Jeep CJ owners looking for the latest technological innovation for their rigs now have a new option when it comes to suspensions. After more than two years of R&D, Tomken has introduced its coil conversion kit for the CJ-5, -7, and -8.
We first heard about this new suspension more than a year ago in Moab, Utah, where the folks from Tomken had a prototype on their rig and were running it up and over every obstacle they could find to see just what it could do. Jeff Kaiser, the engineer responsible for designing this system, has a long history of building off-road vehicles of nearly every type, and he told us that what he wanted was a suspension that would articulate well in the rough stuff but still handle well on the road. A pipe dream? It's certainly what every Jeeper aspires to.
Talk to Phil Carnevale, the president of Tomken, and he'll tell you that's exactly what they've achieved. He claims that he can drive his CJ at 80 mph down the road without a single sign of death wobble, then launch himself up the nearest trail and get awesome articulation.
As you might imagine, the amount of bracketry involved in this conversion is considerable. It is essentially a three-link suspension consisting of two lower control arms and an upper A-arm, front and rear. The installation requires mounting trusses on both axles and bolting on a series of brackets on the framerails to accommodate the arms and coils. As of now, the kit is available for stock Model 20/Dana 30 axle setups, as well as for Dana 44s. And with the exception of the trusses for the 44s, no welding is required.
We recently took a trip out to Buena Vista, Colorado, to visit the Tomken facility and watched an '85 CJ-7 undergo the conversion from stock leaf springs to brand-new coils. While the job required some very precise measurements, it was not particularly difficult. The only caveat is that you have to use a 1-inch body lift to create room for the rear truss. This means that, overall, you get around 6 inches of lift. The 35x12.50 Mickey Thompson Baja Claws tucked in perfectly and left plenty of room for axle articulation.
If you own a CJ and are looking for the next step in the evolution of your suspension, follow along and see exactly what Tomken has been up to.
Editor's note: Tomken supplies instructions for performing a rudimentary alignment on your vehicle once the conversion is complete. However, the company recommends taking your rig to a professional shop immediately for a four-wheel alignment.