Stephen's once saggy 86 Runner

MARCH 17 2008

Hereís some BEFORE shots (1986 SR5 Turbo automatic, though the turboís
aftermarket now). So, yeah...decent truck, just the usual sag. Now a closer look.

The whole leaf pack flattened out, the overload
overloaded, just a couple fingers of bumpstop space...

...all of which comes to a touch over 11 inches from top-of-rim to fender.

So, the first move was to hike the back of that truck up. And, when you only
have one jack you only about half-trust, this is a way to do it.

And those bumpstops were what wound up taking the longest of any of this. Mostly because
my sawzall blade broke, and the truck Iíd have needed to get to town with was
up on this tree stump. So, wound up using a couple of cutting wheels, some of a grinder,
a lot of sweat and profanity, but got 'em trimmed down after awhile. Anyway, except all
the cusswords still in the air evidently made the camera unable to focus, so those two
shots are kind of unusable, sorry.

However, the step AFTER that, I did take a clear-enough picture of...
Yep, those are strut spring compressors, borrowed from Autozone. Mostly because I bent one
of my favorite wrenches trying to break free those shackle bolts, to drop the leafs down
enough to get the spring in. Also, if you go this way, itís probably best to stick some leather
or something between the spring and the jaws of the compressor, just to keep the paint all
intact. Mine got a bit scuffed up, though, admittedly, most of the scuffing was from this
home-made, suicide of a spring compressor I rigged up before my wife got home with the other
car, let me escape to town. These worked great, though, a lot better than coil spring
compressors, which Iíd have had to buy, as that central bolt would be stuck in these skinny
springs forever, Iím pretty sure.

Anyway, I got them in, no sweat, and, as you can tell, I have no sockets big enough to
loosen the u-bolts around the axle housing to get that rubber thing out, so I just Ė bad idea,
Iím sure, but I didnít want to sacrifice any more wrenches (good wrenches, not China-stuff)
Ė settled the springs down onto that rubber stop:
Note how happy that overload is....

...On the other side too. You may notice that those top brackets
are just screwed in, not yet welded. Getting to a friendís shop tomorrow,
though, and heís going to mig them up there good.

And, hereís what the Zuk-treatment did to my saggy 4runner.
Yeah, wow. Kind of a hot rod....

....though, as the yardstick testifies: After cutting through the glare, thatís a smidge over
3 inches of gain. Very cool. However, yeah, that rakeís just a little too aggressive for me,
maybe, so, crank the torsion bars for all theyíre worth:

Which is just about perfect. And, as you can maybe spy there, new shocks at
all four corners, as those cranked torsion bars donít make for the best ride:

Mostly showing that pic because that spring looks to be bowing a bit, not sure why. I
suspect the rubber thing, though. Maybe I need to twist the spring or something (which of
course would be impossible). No fear of it popping out, of course. And likely once I take
it bouncing around, thingsíll settle in-line on their own.

The specs on the before/after torsion bar crankjob...

And then: So, nearly an and inch and half gain there, which is just about right, with the
Zuk-job on back. However, if I get tired of those tension bars being wound so tight, Iíve got
some inch and a half ball-joint spacers I can get in there, I think.

Anyway, all-in-all, Iím very satisfied with this. Not that I did the job quite to specs, but
it is very much a do it in your driveway type thing. However, be careful: I had to readjust
my garage door, as my 4runner was going to be scraping it now. And the truck does handle
different now, just from being that much taller, but I think that has more to do with the
torsion bars (feels like it wants to toe under sometimes, and one of those fat shocks rubs
up front) than with the unsagging rear-end. And, who knows, maybe Iíll get the bug and just
go with some long shackles after a while, wedge those BJ spacers up front, and go back to
the big tires the truck had on it when I bought it. All depends on how it does or doesnít do,
come elk season. My first 4runner, yeah. And all the better now, thanks to Zuk.

UPDATE from Stephen on June 26,, great. Got the brackets
welded in at top, just running on the rubber snubber things on bottom, and no problems at
all. As for the front, cranking the torsion bars turned out to be too rough (for me), so
I lowered them back and just put some balljoint spacers in. Worked like a charm. Thanks again
for everything.