Questions About Lift Kits & Shocks for 1970 FJ40

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Our 1970 FJ40 looks like the rear end is sagging a bit. It also appears to have a slight lean toward the passenger side. It has 16" steel wheels with Goodyear Wrangler MT 75R16's. I assume that our leaf springs are original and could use replacing. I have done a lot of reading on the FAQ and Tech link pages regarding lift kits and have a few questions for those willing to kindly share their advice/experiences. Seriously, how hard of a project is this for a novice working by himself? I see that the most common lifts are 2" and 4". Is there a consensus for mostly city and some occasional light off road? Cruiser Corps offers a OME Kit 2" light load with shackle and pins and steering dampener. They also offer a heavy load. Seems like the heavy load is overkill for our situation, but would like input. The kit includes OME shocks. Would it be better to get the shocks separately and purchase Bilstein? If folks have had bad experiences with installing these kits or shocks or good experiences with others, I would really appreciate any feedback.
As always, thank you.
 
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Not too hard given you have the right tools...proper jack and jack stands are a must.

Hardest part is removing the original stuff. Plan on just cutting the U-bolts off. Bushings can be a pain as well and easier to just remove them with fire.
Other than that it's straight forward.
 
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I use an older skyjacker kit, 2.5” lift with Rancho adjustable shocks. It rides pretty stiff. If you use stock shackles in the rear, you’ll still have a sag… add 1” shackle length in the rear to keep it level. And double check drive safe angle.

In the front, with a 2.5 lift, plan on 2 degree shims to restore caster. I wouldn’t add longer shackles in the front.

I still run 31” tires. But for street an mild off road, I think you can get away with 33’s.
 

Purpleaction

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Just helped a friend install an OME lift on his 76 40. First time either of us did a lift. Accomplished in a weekend. Definitely better to have 2 people. Hardest part was getting some of the spring pins out.
 
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Just helped a friend install an OME lift on his 76 40. First time either of us did a lift. Accomplished in a weekend. Definitely better to have 2 people. Hardest part was getting some of the spring pins out.
I've heard the same thing about the hardest part being removal of the old pins. Which OME kit did you help install and did you also install the OME shocks?
 
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Im installing a new suspension on my 1970 this weekend (weather pending) and will post about it in my thread. I just ordered 2.5" springs and bushings from Skyjacker. Made in the USA and for a reasonable price. Going Bilstein in the front and more OE style softer shocks in the back from KYB. I am pulling out the previous owner's 4" Rough Country lift and shocks which is very hard and has terrible shackle angles, like one wrong bump and they will invert. The fronts are not terrible and I thought about getting different springs for the rear, but I have no need to be that high when 2.5" will clear 33s.

One thing to note when ordering shocks is on our early 40s the lower rear shock mount is on the axle, not the spring plate. They get a Warrior mount with a shock mount in the article above... I may do that. TBD

If you wanted to save some money it looks like Ironman America is cheaper and was having a 25% off Labor Day sale on their springs, but I don't have any experience with them.
 

cruisermatt

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With your uses i would put light add-a-leafs out back, and then all new bushings, shackles and u-bolts, some 2-degree caster wedges up front and Bilstein shocks all around. I think you’d be very happy with that unless you want it to be taller for looks.

I’m doing a similar refresh on @Fj40surfer 72 suspension here pretty soon. :cool:
 
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I have a few questions for you to think about. Do you want/need a lift or are you looking to get a smoother/easier ride? Are you thinking about your rig as it sits today or have you considered what other mods you might add further down the road that will add more weight? Have you considered that even with new springs you still might end up with a lean to one side or the other?

The reason I mention these questions is, higher is not always better but sometimes it is necessary. If I looked up the correct tire size, LT265/75R16, those are E load rated tires so you ride might be a little harsh. A lift is not necessarily going to make it ride smoother. There are options you can try to smooth the ride without doing a lift. You didn't mention what type of driving you're intending to do with your rig and that can affect spring selection.

Now I have OME lift light springs under my '73 because 33x12.5R/15LT DuraTrac's needed a lift to prevent tires from rubbing the rear fender wells even with cutouts. I was questioning light or heavy but new my V-8 was lighter than the 6 so I'd be OK even after I added my 8274. If I had the 6 then the heavy's would have been a better choice. I wanted the ability to adjust my suspension so went with Rancho 9000 series shocks. Kits that include shocks are middle of the road best guess for the springs and default vehicle weight. Running light with loads might benefit with lighter shock setting. Running fully loaded or fast off-road may be better with firmer shocks so adjustable made better sense for me.

Don't just think about today because tomorrow may make your tomorrow purchase/decision make you change springs again.
 

brooklyn

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Would it be better to get the shocks separately and purchase Bilstein? — 100% on the OME and bilstein.

I have the 2.5” and it’s perfect for City and some off road. Too tall presents garage clearance issues. Had to modify my garage door for mine.

Also — time and money. I would cost out someone installing for you and the time and money (tools) to do it yourself.

Good luck
 
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I'm using OE style replacement shocks in the back because I want it to be soft back there. I reached out to KYB to see what they had that was longer than the stock replacements but the same spec otherwise and they recommended something, I think they were actually for a T100. They are pretty inexpensive vs other options so if it doesn't work out I wont be out even the cost of one Bilstein. From another thread on Pro Comps (which I considered but could not find confirmation that they are still made by THK):
Dave (DSB345), I recommend something very velocity sensitive (like Bilsteins) for the front, and something very soft for the rear (like Doetsch-Tech MV-12's, that are no longer available). Nothing is happening at your rear end, no engine weight/no pounding, so the softer the shock the better the ride on and off road.
I didnt order OME springs because my biggest concern with the Rough Country springs has been shackle angles and there are some OME photos that dont look too good and comments on mud about the need for anti inversion shackles. Given Skyjacker was cheaper and made in the USA, that is why I am going that way.

If you couldnt tell, Ive been giving this a lot of thought lately haha
 
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Leaf spring lift kit is easy. You just need some Jack stands ( 2 big for the truck, 2 small for the axle. A good 2 or 3 ton jack. A hammer, a pry bar and start replacing one side at a time. I always start with the rear. You will need to remove both leafs per side or it is hard to get everything to line up. Mount the frame (solid side first then set the axle in the leaf. Then mount the shackle side. Shocks are self explanatory. Do not buy the rough country 4 inch lift. It is definitely rough. I went with the 2.5 inch procomp leafs with extended shackles, I think they are the same as sky skyjackers. They are soft and provide the proper shackle angle. I ordered the Bilstein 5125s last night. I think it will be a good combination.
 

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