FJ-60 Old Man Emu Install - My Tips

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Feb 10, 2002
Canton, Mississippi
I am sure there are already 10 threads on how to do a lift on a Fj-60, but I thought I would throw mine out there into the "search" fodder.

I recently purchased a 1984 Fj-60. It spent 20 years in Colorado so the body is decent but the back 1/3 of the underside is fairly rusty.

I have been out of Cruisers for a while playing with buggy's so this is the first leaf spring suspension I have installed in about 6 years. Of the 10+ Cruisers I have owned and modified it is the first Old Man Emu suspension I have installed.

The following is a list of tips that I felt like I should share for those that plan on installing an Old Man Emu OME suspension in their FJ-60 / 62.

3 weeks ago I knew the suspension install was eminent, so tip #1 is:

Before installation, thoroughly soak any and every part that is going to be removed with penetrating oil such as Break Free. I hosed every bolt and nut 3 times in 3 weeks.

top 10 tools you WILL need for this install, don't start without them.

1) 4 quality jackstands
2) Floor Jack
3) Heat source - cutting torch or propane torch
4) 5# and 12# sledge hammers
5) Air chisel (optional, but nice to have)
6) rubber mallet
7) 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21mm sockets, (deep)
8) 3' breaker bar
9) Impact wrench
10) Sawzall

Wow, that is a lot of crap to collect just to do a suspension lift....well, if your 60 series is like mine, the stuff you are about to remove has been on the vehicle for anywhere from 19 to 28 years. Stuff gets "baked" on when its been on a car for 20 years.

Here is the start......

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OK, so I nosed the 60 into the shop and started on the front.

Jack up the truck pretty high hand use your biggest stands to hold the frame just behind the fixed-end spring hangers, then use your smaller stands to support the axle just shy of full-droop on the springs.

Pull the shocks. The fronts will spin when you try to loosen the top. You can use a strap wrench to keep it from turning, an oil filter wrench or I have even pierced the metal with vice grips or a screwdriver. These are being tossed so just get them off any way you can.

Next, use your impact wrench and pull the ubolts. With your axle and frame supported, you should now have a spring hanging 1-3" under the axle.

Now you are to the fun part. Getting the springs off the 19-29 year old Land Cruiser.

On the front of my Cruiser, the shackles came right off without trouble. I always drop the shackle end first. Not sure why, but I always have. When I got to the fixed-end, the pins were frozen. I beat on them with my 20# sledge and they did not budge.

Enter the heat. A cutting torch works best. Light up the inner pin cherry red and use the air chisel to work the pin out of the spring. Since I used a propane torch, I could not be so precise to hit only the pin so I let the old bushings burn a while and melt.



Keep a fire ext handy when torching, my drivers side front went up in smoke during the "cook off" due to old power steering fluid around the box.

I like to get the front done, and then switch to the rear after the front is 100% complete.

One tip, if you have a 5th jackstand, prop it under the pinion to keep the axle in proper orientation. It will help a lot when you try to put it all back together.
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Couple of comments at this point:

My rear ubolts were so rusted, I had to use a 3' breaker bar to get them started and then use my Snap On impact.

The outer plated on my front shackes were not drilled out large enough to get the 1/2" shackle bolts through so I had to drill them out to 9/16" to get them to work. For the record, that is the only negative QC thing I found with the OME setup.

When you are setting up the springs with the fixed-end and shackle hangers, keep everything finger tight so you can align the spring pin and the hole on the the axle mounting surface. This can get dicey when it is all tight.

Think about what you are doing when you set up the OME shackles. They go one way. It is easy to mess this up and have to "do-over"

Replacing springs is a good thing to do, even if you don't want to lift your rig. Both of my rear springs had 2-3 broken leafs.

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OME rear springs are L/R oriented.

The modular OME shackles are super easy to install compared to the barbell type shackle that come with Hell for Stout systems and BDS suspensions. That said, they are 4x more expensive. I don't know if it is worth it. OME shackles are damn cool, but the price is crazy.

Swaybars; I took mine off. If I decide to re-install it, Georg Esterer sells extensions. PM orangefj45 here on MUD for the kit.

My install took me alone about 6 hours to complete. I have done this quite a few times, but not for a while so I was a bit rusty. I would suggest a helper, but if you can't get one, there are no 2 man jobs. The rear packs are stupid heavy, I would estimate they are 65# each.

Here is my final picture. My shocks won't be in until Monday and on Tuesday I will get my 33 x 10.50 BFG MT/KMs installed.


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Looks great! That'll be sure to help those going OME. Myself, I'm planning SOA to accommodate the (eventual) 4BT.
Excellent write up. :clap:

I paid a wrench to install my BDS: it took him twice as long as he thought it would (8hr vs 4), involved borrowing a cut-off wheel and perhaps another tool he didn't think he'd need, and revealed a broken leaf in the rear.

I'd thought perhaps I might re-use the springs on my trailer: only one was intact, the others only removed by cutting through at the wrap side.

VERY happy with the ride, worth every penny (says the one who didn't bust knuckles doing the job ;) )
OME rear springs are L/R oriented. Since they are made in OZ, the best thing to remeber is the + that is painted on them is driver and the - is the passenger.

Regardless of the country the A spring is for the drivers side. The + means that the spring is slightly taller than spec and the - means the spring is slightly lower than spec.
Isn't it amazing how the old pin and bushing seem to morph together?
I remember beating on mine for about ten minutes working up a major sweat before it was decided fire would be the only solution.:hillbilly:

I remember your first 60. That was a sweet ride. I think you will love your new tires. They ride and drive great. Maybe i will see you at gsmtr.
fj60 001.jpg
RA is US Passenger Side, RB is driver side. They are heavy load front, medium rear. If the front is too much, you can pull the 4th leaf on the front pack.
Christo Slee

Sorry for the confusion....this is how it is supposed to be.
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I remember your first 60. That was a sweet ride. I think you will love your new tires. They ride and drive great. Maybe i will see you at gsmtr.

Thanks for posting that picture...I have been wondering what they were going to look like. That Cruiser is awesome looking. I really did not remember much about that Tan FJ-60, but this one is bringing back the memories. I really, really like it. I am sorry it took me so long to get back into a 60.
Great write-up which will help many future installations. Only thing that I did different is to only do one spring at a time. That way, the axle was held in place and there was not worry about the pinion angle shifting.
What did you use the 15mm for?

What did you use the 15mm for?

The anti-inversion pin nuts.

One spring at a time is a great plan...I dont see how you did it in the rear with such a huge difference in spring size.

I actually used a 5th jackstand under the pinion for that.

Another tip.....when you go to move the rear axle back in place, pull the grease zerk out of the driveshaft slip yoke so it can move easier.

I just cut all of the Ubolts flush and greased the shackles......waiting on shocks :bounce:
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Was that your 60 or 80 we put the arb side steps on? I think i was thinking of the 80. That was a long time ago. shannon

Hey Shannon! Long time no see. You still outside of Nashville?

Yeah that was my 80 we did the sliders on before we took it to Tellico.

Another tidbit of information on the OME install.

I took it out and took it 45 degrees to a ditch and really stuffed the suspension to check the brake lines. This is without shocks so I got full use of the springs.

Stock brake lines barely got straight. They did not get tight at all. I did, however, take off the bolts that mount the hardlines to the frame, unnecessary but I did it anyway.
you will be fine with the stock. i usually bend the brackets where it will give them a little more. i am still south of nashville you will have to come by some time. i have not made it back home to natchez in several years but if i do i would love to ck your buggy out.
Tires are on...I love the way it rides.

I am 1/2" taller on the driver's rear corner. Front sits level.

Springs are Heavy front and Medium rear. Still has the stinkbug rake, but I plan on loading down the rear over time.



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