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Skyjacker & Toyo Make Our Land Cruiser Just Right

Game of Inches

Harry WagnerPhotographer, Writer

Suspension technology has come a long way in the past four decades. Leaf springs are now a thing of the past on everything but the rear of pickup trucks. While there’s no denying that coil springs and independent suspension offer a smooth ride and generous wheel travel, there’s an inherent beauty in the simplicity of leaf springs. This one component not only suspends the axles but also locates the axle fore and aft and side-to-side and provides sway control.

Skyjacker makes coilover conversions for modern Jeep Wranglers with beefy control arms and high-angle rod ends, but we went back in the company’s catalog to source a set of Softride leaf springs and M95 monotube shocks for our 1970 Land Cruiser. These parts are inexpensive and easy to install. They improved the ride quality of our FJ40 while providing enough room for 33-inch Toyo Open Country M/T tires.

Skyjacker’s 2 1/2-inch lift springs are mild enough that they don’t require longer brake lines, a dropped drag link, or axle shims to adjust pinion angle. This further simplifies the installation and keeps costs down, leaving room in the budget for options like U-bolt skidplates and new shackles, which we sourced from the Land Cruiser specialists at Man-A-Fre. We were able to install the suspension in a weekend with simple handtools, just like guys used to do back when Lonnie McCurry started Skyjacker in 1974.