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  #1  
Old 03-29-2010, 03:23 PM
iroc86 iroc86 is offline
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How to make an old FSJ ride better?

I have an '89 Grand Wagoneer and I'm a bit disappointed with its ride quality. I've heard that GWs are supposed to ride "like a Cadillac," and I'd like to restore that trait. My suspension is pretty comfortable on flat roads, but hitting even the smallest pothole makes the Jeep feel like it's going to shake apart. Everything in the vehicle vibrates from the impact -- and this is on a rig with only 80,000 original miles.

Last summer I replaced the shocks, which seemed to help a bit. I'm considering replacing all of the rubber bushings (body mounts, leaf springs, track bar, etc.), but would old rubber bushings cause the jarring sensation I'm experiencing?

I've also thought about replacing the springs. Can old springs get stiff? The Jeep sags about an inch in the rear, but I'm afraid to install an add-a-leaf kit for fear of making the ride quality even worse.

I'm not expecting miracles from a leaf-sprung vehicle, but there's gotta be something I'm missing. How do your FSJs ride?
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Old 03-29-2010, 03:58 PM
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freeincolorado freeincolorado is offline
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My '89 rides ok, definatly not "like a Cadillac". New bushings might help, maybe try adjustable shocks. I wouldn't use add-a-leafs as those will worsen the ride.
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  #3  
Old 03-29-2010, 04:22 PM
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Grab a set of bilstein 5100 series shocks. rides amazingly well.
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  #4  
Old 03-29-2010, 04:23 PM
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Most of mine ride darn close to cadillacs. I have one that has dealt me fits.

What kind of shocks did you put on last summer?

If I can find them, I run non-gas, old-fashioned oil-only shocks. Not many places keep them anymore though.

Another thought - I had one that would jar you pretty bad on each bump, turns out the shock bolts were loose / egging out the holes in the shock mounts.
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Old 03-29-2010, 04:39 PM
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But they DO ride like Caddies,.... Caddies from the 80's that is.
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  #6  
Old 03-29-2010, 04:45 PM
Joe Guilbeau Joe Guilbeau is offline
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Replace Tie-Rods, motor mounts, body mounts, leaf springs, shocks, tighten steering saginaw, power steering dampner and all bushings in between.

Now replace all tires and get them balanced and shaved while on the vehicle, now it drives like a Cadillac...

Ever drive a 1989 Cadillac?
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Old 03-29-2010, 05:09 PM
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I have driven a '72 Cadillac, and this sir, is no '72 Cadillac.
Body bushings could be a problem. Spring bushings could be a problem. Bushings could be a problem anywhere. Gonna take some homework there.
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Old 03-29-2010, 05:53 PM
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Tire presure can really screw with ride quality.
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  #9  
Old 03-29-2010, 07:06 PM
iroc86 iroc86 is offline
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Wow, thanks for all the ideas!

The new shocks are Monroe Gas-Magnums, which is an OE replacement shock.

rustywagoneers_com, what are the advantages of non-gas shocks? Would that type of shock have come as standard equipment back in 1989?

I looked under the body and the mounts should probably be replaced. I can't seem to find a replacement part, though -- most places only want to sell "high-performance" polyurethane mounts. While those might last forever, they'll probably make the ride even worse. Does anyone know if rubber body mounts are still available?

My parents used to own an '88 DeVille, and that car just floated along. Great ride.
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  #10  
Old 03-29-2010, 07:14 PM
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Non-gas shocks, of the size and type that the truck came with, would be soft.

Ever-so-soft.
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  #11  
Old 03-29-2010, 09:05 PM
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I was thinking about the ride of the various Waggies I have had while I was at the shop.

I don't think 'too-hard' body mount bushings would be much of a problem when discussing bone-jarring bumps. They might transmit more driveline vibration into the truck, but that's about it. Reason I make that argument is my 85 1-ton. It had the body / frame / roll cage all welded together as one solid unit (yes, go ahead and call me a hack if you must). And that was big and squishy and soft on the road.

Also, consider XJ's and Eagles. Unibody. Leaf springs in back.

Shocks. Loose things. I bet more of your jarring ride comes from those than anything related to body mount bushings - with the caveat that the body mounts are all tight.
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Old 03-29-2010, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary's Addiction
But they DO ride like Caddies,.... Caddies from the 80's that is.

Hey, I was going to say that!
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Old 03-29-2010, 09:15 PM
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I don't see any mention yet of the track bar out back and anti-sway bar up front. Checking those for bolt tightness and possibly replacing the bushings where the anti-sway bar meets the frame rails might tighten things up a bit and hopefully dampened some of the vibration.

To clarify, you say everything shakes--what does that mean? Doors, rearview mirror, steering column, radio knobs, what? Seems like you just want it to return to normal driving vibrations as quickly as possible, which would be the stuff listed earlier by Joe Guilbeau and the rest, plus the stuff I just mentioned.

If all else fails, tighten every bolt on the rig you can find, from door hinge bolts to the little screws attaching your grill to the front clip. If you can't tighten it so it remains loose, remove it if you can live without it.
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Old 03-29-2010, 09:30 PM
iroc86 iroc86 is offline
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rustywagoneers_com, that's a good point about unibody vehicles -- there typically aren't any bushings unless it has a removable subframe like a FWD car. I had an XJ a few years back and it absorbed bumps very well.

4x4Dad, I'm noticing most of the vibration throughout the rear of the Jeep... mostly side body panels, the floor, and glass. Probably the best way to explain the sensation is to imagine hitting a series of 2x4s, spaced about 12" apart, at 60 mph -- the bumps are very abrupt and repetitive. I'll add track bar and sway bar bushings to my list, too. Thanks for the suggestion.
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  #15  
Old 03-29-2010, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rustywagoneers_com
Non-gas shocks, of the size and type that the truck came with, would be soft.

Ever-so-soft.

X2 - Gas Shocks make all the bumps hit like stone. Bilstiens are great.
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  #16  
Old 03-29-2010, 10:19 PM
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Bilsteins ROCK... I run them on my F350 and it now rides like a caddy. My Jeeps will get them as needed from here on out.
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  #17  
Old 03-29-2010, 10:19 PM
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It's a leafspring suspension on basically a 1/2 ton truch chasis, it's not going to ride silky smooth like a caddy. The only way to make it ride really smoth would be to ditch the front axle for a coil or torsion bar suspended independant front suspension system and coil rear suspension. But yes your wag saging will make it ride rougher since your putting more on the heavier set of the spring pack, new springs would help.
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:18 PM
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My feeling is that the Wagoneer is basically a truck, so it tends to ride like one, but like everyone here is saying, installing non-gas shocks and fixing the wag sag would be your best bet
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  #19  
Old 03-30-2010, 06:07 AM
iroc86 iroc86 is offline
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Is there a particular model of Bilstein shock to look for, or do they make an OE replacement? j20brett suggested model 5100.
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  #20  
Old 03-30-2010, 08:54 AM
rocklaurence rocklaurence is offline
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IMO, the road impacts are not being absorbed in the suspension. Either the springs are bottomed out and hittting the stops or the shackles are binding. A cheap and Temperary fix would be to add 4" longer shackles to see if it frees up the suspention. If it does, then buy springs/shackles for the correct solution.

Last edited by rocklaurence : 03-30-2010 at 09:04 AM.
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