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.