Project Wrangler: Swapping the springs
Last weekend, I manged to complete the suspension overhaul on my Wrangler I started back in August. Ever since I got my Jeep back in March, I’ve had no end of suspension trouble. I’ve had everything from bad shocks to bent steering components.
With the availability of perfectly good take-off parts available on the cheap, I decided that for the price of solving one problem I could probably rebuild the entire suspension.
If you haven’t read my suspension overhaul post, I was able to pick up a set of brand new coil springs off a Rubicon with the max-towing package for less than $50 on Craigslist . Back in August, I replaced the front coils, shocks and most of the stearing compenents over a weekend and afternoon.
Over about four and a half hours last Sunday, I managed to swap in my new rear springs and a set of 3/4-inch polyurethane spacers from Daystar to restore the Jeep’s factory rake.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to swapping out my control arms. I didn’t have enough time to start fiddling with that problem just yet, and I’d like to get the control arms painted (what color? Tan? Blue? Red?) before I go to install them.
Rear coil swap
Swapping out the coil springs on an 07-17 Wrangler is actually a fairly straight forward process.
After chocking the front tires, jacking up the Jeep and setting it safely on jack stands I removed the rear tires and unbolted the shocks, rear track bar and lower-control-arm links.
I also needed to unbolt the brake line bracket and cut a few zip ties to prevent anything from getting damaged.
After that, I slowly lowered the axle to the ground, watching carefully for any stretched vent hoses, ables or brake lines. When I’d dropped the axle as far as it would go I was rewarded with the driver side coil spring poping out and onto the driveway.
Getting everything apart was probably made easier by a set of large metric sockets, a can of Liquid Wrench and a better knowledge of what I was doing.
A little high sprung
Until this point in the process, I hadn’t even looked at what springs came with my Jeep. My rear springs weren’t as soft as my front coils had been. The reality was the new springs were still stiffer, but not by much. For those of you in the know, my old rear coils were 58s and the new ones are 59s.
This meant I wasn’t going to be getting the 1.5-inch boost in the back I’d hoped for. Instead that number was closer to half an inch. I wasn’t as much as I’d hoped for, but it was an improvement.
I’d hadn’t expected this at all. I’d worried the new rear coils would be too tall and give my Jeep a rediculous rake. I would have solved that by installing a set of 3/4-inch spacers under the front coils. It would have meant taking apart the front end again, but It was a simple fix. I hadn’t expected to have the exact opposite problem.
The solution was even easier. I decided to install the rear spacers instead. I had coils out anyway so it was the fastest solution. This would give me the factory rake I wanted, and If in the end It was too much I could install the spacers in the front too.
Rake or Level It
I am not sure whether I prefer the look of the Jeep leveled or raked just yet. Leveled, the Jeep has a better approach angle, but raked the Jeep has an aggressive appearance. The rake also accounts for a modest improvement in fuel economy.
I still have the spacers for the front so I could always raise the front end another 3/4 of an inch. There would still be a slight rake, but it would be a lot closer to level than before.
What do you think? Should I leave the rake or should I level it again?