New suspension

This upgrade was already on my list since the beginning. The original suspension pack installed by the factory was over 30 years old, therefore lost its flex and lowered the cruiser about 5 cm from its original height. Besides that the driving behavior also changes during that time, in the end the steering tends to react too much on road conditions and curves. It starts to drive a bit nervous and therefore dangerous and exhausting.

There are many options by as many brands available for the more standard versions of the Landcruiser (SWB & LWB) Mostly coming from the US or Australia. Problem is my Landcruiser is a Mid Wheel Based version, and these were never sold to both continents. Result: nothing is available as a standard package. After hours of sourcing the net, talking to my buddies at IH8Mud etc, I realized nobody could give me a straight answer. Some MWB cruisers even had their suspension custom made… ouch, suspension packs are expensive, but that would be an even more expensive solution.

After a while I gathered some information that at least the front packs are the same as the shorter Cruisers from 1979+ like the BJ42. So that one was a save bet. But the rear pack is longer than the BJ42 so buying a complete package was a no go. There was a theory that the rear pack of the LWB BJ45 is the same in length, but has around 11 leaves in the pack, instead of 7 like mine had. So if we would remove a few leaves, we would somewhat end up with a working solution.

I contacted a well known Cruiser garage in the north of the Netherlands (www.pendtrading.nl) and they had years of experience with Land cruiser suspension and customizing them for personal use. They were willing to help me out and ordered a mixed set of front leaves for the bJ42 and rear leaves for the BJ45. Since they have enough stuff in stock, we could always see what shocks would be best while installing.

Because of a tight budget and the high prices of the Old Man Emu Suspensions kits here in the Netherlands (2600 euro) I choose a very good alternative from another Australian brand: Terrain Tamer. They provide even a softer ride than the EMU’s, the price is almost half, while the quality is the same, or maybe even better. Note: I choose a 2″ (5 cm) extra height, this means 2″ extra above stock height, so the difference would be about 10 cm. Adding more height involves some reconsideration, the steering behavior changes drastically, the axles need to be turned a few degrees, otherwise the angle of the propeller shafts is out of limit.. etc etc. So 2″ is fine, no hassle for me. And I think its also in better proportions.

Last Wednesday was D-day. I must admit I was kind of nervous, hoping that the “theory” was right, and I would not end up driving home (2 hours) sad and disappointed.

Fortunately, this Wednesday was superb!
Because:
A) Peter, the company owner is a really nice and trustworthy guy, lots of experience and only want you to go when you’re happy.
B) Removing the old suspension was so easy, that we almost couldn’t believe it… normally these suspensions are severely rusted and a pain in the ass to remove.
C) The front pack fitted like a glove, but even better the BJ45 pack for the rear was perfect in size. What was I worrying about all that time???

Peter removed 3 leaves from each pack, if i remember correctly the third from above, and the 2 of the shorter leaves down in the pack, leaving the shortest in its place.
This way the flex was perfect. Maybe a little bit too soft, so instead of adding the Regular Terrain Tamer shocks in the rear, he choose to use the stiffer Old Man Emu Nitro shocks.
For the front leaves, he combined them with the Terrain Tamer shocks, just like the factory setup is supposed to be.

A very important part is the angle of the Shackles, if the angle is not outwards, the leaves are too short and might result in inverting. If the pack is too long the angle is pointed too far out.
Best angle would be something like 10-30 degrees outwards. After installing the leaves on my BJ44, the angle was just perfect (see pics).

I immediately noticed the difference, a lot more stable, more height (looks good!!!) and less irritating driving behavior. I’m happy!!!
The leaves will settle in the next 5000 kilometers, so the suspension will become even better, more flex, softer ride.

At the end of the day I also treated me on a new set of chrome wheel studs, still had the rusted old studs, so got rid of those as well. What a difference that makes!

See the pics for differences in height, and how well the BJ45 pack fits the MWB cruiser.

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10 responses to “New suspension

  • Alex

    Looks very cool!

  • Gustavo Nuñez

    great work!! good suspension.

  • peter

    Hey Folkert, how have these springs settled in over time? I’m looking to follow your lead on my bj44. I’d love to see some pics of the shackle angles if they have changed.

    • folkertbj44

      hey pete, well i still love the springs, although i must admit i havent given them a hard time at all, no heavy cargo, or flexing done.. im about 5000 km further on, and i must say that im still very happy with them, as soon as i have a bit of load like suitcases, or a few more people, the rear springs are nice and flexible.. it feels like a nice and solid ride on the highway too.. so yes i would say a good buy.

      i will make some new pics soon but i think the shackle angle remained the same until now. maybe i shall try to flex them a bit more this spring and make pics of that, see how thats working out

  • Eugene Kong

    Hi Pete, just bump into your site while I was researching about suspension for my BJ46.

    I had earlier bought a set of OME springs but find too stiff especially for the rear. The dealer told me that as OME doesn’t produce spring for BJ44/46, they match it with BJ45/47’s rear spring instead. The result was horibble, the ride was too stiff even with coulple of leaf taken out.

    A friend of mine suggested using HZJ75’s rear spring instead but have to shift the bracket slightly backward as the spring is longer. You think this will work?

    Regards,

    Eugene Kong

  • peterivy

    Eugene- this is not my site- its Folkert’s. But in regards to your question I only know that the HZJ77 spring is longer as is the bj7x series front springs. I do not know where the spring pin hole is relative to the stock bj44 springs however. I think you could use them possibly but I have no idea whether or not they would be any softer or where they would put the truck in terms of the ride height. I was considering getting a set if I find them cheap, blending the top 2 77 springs with the bj44 stock springs (re-drilling the spring pin hole if necessary) and possibly getting them arched for a bit of lift. Arching them would possibly correct the length as well. If you have access to a set measure them and report back!

    Pete

  • Masa

    Hi there. Greeting from Japan. Here your site is so cool!
    Hope we can exchange a lot info on our rig “MWB”
    Keep Cruising!

    • folkertbj44

      Hi Masa! Thank you for your kind words. I will upgrade the site in not so long from now to a standalone website with its own domain, then i will also continue the posting as I havent done for a long while now. Lets keep in touch! Best, Folkert

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