SOA vs. Lift Springs

whats better for my application?

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Dec 8, 2003
Hello all, first post so take it easy on me. I have been reading posts here for about 3 months, you guys know your stuff. I am replacing some add-a-leaf springs some farmer put on my fj-40 before I bought it and putting some 33's or 35's on. I am lookin' to get about 4-5 inches of lift. This thing's gotta get me to school and work too, but I still want it to kick ass offroad :slap:
So, the standing poll is, what's the best option for my application? I know a guy who has done the shackle reversal before who can help me weld everything on, but I have heard the SOA makes for the best ride on and off road. Either way, its gonna be better than the POS rustbuckets I got on there now. Any input is great, I'm 50-50 right now and I have a week to decide. Thanks all,
:beer: Big Mike :beer:
Why only a week to decide? This is one desicion I would not rush.
Have you read the tech articles on both SUA and SOA suspension? Do you feel capable of performing both or either lift? That will be a deciding factor, assuming you are performing the lift yourself.
Woody tends to stick with the figure of $1000-$2000 for a well done SOA depending on how much work is self-done. On the other hand Hi^C did his fot $16.
What are your capabilities, and how much dough and time have you got to spend on this. (How much down time can you have)
Find another cruiser and do both!! :D

On my FJ, I am ditching my now broken 2.5" lift in favour of a 4" lift. I am going to stick with the 33s. This makes the most sense for me. It's quick, easy, cheap, and will give me great flex. I love being able to stuff a tire in a wheel well under full compression and have nothing rub. Locked at both ends with a winch, it's a tough combination to beat.

I am also building a SOA cruiser that is going on 38-42 tires. For myself, it wasn't worth the effort to have a SOA rig on 35s, and I didn't want a DD with tires bigger then 35s. It's going to be a big rig. I felt for the time and effort to do the SOA I might as well go big and do it right. This may mean more $$$ then you average SOA.

It's a tough choice......
SOA. Superior articulation. Excellent ride quality.

Read Chenoweths write up in the tech links. It explains the design theories involved. May be the deciding factor for you as it was for me.

I went with the SOA and love it. It out articulates any spring lift I've seen and the vehicle height is high enough to give the needed clearance without being so tall I worry about rolling over.
I had the same questions you had and came to the following conclusion in a previous thread : Topic: SOA vs Lift Ratings and Reviews (What is the Best Value!)

This was the summary I came up with at the time:
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.

I decided for my situation to go with a lift. I havent done that yet. I currently am running 33 inch tires with no lift (cut fender wells). I have no plans to get any bigger tires. Hope this helps!
Thanks for your help in this decision guys. I am really leaning towards the SOA after hearing what yoo had to say and after looking at a few of the tech pages. I don't know how comfortable I feel about cutting and turning the axles, but hopefully I can find someone to do it for me. I live in Portland OR, anybody know someone who can cut & turn them for me around here? I am gonna wait till this summer to do it now I think, gotta save up some more green.

Let me know if there's anyone in Portland or Eugene who can cut and turn those axles, and its SOA for sure.

:beer:Big Mike :beer:
there is another way besides the cut and turn to do the soa. flipping the springs lenghening the wheel base and retaining stock pinion angle works too. Most of the soa's up in my neck of the woods have been done that way. Your biggest expense will be lenghthening the driveshafts, bying shocks and having the welding done if you dont do that yourself.
My SOA is NOT cut and turn. I did it in a hurry figuring to redo it later. Well, it works so good, I haven't bothered to mess with it. I didn't even change my spring configuration. I just clearanced my U-joints.

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