2003 LX: SAS...or Sell

saucebox

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No point in spoilers...I didn't sell it. You can come up with some pretty crazy ideas when you've been locked in a home for 16 months (I work remote).

IMG_1674.jpeg


Here's how she sits today. I've got a few things left to do, but it's so very close after two solid months in the garage.

So far, it's running:
The Trail Tailor SAS kit
DeltaVS radius arms for a 3” lift
Dobinsons C97-144VT front springs
Dobinsons MRA front shocks for 4” lift
Ironman front adjustable Panhard bar
Marlin HD Steering arms for the 80 series (the tie rod works, but the relay rod does not—I would not buy these again)
A custom relay rod built from solid aluminum by a local shop called Core 4x4 (outstanding to work with)
Bora spacers to make the 80 axle as wide as the 100

And a PILE of work from a guy named Jerry. If you want to tackle something like this, get a Jerry. He's a Jeep guy, but you'll have to let it slide because you'll need his help.

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saucebox

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I've been running Tough Dog TOC-949s in the rear (2"), so I just added a 30mm spacer to level out the LX. It sits almost completely leveled out now, but I expect it will get closer to the normal amount of rake as the front springs settle.

Both axles were regeared to 4:88, and the front got a Harrop/Eaton (ordered Harrop, received Eaton) elocker. Turns out regearing the Toyota thirds is relatively easy...not sure why I was scared of that for so long.

Doing this in a tiny townhome garage was perhaps not the best idea. I had to remove the ARB front and the swing arms off the rear just to get the garage door closed and still have enough room to scooch around the edges of the car.

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As she sits now I have to put the front wheels at 20psi to fit past the opening.
 
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saucebox

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Older work made her one heavy girl.

The front has the ARB (obviously)with Stedi spots, a Smittybilt 10K winch (since replaced with a Comeup 12K), and dual batteries. The rear has Outback drawers full of tools and spares, the fridge, and a BIOR dual-swingout bumper. Sliders are Metaltech.

To make all that work on IFS, it obviously had the pinch welds pounded flat, SPC uppers, and way way way too much torque on the torsion bars. But these trucks look so great on 35s that I kind of suffered through that for looks.

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On IFS still, and 295/70/R18s. That turned out to be an awful combination of parts, but save a few trail problems, it always got me to where I wanted to go.
 

saucebox

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I've kind of avoided a build thread because...I didn't really build anything. No new ground, ya know? Until last fall, I lived in a downtown apartment with street parking, so "building" was out of the question anyway. Bolt on was hard enough as working outside meant interruptions from our local homeless population every hour or so (taking a break?—better stop everything you're doing, lock everything back up, etc.)

And, as much as it sucks to admit—I'm not much of a "builder" anyway. I seem to devise the hardest possible way to go about solving a problem. "Congressional" often describes my forward progress.

Enter the Trail Tailor kit. It's perfect for somebody like me. A tad bit more expensive than I hoped, but then all the fabrication, the measurements, the trial and error...all of that part of the "building" is already done. I got a box of brackets built to Jason's standards and a pile of pictures and emails to help make sure they get glued on in the correct places.

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saucebox

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Total time getting it all together is somewhere around 2 months, working almost every night after work and all weekend. And that included a marathon weekend of cutting the IFS off.

That's where Jerry came in—it took the two of us 3 full days (and some) of working 12-14hrs/day to get the IFS components cut out.

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Part of the way there
 

saucebox

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An absolute TON of stuff has to come off to give you the working room to install SAS.

IMG_1543.jpeg


Ignore the Jeep 35—we used that for general placement, to get a very general idea of where things should go.
 

saucebox

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SAS has always seemed like a cool thing to do, but I can almost 100% say that I wouldn't have done it if I could have gotten Land Cruiser reliability out of my IFS. I came to LCs from the 60 series (with a 4th gen 4Runner in between them and the 100), and those trucks never needed major work after a trail run.

At least yearly I've been doing one or more ball joints, did 2 steering racks in 3 years, and a whole pile of inner and outer tie rod ends. Towards the end of 2020, I was starting to skip out on wheeling trips because I didn't want to come back to fix things, or have ATRAC lose its damn mind (yet again) on the mountain roads home.

I took it to down through Baja Sur in February this year after having done another ball joint. And came back with loose steering—inners and outers again. And it wasn't hard wheeling per se, mostly stuff like we find here at home.

IMG_1343.jpeg

After giving up on the 295/70s and reverting back to 33s on stock wheels—still, not very durable.

I want to say that maybe I was asking too much from IFS, but...my 4Runner never skipped a beat. I bought that with 174k and sold it at 260k without having fixed a single thing. It just ran. Similar AWD, same V8, same A750. Every trail, every day.

It got to the point where I decided I’d either have to do something drastic, learn to live with it (no), or just list it for sale and buy something on coil springs. I don’t hate IFS, but I run mine hard enough that torsion bars just don't seem to work long term. And that sort of feels like it doesn’t make sense to say, because there are guys here absolutely thrashing their torsion bar 100s and not having the same troubles. The Southern boys on here look like they wheel like they ain't skeered of nuthin', and I wasn't seeing the same problems in their threads.
 

saucebox

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Lol not everybody builds for the Hammers. That's for big boys and girls only, maybe someday I'll be brave.

And frankly I'm too dumb to build to that standard. I'd be out in the garage for a year trying to figure out how much I could get in scrap $ after having ruined an otherwise OK LX.
 
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saucebox

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But...steering has been my nemesis for the whole project. First, with the Marlin HD arm (totally my fault—I completely ignored that the 100 frame is wider than the 80) and finding a place that would make one. (Marlin wouldn't—just told me "we don't do custom" when I called. Weird.)

Core 4x4 sorted me out. They make all sorts of arms for all sorts of Jeeps, but told me to bring it in and they'd look at it. A couple days later they called to let me know they ordered the tooling to make a one-off, and I picked it up a couple of days after that.

But I'm still not totally squared away. I got it aligned by the fellas at State Auto last week and it was looking great. But then I took a super mild forest service trail up the mountain here and it's got a nasty clunk.



It's impacting both the header (Thorley) and the hole in the firewall. I'm a bit stumped on this, so I'm three beers deep and it's full NOFIX for tonight. All I could find earlier was a $1700 intermediate shaft assembly, and three beers isn't enough to think that's the right idea yet.
 

saucebox

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Dedication right there. Hard to see the long term projects like that through. Congrats on reaching the "end". Of course, we now expect more action shots.

Hah. So far all I have is a very tame forest service road. First dirt miles for the SAS with a friend that wanted see how his new FJC held up (he's normally in a really sick 80).

As quick as I can sort out the remaining few issues, the tax will be paid!

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saucebox

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Guess I'll finish out the detail part before hanging it up tonight.

To make an 80 axle work with 5 lugs, you'll have to buy 105 components from Partsouq and Aisin hubs from Cruiser Outfitters. Local dealers all gave me the stink eye when I asked them to order 105 parts. Without a @Beno or @cruiserdan to help, it's rolling the dice and hoping you got it right. (Y'all really should've apprenticed someone :flipoff2:)

105 Rotors: 43512-60141
105 Hub assembly (comes with wheel bearings): 43502-69087
105 Spindles: 43401-60081
FTV-001 Hubs AISIN Locking Hub - Fits 8/99+ 76/78/79 Series - w/5 Lug Wheels (Gold) - https://cruiserteq.com/aisin-locking-hubs-fits-8-99-76-78-79-series-w-5-lug-wheels-gold/
100 series calipers bolt right up to the 80 knuckles, and I used 80 series soft soft lines and hardware to connect them.

The drive flanges are the same on the 100 and 105, so I mistakenly assumed they would work. The 80 birfs are too short, so that's where the locking hubs come in. The only thing I can think of is that the 105 birfs are physically longer, because the inner axle part numbers are the same between 80 and 105.

Everything else is as it came on the 80 series—inner axles, birfs, knuckles, etc.

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saucebox

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The 80 axle for me has a couple of things going for it (instead of going full custom crazy-strong like the Slee SAS builds).

The first is that I can convert it to our odd 5-lug easily. I didn't really give up on my old Fuel rims...they kind of gave up on me. Somewhere on the back 2/3 of Lockhart Canyon last year (relatively mild rocky trail), I bent a one of the Fuels. I'd probably have just gotten a single replacement, but they were discontinued.

One of the best builds on this forum is local to me—so I'd seen @ikarus in person a few times around town, rocking the Hutchinsons. When the Fuel wheels finally couldn't hack it, I bought a set. But that was before I was even thinking about SAS, so when I finally started kicking tires on this project, I knew it had to retain the 5x150 pattern.

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The second was that I found a relatively rust free 80 front setup for a pretty good price (thanks, @LC Parts Yard). I can always set up a custom axle later, knowing that all the rest of the geometry is working well.

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nukegoat

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Lol not everybody builds for the Hammers. That's for big boys and girls only, maybe someday I'll be brave.

And frankly I'm too dumb to build to that standard. I'd be out in the garage for a year trying to figure out how much I could get in scrap $ after having ruined an otherwise OK LX.
No I was being genuine
 

Kabanstva

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Badass dude. I hope you're gonna offroad it a good amount. I need to bug you with questions and your impression of the eaton/harrop locker in the front 80 axle. Also will bug you later about regearing to 4.88s. Congrats again. Most people have no clue how much time and dedication (and $$$) something like this takes.
 

saucebox

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Badass dude. I hope you're gonna offroad it a good amount. I need to bug you with questions and your impression of the eaton/harrop locker in the front 80 axle. Also will bug you later about regearing to 4.88s. Congrats again. Most people have no clue how much time and dedication (and $$$) something like this takes.

Anytime. I'm definitely not an expert—these are the first two diffs I've ever attempted. But they've been quiet through break-in. The 80 front is WAY easier to deal with than the OEM elocked third in the rear. If I had to do it again, I would have gone straight to ARB/Eaton in the rear rather than the OEM.
 

Ramathorn15

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Awesome job man. That things going to be a blast on the trails.

Interesting that you had so much trouble with your IFS. Ive been running 295/70/18s for the last 60k hard miles. Haven't had a single thing (knock on wood) break.
 

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