Stretching YJ Wheelbase via Leaf Spring Swap

By RebelGp


 

Stretching a Jeeps wheelbase has several advantages. The best one is when wheeling due to the fact that it gives you far better approach/departure angles and can make those steep climbs seem effortless. Other advantages are that the superior road mannerisms, and last but least this mod gives you a real reason to do a J-cut on your Jeep : ).

There are several ways to stretch a YJ wheelbase. The most conventional way of doing this without doing a major rehaul on your suspension is getting some offset leaf springs. Offset refers to the center pin location on the spring. There are a few choices for these types of springs in various configurations:

Wagoneer front leaf springs
44” long 2.5” wide
21/23 center pin location
2.5 “ center pin offset

Cherokee XJ/Waggy rear leaf springs
51” long 2.5” wide
23.5/27.5 center pin location
4” center pin offset

Dodge Dakota rear leaf springs
54” long 2.5” wide
22/32 center pin location
10” center pin offset

Ford F-150 rear leaf springs
58” long 2.5” wide
25.5/32.5
7” center pin offset

If you wish to use the stock shackle hangers all around your rig, Wagoneer front leafs are the perfect candidate. In my case I tracked down a decent set from the Waggy where I got my front 44. These leaf springs are only 1 longer than stock and have a 2.5 offset. They are also 44 long (1longer than stock) and are offset 21/23. When being used in a YJ they need to be reversed from the way they are installed in a Wagoneer to get the longer side in. Use only Waggy front springs in front and rear of the YJ. All of your bolts will now be 15mm, (actually a good idea to upgrade anyhow as they are bigger) so youll need to drill out the 4 holes where your shackles front and rear to fit the larger 15mm bolt, which isnt a big deal and will prove to be a lot stronger in the long run


High Steer with reverse Tie-rod
Waggy springs on all 4 corners

This does a few things: First it gets your tie-rod up and way out of the way of rocks and other things encountered on the trail. Secondly, it eliminates the possibility of the drag link hitting the tie-rod. This is a concern when moving an axle forward and using the stock steering set up, especially under hard compression. Another option that I explored was to run a regular forward high steer tie-rod setup and move the steering box 2.5 forward. I have seen this before but I preferred to get my tie-rod out of the way which alleviated the need to move the box at all.

For the Rear I am using a set of rear F-150 leaf springs off of a 96. These springs are about 57 long. They are reversed from the way they are set up in the F-150 to get the short side out. The offset is 25.5/32.5 so overall you can attain about 5 of extra length for the rear. This was the perfect choice for the wheelbase I was looking for. With these springs I scrapped the stock shackle mount location at the back, (in the frame) and built/welded a new shackle mount off the end of my bumper (which is 3x 4x 53). I also ground off the forward shackle hanger and remounted new ones 6 forward on the frame. This installation is a dramatic improvement over the flex attainable with stock springs. The longer the spring the more the wheel is allowed to tuck. The springs also run relatively flat which is a good thing for flex

The Dodge Dakota springs are 54 with a 10 offset center pin. These install similar to the F-150 method with some adjustment to the forward shackle hanger. These are better suited for 38+ tires as your clearance needs to increase the longer you go. I have seen these and they are super flexy as well..

XJ springs are 51 long. Unlike the F-150 install that I did which required me to move the shackle hangers 6 forward, XJs can mount in the factory location. Of course the rear will have to be set up with the same bumper type shackle hanger as described earlier. But the end result is about the same wheelbase you would get with the F-150 with a slightly shorter spring.


 
 

 

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The word jeep is used in reference to offroad vehicles and has no relationship to Dailmer Chrysler.

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The word jeep is used in reference to offroad vehicles and has no relationship to Dailmer Chrysler.

University of Jeep