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60-Series SOA - comments

Tech information furnished by Rob Blumel



Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2002 13:02:44 -0500
From: "Robert Blumel" Robert@alta.org
To: landcruisers@tlca.org
Subject: [LCML] Tao of the Spring Over - SOA 60/62 series wagon
Reply-To: landcruisers@tlca.org


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. :)

Steering.

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 ways.

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.

Suspension.

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 12psi.

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 sells them).

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.

Brakes.

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. (fj40jim@aol.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 of prevention...

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, as well.

Transmission.

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 intentions.

Questions, comments, hate mail? Direct them to eatme@aol.com

Just kidding, you can get me at Robert@alta.com

Rob Blumel
82 FJ60


Posted February 28, 2002




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