Inexperienced noob about to tear my FZJ80 apart - Any tips to re-emphasize before rebuilding axles, brakes, steering, and suspension?

Joe Link

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I've been ordering parts for the better part of a year now in preparation for the rebuild of the axles, brakes, suspension, and steering on my 1996 FZJ80. It's been an expensive endeavor ($2k+ in just parts!), as all parts are OEM (except the P/S paperclip), but I'm hoping that once this is done they'll be ready for another quarter million miles. If it matters, the vehicle is factory locked with 262k miles, lifted on a OME J lift, running 33" tires (upgrading to 35's when they wear out).

My biggest obstacle is my own lack of mechanical experience, but I've always been a "learn by doing" type. I'm fortunate in that I have access to a lift, and if it takes me a week or two it won't be a big deal if the vehicle can't move.

I've probably spent 40 hours researching this, but I'm starting tomorrow and completely overwhelmed by the thought of all this work. I'm using today to refine my game plan as much as possible. Basically, I'm looking for any general tips but also tips which might make this easier considering everything will be done at the same time.


Axles (factory locked)

- Rebuilding both axles.
- Disassembling both driveshaft for inspection and replacing the U joints. Can't swing a DC driveshaft right now but I understand it'll probably be necessary in the future.
- Installing an ARB diff breather kit.

- Question: I'm thinking it'd be easier to rebuild the axles in the truck, both for breaking hardware loose and so I can adjust the height for comfort. Do you agree or is there something I'm missing?
- Question: My lockers seem slow to actuate, usually taking 50 yards or so. Is there any way to speed this up, or any sort of locker 'maintenance' I can/should do while I'm in there?
- Question: Can/should the rear birfields be swapped side to side like the front?

Suspension

This rig was wheeled before I got it, and I imagine it has over 100k on the current suspension. Quite a few of the bushings are cracked and disintegrating and a couple are missing entirely. I bought every piece of rubber I could find to replace. Once it's back on the ground with fresh bits I'll evaluate my angles and see what else I might need (panhard bars, adjustable upper links, bump stop drops, etc).

- Replacing all OEM suspension bushings.
- Replacing used OME J lift with new OME J springs, OME NitroCharger sport shocks, and the OME steering stabilizer.
- I've been running 1" Daystar plastic coil spacers in the front to correct the rake, which I'll be swapping out with 2" MetalTech spacers.
- I'll be removing the front OME caster correction bushings and installing MetalTech caster correction plates.
- Install Man-A-Fre swaybar drop kit.

Question: I have a press for bushing removal, any tips for easier installation?

Brakes

The brakes on this (like most 80's) have always sucked. I've heard good things about the Power Stop K1155-36 kit, so I went with that for pads and rotors.

- Function test calipers and rebuild/replace if needed. I came out of the store and noticed the face of the right front rotor is shredded, leaving metal shavings on the wheel, but it didn't make a sound (not sure how that can happen).
- Replace front and rear brake pads and rotors.
- I haven't decided if I'm going to keep or remove the LSVP, but I'm leaning toward removing it and installing a proportioning valve.

Steering

If I rock the steering wheel side to side going down the highway the vehicle takes a good while to respond and leans hard in the opposite direction. I'm not sure if it's due to the worn suspension, worn steering components, or both.

- Replace tie rod ends.
- The PS system has leaked since I bought it, so I'll replacing all of the hoses, clamps, etc, hoping it's not the pump or the box.
- I tried tightening the PS box screw a couple years back which seemed to help. I'll check this again after the new stuff is installed.


Other Notes

- I intend to paint everything as I go so that all of it looks new. I've never painted undercarriage parts before, so any cleaning/prep/paint tips are appreciated.
- If there's something I'm overlooking that I should do while I'm in there, I'd rather spend the money and do it now. A good example is the engine oil pan, which I think may be leaking.

Thanks in advance guys! :)
 
Joined
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Haven't read thru all of it, but you should have (or get...) a Factory Service Manual, if only for the torque specs for each bolt.
Speaking of torque specs, those in the FSM for the front wheel bearings are somewhat optimistic for oversize tires, so a lot of us do it differently. @NLXTACY offers a cheat sheet for the front axle rebuild, can't rememberer whether that was a poster or a t-shirt.
 

Joe Link

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Jun 7, 2005
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Haven't read thru all of it, but you should have (or get...) a Factory Service Manual, if only for the torque specs for each bolt.
Speaking of torque specs, those in the FSM for the front wheel bearings are somewhat optimistic for oversize tires, so a lot of us do it differently. @NLXTACY offers a cheat sheet for the front axle rebuild, can't rememberer whether that was a poster or a t-shirt.
I do have an electronic copy of the FSM, and I think this is the poster you're talking about? :)
 
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I find it helps to use paper sandwich bags for all the fasteners for a specific part and all its brackets, clips etc, etc.
I label them with a sharpie and put them in a box from back to front. That way I already have the logical order to reassemble the components and all the parts are gathered. I don't like plastic bags because the marker wipes off and the bags get eaten by some of the oils and greases.
It sounds slow, but it sure beats a coffee can of mixed nuts and bolts.
Learned this trick decades ago when I was wrenching on motorcycles.
 

alia176

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I"m going only comment on the PS hose business and LSPV:

Get the Witt's End power steering cooler that includes hoses then get the Gates high press hose, unless you want to get it from Toyota for big $$$. This will replace ALL power steering hoses from your aging rig. Trust me on this one, replace all PS hoses before one of them springs a leak on your at the most inopportune time. Fixing this on the trail when the engine is stupid hot is a royal PITA and time consuming. Umm, a friend to me. Yeah, yeah, that's what I "heard".

Unless your vehicle's cargo weight is drastically changing, not sure if it's worth keeping the LSPV. Mine is stuck on the same position that allows the max braking to the rear, which is suckass, still. So, basically, I'm sending as much pressure to the rear and that ain't much so using a proportioning valve ain't gonna do much for, IMHO. You can prolly just take out the LSPV then use a Tee to connect everything back up, then wait and see if you really need the Prop valve. I used EBC Greenstuff pads + EBC rotors and this really improved the braking.

Do study up on how to loosen/tighten the factory suspension hardware as they're flanged with serration. Don't turn the flanged hardware or you'll lose the effectiveness of the serration. Also, torque everything down when the 80 is on the ground and fully supported by the suspension.

20Ton press for bushing work is a huge plus and get ready for the eventual BAM when they break free while giving you a massive coronary ;)

Good luck with your laundry list

ps I find it helpful for my GF to wear the torque spec T shirt and nothing else. It REALLY helps with the torquing situation :rofl:

 

Joe Link

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I find it helps to use paper sandwich bags for all the fasteners for a specific part and all its brackets, clips etc, etc.
I label them with a sharpie and put them in a box from back to front. That way I already have the logical order to reassemble the components and all the parts are gathered. I don't like plastic bags because the marker wipes off and the bags get eaten by some of the oils and greases.
It sounds slow, but it sure beats a coffee can of mixed nuts and bolts.
Learned this trick decades ago when I was wrenching on motorcycles.
Thanks for the tip! I know my success is going to directly correlate with how careful I am documenting the disassembly and keeping everything organized.

Get the Witt's End power steering cooler that includes hoses then get the Gates high press hose, unless you want to get it from Toyota for big $$$. This will replace ALL power steering hoses from your aging rig. Trust me on this one, replace all PS hoses before one of them springs a leak on your at the most inopportune time. Fixing this on the trail when the engine is stupid hot is a royal PITA and time consuming. Umm, a friend to me. Yeah, yeah, that's what I "heard".
I don't have time (or the cash) to order that kit, but I do have all brand new PS hoses, clamps, gaskets, and seals. I bought this kit for the low pressure hoses and I'm using the Gates for the high pressure hose.

Unless your vehicle's cargo weight is drastically changing, not sure if it's worth keeping the LSPV. Mine is stuck on the same position that allows the max braking to the rear, which is suckass, still. So, basically, I'm sending as much pressure to the rear and that ain't much so using a proportioning valve ain't gonna do much for, IMHO. You can prolly just take out the LSPV then use a Tee to connect everything back up, then wait and see if you really need the Prop valve. I used EBC Greenstuff pads + EBC rotors and this really improved the braking.
Nope, the weight is pretty static. Good tip on trying it without proportioning. I'm 90% sure I'm going to remove it.

Do study up on how to loosen/tighten the factory suspension hardware as they're flanged with serration. Don't turn the flanged hardware or you'll lose the effectiveness of the serration. Also, torque everything down when the 80 is on the ground and fully supported by the suspension.
Great, will do!
 
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How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

I would say "slow your roll" and take on one job at a time. Do the front axle birfield job first. It will take two days for a first timer with all the cleaning and first timer stuff. If you are going to replace the front rotors, do it now. The rest of the brakes won't require much disassembly time at all.

Go to harbor Freight or Northern tools and get you TWO medium size magnetic parts pan holders for all the hardware from each side of the axle. Trust me on this one. You will realize very quickly these things will save your hardware from being accidentally kicked and spread all over the garage floor.

Rear axle after you drive around and make sure the front is done correctly. Look at your FSM . No Birfields in the rear. Once you have done the front, the rear is a piece of cake.

My guess is after you do the axle rebuilds, you will have experienced enough, and you will have a much better feel for the amount of required effort of the other jobs. It is always a bad idea to do two separate jobs on the car at the same time in my opinion, because you may have made two mistakes, and finding BOTH and correcting them both, can easily become 3 or 4 times harder than dealing with one mistake only in one system.

Good mechanics work fast because they are efficient. Not because they are working fast. You only become efficient by doing it a bunch. Trying to work fast, you break chit!
 
Last edited:

77mustard40

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X2 with elhombre’s advice. I did the front brakes and brake line replacement when I did my birf job since you have the hub off. It was my first birf job, not really hard, just messy and cleaning parts, repainting dust shields and stuff like that just adds more time to the project. Took me two weekends because I had spindle carnage and had to order unplanned parts.

Rear axles and brakes are straight forward, another partial day. Didn’t have any surprises there.

Installed my suspension in a day by myself, a buddy or two would have certainly helped. I still need to add my caster plates and Delta Panhard bracket. I plan to tackle the bushings at the same time.

My biggest oil leak was the oil pump cover, another day to do that job mostly due to the mess and being careful with the screw removal so I didn’t strip any.

Basically it’s one project at a time until you’ve touched all the bases.
 
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OTRAMM videos on YouTube. Label parts in plastic bags as stated. Take Shocktower up on help ... he's done more than a bit of work. Use the right tools to make things go more smoothly.

I believe I saw a thread from Joey @ Wit's End saying the steering cooler kits are delayed as he's waiting on fittings atm.

Get the proper grease for the birfs from NAPA, you may need to order it.

My personal experience is not to rush jobs if you have other transport available. I can do a fair amount of things, but I do them VERY SLOWLY so I can make sure they are done properly.
 
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If your Diff Locks are slow to work it is likely that are corroded inside or need a re-greasing. They are relatively easy to remove and disassemble and a little harder to properly clock and reinstall, but not too bad. Research, elbow grease, and a torch (rusty fasteners) were a big help for me. While you're in there, carefully clean the contacts in the connectors and then seal them up tight to keep water out.

You can use these rebuild kits (front below, rear in link on that page) from @NLXTACY or just use RTV and hope.
Toyota E-Locker Rebuild Kit-8in Diff

The PDF here was crucial:
Repairing Differential E-Lockers

In case no one else mentioned it: No Birfs in the rear. Unless you have the only 80 in the world with 4-wheel steering. I personally haven't heard of a need to swap axles L to R in the rear but maybe someone knows better than me.
 
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I'd second what everybody has already said and just emphasize the little stuff I wish I had thought about more:

- several stapled, XEROX COPIES of the relevant sections of the FSM (you'll be flipping back and forth double-checking your work and you don't want to mess your FSM up with grease)
- lots of cheap latex gloves (you'll rip and trash them when you take them off to dial in your ipad/iphone if you're watching the OTRAMM videos)
- magnetic dishes for nuts and bolts
- baggies, sharpies, and masking tape to label parts and pieces
- proper tools (e.g., brass drifts, big fn hammer, seal puller/installer, a friend to help)
- calibrated torque wrench (mine is a POS and died on me during the axle rebuild)
- lots of cleaning and greasing supplies (rags, solvents, PB blaster, and plenty of grease)

Do one job at a time. Do the front axle and brake job first. Lots of satisfaction and plenty to learn there.
 
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- lots of cheap latex gloves (you'll rip and trash them when you take them off to dial in your ipad/iphone if you're watching the OTRAMM videos)
^^This is so key for that front axle!

Also don't forget the spindle bushings like I did...on my DD. I stopped half of I-290 rush-hour traffic into Chicago because of how f***ing loud it was :bang:, and I think I was pretty lucky to not cause any other damage.
 

Cruiser804

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Might do the rear axle first. Its less complex than the front. Not that either are overly complex. But the rear as less parts. Be a good intro and confidence builder.
 
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My 02 cents....

I almost always hit bolts that haven't moved in a while a day before I work on them with penetrating lube. This simple step can save you time.

For the front end, setting the pre-load on the wheel bearing can be confusing the first time. Also removing the cone washers can give you trouble best way to remove cone washers?

Someone already said it, but i will again, print out the fsm pages you will need to reference, I have the pdf but i only use it in a pinch becasue my hands are always dirty.
 
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Good advice so far i was lucky enough to be in your shoes about a month ago, my list was a bit longer but I watched every otramm video on related topics, read multiple threads and over complicated a easy machine! Axles are easy just messy, I used a lot tips of here and it made it easier for birf rebuilds,
1. Get lots of gloves a box at least
2. Lots of shop towels
3. Turkey pans work great for catching your old parts towels and grease
4. Have your bags pre labeled.
5. be prepared to clean birf joint I used a 5gal bucket of diesel and let them soak.
6. have a six pack on hand and lots of time
7. A case of brake clean is a a good call and some small wire brushes and toothbrushes
8. I also pre soaked every nut and bolt I could see a couple times before rear down
9. Have a torque wrench available and the proper rating don’t want to bust anything of. Or not get enough torque on caliber bolts!
10. Take your time and have fun also make sure you orient your inner axle seal in the correct position (garter spring goes inward) ask me how I know.
11. have another brewsky and reach out for help if you need it. I am local in gladstone if you need a hand.
 

Joe Link

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Quick update! Got the axles disassembled and realized if I'm going to re-gear now is the time, so the thirds are going to the gear shop on Tuesday for 4:88's. I'll be working on getting the rest of the suspension disassembled this week.

Studying beforehand was a big help but things weren't 'obvious' to me until I actually began the teardown.
 
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