Springs

Springs

judge

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OK, bought this 1983 CJ 7 a few weeks ago and since then, have "discovered" much about it, for example, it has a 79 engine with a 3 speed tranny. VIN translates to 5 speed with lower gvw rating, but today when checking under it, I noticed that it has a set of springs on it that would make a dump truck proud ---and it feels like it when you ride in it. The rear springs have 10 leaves and the fronts 7 or 8 --can't recall exactly. . So, is this the norm, or??
 
OK, bought this 1983 CJ 7 a few weeks ago and since then, have "discovered" much about it, for example, it has a 79 engine with a 3 speed tranny. VIN translates to 5 speed with lower gvw rating, but today when checking under it, I noticed that it has a set of springs on it that would make a dump truck proud ---and it feels like it when you ride in it. The rear springs have 10 leaves and the fronts 7 or 8 --can't recall exactly. . So, is this the norm, or??

My '80 CJ7 only has five leaves per spring, and IT rides like a dump truck! I am taking out the two bottom short leaves - they are not bound in by the spring clamps - as soon as I can. My ride seems to have been muchly modified for trail wheeling, and has the scars to prove it; rock dents in tank and rear diff, bent and scarred front drive shaft. But the added benefit is a western origin with no body rust. I'll make that trade any time!
 
OK, bought this 1983 CJ 7 a few weeks ago and since then, have "discovered" much about it, for example, it has a 79 engine with a 3 speed tranny. VIN translates to 5 speed with lower gvw rating, but today when checking under it, I noticed that it has a set of springs on it that would make a dump truck proud ---and it feels like it when you ride in it. The rear springs have 10 leaves and the fronts 7 or 8 --can't recall exactly. . So, is this the norm, or??

Sound's like someone may have put the original early 70's stacks under there. They are a little thinner each, and more of them.

How wide are they? (like where they attach to the shackle) This should help as I believe they are wider in your year than the year I am assuming they are possibly from...

Generally, according to my local spring specialty center, it is better to have a bunch of smaller, (thinner) springs in a stack, than a few larger (thicker) spring stacks.

I will try to find you a picture of the stock springs under my Uncles CJ (1972). Sound's a lot like his though.

If you can, snap a pic and post it here to check out too...

DHugg, you may want to be careful removing those "extra springs"... You may ride softer, but you'll be putting more stress individually on the remaining springs, and most likely may end up with a busted main.

If you are going to do this, you might want to look into a military wrap type 2nd "main" spring. It's kinda like a add a leaf, but basically helps to make sure if your main spring does break, it still can be "driven" off the trail "easier"... I realize it may not make sense to add a spring to be able to remove 2, just a suggestion...;)

I'm not 100% on any of the above guys... research some more, and listen to what some others will have to say too, this just my 2c :cool:
 
I just seen you both out "age" me by quite a bit! :D :notworthy:

You both probably have a much better idea whats what than this young whippersnapper (me) :laugh:

I have no direct knowledge of this all myself, except i have sen the larger (count wise) stacks 1st hand on uncles CJ, so assumed may have been that type. And Just spent a hour or so BSing with the local blacksmith spring shop guy here a few weeks back, and regurgitated most of his words, or at least my interpretation of his words. :cool:

:chug:

~ JR
 
The spring width was increased in 76. The older pre-76 cj springs were 1.75 inches wide and would not fit the axle pads or shackles on the 1983. I don't know what the factory spring pack was for 1983. I'm surprised it would be so stiff though. I would expect the opposite. In general, the wider springs should be better riding than the older cj stuff.

Do you have upgraded shocks? I have found that "heavy duty" shocks for a jeep are generally darn stiff. The valving for many of the popular " super duty shocks" is more aligned with a pickup truck, which is much lighter than a jeep. I once sheared a shock mount off the frame of my cj from a heavy duty shock.

It may be worthwhile to pull the shocks loose and jump on the bumper to see what the spring rate feels like. I wouldn't necessarily drive it like this, but it may give you an idea if the stiff rate is mainly from the shock.

If you decide to replace the springs, I think the you'll find that the quality replacements are generally a 5 tapered leaf design with a moderate spring rate to give a good ride and provide suspension movement to keep the tires on the ground. It's not good or comfortable to have set of stiff springs.
 
Thanks everyone for your input. I had a few minutes this afternoon to crawl under the Jeep. Here is what I found: FRONT: 2 in. wide with 5 leaves plus one short straight leaf at the bottom of the stack. REAR: 2 1/2 in. wide with 5 tapered leaves and 3 HD leaves inserted between each of the tapered pairs with one short straight leaf on the bottom of the stack, for a total of 9 leaves plus the short flat one on the bottom. The HD leaves are about 5/16 in. thick and not tapered. Looks to me as if someone inserted the HD leaves, added longer U bolts and called it done. I also checked for lift and there is none --straight line between end of springs touches top of axle. Can't tell much about the shocks except they look to have been on for some time--not leaking, however.
 
It does sound like someone "adjusted" the spring pack for a hillbilly lift kit. Must be a rough ride. Everything is fixable with a few $$. Take Care.
 
Judge
in the long run, springs and shocks are cheap.
and I hate to admit it but they have not made these things in over a generation what has happened in that time by previous owners can at times be called a sin
BEFORE FEAKING OUT AND SPENDING MONEY
what is needed now is a build plan, determine what kind of lift you want in inches and then go buy new springs and shocks. I strongly suggest doing both of those in one swoop as you can ruin a set of shocks quick by having the wrong ones on for the lift.
in our tech article section we have some great reads, I would suggest perusing the area and writing a plan, and sticking to that plan once you pull the trigger for any kind of build.
 
Again, thanks all for the input. I was initially wrong about the front springs --they are stock with 5 leaves--99% certain. As for the rear, those extra 5/16 inch leaves got to go. I am looking for a better ride (OK, I have a Jeep, not a Buick). As for lift, I don't think it has any and I don't want any, although it has 31x 10.5 inch rubber on it now with no problems. It will NOT go off road while I own it, other than a smooth gravel road--maybe. Did off roading ( speed and trials) with Land Rovers (can I say that on here?) in the 1970's when I lived in the UK. It is fun, but can get expensive.
 

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