4 Wheel & Off Road - - CONTENTS - Harry Wag­ner BY ED­I­[email protected] PHO­TOG­RA­PHY HARRY WAG­NER

This Toy­ota does well to take a page from Jeep’s play­book.

TOY­OTA FJ40 LAND CRUISERS have a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing tough as nails, but the steer­ing sys­tem leaves some­thing to be de­sired, to put it nicely. A gear­box at the base of the steer­ing col­umn con­trols a drag link, which seems sim­ple enough. But a bell­crank is mounted on the front cross­mem­ber and uses a push-pull ef­fect for steer­ing. This as­sem­bly uses six tie-rod ends, which al­low ex­ces­sive free play and back­lash. The re­sult is sloppy at best, and re­place­ment parts are not read­ily avail­able.

While it may pain Toy­ota purists to hear it, the so­lu­tion is to take a page out of the Jeep play­book with a Sag­i­naw steer­ing box that elim­i­nates two of the six tie rod ends, re­sult­ing in a 33 per­cent re­duc­tion is play be­tween the steer­ing wheel and the tires. While you could piece to­gether the com­po­nents ne­c­es­sary to per­form this con­ver­sion your­self, Ad­vance Adapters has every­thing you need (mi­nus the steer­ing box) pack­aged un­der one con­ve­nient part num­ber (PN 716808). That’s right, the same com­pany that cre­ated the At­las II trans­fer case and makes bell­hous­ings and tail­shafts to mate nearly any en­gine to nearly any trans­mis­sion also of­fers steer­ing com­po­nents and steer­ing so­lu­tions for early Jeep and Toy­ota ve­hi­cles.

Af­ter speak­ing with Ad­vance Adapters’ Steve Roberts, we chose a man­ual Sag­i­naw con­ver­sion for our Land Cruiser. Ini­tially we had in­tended to in­stall power steer­ing, but there is no com­mer­cially avail­able power steer­ing pump bracket for the orig­i­nal Toy­ota F en­gine in our Land Cruiser. “We make brack­ets for 2F en­gines, but most of our cus­tomers have swapped out the F en­gines for Small Block Chevys,” says Roberts.

While we could have made a cus­tom bracket, Roberts as­sured us that a man­ual Sag­i­naw box would still be a big im­prove­ment over the fac­tory steer­ing. And since our FJ40 has an open front dif­fer­en­tial, skinny 33-inch Toyo tires, and will see mild trail use, he didn’t think that man­ual steer­ing would be an is­sue. Af­ter in­stalling the Ad­vance Adapters Sag­i­naw con­ver­sion we must say he didn’t steer us wrong.

“Ad­vance Adapters also of­fers steer­ing con­ver­sions”

1 1 Ad­vance Adapters is best known for its At­las trans­fer cases and trans­mis­sion and trans­fer case adapters. The com­pany’s cat­a­log is much more di­verse than that though, with con­ver­sion ra­di­a­tors, ex­haust head­ers, and even steer­ing com­po­nents for older ve­hi­cles.

66 If your Land Cruiser still has the col­umn shifter, it will have to be con­verted to a floor shifter in or­der to up­grade to Sag­i­naw steer­ing since the shift link­age runs down the steer­ing col­umn. This wasn’t an is­sue for our spe­cific ve­hi­cle since a floor shift con­ver­sion had been per­formed by the pre­vi­ous owner.

88 We or­dered a re­man­u­fac­tured man­ual Sag­i­naw steer­ing box from Rock Auto. We spec­i­fied a box for a 1989 Jeep Wran­gler YJ. The box has three mount­ing bolts and is six turns lock-to-lock. Four-bolt boxes and faster ra­tios are avail­able for other ap­pli­ca­tions such as 1960s GM cars.

55 Since a plate will be welded to the steer­ing col­umn to hold it in place, we mea­sured the dis­tance from the wheel to the fire­wall. This dis­tance was then marked on the col­umn with a paint pen, but us­ing a piece of tape would work as well. Just don’t for­get the length.

22 The stock steer­ing is a push-pull con­fig­u­ra­tion. But un­like older Chevy pick­ups and Toy­ota mini trucks, in­stead of the drag link con­nect­ing to the driver-side knuckle it at­taches to a bell­crank that has a re­lay rod to the pas­sen­ger-side knuckle.

99 We welded the in­cluded steer­ing box mount to the frame with our Miller­matic 190 MIG welder. To avoid any warp­ing, we chose to stitch the plate to the frame rather than fully weld it.

33 The bell­crank on our FJ40 was over 40 years old, and re­place­ment parts are hard to come by. The use of a bell­crank min­i­mizes the bump­steer com­mon with push-pull steer­ing but com­pli­cates the steer­ing with more mov­ing parts to wear out. The more parts wear out, the more points of wear and play within the steer­ing sys­tem.

77 You can see how much sim­pler the new drag link is (top) com­pared to the old drag link, bell­crank, and re­lay rod (bot­tom). Ad­vance Adapters re­tains the re­lay rod as the new drag link and pro­vides a con­ver­sion tie rod end to mate the drag link to the in­cluded pit­man arm.

44 Step one in­volved mea­sur­ing the steer­ing col­umn, then cut­ting through the col­umn and the steer­ing shaft. We used a re­cip­ro­cat­ing saw and went through a few blades, but the cut was straight. Make the cut as close as pos­si­ble to the steer­ing box so that an ad­e­quate amount of the steer­ing col­umn shaft will be avail­able.

15Ad­vance Adapters in­cludes two of these high-qual­ity Borge­son U-joint yokes to con­nect the fac­tory steer­ing shaft to the Sag­i­naw steer­ing box. Set screws are used to hold the U-joints in place to the col­lapsi­ble shaft. Af­ter de­ter­min­ing where the screws sit, small 15 re­cesses were drilled into the shaft to lo­cate the set screws.

1717 The com­pleted in­stal­la­tion re­sulted in less play in the steer­ing sys­tem and quicker turn­ing from lock to lock. We would rec­om­mend the man­ual Sag­i­naw steer­ing con­ver­sion for ve­hi­cles with open front dif­fer­en­tials that are used for mild four wheel­ing. If you have big­ger am­bi­tions than that, a power steer­ing con­ver­sion likely makes more sense.

1010 A hole must be cut in the front cross­mem­ber in or­der to al­low the steer­ing shaft to con­nect to the box with the use of a spud shaft. There is lit­tle mar­gin for er­ror here if you hole-saw a 13⁄4-inch hole in the cross­mem­ber, as we did.

1313 The fac­tory steer­ing shaft is re­tained but must be cut to the ap­pro­pri­ate length and have flats added to ac­cept the new steer­ing joint. We did this with an an­gle grinder and were happy with the re­sults, but a mill would be a more el­e­gant tool to use.

1414Here you can see the bronze bush­ing that Ad­vance Adapters in­cludes to cen­ter the steer­ing shaft in the steer­ing col­umn. The 1973 and newer FJ40s use a pil­low block on the fire­wall in­stead of this bush­ing. The fit was tight. We used Emory cloth on the bush­ing to get it to fit in the col­umn.

1111 You can see here how low the out­put of the box is rel­a­tive to the hole we put in the cross­mem­ber. While this was func­tional, it looks odd. In ret­ro­spect we should have put the hole in the cross­mem­ber first and then welded on the bracket to cen­ter the steer­ing box in the hole.

1212 The steer­ing col­umn orig­i­nally just passed through the fire­wall, but with the new steer­ing con­fig­u­ra­tion the col­umn is welded to the in­cluded plate and then bolted solidly to the fire­wall. This is why your mea­sure­ments dur­ing dis­as­sem­bly were so im­por­tant.

1616 The in­stalled steer­ing shaft ran right next to the mo­tor mount, mak­ing slight con­tact. We used a grinder to take a mod­est amount of ma­te­rial off the mo­tor mount where they were touch­ing, for smooth steer­ing from lock to lock.

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