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k5james

Building a YJ for the dunes

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My Dad has a YJ and wants to build it with an eye towards making it dune as well as trail capable.  It's going to be heading south to get a 6.0 swap soon but I wanted to start planning the suspension.

 He doesn't want to go too high of a lift and doesn't want to go crazy with links/coilovers so the leafs will have to stay.  My first thought was dropping an email to Deaver but I know there are a lot of jeepers here so I thought I'd ask. 

What do you guys recommend? 

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Just responding to the title of your thread, that has to be one of the worst ideas I've heard in 2018 :).   Given all of today's offroad technology, you couldn't pay me to take a leaf sprung rig in the dunes.  I'd personally find another hobby.   

I would recommend buying a SXS that can do both, or buying a rail for the sand and keep the jeep on the trail if he is in love with the idea of a Jeep and won't let it go.  After owning two FJ40 land cruisers built for rock crawling/wheeling, and owning a 2 seat XP1000 and now a 2 seat LS powered rail, I will tell you I have not driven my FJ40's for over 4 years because no matter what I do off-road, the SXS or rail do it FAR better.  Living in AZ, the SXS is a no brainer because you can drive them on public roads.  They will wheel way better than a Jeep in all areas except for steep waterfalls, and will drive circles around the Jeep both on the trail, in rough roads to access the trails, and in the dunes.  I've been to king of the hammers both the last two years with my SXS to spectate, and I would NOT take my cruiser over a SXS out there, unless it was specifically for a slow, drawn out trail ride.  The SXS's are billy goats in the rocks and haul ass through the rough stuff comparatively.

Edited by evantwheeler

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SXS is out of the question as we'll be doing some dune/desert runs into Mexico that have to be driven to. 

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you can drive your UTV into mexico. Friends of mine just did it prior to the baja 1000. 

that said, i can understand the want to be different and NOT get a UTV. Main reason im building my chevy tracker. Plus you dont get any a/c and have belts to worry about.

your main issue will be the available wheel travel on a short spring that YJ's have.  you will most likely have to go a good bit negative on spring arch to get decent wheel travel. not ideal as going negative kills free arch and weakens the spring over time. If deaver will build you a custom pack for all 4 springs, it will be 1000-2k for just springs. then i would get a set of 3 tube bypasses on there to help getting the thing to ride best as possible while still getting a good bump zone. You will want to stay spring under to keep axle wrap under control. going spring over and adding an axle wrap bar becomes a good feat to keep it free enough it doesnt cause the springs to bind through travel. Be sure to weight the thing fully loaded, deaver will need that info on unsprung weight front and rear to get you the best pack under it. just like springs on a coilover, you dont want too much or too little. Shackle length and orientation at ride height is very important as well. then you will need to truss and beef up that front d30 housing and rear to keep form bending on teh first hard hit he takes in a g-out or unexpected hole. 
 

id really look at if you really want to invest into this thing. dont get me wrong, when you get the suspension dialed it will be miles ahead of what it was but in comparison to whats out there, its pretty far behind like evantwheeler states. my tracker will be in th 15-16" of wheel travel range and wont ever be able to be as fast as a rzr in the desert (a properly valved rzr lol) but that not the point. i want it to run table mesa trails, moab, rubicon, and colorado with 0 worry about drive train issues yet still make runs down in baja or az desert for miles at speed through rough stuff and be comfortable. so far, its working out well. rolling the windows up, turing the a/c on, and cranking the stereo is great. Not to mention the fact i daily drive it to work or atleast i did till i started tear down and build up of the front LT kit. 

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If he wants to cruise around and is not worried about fast duning he needs HP which the 6.0 will give him,  A good rear axle minimum Dana44, lockers, a good set of paddles for the back and pick some good lines and he will have fun.

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Yeah it'll be getting a th350 and 8.8 rear with the 6.0.  It a popular combo here. 

 

How do you guys feel about reversing the shackles up front?  Worth it or no? 

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Sell it and buy 2 tatums and a stacker or he will be miserable. Lol but in all seriousness build the running gear as best as your budget will allow. Some deavers and a good set of shocks will get you by. It won’t necessarily be a whoop eater but a it will be a good time. 

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I have had 3 friends build yj’s and they came out great. Two got stretched with coil overs and one stretched on leafs. It wasnt terribly expensive to stretch and put the last one on coilovers. He  mocked up the links and i welded them. Genrite had coil over mount kits. And he picked up a set of 1 to. Axles cheap. That said.....

if you want to stick with leafs, a popular mod is xj rear springs to extend the wheelbase in combination with adjustable shackles. Get ready to cut the tub and relocate the fuel tank though. The 8.8 is gonna be about an inch narrower than the stock d35 so be ready with spacers or offset wheels. 

As far as front shackle relocation thats preference and intent. The current design is to put pressure forward to aid in traction. Reversing it will improve road ride but also increase diving under braking 

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My friend here has built a few Larry Minoresque Jeeps.  That's my next project once my Blazer is done. 

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Why would he not go with an OD trans? 700/200R4,  4L60,..

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He may still but getting the swap done here with the 350 is cheap.   

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49 minutes ago, k5james said:

My friend here has built a few Larry Minoresque Jeeps.  That's my next project once my Blazer is done. 

There was only two Larry M in the group the rest of them were just regular Dune jeeps!! 

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If you can weld, links up front won’t be much different in cost and complexity compared to leaves if you want good travel numbers. 

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Unfortunately I can't weld for shit. 

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start with a tj....

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On ‎11‎/‎30‎/‎2018 at 11:55 AM, ladsm said:

If he wants to cruise around and is not worried about fast duning he needs HP which the 6.0 will give him,  A good rear axle minimum Dana44, lockers, a good set of paddles for the back and pick some good lines and he will have fun.

x2, I have been blasting the dunes on 4 leaf springs for over 30 years!

big v8 power, good springs and shocks, not the greatest ride but still fun.

people forget that after the war the dunes were crawling with flat fenders and cj5s

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