Simultaneous with the SO conversion, we chose to do a custom shackle reversal (SR). We had used the Land Cruiser Advanced Handling (LCAH) shackle reversal kit for a number of years and were pleased with the significant improvement in ride, steering and overall handling resulting from switching the pivot point from the rear of the springs to the front (SR). The major drawback with the LCAH kit is that the front spring hangers are located about 1.5" forward and almost 3" below the front of the frame rails, thereby compromising the approach angle and becoming efficient "rock finders". In our SR, we welded a pair of stock spring hangers (as used on the rear of the OEM front springs) to the bottom of the frame horns. In order to properly relocate the spring hanger, we first lengthened the frame rails by 1.5". The spring hangers were then welded flush with the front of the enongated frame. This is also the approach used by Danny Warden, as described in the 9-97 issue of 4WD & Sport Utility Magazine. As shown here, this approach places the front of the spring with the military wrap, securely and snugly under the frame.
In the SR, the shackles are relocated to the rear of the springs. In order to keep the entire spring system as close to the frame as possbile (we have enough lift already), and to maintain acceptable caster with the Fabtech axle housing, the upper bolt/bushing of the shackle was located inside the frame (ca. 1" above the bottom of the frame). A 1.5 hole was drilled through the frame, and a 1 3/8" OD steel sleeve with a 3/16" wall thickness was welded inside the frame to accept the spring bushings. In order to insure that the shackles were square, a long steel tube was inserted through both driver's and passenger's side sleeves prior to welding (a technique only possible with the engine removed). The shackles themselves were constructed of alloy steel and new polyurethane bushings were used throughout. If these shackles prove not to have sufficient movement, the next step will be to fabricate a set of "boomerang" shackles.
We retained the stock FJ40 springs. The stock Toyota
springs with 7 relatively thin leaves (TLC springs were actually manufactured
by Mitsubishi) are both strong and flexible; they are ideal for a spring
over, even when they have sagged to the point of being almost flat. Owing
to the fact that the "center pin" is not in the center of the spring pack,
it is not possible to simply flip the springs front to back during the
SR, if it is desired to maintain 1) the stock location of the front
axle housing, 2) the wheelbase, and 3) the configuration of the spring
pack with the "strong side" toward the transfer case.. We did flip
the #2 leaf front to back in order to place the military wrap at the front
(fixed) spring hanger. This leaf was reversed, and the #1 leaf was
used as a template to drill a new centering hole in the #2 leaf.
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