The suspension on your Jeep is designed to give you a comfortable ride, and with the right modifications, can still offer that same level of comfort while going nearly vertical off-road. If you look under your Jeep, you’ll notice that there are a lot of parts. These suspension parts include springs, shocks, track bars, and stabilizers. Upgrading at least the shocks and the springs can significantly enhance the performance off-road, and still make it a smooth handle when on regular paved roads. Upgrade them all and you are sitting pretty for your next adventure. This upgrade is definitely on the list for low cost mods that you can make to your Jeep, and the beauty of it is that you don’t have to change them all out at once to be able to notice a difference.
Shocks and Your Jeep’s Suspension
As part of your suspension, the shocks
keep your Jeep from bouncing like a yo-yo when it encounters an obstacle. Good shocks reduce the rebound and dampens that energy. Shocks come in a wide range of firmness ratings. Gas filled shocks tend to be stiffer than hydraulic ones. Stiffer shocks in your suspension will allow your Jeep to turn tighter, and you will experience less body roll. Reservoir shocks are the top dogs of the suspension world, as they displace the energy fluidly and with greater motion. They also dissipate heat, which allows for more aggressive off-road driving.
Springs and Suspension
The suspension on an older Wrangler (like a YJ model), will have springs that are called leaf springs. Newer Jeep models have coil springs. Both were designed to do the same basic thing…absorb vertical impact. When the suspension springs
receive an impact, the force is evenly distributed through the coils. This works with your shocks to lessen the amount of energy that is transferred to the Jeep’s body. What is ideal is to partner your shock with a suspension spring with stiffer compression rates than your factory installed springs, but not add too much height in the process. Lower center of gravity is crucial for maintaining stability in off-road situations. There are three basic types of springs you can opt for: linear, progressive, and dual rate. “Dualies” are the newest kids on the block, and they offer two independent rates for each individual spring. They can act soft when they need to, and stiffer when called upon.
Bump Stops for Increased Suspension Performance
Suspension springs can become fully compressed in extreme conditions, and bump stops
can make sure that the springs aren’t compressed to the point of failure. Most Wranglers come with these already installed, but as with most things Jeep, there are upgrades. It is worthwhile to install one as it will ensure over-compression of the spring, and extend the life of your shocks.