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CJ-3a Minor Build Ideas #774765 12/23/06 12:44 AM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 260
Damon Dimick Offline OP
Hey guys, I used to use this forum a lot, but haven't been on for a couple of years...hope things are going well to those that may recognize me, good to see some familiar faces.

I've had my 1951 Willys CJ-3a for a few years now, and have been collecting parts for an eventual build which will be pretty substantial. Seeing as how I'm getting married soon, and paying off debt, money is incredibly tight. So my new plan is to soak just a little bit of cash into the Jeep now so that I can at least wheel the thing for the next year or two. I like the idea of wheeling an old flatty in pretty mildly modified form by the way. I have a welder, and some minor fab skills/tools.

The previous owner did a nice job of swapping in an Iron Duke 4-banger, T-18 trans, saginaw steering, stock 5.38's, stock axles, 11" drum brake upgrade up front, 12v conversion, 31's, bolt in cage, etc. The good news is that it's reliable, drives well, etc. The bad news is that the aftermarket 1" lift springs are stiff as hell, not sure if just the bushings are completely toast (which they look to be) or if these twenty year old narrow springs just have no flex, period.

I've collected D44's from a 70's Wag, and stock YJ spring packs, which were part of the eventual plan of completely building the axles, soa, hi-steer, yada yada. Still a couple years before I can afford the build up though.

The idea now is to get a 2.5-3" lift, some used 33's, maybe a lock-rite for the rear, a used winch, tie in the cage to the frame, and call it good.

My question for you guys is mainly about suspension options though. I see Black Diamond makes a 3" (who owns Black Diamond now?), Superlift makes a 2.5", and maybe a couple others. Anyone have any experience with the spring rate/softness of either of these? Looking for as soft a flex as possible.

Also, wondering if I should look at using a YJ lift, so that I can ditch the skinny 1 3/4" springs and get some softer 2.5" wide springs? I would like using a longer/wider spring combo and fabbing up some new spring hangers to lengthen the wheelbase a bit. That would necessitate some money going into driveshaft lengthening, but not too big of a deal. This is the route I'm thinking about going to, considering that if I'm going to have to spend $$$ on some new springs, I may as well find some that flex and ride well.

Any thoughts/ideas/suggestions?

51 CJ-3a, 78 Cherokee Chief
From the Off-Road World
Re: CJ-3a Minor Build Ideas [Re: Damon Dimick] #774766 12/23/06 09:48 PM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 7,768
BigJim Offline
Web Wheeler
I don't know! MAybe it is just me...but I'd start with something else. I'm tired of the rain and the mud coming in my ride with me. I'd start with something a bit newer with a hard top and maybe air conditioning as an option.
I'd have a stronger and longer frame too.
Big Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/pfft.gif" alt="" />

professional bovine relocation specialist
Re: CJ-3a Minor Build Ideas [Re: BigJim] #774767 12/25/06 06:52 AM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 41
RichieRich Offline
Getting the Wheeling Fever
Cool another Flattie, I also wheel a 51'. Air cond and wheelin...
anyway, some food for thought.
if money is tight, instead of a lift kit do a Spring over (thats what I have on mine) it will get you some flexing and a whole lot cheaper. on the locker is your rear axel still the original 10 spline?? if so I have my old one that is like new I can make you a deal on. I had a outer bearing spin and woble out the housing, so I used that for my reason to put my 19 spline in. that engine and tranny combo are great, one og the guys I use to wheel with put a Iron Duke in his MB. if the spings are too stif you can take some of the leafs out.

07 Mercedes GL 450
93 Freightliner FL 70 C/C 8.3 cummins, allison auto
96 Toyota T100 4x4 xtra cab v6 5 spd
05 KZ 41kx2 NV Toy Hauler 14'garage 43'of 5r
04 polaris 500 HO 50th year limited
02 polaris 500 HO
51 willys M38
56 Dj
Re: CJ-3a Minor Build Ideas [Re: Damon Dimick] #774768 12/25/06 05:47 PM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 1,056
valleycat Offline
Body Damage is Cool
i think buying a lift kit now and then ripping it out to do spring over in a year or 2 is a waste of money. it seems like you have most of the parts to get away with a fairly affordable buildup right now. especially if you can do the fab work yourself. you can just cross over your drag link instead of doing full hi steer to save a few $$.

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