" Once you get past the rust, the Wrangler is one of the easiest off-roaders to work on. "

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

Jeep axle side shot springs visible behind bumpstop

Compared to my work on the front end of the Wrangler, the rear coil swap was a lot simpler. Really the biggest challenge was making sure I didn’t break any of the vent tubes, brake lines or ABS sensors.

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

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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

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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?

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3 Comments

  • Wolfgang

    Great post,Tobias. I personally would leave the rake. A car which is slightly higher on the back locks alright but if it is level and you pack the car full with gear and the back goes down a couple of inches it look really odd. I had this problem on my Land Cruiser 100. As soon the LC was packed for holiday it dropped a couple of inches and looked overloaded. On one occasion I was stopped from the border police and they suspected the Car is overloaded and I had to go on to the weight bridge. Luckily I was still within the limits, but very close.
    For the control arm I would leave it black. Any other colour looks just not right, but this is my personal opinion.

    October 22, 2016 - 7:17 am Reply
    • tobiasmann

      I agree with you about load balancing. That was actually the reason I put the spacers in the rear. The Jeep was level before I swapped the rear springs and added the spacers. That was with the soft-top, which weights about 130 pounds less than the hard top.

      With the hard top on and the extra 1.25 inches in the rear the Jeep sits very close to the factory rake. Pretty good considering the 90 pounds sitting on the front end.

      If I time my upgrades right a winch and rear bumper should balance each other out.

      Here in the states we don’t have the same overloading laws unless your rig weighs in excess of 10,000 lbs gross vehicle weight.

      That’s one of the things I don’t like as much about 4-link coil suspensions in the rear. They make for amazing articulation off-road, but most coil springs aren’t progressive so they behave very differently under heavy loads.

      In the future I may move to a 2-inch lift from American Expedition Vehicles, they sell a progressive coil lift with custom bilstein shocks.

      Anyway, as for the control arms you are probably right. I’ll leave the new control arms unpainted.

      Thanks for the feedback. Can’t wait to see what you do with the Land cruiser next.

      October 22, 2016 - 1:40 pm Reply
  • Steve

    I’m a “level it out” kind of guy, but I appreciate a good rake, too.

    So, no need for spring compressors on this particular job?

    October 24, 2016 - 10:47 am Reply

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