Newbie with some suspension questions

kjkotlar

If it ain't broke, take it apart to find out why.
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Hello, I just registered so I'm a newbie on this forum and also somewhat new to the world of off roading with 4 wheels. My wife and I live in southwestern Colorado and I have spent years riding the jeep roads in our area (Silverton, Lake City, Ouray, Telluride) on dirt bikes. My wife was never too excited about motorcycles but always loved the pictures I'd come home with after a ride. We started looking at 4x4's and quickly realized that the Wrangler variants were more expensive than we were willing to go. A friend who had a Liberty suggested I look for one of them and said I would be pleasantly surprised by it's off road capabilities. Last summer (2021) we found an 03 with just under a 100k miles that had been neglected, mostly cosmetically and bought it. After spending three days cleaning it up and changing all fluids and filters it's turned out to be a very fun vehicle for us to get out into the backcountry together. I noticed right from the start that the suspension was quite harsh and made a lot of noise so I'm thinking that new shocks/struts are in order. We don't do anything extreme (rock crawling etc) but have from time to time scraped the frame on some of the local passes (Imogene and Stony in particular) so I'm thinking that a slight lift kit would be a good thing to do at this time also, and this is where I run into a lack of knowledge and understanding. Looking at the various products sold on the web, it seems to me that most of the lift kits employ a spacer that increases the effective length of the coil springs. I'm hoping someone can explain to me just how this all works mechanically, do you need to have a shock/strut that is longer than the stock item to accommodate this additional effective length or is that spacer also the new mount for the shock (which it doesn't appear to be in the pictures)? I've been working on motorcycles and British sports cars for over 50 years now so I'm not bothered by the actual work that would be required but I don't want to jump into an area that is new to me only to realize later that I could have done a more effective job if only I had known more before I started. I would very much appreciate any advice or experience that anyone could offer to help me get started on the right track. I've been thinking a 2 to 3 inch lift is all that I need for the kind of off roading we are interested in and I'm running 245/70 16's for tires. The tires are relatively new and still in good shape so I won't be replacing them for some time yet and I do want to continue to use the vehicle as a daily driver so I don't want to go to extremes with the lift kit. Of course in these challenging economic times I'm hoping to do this within a reasonable budget and I definitely don't need the absolute best off road racing setup for our purposes. Thanks in advance to any words of wisdom you may be able to offer to a new recruit.
 

klc

“It flies like a truck.”
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Welcome to the neighborhood. I lived in and near Durango for twelve years. The best way to go these days is with Old Man Emu springs and shocks, the part numbers are in my sig. Bilstien also makes shocks that fit. I got mine from offroadwarehouse.com.

There are threads here that cover this in pretty good detail. Search for Teraflex to find the phone # and part # for the front bump stops, two hockey pucks on each side in the rear bolted to the spring plate in the back. I just did this in August, and it was the first serious wrenching I’d done in fifteen years. There are pictures in my Member’s Journal.

With this setup, you don’t have to upgrade your control arms right away, again, plenty of posts here on parts you need for that. Deadjeep.com might have some skid plates, justforjeeps.com is another place to look. Also make sure all the recall work has been done.

My suspension was very stiff-legged before I did the work. Now “It’s like Buttah.”
 

kjkotlar

If it ain't broke, take it apart to find out why.
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Thanks guys, I'll do some more research with your suggestions and hopefully find a good solution. I appreciate your comments.
 

sleazy rider

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Good and only suspension solution is the Old Man Emu lift. Plenty of info in the suspension forum on it. Read up on it and these guys are super about answering questions about it.
 

tommudd

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Yes stay away from any type of spacer lift no matter what
Plenty of posts with the OME numbers and shocks fromBilstein
As mentioned teraflex from bumpstops and 2 hockey pucks per side bolted down to lower spring perch in the rear
works great out of the over 70 KJ lifts that were done in my shop 90 percent were that combo
then you can run a 245 75 16 tire with pinch welds pounded over in front

My DD was on 32s with 4.5 inches of lift , 4.10 gears for over 16 years or so sadly can not do that anymore since there arent any lifts like that being produced
But OME etc will ride and handle way better than brand new stock
 
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