Tech information furnished by Rob Blumel
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2002 13:02:44 -0500
From: "Robert Blumel" Robert@alta.org
Subject: [LCML] Tao of the Spring Over - SOA 60/62 series wagon
Robert, et al.
I'll chime in because I just got back from the most boring hearing on
the world and I need something to wake me up.
After 3(4?) years with a SO 60, I have had some time to decide the best
course of action for a building, based on personal experience, mistakes,
and a lot of research, not to mention driving it everyday.
I'll run down the list, hitting the basics as I know them to be. I'll
qualify everything I'm going to say first, by admitting that I am no
expert. My only experience has been on the 40 and 60 we sprung over,
and the 55 (Lance's) we did as well. My continued education comes from
the same place as most of you with the same lift - driving it everyday.
I'll concede to having a better than average knowledge of the lift and
how it works, both good and bad, but I am by no means an expert nor I am
trying to pass myself off as one. I will present the facts and opinions
as I know them to be, take it or leave it. SO, if you take my advice
and the drive off a cliff...wasn't me.
That being said, those of you wanting to perform a spring over axle
lift on your wagon have choices when it comes to the work being done.
Having a professional do it will cost in the neighborhood of $2500+,
depending on components. Do it yourself can cost as little as $500+,
the only limit being your imagination, wallet, and willingness to take
your life in you hands every time you get behind the wheel.
I know that, at one point, Lobsterfab on the east cost and Mudrak one
the west cost were both performing these conversions. I've seen both an
they turned out really nice. Totally pro, very well built, with safety
being the primary concern.
As far as tools go, if you're doing it yourself, at the very least
you'll need a welder (arc/mig), chop saw, cut-off wheel, impact wrench,
torch, a billion cans of PB Blaster, nine thousand jack stands, new u
bolts (and custom spring plates - Mudrak?), a brick of Kodiak, 4 cases
of natural light, and a friend to drink most of the beer and then fall
asleep under the truck after he's put the driveshafts on.
I did mine, without engine work or tires, for right around $368, give
or take $50 for ancillaries. (it was a long time ago) $50 for the
steering arm 9 (locally made), $58 for the bushings, $200 for shocks,
and $60 for the 2 extra brake lines. The perches we made from square
tube (thanks Lance) and everything else is stock. The engine work I did
for right around $800, and the tires and wheels (35x12.5/15's on white
spokes ($35 a piece)) were about $800 as well, mounted and balanced.
All my observations are in relation to my 82 FJ60, as I have no direct
experience with 62's. However, most of the components and application
will be the same. I'll also ask Lance, who had as much to do with the
whole project (and still does) as I do, not to mention many others, to
chime in if I've missed anything.
I'll start with steering, cause it's in the front. :)
Your stock pump and box will work fine, for about 100K, at which point
it will start spewing like a can o' beer. Lack of foresight and not
enough time behind the wheel, I suppose, made Toyota think that it was
a good idea to mount the pump and reservoir together, and therefore
subject to intense vibration from the tractor motor to which it was
rigidly attached. This constant abuse leads to the seal failing between
the reservoir and the pump, and so power steering fluid go everywhere,
drips onto the smog pump (which resides directly under the ps pump on
the 2F) and takes it out, too. The fix is the mini truck power steering
pump. It has a remote reservoir that mounts to the fenderwell wall and
is the same basic unit. Plus it's cheaper. Go to a boneyard for the
pump and reservoir with lines and use the pump for a core on a reman.
The smog pump will need to be gutted of it's vanes and used as the idler
pulley for your water pump.
Tie rods and ends, arms and draglink, not to mention steering geometry
in general, is always an issue, and can be dealt with in one of three
Quick, cheap, and dirty, by bending the draglink and living with brutal
bumpsteer and dangerous TRE angles. NOT RECOMMENDED.
Quick, less cheap but not expensive and cleaner, custom double steering
arm which work well, all but eliminate bumpsteer, and bolt on, but tend
to weaken the knuckle because of stresses and, depending on your setup,
smack themselves into the framerail under full stuff if you don't set
them up right (DOH!).
Better than the first two, quick, not expensive, and cleaner, are the
custom bent arms wherein the stock arms are heated and bent (By a
professional) to the desired location.
Quick, gasping for air expensive, but totally worth in and really the
'Right' way to do it, IMNSHO, are the custom high steer arms from folks
like Mudrak and All-Pro. Totally trick , bolt on, and totally removes
the guesswork, these arms are really the way to go. Throw in some 80
series tie rods and you're golden. Poor, but golden.
I like the stock springs. They're flat, they work, the lift is big
without being too big, and I don't have to worry about the expense of
buying new springs and having them look like my stockers in 2 years.
Plus, they flex like the dickens. Eventually, they will need to be
replaced, but, for the most part, they do exactly as they're expected
and produce a nice ride to boot.
Either way you decide to go spring-wise, go with urethane bushings. Do
remember to grease them well, or they'll squeak like mad. (greasable
center pins are a cheap but effective luxury.) Many people say rubber
flexes better, and tit does, but with a truck this heavy perched up
like that, you need the strength of urethane. Body mounts are usually
rotten, this is my next project, if I can find urethane. Either way,
these need to be replaced at some point.
Adjustable shocks (Rancho RS9000), high end, custom length (Doestch
Tech) or remote reservoir ($$$) are the norm to the neato. I have OME
and I like them so far, but there's always something better. For the
common man with less deep pockets, go for the Ranchos if you truck does
a lot of double duty as wheeler and driver. Lance Williams has/had
these with his SO 55, and the ability to dial in your shocks according
to the terrain is nice. Anyone who saw his pig wheel at GSMTR 2 years
ago knows that. If you're on a budget, the ones with the dial on the
body work fine, just make sure you mount them the right way. For those
of you with an extra $250, the in cab controller is trick and saves you
from dirty knees. It also allows you to change on the fly, helpful when
the terrain shifts suddenly.
The Doestch Tech's are great off road, because they're great at
supporting and controlling lots of weight, but if you're running bias
ply tires (like Swampers) wear a kidney support, or run the tires at
Custom shock towers have been gone over before, they're nice and work
well. I think all pro and Mudrak make them. Maybe LobsterFab, too, But
you'll have to ask Lance directly. Mostly, new lower shock mounts need
to be thought through. I'm still doing some blue skying on that one,
but I think a combination of custom shock hoops and ubolt plates with
the shock mounts in the right place would be a good start. :)
I would say after much experience that sway bars are a must. I have
gone without mine since I built it and the body roll and soft bounce is
noticeable. So much so that I finally broke down and got another sway
bar (thanks Dan Markofsky!). Now all I need to do is get some
adjustable or custom endlinks built (I need these, let me know if anyone
Rear swaybars can be obtained from 62's, and though I'm not sure of
this I think they'll bolt to a 60 frame as well. Anyone know? For some
reason I want to say that post 85 they will. Again, though, adjustable
or custom endlinks will be a necessity.
I would also highly recommend some traction control device (ie,
traction bars) to hold the rear still. My springs don't wrap so much
(due to longer perches) as the rear end likes to hop around. With the
traction bar on it was much better. Whatever you do, spring wrap can
kill the day when he pinion breaks off, so invest. Again, Lobsterfab
does these well.
Let me throw something else into the mix.
There's been some talk lately of moving the rear axle back a bit to
accommodate larger (38") tires and lessen the driveline angle severity.
This seems like a good idea to me. But that's all I know. I would
think that moving the rear back AND the front forward a bit would be a
good idea. both for driveline angle and stability.
Rear disk brakes. Much has been said on this subject, and there are
disagreements. I don't not personally have RDB, but I've spoken with
those who do, and they see to be the way to go. Honestly, either way,
you're going to be stopping a lot of mass, so make sure the system IN
GENERAL is up to par.
The steel braided lines are trick but pricey. Custom hoses the same.
Two rubber hoses in line: not pretty but they're $30 a piece.
The front end will need attention regardless, because the weight of the
motor perched on the springs and big honking meats (just no other way to
do it) will cause a lot more stress than stock. Make sure you replace
bearings, seals, felts, backing plates, blah, blah, blah. Just rebuild
the entire axle with OEM parts before you bolt on a set of Swampers.
Use a torque wrench, get new axle nuts if you need 'em and borrow a big
socket from your friend. A fish scale works great for checking kingpin
bearing preload (right Lance?) :) And don't overlook anything. A
truck this big and heavy needs to have special attention paid to the
steering and braking systems.
Cutting and turning the front end.
Much has been said about this. I'm inclined to think that in general,
it's a good idea. But not completely necessary with the LWB trucks. If
you use a standard (post 85) driveshaft, and notch the crossmember (more
on this later), the angles will be fine for 4 wheeling.
Notching the crossmember.
In order to run the front driveshaft at all, some clearancing of the
trans/t-case crossmember must be done. We used and piece of large (schd.
60) pipe, cut at and angle, and welded in place of the 4" x 4" square we
cut out of the crossmember to allow the front shaft to move freely.
Engine and Driveline.
Motor work. Many will say if the 2F is failing and you're going to
spend money, go with a v8 swap. Granted, there are many different
approaches to motivating your baby. Until my 2F dies, though, I prefer
the simple approach. After death, diesel. :)
Here's how the 2F simplification thing goes:
Strip all the unnecessary crap off your 2F. This includes anything
mandated by the government (henceforth referred to as "the Man.") that
does not contribute to locomotion. I.E, smog equipment, catalytic
converters, you know, all the ancillaries. (Worry about the smog police
later, take another swig, and go back for the bigger hammer. Laugh
haughtily at "The Man.")
If your truck is running well, ignore this fact and send the carb to
Jim Chenoweth. (email@example.com) No matter what, if it doesn't run
better when you get it back from him, it;s your fault for installing it
wrong. Absolutely, the best bang for your buck.
Depending on the miles, $200 for a head job is money well spent and
worth the small sense of security. Have it decked .050, have them
drill, tap, and plug that durn weep hole over #5, and have them use
flush hex plug on the air rail ports. don't waste your time with a 5
angle valve grind, just have them do a 3 angle, and replace those valves
and springs that need replacing. There has been some chatter about
Chevy valves being cut down, but, again, back to simple is better. If
it ain't broke...
Headers are nice, I think. I like the two piece cause I think they
won't warp as much, but I really don't have any proof other than the
fact that mine doesn't leak and it been 3 years. Either way, while the
head is off, make sure the mating surface of your intake and exhaust are
the same, not forgetting the shoulder height. Also, check the inside of
the intake, right under the carb inlet. It's probably cracked.
A suggestion I will make that I myself should have followed is to
replace the gasket and seals where needed on the block. This included
the side cover, front cover, and oil pan. Presumably, you already have
the oil and coolant drained, so now is a good a time as any. An ounce
As far as the rest of the exhaust, well, depending on where you live in
this fine country of ours, the smog gestapos (AKA, "The Man") may
mandate that any exhaust that goes on the car must be catalyst equipped
and in the stock configuration. I like to seek out quaint places like,
"Bobby Joe's, Bait, Tackle, Welding, and Muffler Supply Store" such as
those found in the general vicinity of Fredericksburg and Farmville, VA.
These entrepreneurial types tend to be more, hmmm...how you
say...creative. Cash is a plus in places such as these, and I would
recommend having some sort of liquid encouragement for our new friend,
The auto in the 62 should be fine. By most accounts, it's fairly
strong. Four speed the same. I personally like the Toyota five speed,
but this is more a personal preference thing.
Gears. If you have a 60, get some 4.11's from a 40 and swap the yokes
if they don't match up. It's cheap and easy. (For all those just
joining us, Toyota was terribly inconsistent with the size and bolt
pattern of their driveshaft flanges.) If you have a 62, you already have
4.11's, but for those of you with 60's contemplating coming to the dark
side, he he, this is something you need to know.
This are mostly personal musings from my years driving my own SO 60
daily. I have not performed all of the procedures I recommend, but
after much research I have concluded that, in my OPINION, my suggestions
a good match of frugality, safety, and strength, and so these are my
Questions, comments, hate mail? Direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Just kidding, you can get me at Robert@alta.com