Suspension Lift install
Not to be pessimistic, but you may have a hard time completing this in a day by yourself without air tools and experience doing it before. It really is hard work, heavy lifting and a lot of banging. You can do it with some brute force and ignorance : ) and of course patience. Plus you'll save about $400 on labor charges.
More than likely you will need to get new frame pins and shackles. Chances are these pins are eroded or rusted, (yes even in AZ) if not you will probably bugger them up getting them out anyway. Besides it wouldn't hurt to replace them anyway as they really do see a lot of stress. Make sure you have new bushings.
Soak all the existing bushings frame pins and shackles in liquid wrench every night for 3 nights prior to install to help them come off easier, TRUST ME this can really help a lot. Be liberal with its use. You will need a Sledge of at least 5lbs. Short handle is recommended as it will be easier to maneuver when banging out the frame pins. A bottle jack will come in handy as well as a high lift if you have one. You might not need shims if your lift has designed in the angle needed for your drive line.
Lots of crud will fall on the ground or garage floor. To make things easier you might want to use a tarp. (when you are banging Lots of dirt, rust etc will surprisingly come from nowhere.) Safety glasses would be a good idea too for that reason. Leather gloves would help when banging so as to not scrape your knuckles too bad.
You'll need a crowbar and large pipe wrench to help in getting the frame pins out. A brass drift, socket extension or long bolt to help shackle pins out.
Grease the inside and out of the NEW bushings before install.
So here is a brief list of tools and other items:
In a perfect world all the bolts would just slide out nicely, but hey, we're talking about an old overbuilt Land Cruiser here!
I jack up the vehicle From the front bumper. Chock the wheels in the real. Jack it to a point where you believe the spring is not under any stress (tires still on ground). I would then put jackstands on the frame. Then I remove the front shackles. Next onto the Uboltls, hope you have stamina or air tools. Forget about it if you don't have a breaker bar or air tools. Then tackle the frame pins. Try to keep all the hardware organized that you take off. You may need it during reassembly depending on the kit you purchased.
To get the pins out, some have used torches to burn the old rubber bushings out. You may have to resort to that... BTW the torches used are Oxygen not propane. Propane really doesn't get the metal hot enough to melt off that stubborn rubber.
I usually try to pound on the bolt that goes through the frame for the pin to knock it through little by little. You can also use an air hammer if you have one or are considering buying one. I also use the pipe wrench to clamp on to the outside plate of the spring pin. Clamp on and twist. Sometimes this helps. If the pin comes out a little (enough to get a grinder in there on the plate side, DO IT! Cut the sucker off then hammer back in a little and cut off the other side. Hammer back and the spring should drop. PAINFUL ISN'T IT? 3 more to go!
Put the new springs and pins in reverse order (start with the frame pins)Use grease on all the bushings inside and out. Get greaseable pins (it's worth it)
Good luck, I just completed my 4th suspension install, 3 on cruisers one on a Scout. Air tools would be ideal (cuts the install time in half), but not necessary, if you don't have air tools, get a large breaker bar and eat your Wheaties. You will need it for the u-bolts.
You will need Extended Brake lines for 4" lifts
-A suggestion HERE-
Hope this helps!(I take no responsibility for how ghetto this method may or may not be)
The Cruiser seems to be more squirrelly now that I have installed the lift. Also there is a vibration at speed.
The road manners
are great, but getting a lift and bigger tires ALWAYS excentuates any and all
the wear on your steering box, tie rods and drivelines. You may need to replace
your u-joints if you get excessive vibration, you might need to get a new
steering box if it becomes too sloppy same with tie rod ends. In all honesty,
the 4" lift is PLUSH! It rides like a caddy at speed. Going around turns scares
most people because they are not use to being in a truck with a flexy suspension
because it will lean on tight turns. But remember with the adjustable shocks
(you can get the in cab adjustment) you can firm up the ride as much as you
Should I just get shackles instead of a full blown lift?
I would stay away from extended shackles as they have only caused me problems in the past. Extended Shackles are a great inexpensive way for a lift but do change the geometry of your suspension. They also put more stress on your springs. In addition, when offroading shackles always find the rocks and get beat around pretty badly. I ran TPI supershackles for a while with a 2 1/2 lift and I hit them a few times and also had TERRIBLE bump steer. (which could've been fixed with shims, but that is just that much more you have to do)
Should I get a 4" lift or a 2 1/2" lift?
If its between a 4" and 2 1/2" with shackles, I would not even care about the price difference. 4" is the way to go.
My suggestion is to go with a 4", get an extended Stainless Steel brake line for the back and get 33" tires. This is a good size that still fits in the garage with the hard top (barely) and also allows you to "go bigger" if you want. It is also a setup that gets you most places off road. 32"'s are on the edge of being too small for tough trails and 31"s are plain difficult on the tuff stuff. This is of course biased towards off road use and also a larger meaner look.
What Tire sized should I get?
Do not go with smaller then 33" tires on a 4" lift, it will look silly.
Do not go with bigger then 32" tires on uncut rear fenders as they wont fit very well.
33x10.50 will fit rear of both 2 1/2 and 4" lifts
33x12.50 will fit rear of uncut with 4" lift but will rub occasionally mostly when off-roading
35x 12.50 will fit
rear of 4" as long as you cut the fender wells. It will rub in the front
under full compression