an inexpensive alternative to those $700 lifts that cost me less than
$120 including pittman arm. It involves a front shackle reversal and
lift block in the rear, if you have access to a small welder and drill
press you can build this as well.
your shackles to the rear of your front springs use the stock rear
1/4" by 4" steel plate, manufacture dropped front mounts for your
springs since the front frame horns on FSJ's changed over the years
you will have to figure the specifics of your rig on your own. but
what I did on my 78 was to locate the plate so that it was flush
with the front of the frame as well as the top of the shackle mount.
I drilled a 9/16 hole for a bolt through the original mount and
plate, then I drilled a 9/16 hole 5 1/2 inches lower and an inch
forward of the top hole. (you want at least a 3/4 inch of material
around the hole) these measurements keep the original u-joint angle
almost at the original, and allow for correct shackle movement.
the actual length would be twice the center to center shackle length,
but this in my opinion puts to much stress on the frame and mounts.
the distance between the inner front shackle mounts, and cut a piece
of either 2" round or square heavy wall pipe or tubing a 1/2 inch
shorter than this measurment.
the inner width of your spring mounts and cut two pieces of tubing
to fit in them.
you want a "cleaner" installation shape your new mounts with a taper
facing towards the rear, remember keep at least 3/4 inch of material
around the lower bolt hole. round the corners etc.
your new front mounts with a 9/16 bolt thorough the original bolt
holes for the shackles. place the two pieces of tubing that you
cut between the original shackle mounts to keep them from collapsing
when you tighten the bolts. the bolts should run through the tubing.
the new mounts with the front of the frame, and each other (a piece
of all-thread run through all four lower holes works to keep them
the piece of tubing that you cut a 1/2 short between the inner plates
of the new mounts.
two pieces of 1/4 " by 4" steel to go down the front of the new
mounts from the top to about level with the lower bolts ( you might
want to mock this all up with cardboard if your having trouble picturing
all this....) the object is to really keep the new mounts square
tack weld the center piece with enough clearance between the bolt
heads to be able to tighten them, then tack weld the front plates
to the new extended frame mounts. your tack welds should be strong
enough that you can remove the whole two new front mounts, and cross
member as a single assembly and weld the whole thing up on your
bench. after welding the entire sub-assembly go to step
the entire assembly to the original front mounts using 9/16 th bolts
in the upper holes along with the inner spacers, and square it up
again. now weld the assemly in place. be aware of your welding skills
as you are now welding on high carbon frame material, as the 9/16
bolts will stay in place you only need a couple inches of bead on
each side to keep the new mounts from becoming shackles themselves...
the front of the springs through the lower holes
should now have springs mounted 5 1/2" lower and 1" forward of the
original upper shackle holes, (use about six to seven washers to
make up the difference in spring width versus new inner mount width,
you'll see what I mean) and using stock shackles and original mounts
at the rear of the spring.
now raised the front of your truck 2" or 3" and can match that in
the rear with inexpensive lift blocks.(about $50 for blocks and
dropped pitman arm, longer shocks and brake lines are now probably
in order so you may want to have these ahead of time or plan around
them ( the rear brake line is usually easy to lower for instance)
an additional couple of inches of lift, you can re-arch your stock
springs and get it level from front to back and side to side to
boot....cost about $30 a spring. end result for a half day of work
you and a few dollars in material you can get a lift and shackle
reversal all in one and retain much of your stock ride
end price for all this:
- steel $20
- shocks $120
- pitman arm
- rear blocks
$50 or common in junk yards
- for less
brake lines (find a longer stock line from a different vehicle)
and save over the after market ones...
- re-arch if
you want it $150)
I did this on
my Cherokee and am very happy with the results