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Old 12-04-2017, 03:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default OME suspension too soft?

My stock Samurai rotted out and I got this grand scheme in my head to strip it down to the frame and build a tube-body truggy. I ended up going sprung under with Trailtough's basic YJ kit on Old Man Emu lift springs. Well, several years, hundreds of labor hours, and thousands of dollars later the project is nearing completion.

Now that I can actually run the rig down the street, the issue that I am having is that there is way too much body roll. Taking a corner into a parking lot at approx 5 mph causes the body to dive way into the turn. If you accelerate hard (for a Samurai) the vehicle goes nose up like a boat. When it is parked you can easily rock it side to side to the point that it feels unstable.

The OME springs are 5 leaf in the front and 4 leaf in the back. The front missing link shackles are bolted up. The shocks are brand new Monroes installed in the factory location. I believe the front are originally designed for a Celica and the rear are for a T-100 (they were what fit with my new articulation measurements). There is no sway bar or steering stabilizer currently installed (I'd have to custom fab something).

My question is, does this set up sound like it should be so tippy? Am I just used to the stock ride and overreacting? I have OME add-a-leafs and front shocks out of a Land Cruiser that I bought for a plow that I plan to add. I could use these to stiffen it up but I'd rather not overcompensate here if there is a more correct solution. However, it is my best guess that the shocks are too soft.

FYI, I opted for strength/safety over weight saving with the tube body but it shouldn't weigh any more than a stock Samurai. Admittedly, the center of gravity has definitely been raised.

If anyone has any experience with the YJ OME's, please let me know. I don't have a ton of experience here and it is difficult when working from the ground up.
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I do believe that's the first time I've ever heard of someone complaining of too soft suspension on a Samurai

A lot of it will come down to personal preference...it's "common knowledge" that you can't run a full coil set up without sway bars on the street, and I ran a Grand Cherokee that way for quite some time. Yeah, it had wicked body roll, and I got used to it. My Scout was set up on 52" front/58" rear leaf springs, and same as you, I could get it rocking pretty easy by hand without the shocks on it.

Going to a stiffer shock will help some, but by the time you get the valving up high enough to control roll, it'll ride like an old buckboard wagon. Contrary to popular belief, the shocks aren't there to support any weight of the vehicle. Their only purpose is to control oscillation of the spring.

A lot of it can also come down to shackle angle. The steeper of an angle you get from from straight up and down, the lower the effective spring rate will be. This is also why shackle lifts tend to give a harsher ride as it straightens the shackle out. Or, as the PO of my Scout found out, go too long on that shackle, and you'll effectively lock out the suspension. Go too far on that shackle angle the other way, and you'll end up with a soft, but flexy, suspension.
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1987 Samurai - SOA, 31s, 2.0L swap, ZOR bumpers/cradle, 6.5 t-case gears - rock crawler
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1959 International B-162 - future heavy hauler
1986 Chevy K5 - 489/4L80E/35s
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Old 12-05-2017, 06:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Haha yeah this is not a thread I expected to have to make.

That's interesting about the shackle angle, I hadn't even considered it.

Thanks for the response btw. It sounds like it probably is then a mix of the springs and shocks being on the softer side and me not being used to how a lifted, flexible rig handles on the road. Unfortunately, the Samurai is going to see way more on-road driving than off and I'm not comfortable with how it handles right now. It would probably be a different story if it wasn't for the fact that the only thing protecting me if I roll over is a tube-body that I built and welded myself (yikes). I think my best course of action is to throw the extra leafs in and report back. It's just hard to imagine, with the Samurai being such a light vehicle, that the jeep springs could be the problem. It is quite top heavy though as you can see in the picture, so that might account for a lot of the problem.

https://imgur.com/gallery/s7JUj
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Old 12-06-2017, 12:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If this is a rig that's going to see significant amounts of pavement time, and you're uncomfortable with the amount of body roll, I'd HIGHLY advise going to an anti-sway bar set up. Yes, I know it's a pain in the butt to deal with going on/off a trail (which is why I ditched both of them on my Grand ), but it's going to result in a MUCH better set up on the pavement than going to a stiffer spring set up that will also negatively affect you on the trail.

Spring rate should be chosen based on the weight of the vehicle that they're supporting, and to a lesser degree, ride height (ride height can be adjusted in other ways as well that will not affect spring rate/ride comfort). Yes, this is largely a trial and error guessing game for the average guy, as most of us don't have a good way of measuring unsprung weight of our rigs.

Also keep in mind that adding leafs will not just stiffen up the suspension, but will also raise your ride height as well as your center of gravity, which can also have negative effects both on and off road. This is also where a lot of the "cheap" lift kits suffer, and get reports of cruddy ride AND cruddy performance off road - the companies just throw in a much stiffer spring which jacks up the height and doesn't allow the suspension to fully cycle off road.

Where as adding an anti-sway bar will do none of the above, will only help to keep body roll in check, and still allow for full suspension movement when disconnected.
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1987 Samurai - SOA, 31s, 2.0L swap, ZOR bumpers/cradle, 6.5 t-case gears - rock crawler
1990 Ford F350 CCLB DRW 4x4 7.3L Banks turbo - tow pig
1959 International B-162 - future heavy hauler
1986 Chevy K5 - 489/4L80E/35s
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Old 12-11-2017, 07:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I ended up throwing the extra leafs in the back so I'm now on 5 leaf-packs all around. I put the beefier shocks in the front as well. The ride height didn't change much at all but it is definitely a much firmer ride. I prefer it over the previous, spongy ride. The body roll is better but still excessive so the next step is to modify the sway bar so it works with the YJ lift but is easily removeable. I think I might have tossed/lost the old sway bar though. Perhaps I can find something in the junkyard close enough to match the Samurai dimensions. Thanks for the help!
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