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Coil Spring Install Jeep TJ Wrangler Rubicon 

Using A Bobcat to lift rear

Installing rear springs

Front ready for springs

Front springs

Rear Progressive springs

Part I
 
  I wanted to change the ride on my ‘ole Jeep, ‘Cowboy’ and knew that it was all in the springs.  I made a point to hook up with Jim at Nth Degree since he is the guru of Jeep suspension and get his take on springs. We had a great discussion on the up’s and down’s of springs and he punctuated our discussion with “just wait, I’ve got some springs being built for Nth I think you will like.”  When he said that, I knew the wait would be worth it.
 
  The springs finally arrived in the mail.  Now the Teraflex 3” springs have served well and provided a decent if not a good ride.  However, I was looking for, tighter, and tauter with the responsiveness’ I was used too in fast cars and even faster women.
 
  I called up my wheeling buddy, Karl [Kiwi] and asked if I could get some shop time? Karl said, “the shop isn’t finished yet, but the driveway is big.”  So after gathering up some Energy Suspension bump stops and rear upper spring pads for the tired ones I was ready to go. Karl has a new state of the art “Bobcat” lift that serves double duty as a front-end loader; everyone should have one of these.
 
Install:
  Spring replace is straightforward: Remove the bottom shock mounts, disconnect the front sway bar, raise your rig and let it droop like a big chest on a small girl.  Unless you using a overhead lift it is easier to remove your tires and wheels as this facilitates getting at things from the side.
 
Install issues:
  Front.  I have high steering on my front axle and some taller bump stops. Since I didn’t want to disconnect my brake lines I had to do a bit of levering for some minor spring compression to get the passenger side spring out.  This was due to the drag link being so high that I could not slide the Nth spring in from the front.  The drivers’ side, not encumbered by the drag link was a slide in, slide out.
 
  Rear. The rear also required that I remove the bottom bump stops in order to remove the springs. It is only one bolt and the space between the springs allows a ratchet wrench in with no problem.
 
Cost:
  New set of springs from Nth Degree will run less than $400. Energy Suspension bump stops and spring pads run less than $30 per axle set.
 
Nth Springs:
  Come in a nice gray powder coat and are offered in a height of 3” lift and two PROGRESSIVE spring rates, depending on your rigs weight.  ‘Ole “Cowboy” got the higher spring rate, which is geared to Jeeps weighing 4500 lbs or more.  [NOTE: this data is no longer applicable as Nth now offers 2 different spring sets, contact Nth for details]
 
Time:
  Karl and I spent about 3 hours on the project, would have been much less had I had a stock steering setup.
 
Level of Difficulty:
  The biggest challenge is getting a lifted rig high enough, safely, to get the axle droop needed.  Removing the wheels is a big help.  Other than that, it is within the ability of anyone with a few hand tools and a flat surface to work on.
 
Initial results:
  Nth Degree did not let the Cowboy or me down. It is a tighter ride with more responsiveness, firmer without being harsh.  Smoothes out very nicely on the highway where 37” Goodyear MTR’s and Walker Evans Beadlock’s spin with a healthy rotating mass that Teraflex spring’s were not up to. When I installed the Tera’s the Jeep weighed less and the tires, wheels were much smaller and lighter.  Most likely due to the Nth Degree, compressing less since they are a higher spring rate and are progressively wound in the rear they handle the Jeeps weight with ease.
 
Recommendation:
  Are they for you?  Depends on what kind of ride your seeking.  I wholly endorse them but first suggest you call up Nth Degree and discuss your Jeep and driving preferences.  If you are looking for a taut, firm ride with exceptional handling characteristics for street and highway and the bump absorption for rock crawling then this is an excellent choice.
 
  Bonus:  The ‘3’ lift springs in fact give you a bit more and I picked up about and inch initially and later it settled in at about ¾ of an inch.
 
Part II
 
Nth Degree Springs Eternal in Moab – Post install test:
 
  In a previous post “Nth Degree Springs Eternal (Install)” dtd 6 September I replaced my offroad springs with the Nth Degree.  On the 11 September I drove to Moab from Scottsdale AZ to meet some wheeling buddies for a week of good wheeling. We spent 5 days in Moab doing Hell’s Revenge to Pritchett Canyon.  At the end of the week, I drove back to Scottsdale.
 
Foreword:
  Albeit I have owned several TJ’s, this is my first Rubicon.  I only drove it for a few days before installingTeraFlex springs and Rancho RS9000X shocks when I bought it in Sept ’02.  I replaced the shocks with RS9000X on a rebuild in May of ’04 but retained the springs with a mileage of approx 35k.  Nth springs were installed with mileage at approx 46k and the existing Rancho shocks were retained.
 
The following is the post install results:
 
•    Highway miles:  984
•    Local miles to date:  Approx 150
•    Trail miles Moab:  Approx 75
 
Trail performance:
  Initially it was good with much creaking and shifting as the springs settled in and found their sweet spot in spring buckets.  As this progressed, quality of ride continued to improve.  By mid-week the springs had settled and I began to make shock adjustments.  The springs are quite sensitive to minor adjustments in shock valve and I ended up with a setting of 3 for the rears and 5 up front for the trails.  Trail ride was the best I have experienced and absorption of trail was superior especially in situations where the impact was much more than expected.
 
Highway performance:
  Initially the ride was taut and albeit sometimes a bit choppy on the highway heading to Moab.  After several stops along the way and some adjustment of my Rancho RS900X shocks I got a good highway ride dialed in.  The return trip was a different yet rewarding story.  On the last day in Pritchett Canyon, I snapped a Currie AntiRoc driver’s side sway bar control arm.  The result was I disconnected the other side and now was driving without an effective sway bar.  Fine for the trail, but how would this affect the 500-mile trip back to Scottsdale.  

  I have driven locally without a sway bar en-route the car wash and I know it is a dodgy ride at best and just plain dangerous on the highway at speed.  The thought was to push the speed until I felt uncomfortable and if need be spend the night making it a two-day trip.  Much to my surprise the highway, handling was very good and by adding several increases in tighter shock valving I was able to drive home at speed safely.  Truly a test of the springs and Rancho RS 9000X shocks and one in which they passed with excellence.
 
City performance:
  With the springs dialed in the city street handling and ride is clearly one of the best I have ever experienced.
 
Summary:
  The Nth Degree springs respond favorably to adjustable shocks, so well in fact that to not install them with the springs only takes away for the potential the springs have to offer.  Overall handling, ride, and absorption of surface imperfections be it highway, a trail or city street is superior and only enhanced by adjustable shocks.  Few springs seem to respond to the tuning offered by adjustable shocks.  It seems the previous springs did not respond as well as springs, shocks, and opposed each other rather than compliment.  In fact that was the reason I replaced my Rancho shocks, thinking it was more of a shock issue rather than springs.
 
Recommendation:
  As often the case, you get what you pay for and with Nth Degree springs, this is in spades.  They are not cheap as compared to other springs, but on a performance-cost ratio, these springs are winners.  Whether you are a serious wheeler or just looking for a better ride for your built Jeep I cannot recommend them enough, with one caveat!  They cry out for adjustable shocks in order to capture the promise of enhanced on and off-road drivability and ride.
 
  Final note:  I am now many moons and a good 25k miles down the road.  I am still pleased and would do it again without hesitation.

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