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Old 03-14-2011, 10:47 AM
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RicardoJM RicardoJM is offline
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Location: Centennial, CO
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Default FJ40 AAL Lift

Last month the FJ40 got some new tires; 33.5" BFG ATs which were larger than the 31" tires that had been on the truck since I got it. The new tires are great, but they were rubbing on the tail pipe just about every time you would turn a corner. I felt it was important to get additional lift and was not quite ready to pull the trigger on a full OME kit. I installed Rancho AAL and new U-bolts and am pleased with the results (Corner, Original Height, After AAL Height and Net Gain).

DF 35.75" 37.50" 1.75"
PF 35.25" 37.00" 1.75"
DR 33.75" 35.50" 1.75"
PR 33.00" 35.25" 2.25"
The rub is all gone. Many have posted up that AAL results in a harsh and bumpy ride. This is not the case for me. My ride is every bit as smooth as it was before the AAL install. I was able to source the AAL (Rancho part # RS60612) from High Country 4X4 locally and ordered the U-bolts (Rancho part # RS77011) online. I need to measure my flex and determine if my shocks need to be changed. The actual lift is not quite two inches, but it is a definate improvement over the stock configuration. It looks good.

I don't know that we have this information on our board yet; so copied from MUD which copied from the LCML - here are the details for this lift as chronicled by Mr. Zepp.
From: Jeff Zepp <jeffzepp@earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: [LCML] stock springs and 33-9.50-15 fits

>I was going to purchase 33 950 15 for my 40 with stock springs and stock
>wheels. I was wondering if I could get away with usind extended shackles to
>avoid scrubbing the sheet metal? I have the opportunity to purchase pro comp
>2.5 springs at a good price, but they are 5 leaves front and rear and was
>told they ride kind of stiff, so i would rather use my stocker if possible
>with the use of shackles. My use of the vehicle would be rock crawling and
>attempting the rubicon after body armor improvements.
>Anyone done this or have information for me?

You will likely rub anyway with stock springs. Shackles will only get you so far before handling becomes a nightmare, and in the front they are rock finders anyway. I got ~2.5" for $120 on a suggestion when fellow lister Wayne Smith was visiting last April. I was worried that add-a-leafs would make for a harsh ride but Wayne assured me that it would be as soft as stock...he was right! He helped (a lot) with the install...thanks Wayne!

Here's the deal: Rancho add-a-leafs P/N RS60612 contain two add-a-leaves, 3/8 center pins and 5/16 center pins, they are $60 each and you need two sets. Use the smaller pins. Jack up the frame and unbolt the u-bolts. Remove the existing center pins and then remove the bottom two stock leaves, the two shortest ones. Put the add-a-leaves on and clamp with c-clamps, then put in the center pins, replace the u-bolts and away you go. Notice YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO REMOVE THE SHACKLES OR SPRING PINS!!!! Yes, I'm shouting because these are what makes suspension work so much work. You will want shocks a little longer for full droop, but the bottom line is that this inexpensive lift will retain good steering geometery, ride is as soft as stock, run 33s with no rubbing and great articulation of road. Here's a photo of mine twisted up:

On to the technical details. While the installation could be very straight forward, it can also become more complex depending upon the condition of your u-bolts, shackles and hangers. For the most part, my install was smooth. I also had the help of theboomboom and he did most of the "heavy lifting" work on the project.

I have some heavy timbers that were placed under the frame to support the vehicle weight. These also provided a pivot for the axle. The axle has to droop down a good distance to reach the unweighted spring. I did one corner of the vehicle at a time. Jack stands and a jack were used to relieve the spring tension and secure the vechicle. A small bottle jack came in handy for the u-bolt plate. A ratchet strap was used to line up the center pin with the hole on the axle.

My u-bolt nuts zipped right off with an air impact. All four shackles also came out pretty easily. All my nuts and bolts came off my hangers easily, but one of the hanger pins would not slide out of its holder. Three of my center pins were rusted and pretty much gone - the bottom leaf just fell off as the u-bolt plate was removed. All my bushings were in great shape. The holes in my u-bolt plates were a bit snug for the new u-bolts, I ran a 5/8 bit through the holes and they were just right for the new bolts. I had one shackle that had groove worn in the threads and would not tighten back up to spec. I replaced this shackle with a new one. Here is the stack of old parts that did not go back on the rig.

I decided to remove the springs from the truck and put them on the Work Mate. This made it much easier to drive out the old center pin, install the new pin and AAL, cut the pin and put some paint on the springs and u-bolt plate.

Ricardo Maestas - Bio Page
1999 LX 470
SOLD - 1971 FJ-40
TLCA #18941
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:29 AM
LXBRADY's Avatar
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Looking good.
Steve Brady
TLCA # 19524

97 LX450
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:27 PM
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subzali subzali is offline
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Location: Denver CO
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Looking nice Ricardo!
Matt Miller
TLCA# 13684
1977 FJ40 2F "Brahma" + Lockright, tach, Warn 8274, FJ60 Power Steering, no more Sanden OBA (factory emissions), so Puma OBA
1996 FZJ80 1FZ-FE factory lockers + Safari intercooled turbo, Warn M12000, OEM CDL switch, cup holder, and hand throttle, Metric TLC leather, heated seats, JDM switches, Puma OBA
2000 Tundra Limited TRD 2UZ-FE SOLD
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:36 PM
SteveH SteveH is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Colo Springs
Posts: 1,836

Nice job - your lift results are about what I saw on the rear of my two trucks.
Steve H. - KE0KNH
Colo Springs, CO
'78 FJ40, '89 FJ62, '98 4Runner
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:32 PM
PhatFJ PhatFJ is offline
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Very nice my friend!!

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Old 03-14-2011, 05:27 PM
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MDH33 MDH33 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Trapped in a corn field
Posts: 6,464

The lift looks good Ricardo. But I don't know about those hilux wheels and hubcaps. Maybe you should give those to me to put back on their original rig.

'85 FJ60
'91 Pickup
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:36 PM
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Rzeppa Rzeppa is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kittredge CO, USA
Posts: 6,716

Nice write up as always Ricardo!
Jeff Zepp
Kittredge CO USA
1971 & 1976 FJ40s, 1978 FJ45, 1987 FJ60
Rising Sun 4WD Club, TLCA #4063
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