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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I've looked around on the site, and it looks like everyone is in favor of SPOA lift. I do believe I am pretty set on it, but first a few questions. How easy is this lift- I've never seen it done. Can I get the instructions / the kit and recruit a few friends, buy some beer and get everything done in a day? Or should I take it to someone who knows what they are doing but will without a doubt charge me like I don't know what I am doing? Also, anyone know exactly how much lift I will see? Read somewhere it's a minimum 5". I would really like to fit some 31" tires w/o any other mods, would I be able to do that? I've seen some price ranges, but where could I get the best deal for my 88 Sam?


· Registered
3,450 Posts
Hey Zukini,

It may be a tad spurious for me to answer this since I am not SPOA (yet), but I have followed the opinions and threads for a couple years now and probably have the answers you want. I'll take a crack at it and others can jump in and correct me if they want.

In reply to:

everyone is in favor of SPOA lift

[/ QUOTE ]

Not everyone, but it is the commonly accepted way to do it. Myself and some others were proponents for staying SPUA and if i was to continue using my zuk mostly on the street I would stay that way. I have pulled my sami off the raod to build for wheeling, so I am finally biting the bullet and going SPOA.

In reply to:

How easy is this lift- I've never seen it done. Can I get the instructions / the kit and recruit a few friends, buy some beer and get everything done in a day

[/ QUOTE ]

First, you shouldn't drink while you're wrenching. I'm not a sobriety nazi or anything, but working with power tools when you're drunk is just stupid. Get the work done and then get hammered. (end of lecture)

The short answer is yes. You can generally get it done in a day if you have all the stuff gathered up ahead of time. Planning is key since there are lots of little things to remember like extended brake lines and new U bolts. I would suggest having someone who knows what they're doing hanging around at the very least since there are some mistakes that are pretty easy to make for newbies and people without a lot of experience. You really don't want to screw up something when you are dealing with how your axles are mounted. You could cause premature wear and failure if you don't do it right.

In reply to:

should I take it to someone who knows what they are doing but will without a doubt charge me like I don't know what I am doing

[/ QUOTE ]

Doing it that way ensures it will get done properly if nothing else, but dont be so sure you will get ripped off. Have you talked to Sean DeVinney? He's right down there in the Hampton Roads area. I've dealt with him and he really knows his stuff. He's not what I call a rip-off artist, either. Before you do anything, talk to him. Im sure he can tailor something to your needs. If you dont want to deal with the welding and pinion positioning and stuff he could do that and you could deal with the shocks and brake lines and all that yourself.

In reply to:

Also, anyone know exactly how much lift I will see? Read somewhere it's a minimum 5"

[/ QUOTE ]

That depends on a lot of things including the condition of your springs, but 5" is a good working estimate.

In reply to:

I would really like to fit some 31" tires w/o any other mods, would I be able to do that?

[/ QUOTE ]

You might have to cut your bumper a tiny bit and pound your seams, but nothing major. You will have to have wheels with less backspacing than stock, though. 31" tires usually come in 10.5" width and that will likely caatch on your springs at full steering lock.

In reply to:

I've seen some price ranges, but where could I get the best deal for my 88 Sam?

[/ QUOTE ]

This is almost impossible to answer. You have to decide how much you are going to buy in a kit. You have to decide if you know anyone who can weld on the spring perches or you will have to restrict yourself to the few bolt on SPOA kits. You can buy kits with only perches in them (basic SPOA) or kits with brake lines and driveline spacers and new U bolts and shocks and everything else. You pay a lot for really complete kits and you can save yourself some cash by piecing things together and/or having more control over what you are buying.

Trail Tough is a great company. They offer a couple different levels of SPOA lift kits at this URL:

I look there first because I have ahd great experiences with them.

North Coast Offorad has a lot of nice stuff and you can get it ala carte:

Rocky Road has tons of stuff. I wouldnt order from there because of their rep for crappy customer service, but other have and are satisfied:

Calmini has a bolt on SpOA kit:

as far as I am concerned all the vendors products are good and more or less priced the same. Personally I usually try to track down used stuff or piece together "kits" to have more control over the contents and get better pricing. That requires you to scan the BBS constantly and communicate with folks, buts its rewarrding and yo meet some nice people, too.

There is no one right answer for what you're asking.
A lot of the answer to your question depends on stuff like your level of mechanical skill, your friends abilities, your access to welding and how much you are willing to spend. Don't forget with a SPOA you are going to need steering correction and with 31s you will be a lot happier with some kind of gearing correction even if you never go offroad.

Hope this helps. HAppy New Year.


· Registered
1,835 Posts
The lift itself is fairly easy to do, if you have basic mechanical knowledge, tools, and can follow instructions. You will need a welder though.
I bought my kit from Breeze Industries, everything was great, and Im happy with it. I only ordered the 4.5" spring over kit, and its enough to clear my 31s without rubbing. I think my 31s may be smaller than others though, so if you got a 31" tire thats a true 31" tall, you may have rubbing and need more lift.
Don't forget, after you buy the kit, you'll need brakelines, shocks, and a steering correction. Again, Breeze's crossover is recommended.

· Registered
1,024 Posts
Give me a call. I am right down here near you in Chesapeake, Virginia. I have EVERYTHING you need for SPOA and can even weld on the perches if you would like. Alot of the local Zuk owners around here also take an off-road trip (locally) every few weeks and can give you a few tips on where to go and where not to....

Cal me at (757)436-0919 8am-5:30pm Mon-Sat or
E-mail me at [email protected]
Check out my website when you get a chance: [email protected]

Sean DeVinney

· Registered
2,604 Posts

you have two sizes to look at, the (4.5 or 5 inch) with the springs, and the (5.5 or 6 inch) with the springs.

I went 5.5/6 inch when I first did my spoa setup, and wished that I had done the smaller one.

reasons being, and this is my opinion, if you do the 6 inch one, your options are limited as to what else you can do without increasing the costs of fixing new things that come up.

meaning, around and above 6 inches you start needing higher angle drive shafts, and other things to combat different quirks that come up.

when I say limits what you can do later, I am referring to changing the springs, shackles, etc
with springs, most replacement springs add lift,
most replacement shackles add lift.

this is great if you want more lift.

another point, when you now go to spoa, your stock springs will now be worked harder and the ride will be softer.
what happened to me was my stock springs wore out really fast (within a year), so what I ended up doing was adding 2 bottom leafs from an early front spring pack to the rear springs. They still flex well but don't wear out.

what I ended up with now is 5.5 spoa and 5 pack springs in the back,
4.5 spoa and 5 pack rear springs in the front.

another thing to think about, is one of Trail Tough's spoa setups is for YJ springs which are a better spring and handle nice.

one big recommendation I would make is to invest in a panhard bar for the front, if you plan on driving on road much. I put one on my rig and love it.

anyway those are a few thoughts from me.

Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Great. Good advice gentleman. You said that you hadn't gone SPOA b/c it was used mainly for street use. SO I assume that you would most likely not go SPOA if you wanted to stay on the street. I ask this b/c although it is not my primary vehicle, I like to drive it whenever I get the chance. If SPOA isn't the way to go for street vehicles, then are there any other "safety conscientious" suggestions?

Sean- I will call you before making any decisions on what to do. Someone said you were right around the corner in an earlier post if mine. Thanks for the offer- I would love the chance to go Zukin' with you guys.


· Registered
2,604 Posts
mine is sitting at exactly 6 inches of lift in spoa form, and is used as my primary vehicle.

that is why I recommended the pan-hard bar, plus the extra leafs in the rear pack eliminated any body sway around corners.

also putting on the larger tires you will need a different back spaced rim for them to move the tires out more.
for 31's you dont need a different back space

but I did to widen my stance, for stability purposes. I am running 2.5 inch Back Space 15x8 rim for my 31's
with the tire width and the rims my stance is roughly 6 inches wider than stock.

my rig handles way better on the road then it EVER did stock.
I bought my rig over 13 years ago and did the spoa almost 4 years ago.

I noticed while driving on the freeway that my samurai now does not move to the side when a semi or big truck passes, the stock samurai moves to the side when a semi passes

Driving in the snow in 2wd is not squirly like the stock one has been.

to me overall driving and handeling is better than the stock ever was.

one thing I am not sure was mentioned was that when you go to the 31's you will loose the use of 5th gear.

most people put lower transferr case gears in to compensate and give them back 5th gear.
I put a 16v 1.6L engine in my rig, and the lower transfer case gears were to low for freeway driving, so I sold the transfer case, and went back to stock on that. actually the main reason why I sold the gears was despartly needing the money at the time. my rig has very very good power to drive 5th gear up most hills on any freeway.

anyway point being you can have your cake and eat it too.
if your rig is built right you should not feel that driving on the road is a safety issue.


· Registered
3,450 Posts
I am the one who said I wouldnt be going SPOA if it was for the street.

That is just my personal feelings. If its properly set up, there really isnt a lot of reason why you wouldnt have a SPOA on the street, I guess. My interest is in limiting the amount of lift and therefore keeping the center of gravity down as much as possible. There are obvious reasons for doing that on the street (handling) but not having exxcess lift makes sense in rockcrawling, too.

Another reason from my perspecive is the lift laws in Massachusetts. We are limited to a TOTAL of 2" lift, whether its suspension or tire. Technically, just by putting on YJ springs SPUA and 30" tires I have already broken that rule, but its enforced somewhat selectively. I dont worry about some dickhead cop taking his bad day out on me as much as I worry about yearly state vehicle inspection where you can get rejected if your vehicle doesnt follow the rules. And again, this is kind of a hit or miss proposition. Some places are a little more friendly towards lifted vehicles, some follow the rules quite rigidly. I just HATE that freakin inspection process every year, so if I am going to end up with 5 or 6 inches of lift, I dont want to have to coax the rig through the inspection bay, biting my nails the whole time.

A SPOA setup with good shocks and steering correction and maybe a panhard bar would probably be fine on the road, just remember you are limiting your cornering dynamics severely when you do that. You also arent going to be going very fast with 31s unless you regear somewhere along the line.

Talk to Sean!


· Registered
2,871 Posts
In reply to:

are there any other "safety conscientious" suggestions?

[/ QUOTE ]

The lift itself has been well covered, but I'll get into steering correction and general pre-lift prep.

Give the suspension and steering joints a complete inspection. (everything IS 15 years old or so...) This
means the spring bushings, kingpin berings for wear, well bearings, tie rod and drag link ends, steering box,
steering damper, anything that moves, particularly on the front axle.

Poly bushings are better than rubber for springs as they are stiffer and help limit sway. a small amount of flex
may be lost but that is small potatoes compared to the safety improvement.

After the lift, check the castor to be sure you still have 3.5-4 deg. less castor will cause the rig to wander
on the highway.

Steering correction. The Breeze Xover was mentioned, and that kit is what I always recomend as the best
design. Others have Xovers steerings and even high steer's that take the tierod above the springs, but the
other Xovers aren as solid as the Breeze, and the high steers change (reverses) the ackerman angle which
will affect the toe-in during turns. Not good, epesially on the street.

Your available options for steering correction are intended to keep the drag link from hitting the springs, and
in some cases to eliminate bump steer, which is a by-product of lifting the chassis and therfor the steering box
higher than stock.

If you look at a stock drag link it is almost perfectly level with the ground. It is also in line with the roll
center of the front axle and that keeps the effective length of the drag link nearly static as the supension
moves. If you look at a lifted rig, regardless of whether it is a spring lift, SPOA or some combination, the
steering box end of the drag link is well above the axle end. If you look at the arc the drag link makes at
the axle end as the supension flexs, it changes where the steering points the wheels as it goes up and down.
this is bump steer, and can be so bad as to cause lane changes on the highway in extreme cases.


Z-link - This is a modified drag link, usually a cut and welded drag link, some are made one piece, that clears
the springs but does not correct bump steer and can even flex and worsen the steering precision. In the
worst case it can bend or break much easier than a straight drag link.

Drop pitman arm - This is limited to about 3" and is only really suitable for spring lifts by itself. an extreme
lift might want to use a drop pitman in combination with another steering correction to give enough correction.

Idler arm - (calmini is the only one I know of) with this system the tie rod is fliped end for end and a shorter
drag link goes to an idler arm, then a second drag link goes bak under the steering box to the reversed tie rod.
its advantage is that it will eliminate bump steer, and allow a change in steering speeds by changeing
the effective length of the pitman arm at the idler arm. Its drawback is tha it hangs low and may hit rocks
in extreme wheeling.

Xover - it doe a goog job correcting steering for 4-6 inch lifts or so. It also gets the drag link up out of the way.
It leaves the tie rod in the stock location where it is vulnerable to rocks.

The Breeze unit attaches to the brake caliper bolts and replaces the kingpin cap, giving it 6 bolted joints,
as well as using the kingpin boss for additional sheer strength, onloading the kingpin bolts slightly. The
Breez is the only one piece arm (that I am aware of) and has a hardened king pin pressed in and welded.

RRO's is a 2 piece arm, the caliper piece welded to the arm, with a pressed king pin. I don't know if it is
hardened. earlier versions only bolted to the 4 kingpin bolts and required re-drilling and taping the knuckle
bolt holes which weakened them. Reports were made of some failing in use hence the design change.

the Spidertrax unit has a bolted bracket down to the stock steering arm on the knuckle and bolts on top of
the kingpin cap I belive.

Other units bolt only to the caliper. This includes the slightly modified Mercedes arms, which are also used in
highsteer conversions. I think this lacks strength, although I have not heard of one failing at the caliper. I
don't like it as it is certain to flex the caliper which is not doing the brakes any good.

High steer - many make them. or you can go with the Mercedes arms on both sides, shorten the tie rod,
and reuse the stock drag link. All designs so far reverse the ackerman angle of the steering knuckle. As
described above, this insures the Toe-in is only correct when steering straight. the shrper the turn, the
further out of toe you are. This cannot be good.

Wow, I seem to have done a long version on this subject, but that's OK, I'll save it for future use.
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