Birmingham, Alabama to Coppinger Cove, TN (Pic Heavy)

Fouledplugs

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Riding from Birmingham Alabama in a 1994 one ton YJ via the back roads to hit the trails at Coppinger Cove, Tenn to do some wheeling and camping. Hunting for rock gardens was our main goal. All on a whim with my brother.

~300 miles via the back roads, red label 38s, one tons. No interstates on this trip.

94 Jeep Wrangler YJ running factory 4.0, factory AX-15 manual trans, Dana 300 twin sticked, XJ leafs for the rear wheel base stretch, wagoneer leafs for the front wheel base stretch, Dana 60 front, GM 14 bolt rear, 38 inch sticky’s.

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Fouledplugs

Fouledplugs

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The Falken WildPeak M/T stickies really hook up even as worn out as they are :(. This Jeep is really built well, it drives and brakes straight. The custom Alcan spring over springs provide a nice ride and rides better than a factory SUA YJ over bumps with the extended wheelbase and the Rancho shocks.

The factory 4.0 and 5 speed pull the one tons and 38’s great. The Jeep will pull and cruise at 70mph just as easily as my stock YJ and doesn't wonder in the lane.

The Detroit lockers in the Dana 60 and GM 14 bolt work great on the street and the trail. The lockers never left us without confidence to tackle any trail we pointed it at Saturday and Sunday.

We mostly wheeled the trails in front wheel drive via the two speed Dana 300 and it makes it a HELL OF A LOT EASIER to get in and out if tight trails, turns, as well as walking the front end back around if you get sideways on a climb.

While I was out there I immediately thought it would be the ultimate spot for a factory or near factory TJ/LJ to wheel. It’s hours and hours of wheeling and the trail runs mostly parallel to a beautiful stream that’s really blue and clear. There is also a cave you can wheel in that is huge but I have yet to go down that trail. The sheer amount of rock gardens and the quality of them is insane. Best part..hardly any mud, as the bottom is mostly rock as you can see in the photos.

We saw tons of RZR’s and a few Jeeps throughout the trip. As we were leaving some really nice TJ’s were rolling in on one tons and 40s. Small axles just dont cut it down South, Dana 44’s can be found for cheap around here.

I highly suggest camping like we did somewhere along the trail. As we spent all day wheeling and still didnt get near the end of the trails as darkness approached.


Ask me any questions you might have. It honestly is the best trail riding I have seen for a Jeep.
 
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Chris

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How do leafs perform in the rocks compared to coils and links?

Obviously the coils and links are going to have more articulation, but I've never driven anything with leafs all around, so I have nothing to compare it to.

I'm really thinking about picking up a YJ, so I have questions naturally (y)
 
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Fouledplugs

Fouledplugs

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How do leafs perform in the rocks compared to coils and links?

Obviously the coils and links are going to have more articulation, but I've never driven anything with leafs all around, so I have nothing to compare it to.

I'm really thinking about picking up a YJ, so I have questions naturally (y)
Leafs ride a rougher. They are meant to hold their arch especially if arched like a SUA lift spring.

They provide a harsh ride if I am being fully transparent. If you had the choice, stick to TJ’s and LJ’s. The YJ is dead simple though when it comes to building it. You dont have some of the suspension geomtrkes to factor in like anti squat and link separation that you find in the TJ/LJ/JK/JL world.

Having a longer wheelbase and putting a flatter spring over the axle really helps with soaking up the road bumps/events.

Some leaf spring guys will run really high end shocks and even bypasses with leafs to build something that can provide a smoother ride as well as more articulation.
I have yet to ride in something on leafs with very high end shocks. But would love to have that kind of opportunity.

Coming off your last TJ build, you know for a fact that shocks and shock placement can be pivotal in ride quality.
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I will add that once offroad with a big tire(lots of sidewall) and beadlocks, once you air down to under 10psi it rides a lot better.
 
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Chris

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Wow, there's some serious money there in those shocks.

That's part of what appeals to me honestly, the simplicity. You don't have to mess with all the links and the packaging that you do with the TJ and up platform.

Of course I know it's going to ride rougher, there's no way around that (well, maybe a bit, like you said).

I just see nice YJs listed for so cheap, the look has grown on me, and then I think, "Hmmm, what if I bought a nice YJ and threw 10k at it?".

Seems like that would get me a lot further than it would on a TJ. Of course it's obviously not going to ride as good.
 
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Fouledplugs

Fouledplugs

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Wow, there's some serious money there in those shocks.

That's part of what appeals to me honestly, the simplicity. You don't have to mess with all the links and the packaging that you do with the TJ and up platform.

Of course I know it's going to ride rougher, there's no way around that (well, maybe a bit, like you said).

I just see nice YJs listed for so cheap, the look has grown on me, and then I think, "Hmmm, what if I bought a nice YJ and threw 10k at it?".

Seems like that would get me a lot further than it would on a TJ. Of course it's obviously not going to ride as good.
Yea, if you had a 4.0 post 1992 (better fuel injection IIIRC) and dont get stuck with an auto trans, $10k in mods will go pretty far.

For me if I was shopping for another YJ, I would try to get the following:
- 93+
- 4.0 Liter
- Manual Trans
- A/C
- Rust free and repair free frame
- Non Bed lined Interior
- Low Milage (getting harder to find)

However, if those conditions were met, especially the low milage, you're into the “decent,” TJ money territory.
 
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Chris

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Yea, if you had a 4.0 post 1992 (better fuel injection IIIRC) and dont get stuck with an auto trans, $10k in mods will go pretty far.

For me if I was shopping for another YJ, I would try to get the following:
- 93+
- 4.0 Liter
- Manual Trans
- A/C
- Rust free and repair free frame
- Non Bed lined Interior
- Low Milage (getting harder to find)

However, if those conditions were met, especially the low milage, you're into the “decent,” TJ money territory.
Agreed, some of the later model YJs that are really clean are approaching TJ territory, at which point it doesn't make much sense.

I think the number one thing I like on the earlier YJs is the slanted sport bar. Obviously it's not safe for passengers, but I love the look!
 
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Fouledplugs

Fouledplugs

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Agreed, some of the later model YJs that are really clean are approaching TJ territory, at which point it doesn't make much sense.

I think the number one thing I like on the earlier YJs is the slanted sport bar. Obviously it's not safe for passengers, but I love the look!
It definitely checks the old school box.
 
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Walt Jaquith

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How do leafs perform in the rocks compared to coils and links?
The thing about a linked suspension is that there's a lot to it even before you get into the black hole of shock tuning. The generic, bolt on kits you see don't address anti-aquat or roll center. Ignore roll center and you'll get a rig that gets wobbly over 45mph. Ignore anti-squat and the thing won't dig in when you need it to. Seriously, wanna see a grown man on the edge of tears? One-shot an obstacle in a leaf-sprung junkyard monstrosity that denied his $50K buggy. I watched it happen on the Rubicon trail one night. My son was the one driving the leafer. Fun times.
 
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Fouledplugs

Fouledplugs

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The thing about a linked suspension is that there's a lot to it even before you get into the black hole of shock tuning. The generic, bolt on kits you see don't address anti-aquat or roll center. Ignore roll center and you'll get a rig that gets wobbly over 45mph. Ignore anti-squat and the thing won't dig in when you need it to. Seriously, wanna see a grown man on the edge of tears? One-shot an obstacle in a leaf-sprung junkyard monstrosity that denied his $50K buggy. I watched it happen on the Rubicon trail one night. My son was the one driving the leafer. Fun times.
But there is no denying that leafs ride more rough than a link/coil suspension like a TJ.

Yes, there are guys who setup rigs with coils and links who could get everything wrong and it ride like crap too.
 
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Chris

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The thing about a linked suspension is that there's a lot to it even before you get into the black hole of shock tuning. The generic, bolt on kits you see don't address anti-aquat or roll center. Ignore roll center and you'll get a rig that gets wobbly over 45mph. Ignore anti-squat and the thing won't dig in when you need it to. Seriously, wanna see a grown man on the edge of tears? One-shot an obstacle in a leaf-sprung junkyard monstrosity that denied his $50K buggy. I watched it happen on the Rubicon trail one night. My son was the one driving the leafer. Fun times.
Yep, having been heavily involved with TJs for so long, I can attest to this. The bolt-on kits don't solve anything, and if you want a really good performing kit (such as the Savvy mid-arm that I had on my old TJ), it involves lots of cutting and welding.

My last TJ had 45k plus into it just in parts, and a large portion of that was spend on installing the Savvy mid arm (3-link front, 4-link triangulated rear), the outboard shocks, the custom tuned Fox 2.0 shocks, etc.

This time around I keep thinking things might be simpler with a YJ. Yes, it won't ride as good as a coil spring vehicle, however, I'm not buying it as a daily driver, I'm buying it with the intention of it being a weekend cruiser and enjoying trails, nothing more.
 

wooddogg57

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Meridian, ID
Yea, if you had a 4.0 post 1992 (better fuel injection IIIRC) and dont get stuck with an auto trans, $10k in mods will go pretty far.

For me if I was shopping for another YJ, I would try to get the following:
- 93+
- 4.0 Liter
- Manual Trans
- A/C
- Rust free and repair free frame
- Non Bed lined Interior
- Low Milage (getting harder to find)

However, if those conditions were met, especially the low milage, you're into the “decent,” TJ money territory.
Out of curiosity, why not a bed lined interior?