Spring Over Axle Conversions
With the off-roading community of adventure-seekers, one of the most frequent points of conversation inevitably seems to be whether or not to pursue a spring-over axle conversion. There are many who will say that is a much cheaper way to increase the lift of your Jeep without putting a premium on price, and that those who overlook this simple method are doing so at their wallet’s peril. But is this true? Let’s take a look at what’s really going on with a spring-over axle conversion, and the pros and cons involved.
Put simply, a spring-over axle conversion is the act of moving your Jeep’s already installed springs and moving them from beneath the axle (spring-under) to rest over the axle (spring-over), effectively giving your rig a minimum 5” of lift while doing almost nothing to the ride quality. Done properly, this is an effective way to increase lift without having to purchase an expensive spring lift kit. “Properly” is the key word and it is where most spring-over conversions go wrong.
In order to get the springs in place, there is some tricky welding that needs to be done to the axle brackets. On top of that, the front and rear caster need to be precisely calculated to ensure that steering problems do not develop. Another problem that can arise from improperly set casters is excessive driveshaft vibration, which can lead to a whole host of problems down the road. Another disadvantage is the dreaded axle wrap that tends to plague spring-over axle conversions, particularly those with higher horsepower and a heavy foot. Allowed to progress without proper countermeasures, axle wrap can cause drivelines to bind and snaps drive shafts, yokes, and pinions.
While still a perfectly viable and time-tested method of lifting your Jeep, once you take into account hiring a professional to weld and mount your springs, install the axle wrap countermeasures, and tweak the setup should issues arise, perhaps spring-over isn’t the cheap lift many in the off-road community have been led to believe.