Getting Started With The Suspension
A cheap purchase price allows us to justify owning just about any Jeep. We ended up buying a truck we really didn't need or want, but we came to find out our '87 J-20 was pretty useful, capable, and fun to drive. However, it rode like a brick. Those with back problems would start to twitch in convulsions just going near the thing, and driving over expansion joints on the freeway meant airtime in the rear. The guy we bought the truck from claimed that putting 500 pounds of gravel in the bed made it ride pretty nice. Needless to say, driving around with a truckload of gravel wasn't an option, and neither was a stainless steel spine implant. We wanted softer suspension, a short lift, and 37-inch tires. We didn't want to turn our 3/4-ton Jeep pickup into a rockcrawler but rather to make it a useful, fun trail/work truck that was far cheaper and cooler than any new pickup currently available. We browsed the Skyjacker catalog and found a full 4-inch lift kit for our J-20 that included four new Softride leaf springs and no lift blocks or rough-riding add-a-leafs. Sold! We slapped together the front suspension and came up with some tips for anyone installing a '74-'91 FSJ lift kit. Keep an eye out for the next issue where we'll finish up the rear suspension, fit the 37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich Krawler tires on Wheel Pros Moto Metal wheels, and tune-in the steering.