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SOA vs Lift Ratings and Reviews

Discussion in '40- & 55-Series Tech' started by Romer, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. Romer

    Romer fatherofdaughterofromer Moderator

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    I have been debating between doing a lift and getting an SOA. The people in this forum clearly like the SOA better. I have heard it gives you a softer ride and allows greater flexibility when four wheeling. I have gone to the tech page and learned about turninh knuckles and extending brake lines. So clearly from a technical point of view the SOA is superiou and also more work.
    I would like to look at it from the Best value point of view. Here is the situation. You can do a lift (2" or 4" you pick) with all new components yourself for $700. Or, you can hire some one to do the SOA for $3000-$3500.

    Is the SOA really worth 4 times the cost? I equate this to $200 front center Ice seats at the Hockey game. yeah there better, but I don't think there worth the extra $150 a seat from sitting at the front of the second level. That's just me. As an engineer I deal with quanitative data. So I am going to set up a 10 question evaluation and when I get sufficient replies to make a statistical rating, I will post them and try and keep them updated.

    For questions 1-6, rate each answer 1-5 with 5 being best. Feel free to add comments and I will also compile those.

    For #1-4, A brand new Stock Style Suspension is equal to a 3
    For #1-4, A 20 year old Stock Style Suspension is equal to a 2

    Question #1 How would you rate the ride on the highway for a Lifted (2 or 4") FJ40 with soft shocks? 1 to 5

    Question #2 How would you rate the ride on the highway for a SOA modified FJ40? 1 to 5

    Question #3 How would you rate the flexibility for off Road driving for a lifted FJ40? 1 to 5

    Question #4 How would you rate the flexibility for off road driving fo an SOA modified FJ40? 1 to 5

    Question #5 - What would you say the value of an Lift on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is keep the stock set-up?

    Question #6- What would you say the value of an SOA on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is keep the stock set-up?

    Question #7 - How much did you pay for your lift/SOA? please specify which you got and if you did it yourself.

    Question #8 - Now that you have completed your SOA or Lift (specify which) would you do it again or switch to the other?

    Question #9 - What do you think is the number 1 advantage of an SOA vs lift?

    Question #10 - What do you think the number 1 advantage of a lift vs an SOA?

    I promise to compile the results.
     
  2. The Dude

    The Dude

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    [quote author=romer link=board=1;threadid=7353;start=msg61363#msg61363 date=1068505192]
    You can do a lift (2" or 4" you pick) with all new components yourself for $700. Or, you can hire some one to do the SOA for $3000-$3500. [/quote]

    This is a crazy start IMO.

    a complete quality kit (Belton includes: bushing, greasable anti-inversion shackles, new pins, shocks ,steering stabilizer, u-bolts and springs) is $1600CAD

    Axle turning ($400), driveshafts($700), high steer ($700), axle rebuild ($200) brakelines($100), shocks ($400), good mig welder to do the rear perches yourself($1000) and $100 for oil/lube/misc is $3600CAD

    plus you get to keep the welder, you get high steer, an axle rebuild and use no oil/lube/misc so take off $2000CAD

    and you're back to $1600CAD

    I don't think it is an apple to apple comparison.


    Question #1 3

    Question #2 4

    Question #3 3

    Question #4 5

    Question #5 5

    Question #6 5

    Question #7 See above, I am in the process of having both

    Question #8 yes and yes (sorry ;) )

    Question #9 hieght gained and ride quality when done right.

    Question #10 ease of install

    My good friend and wheeling partner has a SOA FJ40/45 hybrid. I wheel with a 2.5 lifted FJ40 and am creating a monster SOA BJ40/42 hybrid. You have to look at the wheeling the truck is going to do and then pick what works for you. Or do what I did and get one of each!! :p
     
  3. woody

    woody unhelpful spotter Staff Member Admin

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    3

    4

    3

    5

    2

    4

    Dodge perches ($20), turned knuckles ($150), knuckle rebuild kit ($100), front 11" Woods shaft ($475), rear CV High angle shaft ($375), AllPro Histeer ($200), heims and rods ($100), FJ55 spring packs ($100), shocks ($120), brake lines ($50), labor ($0) = $1690

    Ran a 4" SUA skyjacker for 2 years, few complaints, but as my trail selection difficulty increased, my ability to complete the trail succesfully decreased, so the next logical step was a more capable suspension. LOVE the SOA, but links are next on the list (I like to have projects as much as anything)

    ability to keep tires on the ground for stability/traction

    on road handling, ease of installation.
     
  4. Romer

    Romer fatherofdaughterofromer Moderator

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    Just a reply to Big Blue.

    Skyjacker 2.5" lift kit at 4Wheelparts.com is $550
    Greasable shacles and Bushings is another $160 from them

    Thats how I came up with the $700.
     
  5. Romer

    Romer fatherofdaughterofromer Moderator

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    Thanks Woody and Big Blue for responding.
    I checked with some mechanics who specialize in FJ40s and talked to a few other people. Taking that along with the response above here is how I would summarize it. Let me know if I got it wrong.

    You want to get an SOA when you are a serious off roader tackling chanllenging trails that require greater flexibility. The SOA will give you an overall softer ride and will also provide at least a 6" lift on its own. It will provide much greater ground clearnace. Plan on spending between $1600 and $3400 depending upon how much of the work you can do yourself. The SOA is harder to do yourself and requires more skill to modify axels, brakelines and potentially drivetrains and steering columns. Probably more than I mentioned. If you plan on having it done at a shop, expect to pay at least $2800.

    You want to get a lift when you are looking to improve your ride due to tired shocks and springs and you are not looking to 4 wheel in situations that require the greater flexibility or ground clearance that a standard FJ40 provides. Obvioulsy a lift will provide some improved ground clearance and the added height might also be the reason for getting it. The lift is much easier to install and can be done without much mechanical knowledge. A lift kit without new shackles runs about $560 (Sky jacker) and the cost can increase for new schakles (recommended) by another $140 - $180 and pins. Also, better shocks than the basic shocks included in the kit are a popular upgrade. These are easy to change later (4 bolts per shock). Plan on spending at least $750 tp $800 if you are going to do it yourself, or $1200-$1600 if you have a shop do it. It was also recommended to have the steering realigned to center ($75) after performing the lift.

    The two mechanics I talked too said they did not think there would be much difference on the highway between them, other than the SOA being higher and more noticable in the wind.

    Here is my situation. I am to old (42) to go out and do the aggressive 4 wheeling, did that in my 20's in a 73 FJ40 in both Arizona dn Colorado. My idea of a good day now is to take some challenging (to my kids who come with me) trails into the mountains. I then hike around with the kids while drinking a beer and smoking a stoogie. I also plan on giving my daughter my 99 GMC when she gets her license next April and plan on making the FJ40 my daily ( 20 miles highway 1- way) driver through the fall when I will get a "work car" for myself.
    Looking at my situation, I decided that the lift is the way to go. I plan on doing it myself over Xmas. I do not have the skills to do the SOA and would have to send it to the shop. The lift will satisfy my needs based on the type of driving I do. I am going to buy the Sky jacker lift from 4Wheel.com and also replace the shackels and pins. I may elect to upgrade the shocks next year. I may have noticed the improvement that the SOA provides, but I doubt I will notice it $2200 worth for my type of driving. Obviously, that would be lower if I did some of the work.

    Anyone see any wholes in my line of thinking? Sorry if it was a little long. Thought some one else might benifit from my thoughts.
     
  6. devo

    devo

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    Hey Romer that was a great idea on how to "value" a soa vs lift. I been having the same quandry myself. Thanks Woody and Big Blue for your insight.
    My two questions: (my soa will be on a 60)
    1) As a daily driver how inconvienient is a soa to get in and out of ?
    2) What about the tip over factor? (Tippy the Behemoth comes to mind!)
     
  7. sambudo

    sambudo

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    i HAVE BEEN DECIDING WHICH WAY TO GO FOR A LONG TIME. FROM THE RESEARCH I'VE DONE, I WOULD SAY SOA ALL THE WAY. DEPENDING WHERE YOU LIVE YOU CAN FIND SHOPS TO DO SOA CONV. UNDER $2K. MY SELF, I THINK I WILL TRY MY SELF. YOU CAN BY KITS FROM http://www.proffittscruisers.com/soa_kit.html FOR AS LITTLE AS $495. AND DO IT YOURSELF. I CAN'T ANSWER ANY OF YOUR QUESTIONS, SINCE I AM NOT THERE YET. GOOD LUCK.
     
  8. Archengine

    Archengine

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    Romer, good thread. Personally if your bringing your kids out for a fun 4 wheeling trip, on moderately technical trails, I would suggest getting a good used lift kit. Hows that for value? I have Rancho springs, and when they were new were VERY stiff, leaving me dissapointed in my articulation. After 6 years of having them, I pulled them apart, sandblasted them, tefloned them, and removed the bottom small spring leave. Now they flex very well, no SOA, but damn good for the money. They stuff more than I want, and when I picked up a front tire with a forklift, I cleared 34 inches per side. Not bad for SUA. And thats with as much weight reduction as possible, including alum tub and cowl, and no hard top. More weight would have kept the rear tires on the ground for an even higher amount. Now I feel my front shocks are limiting the downward drop. If I had to replace them, I would look for a used kit rather than new, even if they cost the same. Try to get a lift pack from someone going SOA, and get their 2.5 or 4" packs, clean em, teflon line them, and remove a leave, get good shocks and take the good amount of money saved and buy some nice tires, and a winch over the cost of SOA. Or find a used set of SOA on this or other boards from someone who knew what they were doing. Much cheaper than going and getting it done. Things I have seen used over the past few months: several sets of 'broken in' leaves, usually about half price or less. Also, a rear link setup with quarter elliptical springs, a full kit, requiring very little custom work, definately something you could do if you could install leaves, going for $900. I've also seen 2-3 SOA setups for around a grand. Or do a buggy spring setup in the rear, that will really help. And for ride quality, my truck is no longer a bone jarring ride, rather smooth actually. Definately not coil sprung, but smooth even over my half mile long gravel driveway. When I put on my hardtop, It should smooth out even more. Then when I get my spare tire and rack on, it will help again. I'm very pleased with this setup, and I think too many people give up on leave springs before trying to max them out. They won't flex or ride smoothly if their new or rusted together. Personally, I like a 4" lift with cut fenders and 36" tires rather than the tall shaky cruiser. It's my daily driver and sees road trips every year, so I like it to be stable. In this configuration, it corners VERY well, with very little body lean, although my 14.5 inch wide tires certainly help. Sorry about the long winded message, but I hope this helps. later
     
  9. Romer

    Romer fatherofdaughterofromer Moderator

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    Thanks for the input. The reason I was leaning towards Sky Jacker is that I heard they were not as stiff. I heard that the Ranchos were very stiff and to stay away from them. I don't know about the Hell Creek though.

    One thing a mechanic told me is that when you get an SOA it gives you a 6" lift even with the old stock springs. This will require a modification to the steering system. So much so it would be only a few extra dollars to do power steering.

    So You could do the SOA for under 2K, but the steering changes would be another $800 to $1500. I don't know if this is true, only what he told me.
     
  10. hammerhead

    hammerhead

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    IMHO Power steering is the single most important mod that can be done to a Landcruiser no matter what suspension system you decide on.
     
  11. theferg

    theferg

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    Sorry if this messes up your data, but mine's for an FJ60. But the differences between lift vs. SOA between an FJ40 should be similar to the differences between lift vs. SOA of an FJ60.


    [quote author=romer link=board=1;threadid=7353;start=msg61363#msg61363 date=1068505192]
    Question #1 How would you rate the ride on the highway for a Lifted (2 or 4") FJ60 with soft shocks?
    [/quote]

    5


    4


    3


    5


    3


    5


    This is for SOA.
    Dodge spring perches: $16 for 4;
    Used stock springs: $100;
    Add-a-leaf (removed mulltiple stock leafs and added one leaf to each spring): $80 for 4;
    Used longer shackles: $10 for 4;
    Front axle cut-n-turn: $100;
    Front axle rebuild kit: $80
    Custom High-Steer (from OTH): $75
    Brake line extensions: $50 for two
    Welding, wrenching, and other labor: done myself or by buddies
    Shocks: $85 ($60 for two new front ones, $25 for two used rear ones)
    Washers, bolts, and nuts: $20
    Spray Paint: $30
    Tires: $800 (this probably shouldn't count, but it sorta does)


    SOA--would depend on what I wanted to use the vehicle for. Sometimes a 2.5 inch lift rig could be a lot more use to me than my SOA rig. But since I only get one, it's SOA for sure and I wouldn't go back.


    Ride Quality. Good quality smooth ride on road, excellent flexible, stable ride off-road.


    Ease of install.


    ---------------------------------------
    -Ferg-
     
  12. theferg

    theferg

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    [quote author=devo link=board=1;threadid=7353;start=msg63697#msg63697 date=1068963226]
    1) As a daily driver how inconvienient is a soa to get in and out of?[/quote]

    Depends on how tall you are and how able you are. I'm 6 feet even and I have to sorta hop up into my SOA'd FJ60.


    The COG is very much so raised on an SOA vehicle compared to 2.5 inch lifted. But things can be done to help this such as small amount of back spacing on the wheels and wider rims and tires. Or even going to full-width axles. Not to mention good driving.

    -Ferg-
     
  13. Romer

    Romer fatherofdaughterofromer Moderator

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    [quote author=hammerhead link=board=1;threadid=7353;start=msg63849#msg63849 date=1069015258]
    IMHO Power steering is the single most important mod that can be done to a Landcruiser no matter what suspension system you decide on.
    [/quote]

    Now thats an interesting line of discussion Hammerhead raised. So a power steering is more important than a lift or an SOA. I have very old springs and shocks and thought doing SOMETHING with the suspension should be number 1.
     
  14. fsusteve

    fsusteve

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    It should be part of the entire process, assuming you're doing this to run bigger tires. Much as some type of HY-Steer system should really be included in a SOA. When you change something such as suspension, other items will also be affected and need modification (extended brake lines, steering geometry, driveshafts).
     
  15. Archengine

    Archengine

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    Ahhh. I run 36" tires with manual. Works fine. Sometimes I wish I had power steering, and eventually I will. But if I had 33 or even 31" tires, I would prefer manual. Gives a great feel for the road. 36 are pushing it, but I only regret not having power steering when turning around on a trail, and when parrallel parking. How often is that? Not too often. But then again I did tear a ligament in my arm from that damn truck when I hit a curb while playing around in a parking lot. Do what you like, but power steering is over rated.
     
  16. Romer

    Romer fatherofdaughterofromer Moderator

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    [quote author=fsusteve link=board=1;threadid=7353;start=msg63933#msg63933 date=1069030004]
    It should be part of the entire process, assuming you're doing this to run bigger tires.
    [/quote]

    I am currently running 33x15x9.5's from BF Goodrich. I just bought them and see no reason to get bigger tires. I would like to get power steering, but I think I will keep replacing the old rusted suspension as the number 1 priority. Thanks for the input though. It's the sharing of all these different perspecitives that helps.