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Old 09-10-2017, 09:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Leafs vs coils

I'm getting my stuff together to build a modest, budget built rig for mostly snow wheeling. Being a Jeep guy it'll most likely be a yj, or tj, with a slight possibility of a Mitsubishi Jeep. But for now say yj vs tj. I've had 2 tj's in the past and comfortable that I can get what I want from it. The yj is a bit easier to set up, as I have jk axles to swap into either rig. Obviously welding brackets leaf spring is a lot easier And cheaper than a truss for coils and as I'll need help with that part it's coumpouded the costs more.

Now snow performance in my experience mostly comes down to tire, driver, gearing as most important. Other things help and can factor into certain conditions too. My current wj although heavy on small tires in certain conditions really seems to accel even with open diffs often leaving other rigs struggling behind that have bigger tires and lockers and such, even with experienced drivers in them. Now I'm starting to attribute this to my weird "triangulated 3 link" rear suspension. I don't know exactly what to call it as it has an A arm that bolts to center of rear diff and two lower arms. It seems to find traction where there isn't any.

Anyways the main question is do I save some cash and build time up front and do a yj or start with a tj and spend more and take more time. I wheel in the okanagan/Shuswap of British Columbia to give an idea of snow conditions. How much performance does a guy gain or lose between coils and leafs? Also spring under vs over on leafs ?
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Old 09-10-2017, 06:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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tire, weight, weight bias. The only thing that should be below your axle tubes should be snow.

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Old 09-11-2017, 08:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks. Just curious. What is your tire choice, size, weight and weight balance?
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Old 09-11-2017, 06:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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50/50 weight balance. 42 iroks. 5000 lbs, needs to go on a diet
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Old 09-18-2017, 10:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Built right with no brackets or shock mounts to drag and all things being equal one will not go farther than the other.

I prefer the coils because I like to smash in a controlled out-of-control fashion. The coils will ride better and be more fun when you can keep up the speed.
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Old 09-30-2017, 03:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by whiteman View Post
The coils will ride better and be more fun when you can keep up the speed.
Coils will offer a much better ride as Whiteman has stated and are not much different with the overall weight compared to metal leaf springs all things taken into consideration (control arms etc.). Actually the coil spring set-up is probably heavier when you remove the YJ's factory trac-bars/sway-bars and count the TJ's factory trac-bars/sway-bars as they must remain.

Living in the south Okanagan I'm familiar with your snow conditions so on the topic of snow performance I can't stress it enough that vehicle weight should be seriously looked at during any build so as to maintain as light a vehicle as possible.

While my own current Jeep (LJ) is far from where I want regarding modifications (Half-cab hardtop, 35" BFG's/Hutchinson wheels, Detroit/4.10's, 2" Tera-Flex & OME susp./Gen-Right bumper + rear X-member/Warn M8000S winch... =+/-3,700lbs. wheeling ready, but no back seat/seat belts/tailgate or spare tire, but with recovery gear, compressor & tire repair kit/tools...); I'm cautious with any mod.'s so it stops weight gain and preferably reduces the overall vehicle weight.

Items like an alloy hawse fairlead and synthetic rope for the winch are great weight savers and removing all unneeded items like the factory bottle jack/back seat/rear seat belts plus rear seat mounting track, hardtop for no top or soft top (I prefer using a factory hardtop cut to be a half cab with wind jammer as it offers good protection, little to damage on the trail and only weighs -10lbs. including the windjammer) and using aluminium for bumpers, skid plates and rocker guards is just a start at losing some pounds or at the least reducing the increases from needed armour etc.

I have always been interested in trying non-metal leaf springs (fibreglass/carbon-fibre...) for their weight savings and am seriously thinking of replacing my factory rear coil set-up for single leafs of this style. Tera-Flex were offering non-metal leafs awhile back so if they're still available that might be an option.

The factory rear coil spring set-up on TJ/LJ's leaves a lot to be desired as the stability or consistency it offers is lacking IMO. The movement of the rear axle during drifting and severe travel situations allows to much imbalanced movement for me, it just feels to unstable for reliable performance when at the limit driving (likely due to the poor rare axle tracking etc.).
Saying that a long arm set-up should offer greatly improved performance over stock length TJ/LJ control arms (due to less change in axle movement parameters...); so if you go the route of coils I would use JK (length) control arms at the minimum.

Hope this helps a little and good luck with the build.

Another item to mention is that YJ's are a couple hundred pounds lighter then a similar TJ so you will save some overall weight, plus they are more affordable to start with too. Although you lose a little approach angle with a leaf spring set-up versus coils.

I'd look at a spring over set-up with no lift springs as one possibility if I were to build a YJ/suspension from scratch. Then you could run a 38"-42" tire with a lot of body tubbing and keep a relatively low C of G which is nice to have up in the mountains when on those lovely off camber side of the mountain snow drifts we enjoy here in southern BC.

Finally keeping the overall weight under 3,500lbs.-4,000lbs. would mean you wouldn't require a 44"+ tire to perform well in the back country during the winter months (36"-42" would work well).
Discussing wicked snow tires is a whole new thread so that's all I'll say for now.

Cheers D

Last edited by Dialed-In; 09-30-2017 at 03:46 PM.
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