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Through the build up of my FJC, I've been kind of obsessed with ground clearance. I've been documenting the ground clearance as I put various mods on my rig. Now that I've been lucky enough to work with Bud of Budbuilt, I think I've achieved the most I possibly can and my quest for ground clearance is maxed out. Well, that is until I pull a Sol and tear the IFS off. However, that is a few years down the road.

Now for the pics through the years...

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the measurement dead stock. The first picture I took was when I put the OME lift on, 885/140 and 895/N71e with stock tires, 265/75/16's. As you can see, this put it right under 12.5" of ground clearance at the exhaust crossover pipe...


This would be considered "stage 2", measuring at the skid plate crossmember between the t-case/gas tank skids. At this stage, I also had the same lift as before but upgraded tires to 255/85/16's (33X10) which gave a slight increase over the stock tires. As you can see in the picture, the ground clearance is just over 12"...


Here is the "stage 3" pic measuring after I put the 35's on. At the same (although a bit bent up from my summer excursion on the Rubicon trail, Moab and Ouray) t-case/gas tank skid crossmember, I had just under 14" of ground clearance...


Now, with, as Bud so affectionately calls it, the "Tummy Tuck", we have entered "stage 4" and you can see that I have 17 3/4" of ground clearance....



Getting everything tucked up above the frame rails gained 3 3/4" of ground clearance. So, with the Inchworm Lefty transfer case and Bud's newly fabricated transmission crossmember, Bud's re-bent skids, new skid plate crossmember, moving the exhaust, all told gives an effective increase in ground clearance similar to running tires that are 7.5" taller than the existing diameter.

Of course, going with that much taller tire would also increase the diff clearance, which this modification does not do. However, running that tall of a tire would also seriously increase the center of gravity to such a point that wouldn't be a positive change for the FJC.

Obviously, I could never modify my IFS FJC to go from 35's to 42+" tires, that is, unless I SAC it. Even then, running 42's is a HUGE jump in tire size when Sol and Amanda are running 37's on their SAC'd FJC's. That is why this mod is SO highly VALUABLE when it come to truly giving a dramatic change in off-road capabilities of the FJC.

I can't thank Bud enough for allowing me the privilege of being his guinea pig on this upgrade. He is great to work with and did an excellent job. I took it off-road this past Sat and didn't get a rattle, buzz or anything after beating it pretty well. I purposely took some "bad lines" in an effort to see/feel the difference between the last time I was on the trail (2 weekends ago) and this past Sat. I had the full weight of the rig on the new skids/crossmember and it hardly scratched the paint, let alone bend them at all.

I know that he has a great many ideas on how to make this a progressive upgrade so that someone with a stock transfer case can use his planned "clocking ring" to move it up as far as one can, then by using his planned exhaust routing kit, you can gain ground clearance using the new transmission crossmember and getting your skid plates re-bent to fit the new profile.

Bottom line, this is, in my NOT so humble opinion, probably one of the most valuable upgrades for the "serious" off-roader for the FJC. It might not be a huge advantage for doing 90mph on the deserts but once you get into any rocky and/or technical trails, having an extra 3.75" of ground clearance makes an AMAZING difference...

Just a quick shot of the new belly from the trail, thanks Bud...
 

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Simply awesome! Congratulations :). That's some serious space down there. I'll follow suit after I get my crawl box. Gotta wait a bit still. 5 stars for this one. :bigthumb:
 

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Simply awesome! Congratulations :). That's some serious space down there. I'll follow suit after I get my crawl box. Gotta wait a bit still. 5 stars for this one. :bigthumb:
Thanks, and yes, it really is amazing...
 

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That is a huge improvement! thanks to you and bud for stepping up and documenting this.
 

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Awesome! I don't really have anything else to say.......just awesome!
 

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Glad to see you and Bud got it done. Looks awesome!! Congrats on paving the way for a new way to mod. Great job!:bigthumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the positive comments, just glad I could provide a positive contribution to the forums and our FJC's.

Just to give all credit where credit is due, Bellydoc (Jon) was the first I recall reading on the subject and as far as I know, the first to get it done. Without his feedback and pointing out the obvious (once he got his Lefty installed), it became a must do mod.

And, Jim (of Inchworm) was instrumental in getting it done in his own "special" way. Thanks to his friendship and positive working relationship with Bud, it created a way for this all to come together.

Now, I've just got to learn how to drive...
 

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Wow that is supa kewl.

What is the "standard" for measuring ground clearance: lowest point on skid plate, differential...? The lowest point is always the suspension mounting points but I guess those don't count since they can't really be changed.
 

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Wow that is supa kewl.

What is the "standard" for measuring ground clearance: lowest point on skid plate, differential...? The lowest point is always the suspension mounting points but I guess those don't count since they can't really be changed.
The "standard" would be the lowest point of the vehicle. On the FJC, its the rear differential.

I'm sure you know, with most solid axles, that can only be changed via tire size, thus my reference in the post regarding tire size. Unless someone is going to invest in some portals, making significant changes to that reference point is only accomplished through larger diameter tires.

But, in this mod, the "break-over" point can be dramatically changed which is what inhibits the FJC in technical and "rock crawling" situations. Being able to clear obstacles without dragging my "belly" is a big advantage...
 

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got it, you're really talking about the break-over angle and not ground clearance. So what's your ground clearance (rear diff)? Mine's 9.8" at the rear axle diff and 10.4" at the front skid. Haven't measured break-over yet.
 

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got it, you're really talking about the break-over angle and not ground clearance. So what's your ground clearance (rear diff)?
Should I ask the mod's to change the title, I didn't mean to mislead anyone here. I guess I thought that it was "understood" how true ground clearance can be changed. There I go thinking I made a positive contribution to the forum only to find out I'm confusing everyone, thinking I'm changing how high the rear diff will be through this mod.

I'm running 35's, stock ground clearance is 8.7" with 265/75/16's (in my case) or 265/70/17's (31.6"), 35 - 31.6 = 3.4 / 2 = 1.7".

So, I would guess ~ 8.7 + 1.7 = 10.4" of true ground clearance.

Hope that will satisfy you until I can get outside and take a pic of the rear diff with the tape measure alongside to give an accurate answer to your question.

Make sure to get back to the SFA and rear IFS threads too...
 

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got it, you're really talking about the break-over angle and not ground clearance. So what's your ground clearance (rear diff)? Mine's 9.8" at the rear axle diff and 10.4" at the front skid. Haven't measured break-over yet.
Now that I see you edited you previous post, can you explain how you get 9.8" at the rear diff with stock tires? That is more than an inch over what Toyota specs as "stock" ground clearance...
 

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Hey Jerry,

The FJC is looking good. I like your "tummy tuck."
 

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Looks great Jerry :bigthumb:

Can't wait to wheel with ya again
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hey Jerry,

The FJC is looking good. I like your "tummy tuck."
Thanks Mike, we all know I could use it. Oh,wait, you are talking about the FJC, yeah, thanks...

Looks great Jerry :bigthumb:

Can't wait to wheel with ya again
Let's hope we don't have to wait until spring. I heard talk of a winter trip to play in the snow, could be fun...
 

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Evolution at it's finest!

Finally, my dreams
might become reality! :D

Any word on when bud will have everything a stock FJ needs to do the "tummy tuck"?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Evolution at it's finest!

Finally, my dreams
might become reality! :D

Any word on when bud will have everything a stock FJ needs to do the "tummy tuck"?
I haven't talk to him for a few days, I know he has a bunch of work to catch up on after spending so much time on my rig.

But, I do know that it is something he is very excited about and I'm sure he can tool up relatively quickly. I know he is planning on a "kit" which would include the exhaust re-routing components, clocking ring for the stock t-case, tranny crossmember and a skid plate "re-bend" program with appropriate spacers to make everything tucked up as best can with the stock t-case. Then, as someone decides to upgrade to a Lefty, just have to install the it, remove the spacers and you have a flat belly like mine, well, like my FJC...
 
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