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Old 10-11-2018, 02:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Cj5 suspension?

I'm 18 years old and the proud owner of a 1980 CJ5 that I paid too much money for. I'm in the process of building it and was wondering what the 4x4 veterans think. What is the best suspension set up for a daily driver/trail rig CJ5? I dont want to run tires bigger than 33s so more than 3 inches of lift isnt an option. I would like decent road manners as well
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Old 10-11-2018, 04:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 10-11-2018, 04:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would like to stick to leaf springs because...ya know...I'm just a broke 18 year old
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Old 10-11-2018, 04:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I would like to stick to leaf springs because...ya know...I'm just a broke 18 year old
Ok. Use leaf springs then.
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Old 10-11-2018, 06:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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There are different kinds of leaf springs and shackles
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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There are different kinds of leaf springs and shackles
rubicon express on #1430 front and rear. You’ll have to mod the front hangers, perched and shackles to fit the wider springs. Cut sheet metal until tires fit.

Search “u-bolt” flip why your at it.
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Look there’s a thread right above you that has two good examples of ubolt flip.

https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/jeep...onversion.html
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yj 4" rubicon express leafs and 4 new frame brackets from crown with stagard shackles from re.

Get the hd shackle hangars or beef yours up or youll regret it latter
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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For what it worth, if that CJ is bone stock and still has the original AMC20 rear axle, I'd be replacing that piece of crap with something more reliable before building any sort of suspension on it. I imagine the front is a Dana 30 or 35. Not all that strong for off road, but good enough for lite duty service and 33 inch tires.

Oh... How are your brakes? The entire system? From the master cylinder down. Lines and all. That AMC rear I imagine has drum brakes, which in my opinion suck big time. But you are going to replace them for disc brakes with the Dana 44 swap right?? There is no sense in building a death trap you can't stop. Mildly over sized tires with mildly lifted suspension and garbage brakes from 1979 or whenever.

Good luck with it all. It'll be a fun build and learning curve for ya. There is a shit load of easy free info all over the interwebs for what you want to do..
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Old 10-11-2018, 10:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The model 20 is plenty of axle for a CJ on 33‘s. Do yourself a favor and get one piece shafts. Weld the tubes if you want to be fancy.

RE 4” shackles are all you need. You need the funky ones in the front. I would go with the 2 1/2 inch spring. I would put some weld on the shackle hangers where the metal is rolled around and touches the flat part. It’s not as good as the billet bushing holders but it’s better than stock. And it cost about a nickel in welding wire.
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Old 10-11-2018, 11:04 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Leave it alone and just mend it.

A lift and bigger tires wont improve your offroad prowess.
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Old 10-21-2018, 12:12 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Come on guys.....for an 18 year old, he is being pretty humble.

First....lets touch on tires....what engine and transmission do you have? If it's stock with the AMC 20, then you are going to have gearing issues if you want to run 33's. Assuming you have a stick....try starting off in 2nd gear....that is about what 33" tires will feel like.

Another issue....the CJ5 has a short wheelbase. Great for the trail...but has issues when you start lifting it. it can make for an ugly driveline angle. Any kind of lift and you will want the SYE (look it up). I'm not sure what 3" of lift will do to your angle...but expect vibration without the SYE.

With 3", you will fit 33's ok...but....unless you lay down some good $$ for springs, a budget set is going to ride rough.

As for the AMC-20....it's actually a decent rear end...large ring gear...it's weakness is the tapered shafts and smaller tubes. Solid axles will fix the shaft issue...and unless you are beating the crap out of it, the tubes are strong enough.

To be honest....until you are ready to do it right....I'd scale things back....especially since this is a DD. I would go no more than 31" on the tires. If it rubs a little....'maybe' a 1" body lift. Maybe shop around for someone getting rid of a 2" lift (upgrading).

Anything over 31" tires you are going to need new gears and a whole lot other items.
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Old 10-21-2018, 12:19 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Come on guys.....for an 18 year old, he is being pretty humble.


Another issue....the CJ5 has a short wheelbase. Great for the trail...but has issues when you start lifting it. it can make for an ugly driveline angle. Any kind of lift and you will want the SYE (look it up). I'm not sure what 3" of lift will do to your angle...but expect vibration without the SYE.

With 3", you will fit 33's ok...but....unless you lay down some good $$ for springs, a budget set is going to ride rough.
Huh ????????????? The 1980 CJ5 has a D300 t-case. That t-case doesn't have a slip yoke on it.
Slip yokes started in 1987 with the Wrangler (YJ) and the NP207/NP231 t-case.
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Old 10-21-2018, 02:30 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Huh ????????????? The 1980 CJ5 has a D300 t-case. That t-case doesn't have a slip yoke on it.
Slip yokes started in 1987 with the Wrangler (YJ) and the NP207/NP231 t-case.
Oh shit, you're right. Sorry...was thinking of my XJ.....too long ago.

Ok....make that a CV drive shaft.....that is what I meant. I just remember buying a Tom Woods DS and swapping out the yoke....crap...that was over 20 years ago......but doing the SYE on the Cherokee....oh, that was fun.......
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Old 10-21-2018, 04:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I'm 18 years old and the proud owner of a 1980 CJ5 that I paid too much money for. I'm in the process of building it and was wondering what the 4x4 veterans think. What is the best suspension set up for a daily driver/trail rig CJ5? I dont want to run tires bigger than 33s so more than 3 inches of lift isnt an option. I would like decent road manners as well
Personally, I'd do 2 1/2" springs and do 31" or 32" B.F.G. AT's or MT's.
Change the rear output yoke on the t-case and run a CV joint rear driveshaft. You'll need shims between the springs and spring pad to point the rear diff at the t-case output yoke. Make sure you use steel shims as the aluminum ones WILL crack in short order.
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Old 10-21-2018, 04:46 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Personally, I'd do 2 1/2" springs and do 31" or 32" B.F.G. AT's or MT's.
Change the rear output yoke on the t-case and run a CV joint rear driveshaft. You'll need shims between the springs and spring pad to point the rear diff at the t-case output yoke. Make sure you use steel shims as the aluminum ones WILL crack in short order.
Nothing wrong with that. That’s very close to what a friend of mine’s little brothers first jeep was. He also had lift shackles and ran 33’s but otherwise the same.
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Last edited by Beat95YJ; 10-21-2018 at 04:47 PM.
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Old 11-02-2018, 05:21 PM   #17 (permalink)
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You could think about alot of scenarios for your build.....

learn how to fab stuff yourself, or find friends who have equipment...

steering box brace.

2" lift springs for 33's. same springs and a spring over for 35's.

drive lines might need love with spring over. brake lines.

don't do a body lift. ever.

start looking around for used Scout 2 axles. their dana 44's front and rear.

slightly wider than wide-trac cj7 axles. nice stance. not too wide.

dana 300 teralow kit.

go slow and methodical. little upgrades at a time. unless you do what I did:

think of the entire thing you want to change and end up changing nothing.

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