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Shock Absorber Recomendations

Discussion in 'Early CJ5 and CJ6 Tech' started by Old Colonel, May 26, 2020.

  1. May 26, 2020
    Old Colonel

    Old Colonel New Member

    TOPEKA, Ks
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    Apr 25, 2020
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    Looking for recommendations on shocks?

    Also how do I judge leaf spring replacement?

    How do I figure out what leaf springs I have now, if they are lift springs etc?

    The more spring and shock threads I read the more confused I get.

    Drove my new to 57 CJ5 to the vin inspection station today for its first long test drive during which I determined even on paved roads it beat the daylights out of me.

    it will be a street Jeep with only very occasional farm road use. It does not have a lift. The current front springs are old 7 leaf and sit slightly arched, the rear are 9 leaf and sit flat with an empty Jeep, the front shocks are ancient, the rear look old they might be OMIX.

    it currently has 31x10.5 tires.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
  2. May 26, 2020
    rejeep

    rejeep Well-Known Member 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Rochester, NY
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    If it felt like an old lumbar wagon you’re doing it right..

    you’re driving an old CJ. Enjoy it for what it is...
     
    Vanguard likes this.
  3. May 27, 2020
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    Well, I don't think the ride is so terrible. You can guess about your spring's condition looking at the distance between the bumper on the frame and the axle.

    These springs can vary a lot in the number of leaves, thickness of the leaves, and load capacity. AFAIK Jeep always offered a standard and "heavy duty" spring option, with different spring designs. The HD option would typically have a higher load rating, more leaves, and a higher arch for more ride height. They also would vary within the "design target" so you could have heavy duty springs that had 10 leaves or 12 leaves (just as an example) within nearly the same year range. Probably changed depending on their supplier at that time.

    These springs wear out. If your '57 has the original springs, it's certain that they are worn out. The rears could also have been replaced, since the typical configuration is more or the same count of leaves in the front, not the reverse.

    If the Jeep is this old and was not owned by an enthusiast (ie not restored or lifted), new springs will be needed.

    When you say they sit flat, do you mean the springs are flat (old, bad, kaput) or that the Jeep sits level? Suggest you post pictures.

    If it were mine, and I just wanted to putt around, I'd get the light duty replacements from Dayton, with 7 leaves front and 5 rear. These rears have a 3/2 configuration, with 3 main leaves and 2 helper leaves. This style of spring was delivered as standard on lots of Jeeps. 1957 JEEP WILLYS 2.2L 134cid L4 Leaf Spring | RockAuto

    For shocks, I would get some OEM replacements. Nothing fancy.

    What kind of tires, how much tire pressure? You can run very low pressure with this light a vehicle, and that will improve the ride a lot.

    The original seats of a '57 are quite spartan too. The later bucket seats (mid '60s introduction?) help a lot with the ride quality. Here, you pretty much have to decide what you want - originality or comfort. If you are interested in upgrading the seats, this has been covered a lot in older threads.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2020
  4. May 28, 2020
    Old Colonel

    Old Colonel New Member

    TOPEKA, Ks
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    The Jeep went through some restoration two owners ago. I suspect he did a lift of sorts, but I cannot judge it as I don’t know enough. I suspect it currently has relatively new rubber bumpers on the frame above the axles, 31x10.5 tires and the shackle on the rear.

    upload_2020-5-28_11-25-10.jpeg

    currently the Top Edge of axle is approximately 2 1/2 inches below the frame in front and approximately 5 inches in the rear. The Jeep sits level approximately 19 inches from the bottom edge body below the driver’s door to the ground

    by the spring is flat, I mean the rear spring has no arch in it at all, it sits flat.

    because of the possible lift I am not sure what shock size it actually needs and the current shocks have nothing printed on them?

    The tires are at 40lbs Pressure, I imagineI need to lower that some, so I will take it out tomorrow at 25PSI

    the seats are newly installed Smittybilt, not the greatest, but they work
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
  5. May 28, 2020
    ITLKSEZ

    ITLKSEZ Volvophilic

    Post Falls, ID
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    I’d get new, lighter duty springs, stock-length shackles, drop the tire pressure to around 18-20 psi, factory replacement shocks, and that will feel like an entirely different rig.
     
    58 willys, Tom_Hartz, ojgrsoi and 3 others like this.
  6. May 28, 2020
    rejeep

    rejeep Well-Known Member 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Rochester, NY
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    there is the problem right there...
     
  7. May 28, 2020
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

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    Yep, those rear shackles have got to go.
     
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  8. May 28, 2020
    Old Colonel

    Old Colonel New Member

    TOPEKA, Ks
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    Will I need to replace the spring as well?

    Will the shorter stock shake lower the Jeep and cause any issues with the tires?

    if it shortens the rear how do I get it level again?
     
  9. May 28, 2020
    ITLKSEZ

    ITLKSEZ Volvophilic

    Post Falls, ID
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    The harsh ride you are experiencing is primarily from the springs, not the shocks. The shocks are there to dampen the “bounce-back” when you hit a bump. Think: deadblow hammer vs. a basketball. You could hit the same pothole at the same speed, but without properly functioning shocks, your tire would bounce like a basketball, where you actually want the deadblow hammer effect to keep your tires in contact with the road.

    New springs will have an arch to them, negating the need for the tall shackles that I presume were added for a cheap lift because the current springs are shot. New springs will also have less friction and a better spring rate giving a smoother ride. If you replace all four corners, the factory ride height should be restored. 31” tires should still fit fine.
     
    fhoehle likes this.
  10. May 28, 2020
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    The original Jeep factory shackles are about 2 3/4" between bolt centers. Those long shackles were put on there because the rear springs are done, finished, scrap metal. Every inch of extra length of the shackles adds 1/2" of ride height.

    This is the kind of arch your springs should have:

    upload_2020-5-28_16-59-39.png

    They will flatten a little with the weight of the Jeep on them, but mostly look the same.

    40 psi is way too high. You should adjust the tire pressure so that the footprint of the tire is even across its width. You can test this by rolling through some water or chalk dust on a smooth surface. What kind of tires are they, bias ply or radial, brand, ply rating?
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
    fhoehle likes this.
  11. May 28, 2020
    Old Colonel

    Old Colonel New Member

    TOPEKA, Ks
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    Tires are BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A KO not sure of ply rating. They do show a 3 Ply sidewall.
     
  12. May 29, 2020
    jeepdaddy2000

    jeepdaddy2000 Member

    Eagle Point oregon
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    Things that regulate "harsh ride"

    Springs. Either too stiff to flex or flat and striking the frame.

    Shocks. Elliptical springs need very little dampening. Frozen shocks speak for themselves. Heavy shocks such as the Rancho RS5000 are simply too stiff and give a terrible ride. Unfortunately, folks feel that a "good stiff" shock is the ticket.

    Spring bushings. Broken/frozen bushings can help transmit road impacts to through the shackle. Frozen bushings will keep the shackle from rotating. Damaged/missing bushings can allow metal to metal contact inside the shackle. Early steel C shackles are harsher than later elastomer models.

    Tire pressure. Running the max pressure stated on the sidewall can lead to a lack of sidewall flex.

    Frame bumpers. Old/broken/missing frame bumpers can alter the way the axle contacts the frame. Old ones can get hard while missing ones can allow the axle to strike the frame directly.

    Recommendations:
    Inspect and replace all bad bushings.
    Lower your tire pressure (if applicable).
    Insure there is sufficient space between the frame and axle (a couple of inches minimum). You may need to re-arch the stock springs, replace the spring packs or go with a small lift. I am partial a 2.5" soft ride lift (which will eliminate those "special" shackles you currently have).
    Insure the frame bumpers are present and functional.
    Inspect your shocks. If too stiff/frozen, replace. I like the softest shock I can get. Usually a car shock such as Red Ryders or the like.
     
  13. May 29, 2020
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    This is a good tire, now called the KO-2 in current offering. I would start with ITLKSEZ's recommendation of 18-20 psi.
     
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  14. May 29, 2020
    Old Colonel

    Old Colonel New Member

    TOPEKA, Ks
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    In looking at who to buy the springs as well as the other hardware is one spring source better than another?
     
  15. May 29, 2020
    58 willys

    58 willys Sponsor

    Millsboro, Delaware
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    Definently no Omix or Crown
     
  16. May 30, 2020
    fhoehle

    fhoehle Sponsor

    Harford Township, PA
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    I would just get a 2 1/2 inch BDS spring. They are a great spring with a great warranty. They ride well after breaking in. Stock shackle height. With all due respect to others opinions, I would not recommend rearching springs, never saw a pack hold up long term. As for shocks, I usually measure my length at rest, then get busy at the auto parts store looking at their master catalogs, where length and specs are listed in the back. A few calls to the mfg, and usually you can round up a part to suit your needs. No to Rancho, I am not sure why they make springs and shocks so stiff. A jeep doesn't have to ride like crap.
     
  17. May 30, 2020
    fhoehle

    fhoehle Sponsor

    Harford Township, PA
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    [QUOTE="jeepdaddy2000, post:
    Inspect your shocks. If too stiff/frozen, replace. I like the softest shock I can get. Usually a car shock such as Red Ryders or the like.[/QUOTE]
    I wholeheartedly agree with the "car" shocks. Red Ryder or some cheapo usually ride nicely.
     
  18. May 30, 2020
    FinoCJ

    FinoCJ 1970 CJ5 Staff Member 2020 Sponsor

    Denver, CO
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    Another recommendation for BDS springs and soft shocks - I run some cheap Gabriel shocks from RA. Using stock length shackles (2.75" eye to eye), the 2.5" BDS kit will provide plenty of clearance for the 31x10.5 tires.
     
  19. May 30, 2020
    Fireball

    Fireball Member 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

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    fhoehle, Old Colonel and ITLKSEZ like this.
  20. May 30, 2020
    Old Colonel

    Old Colonel New Member

    TOPEKA, Ks
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    Which shock absorbers did you use with the soft ride leaf springs?

    MPD

    ps love the look of your jeep
     

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