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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the process of purchasing a new suspension for my '85 steel body CJ-7, with hard top, 33" tires, a 33" spare on the back, and full tool box behind the back seat. I have heard many conflicting opinions on the different brand suspension kits and am looking for some real world experience opinions.

To date I have heard; Trail Master is very good, but also stiff and not as good as Skyjacker and Superlift which allow more articulation and a better ride. I have also heard Skyjacker sags, and that Pro Comp and Rancho are very stiff.

Could someone please share their experience with the different suspension brands.


150 Posts
I can only tell you about mine and have no input on the others. Big Dick's was really stiff when I first got it installed. I posted here and several folks had lots of help. Basically once I got it out and flexed it a little, it started to limber up better. Since then: a winch, 33" spare tools and soon a new rear bumper and swing out carrier. It takes all this weight very well. I would guess that I am getting used to the difference in the ride as well. Hope this helps. Oh yeah, 4" lift.

85 CJ7

Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've got Tuff Country 2" heavy duty. A previous owner installed them. Very rough ride, but can handle a bunch of extra weight. Not much articulation - lift tires all the time. When I can afford it, I'll probably be getting National Springs - heard good things about them on this board.


Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have been in a jeep with National springs....wish I had a set. They tell you to weigh the front and rear of the jeep before they build them....that is how they get the height right. Their leaf paks also have almost twice and many leafs as the others...this is what gives them the soft ride without loosing lift.

If I had it to do over, I would have spent the extra bucks and gone with National.

John......southern CA
84CJ7, 3"lift, 32"BFG, 4.10's, ARB Locker, Solid Axle's, Durabak

Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have the Rubicon Express 4" regular lift. I like it, even though it is a bit stiff. the price is right though, as it includes swaybar extensions. Below is the text of two e-mail I have written to people about what I have heard and/or experienced with different Jeep systems. These are only my opinions or experiences though, so take it for what it's worth. I've posted it here before though, so I apologize in advance to those who have already seen it.

The only postscript that I can think of to these e-mails is this: Don't get the RE style Slip Yoke Eliminator. It will leak. I've fixed mine 2 or 3 times, and it has started dripping AGAIN. Oh well. Hope this helps.


The OME is a great lift, but your thoughts on the body lift are correct - you don't really want to go more than 1". I've heard that BDS is a good lift, but have no first hand experience, so I can't say for sure.

I've heard nothing but good things about the RE extreme duty kit. If I were going to do it again, this is what I would do. I have the regular RE 4", and while I do like it, I would have gotten the extreme kit if it was available at the time. RE is a great company to do business with, they have good customer service, and have good prices for very complete kits.

Haven't heard anything about the National, except the the spring rate is somewhere around 100-120 lb/in. That is, I think, less than stock. In other words, it may very well feel like the road is paved with 12 inches of marshmallows. Doesn't sound too appealling to me in a rig that high, although if it's not a daily driver, it would give you great flex on the trail.

ProComp - Very stiff. Don't go with Rough Country or Rancho either. Any of these kits will beat you to death unless you have a lot of heavy equipment.

SOA is a good route, but many people don't realize the trade offs. First, it will end up costing more than a spring lift due to fabrication required, such as moving the steering arm to the top of the knuckles. Second, axle wrap will be a problem, leading to u-joint failure. Third, the springs will wear out if you off-road much (or even if you don't), because they are not meant to go into negative arch as much as they will be forced to. Fourth, handling will be quirky, since the spring rate is low and the center of gravity is so high. However, I stand by my first opinion that it is a good route, but will add the qualification that that's IF you do a lot of hard wheeling. Otherwise, I say go with a spring lift. Not as many headaches. Don't do the springover just for the height. You can get about the same height with a 4" lift, 3/8's inch lift shackle and 1" body lift (go with M.O.R.E.'s kit).

I'll also add that since you're going that high, spring for a Slip yoke eliminator when you install the lift. You'll probably end up with one anyway, since vibration will proabably be a problem - it usually is with 4" lifts on SWB Jeeps.

As long as I'm writing a book here, I'll also add this - whatever you do, don't get it installed at 4Wheel Parts Wholesalers, at least in the SF Bay Area (don't know where you're from). they'll rip you off and do shoddy work. their mechanics, at least here, are not very good. They make all their money whipping out lifts on new Chevys (which, I might add, they can install a lift on in 6-8 hours, even though the manufacturer says 16 - that tells you something.)

Well then, that's probably more than you wanted to know. If you have any other questions, please shoot me an e-mail at [email protected]


In answer to your question about the RE kit, RE used to use springs for their YJ kit from a company called McCoy, who supplies the exact same springs to ProComp, Rough Country, and a few others for their kits. They stopped using these springs about a year ago. I am honestly not sure who makes their springs now, but I have them on my '94 YJ (4 inches), and while they are a little firm, I need them like that because of the type of wheeling I do (dune running, etc.). I can always get more articulation by using folding shackles or something.

The RE Extreme kit, on the other hand, uses a spring from National Spring, the premier spring builder. Their springs are second to none. I have heard nothing but rave reviews about this kit. Although it costs a little more, consider that it also comes with greasable shackes, sway bar disconnects, and these springs, which blow any other 4" lift spring out of the water. RE's kits are remarkably complete. I think it even comes with extended brake lines. I can't find my catalogue, though, so I can't be sure.

Call Rubicon Express about getting the kit without shocks if you don't need them - they will work with you, I guarantee it. It's not some huge company like Superlift or ProComp - the business was actually run out of a guy's garage for a while!

Superlift springs are not bad, although I do have a friend with a GMC on which he has had some pretty bad sagging problems with Softride springs. On the other hand, my brother's Softrides are just fine, but they're only about 8 months old.

SYE conversions - there are two basic styles, basically pick which style you want. From what I hear, they are all made by the same two companies, and both are a quality product. Style one requires that you remove the output shaft from your current T-case and replace it with the new, shorter, one. Style two uses your original output shaft, but you cut it with a circular saw with a metal cutting blade, then drill and tap a hole in the end of the shaft. Both styles then have a flange which slides onto the shaft and bolts down. You end up with the same finished product, it's just that if you do all the work yourself utilizing your shaft, you pay about $250 (from RE, anyway). The kit with the shaft included is about $600, I think. I have the do-it-yourself style, and it has worked fine for me. If you have the tols and knowhow, I would suffest this route. If you don't, get the pre-made one. Just make sure that either way, you use plenty of RTV on the splines to prevent leaks, and use red loctite on the bolt that holds the flange onto the output shaft. I don't think the instructions mention this, but trust me on this one. I ended up under my Jeep in 113 degree heat replacing a stinkin' output shaft seal.

Contagious Off-Road
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