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Truck Modifications - October 3, 2004

  • 6" Slee springs
  • sleeved drag link, tie rods
  • new tie rod ends
  • modified both panhard rods so they are adjustable
  • installed OME castor bushings
  • lengthened rear upper control arms

I thought you may enjoy some of the stuff I'm doing to the truck. I was able to run down to Slee Offroad in Golden and had a great time talking with Christo and Ben. I picked up some new 6" springs and new tie rod ends plus their front panhard rod adjusting hardware. I was impressed with the quality of these parts!

Take a look at how large the front panhard adjuster is. Machined very well...there is no way this thing is gonna break on me! The coil springs dwarf the OME J Springs in not only height but thickness. I ended up getting the Medium 6" springs for the front and the Heavy Duty springs for the rear. The Tie Rod End set (all 4) SleeOffroad sells is well worth the price of $99. I called Toyota and they wanted around $60 each for these bad boys. Each tie rod end came complete with castle nut and cotter pins.....very nice.

After bending my drag link in half on 21 Road (pic below) I made up my mind that I would beef up both the drag link and the tie rod when I got home. Some of the guys said an easy solution is to just "sleeve" them. Which meant just find some pipe and slide it over the existing ones. I had some old stock 1/4" thick pipe laying around in the garage and I cut it to length and welded the ends leaving plenty of room for the tie rods to still screw in properly. The last pictures shows how they look installed. Very beefy that's for sure!

With the new 6" springs it is necessary to modify the panhard rods which control the lateral positioning of the axle relative to the truck. As you lift your truck this panhard rod needs to be extended in order to keep the axle from moving to one side. A good buddy Mark Brodis over at colorado4x4.net told me about a cool modification he did to his rear trackbar/pan hard rod that basically meant installing some threaded tube adapters and a 3/4"-16 piece of threaded rod. I picked up these adapters from RockyMtnFab.com for $10/ea and the threaded rod I picked up at CD Fasteners in Fort Collins. For the front track bar I decided to just buy Slee's machined adjuster instead of trying to fab up something myself. Both of these mods required cutting the track bars in half and welding in the goodies. I did the rear for around $30 but the front is not as easy because the bar is solid 1.25" in diameter. Slee's adjuster was well worth the $99.

I finally got around to installing the castor correction bushings on the huge front control arms. With a shop press it was pretty easy however I had to get a little creative when trying to press out the old bushings :) Slee sells a machined press piece that would have made the job a lot easier and safer :)

Last item is adjusting the rear upper control arms. I decided to just make some sleeves that I will weld in place once I have everthing back together and the rear tires mounted.

Oh yeah..after breaking my rear axle on Billings Canyon a few weeks ago I finally got a chance to get the broken axle out. The bummer is when it broke it spun the other side and twisted the splines up good so essentially both axles will need to be replaced. CruiserParts.net had both sides for $85/ea which beats Toyota's $500+ ea. price tag :) Check out my axle housing surgery I performed to get the broken axle out. I'm still working at the other side currently. Need a cutting torch to get the locking sleeve out of the way so I can pull the axle....long story :)

Right now the front of the truck is completely done and I'm still working on the rear end. I decided it was easier to work on that axle with it entirely out. I am getting some good height out of these new springs. It's around 11 inches over my 37" tires. However that is counting my 3" body lift :) I will most likely get some 14" travel Bilsteins...we'll see.

Can't wait to get this beast back together and hit up Moab!!

UPDATE!! Next Day....

Got my cutting torch and tonight I got the other axle out! What happened is after snapping the left rear it spun the right with so much force that it twisted the splines just enough so the right axle could not slide out because the locking sleeve was stuck on the twisted slines. There was no way to get the right side axle out which meant I couldn't pull the 3rd member either! So I had to cut away some more of the axle housing just to get a torch in there and wack off the axle. Christo had this happen to him as well and he chose to cut the sleeve off. But after I figured out how much a new sleeve goes for I chose to cut the axle instead. A new locking sleeve retail goes for $178. The shift fork goes for around $45. Check out the major surgery. Notice the twisted splines.

Now it's a matter of patching up the housing, cleaning it thoroughly, checking the bearings and putting everything back together. I'm still hoping to be done by next Wednesday....MOAB!!!!!!!!!!!!

Other Modifications 

October 12, 2004 - 14" Bilsteins and new shock hoops. With the new Slee 6" springs I got around 3" more travel and needed new longer shocks. I looked around and asked a few friends what they used and Bilsteins were the answer....more details

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