Lifted 80 drives like krap,, I'm thinking of going back to stock ride height

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I recently bought a 1994 80 series Landcruiser with a 3" lift.. It goes down the road straight, but is loose and floppy and pretty miserable to drive.. I knew this before I bought it, so not a surprise...

I'm considering the Old Man Emu kits sold by ARB,, but I may purchase some factory springs on the cheap,, since that Old Man Emu package is around a 1000 bucks, but I'm looking for that stock 80 series "planted" drive my 95 Lancruiser impressed me with for 10 years!
 

COYS

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Nothing that $ and time can't sort out to get a 2.5-3" lifted 80 to drive similar to a bone stock 80. Cheap can take a hike.

TLDR

*Get caster back to stock spec --> plates or aftermarket arms
*Refresh quarter century old suspension rubber/bolts --> Full OEM kits available through Wits' End or source it at your local T dealership
*Ensure axles are all dialed in --> rebuild kits available via Cruiser Outfitters
*Refresh power steering box
*Refresh tie rod ends
*Refresh shocks

Sway bars? Driveshafts? Rear panhard bracket? Steering shock? It's an old truck that will need the above at some point in time if it hasn't been addressed already. Gl!
 
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Sounds to me like worn out suspension bushings, worn out and loose steering, possible frame cracks. I'm sure it could be sorted out fairly easily. Do you know what lift is on it?
No frame cracks, it looks like a new born baby bottom,, but rear shocks are krap, front shocks are monroe gas magnums, springs are red?? no names?? who knows, but when you push on the vehicle sideways,, it is loosey goosey,, does look like somebody did replace the front steering bushings with yellow possibly eccentric? those could be Old Man Emu? it does go down the road straight, but the rear tie rod will twist fairly freely so those are like bad?? thanks for your reply,,, just to get things off on the right track, my wife tells me I don't follow directions, so apologies in advance... anybody have some like new stock springs/shocks for cheap?? yeah, I got that problem too, lol thanks billy
 
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Looks like yellow bushes pressed into the front brackets, possibly eccentric it does go down the road straight, and the tires stand up nice and straight... shocks are no doubt wasted on the rear, fronts are iffy,, I'm pretty sure I need new tie rod ends,, so yes to all the above, she has 311,000 miles, so yes it no doubt has lot of wear.. nothing will ever drive like that 95 I bought with 97,000 miles,, but I would like to get close.. I imagine I will have to replace the bushings in the front if I go back to stock.. the birfields are not presently making any noise,, so I'm greasing things today..
 
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I agree with @Box Rocket and @COYS I'm about 4" over stock and it feels planted - yours maybe just needs some fine tuning. I think a lot of people lift them spending the least amount possible without replacing worn out parts or installing parts that correct the geometry.
Agreed, I'm on a budget, but I want to do it right the first time.. so this will be a long process,, but I know what I had before, and how it should drive. thanks again..
 
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If you're happy with stock ride height, then just get factory springs and shocks. I just looked up one spring p/n on McGeorge and it's only $117. That appears to work out to slightly more than OME stock-height springs. OEM shocks are notoriously cheap and long-lasting. Your choice, but if you want factory, go with factory.

If you -- at all -- like the increased ride height, then start with replacing all the aftermarket bushings and get your caster angle measured by an alignment shop. From your description, I'd be surprised if the previous owner even did any caster correction, which opens up a whole can of worms with the front drive shaft angles.
 
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I would start by replacing the radius arm bushings with OEM rubber bushings. If you choose to use caster correction bushings then the OME ones are fine. Personally I would use caster plates rather than bushings. That will set proper caster and keep the factory rubber bushings in the arms.
Replace the tie rod ends. The tie rod behind the axle can rotate. That’s not necessarily a problem since the rod ends are basically ball joints that allow for that movement. You just don’t want up and down or other sloppy movement from the rod ends.
Sounds like the shocks are a serious contributor to the bad ride. I think o would personally go with some ToughDog shocks for a 3” lift. I think they ride better than OME shocks and they’re a fairly affordable option.

Check again for frame cracks around the front panhard bracket.
 

COYS

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opens up a whole can of worms

If I had the choice today, given what I know now after 4+ years of FZJ80 ownership, to choose between a bone stock 80 v. my as-is dialed in on 37s reality, I'd give the former AMPLE consideration as I've grown to appreciate the Toyota factory magic sprinkles in their og design.

For my use case as an LA DD, a stock rig is actually stylistically much more in sync with my lifestyle. But alas, I took the other route and damn it's been a labor of 🥰. No regrets.
 
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If you're happy with stock ride height, then just get factory springs and shocks. I just looked up one spring p/n on McGeorge and it's only $117. That appears to work out to slightly more than OME stock-height springs. OEM shocks are notoriously cheap and long-lasting. Your choice, but if you want factory, go with factory.

If you -- at all -- like the increased ride height, then start with replacing all the aftermarket bushings and get your caster angle measured by an alignment shop. From your description, I'd be surprised if the previous owner even did any caster correction, which opens up a whole can of worms with the front drive shaft angles.
This. It’s very possible - although can be tricky in ways - but not necessarily very difficult (just $$) to get a lifted 80 to drive well. Mine at 4.5 (which I plan to drop to ~3) drives really well. Nothing makes me feel I need something adjusted/fixed, other than a DC front shaft. My lift setup was put on in 2012, so it’s not new.

It could be cheaper to go back to stock, but sounds like you’re still going to have to replace bushings and other components regardless. Personally, I would decide what you want, and go that direction. It may just be my interpretation, but feels like maybe your reason for going back to stock is just to get out of these drivability issues. If you prefer a stock ride and height, nothing wrong with that! But like he said, if you like it beefed up, just correct what’s wrong. You’re doing all that suspension work either way.
 
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If I had the choice today, given what I know now after 4+ years of FZJ80 ownership

If I were doing it over again, I'd probably just refresh the stock suspension and put on 33's. I'm at ~3" and have spent a *lot* of time trying to dial it in (caster plates, DC front shaft, adjusting upper rear control arms, rear track-bar riser) and I *still* have vibes at speed with the front hubs locked.
 
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If I were doing it over again, I'd probably just refresh the stock suspension and put on 33's. I'm at ~3" and have spent a *lot* of time trying to dial it in (caster plates, DC front shaft, adjusting upper rear control arms, rear track-bar riser) and I *still* have vibes at speed with the front hubs locked.
While it sounds like some folks are very happy with their lifts?? most of my off roading around the farm is handled just fine at stock ride height. I do have two creek crossings that are very rough,, I attempted on the other day and ended up backing out... I need to get the tractor down there and work on them,, not big creeks, just small drainages that flow a lot of water off the cropland with a big rain.

I did get my driveline greased and grease in both birfs, although 1 had plenty of red grease already.
 

baldilocks

Battle Ground, WA
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If I were doing it over again, I'd probably just refresh the stock suspension and put on 33's. I'm at ~3" and have spent a *lot* of time trying to dial it in (caster plates, DC front shaft, adjusting upper rear control arms, rear track-bar riser) and I *still* have vibes at speed with the front hubs locked.
So unlock the hubs….
 

desmocruiser

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What sort of budget (and desired outcome) did you establish to resolve the known drivability issues?

With this information, several members can put together a good prioritized plan, if no budget is provided we are experts at spending someone else’s money.

And welcome to the Cruiser World!
 
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Central Illinois
Sounds to me like worn out suspension bushings, worn out and loose steering, possible frame cracks. I'm sure it could be sorted out fairly easily. Do you know what lift is on it?
I really don't know whose springs these are, they are red?? don't know if that would help narrow it down,, (yeah, I know, springs are red, blue, yellow, or black), the front shocks are monroe gas magnums, the rear shocks are white covered in oil and road crud.. the Lady I bought it from drove it 3 years like it is, maybe she is just braver than I am??
 
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I really don't know whose springs these are, they are red?

Rancho is red:


I thought Eibach might be red, but they're silver.

Anyway, the brand doesn't matter. What matters is the actual lift height and caster angle, then you'll know that you're starting with. For lift height, measure from the fender flare to the center of the hub, then compare to stock. Cruiser Outfitters has stock measurements that should be reasonably accurate:

 

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