Take the Truck's 84 Xtracab Pickup Build

Low-lift OME Crossover Steering Upgrade/Install:

The factory push-pull steering on the solid-axle Toyota Pickups and 4runners has always been a weak link, after installing our OME suspension this weakness was magnified and we always wanted to pursue hi-steer but didn't want to install a taller lift that could impact drive-line angles. After a good deal of research we found a solution to make crossover steering work on our truck with our existing Old Man Emu 2-2.5" lift.

The key was a dual steering arm produced by Aqualu that enables the steering drag-link to be positioned above the springs while the tie-rod remains below, the downside is that this steering arm costs over $500USD new. Other manufacturers (All-Pro) who made similar steering arms, no longer produce them.

Now some daring individuals have engineered their own by welding two factory arms together! But my welding skills are amateur at best, and there was no way I'd trust my life to a welded DIY solution. So we wrote off this project as not feasible.

But one day, miraculously, we were able to find a pre-owned Aqualu steering arm for sale that had never been used and it was less-than-half the retail price!

The game was afoot!


ITEMS USED:

  • Aqualu 4034-C Steering Arm
  • Marlin Crawler High-Steer HD Tie Rod + FJ80 tie rod ends
  • Marlin Crawler High-Steer HD Draglink + FJ80 tie rod ends
  • Marlin Crawler IFS Steering Box Mount
  • Currie Industries Steering Stabilizer Mount (Part Number: CE-9701SB)
  • Sky Offroad IFS Pitman Arm Adapter (enables you to use the factory IFS pitman arm if you’re able to depending on your steering box positioning)
  • IFS Steering box from a 86-89 pickup or 4runner
  • Pitman Arm - depending on the way you position your IFS Steering box on the frame you may need Sky Offroad's flat pitman arm or thier ¾” less-drop pitman (we did!), or an FJ80 Pitman Arm PN#4541160191 can also be a budget option for a less-drop pitman arm if you can find one online or at a junkyard

INSTALLATION:

First we removed the ProComp S-shaped drop draglink we'd installed when we did the OME suspension years ago, followed by the torsion bar, factory tie-rod, and passenger-side steering arm. We'd also previously removed the factory swaybar)





Then the factory push-pull steering box was removed.



Next the upper torsion bar mount had to be torched off the frame (a plasma cutter would have been cleaner, others have even used a saw-zaw), and ground smooth. This mount would otherwise interfere with the new crossover steering draglink.



Then the Aqualu Steering Arm was installed in the top of the passenger-side knuckle and the new tie rod and drag link were installed so that the IFS Steering Box mounting location could be mocked up.



Then we started mocking up the IFS Steering box location. NOTE - you typically want this mounted as far forward and as high as possible while still allowing enough clearance for the pitman arm. Our original intention was to be able to use the factory pitman arm (for easier/cheaper parts availability) but we were restricted by both the lower ARB Bumper mount and the sheet metal behind the factory steering box and this ended up not working out as you'll see a little later.



Here we're using the backing plate from the IFS Steering Box mounting kit to stencil the ¾” holes that would need to be drilled in the frame:



Once the holes were drilled, we test-fit the IFS steering box and draglink to double check alignment and clearances before welding the mounting kit in place.



Then we removed everything, cleaned up the frame, and welded the IFS mounting kit in



Then we painted everything, bolted the IFS steering box to the frame, and bolted up the factory steering shaft to the steering box (depending on the positioning of the gear box, you may have to drill the 2 plastic shear pins in steering shaft to adjust the length of the steering shaft - ours was exactly the right length and didn’t require this step). Then installed the power steering lines, and topped off the PS fluid, installed the Currie Steering Stabilizer mount on the new tie-rod and we were good to go...or so we thought.



After a trail-test we found that the castle nut on the factory pitman arm made contact with the driver’s side leaf spring on full stuff. So we ended up installing the Sky Offroad ¾” less drop pitman arm and now there’s plenty of clearance even at full stuff.



Overall this was an excellent upgrade, and one I'd highly recommend! It’s been amazing the difference it has made in the ride and suspension - and made it apparent that the factory torsion bar and draglink were really limiting the travel and effectiveness of the OME suspension both on and off-road before.
 
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VanWaLife

Member
Thanks for the write up! I've got the OME 2+" lift, but didn't know low lift crossover steering was an option. I'm currently waiting for some parts to correct torsion rod angle, new torsion rod bushings, and a sway bar quick disconnect. I'll have to make a crossover setup part of my long term plans, definitely more work than I've got time for right now.

Did ditching the torsion rod do anything for in-cab noise? I've read it transmits a lot of vibration. Have you ever measured decibel level in the cab?
 
Thanks for the write up! I've got the OME 2+" lift, but didn't know low lift crossover steering was an option. I'm currently waiting for some parts to correct torsion rod angle, new torsion rod bushings, and a sway bar quick disconnect. I'll have to make a crossover setup part of my long term plans, definitely more work than I've got time for right now.

Did ditching the torsion rod do anything for in-cab noise? I've read it transmits a lot of vibration. Have you ever measured decibel level in the cab?
Didn't really notice any decrease in noise levels, but honestly hadn't paid close enough attention (or measured dBs) beforehand to be able to notice.🤔
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
Why is an IFS steering box used/needed for this cross over steering upgrade?

OOPS! EDITED.

Just thought about it and answered my own question.

Stock solid axle steering box arm moves front to back and IFS steering box arm moves side to side which is needed with cross over steering.

You can return to your regular channel!
 
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APOS

New member
Awesome build. My girlfriend's aunt just put a GFC on her Tacoma. She loves it. Plus it looks great. Crazy how long their backorder is (about year now)!
 

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Awesome build. My girlfriend's aunt just put a GFC on her Tacoma. She loves it. Plus it looks great. Crazy how long their backorder is (about year now)!
Thanks! It's always good to hear positive reports on the GFC. The wait is long, but they are doing a really good job of constantly making improvements in their manufacturing process and shortening lead-times for such a young company - they moved our production date up by a whopping 8 months recently! Still have to keep reminding ourselves "good things come to those that wait."
 
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bkg

Explorer
nice to see someone using the Aqualu steering arm again. I think Jack Alford was the first person to use one on a mini truck in ~97-98. I ran one for a couple of years as well. Great solution for low-lift vehicles.
 
nice to see someone using the Aqualu steering arm again. I think Jack Alford was the first person to use one on a mini truck in ~97-98. I ran one for a couple of years as well. Great solution for low-lift vehicles.
Yeah, it was really the only solution still out there without increasing lift. Has worked flawlessly so far, dispite our OME front springs showing some sag after 70k miles.
 
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For our trip in Idaho (and future trips) we took the plunge and added a cell booster to the truck to improve the process of working remotely - we've worked remotely off & on since 2011 and our current setup seems to be the first combination that actually works! There were several instances in very remote locations where we went from weak/nearly non-existent service to usable-enough-to-get-work-done service, and numerous other instances where it made a decent connection strong enough to even binge a little Netflix. Overall really happy with the investment so far.

take-the-truck-weboost-antenna-mount-gfc.jpgcell-phone-signal-booster-kit.jpg
 

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beef tits

Active member
... others have even used a saw-zaw...
*headsmack*

Sorry but I have to...

It's "Sawzall" which is a proprietary and likely trademarked name by the company Milwaukee for their line of reciprocating saws. More fun facts; there is nothing special about a "Sawzall" vs any other reciprocating saw.

Your build looks great, I love 1st gens :)

Just sold this beauty a few months ago;

925C5143-3F8D-4B92-BF3B-0AC414FFE667_1_201_a.jpeg
 

lndhark

Adventurer
nice to see someone using the Aqualu steering arm again. I think Jack Alford was the first person to use one on a mini truck in ~97-98. I ran one for a couple of years as well. Great solution for low-lift vehicles.
Now there's name from the past!
 
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