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Congratulations on your purchase. I've tried to assemble the highest quality components for this kit. Be sure to read and understand the following directions, prior to starting this installation. There is nothing very difficult with this installation. However, there are many variations possible, owing to different vehicle types, aftermarket parts, damage, etc. that are beyond the realm of these instructions. For example if there is one bolt you can't remove, for whatever reason, you may not be able to complete (or even begin) the installation. Although a body lift can be done by one person, a second set of hands (and eyes) will come in handy.
Finally, realize that any change you make to the vehicle, such as a body lift, can have adverse affects on vehicle handling and safety. By raising the body, you are raising the vehicle's center of gravity, which can make it more prone to rolling over in off-camber situations or in sudden changes of direction. Modifying the stock bumper can negatively impact its strength in a collision. The body lift itself can increase leverage on body mounts causing potential failures in accidents and other high-loading situations.
That said, a week before you start, it is a good idea to start spraying your favorite penetrating oil on all the body mount fastening hardware to ensure easy removal:
If you have the stock front bumper, be sure to hit those fasteners, too. Every day or two, give the exposed threads a shot of penetrating oil and give it time to work. Added benefit, you'll know where all the mounts are and how to get to them.
A hammer is useful to remove the stock "captive washers" for re-use. Some folks have had trouble with re-using the stock body washers as they are often a captive design where the washer is pressed onto the bolt at the factory. Its very easy to do with a socket and hammer:
|A: Captive tabbed washer||B: Inserted in socket, hit with hammer||C: Washer pressed off bolt|
Here is a tabbed washer and standard head bolt. Use a socket that fits the head of the bolt (17mm in this case - A). Place socket on hard surface and strike the end of the bolt with the hammer (B). Note, pictured horizontally for ease of picture taking. One solid hit and the washer pops free (C)
|D: Captive round washer,
bolt has flanged head
|E: Inserted in larger socket,
hit with hammer
|F: L-R: SAE flat washer
factory washer and
Picture D shows a captive roundwasher and flange head bolt. Use a socket that fits the over the flanged head of the bolt (21mm in this case D). Place socket on hard surface and strike the end of the bolt with the hammer (E). The reason to re-use the factory washers is apparent in picture (F). Note the thickness of the stock washer (center) and its large diameter
A normal stamped flat washer is about the right diameter but is too thin and weak to span the hole in the floor of the body and will dish downwards under the load and fail. A hardened Grade 8 washer is probably strong enough for the load, but is too small to span the hole in the floor, so will pull through under load.
Park vehicle, securely block wheels to prevent it from rolling. Since you'll be moving the body in relation to the frame, it is a good idea to disconnect the ground cable from the battery to avoid unexpected short circuits as well as inadvertently putting too much strain on the battery terminals if the cables pull tight during the installation. However, if you have a newer vehicle and/or newer radio with security codes, you may not want to do this unless you can get your radio security features reset, or better yet, invest in a memory saver backup battery that plugs into the cigarette lighter to maintain a small amount of power for memory circuits. If you plan on raising the stock front bumper, disconnect the wiring harness from the turn signals. On air bag equipped vehicles, sensors for that are usually in the frame behind the bumper brackets, so they should be unaffected by the lift.
The actual lifting process should go quite easy, the body is only a fraction of the weight of the vehicle. If the body seems to get hung up, don't force it, figure out what is hanging it up before proceeding. Also, you'll want to lift from close to the balance point of the body/bed. Where exactly that point is is not important. I like to err to the rear and find a convenient lifting point near there. The reason for erring to the rear is that there are more attachment points up front that can cause problems if lifted too far. Now on to the lift...
Check your kit to ensure all parts are present. You should have:
Some of the body mount bolt heads are located beneath the carpet, so, remove the trim along the door that holds the carpet in place. Remove the plastic covers over the body mount locations, including the pair of mounts under the rear seat cushions. Loosen the nuts on all body mount bolts, remove the nuts from the side you will lift first, leave the nuts in-place on the opposite side (to keep the body from shifting). You may want to loosen clamps on the steering shaft too.
I found a HiLift jack in the rear wheel well (see picture,above - with a length of 2x4 along the top of the fender well) was a good lifting point on the body. It is a bit behind the natural balance point, the rear end will be lifted a bit higher than the front end. A floor jack placed under the body with sufficient wooden blocking works just as well
Lift the body slowly and evenly, checking frequently for binding and connections that may be hanging up. You'll need to raise the body until there is approx 1-1/2" of clearance between the body and body mount bushings to allow installation of the lift blocks. You may want to check the clearance of the fan and shroud on the radiator. If it looks tight, you can remove the lower part of the shroud (see Radiator Drop Bracket instructions) or unbolt the shroud altogether. Some vehicles may have bumper components that override the body (such as the Montero rear bumper or Toyotas with SmittyBilt tube bumpers), so it may be necessary to loosen and/or remove the bumper to raise the body.
Hint: If you are planning to install polyurethane bushings, now would be a good time to remove the stock ones and install the new ones.
Proceed down the body, removing the stock bolt. If the stock bolt has a "captive" tabbed washer, this can be removed and re-used on the new, longer bolts:
Many vehicles have different length bolts for the various body mount locations. One tip is to lay each stock bolt adjacent to its location on the vehicle. Then match up the new, longer bolts with the stock ones to ensure that the correct length bolt is used. Also, it is often the case that some of the stock bolts can be re-used in another location. It is perfectly fine to do this if its easier.
The front body/radiator mounts (pictured below on the left side) are typically smaller than the other body mounts (pictured below on the right side):
Slide a lift block in place, drop the new bolt down through the body, block, washer, upper bushing (and sleeve) and body mount bracket. Once all the blocks and bolts are in on one side, slowly lower the body, checking again to ensure everything is lined up properly. Then lower the body to compress the bushings. Finally, install the lower bushings (1st gen only) , any washers (either stock or new ones from your poly mount kit) and the new nylock nut. You can snug up the huts a bit, but don't make torque them yet. In the pictures, below, you can see examples of one- and two-piece bushings with the lift blocks installed:
Now reset your jack to the other side and repeat the above steps. Refer to the Torque Specification section for details on finishing the body lift.
Check your kit to ensure all parts are present. You should have, at a minimum:
Doing a body lift on a pickup is actually two separate tasks with an extra step or two at the end. First, you lift the cab, then the bed, then align the bed to the cab. I found it was easier to align the bed to the cab if they were at the same height, since the body contours line up properly, but you can do it either way, it really makes no difference.
Refer to the 4Runner section of the instructions for instructions on raising the body. The rear cab mount bolt heads are located beneath the carpet, so, remove the trim along the door that holds the carpet in place. Remove the plastic covers over the cab mount locations. Loosen the nuts on all 6 cab mount bolts, remove the nuts from the 3 on the side you will lift first, leave the nuts in-place on the opposite side (to keep the body from shifting). I found a floor jack with appropriate blocking to raise the body from about the front seat area makes a good balance point. Lift the body slowly and evenly, checking frequently for binding and connections that may be hanging up. You'll need to raise the body until there is approx 1-1/2" of clearance between the cab and cab mount bushing to allow installation of the lift blocks.
Now, you are ready to start lifting the bed. Loosen the nuts on all 6 or 8 bed retaining bolts, remove the nuts from the side you will lift first, leave the nuts in-place on the opposite side (to keep the bed from shifting).
Notice the bed mounts lack the compliant bushings found on the cab. Also, note that the stock bolt and new bolt are designed to be inserted in the channel above the mount and dropped down through the hole. The hardware kit for the pickup (at least in the 1" lift kit) includes longer bolts with welded-on tabs, like stock, to keep the bolts from turning, making for a faster installation process. I found a HiLift jack with a piece of 2x4 blocking under the rear wheel well made a good lifting point, otherwise a floor jack and sufficient blocking to reach the bed floor will work. Lift the bed slowly and evenly, checking frequently for binding and connections that may be hanging up. You'll need to raise the bed until there is approx 1-1/2" of clearance between the body and body mount bushing to allow installation of the lift blocks.
Proceed down the bed, removing the stock bolt and square rubber washer, install a lift block and then the new bolt with welded on tab, it may take a few tries at the proper orientation to get it into the hole in the bed. The bolts in the kit are designed to be just barely long enough for the 1" lift, yet short enough to fit into the tight space under the bed. If you find it "impossible" to get the bolt in from above, don't sweat it, it'll work just as well from underneath, with the nut on top. Once all the blocks and bolts are in on one side, slowly lower the bed, checking again to ensure everything is lined up properly. Finally, install a washer and the new nylock nut. You can snug up the nuts a bit, but don't make torque them yet. Now reset your jack to the other side and repeat the above steps.
Then, before you torque down the bed bolts, make sure the bed is properly aligned with the body. If it has shifted to one side, you can lift and reposition it by hand to get it lined up. Once it is aligned, refer to the Torque Specification section for details on finishing the body lift.
Vehicle Specific Notes
Depending on the amount of lift, it may be necessary to adjust the steering shaft to accommodate the body lift. Its a good idea to loosen the steering shaft clamp (lower left image) to allow it to slide out as you lift the vehicle. Be sure to mark the shaft and clamp so that you can line both up if they do pull apart during the lift. For Toyota vehicls with rack and pinion steering and vertical steering shaft, see the following section for details on steering shaft adjustments.
I made a black mark on mine before doing a 2" lift and you can see how far the splines pulled out, just a bit over 1/2". If the clamp and spline are rusty, you can spray them down with penetrating oil and even use a screwdriver or chisel to open the clamp up to free it.
|Splined clamp||Rag Joint|
In the upper right image, you can see the rag joint that is usually at the bottom end of the steering shaft, at the steering box. It uses a rubber center section and you want the rubber to not be under any stress. If the rubber section takes on a wavy look (/\/\) you need to loosen the clamp and let the spline slip out to relieve the stress. If the spline slips out too far, with less than 1/2" of so of spline engagement, then it will be necessary to make some modifications.
For trucks with conventional steering boxes and a two-piece (collapsible) steering shaft at an angle, you can do the following:
|Drill out plastic pins||Shaft is now free to move|
|Collapsed to 11"||Extended to 17"|
Once all the modifications to the steering shaft have been completed, torque the fasteners to the recommended values, the upper steering clamp is 27 ft.lb. Check the fasteners after a few hundred miles of driving. If you do remove the shaft to make these modifications, be sure to check the lower u-joint. I found mine was very tight, so I disassembled it clean and greased the needle bearings and now it moves nice and smooth.
I've been running my shaft without pins (without knowing it) for many years. When I had crossover steering installed, the shop must have drilled out the pins when they swapped steering boxes. Once clamped in place the shaft can't move, its clamped at the top and clamped at the bottom. I later pulled it out to document the drilling process and guess what, no pins. But if they were there, drill them out, plastic pin in a metal hole. Once free, I found my shaft could collapse to 11" and extend to over 17" (this is a safety feature built into the component in case of a front end crash). Installation is now a lot easier, collapse the shaft, clamp the steering box end, extend it out and into the upper clamp (making sure the alignment marks you made are lined up) and its done.
Some trucks may not have the collapsible steering shaft. You should be able to examine the steering shaft in your truck and see if its the two-piece design (as pictured above) or if its all one solid piece from end to end. If so, you'll need to install an extension on the rag joint at the base of the shaft to lengthen the shaft if it will be pulled too far out of the upper clamp. Follow the instructions below...
For trucks with rack and pinion steering (and vertical steering shafts or on trucks with 1-piece shafts and recirculating ball steering boxes) you will not be able to extend the driveshaft as shown above. Since the shaft is vertical, there is no need to make it collapsable for safety reasons, so instead it is a fixed length. If the shaft is only a fraction of an inch too short, you can add a few washers to the retaining bolts to lift the steering shaft off the rag joint. You probably don't want to go past the point that the large studs on the base of the rag joint won't engage the stops on the top of the rag joint. These stops are another safety feature that help limit the deflection of the rubber rag joint. If you need to extend the shaft 1" or more, you'll need to install a steering shaft extension; see image lower left:
|Small extension w/ washers||Rag joint disassembled||Steering shaft extension installed|
An optional steering shaft extension is available (image above center). To install it, you remove the 2 short bolts (8x25mm) that attach the upper part of the steering shaft to the rag joint. The other studs (with the large round heads) are pressed into the rag joint and attach it to the lower part of the steering shaft. The rag joint itself is made of rubber and it it designed to flex back and forth to absorb road vibrations transmitted up the steering linkage and prevent them travelling up the steering shaft to the steering wheel. The spacer is installed over the stop bolts on the rag joint and includes longer bolts to attach it to the steering shaft (image above right). This extension allows for rag joint flex to absorb steering jolts, yet prevents overextending the rag joint like the stock arrangement.
In the above photos, the steering shaft is shown removed from the vehicle. This was done to allow clear photos to be taken, it is possible to install the extension with the steering shaft in place in the vehicle. Once installed, torque the longer bolts to factory specifications, usually 15-20 ft.lbs. Photo below is typical of rack and pinion steering shaft extensions (Tacoma and 3rd Gen 4Runner).
If you notice a tightness or stiffness in the steering after installation, its likely the rag joint is under a bit of strain. Often there is a plastic cover over the rag joint (located at the base of the steering shaft), you can pull it up to examine the rag joint area. If the rubber is not laying flat, its likely under tension. To correct this, loosen the upper clamp and turn the steering lock to lock a few times, tapping on the clamp if its stuck, to release the tension. After the steering works free, be sure to tighten the clamp bolt to factory specs (about 19 ft.lbs.). Its a good idea to check the steering clamps and extension bolts for tightness after a few hundred miles of driving.
Also, there is usually a plate on the firewall where the steering shaft passes through. Its usually accessible from the driver's footwell area. Due to the lift, the angle on the shaft will become a bit steeper and the plate may need to be adjusted lower to line up the hole with the shaft if its rubbing. You may also find that the shaft may be rubbing on various heat shields or brackets around the engine or even on the inner lip of the wheel well, if so, they may be bent slightly to clear.
If you currently have the stock front bumper and intend to retain it after the body lift, it may be lifted an amount equal to the body lift to cover up the gap left when the body was raised. Some body styles require the bumper be lifted in order to reinstall it. If you ordered the optional bumper lift brackets, you can either weld them to the stock bumper bracket or bolt them on with the supplied hardware. The style of the bumper bracket varies by vehicle:
In the image, above, you can see the lift bracket installed in proper position using the stock bolts. The stock bracket should fit over the threaded studs that are spaced 1" above the stock mounting holes, to match the body lift dimension.
To lift the bumper, it must be removed from the vehicle. There should be two inverted L-shaped brackets attaching the bumper to the frame and possibly some struts attaching the ends of the valence to the body. Disconnect the turn signal wiring then remove the bolts attaching each bracket to the frame and the bumper should come free.
As it turns out the stock bumper bracket on the 2nd generation has enough "meat" to accommodate a 1" body lift by simply drilling new mounting holes as far below the stock holes as possible, approx. 3/4". The size of the hole is approx. 1/2". Remove the bumper, mark and drill the holes then re-install the bumper about 3/4" higher. Or, the bumper can be left as is, by removing and relocating the rubber bushing end pieces that attach the ends of the bumper to the body. Remove the through bolt, slip the rubber bushing out of the slot and re-install it on top of the slot. This will provide adequate lift to bet it to align with the hole in the fender it attaches to. A bolt-on bracket is available for lifts 1" and higher, contact me for more information. To install the bracket may require some grinding/drilling of the lip on the stock bumper bracket to allow it to fit flush. Installation follows the steps below for the '89-'95 pickups...
The pickup bumper bracket doesn't have enough metal to allow re-drilling the front bumper bracket even for a 1" lift. Shown below are the bumper mounting bolts in the frame (left) and a 1" bumper bracket with extension (this one was welded on, but the production brackets can be bolted on) ready to be attached to the frame.
To lift the bumper, it must be removed from the vehicle, as pictured above-left, are the two bolts that attach the front bumper to the frame. Pictured above-right, is a welded-on bracket. Basically, the bracket is a steel plate that slips between the stock bumper bracket and frame, the lower two holes are for the frame bolts, the upper two for the stock bumper bracket holes, using 7/16" studs, nuts and washers. If welding the bracket to the bumper, its best to take off the stock front valence for easier access. Be sure to put the valence back on *before* installing the bumper on the vehicle. You should re-use the existing frame bolts and be sure the washer on the frame bolt captures the lift bracket and stock bumper bracket. The holes are drilled a bit oversize to allow for ease of installation and alignment of the bumper to the vehicle. Align the bumper then torque down the fasteners to factory specifications. The nuts on the bracket studs should be tightened to ~20 ft.lbs. Some minor grinding may be needed to ensure the new bracket fits the existing bracket snugly.
On the 2000 and later 4Runners and the 2001 and later Tacoma pickups, there may be a two piece front bumper, the outer cosmetic bumper that bolts to the frame as shown above and an inner bumper that spans the front frame rails. It is bolted to the front of the frame (see photo above-right) and sits inside the outer bumper. In order to raise the outer bumper, something must be done to make it clear the inner bumper, since its effectively wrapped by the outer bumper. Three options are:
Likewise, on the 2000-02 4Runners, the factory bumper bracket has an extension in the rear which holds the 2nd bolt, instead of being lined up horizontally as pictured above. In order to fit the bumper raising bracket, a new 1/2" hole needs to be drilled in the factory bumper bracket to line up with the hole in the lift bracket, then once attached, the factory bolts are used to attach the lift bracket to the frame using the two horizontally aligned holes. If the extension piece of the stock bracket is in the way, it can be trimmed off as needed.
On the Toyota pickups and Tacomas, the bumpers are usually frame mounted. However, lifting the bumper is often not required, in that the body will clear the bumper, unlike the front bumper. In most cases, if it is desired to raise the rear bumper, there is usually enough extra metal in the bracket to allow new holes to be re-drilled, again unlike the front bumper. Therefore, a rear bumper bracket is not part of this body lift kit.
On the Toyota Tacoma pickup, the factory bumper brackets bolt to the frame and attach to the bumper, dropping it ~1.5" below the frame. There is enough extra metal in the factory brackets to allow re-drilling the bumper mounting holes up 1" higher to account for a 1" body lift. Shown to the left is a 1" relocated rear bumper and tow bar. New holes are drilled 1" higher than the stock locations in the bumper bracket (easiest to drill sinvce it can be removed) to raise the bumper and tow bar (if present). Some notching of the bumper bracket can be seen to let it fit inside the bumper itself. You can re-use the stock bumper bolts and install the 4 M12-1.25 nuts from kit RB, since the factory nuts are welded to the bracket that comes off the frame. You can also use new 1/2" or equiv. bolts and nuts if you wish.
For taller lifts on the Tacoma pickup rear bumpers is that the stock bumper brackets can be swapped side to side, flipping them upside down. This nets a ~3" lift (i.e. 1.5" above the frame) if using the stock mounting holes. However, by using the above hardware kit (RB), and redrilling holes offset 1" from stock (in this case lower), the bumper can be reattached 2" higher quite easily (i.e. 3" - 1" = 2" of lift). With the brackets flipped over, the mounting holes no longer leave the bumper perfectly level, so its best to get one bolt in first, set the bumper to level and then mark and drill for the second hole.
In all the above options, some trimming and/or grinding of the various brackets may be required for a proper fit. This can be seen in the lower right corner of the picture above, the bottom of the factory bracket is notched to clear the reinforcment brace inside the bumper. With any amount of lift (1"-3") you will have to do some cutting/grinding/drilling to get the bumper raised to the desired height and sitting level and clear of the tailgate. The bolt holes are ~1/2" in diameter.
Pickup beds are supported both by bolts through the frame or bracket and bed as well as on some models by simply physical contact of the bed cross members resting on the frame. When a body (and bed) lift is installed, these physical connections are lost. Bed spacers can be used to fill the gap left by the lift. They should be installed directly to the frame, underneath where the bed crossmember(s) would have otherwise made contact. The spacers may be bolted or welded in place. To bolt them on, self tapping screw are supplied, mark the location of the mounting hole, pre-drill a 1/8" - 3/16" pilot hole then use a hex driver or wrench to screw them to the frame rail. Tighten the screw until it is snug with the spacer and frame. Do not overtighten or you risk stripping out the theads. Feel free to apply a bead of adhesive/sealant between the spacer and the frame to hold it in place and keep it from working loose and rattling.
Bed spacers can be thought of as "overload supports" as they only come into play when heavy, non-rigid loads are carried in the bed. Typical loads would be sand, gravel, sod and other bulk cargo. They would normally cause the bed to "sag" except that when it drops to make contact with the frame, it stops. Loads like lumber would spread their load out over the entire bed and would probably not cause the same sag in the bed. Picture A shows mounting a 1" bed spacer on a frame rail with the provided self-tapping bolts. Picture B shows a 3" bed spacer installed on a 1st generation 4Runner (this one is welded in place, but bolt-on versions are available), directly under the rubber bushing that originally sat on the frame rail. A 2" bed spacer is also available (not shown) but the spacer height should match the body lift height.
In Toyota trucks through the 1995 models, the radiator is attached to the front of the body, usually by 4 bolts, while the engine (and thus the fan) is attached to the frame. The radiator has a plastic shroud attached to it that encloses the fan to improve its efficiency. The lower half of the radiator fan shroud usually has a removable section that allows the shroud to be removed for service. When the body is lifted, the radiator, too is lifted in relation to the engine and fan.
Note: If you have an electric radiator fan, such as a Flex-A-Lite, you don't have to worry, as the fan is attached to the radiator.
Depending on how much clearance there is between the fan and shroud, the fan may hit the shroud due to lifting the body. If the fan sits back far enough from the radiator, it may miss the shroud altogether. If you look at picture #1, below, you'll see where the interference will happen. Alternately, it may be possible to simply remove the lower part of the shroud (see: picture #2) to allow the fan to spin freely (that piece is often missing) as you can see in picture #3, below. Ideally, the fan should be centered within shroud for maximum cooling efficiency, but in a well functioning system, cooling is probably adequate with the fan offset 1" from center.
If the above steps do not correct the fan/shroud interference problem, then it may be necessary to relocate either the shroud or the entire radiator. That's when the optional radiator brackets are used. A typical Toyota radiator is shown in picture #4. below. You can see the mounting flange and the elongated holes that are used to mount it to the support bracket on the front of the engine bay. One might expect to simply drill new holes above the existing holes to offset the body lift. Unfortunately, there is often no metal available where the hole should be to allow this. In fact, on the pictured radiator, you should be able to see the remnants of the partial holes that were drilled through the flange and relocating bracket. One option is to simply redrill the holes as high up as possible (say 3/4") and go from there.
To solve this problem, the relocating bracket has studs that mount to the existing holes in the radiator flange and then has mounting holes spaced above the stock holes to allow relocation.
Since every make and model radiator is a bit different, its impossible to design a one-size-fits-all bracket. The best advice is to measure what you have in your vehicle, ahead of time. If there is at least enough clearance to allow for the body lift, you are set, if not, can the shroud be modified? If not, can the radiator be lowered? Looking back at mine, I also may have been able to get away with mounting the radiator 1/2" or even 3/4" lower, making use of the existing flange metal.
On the Tacoma pickups and 3rd Gen 4Runners, the radiator has threaded mounting holes on it, and is attached with bolts that pass through the sheet metal behind the grill. To relocate this radiator, simply remove it, drill new holes in the sheet metal then re-attach the radiator using the stock fasteners.
On the Toyota Landcruiser FJ-60/2 vehicles, the radiator is mounted on rubber bushings attached to a bracket on the core support. If relocation is desired, it is possible to reconfigure the bushings and mounting to lower the radiator. No brackets are needed. I don't have a photo of this, but if anyone that has done this could send me one, I'll be happy to add it to this page.
Different vehicles have different types of shift linkages and the changes needed depend on the type of linkage, the amount of lift and the year and make of the vehicle. There are no hard and fast rules as to the linkage adjustment, some folks have had no issues with a 2" or higher lift, others have literally had shifter binding at just over 1/4" of lift (yes I once made a 5/16" body lift kit). So below are some examples of various types of problems you may encounter and some ways to correct them:
Toyota Automatic Transmissions; '95 and earlier
Toyota Automatic Transmissions; '96 and later
Due to variations in body and frame, different model years, you may or may not experience shift lever interference with a 1" body lift. I've done several lifts that had no trouble at all, but on my '85 4Runner, I did have trouble. In my case, the stock transfer case shift lever would push the rubber shift boot against the lip of the metal cover plate in 4-LO range. On smooth terrain, this was not even noticeable, but in uneven terrain, the relative motion of the drive train and body, was enough to "kick" the transfer case into neutral.
In my case, the fix was fairly easy, I simply cut away a bit of metal around where the shift lever was located in 4-LO and this cured the problem. Int he picture above, you can see the section I cut out of the cover plate. Normally the boot entirely covers the hole in the plate, but I simply enlarged the existing hole with a sheet metal nibbler and/or tin snips. Note, this cover plate is not visible once either the carper of shift console is reinstalled, so it doesn't have to be very pretty.
In any event, you should thoroughly check the shifters in all possible combinations to ensure no binding is present. Also, it is a good idea to go out for a good off-road test drive to shake out the system. In my case, on-road operation was perfect, I noticed the minor problem once I got off-road, in 4-LO and started working the suspension and drive train.
Another option to cutting the cover plate is to bend the shift levers so they avoid the interference. This is tricky, but can be done with a long pipe over the shift lever end to bend it cold. Heating is another option but the shift levers have some plastic material so you need to be careful to not melt/burn that.
Alternately, you can try inverting the inner heavy rubber boot (either by pulling it off, flipping it upside down and re-installing it, or by pushing the cone of the boot down to turn it inside out). This will help in cases where the boot itself is pulling on the shift lever, by placing the tip of the boot down, it can flex farther without pulling so hard on the lever. Basically, you want the pointy end of the boot to be as low as possible. This is a good option in the taller 2"-3" body lifts.
You can also bend the shifter if it only rubs in one particular gear. For example if the t-case lever rubs in 4LO, pull the lever out and bend it back a little, so that its not so far forward in 4LO. It is best to bend the lever at the bottom, below the thick section. Also, DO NOT heat the shifter in order to bend it, this is because the shifter is a 2-piece construction, with the thin lower rod inserted into the thick upper portion and held in place with a thermosetting plastic. If heated, the plastic will melt and possibly loosen. Best bending method is to clamp the shifter in a vise, then slip a length of pipe over the end of the shaft and bend it slowly, by hand, in the direction desired. Its a good idea to bend a little, then check the fit and bend a little more, rather than trying to get it all in one shot.
But there is another easy option that not only solves this problem, but also makes the transfer case shifting better, IMHO:
Of course, you could always do something like the Performance Accessories body lift kit provides for shifter extensions. Basically 2 pieces of 1/2" hot rolled steel rod, which you are supposed to use to extend the shift levers with. The instructions say to remove the shift lever from the truck, cut it in two near the base (below the large upper section) then weld in the extension piece, while maintaining the proper shift lever alignment (top-bottom) and being careful not to melt the plastic sound dampening material that bonds the lower shift rod to the upper portion, then re-install the lengthened shifter into the gear box and bend as needed to get proper shifting movement.
I chose NOT to offer something like this, since most people would not have the skill or equipment needed to handle the tricky install, and if they did, they would likely also have some scrap steel rod (or old bolts) laying around with which to accomplish this modification with. Also, this type of solution doesn't really address the problem of shift levers and body lift, that is that the pivot point is now farther below the body penetration hole and thus the shift lever moves farther while shifting, pulling harder on the shift boot and possibly hittign the sides of the hole in the floor.
You can try this if you wish, but it seems to be a lot of work for little if any gain. I would even be happy to supply the shift extension rods(with the body lift kit order) if you are REALLY going to install them, but please don't ask for them unless you WILL use them. The set pictured above is from a PA body lift kit, given to me by the ower of the truck it was installed in, he never installed them and didn't need to.
The A/T shift linkage on the Toyota vehicles (up through 1995 pickup and 4Runner models) consists of two main parts, the transmission shift lever and the transfer case shift lever. The transmission lever is adjustable and can handle up to a 3" body lift with simple adjustments. The 4WD (or transfer case) shifter, on the other hand will only work up to about a 1" body lift without modifications. I now offer a bracket that lifts the transfer case shift lever up 2" so that body lifts in the 2" to 3" range can now be done on A/T equipped Toyota 4WD vehicles.
|A/T Shift Lever Bracket||Bracket Install Location||Shift Linkage Adjustment|
In the middle image, you can see where the transfer case shift lever is attached to the underside of the floor of the vehicle. It is a simple matter to unbolt the lever, bolt in the eextension bracket and then bolt the lever to the bottom of the bracket to restore the original body-transfer case alignment. The transmission shift linkage may be easily adjusted to accomodate the lift by following the factory shift lever adjustment procedure:
On the 1995.5 and later Tacoma and 3rd Gen 4Runner, the A/T shift linkage is more "body lift friendly". It is a simpler linkage and easier to adjust. In the image below, you can see the shift linkage and the adjustment needed for a 1" body lift.
Many hoses and wires cross the body-frame gap and may need to be adjusted any time the body is lifted off the frame. Examples include the gas tank (filler and vent hoses), radiator, power steering and brakes. Most of the time no adjustments will be required. Some times, you may need to loosen a hose clamp, and adjust the end of the hose to relieve the stress in the line. Other hoses may be attached to brackets, such as the gas tank filler neck on the Tacoma and 3rd Gen 4Runner. In this case, the retaining bolt can be removed, the bracket bent up to match the lift, then the bolt can be re-installed. Brake hard lines typically are coiled where they pass from the body to the frame. These coils should handle the lift just fine, just check that the lines are not getting hung up or pinched. Hoses to the clutch slave cylinder should have enough slack for 1" - 2" of lift. Worst case is when you are installing the lift, since you'll have the body raised up higher than the final height. If needed, gas tank filler (1" dia.) and vent lines (1/2" dia.) can be extended with lengths of fuel line tubing (not included in the kit). You'll need approx. 5" of each diameter tubing for each line extended, there is usually one filler and 1-3 vent lines that need extending.
Wires and ground straps should be examined for tightness, while lifting. If wires are pulled tight, see if they are clamped at one end or the other, if so, either remove or relocate the clamp if possible. If ground straps are tight, see if one end or the other can be moved, if not, replace the strap with a longer part. Braided copper ground straps are available at most auto parts stores. On Tacoma and 3rd Gen 4Runner, the wires to the fuel tank level sender unit may need to be relocated or lengthened. Wiring is not included in the kit.
After installing a body lift, keep an eye out for new leaks from hoses that are pulled too tight, or for electrical problems that may be related to missing grounds.
I can't begin to address all possible issues you might encounter while installing a body lift. I'll describe some I've run into:
While these instructions were written for a 1" body lift, they generally apply to taller lifts. The higher you go the more things there are to check and possibly correct. I apologize for the somewhat vague recommendations below, but its hard to give 100% yes/no answers on this subject. For example, my 4Runner needed transfer case shifter mods at 1" body lift, others have done 2" without any mods. I had to do the radiator brackets at 1" lift because I have a thicker than stock radiator, others have done 1.5"-2" lifts without touching the radiator. For on-road or mild offroad use, having a slightly tight hose may not be a problem, in heavy offroad use, it may be.
Here is a summary of items to check when doing taller body lifts:
Once you have all the body mount blocks in place, all the bolts inserted and loose after lowering the body/bed, and on pickups, the cab and bed are aligned, go ahead and torque down the fasteners. I've been unable to find any "factory" torque specs for the body mount hardware. Going by the "Standard Bolt Tightening Torque - Appendix B, '85 Pickup/4Runner FSM", 20-30 ft.lbs. seems appropriate for the size and grade of hardware used. Also, be sure to check that the steering shaft is still sufficiently engaged with the clamp, and retorque the clamp bolt to factory specs, if it was loosened duting the installation process.
Be sure to re-check all fasteners after about 300 miles of driving. The lock nuts will prevent them from loosening up. You simply want to ensure that all the components of the body mount are in contact with each other and there is no play in the system.
On the infamous "shade tree howler mechanic" banana scale, I rate this project at about 2-3 bananas.
If you have any suggestions or feedback to improve these instructions, please let me know. This is a living document, I'm constantly updating it based upon your feedback.
[Last updated: 21.April.2004]