New member - BJ74 suspension questions

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Joined
Jan 6, 2022
Messages
34
Location
USA
Hi all, I have been reading this forum for a while and it’s my first post. The information on the forums here are great and helpful. I have a 1987 BJ74 with 13BT, a LJ71 with 2LT and a 1992 4Runner with 5L motor. Planning to get a 76 series with 1HZ later this year.

It’s about time to replace my stock suspension for my BJ74. I have searched the forums but still need some suggestions from you guys. It would be good if I can get an extra lifted height for about 2-2.5” but it’s not a must. But since I am changing it, may as well upgrade it. That’s what I think at the moment. I drive mainly in town but a few times a month, I need to drive in forest roads (muddy sand roads). The back is usually empty but occasionally I will put 100kg of things.

And being able to purchase the suspension parts in USA is highly preferable. So, should I go for the OME shocks and leaf springs? Will the ride be a big difference compared to the stock suspension? It’s not easy to find factory parts in my country. I have to ship from USA to here usually. The shipping from Australia to here is difficult and costly.

Thanks in advance for your comments and help.
 
There also Ironman. Thats what I have on my 73. I assume all suspension kits are going to be better than a 30+ year old stock suspension (if yours is still original) as far as ride comfort.

edit: here it is side by side with my Tacoma. The Tacoma has a OME 2.5" Dakar heavy lift. The Bj73 has a 2" Ironman
Untitled.jpg
 
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Yes you are right. It’s still the original stock suspension. I am leaning towards the Dobinsons. And I am trying to research the differences between the regular Dobinson shocks vs the IMS to see if the IMS is worth the extra money for my use.

And I will also research on the Ironman.
 
There also Ironman. Thats what I have on my 73. I assume all suspension kits are going to be better than a 30+ year old stock suspension (if yours is still original) as far as ride comfort.

edit: here it is side by side with my Tacoma. The Tacoma has a OME 2.5" Dakar heavy lift. The Bj73 has a 2" Ironman
View attachment 2886263

Your cars are clean. Pretty nice.
 
I am a pretty good internet shopper, plenty research, hate spending. I looked into getting my original suspension re-sprung, with Oz wages, it was close to brand new springs from dobinsons.
So, I can't complain about the dobinsons system and you are not forced to get stuff you don't want in a kit. They have been helpful and knowledgeable, such as hjz75 rear springs fit hj75's.
I recall ome springs freight cost prohibitive.

If you really want to cheap out, there is some impressive pakistan blacksmiths re-springing leaves on youtubby!
 
like this
I am a pretty good internet shopper, plenty research, hate spending. I looked into getting my original suspension re-sprung, with Oz wages, it was close to brand new springs from dobinsons.
So, I can't complain about the dobinsons system and you are not forced to get stuff you don't want in a kit. They have been helpful and knowledgeable, such as hjz75 rear springs fit hj75's.
I recall ome springs freight cost prohibitive.

If you really want to cheap out, there is some impressive pakistan blacksmiths re-springing leaves on youtubby!
!
 
I have OME springs & shocks installed. It is said to give 2.5 inch lift, but it's actually more. Together with the sag of the original suspension it's even more.
Here are the details and a pic:
Post in thread 'May I introduce me: Felde and his 1985 BJ73' May I introduce me: Felde and his 1985 BJ73 - https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/may-i-introduce-me-felde-and-his-1985-bj73.1225385/post-13397702
I believe the actual manufacturer of the springs and shocks is not that important, unless it has some reputation.
It's far more important and difficult to get the right setup for your application identified.
I found my setup to be a bit oversprung in the back as I do not carry much weight. The front is OK due to the heavy winch (steel cable).
It's great offroad but a bit hard onroad. I'm undecided whether that is to blame to the OME in particular or the leafe springs in general 🤔
You should finalize and load your truck and then put it on a scale. Get the right springs & shocks identified according to axle weights then.
When it comes to identifying the right springs, a good support by the vendor is very helpful. They know available options and feasible combinations.
I did not have any support, causing me some trouble as I couldn't even figure out how to correctly install the springs, and compensate the lift on LSPV and swaybar. Took me a while to get it all right.
Cheers Ralf
 
Thanks a lot for the replies so far.

It’s very difficult for me to access to a weigh scale. Big trucks don’t even need to go onto any scale here. But I was talking to the guys at Dobinsons and I mentioned to them about my setup. They either have the options of choosing stock weight or the added weight capacity. And they suggested the added weight option because I have the steel front and back bumpers. And I asked them about the differences between their regular shocks vs IMS. Here’s the response.

“The difference is that the Twing tube is more like an entry level suspension, similar to the OEM but 15 to 20 % stronger and more capable.
The IMS is a monotube shock, better valving and more comfortable, and the MRR is a high performance suspension capable of being adjusted under your requirements and needs.
The IMS and MRR are fully rebuildable and revalvable.”

I think I will go with the IMS kits. I would like to ask you guys about your experiences on putting shackles on your 70 series. I know it’s going to give a little lift. But it may affect the longevity and also the stability, at least from what I read so far. So I am interested to know if you guys would recommend to put the shackles that come with the kits or I should just don’t bother with the shackles at all.
 
By the way part of the reason that I am leaning towards Dobinsons is because the logistics is so much easier.
 
@acto74 I've heard good things about Dobinsons, especially their IMS and up shock line. I don't think you would have any issues with that.

I believe dobinsons also has stock height shackles so that wouldn't give any lift. I would check with them and see which options they have.

I also would suggest a little over stock weight capacity because you never know what you will be adding later. I wouldn't go overboard but a little over won't hurt.
 
You can't go wrong with either OME or Dobinson's... both quality products. In fact I have a mishmash of Dobinsons, OME and terrain tamer parts in my current lift.

If your current suspension is OEM, then you should see a considerable ride improvement as I suspect your current bushings are likely welded to the pins...
 
In general I agree with @Rigster. Any new suspension will make a lot of difference vs a saggy OEM.

If you have a good support by Dobinson and have other advantages like easy shipping: Go for that.
(I actually went for the OMEs because of regulatory obligations specific to Germany, which neither Dobinson nor Ironman could easily fulfill).

The additional weight of the bumpers is a valid argument. Questions like this being ask is exactly what I ment saying 'good supplier support to find the right setup is crucial'.

Regarding shocks: The IMS are certainly the better choice. The MRRs would IMHO be required only if you have significant changes in load (e.g with an occasional fitted camper cabin). I don't think this applies to your mode of use? At the end of the day it's all about $$$$.
Have the supplier of shackles and springs to specify the length of the shocks. That must match together.

Regarding shackles and bushes: Go for quality. I recommend anti-inversion shackles and greasable shackle pins and high quality bushes. Terrain Tamer certainly has excellent quality here, but I think also Dobinson can supply good stuff. Again: Things must match together.
Cheers Ralf
PS: We would appreciate a before / after pic then 😁
 
One small point , advantage that dobinsons has is that they supply protector nuts for grease nipples on the greaseable shackles. The old design of straight rubber sitting in the shackle eyelets is a guaranteed rust zone. Greaseable shackles are a very good idea. Even then, it is good to take them off and clean between the eyelet and bush, lots of gunk gets picked up there.

I don't know much, but I installed new anti-inversion shackles and heavy duty springs front and back myself, in the driveway. No problem, all learning and satisfying. The investment of equipment and time is cheaper to me in the long run, rather than paying someone else for which I would be none the wiser.
Try not to let the rear axle move too much to get the spring perchs lined up with the springs. I had to use a ratchet cord to pull the rear axle forward a tad.

No business would clean and repaint like I would do for myself.
If you get yourself a manual you can do most of it yourself, they are excellent.
I think society in general is being steered to not giving repairs a go, so we depend on services.
Depends on your courage, determination and wallet. I love understanding my tojo intimately as possible.
 
I will order the whole IMS kits which includes anti reverse shackles, greasable shackle pins, bushings, steering damper and U bolts etc. it will take at least 1-2 months to arrive to my place though. The shipping will take a long time to my place. It sucks but that’s how it is. I will post before/after pics when it’s done. Thank you again for all your inputs.
 
Yes I will be working with a friend who’s going to help me together with the installation and other things. He has much more experiences and skills than me. So I will try to learn along the way. Most importantly he has most of the tools needed. Haha.
 
I often order ome stuff from amayama, japan to oz. Shipping is very reasonable for small stuff, but since covid, 2-3 months wait is fairly typical. I think slow supply shall become the way it is, prices shall go up too.
your stuff shall be more expensive to get again by the time you receive them!
 
Great. Glad we could help you making a sound decision.
When it comes to the install and some more advice is required: Just ask. There are many people on the forum who did this job before.
One more thing: Take measurements and make a plan for the items that need to be extended or adjusted due to the lift.
Usually that's...
- Soft brakelines to the axles,
- Axle breather hoses (if attached to the frame),
- Swaybar mounts
- LSPV sensing spring (mounting bracket for the sensing spring needs to be rised by the amount of the lift. The LSPV needs adjustment after the lift.)
You should have your wheel alignment checked after the install.

Edit: Handbrake will need adjustment.
Have fun!
Cheers
Ralf
 
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Great advice. I will take some photos during the installation processes.
 

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