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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, it was a long winter, people. I'm back from another hitch on the Rock, the garage is so crammed full of "stuff" that I can barely turn around, but I am ready to start the real "Build."

I have posted bits of my plans before in other sections of the forum, but needed to start this page to be appropriate.

The jack stands, grinders, and the welder are ready to go! I begin as soon as I finish typing this intro.

Here's the list:

Body mount chop
4Crawler 1.25" body lift
Toytec Ultimate 3" coilover lift
All-Pro UCAs, spindle gussets & swaybar links
TC LCA skids, coilover bucket gussets & adjuster cam plates
All-Pro upper & lower rear links and FT lower link mount skids
Toytec panhard bar
Braided brake lines
Goodyear Wrangler 305/70R17 MT/Rs W/Kevlar
Moto Metal 17x9 black alloys
All-Pro Apex rock rails


I had the tires mounted on the rims yesterday, and they look even better than I thought they would! :rocker:

I will post build photos along they way as I am able to do it.

Wish me luck! I think it's gonna be really sweet when I'm done!

Peace Y'all! :wave:
 

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Can't wait to see the new Freddie Krueger build! That All Pro stuff is good stuff! :rocker:


Sent from AutoGuide.com App
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Look forward to seeing it. What led you to getting an aftermarket panhard bar?
I went aftermarket for strength and adjustability. I figure with more articulation, the ability to adjust the panhard length will allow centering of the rear end if needed. The spherical rod ends allow unrestricted movement over bushings, and it's gonna be stronger too.

I was going to go with the whole TC CroMo rear link and panhard setup, but decided to try to save a few bucks without compromising too much strength. All-Pro didn't have a panhard bar to go with their links (Which are very nice quality BTW) so I got one from Toytec.

Almost forgot to add your SCUBA mod to the list. Picked up the kit a while back, and that will be going on too! :bigthumb:

Work Update
Got the welder fired up and did a few passes to set it up. The Lincoln 180 MIG is very nice! More capacity than my older (stolen :mecry:) Miller. I welded up one of the LCA cam adjuster tabs/plates, and it performed well. As a side note, if any of you folks that weld out there don't have an auto-darkening helmet, you need to get one. I don't know how I ever got along without one in the past. It will greatly enhance your welding precision and lower the frustration level. At least it did for this amature welder!

More to come!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Okay, the Body Mount Chop and Body Lift Kit are completed. The work was accomplished on Thursday and Saturday. Friday was a down-day due to a bit too much indulgence on Thursday night. (I am on vacation ya know?!) :cheers:

I performed the body lift first in order to give me more room to work on the BMC. The 4Crawler 1.25' body lift kit is excellent and quite easy to install. I loosened all eight body mounts, then jacked up the body along the rockers using a floor jack and some 2x6 spacers to spread the load out and not damage the body. This method worked very well. I only had to use a drill to enlarge the holes in the stock front mounts to allow the new, heavy-duty bolts to go through them, the rest of the bolts went in with just a bit of help from a ball-peen persuader.

Once all the bolts were installed in all but the mounts directly behind the front wheels, I performed the BMC. I will say that the BMC was very straightforward as in other builds. Once the BMC was completed, I reinstalled the last two mounts and new spacers, then torqued down all the bolts.

I then installed the steering rag joint spacer and tightened all the bolts as instructed. (kind of like a puzzle getting the silly thing in there, but not too bad) Next was the radiator drop bracket install. Again, very simple and straightforward. It really helped to strip off the front skids, bumper and the grille prior to beginning any of the mods. I'm going to tear out the entire front suspension tomorrow, so the more stuff that is out of the way the better.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm very happy with my new welder. After a few practice passes I was ready to do the BMC and it turned out well. I used a 120 grit flap wheel to hit the welds before painting the finished mounts, but I could have just painted them as-is.

I next tackled the job of preparing the TC Cam Adjuster Plates & Tabs for attachment to the frame. I set up an assembly line to clean the oil off them and wire brush the surface to be welded. Cleanliness is very important to achieving good welds. I certainly won't claim to be an expert welder, but I'm confident that my finished product will be structurally sound even if it ain't the prettiest. :rocker:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Got the front suspension completely apart today. The front hubs are a PITA to get apart! I also found the inner knuckle seals to be damaged with a section of the seal lip missing and the tension spring damaged as did BellyDoc in his spindle gusset thread. I'll have to check with the dealer tomorrow to see if they have them.

Also, has anyone else had trouble with getting the stupid grease/dust cover off the hubs?? I practically had to destroy them to get them off. I'm going to grind small pry slots in the hub flange to facilitate easy removal in the future.

I made a noose cable tool out of 3/32 aircraft cable that I picked up at Ace Hardware today, but I was not able to pull the half-shafts with the wimpy slide hammer I have. I'm going to get a bigger one first thing tomorrow morning. :bigthumb:
 

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i'm far from a welding expert, but from my vantage point you have some skill ... great job on the BMC ... I like body lift idea ... your truck is gonna look great with those wheels and tires ...
:cheers:
_______________


2007 FJ Cruiser – Voodoo Blue - C Pckge – AT
Toytec Ultimate 3” Lift / Total Chaos UCA
285/70R/17 Michelin LTX A/T
Clazzio Seat Covers

Install Pending - ECGS 3rd member 4.56 gears / ECGS Front Diff 4.56 gears / ARB Front Locker / ARB mini compressor

In the Mail – DeMello Hybrid Sliders
 

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Discussion Starter #12
i'm far from a welding expert, but from my vantage point you have some skill ... great job on the BMC ... I like body lift idea ... your truck is gonna look great with those wheels and tires ...
Thanks! I have to give thanks to those who have posted their BMC mods for making the job easier to plan out. The new Lincoln I have is nice to work with. My welding is improving with more practice. It is a skill that needs to be applied regularly to stay sharp. :bigthumb:

I finished the Alignment Cam Plates/Tabs yesterday and shot some paint on them.

The LCA Skids are completed along with the new polyurethane LCA bushings, and the Coil Bucket Gussets are going in right now. (I'm taking a lunch break)

More photos coming tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The TC Adjuster Cam Plates and Tabs were pretty straightforward to do. I found a 5/16" drill bit to be the best to drill out the stock spot welds. A couple of the tabs popped right off after just drilling them, and the others required minimal prying with the help of a hammer and chisel to release the spot weld.

After surfacing the area with a flap wheel, I lined the plates up with the existing slots, clamped them with Vise-grip pliers and tacked them in place. After checking for proper alignment, I finished welded them and shot them with some Krylon semi-flat black paint.

Overall, I'd say it was pretty easy. The smaller sized plates required a small radius to be ground on the inside corners to clear the radius on the frame and line up properly. That was just a quick zip with the grinder.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I started on the stock lower control arms yesterday. The instructions for installation of the Polyurethane bushings from Energy Suspension say that you should use low heat on the stock rubber bushings to separate them from their shells and leave the stock metal shells in place. The instruction sheet says "At no time should flames come from the bushings" if so, you should back off the heat. :rofl:

Well, that ain't happenin' there people. I tried an industrial strength heat gun at first, and it didn't do squat to them, so out comes the propane torch and that did the trick. Yes, there were flames o'plenty, that's for sure! :rocker: If you do this, be sure to be very careful and use proper PPE. I managed to complete the firey removal of all four bushings without burning up the garage or hurting myself with stinky, molten rubber bits.

Once the LCA bushing shells were cleaned up, I lubed up the new poly bushings and inserted the center sleeves in them, then used the vise to press the bushings into the LCAs.

After all was said and done with the bushings, I test fit the control arms in the frame. All was good, so I moved on to the LCA Skids. starting this morning.

The LCA Skids are designed to be bolted on, with the option of welding them. I decided that I would weld mine to add structural integrity to the LCAs and eliminate the chance of broken bolts causing a problem out on the trail.

I applied several intermittent, multi-pass beads around each skid, using care not to heat up the areas near the bushings too much.

They turned out pretty nice and seem really beefy. I masked off the ball joint stems and the new bushings, then shot them with some grey Krylon. Lighter colors allow you to more readily see stress cracks or other problems that might arise.

They are now ready for installation. :bigthumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Next it was on to the Coil Bucket Gussets. Total Chaos makes a nice set of gussets for the coil buckets that provide substantial reinforcement to this area. They are cut with a nice convenient slot to clear the brake lines as you install them, but the brake lines are smack-dab in the middle of your welding area and block any attempt to get the tip of your torch in there.

The best thing to do is unbolt all of the brake line and ABS wiring retainers in the area and gently move them out of harms way so that you can get in there to grind and weld. I got new braided stainless brake lines anyway, and have to crack the brake lines to install them, so it's no big deal to take them apart.

As it turns out, my FJ was undercoated on the frame rails in this area, and it makes for a very messy, pain in the A$$ to clean up and grind the frame in preparation for welding. :flame: Numerous rags saturated with paint thinner were required to cut through the crap, and trust me, it really gums-up a flap wheel!

While mocking up the gussets with the stock UCA bolt, and the new spacers and washers, I found a few places on the gussets that needed to be trimmed a bit for a proper fit on the frame. Once that was done, I tacked the gussets in a few places, then finish welded them.

As with the other areas previously welded, I wire brushed the welds and the frame area, then shot it with the semi-gloss black Krylon.

Next I will tackle the Spindle gussets and start putting it all back together! :clap:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Got the Spindle Gussets done Thursday and started putting the front suspension back together.

My FJ lived the first part of it's life on Kodiak Island where there is a lot of volcanic silt and a corrosive, salt air atmosphere. As a result, a few portions of the undercarriage on my rig had/have a "Dredged-from-the-bottom-of-the-sea" look to them.:ugh: The spindles were one of the parts that had a lot of rust and scale on them that needed a lot of effort to prepare for welding. I used a 120 grit flap wheel to knock most of it off, and a wire brush to get into the tight spots. It was a lot of work to get them cleaned up!

Both inner knuckle seals were removed, and the seal and hub bearing bores were cleaned using some fine sandpaper and paint thinner to remove all the surface corrosion in the area and allow easier assembly of the seals and hubs back into the spindles.

I then used the stock UCA to bolt into the upper portion of the spindle in order to locate the gussets for welding. The gussets only required minor fitting to achieve a good fit and gap before welding them up.

The finish welding went without any complications. After cooling off, I hit them with the flap wheel again and a shot of brake cleaner to prep them for painting. I then masked off the seal and bearing bore areas, along with the ABS sensor area and the machined mating areas on the top and bottom of the spindles to keep out the paint.

While the paint on the spindles was drying, I began the reassembly of the front suspension. Everything went together with minimal effort. The new All-Pro UCAs went in a bit tight, but Toyota just happened to put a nice hole in the radiator core support on both sides to assist in helping the UCA pivot bolts in from the front.

I installed the new inner knuckle seals in the spindles, lubed up the bearing bores with a bit of red sticky grease, and applied some anti-seize to the splines for the stub axle. I used red Loctite on the hub bearing carrier bolts, the lower ball joint/spindle bracket bolts, and the UCA pivot bolts.

The half shafts go back in much easier than they came out, and I put some red grease around the seal contact area before slipping them back in. Also, I used the angle-head grinder to put three small notches in the hub where the grease cap goes on in order to facilitate removing them without wrecking them in the future.:thinkerg:

While working with the suspension on the passenger side, I went to jack up the LCA to better align things for assembly, and the whole rig came up off the jack-stand without compressing the coilover! This thing is gonna be stiff!:rocker:

Anyway, I hope to have the front all together today, and start on the back this afternoon. :bigthumb:
 

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nice ... looking forward to seeing it standing on those new shoes ... like the two eyes inside the Toyota O's ... cool ...
:cheers:
_______________



2007 FJ Cruiser – Voodoo Blue - C Pckge – AT
Toytec Ultimate 3” Lift / Total Chaos UCA
285/70R/17 Michelin LTX A/T
Clazzio Seat Covers

Install Pending - ECGS 3rd member 4.56 gears / ECGS Front Diff 4.56 gears / ARB Front Locker / ARB mini compressor

In the Mail – DeMello Hybrid Sliders
 

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Looks great! :cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
After the front suspension was 95% completed, I installed the Front Differential Drop Spacers. This was quite easy. Just put the jack with a small length of 2x4 on it under the front diff, (the vehicle was already on jack stands with the front wheels removed) and remove the two front mounting bolts. Lower the jack slowly to allow the differential to drop a bit more than the spacer thickness, slip the spacers in place, put in the new hardware and torque it down.

Although the spacers are not really that big, it does make a significant, positive change in the CV angles. A very effective and inexpensive Mod. :bigthumb:

It should be noted that my Differential Drop Spacers came as a part of the Toytec Ultimate 3" Lift Kit.
 

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