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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi there, I need expert advice on the following points:

  1. I have just installed my Trail Gear 6.5:1 transfer case gears. I assume those gears need to go through a break in period, then I need to change the gear oil. Is that so?
  2. I have just installed my Petroworks clutches, replaced the flywheel, the clutch cable, and all bearings. I still haven't test-driven the car. What driving characteristics should I expect?
  3. My Samurai is fitted with RRO's 7" Trail Blazer lift kit. I'm thinking of beefing up my flex using missing link, but I'm concerned about the driving characteristics on the tar. What will happen? Will it be unstable in turns? Will it bounce or something in bumps? Do I really need them? What different types are there?
  4. What other options have I got to improve my vehicle's flex?
  5. I have installed a new thermostat, but I did not use any Silicon sealant, I think the gasket that came with it should do the sealing job. Am I right?
 

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Hi there, I need expert advice on the following points:

1. I have just installed my Trail Gear 6.5:1 transfer case gears. I assume those gears need to go through a break in period, then I need to change the gear oil. Is that so?
Just take it easy on the first 200 miles or so before you start rompin' on it. Then swap out the oil with some Mobile 1 (or your favorite synthetic). Worked for me...

2. I have just installed my Petroworks clutches, replaced the flywheel, the clutch cable, and all bearings. I still haven't test-driven the car. What driving characteristics should I expect?
It will have a firmer hold, but it shouldn't be too grabby. It is a great way to get a strong clutch that won't burn out, without dealing with a race clutch that will rip parts in half if your foot slips.

3. My Samurai is fitted with RRO's 7" Trail Blazer lift kit. I'm thinking of beefing up my flex using missing link, but I'm concerned about the driving characteristics on the tar. What will happen? Will it be unstable in turns? Will it bounce or something in bumps? Do I really need them? What different types are there?
My personal suggestion - Wheel it like this first. Get to know what your vehicle can do now. If you really need more flex later, it is an easy bolt-on. I know too many people that change everything from minimum to maximum with the flick of the credit card, and then can't figure out why it drives so differently. Coming from a stock rig, your vehicle can now do things you haven't even thought of yet...

4. What other options have I got to improve my vehicle's flex?
Get it out on the trail. Take a ditch diagonally and park it with two wheels barely touching the ground - see how much it flexes. Take the opportunity to study the shock placement, brake line placement, driveshaft angles, etc. You should see right away where something is rubbing, stretched to max or bottomed out. THAT is where you go next.

5. I have installed a new thermostat, but I did not use any Silicon sealant, I think the gasket that came with it should do the sealing job. Am I right?
It is designed to work without sealant, but everyone has a preference. If it doesn't leak, great.
 

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Hi there, I need expert advice on the following points:

[*]My Samurai is fitted with RRO's 7" Trail Blazer lift kit. I'm thinking of beefing up my flex using missing link, but I'm concerned about the driving characteristics on the tar. What will happen? Will it be unstable in turns? Will it bounce or something in bumps? Do I really need them? What different types are there?
Just to be sure, I went to the Rocky Road website to check on exactly what is included in the 7" Trail Blazer Lift Kit.

First, 7 inches a LOT of lift! You may have problems with the short Samurai driveshafts (u-joints in particular) not being able to take the new, sharper angles. I could be full of it, but that's my measured opinion...

Second, the Trail Blazer Lift Kit comes with a Z-link-style draglink. I GAROUN-TEE that you will have handling problems in the form of Bumpsteer if you drive your Samurai on the pavement - especially at highway speeds.

See this page for more info on bumpsteer:

Ack's FAQ: Your 4X4 Portal To All Things Suzuki/Geo

I lived with bumpsteer for 6 years on a 4.5" Breeze SPOA and it was, at the very least, controllable at 60 MPH on the Interstate. Not fun, but controllable. I imagine that it'll scare the ^*&( out of you @ 60 MPH with a 7.5" lift. I fixed my bumpsteer with a Over The Top (OTT) steering system. I am not sure that there is a suitable OTT system for a 7" lift - you may need to buy a drop pittman arm in addition to OTT to eliminate Bumpsteer.

I'm one of these guys that is of the opinion that "if you can't drive it to and from the trail on the highway, you are cheating". That's why I don't have an Uber-lifted Samurai with all the associated high-speed handling problems and quasi-solutions.

Bear the above comment in mind when considering my advice.

I hope that this helps!

BTW, if you have just ordered you RRO SPOA, there is still the possibility of backing out of the deal before they ship it to you - IF they ship it to you in a reasonable length of time.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Guys, thank you so much for your great help. I'm extremely grateful. Thanks Bill for the clear explanation.

Just to be sure, I went to the Rocky Road website to check on exactly what is included in the 7" Trail Blazer Lift Kit.

First, 7 inches a LOT of lift! You may have problems with the short Samurai driveshafts (u-joints in particular) not being able to take the new, sharper angles. I could be full of it, but that's my measured opinion...
Hi Ack,

what could happen as a result of that? What remedy could I use if anything happens?

Second, the Trail Blazer Lift Kit comes with a Z-link-style draglink. I GAROUN-TEE that you will have handling problems in the form of Bumpsteer if you drive your Samurai on the pavement - especially at highway speeds.

See this page for more info on bumpsteer:

Ack's FAQ: Your 4X4 Portal To All Things Suzuki/Geo

I lived with bumpsteer for 6 years on a 4.5" Breeze SPOA and it was, at the very least, controllable at 60 MPH on the Interstate. Not fun, but controllable. I imagine that it'll scare the ^*&( out of you @ 60 MPH with a 7.5" lift. I fixed my bumpsteer with a Over The Top (OTT) steering system. I am not sure that there is a suitable OTT system for a 7" lift - you may need to buy a drop pittman arm in addition to OTT to eliminate Bumpsteer.
As far as steering is concerned, I did opt for RRO's OTT steering system, and it is absolutely great! I can easily turn the 33" tires with a finger without power steering, thanks to OTT. RRO took care of everything for me, in terms of measurements, thanks to Glenn.

I'm one of these guys that is of the opinion that "if you can't drive it to and from the trail on the highway, you are cheating". That's why I don't have an Uber-lifted Samurai with all the associated high-speed handling problems and quasi-solutions.

Bear the above comment in mind when considering my advice.

I hope that this helps!

BTW, if you have just ordered you RRO SPOA, there is still the possibility of backing out of the deal before they ship it to you - IF they ship it to you in a reasonable length of time.
I absolutely agree with your opinion about drivability on the highway.

Why would you want me to back out of the deal? Just wondering, although I already got the lift kit and installed it a month ago :)

The reason I went for the 7" lift is that I insisted on changing my leaf springs to something more comfortable. The stock ones are a back breaker; they're so harsh and hard. The Rancho ones are much more comfortable. Here's a picture of my Samurai from my phone camera:


My transfer case old gears and my old clutch turned out in an extremely good condition. Here's a picture of the old transfer case gears:


Right now my main concern about the car is enough space in the wheel well for the front wheels. Although I took Bill's advice and hammered in all the sticking pieces, I still feel it is too tight in there. I'll see how it goes while wheeling.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
One more question that I forgot to ask, I'll be getting my ARB bullbar next week. I'm planning to do the installation myself. How is it done? I think I need to cut off the side mounting points of the original bumper, am I right?

I've also got my lockright rear locker, but I haven't installed it yet. I want to try the car for some time before I install the rear locker. Here's a picture of it:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Guys,

Every thing is now installed in place, and the 6.5:1 gears are absolutely stunning! The low range is something I've never experienced before!

The high range is excellent, balanced out the 33" tires quite well, almost as easy as it was stock; just a little more and it will be perfect. I guess now the turn comes to the ring and pinion gears. But my maximum speed now is exactly 100 Km/h, which is 62 MPH. I can cruise at 100 Km/h on fifth gear without a problem, but no faster than that. All my problems have been solved, including the overheating, the clutch noise, etc. The car is driving very well now. Didn't notice any abnormalities during the highway test.

The flex after the SPOA lift and Rancho springs is quite impressive for a leaf spring. Here are some pics of the very short test I have done on the side of the highway:




The car still had some capacity to flex further, but I didn't find a suitable place to test that.

Still waiting for your answers Ack.
 

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alternator:

I neglected to include a link about the adverse effects of "extreme" lifts - as defined in the link below:

Ack's FAQ: Your 4X4 Portal To All Things Suzuki/Geo

On solution that many have had success with the binding rear driveshaft is switching to a Toyota Double-Cardan unit. It offers larger operating angles when installed properly. For more info, take a look at:

Driveline Basics with Steve Johnson - ORN

and

Tom Wood's Custom Drive Shafts - Driveline 101

(I really hate how this forum software displays the title on my site's homepage instead of the URL of the target page!)


All the above links are found at Ack's FAQ with appropriate search words!

About the BTW on Rocky Road:

Rocky Road has this bad habit about delaying shipping for a LONG TIME. People complain about not getting their stuff doe weeks on end.

I met Glenn at a ZookiMelt and he seems to be a regular guy! Unfortunately, it's hard to run a business as big as his without hiring folks to help get the job done. Perhaps it is those poorly-performing minions that have created so many shipping delays and bad customer relations...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
alternator:

I neglected to include a link about the adverse effects of "extreme" lifts - as defined in the link below:

Ack's FAQ: Your 4X4 Portal To All Things Suzuki/Geo

On solution that many have had success with the binding rear driveshaft is switching to a Toyota Double-Cardan unit. It offers larger operating angles when installed properly. For more info, take a look at:

Driveline Basics with Steve Johnson - ORN

and

Tom Wood's Custom Drive Shafts - Driveline 101

(I really hate how this forum software displays the title on my site's homepage instead of the URL of the target page!)


All the above links are found at Ack's FAQ with appropriate search words!

About the BTW on Rocky Road:

Rocky Road has this bad habit about delaying shipping for a LONG TIME. People complain about not getting their stuff doe weeks on end.

I met Glenn at a ZookiMelt and he seems to be a regular guy! Unfortunately, it's hard to run a business as big as his without hiring folks to help get the job done. Perhaps it is those poorly-performing minions that have created so many shipping delays and bad customer relations...
Can you install those double-cardon drive shafts directly on a Zook? The highway driving seemed to be fine, but pushing the car on second to third gear was causing some vibration.

Can't I just install spring shims to correct the angle of the diffs? That will correct the angle on only one side of the drive shaft. Do you recommend them?

Glenn helped me a lot by providing advice on my lift. True, the shipment took about a month to dispatch, but I wasn't in a hurry for it. Later all my orders came from Low Range Offroad; they were extremely quick in dispatching my stuff, nothing stayed for more than one day.
 

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To install the Toyota CV's you will need a set of 'Rat Adapters'. These are adapters that will allow you to bolt them right in. Scott builds them at 4XFabrication.
https://www.rock4xfabrication.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=21_39&products_id=78&osCsid=2178adb764c311763e1e21f81c96603e
Look for Rat Adapters.

The shims can be used to improve the drive shaft angles, but in front - you will also change the caster angle of the knuckles. This will increase any vibration you have up front. Just don't go too big with the shims.
 

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shims

Shims are the DEBIL!

While they can be used to correct any driveshaft angle problems relating to NON_OEM setups (like counteracting the effect on pinion angle changes in a shackle lift) they should NEVER be used to point the third member to "get a better operating angle" on the u-joints!

ALWAYS do whatever you have to do to keep the faces of the pinion flanges parallel to the faces of the transfer case output flanges as described in:

Driveline Basics with Steve Johnson - ORN

and

Tom Wood's Custom Drive Shafts - Driveline 101

The only exception is the use of a Double-Cardan driveshaft (Toyota 4x4 PU fronts with RatAdapters as Bill mentioned) also as described in the above links.

Following the above information will result in a smooth-operating driveline. Any other vibrations will be related to existing conditions like worn t-case mounts, worn input/output bearings or worn u-joints.

BTW: The above links should be REQUIRED READING for anyone who owns a lifted truck or is considering lifting a truck.

I hope that this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
To install the Toyota CV's you will need a set of 'Rat Adapters'. These are adapters that will allow you to bolt them right in. Scott builds them at 4XFabrication.
https://www.rock4xfabrication.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=21_39&products_id=78&osCsid=2178adb764c311763e1e21f81c96603e
Look for Rat Adapters.

The shims can be used to improve the drive shaft angles, but in front - you will also change the caster angle of the knuckles. This will increase any vibration you have up front. Just don't go too big with the shims.
Hi Bill,

I didn't understand how is this going to help. Here's the Rat adapter from the above link:


This means I will have to change the whole drive shaft as well, right? Then what? The angle will still be the same, no?

Shims are the DEBIL!

While they can be used to correct any driveshaft angle problems relating to NON_OEM setups (like counteracting the effect on pinion angle changes in a shackle lift) they should NEVER be used to point the third member to "get a better operating angle" on the u-joints!

ALWAYS do whatever you have to do to keep the faces of the pinion flanges parallel to the faces of the transfer case output flanges as described in:

Driveline Basics with Steve Johnson - ORN

and

Tom Wood's Custom Drive Shafts - Driveline 101

The only exception is the use of a Double-Cardan driveshaft (Toyota 4x4 PU fronts with RatAdapters as Bill mentioned) also as described in the above links.

Following the above information will result in a smooth-operating driveline. Any other vibrations will be related to existing conditions like worn t-case mounts, worn input/output bearings or worn u-joints.

BTW: The above links should be REQUIRED READING for anyone who owns a lifted truck or is considering lifting a truck.

I hope that this helps!
I'll go through the two links thoroughly tonight and come back with more question.

Thanks guys for the great help. You didn't say what you think of my truck :) (compliment fishing)
 

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Yes, it means changing the driveshaft.

A regular (two u-joint) driveshaft has a balance issue that has to be near perfect to limit vibrations. The u-joint at both ends must be at the same angle to offset the other. Any difference in those angles will cause increasing vibrations as the rpm's increase.

A CV joint (or double cardon joint) is like a U-joint on steroids... it will allow for more of a controlled angle while not requiring the opposite end of the driveshaft to match that angle. So if the angle at the t-case remains basically the same and the pinion side u-joint changes angle because of the suspension change, the CV joint will work without increasing vibrations.

I have an article on swapping to a much higher end CV driveshaft that shows a few pics you might want to see. The higher end isn't required for most upgrades, but I abuse the shafts on the rocks so I wanted something stronger.
CV Driveshaft

 

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fishing for compliments

Hi Bill,

I didn't understand how is this going to help. Here's the Rat adapter from the above link:


This means I will have to change the whole drive shaft as well, right? Then what? The angle will still be the same, no?



I'll go through the two links thoroughly tonight and come back with more question.

Thanks guys for the great help. You didn't say what you think of my truck :) (compliment fishing)
Yup, you swap out the whole driveshaft! There is a data page at rock4xfabrications.com that lists all the different year Toyota 4x4 pickups that have front driveshafts that you can use. Some are literally bolt-on while others require a bit of cutting before installation. You can find them pretty cheap at salvage yards and pick-n-pulls. Rebuild kits are also easy on the wallet.

Here is an alternate link to that info:

Toy D-Shaft Information - Zukikrawlers

When I installed my Toyota DC driveshaft, I set my truck on level ground with a typical load onboard (weight equal to me and a full tank of gas) and my perches cut loose. I then rotated the pinion up until the angle on the differential end u-joint was zero. Then I welded (actually Smuz did it) the perches back in place. The result was a vibration-free rear driveshaft setup with plenty of flex. There is the possibility that the pinion bearing may not be getting it's normal flow of lubricant because of the new operating angle. I tried to fix this with a little more lube in the dif housing.

Your tintop is very clean! And Yellow (a color that I have scattered thoughout various places in the Ackmobile)! No nasty dents or rust spots!

I'm from the R&P camp so I cannot comment on the t-case gearing :eek:

I hope that this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Yes, it means changing the driveshaft.

A regular (two u-joint) driveshaft has a balance issue that has to be near perfect to limit vibrations. The u-joint at both ends must be at the same angle to offset the other. Any difference in those angles will cause increasing vibrations as the rpm's increase.

A CV joint (or double cardon joint) is like a U-joint on steroids... it will allow for more of a controlled angle while not requiring the opposite end of the driveshaft to match that angle. So if the angle at the t-case remains basically the same and the pinion side u-joint changes angle because of the suspension change, the CV joint will work without increasing vibrations.

I have an article on swapping to a much higher end CV driveshaft that shows a few pics you might want to see. The higher end isn't required for most upgrades, but I abuse the shafts on the rocks so I wanted something stronger.
CV Driveshaft


Thanks Bill, very clear explanation. So if I get the CV joint drive shaft then I can use shims to tilt the diff to get a 180 degree angle driveshaft (or zero degrees depending on where you measure it from :))

Yup, you swap out the whole driveshaft! There is a data page at rock4xfabrications.com that lists all the different year Toyota 4x4 pickups that have front driveshafts that you can use. Some are literally bolt-on while others require a bit of cutting before installation. You can find them pretty cheap at salvage yards and pick-n-pulls. Rebuild kits are also easy on the wallet.

Here is an alternate link to that info:

Toy D-Shaft Information - Zukikrawlers

When I installed my Toyota DC driveshaft, I set my truck on level ground with a typical load onboard (weight equal to me and a full tank of gas) and my perches cut loose. I then rotated the pinion up until the angle on the differential end u-joint was zero. Then I welded (actually Smuz did it) the perches back in place. The result was a vibration-free rear driveshaft setup with plenty of flex. There is the possibility that the pinion bearing may not be getting it's normal flow of lubricant because of the new operating angle. I tried to fix this with a little more lube in the dif housing.

Your tintop is very clean! And Yellow (a color that I have scattered thoughout various places in the Ackmobile)! No nasty dents or rust spots!

I'm from the R&P camp so I cannot comment on the t-case gearing :eek:

I hope that this helps!
Ouch! Why didn't you just use shims, instead of removing and re-welding the perches? Your perches are the type that rest directly on axle, instead of on the OE perches, I guess. I heared this type ain't good, because the axle housing isn't strong enough to handle the abuse.

BTW, my tintop wasn't that clean or rust-free, I had that done. This is how it actually looked like when I first bought it, and it was VERY rusty and all dented up. It was owned by some local news paper company, used for distribution of papers. I think the transfer case was NEVER used. The transfer case lever handle felt like new, and looked like new, depsite the condition of the car. The transfer case gears looked completely wear-free, although the car had more than 200,000 miles on it.


IF I have stock axles and a stock case what shaft do I need.
OPTIMAL WAYS FOR THE REAR
1) You can get away with 79-85 CV in the rear May need to be shorten'd depending on the year shaft you get 84-85 is longer hen the 79-83.
2) 86-88 4cyl CV will work the v-6 is hit or miss depending on what Toyota had in stock
3) 89-95 4Runner rear NON-CV shafts cut down to length and have roughly 42 deg at the joints

OPTIMAL FOR THE FRONT
1) 89-95 4Runner rear NON-CV shafts cut down to length and have roughly 42 deg at the joints
What about HiLuxes? 80's 4Runner and HiLux are based on the same platform, I'm guessing they have the same drive shafts. Maybe a longer rear drive shaft for the HiLux due to the longer wheel base because of the truck bed.
 

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Ouch! Why didn't you just use shims, instead of removing and re-welding the perches? Your perches are the type that rest directly on axle, instead of on the OE perches, I guess. I heared this type ain't good, because the axle housing isn't strong enough to handle the abuse.

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What about HiLuxes? 80's 4Runner and HiLux are based on the same platform, I'm guessing they have the same drive shafts. Maybe a longer rear drive shaft for the HiLux due to the longer wheel base because of the truck bed.
In my visits with literally hundreds of Zuk owners at various events, the vast majority of them with SPOA-lifted Samurais used welded perches as opposed to clamped "weldless" type - sold by Rocky Road - fitted with shims.

The logic:
Welded on perches - like the OEM units - are stonger. There is no possibility of postion-shifting as a result of depending on friction and presure to hold the perch in place. If the factory does it this way, why not use the same method with aftermarket perches? More objective evidence on this in a moment...

Shims - especially aluminum shims - can corrode and break. They also depend on friction, presure and the spring pin for positional stability. If the shim fails, bad things happen.

Welding onto the Samurai axle. Yes, if you are a total klutz with no formal knowledge of welding at all, you can totally mess up an axle tube or the perches by either overheating the weld or not heating them enough. My first major welding task - after a bit of self-training - was welding my perches. It was a complete success! Not bad for a television engineer...

Now the subjective stuff:
1. Hundreds of Samurai owners with welded perches can't be wrong!

B. Remember that "in a moment..." comment above? Diety forgive me for I have Sinned... The last Samurai that I parted out (yes it was driveable but just barely) had Rocky Road Bolt-on spring perches. This truck was set up as a Mudder and had been "rode hard and put away wet" many, many times in it's late career.

When I started to remove the axles, the flat pieces of steel in those Rocky Road Perches that were machined to cause the perches to rest exactly opposite from the OEM perches... were seriously distorted! The new perches were NO LONGER parallel to the old perches! This is certainly not a good thing, is it??

Thus my distain for any form of perch attachment other than welding.

About the types of Toyota Pickups: It is quite possible that 80's Hiluxes and 4Runners may use the same type of driveshaft. From your truck's "before" picture, I assume that you are not currently living in North Amreica. There is a possibility that North American Toyotas are equipped similarly to international versions. Unfortunately, the only real way to test this hypothesis is to measure the length of a Samurai rear driveshaft, then go to a salvage yard and measure the length of a HiLux/4Runner front dsriveshaft. If the local Toyota driveshaft is equal or slightly longer than the Samurai unit then you have the part that you need!

For a slightly less answer riddled with guesstimates, you could email your driveshaft question to [email protected].

Part of the fun that is called "modding" is the occasional trip to the salvage yard with tools, notes and a tape measure.

I hope that this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm with you when it comes to welding perches. Mine are welded perches. What I meant is that you don't need to remove the welded perches and re-weld them, you could have used shims instead. Or so I thought. But thanks for the great info.

True, I'm not in North America. But the specifications of the Samurai here and there are identical.
 
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