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We Add Saginaw Steering to Our Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser

Steering Manure

Harry WagnerPhotographer, Writer

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 can result in a ton of bumpsteer in lifted applications.

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 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.