SUSPENSION LIFT WITHOUT AXLE SUCK!
FJ40 TOYOTA LAND CRUISER
FASHION OR FUNCTION?
Are you lifting your 40-Series Land Cruiser for the looks or the functionality?
When it comes to putting a lift kit on an FJ40 Toyota Land Cruiser, we are quite critical about how the lift will effect the axle placement.
Call us FJ fashionista’s if you want, but the two photos above illustrate the visual cues of the right and wrong of wheel spacing on FJ40 Land Cruisers. We are looking at it from a pure functional standpoint! In the above photo-comparison, it’s a dead giveaway that the driveshaft is being compressed when the wheel is too tight to the body.
Over the years, we’ve installed all sorts of FJ40 lift kits and have weeded out the set-up’s that simply did not work for us. We have fine tuned our “perfect combination” and have been running the same setup for years! See our FJ40 “Ultimate” 2.5 Lift Kit.
Yet, every day, we see “new-to-us” 40-Series Land Cruisers owners come into the shop with all the wrong suspension set-up’s. Thus we have to think that most people are simply looking for “the look” while not looking into the technical ramifications of ill-suited suspension modifications.
Take it from us, we are not trying to limit your dreams… We’ve done all the heavily modified rock crawler spec Land Cruisers, thus we’ve explored the outer limits of suspension.
Side Note: Shackle Reversal setups works great for wheeling in the rocks, but not for street. Every rig has it’s own situation and desired use, so talk to us before… BEFORE you spend your money!
The dark blue FJ40 at the top of this post, recently came into the shop and rides like a bucking Bronco! We are the Bronco state, WE LOVE OUR BRONCO’S FOOTBALL TEAM, but our rigs don’t have to ride like a Bronco, nor feel like your getting your kidney’s rushed by Jackson and Miller! We are talking leaf springs, so don’t think your going to get FJ/FZJ80 coil-over ride-comfort! But too, most of these FJ40 rigs come in, way over-sprung! Down in Australia they play rugby! It’s rough and rowdy! They play hard! When they go to the bush, they go big, hard and heavy as in they weight their rigs down with all the camping amenities! How many of you are actually going weekend camping in your FJ40? Does your tent weight 35-pounds? See where we are going with this? But even still…
It’s not just a visual thing…
With the suspension lift on the dark blue FJ40 Land Cruiser you can see how much tighter the “wheel gap” is in comparison to the “red FJ40” on the right. What this “visual cue” means is that the the blue FJ40’s rear axle has technically moved forward due to “those other lift kits.”
The Other Lifts – Side Effects
We service a lot of FJ40’s and while servicing these types of rigs (with the ill-suited lift), we have to take the driveshaft out before putting it up on the rack as the drive shaft gets fully compressed! Sometimes this “compressed driveshaft” is to the point that we have to shorten the shafts to alleviate the pressure on the U-joints and bearings. The shortening of the driveshaft allows for proper movement of the slip-yoke without said pressure and undue stress that will prematurely shorten the life expectancy of critical drivetrain components. Have you priced diff and T-case rebuilds? We do not have these “compressed driveline” issues with our 2.5 Ultimate Lift Kit! Technically we like to add a little more length to the driveline when using our 2.5 Ultimate Lift!
Continuing with the “other lifts,” along with the driveline pinion angles being off, the caster & pinion angles will be out of spec as well. What we get from the customers is, “my steering feels heavy and I was thinking about adding a power steering kit. Can we add that to my rig?” While we can and we do, we like to do it for the right reasons! We will talk more about that later, but the main item is, don’t add power steering to make up for the lack of correct steering geometry.
Yes, you wanted to lift your FJ40 and add larger tires, but did you consider the width & height of those tires and what effects the tire size change will have on your steering “feedback?”
Negative / Positive Caster – Lift Effects Everything!
Do you have what we like to to call the “bad shopping kart” effect or do you have to put your foot on the dash and then pull on the wheel to get your FJ40 to steer around a sharp corner? Negative caster results in lighter and easier steering but reduced stability when driving in a straight line. If your FJ40 has too much negative caster, it will have sloppy or loose-feeling steering wheel (which is lot less common than a hard to turn wheel).
Positive caster makes the rig drive straight. Positive caster increases the amount of steering effort needed make a turn, but adds positive straight line tracking. While positive caster improves high speed stability and makes the steering wheel return to center when you let go… we are talking about FJ40 Toyota Land Cruisers… Not Land Speeders! These are 4X4 rigs that we want to turn and steer through rugged terrain. Yes, we will be driving down the highway to get to the fun stuff, thus we want the best all-around setup!
We want 1 to 2-degrees of positive caster on a 31″ to 35″ tire. (past 35″ we dial in a little more). The FJ40 Land Cruisers comes from the factory with 1-degree of positive caster, a large steering wheel and 28″ tires. Tire size affects the caster setting AND suspension lift affects caster, thus we take all this into consideration when dialing in the suspension. We like to use 31″ tires, but with that, we also like to maintain the large 18″ steering, not because it’s classy and looks the part, but rather the function of the larger steering wheel aids in steering.
Again, everything is a “sliding scale” of gains and compromises. You simply wanted suspension lift to clear the larger tires on your 40-Series Land Cruiser.
RUST IS COOL! Rust is cool when your 40-Series Land Cruiser is mechanically sound and suited for technical pursuits! We love to DRIVE our FJ40 Toyota Land Cruisers, not just look at them parked in the garage like scale trophy models. These are real deal mechanical 4-wheel drive vehicles and are meant to get us out to the last remains of frontier wilderness to reconnect with our original adventure spirit!
See the Red Line 2.5 Ultimate Lift Kit for FJ40 Toyota Land Cruiser – 1963 through 1984
More FJ40 Land Cruiser reading:
The Perfect Wheel / Tire / Suspension Package for your FJ40 / 40-Series Toyota Land Cruiser Build
RED LINE LAND CRUISERS
Phone: (719) 638-2003
Address: 1050 Ford Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80915-2909
– Technically Maintained By Red Line Land Cruisers –