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Tired suspension diagnosis

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I am new, and this is my first post here. I feel a bit bad asking for some help in my first post, but I assure you, when the time comes and I have spent some more time turning a wrench on my new baby, I will return the favor.

I have an 89 pioneer, 4wd, inline 6, automatic. It has 189000 miles on the odometer. This is my first comanche, something I have been aspiring to have since the days when you could buy one brand new from a dealer.

How do I determine if the suspension is tired and sagging from the last 20 years of it's service? I am considering a mild lift on the rig, maybe just put the rear axle ontop of the leafs and add a couple of blocks/pucks to the coils. If the springs are tired and sagging though, then I want to just replace them with something new.

Thanks for your help...

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Welcome aboard. Here's how to tell how far off you are from new factory height:




Front: Measure from top of axle tube to underside of frame rail, inboard of the coil spring. Do NOT measure from the diff housing or shift motor housing. 2WD models should be 6-3/4" plus or minus 1/2". 4WD models should be 7-3/4" plus or minus 1/2".


Rear: Measure the vertical distance between the top of the axle tube and the underside of the frame rail inboard of the jounce bumper. 2WD models should be 8.2" plus or minus 1/2". 4WD models should be 9.2 inches plus or minus 1/2".



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The rear flip will get you between 5-6 inches of lift. A couple of pucks in the front will not be enough to even you out. Youyll need that much in the front too, and that will entail an adjustable track bar, new springs in front, adjustable control arms or a control arm drop, front end alignment, longer shocks front and rear, longer brake lines at each end, longer rear driveshaft or a different slip yoke.... its a lot more work to get everything right at that height than you may want to do right now. You just need to know all this before you dig into that rear axle. Do your research, ask all the questions of us you want to and we will help you through this!

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Unless you NEED a major lift for running VERY large tires in extreme off-road conditions, I would strongly advise against doing the spring-over conversion in the rear. As noted, that has to generate at least 5 inches of lift, and usually more. Adding that much lift to the front creates all sorts of suspension issues, which translate into mega $$$ and chronic driveability issues on pavement. Considering that you can run 31x10.50 tires with NO lift, a simple 2" budget boost (coil spacers) in the front and a Rancho add-a-leaf in the rear should be all you need to keep you happy while not breaking the bank.

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