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Thread: Ground clearance

  1. #1
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    Apr 2011
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    Default Ground clearance

    I know that this is probably better posted on an automotive forum, but I do not belong to one – so here goes.

    My daughter will be getting her permit in February and has decided that she wants my truck (not going to happen), so I have started paying a bit more attention to the vehicles on the road lately.

    Traditionally, ground clearance was always measured from the bottom of the differential because it was always the lowest point on the vehicle, other than where the rubber meets the road. Well, I have noticed that most of the newer vehicles, including the 4x4’s that are supposed to go “off road” (think Jeep Wrangler), have started mounting the rear shocks way down by the rear tire. In some cases it looks like it is substantially lower than the differential is (yes, I am thinking about you again, Jeep).

    Well, in my mind, this is doing nothing but lowering your ground clearance, in fact my nephew said that he has a friend in southern California that had to drive home with a broken mount and no shock absorber on that corner because his tire slipped off the edge of a rock and his jeep came down on the mount.

    I am sure that they must have a reason for changing the design and location of the rear lower shock mounts because it seems like they are all doing it now. I just do not know what that reason is. I have noticed that it is not being done on the “heavy duty” trucks F250 and up and 2500’s and up. If it is a matter of the ride and handling on the road, I can understand that, but then why do it on a vehicle that is supposed to be designed for off road?

    Are there any automotive engineers here that might know why the manufacturers are starting to do this?

  2. #2
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    Default

    Newer Jeeps are designed for offroad? News to me.

  3. #3
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    ^^^^Lol^^^^

    Yeah the new Jeeps are more fancy Urban Mall Crawlers if you ask me! Lol
    "The First Gay President", L'dMAO!! "Peace can ONLY be achieved through SUPERIOR FIREPOWER, STOMPING LIBS and CARPETBOMBING"!!

  4. #4
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    Not an engineer. But my bet is the different mount geometry gives a smoother ride. Newer vehicles aren't designed for off road use, even if they are 4x4.
    Greater love hath no man than this, That a man lay down his life for a friend.
    John 15:13

  5. #5
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    Default

    If its not a rubicon, youll have a lot of improving to do.

  6. #6
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    Default

    I I am not an engineer either, but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn last night. The lower the shock mount the more suspension travel you can have which can give you good on road and off road manners. But, with the lower shock mount manufacturers are cutting off their nose because it does diminish true off road capability. As already said though, VERY few people with 4 wheel drive will ever use it, especially any hardcore off reading. So, on road ride quality takes precedence over anything else.

    I suspect the longer shock also gives better leverage thus making it possible to use a less stiff shock and still be able to dampen the oscillations, which in turn helps the new Jeeps to ride more like cars, and not how Jeeps are supposed to ride.



    When it comes to true ground clearance and a good ride, I have seriously been looking at Subaru. With a combination of a small lift and taller tires you can have a vehicle that has a smooth ride and yet has 12” of true ground clearance. That is very attractive to me.
    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 91CavGT View Post
    When it comes to true ground clearance and a good ride, I have seriously been looking at Subaru. With a combination of a small lift and taller tires you can have a vehicle that has a smooth ride and yet has 12” of true ground clearance. That is very attractive to me.
    I have thought about the Subaru. They have a great reputation for reliability and being able to go where others can not. My other option is an older Cherokee, maybe mid to late 80's.

    Fortunately, I have a year to look and think about it before my daughter actually needs something.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TAC00 View Post
    I have thought about the Subaru. They have a great reputation for reliability and being able to go where others can not. My other option is an older Cherokee, maybe mid to late 80's.

    Fortunately, I have a year to look and think about it before my daughter actually needs something.

    It is good that you have time, because the more you research, the more you will find out about the good models and the bad ones, the good years and the bad ones. I was/am looking at possibly getting the same vehicles that you are looking at so I have done a lot of research. But all of that info would be better for a different thread.
    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

  9. #9
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    Do some research on Subie engines before you commit. They have some specific recurring problems on some models.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fatty View Post
    If its not a rubicon, youll have a lot of improving to do.
    On a modern one? Especially the 4 doors have bad electrical problems, axle/amount issues, fuel pump and trans failures as well as water leaks and other major failures.

    I work at a major insurance company and honestly... Best vehicles (truck/sub wise) are Ford trucks, toyota bigger vehicles. Stay away from anything Chevrolet, Nissan, Subaru Mini or German.

    If you need more details let me know.

    P.S. extended/relocated shocks on new vehicles are for several reasons (longer length is about longer travel/better performance at a cost of off road capability (which isn't really a concern for more manufacturers (see 9000 F350s and 5000 car tired SUVs) or trucks like the FJ cruiser where the gas tank hangs lower than the diff housing at times.

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