1. Registration trouble? Please use the "Contact Us" link at the bottom right corner of the page and your issue will be resolved.
    Dismiss Notice

Ol Grumpy Dilemma - Soa And Yj Conversion Or Just Yj Spring Under?

Discussion in 'Early CJ5 and CJ6 Tech' started by OlGrumpy62Willys, May 29, 2023.

  1. May 29, 2023
    OlGrumpy62Willys

    OlGrumpy62Willys New Member

    Hillsborough,NC
    Joined:
    May 20, 2023
    Messages:
    21
    Hi folks, It is time to get some parts on order! So, we have some issues with Ol Grumpy right now that I think while we are fixing it, we could make it a better trail and street Jeep! We have a Rancho 3-1/2" suspension at present and 33s. Would like to run 35s but realize that is a tall order for this short, old Jeep!

    Problem #1: Ol Grumpy is wild on the street. Yes, this is a '62 Willys CJ5 and not a Vette! I don't expect much from the streetablity here, since I am a road racing veteran, but I do expect some basic semblance of control. When I can get Ol Grumpy straight going down the road, which is a job in itself, turning is hard to stop once it is started. I gotta use all my skills, trust you me! Problem #2 did not make this any better I am sure! Reading up on the alignment threads about the necessary positive camber to get that better.

    Problem #2: I blew up Ol Grumpy's narrow track Dana 44 last time at Uwharrie. Ok, let's upgrade and order a wide track to match the 44 up front. So, long story short, we ordered a JKU 44 all built, and including an OX locker at East Coast Gear Supply. They said it was a bolt in! Then hundreds of dollars were wasted on different mounts to try and get it right. Finally my event at Uwharrie came up and the fancy new rear slipped off on one side. So, whatever we do, that has to work with the suspension and also the custom wide track up front (built by Tri City Gear in the late 80s).

    Problem #3: Ol Grumpy's rear tires got scored up pretty good, especially on the right side (that's where the springs slipped off the new rear). We had trimmed a bit around there, looks like we need to do more of that or lift the Jeep a little more.

    So, we started looking at the RR SOA and YJ conversion combo kit. We don't drive the Jeep much on the street so that is not super important it just needs to be safe there. We do like doing some rocks and Ol Grumpy does most of what the new Jeeps can do. We plan to retire in Durango in the next five or so years so the Jeep will be doing a lot of narrow trails in the San Juans and an occasional trip out to Moab. I worry that doing the RR SOA and YJ conversion kit will make the Jeep too tippy on the trail. We do a fair amount of off camber stuff. There would be some work with the steering, driveshafts and transfer case to adjust to that too.

    An LS1 swap is planned but we wanted to deal with the suspension first. It is an aluminum block and heads so it will weigh a bit less than the 231 Buick V6 we have in there now. I would not want to get 35s until we did the LS1 swap anyway.

    So, my thoughts are: do the RR SOA and YJ conversion kit, or, only do the YJ conversion kit and get the 4-4.5" one so we could get a little more room for 35s to clear, also the JKU 44 lost us a bit of ground clearance.

    Keeping all that in mind, what are you thoughts? I greatly appreciate any input!
     
  2. May 29, 2023
    Sierra Bum

    Sierra Bum Member

    The High Sierra
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2017
    Messages:
    331
    First, welcome to the forum. Lots of classic, experienced four wheelers here.

    Problem #1 is likely caster, not camber. Generally you’ll go for 6 degrees positive caster and 1/8”-5/32” toe-in.

    On the rest of it…. Quite the project. You will get lots of opinions on this.

    For 35’s you’ll want 4-4.5” or so of lift. Personally I’d stay away from the RR kit. It’s marketed as a bolt-on retrofit/conversion deal. It’s clunky, imprecise, poorly executed and a PITA to set up. A properly engineered custom YJ suspension for our Jeeps is not going to be “bolt-on”. And it’s really not hard to strip everything off and start fresh… actually almost easier. And then you’ve got more control over where stuff gets located. I would be looking at prefabbed components from Ruff Stuff, WFO or maybe Moore

    You will likely be doing frame work. Consider extending the front end a few inches and moving the axle forward a little. This will help with handling and clearances for your big tires. Also consider moving the rear axle back a couple inches for the same reason. Is your frame boxed? You’ll probably want to strengthen and reinforce parts of the frame.

    As far as SPOA goes…I’ve done it, and liked it. You’ll definitely want a high steer set up for that.

    But I’d stay SPUA…that’s just me. Find a nice 4-4.5” YJ spring set, reverse the front shackles (sunk into the frame). Do a 1” body lift (will create clearances for drivetrain, steering, exhaust etc). Trim the fenders a little to fit your 35’s. I’m not afraid of a little lift.

    Worth noting, that some guys here run 2.5” YJ springs, SPUA on 35’s or even 37’s. They trim the fenders and keep the center of gravity low. That’s one style.

    The JKU 44, is an odd donor for our old Jeeps. I’m sure it could be made to work. How did it “slip off” the springs? Did the spring perch separate from its weld? Broken U bolt?

    So there’s lots of ways to skin this cat. But I think we’d all like to see a sweet, custom 4 Wheeler that’s keeps the classic CJ appeal.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2023
    vtxtasy, ITLKSEZ and OlGrumpy62Willys like this.
  3. May 30, 2023
    OlGrumpy62Willys

    OlGrumpy62Willys New Member

    Hillsborough,NC
    Joined:
    May 20, 2023
    Messages:
    21
    Thank you for the welcome! I appreciate all the input from the experienced folks here. We have not done anything to the rig besides this new rear end for decades. Sounds like Problem #1 may be solved! Thank you!

    Problem #2 I have to resize some pics for the jku rear issue. If that can be solved without redesign and the handling issue solved through alignment maybe we could do the the LS1 swap at this time and do the major suspension changes over the winter. Our event in Uwharrie is in late September, and I have to plan ahead as my husband's shop (Carolina Auto Masters in Burlington, NC) is always stacked with work doing mods and tuning to GM cars. When the rear end was where it was supposed to be, it worked awesome in Uwharrie with the OX locker. The increased weight back there seemed to be a plus also.

    More from me later! Thanks again and yes we want the classic look with the custom work for sure!



     
  4. May 30, 2023
    Sierra Bum

    Sierra Bum Member

    The High Sierra
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2017
    Messages:
    331
    Sounds like a fun project. I’m sure folks who know more about the LS1 engines will chime in. I know folks seem to love them. I’ve always just run the V6s… such a perfect fit.
     
    OlGrumpy62Willys likes this.
  5. May 30, 2023
    txtoller

    txtoller Member 2024 Sponsor 2023 Sponsor 2022 Sponsor

    Weatherford, TX
    Joined:
    May 28, 2014
    Messages:
    984
    I will comment on the RR set up.....crap, as has been pointed out by other posters. I have it on my CJ6 and just got Ruff Stuff hangers to correct the issues.

    I still have a bit of welding to do, then the fun part, attaching them to the frame and trashing the RR crap.

    [​IMG]
     
    Criss, vtxtasy and OlGrumpy62Willys like this.
  6. May 30, 2023
    OlGrumpy62Willys

    OlGrumpy62Willys New Member

    Hillsborough,NC
    Joined:
    May 20, 2023
    Messages:
    21
    Nice beefy pieces there!
     
  7. May 30, 2023
    OlGrumpy62Willys

    OlGrumpy62Willys New Member

    Hillsborough,NC
    Joined:
    May 20, 2023
    Messages:
    21
    Here are some pics of Ol Grumpy to show you guys what is going on underneath this old timer! You can see the springs are sliding around in the rear, they made the set-up for 2.5" if I recall correctly and these springs are not even 2" wide. Also terrible pinion angle, that will have to be fixed too (another issue, UGH!). You can also see the interference issue with the front driver shock. That seems to not affect the steering but does not seem good to have that continue either if there is a fix.
     

    Attached Files:

    vtxtasy likes this.
  8. May 30, 2023
    vtxtasy

    vtxtasy oldbee 2024 Sponsor 2023 Sponsor

    Tucson, AZ
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Messages:
    1,491
    Wow! The pictures help to make sense of your problems. Your springs are standard 1-3/4" Jeep springs and the rear plates are for 2" to 2-1/2" springs. The u-bolts should be flush with
    the springs. I believe Warrior makes skid type spring plates. The pinion angle is terrible and the pads will need to be cut off and re-welded to achieve the correct driveline angle. I can't
    believe someone would let that out of their shop in that configuration! The front shocks can be changed to a gas shock like a Fox where the body of the shock can be installed on the top.
    This will give you the necessary clearance around the shock in this configuration. I would not be doing much driving with that pinion angle the way it is. Due to the way the rear axle is set up, you would be better off going to YJ springs as noted in the above posts.
    Looks like you have a ConFerr rear gas tank.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2023
  9. May 30, 2023
    scott milliner

    scott milliner Master Fabricator

    Seattle Wa.
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2002
    Messages:
    2,364
    I have the RR 3.5" SUA with their YJ HD Springs. I'm running 33" tires. The springs do settle over time but are really soft.
    [​IMG]
     
    vtxtasy, FinoCJ and OlGrumpy62Willys like this.
  10. May 30, 2023
    OlGrumpy62Willys

    OlGrumpy62Willys New Member

    Hillsborough,NC
    Joined:
    May 20, 2023
    Messages:
    21
    Thank you for your useful input! Yes very disappointed with the rear and the claim it was a bolt in. We gave ECGS all the dimensions they asked for.

    Yes we have the Con-Ferr gas tank and their shackles up front. Also a locking box in the back against the tail gate. Great stuff, so sad they are gone!

     
    vtxtasy likes this.
  11. May 30, 2023
    Buildflycrash

    Buildflycrash More or Less in Line. 2024 Sponsor 2022 Sponsor

    Gulf Breeze FL...
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    Messages:
    3,699
    I want you to do SOA stock YJ springs.

    because that’s what I want to do on my next build!!

    On my first CJ I’m Running the Rocky Road conversion with little trouble. I did have to adjust the mount location for the front shackle mount but the kit was the right thing for me as I was starting out with no fabrication experience.
     
    vtxtasy and OlGrumpy62Willys like this.
  12. May 30, 2023
    FinoCJ

    FinoCJ 1970 CJ5 Staff Member

    Bozeman, MT
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    Messages:
    5,792
    your spring and shackle hanger position seem much better than the RR stuff Kyle and others have fought....
     
    vtxtasy likes this.
  13. May 30, 2023
    Sierra Bum

    Sierra Bum Member

    The High Sierra
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2017
    Messages:
    331
    Interesting how many modern shops don’t know these old Jeeps. Maybe they’ve heard of a CJ5.

    Judging by the pinion angle, it almost looks like the perch welds broke free under stress, and the axle tube rotated.
     
    vtxtasy and OlGrumpy62Willys like this.
  14. May 30, 2023
    OlGrumpy62Willys

    OlGrumpy62Willys New Member

    Hillsborough,NC
    Joined:
    May 20, 2023
    Messages:
    21
    I'm wondering the age of the RR kits used here that folks had so much trouble with.

     
    C-dubb likes this.
  15. May 30, 2023
    txtoller

    txtoller Member 2024 Sponsor 2023 Sponsor 2022 Sponsor

    Weatherford, TX
    Joined:
    May 28, 2014
    Messages:
    984
    I got mine 4 years ago, or maybe a little more.
     
    C-dubb, vtxtasy and OlGrumpy62Willys like this.
  16. May 31, 2023
    OlGrumpy62Willys

    OlGrumpy62Willys New Member

    Hillsborough,NC
    Joined:
    May 20, 2023
    Messages:
    21
    Still considering the options! Would sure love some input from the LS1 swappers too!

     
  17. May 31, 2023
    cayenne

    cayenne Member

    central Texas
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2006
    Messages:
    281
    I installed my RR in 2019.
    My Jeep is heavy @ 3500lbs, and my shackles are just a touch on the good side of straight up and down. I got the “heavy” springs.
    The ride is way smoother than my bds springs though.
     
    vtxtasy and OlGrumpy62Willys like this.
  18. May 31, 2023
    53A1

    53A1 Member

    Kern Co. Ca.
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    Messages:
    452
    Thinking out of the box and assuming you will do some wheeling before retirement...

    Fix a few things on what you have and build up another project as your dream setup? Improvement on the street can be done in short order and should be ok on the trail in the meantime.

    I can't stay off the trail very long so that's what I'd do.
     
  19. May 31, 2023
    OlGrumpy62Willys

    OlGrumpy62Willys New Member

    Hillsborough,NC
    Joined:
    May 20, 2023
    Messages:
    21
    My wheeling will increase during retirement - moving to Durango, I'll be in the San Juans a lot, also Moab since that is not far. My husband has not been on the Rubicon yet too, even thought this Jeep has been on there a lot with my old club, the Rough and Ready Jeep Club. Back then CJs were the most common thing, how times have changed! Right now the Jeep is used 99.9% off road as it is good on the trail and lousy on the street. Really not safe. It is 95% trail Jeep anyway the way we have it set up. Ready to rock n roll on the YJ and SOA if that is really the best way to go, at minimum we'll do the YJ conversion with the 2.5" springs as we really can't run the new rear jku 44 with our 1.75" Rancho springs.

    I'll never sell this Jeep, had it since the 80s. We are the same age too, made in 1962! We'll probably get a more modern Jeep once we move there.

     
    Fireball likes this.
  20. May 31, 2023
    OlGrumpy62Willys

    OlGrumpy62Willys New Member

    Hillsborough,NC
    Joined:
    May 20, 2023
    Messages:
    21
    I have no idea what it weighs, I imagine the built rear jku 44 adds a few pounds, and extra sheet metal was added to the body due to some problem areas and the frame has been somewhat reinforced with some boxing. We wanted it to flex so did not box it all the way. Did you get the "Old Man Emu" springs?
     
New Posts