Jeep Commander Forum banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, so my tires are dry rotting and splitting down the treads so obviously I need to get some tires. I'd like to do other suspension maintenance while I'm at it and possibly get it a couple inches off the ground. So I have a few questions for my situation. She only has 37xxx now and 4k is mine.

So my goal is an expedition type build with offroad capabilities, but no need for crawler business. I will also be carrying a bike (#350) on the back and the usual expedition gear (2nd battery, refrigerator, tent, etc.)

****, where to start,,, well, if staying stock height, what suspension parts are going to need to be replaced on an 12 year old car with little mechanical wear? I can figure that the belts and hose will be suspect, but - shocks, ball joints, bushings, struts, springs? I'm thinking steel parts are ok. It does have the factory hitch so has the hd rear springs (?) and if they are good perhaps we'll leave them.

Also, I'm not afraid to lift a little less than 3", but cant really figure out if there is a difference in ride/handling between spacer lifts and suspension lifts. If I go with a suspension lift then what all is replaced (see above). Upgrading capability would be cool too, but not %100 necessary.

I'm sure this isn't very clear so let me know what info you need for a good answer. Love the group that loves these rigs!

thanks

jm
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
480 Posts
If you're staying stock, you probably don't need to replace any suspension components. Ball joints, struts, and springs all wear due to compression and suspension movement, and with 37k miles they'll still all be perfectly fine. Rubber does degrade over time, though, so you should check all the rubber boots to see if they've cracked or torn. It's not likely that they have, but it is possible. You should also replace all your fluids, if you haven't done that already, as age will cause them to degrade and they're not expensive to replace.

If you just want to eliminate the front rake, you can just level your Jeep. You can do this with a strut plate, like JBA and RRO offer. They're easy to install, and will net you enough lift up front to sit level, instead of with a front rake. You can achieve the same effect by installing Bilstein 5100 struts set to the lowest setting. Simply levelling your Jeep won't require you to replace anything, and won't cause any wear on other components or max out other parts of your suspension.

If you do want to go for a full lift, you have a couple options.

You can go for a spacer lift. The most common is the RC (Rough Country) lift, which I've done a writeup on here. I bought mine under the Crown brand name, but it's the same kit as RC, just marginally cheaper. If you install this lift you'll maintain factory ride characteristics, since you won't be changing out springs. You won't have to disassemble the struts to install the RC kit, since the spacer sits on top. You can also reuse your rear shocks, though the rear shocks will be maxed out so you'll have no droop when off roading. You'll also find very little droop up front with stock UCAs since they'll be pretty much maxed out as well.

Other spacer lift options use poly spacers that fit inside the strut on top of the spring, like Daystar. Once again you'll be reusing the stock springs so ride won't change much. However, to install these kits you will need to disassemble the struts, which requires a spring compressor. These poly spacers also tend to develop a squeak, and may also sag eventually. I'd recommend avoiding them.

Finally, you can go for a proper suspension lift, like OME (Old Man Emu). You can buy springs, or springs and shocks. These will definitely change your ride characteristics, but will also allow you more compression when off roading. You can reuse your old shocks and struts if you don't want to buy the OME versions, but the OME rear shocks are longer and will allow droop when off roading. You'll also need to compress springs to install the front springs, regardless of whether you use OME struts or reuse your stock struts. OME won't supply the top strut mount, clevis, or spring seats with new struts, so you'll need to pull them off your stock struts. Many users, myself included, prefer the OME kit. I personally have the HD springs (with my own shock setup) and find the ride to be much firmer than stock, but I always felt that the stock ride was too floaty. The OME kit is also the best kit for modifying later, since you can stack rear spacers on OME springs, and strut plates on the OME struts or install Bilstein 5100 struts, and get up to 4" of lift, but this will put a huge amount of stress on front end components.

All of these lifts will net you around 2-3" of lift. The OME springs should give you the most lift, but when I installed them on mine, I ended up at the same height as I was at before, with the RC kit, so don't choose one or the other hoping to get more lift.

If you do choose to go for a lift, you won't technically need to replace anything else other than your lift components. This means that if you want to only install new OME springs, you can just swap them out, or if you only want to install the RC spacers, you can do that, without changing anything else. However, there are a few components that you should replace for the best performance and to avoid problems down the line.

As I mentioned before, your stock rear shocks will be maxed out so you'll have no droop, regardless of what lift kit you go for. The OME shocks provide the extra travel for full droop, as do other options like Superlift shocks and Bilstein 5100 shocks. You can also use certain Ford F-150 shocks to get the extra travel, like Monroe Load Levelling shocks, like I've used.

Your UCAs will also be maxed out. They will wear much more quickly with a lift, and may cause you problems down the line. If they fail completely, you can end up with a situation like this. Therefore, if you can afford it, you really should upgrade your UCAs when lifting. JBA and RRO (Rocky Road Outfitters) both make UCAs for lifted Jeeps. I recommend JBA since RRO has been known to have fitment problems, and JBA has a much better ball joint design. However, both options will give you extra droop up front and will allow for much better upper ball joint angles.

You can also go for the Superlift, which will give you around 4" of lift, but maintain all your front angles, so you won't be putting any extra stress on things like the steering rack, CV axles, and control arms. It's more expensive, but saving that extra front end wear may be worth it to you. It includes everything needed to safely lift to that level, including a programmer to adjust for a larger tire. You mentioned wanting to keep your lift under 3", but if you ever plan to go over 4" of lift this will be the only way to do it. Since the Superlift maintains factory front angles, you can stack 2" lifts on top of it to get around 6", or move to things like JBA coilovers to get up to 8" of lift.

There are plenty of us on this forum with experience with most of these lifts, so feel free to ask for more details about any of the options I mentioned. You can also explore the stickies on the subcategories of this forum to find useful information on a variety of different mods available.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,585 Posts
Are you having specific problems? Your suspension components should be in pretty darned good shape @ 37k miles! As stated i would inspect rubber components as those could dry out. Make sure brake lines aren't cracked. If it feels tight and doesn't make noise I wouldn't be too concerned.

Regarding getting your rig expedition ready you will likely want to go with HD springs and shocks to handle the additional weight you plan to run around with, or consider something like an air lift system for the rear: https://www.airliftcompany.com/shop/60811/

https://www.amazon.com/LIFT-60811-1000-Air-Spring/dp/B001OMVCTQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520468761&sr=8-1&keywords=air+lift+60811#customerReviews

Something like that would help you combat squat and ride quality problems introduced by hanging a motorcycle and fridge off the back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
yeah, wow cbw, thanks for taking the time to write all that. Good stuff right there. Lucky, thanks for the input, no probs yet but want to keep it that way. Just wasn't sure if the rubber suspension components would be compromised after sitting for 12 years. I really am just in need of tires but dont wan to do things twice. And since i'll be in there so to speak,,,
I appreciate the info ,,,

jm
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top