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Old 08-03-2008, 05:48 PM
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Default Ball Joint Spacers

Talking to Red_Chili the other day he mentioned he was going with ball joint spacers. These are 1.5" blocks that fit between the upper control arm and the upper ball joint, which lift the front end without needed to crank the torsion bars up. Since the bars remain at stock or even relaxed from stock, the ride is the same as stock, just 1.5" higher. Seldom Scene is not a fan, so I thought about it and maybe that the arms are not parallel anymore is a problem. But the ball joints still remain within their range of motion (assuming you DO NOT run low profile upper bump stops) and I didn't break a BJ on Rubicon, so I suppose they are OK.

Anyway, wanted to show Bill a photo of the cuts to the upper arms you have to make. I got a second set of upper arms and did the cuts on the floor with a die grinder. Gave me a chance to paint them and make nice, clean cuts that follow the spacer and ball joint and removed a minimal amount of material. A first hack with a few trials and trims.
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Last edited by DaveInDenver; 08-26-2010 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 08-03-2008, 09:48 PM
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Thanks, Dave!

Since 4Crawler is selling them, any reservations I have about them are muted. Not going for lift, mostly just decranking the arms and getting a niiiiiice soft ride.

[edit] For what it's worth, I fired up Shadowfax and it runs very well, doing the Motoman break-in (only, not revving it overmuch, and did break in the cam at 2K RPM for 15 minutes or so). Seems stronger every errand. Now I need to fabricate a 2.25" catback to take advantage of the O/S valves. Got the parts. Only need the time.

The only odd thing is an erratic idle, as if the motor is not quite sure whether it's cold or not. Sometimes 1200rpm, sometimes 500. ??? But it settles right down once warm. Thought it was the TPS but that checked out, and adjusted within spec. Mebbe the AFM? Mebbe a temp sensor? Oh well, minor.

This would be my first (automotive) complete engine overhaul.
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:15 AM
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FWIW, I have tried numerous combinations of stock vs OME torsions and levels of lift with the BJ spacers.

For street, its what is comfortable.

For wheeling, the only way I recommend is cranked back to stock. IE: NO LIFT dialed in.

For the moderate to difficult wheeling I do (obviously not hardcore stuff), the steering cannot take the angles the Ball joint spacers place on the steering components.

With 1.5" of lift, and 33's, I would break either an idler arm, or a TRE on almost every trip. With no lift, same tires, I have gone a year without breakage. I also have a brace on the idler arm. This slowed the breakage, but did not eliminate it. Your drive home becomes "fun" when your idler arm is bent so badly that it hits the frame hard enough to gouge it.

No lift gives you a smoother ride as well. The only con is loss of ground clearance. To me, making it home after the trail is more important than making it over an obstacle that the extra 1.5" would have gotten me over.
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Old 08-04-2008, 01:14 AM
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I love my spacers! I did my cutting while the arms were on the truck so they are not as pretty as Dave's. Idler arms...yes, the stock ones will bend. I put a heavy duty one on during CM 07 and have not had a problem since. I did not adjust the t-bars so they are at the stock setting. Anyone wanting to go for a ride in my truck before doing this mod, is welcome.
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:41 AM
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I run a Total Chaos idler and stock steering otherwise. My alignment is off just a little after Rubicon, but nothing broke. My steering wheel is a couple of degrees to the right of center and there's a slight pull to the right. But it hasn't been enough for me to get into a shop with it.

I run Sway-A-Way torsions, BTW. I have the suspension adjuster bolts turned enough to snug up the bolts and nuts in the saddles with the wheels off the ground, which is about 4 or so threads showing above the nut. I did have to turn the passenger's side an extra turn to level the truck. So even with an ARB and Budbuilt plates, the SAW torsions are too thick to have the lower arms relax to stock position without running the adjuster bolt completely loose, which I did not want. I'd rather have the bolt snug in the saddle than going from no tension to tension on them if the suspension is unweighed.

On the engine, Bill, my engine still does the same thing, erratic idle. I thought it was a TPS, so replaced it and was very careful about adjustment, no change. I did have a failed EFI temp sensor, replaced it, no change. I replaced the O2 sensor after I broke the engine in, thinking that all the crud burning might have fouled it, no change. I unplugged the cold start injector, that wasn't dripping.

The two things I've left are the AFM and fuel pressure regulator. I'm leaning toward FPR and that will be the next thing I try when I have some money to throw at it. I have my AFM adjusted 2 clicks richer than stock, but it doesn't seem to make any difference as far as the idle goes if that's at stock, 2 or 4 clicks richer.
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Old 08-04-2008, 07:45 AM
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I too am considering spacers. I have added the alcan aal's in the back, to bring my springs back from the dead, however, they aren't sagging. Guess I am keeping the 2" lift they said I would get. SO, I want to run the 2" spacers from toytech. I am an IFS Noob though, so I could probably use a volunteer to help with the conversion.

As for durability, this truck is not going to see a tough trail for years. (it is soooo long). I will mainly be doing camping/fishing/Hauling stuff. I can't even see having to replace the idler arm, but I guess I'll do it anyway.


Any takers?
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Myredyota View Post
I love my spacers! I did my cutting while the arms were on the truck so they are not as pretty as Dave's. Idler arms...yes, the stock ones will bend. I put a heavy duty one on during CM 07 and have not had a problem since. I did not adjust the t-bars so they are at the stock setting. Anyone wanting to go for a ride in my truck before doing this mod, is welcome.
Are your referring to the total chaos one? Or a different brand?

I tried Moog. Broke that too.

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Old 08-04-2008, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beater View Post
I too am considering spacers. I have added the alcan aal's in the back, to bring my springs back from the dead, however, they aren't sagging. Guess I am keeping the 2" lift they said I would get. SO, I want to run the 2" spacers from toytech. I am an IFS Noob though, so I could probably use a volunteer to help with the conversion.

As for durability, this truck is not going to see a tough trail for years. (it is soooo long). I will mainly be doing camping/fishing/Hauling stuff. I can't even see having to replace the idler arm, but I guess I'll do it anyway.


Any takers?
If you are keeping to camping fishing etc... then I would only replace the idler if it is clearly worn.
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AxleIke View Post
If you are keeping to camping fishing etc... then I would only replace the idler if it is clearly worn.
I agree, although I'd probably rebuild it with bronze bushings and then call it good.

http://www.yotatech.com/f116/solid-b...ng-kit-114974/
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:55 AM
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Just scrolling through the thread again, I mentioned it the first post but wanted to make sure to specifically mention that you need to make sure with BJ spacers that you don't bind your CV axles on droop. The spacers allow the wheels to droop 1.5" more than before. So if you have low profile upper bump stops, you absolutely have to shim them out. I had the sorta low profile Energy Suspension #9102, which are about 3/4" thick. I found that I needed to shim them with about half a dozen washers to keep from feeling the CV start to bind. Mind you this was by hand turning the hub with the truck on jack stands and the wheel off, under load with another 60 lbs of unsprung weight, the stops would have compressed more and surely would have put the CV beyond their limit. So I went back to stock upper bumpers, which are quite a bit taller and less harsh on bottom out anyway.
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