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Unread 10-10-2004, 10:09 PM   #1
Bethlehem
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Backspacing make Jeep less "Tippy"?

Can the right backspacing make my Jeep less "Tippy"? I'm new to Jeeps and I can certainly handle the stock Sahara, but I want to lift it soon and I'm wondering if the right backspacing will help with this "tippy" feeling. Once it's lifted I fear it will be worse.

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Unread 10-10-2004, 10:14 PM   #2
Jerry Bransford
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Less backspacing on the wheel will cause it to protrude out of the wheelwell further and thus give the Jeep a wider stance. You think it feels tippy? Remember, news organizations and Consumer Reports love to scare people about Jeeps and SUVs because it sells magazines and brings advertising $$$... but Jeeps are not really "tippy" if you don't build them incorrectly or if you don't try to drive one like a Porche or Corvette and take corners at 80 mph.
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Unread 10-10-2004, 10:35 PM   #3
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maybe but not by much. wide tires aired down will help as well as the sway bar being disconnected, as this allows the body to stay level even when the axles are not. also your jeep will lean so, so, much more than you think before anything drastic happens.
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Unread 10-10-2004, 10:39 PM   #4
Jerry Bransford
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FlexyTJ, disco'd antiswaybars actually allow your Jeep to tip over even more when offroad in offcamber situations. So much so that if it's on the edge, a disco'd TJ can flop sooner than one that is still connected. This is one benefit that Currie talks about when mentioning benefits of staying connected over Jeeps with disco'd antiswaybars.
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Unread 10-10-2004, 10:50 PM   #5
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Jerry, I appriciate the input...

It seems as if my jeep would tolrate less sidehill connected as it is forcing the tires to stay "relatively" level to the terrain, and also forces the body to roll with the axle movement. (I have felt this first hand)

Disco'd the axle and body are free to move independently of one another since the sway isnt forcing the body to lean. what am I missing here? It seems my Jeep is much less tippy discod....
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Unread 10-10-2004, 10:56 PM   #6
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The antiswaybar links can pull the body over a bit more at first but then it reaches the limiting factor of the link itself... the antiswaybar link serves to keep the body from tipping over even more since the body is supported by the fixed length link, not by the oingy-boingy springs that provide very little control over the body/tub. The more offcamber the situation is, the more the antiswaybar links serve to keep the body more under control.
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Unread 10-10-2004, 11:03 PM   #7
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thanks Jerry. I've been contemplating going to the Currie or Teraflex "antirock" type system as of recently. The Jeep preforms great disco'd but am starting to think it is one of those "cheap perf" enhancements and in fact there is a better way. How difficult is it to change leverage settings on the anti-rock?
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Unread 10-10-2004, 11:07 PM   #8
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Jerry speaks truth. There is one obstacle near my house that is very off-camber. I've run it connected and disconnected. The pucker factor is greater when disco'd. The greater body roll can be seen by looking at the gouges in my flares. I was leaning much harder aginst the boulder than when connected.

That said, the greater articulation can help in some circumstances. Currie's solution is kinda the best of both worlds. It lets the axle move much more freely, but still maintains some control over body roll. It's amongst my list of mods to do.
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Unread 10-10-2004, 11:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlexyTJ
thanks Jerry. I've been contemplating going to the Currie or Teraflex "antirock" type system as of recently. The Jeep preforms great disco'd but am starting to think it is one of those "cheap perf" enhancements and in fact there is a better way. How difficult is it to change leverage settings on the anti-rock?
The Tera is nothing but a fancy disconnect system, it only serves to provide a quick way to disconnect the front anti-swaybar by turning one knob. Once disconnected, it does nothing extra that any other far less expensive disco system doesn't do.

Currie's works great offroad. It takes 5 minutes to change the stiffness/leverage settings, just unbolt, move the link to the next hole, and bolt it back again.
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Unread 10-10-2004, 11:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Less backspacing on the wheel will cause it to protrude out of the wheelwell further and thus give the Jeep a wider stance. You think it feels tippy?
I'm a very "green" off-roader, but I am a professional driver and I spend 10 hours a day in a box truck. I hate the way Jeeps and vans etc. get the reputation for being dangerous and I never believed for a minute that accidents are anyone's fault except the driver's.

I'm glad to get some input from the top dog's around here. That said, I think the stock Sahara feels a little "tippy". Of course it's fine for the road, but I'm a "green" off-roader and it really does feel too tippy for me to be pulling some newbie stunt on the trails. I have no off-roading friends or outside influence besides this forum, so what you guys tell me is scripture.

As a newbie with no experience, I'm a little afraid of the "tippy" feeling for off-road use. I don't know anything about disconnecting sway bars etc. I was just hoping that I could help the "tippy" feeling with a wise backspacing decision.

So feel free to comfort me about the "tippyness", but please advise on a logical backspacing choice. I will be buying wheels soon for highway and milder off-road use. I like the look of the tires protruding about two inches from the stock flares, and I was hoping that would aid my confidence.

Thanks for your help guys.
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Unread 10-10-2004, 11:42 PM   #11
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the 2" mark will depend on your tire/wheel combo. Though ive never measured id have to say mine is pretty close to 2.5" out the fenders on 15x8's with 4.5" backspacing. stock is around 3.5 I believe. I would think you would have to shoot at least for 4.5" backspace to achieve this, especially if you are running a smaller width than 12.50. hopefully someone else will chime in and confirm.
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Unread 10-11-2004, 01:28 AM   #12
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Those Currie Anti-rock offroad sway bars are great. I've been running one on my rig for a couple months now and I love it. I can report they definitely help with off-camber stability and general vehicle control offroad. Everything is much more balanced on the trails and it feels like the TJ just melts over the terrain. If you want to read more about it, click here for the Currie Anti-rock review and install write-up.

If you are still "green" with the TJ's when it comes to offroading take it easy. They are a lot more stable than I originally thought, both on-road and off. That being said there are limits in both situations.

Widening the stance of the Tj by adding good quality wheel spacers or aftermarket wheels with less backspacing and wider tires will make it more stable. Basically, doing this broadens the stance of the Jeep and "lowers" the center of gravity relative to the height. I would really recommend this for lifted Jeeps. When I installed the RE 2" BB, I also installed a set of Spidertrax wheel spacers and wider tires. Between the wider tires and the spacers I broadened my stance by 4 1/2". You may not "feel" the difference (in terms of a less tippy feeling) but it's there.

The other thing to help with stability is to keep your swaybars connected. The swaybar connects the left and right sides of the suspension to resist body roll. Think of it as a sort-of lateral tortion rod or lateral spring. When the Jeep leans to one side the swaybar loads up and pushes back resisting that lean. This is a good thing on side slopes where the TJ wants to lean down hill. Too much leaning and the Jeep would just flop over. It's also good in the corners where the Jeep wants to lean outwards.

Now, off-road this has the effect of limiting wheel travel if you are running your stock swaybar. One thing people do is install a set of quick disconnects to detatch the swaybar links to gain wheel travel. This helps with traction by keeping the tires on the ground but it actually makes the Tj more tippy because it de-couples the left and right side of the suspension. You no longer have any thing to resist body roll.

There is a happy middle ground and that is to install an off-road swaybar. Currently, Currie is the only company which makes one and it's called the Anti-rock. See the link above for an in-depth review. Think of it as a softer swaybar. It has 5 different settings so you can set the stiffness to what you want and it's as easy as using a wrench on two bolts to re-set the stiffness. The Anti-rock provides a lot of suspension travel yet it still has all the same properies and benefits of a swaybar. It will lean more in corners on the road (compared to having the stock swaybar connected) but once the Jeep takes a set it's just fine. I don't even notice it anymore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry
disco'd antiswaybars actually allow your Jeep to tip over even more when offroad in offcamber situations. So much so that if it's on the edge, a disco'd TJ can flop sooner than one that is still connected.
Jerry's right. Last weekend I got myself into a VERY precarious position. I'm glad I had the Anti-rock on. If the TJ's weight had shifted a 1/2" more to the left I would have flopped my Jeep onto it's side and then have had it roll completely upside down (yes, it was a really bad situation, I think the back tire was 4-5 ft off the ground). If the Anti-rock hadn't been there to "catch" the TJ and resist the body roll it would definitely have gone over.

Please note, the Teraflex S/T Swaybar System is not an off-road swaybar. As Jerry mentioned above, it's a fancy swaybar disconnect system. When it's engaged it operates as a like-stock swaybar, but when it's disengaged it completely disconnects the swaybar and offers you zero off-road control. The thing is, the Anti-rock and the S/T Swaybar System are about the same price . . . in the $300 range. This may seem high but the Anti-rock is definitely worth it. If anyone is willing to spend $100 on swaybar disconnect links I would very much recommend saving up for the Anti-rock instead.
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Unread 10-11-2004, 06:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlexyTJ
the 2" mark will depend on your tire/wheel combo. Though ive never measured id have to say mine is pretty close to 2.5" out the fenders on 15x8's with 4.5" backspacing. stock is around 3.5 I believe. I would think you would have to shoot at least for 4.5" backspace to achieve this, especially if you are running a smaller width than 12.50. hopefully someone else will chime in and confirm.
Other way around Flexy. The smaller the backspacing is means the wheel/tire will protrude out of the flare more. Stock is somewhere around 5. The smaller you go from that the farther out you go.

Hope this makes it easier to understand...

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Unread 10-11-2004, 08:45 AM   #14
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yep your right, it was a late night last night one too many little purple pills...no seriously, just had shoulder surgery

now that I think about it I thought I remeber someone saying 5-5.5" is the measurement on the stockers...

Edit: Also, Im running 4" of backspace, just went and checked... not the 4.5" I mentioned earlier. Just goes to show sometimes its beneficial to re-vist some of the more basic concepts every now and then. Sorry for the confusion
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Last edited by FlexyTJ; 10-11-2004 at 08:59 AM..
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