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Discussion Starter #1
I went up to Slee this morning to pick up my rear leaf springs (OME CS009R, the first step in my lift!!!) and got to talking with Ben for a little while about my plans. I mentioned that I'm planning on doing balljoint spacers to take care of the front, and he cautioned against them rather strongly, saying that they can lead to all kinds of funky handling in street and slippery conditions because they push the steering upward or something. I'm not real familiar with our steering systems so I'm not 100% sure what he meant, but it sounded reasonable. He specifically cited the experiences of our own Flygtenstein and thefatkid (Brian) as examples of unsatisfactory performance.

Not that I don't think he knows what he's talking about, but this is the first time I've heard of BJ spacers causing problems like that on street-driven trucks. I know others here are running them currently and I wanted to get some personal anecdotes on that experience and some opinions on if I should go that route or not. The thing is, I need the front to match the back (levelled with an inch or two of lift) and don't want to do a bracket lift or crank the shit out of my t-bars, so the BJ spacers appear to be my best/only real option.

What is y'all's take on this?
 

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russel (vwfast60) would probably be the best one to talk to... he has BJ spacers.

I was going to do them with my 92 but then it got totaled and now i dont have to worry about it :p
 

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YUCK!

The first issue I have with them is, they move the upper and lower control arms out of parallel. This causes the arc of the steering to change more durring suspension movement. Bumpsteer is not supposed to happen on IFS, it will with spacers.

Second, if using them for lift it makes the steering angles too far off from the relayrod. The force of the steering is now pushing down (opposing force up) and the weak pitman and idler arms can't handle the extra force. It should be pushing side to side. Bent steering componets (idler arm) happened everytime I went wheeling, the drive home sucked.

Third, due to the angle of the front tierods the force of driving on the street in 4wd in the snow was enough induce toe change. This was scary because the truck would dart in different directions depending on how much throttle was given.

I'd say the worst part of it was when you would inspect the front end in the air there was no slop in anything. Wheeling people would comment that somthing was broken due to the movement of toe in and out and the relay rod pushing up into the frame. Aslo should note that the front CVs run out of droop with the balljoint spacers on, I never broke one but many others have. You can break on on a stock truck also though so take that for what it is worth.

The best thing for the steering for IFS trucks is stock height or bracket lift. Stock steering geometry is retained. I went from balljoint spacers to my bastardized 4" bracket lift and have not had a issue to today. My wifes 4runner has a OME lift and has not had any of these issues but it is only 1" up.

How much lift is in the rear?

Edit: I now run a Total Chaos idler arm
 

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i was just thinking, companies out there make torsion bars that'll lift it 1.5-2" dont they?

cant seem to think of any of the names right now however.
 

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Cranking the t-bars are almost like balljoint spacers only the angles are better. If your not running extra weight sway-aways are too stiff. OME bars are ok. I just have my wifes 4runner turned up a little, not cranked though.
 

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I think Brian's experience was worse than normal, but I will agree about using them for lift tearing up the steering, and the best thing is to leave it stock height.

AxleIke is running balljoint spacers too.
 

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Thefatkid hit the nail on the head, except with the onroad part, in my experience.

My truck handles fine on road, never had an issue, but mine is leaf rear, his is coil. That actually could be pretty big.

As for how they work off road? Its all about how you plan to use it.

If you use them for lift, and wheel hard, you will crap steering parts like your truck ate a tierod/idler arm combo burrito at Casa Bonita.

If you stay mainly on the dirt roads, and upgrade to the brass idler bushings or invest in the downey brace, you'll be okay.
 

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If you use them for lift, and wheel hard, you will crap steering parts like your truck ate a tierod/idler arm combo burrito at Casa Bonita.
:rofl:

that's signature material right there
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the replies, all. I really don't see myself using this truck for more than mild rocks but focusing more on camping/expedition type stuff, plus it is my daily driver. It sounds like BJ spacers will be okay for what I intend to use it for for a while. If I was going to do some serious rock crawling or hardcore wheeling, I might look at other options though. Might not hurt to familiarize myself with my steering setup and maybe keep a spare idler arm on hand, but I bet I'll be pretty okay. :) Anyone else want to chime in on this?

Although, does anyone know offhand of good aftermarket t-bars that would provide lift without making the ride quality go to shit? Those might be an option as well.
 

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You can drive with a bad idler arm ... kinda hard to drive with broken tierods - THAT's the spare you need.
Your idler must have been better then mine:eek: I have a deep notch in my frame from the arm rubbing.

If you wheel carry the complete setup.

I have the idler, relay rod, both tierods. They are already are set for the correct toe on my truck so I can swap the whole setup if needed.

SDORI/ Frank is a douche bag, f you have ever noticed by any of his posts his shit never stinks. I like how he tells you to choose a different vendor because Slee has had personal bad experience with his product (on Yota Tech). Ask him in PM about how he tried to steal Offroadsolutions name (His first name for his company was San Diego Off Road Solutions), just like he did with Offroadinnovations. Just because you add SD (san diego) in front of someone else's name doesn't make it yours. I purchased his product, didn't like the outcome so this is a biased factual statement with a slight douche bag opinion.

I think now that because I didn't have a idler arm brace or TC arm the force of the 4WD was enough to push my weak steering. I was setup at 1.5" of lift height. I think if you didn't have as much lift the 4WD on the snow would not freak out as much. Toe change because of funky angles is still unavoidable. If you decide to go that route, don't lift it too much.
 

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I like em. I have had no more issues with mine then when i just had big tires and 4inches of lift. Mine are relaxed out some tho. I didnt gain any lift by adding them. I wheeled carnage 3+ times a week all summer and killed a bunch of idler arms and recently my first tie rod. Im running 36's tho...I doubt you will have the issues with them i have. I copyed my buddys downey brace and bent it and broke the idler arm. I had a friend throw some 1/2inch on it and its fine but the weak link moved to the link that hits the relay rod. When that goes it takes out the pitman arm too. I got fed up and welded straight to the arm and braced the relay rods so even if they brake the joint wont have any play....I know its ghetto but im sick of replacing parts rather then upgrading.

As for streetable they are just as streetable as your current set up. I daily drove my truck for over 30k miles last year wheeled it hard and am not exactly easy on it...its my sports car :)

I have known 2 people who run the BJspacers alone and the things they talk about is shocks being too long/short and the CV angles being bad at full droop. A diff drop will help that tho.
 

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I have the 1.5" ones on the front of my truck and ended up swapping manual hubs in as well as new shocks at the same time. I took it in for an alignment and they relaxed the torsion bars to get it back into specs. I probably have closer to 1" of lift at this point, but have some flex as well as a soft ride up front that I wanted. I plan on trying to put some slight lift springs in the rear ~2". This will help level things out as I have a camper shell on or haul a small camp trailer and my ATV most of the time. With my current setup, I believe I can stuff 33x10.50 tires comfortably. Last summer when I was going over Black Bear Pass, some of the people in my group thought I had a custom suspension due to the flex I had and not lifting my tires.

Kevin
Grand Junction, CO
1995 T-100 XCab
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I obviously need to bone up on my front end knowledge a little bit. There are a few 4Runners and pickups at the junkyard right now so they might be a good source for spares, once I figure out what all I need.

I wasn't planning on getting the spacers from SDORI anyway, even though I hadn't heard all those bad things about him. I'll probably get them from 4Crawler. Once I get the shock situation figured out, I'll have a HOW project for sure. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That's kinda what I thought, but either way I'd rather directly patronize 4Crawler.
 

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Brian, If you want to hold out a bit i will sell you mine and anything else you want off the front of my truck. I may just put it down to stock for a while while i wait on the rest of the parts. I have some 31's still i just need to find some stock leafs or someone to buy/trade with me.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm down. I'd like to get things done in the next month or so, but there's no pressure on that. Just let me know when you've got your stuff ready, and if I can I'll give you a hand with removing it. Thanks!
 

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Cool if it comes down to it I can pull the spacers and just run it with out. I dont plan on wheeling it much with the IFS on there anymore. As soon as i can meet up with my buddy eric im going to pick up my 31's and lower it. I will be selling my rear axle and my 4inch lift stuff,Rearend with locker.....everything but the tires and wheels for now.
 
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