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Once the shackles and other mounting parts were assembled, we lightly greased the pivot points in the bushings to help ease our installation. With the leaves lifted into place, we hand-tightened the bolts in the shackles to allow for some wiggle room during the installation of the U-bolts and the shocks. The U-bolt mounts were placed on the alignment posts built into the springs which assure the mounting is centered, then the nuts were attached. This required applying some muscle to the axle and use of the jack to compress the springs so they would line up correctly. Once the mounts were attached, we could reinstall the shocks with attention to the placement of the bushings and washers. After those were connected, we tightened all the bolts, using a torque wrench to match the specifications required by the manufacturer. Then it was time to get out the gun and fill the greaseable parts of the suspension which will assure a nice, quiet ride. Then, the front wheels were ready to go back onto the truck. It's not a bad idea to loosen the shackle bolts, then re-torque them to spec once your truck is back on the ground.
Leah and LuLu say it's time to go home.
Being lift kit infants, and stopping to take video and still photos, it was almost dark once we completed the first half of the installation. Fred wouldn't admit that he was sick of us, but unpaid 4WOR intern, Leah Light, told John he looked like Gumby in his jumpsuit, then said we had to, "Get the 'F' out," (I'm still not sure what the "F" stands for). I think she was joking, but we didn't want to risk the wrath of her poodle LuLu.
We arrived on Sunday morning ready to install the rear part of the lift kit. Since the back of the truck houses the parking brake, we had to make sure the FJ would not move while we were working. That involved chocking the front wheels, locking the front hubs, putting the transfer case into low range, and placing the manual transmission into gear. With jack stands in place and ready to be raised, we used the floor jack to get the "arse" end of the Cruiser into the air and snatch the wheels off the truck.
Removing the old suspension was just like the front, but we had to be extra careful because there's no sway bar to keep the axle from taking the express route to China. So, we placed jack stands under the axle tubes, and kept the floor jack under the axle for added security.
To prevent the Cruiser from moving, we chocked the front tires, locked the hubs, engaged t
Jack stands were placed in front of the spring perches.
Additional jack stands were put under the axle tubes, and the jack was used for added secu
The rear shocks were a little harder to reach than the front units, but were pretty easy to remove. The mounting bolts were saved to be used again. The U-bolt nuts were zipped off, and the shock/leaf mounts were put in a safe place. With this done, the rear leaves could be dropped from the truck. That was easy, but removing the rear shackles came to a halt when we realized the exhaust hanger was in the way. Not a big deal, but it's one of those unexpected time burglars. We found the proper long socket ratchet and removed the bolts attached to the frame. To make sure the hardware did not get lost, we screwed the bolts into the other side of the hanger.
Oh shhhhhhhhhhugar puffs ... the exhaust pipe is in the way!
We found the bolts holding it in place, removed them, then stored the bolts on the other s
This gave us enough wiggle room to remove the driver side shackle.
Old vs. new.
Another time bandit robbed us when we realized the new rear leaves weren't identical. One had a code that ended in an "A" and the other was a "B." Not willing to proceed in the wrong direction, we scanned the Internet until we determined with this Old Man Emu kit, the "A" always goes on the driver side for North American, (left-hand drive), Land Cruisers. OK, back to work.
We assembled the rear shackle without the anti-inversion pin since the arch of the new springs would make it impossible for anyone other than The Incredible Hulk to pull the spring eyelet back far enough for mounting. With the bushing pivot points greased, the rear leaves were attached with the army wrap side mounted toward the front of the vehicle.
We decided to install the anti-inversion pin after the springs were hooked to the truck. Y
Attaching the front of the springs was easy. You can see how the extended brake lines allo
A pry bar was used to pull the shackle down so we could install the anti-inversion pin.
You have at least two options for installing the anti-inversion pin after the leaves are attached. We chose to use a pry bar just above the eyelet to push the shackle down to a point where the pin could be inserted. You can also wait until the truck is lowered to the ground, and allow the weight of the vehicle to compress the springs and push the shackle into the right position.
Since we chose the first option, the next step was reinstalling the U-bolts and the plates with the shock mounts (and we kept the stock rubber spacer between them). Once again, we had to fight the axle a bit to get the mounting pin to seat correctly. With this done, we could install the new shocks (large side up, so dirt and water will not become trapped). We added grease and tightened the leaf bolts before throwing the wheels back on and lowering the truck. As stated earlier, it's a good idea to loosen the bolts, and then torque them to manufacturer specifications once the truck's weight is over the suspension.
Even with our constant begging for advice, Fred was able to build custom mud flap mounts f
The bolts were tightened to the manufacturer specs using a torque wrench.
Adding the grease was the last step before the wheels were installed.
Visually, the change in ride height was immediately noticeable. The rear jumped up by about 3 1/2 inches, and the front gained almost an inch. There is now a slight rake to the truck's stance which will be helpful when the FJ-60 is full of gear (and a very large dog). On-road performance is much smoother than before, and more predictable. Plus, the front tires don't rub on the fenders or any of the steering components. Nice!
After a few weeks of daily driving, the springs had broken in and we went to Hungry Valley SRVA (a.k.a. Gorman) to get some off-road observations. Our friend Jon Santana brought along his '88 Range Rover and we traversed the practice area to try the Land Cruiser on various terrains including a rock trail, water pit, dirt trenches, and some high-speed whoops. The Old Man Emu suspension kit made for big improvements in the ride quality and predictability in off-camber maneuvers. Tire rubbing was eliminated except in extreme flex situations, but the truck owner has already ordered slimmer tires that will tuck the tires into the fender wells. He is also considering a front shackle extension to provide more lift over the front tires.
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