Author Topic: ISO: a how to on upgrading first gen suspension etc.  (Read 548 times)

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  • Offline Rock Crawl'n
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ISO: a how to on upgrading first gen suspension etc.
« on: Mar 19, 2019, 07:28:12 PM »
As the title reads. Is there any kind of step by step guide on upgrading leafs/shocks/steering etc for a first gen? Something relatively explicit that tells me to cut here, weld there etc. Im a noob when it comes to this kind of thing and dont want to start tearing my truck apart and realize im nowhere near prepared in terms of parts tools equipment etc. Would a post 85 SAS guide be sufficient? For reference, im looking to swap new leafs front and rear, upgrade shocks and steering. I already have a majority of the parts (i think), as well as a wide track for the rear.

I understand the value of just tearing into the truck and learning along the way but unfortunately I don't really have the time or real estate to work it out that way (the HOA here is brutal).

Any help is greatly appreciated.


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I would say do the typical rears up front/chevy 63" rear set up with hi-steer.  This will take a good 40 hours of noise, grinding and welding though.  Look at a bunch of build threads on here and you will get the idea of what you will need.

  If you have to get by with bolt on, I just set up my '80 with old man emu and it's not at all bad.  More of a work truck suspension.  The rear is pretty stiff but the front flexes very well with longer shocks and the torque rod removed and it's plenty capable.  This a set up you could build on later when life allows more time and noise  :thumbs:.  Here is the thread...

Here is a poser shot:

« Last Edit: Mar 20, 2019, 04:42:38 AM by H8PVMNT »
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  • Offline 4WD Legend
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Most important tools for the job are a tape measure and good judgment.
Its not really a huge undertaking.

I recommend having a WELL thought out end game before starting anything.
hold this. . .


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What is the intended use for the truck?

I purchased my '85 Extended Cab truck with a 3.5" Pro Comp lift that included blocks in the rear.  At that point it had 32 inch tires and was otherwise stock, but performed ok and I did quite a few of the Moab trials with this setup.  Then I stepped it up to a 4.5" Superlift that eliminated the blocks in the rear.  The front Superlift springs actually flexed reasonably well, but the rear springs had almost no travel which translated into being really stable for climbing in Moab.  With the Superlift setup I moved up to 33 inch tires, lockers, 4.88 differential gears, and a single 4.70:1 transfer case and it performed extremely well off road.  After a few seasons, I replaced the rear springs with Alcans and a short block and it improved the suspension travel and ride quite a bit.  I always ran OEM steering with these setups and only extended the link that runs between the frame and bracket on the front axle.

My current rig is an '89 4Runner that is running Alcan springs all the way around.  OME (as previously suggested) is possibly a better value and an excellent project, but Alcan is an option that can give you a better ride and more travel because it's based on your individual specifications.  I think the Alcan standard lift for Toyota's extends the rear springs by 5 inches so you'd have to install another spring hanger.

If you're not planning to change the differential gears I would recommend that you not exceed 32 inch tires.  When I stepped up to 33 inch tires I made a quick jump from the 4.10 to 4.88 gears.
1989 4Runner: Dual Ultimate (Inchworm front & Marlin 4.70 rear), Marlin Twin Stick, 1200-lb clutch, 4.88 R&P, Aussie Front, Detroit rear, 30-spline Longs, Long hub gears, ARP hub and knuckle studs & 35x12.50 Cooper STT PRO tires.  Marlin rear bumper & sliders.  FROR front bumper.  SAS with Alcan springs & Rancho 9000XL shocks.  Budbuilt Bolt-on traction bar.  Custom Interior Cage by Those Guys Rod and Customs.

Moab Tested & Rubicon Approved


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Rears up front

Chevy 63's

High steer

Yes, the post 85 SAS instructions are fine if installing a kit . Take the time and read the links, 2-3 times.

" I recommend having a WELL thought out end game before starting anything."  This is good advice.
80 shortbed-22re,w56,Marlin 23 spline dual cases,HighAngle drivelines,RUF/63"chevy's,35''mtr's,30 spline Longfields, Allpro highsteer.87 rear axle,5.29 gears,rear spool,BudBuilt cm, marlin HD clutch,ramsey 8000 winch.

TyGuidry [OP]

  • Offline Rock Crawl'n
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Lots of sound advice here! And those links are perfect. I have read a few things on swapping in chevy 63's/installing my ifs box/hysteer etc but I will study those specific links, thanks!

The purpose of the truck is for it to be primarily a "capable" backup vehicle but also something I can have fun with if I choose to. Though, for the most part it will be used to get me to the creek/lake for fishing.  :beerchug:

With that being said, it sat for 5 years and I have been pretty busy with it the last few weeks getting some of its loose ends tied up before making the major upgrades.


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