Inexperienced noob about to tear my FZJ80 apart - Any tips to re-emphasize before rebuilding axles, brakes, steering, and suspension? (1 Viewer)

Joe Link

SILVER Star
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
492
Location
Portland, OR
 
 
 
Don’t lean on any bolts or fasteners until you have them soaked to the threads for at least a couple of days with a good penetrating lube. Unscrew the weight off the lock then re-lock and repeat gradually. If the shanks or nuts are getting warm watch out out or you’ll be tapping out. 😉 You will potentially save hours of grief and buckets of time cost more than we think especially when not factored into your budget.
Work clean with your axle rebuilds, buy 20 rolls of good thick paper towel, you’re going to them.
Remember what order the shims came off and replace them in reverse.
Buy good quality grease appropriate for the application- axles and bearings.
Take care when replacing the inner diff seals, flush them in carefully after smearing the faces and take your time.
If you‘re not certain always ask questions.
Most Importantly-
WEAR BLACK NITRILE GLOVES
your breaks will be longer without washing your hands a million times
USE QUALITY TOOLS
Where possible use 6 face sockets
Buy yourself a good brass mallet and drifts.
TAKE PHOTOS AS REFERENCE BEFORE YOU START
Masking tape and a felt tip are your friends
May the force be with you!!

🦘🦘🦘
Thank you!
 

Joe Link

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Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
492
Location
Portland, OR
 
 
 
Thing have been slow going since we're dealing with fires and air quality here in Oregon, but still moving along.

My most difficult choice in all of this has been which suspension to go with. The truck had an OME J lift when I bought it and I've been running it since, but I've been unhappy with both the ride quality and the handling. Assuming it was 'wore out', I purchased new J springs and L shocks to replace the old components for around $850. Once they were off the truck, the new springs seemed no different than the old ones. The new shocks were harder to compress but the old shocks didn't 'seem' bad. I couldn't find much info on a solid way to test them off the truck.

When I started this project I knew very little about suspension or how it worked. Through my research I learned that the OME springs are constant rate, and realized that a progressive or dual rate spring might be better for a vehicle driven on the road as much as mine (75%), so I listed my new OME stuff for $775. Looking at the options, my first choice was Slinky due to the rave reviews, but at $2500 the stage 1 kit is way overpriced (my opinion, of course). I could get a Slee or Ironman 4" kit for around $2,000 including adjustable panhard bars and other parts. Another option was running my old OME springs paired with a new set of four Radflo remote reservoir shocks (around $2k from MetalTech), but I really don't need RR shocks for what I do here in the NW. I also looked at the Icon Stage 1 kit, which I almost went with. At $1250 from MetalTech, it's only a few hundred more than what I had in my OME setup, and the shocks were both rebuildable and revalveable. As I did more research and talked to people running it, I found that the Icon kit wasn't a good option for heavy vehicles and that the springs have a tendency to sag. Dobinsons was a strong contender as well, but their progressive rate springs aren't suited for heavy vehicles either. As silly as it is, the factory color and the added cost to get them recoated was a dealbreaker.

After agonizing for months, something hit me that I hadn't been considering: I've put 39,000 miles on this since buying it in 2012 (~3,250 miles per year). Considering the cost of the suspension upgrades, the other upgrades I want to do (rear bumper is a big one), and the fact that I lost my second job due to COVID, I decided it'd be best to go ahead and run the new OME stuff :rofl:

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After making this decision I returned the red caliper paint kit; I didn't want the McDonald's color scheme. I bought a can of black VHT caliper paint, which I've heard good things about, but failed to read until I got home. When painting calipers off the truck you're supposed to cure the paint for an hour at 200* for maximum durability. Great, another surprise! I wasn't about to cure them in the same oven I use for food. Just before returning it I found a post about using a toaster oven, genius! I hit Craigslist and found one for $10.

During this whole project I've been learning a ton about metal refinishing. For example, I had no idea yellow zinc was just a coating and the media blaster made short work of removing it (oops). I had been using high solids industrial paint to paint everything with pretty good results, but I'm worried about how it's going to hold up. I had considered having everything powder coated, but it was expensive and time consuming. Over the years I've seen the cheap ($50) powder coating kit at Harbor Freight but knew nothing about the process, and with no where to keep an oven, it wasn't an option. Now that I had a (tiny) oven, I read up on the process, and to my surprise it wasn't nearly as messy as I figured it'd be. After reading a bunch of great reviews, I decided to pick one up. I haven't had time to play with it yet, but I'll be doing so soon. If the results are good there's a slim chance I might be able to convince my dad to let me stash an over somewhere in exchange for helping him coat his stuff.

Now that I had the caliper paint and oven, it was time to work on the calipers. The rears were easy but it was a real PITA trying to get the four pistons out of the front. Using compressed air, c-clamps, tape-wrapped channel locks, and cut down paint stir sticks, it only took me about three hours for the first one (haven't had time to work on the second). These things were in terrible condition, and I'm almost certain a couple of the pistons were frozen in place. I used a pressure regulator to use as little air as possible, and worked on one piston at a time. My method was to gently move the piston out a little, then evenly compress it back in with a stir stick piece across the face (while holding the others in place with stick pieces and c-clamps). The reason for the caution? During my first attempt with one of the rears, I used a full 150 PSI, got it stuck, canted in the bore, and had a hell of a time getting it out without damaging it. I wasn't going to split the calipers because I didn't want to have to replace the unobtainable o-rings, but after seeing the bores I decided it'd be best so I had room to better clean the caliper bores. The pistons cleaned up nicely with a scotchbrite pad, emory paper, and a little light wet sanding.

Next work day I'll do the same to the other front caliper, media blast everything, then try my luck with this caliper paint.


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Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
88
Location
Lynnwood, WA
I agonized over which lift components to buy as well. Finally went with an Icon kit - Interestingly enough because I couldn't stand the color of the Dobinson factory springs either. I'm worried about weight with both front and rear bumpers coming, though the engine swap up front will remove a couple of hundred pounds off the front axle. I guess we'll see. On the upside, coils are super easy to swap out if the Icons don't cut it.
 

Joe Link

SILVER Star
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
492
Location
Portland, OR
 
 
 
I agonized over which lift components to buy as well. Finally went with an Icon kit - Interestingly enough because I couldn't stand the color of the Dobinson factory springs either. I'm worried about weight with both front and rear bumpers coming, though the engine swap up front will remove a couple of hundred pounds off the front axle. I guess we'll see. On the upside, coils are super easy to swap out if the Icons don't cut it.
Good to hear! Once (if!) the world gets back to normal we can meet up and compare. A big part of going with the OME stuff was the fact that it was sitting there and I simply wanted to be done with the decision making process :rofl:

Been on hold since the last update due to this toxic smoke down here. Can't wait until it clears up so I can get back to work on this.
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2003
Messages
4,509
Location
Socal
 
 
 
OME is great. I had a OME Heavy kit and was very happy with it. Zero worries, solid and reliable performer.
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
88
Location
Lynnwood, WA
Good to hear! Once (if!) the world gets back to normal we can meet up and compare. A big part of going with the OME stuff was the fact that it was sitting there and I simply wanted to be done with the decision making process :rofl:

Been on hold since the last update due to this toxic smoke down here. Can't wait until it clears up so I can get back to work on this.
Agreed on the smoke - The Partsouq fairy finally delivered all of the random nuts, bolts and rubber components I needed for my front end to go back together and I have the regeared ARB 3rd member and RCV axles sitting on the bench, but with it being nasty out I've been avoiding spending any time in the garage.
 

Joe Link

SILVER Star
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
492
Location
Portland, OR
 
 
 
OME is great. I had a OME Heavy kit and was very happy with it. Zero worries, solid and reliable performer.
Thanks for the reassurance. I've never had the chance to feel a new OME kit, so I'm looking forward to it. I hear a lot of bad stuff about the OME kit these days. I wonder how much of that (for better or worse) has to do with the fact that there are a lot more options to choose from now than there were previously.

Agreed on the smoke - The Partsouq fairy finally delivered all of the random nuts, bolts and rubber components I needed for my front end to go back together and I have the regeared ARB 3rd member and RCV axles sitting on the bench, but with it being nasty out I've been avoiding spending any time in the garage.
Smart! At least we're not alone :)
 

Dilspec

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Sep 27, 2016
Messages
502
Location
Chicago IL
OME is fine suspension, I also run heavy and heavy duty OME and my rig is roughly 6,600LB's. Drives fine, stops fine, feels fine. Granted, they just aren't fancy or updated. The shocks are pretty dated, no foam cell tech, or remote res. But, again it works.

They do ride a little harsher on washboards and the tire pressure can only compensate for so much. However, it's not teeth shattering either.

I'm comparing against Iron Man and Icon suspension which may ride better on and off-road, but kind of costly.
 

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