Steering / suspension issue(s) (1 Viewer)

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You said your tire size are on 18 inch rims?? Do you have some aftermarket wheels with a crazy backspacing that has drastically changed the scrub angle?

It's a pain in the ass and can become a little dangerous for a home wrench monkey who only has a jack and jack stands, but it may be very telling if you can raise the front of the truck up by jacking it up under the frame. This will get the front axle to hang down under it's own weight, and then a loose bushing will show itself more readily. Also, have you looked at the frame where the steering gear bolts on to it? Also look at the welded connection at the frame where the upper end of the pan hard is attached. I had cracks in both that had to be rewelded.
The PO put aftermarket wheels on it with these huge tires on it. Not sure what it did with the scrub angle.

But what you described is exactly what I did. Initially I found the TREs and steering damper. So I changed that. Last night I saw the stabilizer bushing on the DS was worn.

I need to change the caster, but struggling with finding the right option. I have a 2'' lift. Not sure whether to just go with OME bushings (and finding a place that can push them in for me) or plates. The amount of lift, the availability, etc is what I am hunting now.
 
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With a helper, and with the engine running--just turn the steering wheel back and forth while parked on pavement. Not lock-to-lock, just like 1/2 turn each direction, repeatedly. Look at everything you can see under the vehicle while the helper is turning the wheel. The force of the power steering will let you easily see motion where there should be none...especially in all your steering linkage, steering box and mount, and panhard bar.
I did that initially and found the TRE and damper issue. Will do that again today.

I am also considering putting stock wheels on (from FJ80 #2) to see how it will impact handling.

Still need to deal with caster though. Tried to see if there is a shop here in Charlotte that could sell me a solution, but no luck.
 
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Don't worry about finding things specific to your supposed lift height. Go by your alignment data. You can use anywhere From like 3 - 6 degrees. IME it's hard to go too much with positive caster. But a little bit the wrong way sucks.
 

leonard_nemoy

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Your steering issues are absolutely being caused by your negative caster. Other bushings could also be adding to the problem but it is going to be 90% related to the caster. Chances are the bushings in your control arms are also worn out. If your not doing a lot of off-roading and you can do the work yourself than I would recommend new oem frame to control arm bushings with new caster correction bushings on the other end of the control arms.

I just installed the Icon 4.6 degree bushings and they made a big difference in the steering on my rig, no more automatic lane changes when I hit a bump in the pavement. I only went with bushings because I am on a short term budget and I had all the resources to do the work on my own. Like others have mentioned, if you have to pay a shop labor to do the bushings than it would probably be better to just get aftermarket arms from the Delta guy. The shop will probably ruin the bushings or throw the instructions away and install them wrong. If you order the arms I believe they come with new OEM bushings installed and they are not hard to swap by yourself. I think you only need a 22mm and 24mm wrenches/sockets.

There are 3 secret tips that will make swapping the arms a breeze if you decide to go this route.


1. Loosen all 6 bolts on both arms, remove only one arm at a time. Install the new arm with the frame side bolt 1st, than install the axle side bolt furthest to the front 2nd. Because you will have to essentially rotate the axle to get all 3 holes lined up this is where it can get tricky. Once the rear most and front most bolt are installed and nutted loosely on the new arm, go ahead and remove the old arm on the other side from the frame only. With the old arm disconnected at the frame and still bolted to the axle, you can use the old arm as a lever to rotate the axle and align the 3rd(middle) bolt hole in the new arm.

2. You can also use a decent ratchet strap to go from the axle to frame along with a floor Jack under the new arms to help align the bolt holes if the previous trick doesn't work. And don't forget the spud wrench or something similar to help line up holes.

3. Wait until the arms are swapped with all 6 bolts installed before beer #1. Than you can have a few and torque them up.
 

Box Rocket

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Caster looks to be the main issue, like everyone has already pointed out. Least expensive solution is caster plates but will require a bit of grinding on the axle brackets. If you can replace them yourself, then bushings are an inexpensive option but most don't last long especially in a rig used off-road. Aftermarket arms will also solve the caster issue as long as the arms you buy have the desired caster built into them.

I read through the thread and didn't see anyone mention this, so I will. You need to do a close inspection of the frame around your steering box and the front panhard bracket on the frame. Cracks can develop here and can result in steering behavior just like you described. Been there, done that. If there are cracks, they will need to be cleaned up and welded. Also make sure the panhard bolts/nuts are TIGHT. I don't remember the torque spec off the top of my head but it's pretty high. I had a loose panhard bolt in the front a few years back and there was all kinds of weird wandering on the road.
Panhard bracket cracks by Adam Tolman, on Flickr
 
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Don't worry about finding things specific to your supposed lift height. Go by your alignment data. You can use anywhere From like 3 - 6 degrees. IME it's hard to go too much with positive caster. But a little bit the wrong way sucks.
Thank you, @Grandlooser.

I have been researching for a couple of days now. The OME yellow bushings seem to not provide enough correction. Plus I need to find a place that can press it in.

The ironman plates (Caster Plate Kit Suited For Toyota 80 Series Land Cruiser/Lexus LX450) have the top hole cut so close to the edge that it concerns me. Plus it says it is for 6'' lift.

Wits end (80 Series Caster Correction Plates- 2.5in.) requires cutting a pretty good part of the attach point off. Plus they are out of stock.

Metal Tech (Metal Tech FJ80 Land Cruiser Caster Correction Plates) also seems to require quite a bit of cutting on the existing hardware. Says 3.5 degrees.

Slee (SLEE - Caster Plate Kit for 4" lift - '91-97 Land Cruiser / Lexus LX 450 - Slee Off Road) requires cutting and welding. I would rather not do the cutting, but will if I need to. I can't do the welding. Bolt hole is also very close to the edge.

Dobinsons (Dobinsons 5° Caster Plate Kit for Toyota Land Cruiser 80 Series(WA59-514K)) seems to only offer 5 degrees. Dont know if that is too much.

Also, I dont know how any of this will be impacted if I went to original wheels.

Am I overthinking this? Sometimes I wonder if I just need to go back to original height springs and standard wheels. Dont want to keep chasing this rabbit. However, if a bushing or plate will take care of it, and is reversible, I will keep going.
 

Box Rocket

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Thank you, @Grandlooser.

I have been researching for a couple of days now. The OME yellow bushings seem to not provide enough correction. Plus I need to find a place that can press it in.

The ironman plates (Caster Plate Kit Suited For Toyota 80 Series Land Cruiser/Lexus LX450) have the top hole cut so close to the edge that it concerns me. Plus it says it is for 6'' lift.

Wits end (80 Series Caster Correction Plates- 2.5in.) requires cutting a pretty good part of the attach point off. Plus they are out of stock.

Metal Tech (Metal Tech FJ80 Land Cruiser Caster Correction Plates) also seems to require quite a bit of cutting on the existing hardware. Says 3.5 degrees.

Slee (SLEE - Caster Plate Kit for 4" lift - '91-97 Land Cruiser / Lexus LX 450 - Slee Off Road) requires cutting and welding. I would rather not do the cutting, but will if I need to. I can't do the welding. Bolt hole is also very close to the edge.

Dobinsons (Dobinsons 5° Caster Plate Kit for Toyota Land Cruiser 80 Series(WA59-514K)) seems to only offer 5 degrees. Dont know if that is too much.

Also, I dont know how any of this will be impacted if I went to original wheels.

Am I overthinking this? Sometimes I wonder if I just need to go back to original height springs and standard wheels. Dont want to keep chasing this rabbit. However, if a bushing or plate will take care of it, and is reversible, I will keep going.
FWIW, I have the Slee Caster plates. Have had them for years now. The cutting required is minimal, and even though it's recommended, I did not weld them. Ran then unwelded for years, until recently. I welded them this past spring, just because I was there with the welder. Never had an issue with them not welded. It's a precaution but they will work fine unwelded, then you could find someone to weld them at your convenience. The welding required is also minimal and easily removed if needed to return to stock.
 

leonard_nemoy

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Also, I dont know how any of this will be impacted if I went to original wheels.

Am I overthinking this? Sometimes I wonder if I just need to go back to original height springs and standard wheels. Dont want to keep chasing this rabbit. However, if a bushing or plate will take care of it, and is reversible, I will keep going.

Going back to oem size wheels will help a little. Your caster will stay the same and it will still be incorrect and unsafe with oem tire sizes. The small difference seen if you go back to a smaller tire would only be due to the physics of the smaller tire. Smaller tire = shorter lever and less weight applying forces to the steering when your driving down the road. This would make a small change in the handling of the rig. But your caster would NOT change with the smaller tires. Going back to oem springs and new oem bushings should theoretically get you back to oem caster.

See my post above and look into the ICON caster bushings I mentioned. They are a 4.6 degree correction bushing and I think they are the only bushing to offer that much correction.
 

leonard_nemoy

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Think about what happens when you lift an 80 with taller springs. Form a mental triangle between the arm to frame mount, the axle, and the body. When you lift with taller springs that triangle grows because you gain more room between the axle and the body. The angle at the arm to frame mount increases and this forces the axle to rotate forward, thus decreasing your caster.

I like to think of caster being similar to the rake or fork angle on a motorcycle. When you lift an 80 series you are going from a chopper to a dirt bike front fork.
 
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Cheapest and easiest option with no cutting is man a fre drop brackets. If you wheel hard then probably not a long term solution. If you just hit some trails then a perfect solution until you can save up for delta or superior radius arms. Other option is build your own radius arms. But probably not an option if you are worried about cutting for caster plates. Plates are fairly easy to install except everyone forgets to mention that although they correct caster they create clearance issues for your steering link. Often it won't clear the radius arm. Then you have to grind the arm down. If it was me and all I had was a 2 inch lift I would get the drop bracket from man a fre. 60 people will tell you not to because it drops the frame mount side of the radius arm 2 inches. But honestly 2 inches isn't much. I put the 4 inch drop brackets on mine because I got tired of dealing with the caster plates and steering arm issues. It rides like new..no issues on the trail either. But I don't rock crawl. Eventually I will either buy aftermarket radius arms or build my own.

 
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Plates are fairly easy to install except everyone forgets to mention that although they correct caster they create clearance issues for your steering link. Often it won't clear the radius arm. Then you have to grind the arm down.
Hmmmm.....darn. I just ordered caster plates earlier tonight. From Iron Man. The only ones that I could get before Christmas. Didn't know about clearance issues.

If it was me and all I had was a 2 inch lift I would get the drop bracket from man a fre.
I was considering this, but apparently they are not available right now (on back-order).

Not sure if you have adjustable panhards or not but that would be my next step after caster correction.
I dont have adjustable panhards. Wouldn't know (yet) how that would contribute. Will do some research.
 
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Hmmmm.....darn. I just ordered caster plates earlier tonight. From Iron Man. The only ones that I could get before Christmas. Didn't know about clearance issues.


I was considering this, but apparently they are not available right now (on back-order).


I dont have adjustable panhards. Wouldn't know (yet) how that would contribute. Will do some research.
The trucks all have a little different factory caster from factory. When you add tge plates some have clearance issues. Others don't. It also depends on the amount of correction the plates provide.

When you lift a truck the Panhard bars are the appropriate length needed for no lift. So the higher you go the more it pulls the axle to the driver side uo front and passenger side in the rear. Basically your axles get out of alignment with each other.
 

leonard_nemoy

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Hmmmm.....darn. I just ordered caster plates earlier tonight. From Iron Man. The only ones that I could get before Christmas. Didn't know about clearance issues.


I was considering this, but apparently they are not available right now (on back-order).


I dont have adjustable panhards. Wouldn't know (yet) how that would contribute. Will do some research.

Nothing you order at this point in time will be delivered before christmas if the USPS is doing the delivery. I have 5 items all ordered more than 10 days ago that have yet to be delivered by the usps. Every single tracking says sorry but we are experiencing shipping delays with expected delivery dates in January. I think they exhausted themselves with the election ballots.

I would still consider the icon 4.6 correction bushings. If you go with correction bushings or the plates I would plan on grinding at least a 1/4" off your control arms. Or just buy delta's arms and it is a 2-4 hour job to swap them in your driveway. Probably easier than doing the plates and you won't have to worry about clearance with your steering linkage. Hell it took me 4 or 5 hours just to remove and grind down the arms on my 91 when I went through all of this the first time.

How are your knuckles, if your due for a knuckle rebuild you might also consider caster correction trunion bearings. I know a few people who have been very pleased with the trunion bearing route. But you would still have clearance issues with this method.

There is also the cut and turn method but I wouldnt even go there.

Also, don't count on companies advertising the problems with their products. For example the issue of clearance between your steering linkage and control arms. This is why most people nowadays are going with the delta arms. It's just a no brainer KISS solution that anyone can install on their own with minimal tools and experience in just a few hours, plus you get all new toyota bushings included with the price. The delta arms are safe, proven, and simple. Sure it may cost a little more than other options, but you have to also consider the value of your time, the cost of labor to pay someone else, and the safety of grinding down your stock arms to safe a little $$$$$$
 
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So about $1100 for the delta arms?
I would not discount the @eimkeith weld-in drop brackets in any discussion of caster correction (FJ80 / FZJ80 RAM). At only $106 shipped, they are a crazy cheap way to get some caster back, and they don't create a tie rod interference issue. Installation labor is free if you have access to a welder (or a buddy with one), but I doubt it would sting much if you had to pay someone to do the welding. Been real happy with mine on my ~3" lift.

I recognize that your caster numbers are crummy and something needs to be done about that, but I can't help but wonder if there's another issue...I'm still suspicious of the control arm bushings, whether front or rear. It's easy to individually drop each control arm to inspect the bushings. Don't even need to jack the rig up...just pop one out, inspect it, reinstall, then move on to the next one. Can use ratchet straps from frame to axle to help realign the mounting holes on reinstallation.
 

eimkeith

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I would not discount the @eimkeith weld-in drop brackets in any discussion of caster correction (FJ80 / FZJ80 RAM). At only $106 shipped, they are a crazy cheap way to get some caster back, and they don't create a tie rod interference issue. Installation labor is free if you have access to a welder (or a buddy with one), but I doubt it would sting much if you had to pay someone to do the welding. Been real happy with mine on my ~3" lift.

thanks for the mention, I appreciate it!
I've revised those radius arm mounts slightly; prototyping the revisions now (more ground clearance, slightly different shape, etc.)
 

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