can cause problems too with the body mounts on the tub. A 2" body lift (use a 1" if you can), 4" lift kit, perhaps 1" longer shackles, should give you enough room for 35s. Remember you could put on TJ flares and trim some fender in front and back if rubbing is a problem also, in any of the spring lift / body lift combinations stated.

Good luck
Pete

88YJ, 4"susp, 33"BFGMT, 9k#winch, rear homemade swingout, reb.258, 999, 4.10, weber32/36, GMHEI.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The RE system looks very nice (I just researched it), but I'm going to try to stay in the $400-500 range. The two that seemed to be very prevalent were Skyjacker and Superlift. Is one of these a better suspension for a daily driver/moderate trail machine (some mud rocks) or is there another that I'm missing? Thanks for all the input so far

 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Newbie, I have the superlift. I have a sag in the drivers side back with less than 500 miles on the lift.Also have had the rear driveshaft lenghtened,dropped the trans,longer brake lines,dropped the pitman,so on and so forth. I still have the vibs.Not bad but still there.Going to a cv shaft next. Choose wisely.One thing leads to another.But hey, Its all fun. Isn't it???????????

83CJ

 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
How come nobody mentioned Tuff-Country? these are the softest advertised springs and from personal experiance they ride and flex very well there price is a little high but there kits are pretty much complete.

Jeff
'83 Toyota long bed
"look Ma no doors!"
 

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You're only fooling yourself if you think you're gonna be done for $400-500 getting a decent 4" lift and all the extra parts that you'll need. The Superlift is a decent kit, I run their 2.5" Super-ride on my '86 Laredo. You're gonna spend $300 and some change for that...now add in a t-case drop, longer brake hoses, drop pitman arm, shackle mount bushings (they don't include them, you have to buy them extra), shackles (you really don't want to keep the stockers), and quick-disconnects...you're easily at around $700. The $850 for the Extreme Duty 4.5" kit which has some of the best springs on the market doesn't look quite so ugly now, does it? /wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif
 

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In my YJ the shackles pivot in a hole in the frame, by moving the hole underneath the frame you gain a bit of lift, if you use a 2-leaf buggy spring you gain a bit more lift. I didn't know CJs were set up differently. A 1" lift shackle is an easy way to "fine-tune" your ride hieght and shouldn't be enough to affect steering.

 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Good point, Jeepskate, it's funny (but not hilarious) how quickly and incompletely I read the ad for the RE lift after I looked at the price. Seeing all the stuff it includes put things into perspective for me. The RE kit doesn't include the Pitman arm or the quick-disconnects. With a 4.5" lift the arm is fairly necessary, right? I think that I'll be going with the aftermarket quick disconnects also since I'll be driving on the road a lot. As far as retrofitting for the 2.5" wide springs, what is necessary? Also, will I need a longer driveshaft inspite of the shims and T-case lowering?

 

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They show the pitman arm in the photo, I'd call to verify exactly what's in the kit. Looks like maybe they subbed the spring plates for the quick-disco's. You can pick theirs up for around $50-55 or buy nicer ones for $30-40 more, I've had no problems with theirs. Normally you remove the front shackle hangers and replace them with rear units to adapt YJ springs, but I think they may have worked out something different. I'd call and get the scoop straight from them. You can probably get away with the stock driveshaft if you take it easy, but if you're gonna be using it hard and/or flexing it out, a new driveshaft is in order.

 
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