Lowering a '91 w/4WD

Discussion in '1989-1995 Build-Up/Project Threads' started by T.R.Koneski, Jan 13, 2022.

  1. T.R.Koneski

    T.R.Koneski Newbie

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    Hey everybody, I'm new to this forum and I'm new to Toyotas. I have an '89 I'm fixing up (4x4, 22RE, 5spd, lifted) and a '91 that is practically stock (4x4, 22RE, crappy auto that I'm getting rid of, stock height). I'm looking to lower the '91 but I can't seem to find anyone who has information on drop spindles or any other components for the front of a 4WD truck. Can anyone tell me what they know? I know it's more common to lower the 2WD's but I can't be the only one asking this question. Are there any components available, or is the best option a B/J swap and cranking down the torsion bars? It's a long term project so I'm not in a rush.
    Thanks for any help, ideas, or discouraging cautions.
     
  2. Perkolator

    Perkolator Addict

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    I don't believe you can use 2wd spindles on the 4wd.

    I want to say on a Tacoma you can though, as I assume the 2wd Prerunners use the same spindles as the 4wd.

    How low are you trying to make your 4wd?
     
  3. T.R.Koneski

    T.R.Koneski Newbie

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    Hey, man.
    I’m not looking to slam it to the ground. I want a sportier look and more connected driving experience, so pretty much a 2/3 is what I’m looking for. Since the 4WD platform already sits higher I think I could even get away with a 3/4 without it being crazy. What do you think?
     
  4. Perkolator

    Perkolator Addict

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    I dunno man, I've never really heard of someone wanting to lower a 4wd beyond than stock height. Guessing there's a limit to how much you'll even be able to lower the front via the t-bars and still have some spring resistance to keep you off the bump stops. Pretty sure you cannot re-index the tbars on these trucks, to reposition them for stiffness at the lower height. Might be possible but won't be a simple bolt-on solution, as the t-bars have keyways on the splined ends.

    Also if you lower the truck, I'd guess there will be limitations of correcting the camber through alignment.

    If my goal was to just tighten things up on the front end with bolt-on solutions, I might try: stiffer aftermarket t-bars, replace all the moving steering parts for a refresh, stiffer steering damper shock, stiffer shocks, lower profile tires, perhaps a stiffer aftermarket swaybar
     
  5. T.R.Koneski

    T.R.Koneski Newbie

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    Okay, that’s sort of what I figured was going to be the main issue. I suppose it would be possible to nix the t-case and front axles since I’d be taking the 4 speed out and putting in the W56 anyway, but who knows what other design aspects would be interfering. Since it’s a project truck, I may go for it. It’s possible I may learn a thing or two, haha!
     
  6. sirdeuce

    sirdeuce Enthusiast

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    Not sure why you would want to lower a 4X, but to each their own. IF you are planning to change to 2WD and ditch the T-case and front axle maybe putting in the 2WD front hardware would be the way to go. It would be a bit lighter. Of course that most likely require cutting and welding. Would be interesting to see how a low 4WD truck would do on a track or Auto-X course. Dropping the rear might be easier with a hanger location change and 2WD springs.
     
  7. T.R.Koneski

    T.R.Koneski Newbie

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    Ya know, when I was going over this whole idea with my buddy who has chopped and changed numerous vehicles he didn’t think it was a terrible idea… and when I told him I couldn’t find much info on it he said the same thing as you, “who in their right mind would want to lower a 4wd?” It basically comes down to one main factor: that’s what I have. And if it seems overly complex to make it work then I can always go in a different direction with it. For instance, keep stock ride height but up-size the wheel/tire combo without bulking it up a whole lot and change out shocks and springs. It wouldn’t really be much of a change to be sure, but I like to stay flexible and work within my means. I don’t really want a 1 year project turning into 2…3…4…5 and so on haha. But we’ll see! With ambition and some willpower I could do something worthwhile.
     
  8. sirdeuce

    sirdeuce Enthusiast

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    "Upsize the wheel/tire combo". There is a limit to the size of tire you can stuff into a stock height, stock size wheel well. Dropping the turck would likely reduce the area for a bigger tire as well. Do your research.
    Turning a 4WD truck into a 2WD would make a heavy 2WD truck quashing a bit of the sporty feel, buut would be a one ton suspension and frame, good for hauling.
    My opinion is to drop it to 2WD height minus two inches, keep the 4WD and stuff some low pro tire/wheel and make a carver out of it. Up the power with a six or eight cylinder N/A or a 3RZ turbo. Pardon my excitement, I tend to ramble. A low 4WD would be a cool truck.
     
  9. T.R.Koneski

    T.R.Koneski Newbie

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    Sirdeuce,
    No need to pardon the excitement, we need that kind of thing for motivation!! But judging from the prior responses and the structural differences in the two front ends of each drivetrain it may not be as straight forward as lowering it to the same height as the 2wd stock height. As one of the last guys mentioned it could be doable, but would involve a lot of cutting and fabricating. Overall, I can try risking it and possibly figure it out because having a 4wd that's lower than stock would been flipping sweet. I'd just be flying solo because it's evident that nobody else has clearly documented this kind of change. I'm not totally sure of everything that's different between the two, so we'll see. Thanks for the input, my dude!
     
  10. sirdeuce

    sirdeuce Enthusiast

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    Can't wait to see the results!

    Is this a long or short frame?
     
  11. T.R.Koneski

    T.R.Koneski Newbie

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    I believe a shorty. Both trucks in my stockpile are regular cab short beds. I’m looking to keep the first one (‘89) high up, but refresh it and fix the severe body rust. Bed is already off of it or I’d consider bobbing it. I’m thinking a flat bed would be perfect for a lot of work I do.
     
  12. sirdeuce

    sirdeuce Enthusiast

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    Low shortbed would be a better platform for handling.
     
  13. T.R.Koneski

    T.R.Koneski Newbie

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    Agreed. I was researching parts because I wanted to know what major differences there were between 2 & 4 in the front end. Some obvious differences are the control arms and some steering components. The CA’s are totally different between the drive trains, but if that’s all the difference then there won’t be any serious frame or cross meme we pieces to fiddle fart with.
     
  14. Perkolator

    Perkolator Addict

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    Some pretty big differences. 2wd has a higher arch in the front frame, different lower control arm design, different torsion bar mounting setup; different steering box/pitman arm/idler arms/drag link, etc. 4wd has lower arch frame and everything below is sorta shifted down to fit the front differential housing and provide different suspension travel, etc.
     
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  15. T.R.Koneski

    T.R.Koneski Newbie

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    So all that must mean that I essentially will not get a 4wd setup as low as a 2nd setup, I suppose? Good news is if it’s all a total bust then I can keep it stock height and work on a refresh from there.
     
  16. jetas

    jetas Grand Toyotaholic

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    4x4 trucks are pulling good $ right now. Sell it and get a 2wd and try to figure out how to retrofit an AWD set up in instead. Probably be easier that working with the 4wd
     
  17. T.R.Koneski

    T.R.Koneski Newbie

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    I’ve considered that too, but here’s why I wouldn’t/couldn’t do that right now:
    1) The ‘91 I wanted to lower I got for dirt cheap because it sat for 8 years and has no transmission.
    2) I live in NEPA and with how messy winters get and all the dirt roads here there’s no worthwhile 2wd’s for sale that aren’t rusted out. I wouldn’t mind buying one from out of state, but I first need to get this one up and running before it’s worth anything.
    I appreciate your input. There’s something to be learned on the path of least resistance.
     
  18. jetas

    jetas Grand Toyotaholic

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    Are there any wrecking yards/junkyards near you? Swap frames or atleast the front clip off a 84-95 truck and graft it ro your existing truck and wam bam thank you ma'am
     
  19. T.R.Koneski

    T.R.Koneski Newbie

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    There are plenty, but I can virtually guarantee you that any First gens there are picked clean. I found a site called Rancho Toyotas from CA. They have an extensive inventory of numerous used Toyotas of all gens and they’ll ship anything from parts to entire scrap vehicles. I’d just as soon get me a southern CA rust free frame if I’m gonna go that far.
     

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