Need advice on a complete suspension/bushing overhaul (1 Viewer)

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Sep 15, 2020
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Upstate, SC
I've got 33's (285/75R16) and a 3" lift and I can go anywhere I have any business going. I keep up with my club guys in jeeps running 37"+ tires and I might have to winch once more than they do on harder trails. Rig does 75 all day long on the highway and right now serves as my daily driver. Another nice thing with this tire size is they tuck up into the wheel wells all the way so you don't rub and you don't have to limit up travel with bump stop extensions. Plus you can buy a replacement at any tire store or even Walmart if need be.

As for suspension bushings OEM is great but they are expensive. I used some Moog bushings when I redid mine last year, getting OEM for the locations Moog didn't make something. So far so good and with the miles I drive they will probably get replaced again due to age before they actually wear out. No matter which way you go be sure to buy the bushing press kit from Wits End, worth every penny. Harbor freight 20 ton press with upgraded arbor plates from Swag off road will get them all out.

For other upgrades in addition to your lift look at getting the rear panhard lift bracket from Delta. I'd go with radius arms for castor correction and if you don't want to drop the coin for those plates would be my second choice, I just don't like the offset bushings. Consider upgrading your steering stabilizer too. Other than that the stock stuff will be fine for moderate to hard wheeling on 33's.
That's some good advice, tire availability is a consideration. Definitely increased my tools budget but that is to be expected, I've added to Wits End and Swag Offroad bits to my bookmarks.

The lift upgrades is the kind of information I've been looking for, I just didn't know at what point they become necessary and I didn't want to add them to the wrong lift and hinder my travel. Any particular reason for not liking offset bushings? I was thinking of going for some form of OME with a stabilizer.
 
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That's some good advice, tire availability is a consideration. Definitely increased my tools budget but that is to be expected, I've added to Wits End and Swag Offroad bits to my bookmarks.

The lift upgrades is the kind of information I've been looking for, I just didn't know at what point they become necessary and I didn't want to add them to the wrong lift and hinder my travel. Any particular reason for not liking offset bushings? I was thinking of going for some form of OME with a stabilizer.
I helped a buddy do his lift and he used the offset bushings. When you look at them it becomes obvious that due to the holes being offset the bolts are going to apply force unevenly in the rubber part which will lead to early failure. I'm sure they are fine for a lot of uses and for people who are ok with potentially having to replace them more often. I prefer to spend a little more time/money up front to avoid repeated maintenance down the road. I went with the DVS radius arms and OEM toyota bushings.

The panhard lift bracket is really only needed if you get about 2.5" of lift or more, and sometimes not even then. Once you put your lift on take it for a drive and hit some bumps at speed, good test is a freeway in poor shape. If you're rear end wiggles a little after hitting the bump the panhard lift bracket will correct that. My buddy has 2.5" lift and he didn't need one. My 3 inch lift needed it. As far as I can see it won't hinder travel at all.

OME has good stuff. I have their steering stabilizer on my rig.
 

landcruising

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It seems like what may interest you is the OME Heavy-Medium 2850 and 2860 spring combo. If you plan to load the back you would want the 2863 heavy rear springs. In my experience I would steer away from the caster bushings, they only correct about 2 degrees and will put you out of spec 1 to 2 degrees which in my case made handling a bit off. Ran this for 10 years successfully but the castor bushing were never perfect but cheap and easy. Also ran 33's and 35's with this lift, and as others have said, pulling hills loaded at altitude will suck on 35's without gears, but the difference between 33 and 35' was an easy choice, 35's seems to be the sweet spot for the variety of trails I like. Very few people seem to say I wish I got 33's instead of 35's, but a lot say I wish I would have got 35's or 37's in the first place. I would also say invest in some sliders before hitting the trail. They will protect the low hanging cats and rockers on these long low rigs, since even some overland trails will still have a few obstacles that will test the armor a bit.
 
Joined
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Upstate, SC
I helped a buddy do his lift and he used the offset bushings. When you look at them it becomes obvious that due to the holes being offset the bolts are going to apply force unevenly in the rubber part which will lead to early failure. I'm sure they are fine for a lot of uses and for people who are ok with potentially having to replace them more often. I prefer to spend a little more time/money up front to avoid repeated maintenance down the road. I went with the DVS radius arms and OEM toyota bushings.

The panhard lift bracket is really only needed if you get about 2.5" of lift or more, and sometimes not even then. Once you put your lift on take it for a drive and hit some bumps at speed, good test is a freeway in poor shape. If you're rear end wiggles a little after hitting the bump the panhard lift bracket will correct that. My buddy has 2.5" lift and he didn't need one. My 3 inch lift needed it. As far as I can see it won't hinder travel at all.

OME has good stuff. I have their steering stabilizer on my rig.
I'm just starting to read through the panhard lift bracket. DVS seem to make some pretty beefy(and pricey) products. It's a longterm build so I'll just have to try to be patient so I can do all suspension things at once.

I think I've got everything for the engine bay. Thought I had everything for the axles but one of my birfields is making a clicking sound and I'll either swap them or replace them. I'm replacing everything else but $800 a piece for OEM is not an easy decision if I want to do both.

It seems like what may interest you is the OME Heavy-Medium 2850 and 2860 spring combo. If you plan to load the back you would want the 2863 heavy rear springs. In my experience I would steer away from the caster bushings, they only correct about 2 degrees and will put you out of spec 1 to 2 degrees which in my case made handling a bit off. Ran this for 10 years successfully but the castor bushing were never perfect but cheap and easy. Also ran 33's and 35's with this lift, and as others have said, pulling hills loaded at altitude will suck on 35's without gears, but the difference between 33 and 35' was an easy choice, 35's seems to be the sweet spot for the variety of trails I like. Very few people seem to say I wish I got 33's instead of 35's, but a lot say I wish I would have got 35's or 37's in the first place. I would also say invest in some sliders before hitting the trail. They will protect the low hanging cats and rockers on these long low rigs, since even some overland trails will still have a few obstacles that will test the armor a bit.
Thankfully the spring decision is a little ways down the road for whenever I decide on my build out. It has sliders already but it has a bulky custom bumper that will be removed and the PO cut off the rear bumper and welded the tow hitch in its place. The problem is that it's just a few inches shorter than necessary for the 4x4labs rear bumper:bang:.

If I was only going to do local wheeling, the 35s would be a simple decision since it's mostly just 10 mile rock trails around here. It's just not my thing, I like road trips and I don't want to overload an already slow rig that will weigh 6-7k. Good news though, I've got $5 for whenever I find a supercharger;)
 

NorCalFJ100

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I'm running 285/75/17 OME 2.5 Heavy and Extra Heavy. All brand new OEM bushings all the way around. Fully kitted with all armor, winch and loaded drawers in the back. This truck drives absolutely amazing on the road. Cruises at 80 and straight as an arrow. Siky smooth road manners...and I've wheeled the snot out of it.

20201231_152903.jpg
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2020
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Upstate, SC
I'm running 285/75/17 OME 2.5 Heavy and Extra Heavy. All brand new OEM bushings all the way around. Fully kitted with all armor, winch and loaded drawers in the back. This truck drives absolutely amazing on the road. Cruises at 80 and straight as an arrow. Siky smooth road manners...and I've wheeled the snot out of it.

View attachment 2634020
I sure do love F5s. What kind of caster and panhard correction did you do?
 
Joined
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Upstate, SC
I'm still new to solid axle stuff, does anyone have a thread or FAQ for benefits of non OEM spline count?

I generally go OEM for almost everything but it seems that the price for a set of chromoly axles is the same as the price for a single OEM Birfield. If I'm not going to 37s, will chromoly outlast OEM(lol I know anything outlasting OEM is far and few between)

You all have been amazingly helpful, every LC owner I've met has been a wealth of information. Thank you and Happy Easter to whomever celebrates it.
 

leonard_nemoy

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I'm still new to solid axle stuff, does anyone have a thread or FAQ for benefits of non OEM spline count?

I generally go OEM for almost everything but it seems that the price for a set of chromoly axles is the same as the price for a single OEM Birfield. If I'm not going to 37s, will chromoly outlast OEM(lol I know anything outlasting OEM is far and few between)

You all have been amazingly helpful, every LC owner I've met has been a wealth of information. Thank you and Happy Easter to whomever celebrates it.
It is my understanding that chromoly shafts will wear out faster on the front of an 80 series driving on pavement due to the AWD and they will hold up to the abuse of rock crawling better. They just don't like constant highway driving.

Kind of like a file..... The file is harder so it can cut mild steel but if you drop it on the floor the file might shatter. You can drop the mild steel 1,000 times and never damage it but the mild steel will bend much easier than the file.

The oem axles are like mild steel in this horrible analogy lol. Maybe someone else can explain the concept more thoroughly.
 
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Mission Viejo
I'm running 285/75/17 OME 2.5 Heavy and Extra Heavy. All brand new OEM bushings all the way around. Fully kitted with all armor, winch and loaded drawers in the back. This truck drives absolutely amazing on the road. Cruises at 80 and straight as an arrow. Siky smooth road manners...and I've wheeled the snot out of it.

View attachment 2634020
I just replaced all of my bushings as well and just out of curiosity, when you torqued your rear suspension bolts after replacing the bushings did you do it with the vehicle fully loaded with full gas tank and gear in the back, or just with the weight that's always there like bumper, sliders, drawers?
I am also running OME Extra Heavy 868 springs and I am second guessing how much load I had on the springs when I torqued mine last weekend because in retrospect it seems like those bolts should be torqued in the middle of the bushing's rotational travel and not closer to one end of it by not having the vehicle loaded. Those springs are so stiff that I feel like I should have had both my fuel tanks filled and thrown some more gear in there to get the ride height closer to how it is when I'm loaded for a trip instead of tightening them with it sitting a little stink bug in the rear. I still had my drawers, dual swingout bumper, sliders and spare on the back but with 2 fuel tanks empty tanks, one empty water tank, no RTT, and no gear I was probably close to 550 lbs lighter than my normal trip weight and I wonder if that's going to wear the bushings out faster.
 

NorCalFJ100

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I just replaced all of my bushings as well and just out of curiosity, when you torqued your rear suspension bolts after replacing the bushings did you do it with the vehicle fully loaded with full gas tank and gear in the back, or just with the weight that's always there like bumper, sliders, drawers?
I am also running OME Extra Heavy 868 springs and I am second guessing how much load I had on the springs when I torqued mine last weekend because in retrospect it seems like those bolts should be torqued in the middle of the bushing's rotational travel and not closer to one end of it by not having the vehicle loaded. Those springs are so stiff that I feel like I should have had both my fuel tanks filled and thrown some more gear in there to get the ride height closer to how it is when I'm loaded for a trip instead of tightening them with it sitting a little stink bug in the rear. I still had my drawers, dual swingout bumper, sliders and spare on the back but with 2 fuel tanks empty tanks, one empty water tank, no RTT, and no gear I was probably close to 550 lbs lighter than my normal trip weight and I wonder if that's going to wear the bushings out faster.
I'm not sure. I certainly did not think that much into it. I just torqued everything on its own weight. I did not have those accessories in the back at the time, but now I do. No issues this far.
 
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I'm not sure. I certainly did not think that much into it. I just torqued everything on its own weight. I did not have those accessories in the back at the time, but now I do. No issues this far.
Ok cool. It was just such a PITA job that I don't want to have to do it again anytime soon! I'm not going to redo it but I was just curious since you have the same armored truck rated springs I do.
 

Heckraiser

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I haven't read all the responses, but here's my two cents:

Forget about the OME lift. Yes, it's tried and true, but a linear rate spring is just less versatile than dual rate or progressive rate options available these days and limits suspension travel in the event you do decide to get twisted up in a rock section. 2-3 inch lift is plenty, no need to go higher unless you're going for 37's.

I replaced all my suspension bushings with OEM. It was a lot of work, but totally worth it.

Get caster plates (or Delta arms), not caster bushings.

I run 315s mainly for looks (yes, I'll admit it). The truth is the truck will go where you need to go on 32's. I wheeled several seasons on 265/75r16 and got where I needed to go, even showed up a few folks along the way. The 315's improve the ride quality and limit bucking and drama off road. But mainly they just look good. I live in Colorado and do road trips and occasionally haul a trailer and I can tolerate the tire size with stock gears. 4.88's are on the wish list, but they're not necessary.
 

Sonofaskipper

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I'm not sure yet; I've yet to inventory the stock and low-height spring options.

For front -- from what I've seen, Dobinson's progressive or comforts are intriguing.

For rear, I need heavy load -- and the only low-height option I've found is OME. I've run OME and found them harsh under load. I'd love to find another option.
Pretty sure Dobinsons makes a stock height heavy spring.
 

alia176

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I didn't read the whole thread but here's my humble opinion: Get a 3" lift and stick with 285s for overlanding. If you must go to 315s, 3" will da nicely as well. I have Dobinsons 3" heavies and I'm super happy with this height. I have a constant load in the cargo area so I went with linear rate but if you're going to be loading up for the weekends then empty for weekdays, think about progressive/dual/taper/whatever springs. Bushings, hands down stick with OEM. Bend over once, grin and bear it once, then you're done for 20 years. :flipoff2:

Caster correction, this is an interesting thing now that we have the means of lowering the radius mount at the frame end using Radius Arm Mounts - https://eimkeith.com/ram/ contraption. I have caster plates now, which make you notch out the front bushing mounting hole during installation. So I bought a pair of these RAM brackets and went to go install them while I was doing a bushing swap project. Guess what? I now have to weld up the front bushing hole slots in order to accommodate the RAM brackets. I temp abandoned this project as I had other priorities. But, I'd have loved to have the radius arms be at a neutral stance by moving them slightly forward, not bending the front coil springs and not having the front axle housing be in a constant state of mild rotation using the caster plates. I'd have lost couple of inches of ground clearance due to the RAM but I don't rock crawl so I was ok with that. Oh well :meh:

PSA
Be sure to follow the FSM procedure on which nuts and bolts to loosen on your suspension. The flanged hardware has four teeth that can easily be ground flat if you spin them. FYI.

Good luck.
 

leonard_nemoy

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Guess what? I now have to weld up the front bushing hole slots in order to accommodate the RAM brackets

Why, would you have too much caster if you kept the caster plates and ram mounts. Depending on your tire size you could go up to 5*+ caster and probably be just fine.
 

alia176

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Why, would you have too much caster if you kept the caster plates and ram mounts. Depending on your tire size you could go up to 5*+ caster and probably be just fine.
Yes, too much caster and defeats the purpose of having the RAM brackets in the first place. Remember what I said about having a "neutral" stance for the front axle housing using the RAM brackets? The caster plates aren't designed to keep your front axle housing in a neutral stance as it's always preloading the housing with a slight rotation. You can see the bow of the front springs with caster plates and the front inside coil bump stops rub on the inside of the front coils due to this bowing.

I have plenty of caster with the caster plates and a 3" lift. The RAM brackets would provide too much caster for my needs.
 

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