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Crossover Steering on a

Solid Axle Toyota Pickup


Crossover Steering

After braking numerous steering arms and bending drag links I decided there has to be a better way to have the steering. This is one project that can have many different variations but I chose the quick and easy, nice and clean method (and cheap method). I will post the pictures of the project just as soon as I get them developed. The project was actually pretty basic and consisted of three parts - mounting the steering box, making the drag link and making the arm to connect the drag link to the knuckle on the opposite side. 

I. Mounting the Steering box 
IFS BoxIn order to have the pitman arm swing the necessary direction I chose to use and IFS steering box out of an 86' pickup. The box has three holes to mount it with. I started by putting a bolt in the bottom right hole of the box and into the existing hole in the frame from the stock box. This is the only stock hole that will work. The top right hole of the box sits on top of the frame and a tab was welded to the frame in order to be able to bolt through that hole. For the third hole that sits toward the front of the frame I drilled through the frame and reinforced the back side with a steel plate. The only clearance problems with mounting the box were a small corner of the inner fender that needed to be trimmed and one of the bumper brackets that was added with my body lift had to be removed. I will fabricate something to take it's place in the future. Because the IFS box sits farther forward on the frame I used the steering shaft from an IFS truck that did not have power steering (There are lots of these at the wrecking yard and the Pick-n-Pull). 

II. The steering arm 
Custom armFor the attachment of the drag link to the passenger side knuckle a custom arm was fabricated. There are several companies (I believe fabtech and aquila) that make a cast arm that will work for this but I was not ready to pay the high dollar price for one. I got another passenger side arm and cut off the end with the four holes on it. I then flipped it over and welded it on top of the arm that was already there. I tilted the top arm in about 20 degrees for proper clearance from the tire, etc. Proper care was taken to ensure clearance from the spring and the frame. A 3/8" steel plate was cut into a triangle shape and welded between the two arms for added strength. The end result looks very strong and bolted right on to the knuckle. 

III. The drag link 
Pitman side attachment of linkI chose not to make my drag link adjustable, there are many arguments on this but I figured if it was strong enough and set right the first time there was no need for adjustment. Since a stock arm was used for the passenger side knuckle I used a toyota tie rod end (actually off of and IFS setup). The arm was slipped into a 1/8" thick walled schedule 80 pipe and welded. Since the stock pitman arm on the IFS has an end built into it already I cut off the rod that has the hole that the end fit through originally on the IFS truck and ground it down until it fit inside of the pipe and then welded it on as well. Before the pipe was cut things were set in place and the pitman arm was placed in the middle of its range of motion to ensure the proper length of pipe was used. 


POR Now! I am extremely happy with the setup and I can't wait to hit the trail.  A very big thanks goes out to Jeff Fretwell, the man that deserves the credit for the project.  He is the man behind the welds and the ingenuity. Jeff is the president of the Pirates of the Rubicon 4 wheel drive club, be sure to visit their web page and tell him he did an excellent job!  (I am now a member and this is now on the POR site but ya can still give Jeff and atta boy!)Steering throughout the full range seems much easier and there are less parts to break in the system. 

UPDATE 6/28/98: The setup worked well in Moab but Moab just is not as travel demanding as the Rubicon.

I have found three problems with the setup. First is the mounting location of the box using one of the stock holes and my 4" springs and shackles. With this setup the spring comes in contact with the bolt on the pitman arm. The second problem is the pitman arm itself, the spring also comes in contact with it and is limiting my travel by nearly 2". The third problem is using the stock IFS steering rod has a bit of an angle on it when it is bolted on the the arm, because of this it has more travel one way then the other. While the bolt and the arm are limiting the compression travel the end that attaches to the IFS pitman arm is limiting the down travel. I am not sure if I am just going to go with the FJ-60 arm and the stock end, or if I am going to go with a heim joint and drill the arm out to fit bolt to mount the heim joint to the pitman arm. 


UPDATE 2/17/99: Just before I was getting ready to head to Hollister to meet up with Marlin and a bunch of other toyota people I noticed that my steering was getting real sloppy so I took a closer look and noticed a spider web of cracks and when I cranked the wheel it looked like my frame was gonna explode!   So instead of missing the trip I bandaged her up and went down I-5. Had a blast and when I got back me and Jeff Beefed her up and I have since wheeled the Pirate Trail and the winter initiation run. Clearance is great and all is well!! 


Here is a shot of the new revised steering setup, note the heavy duty plate used to beef up the frame, and the steering box was remounted at a different angle further forward to get more spring clearance. The front bumper mount and part of the body mount had to be torched out to make way.
From here you can see the steel pipe that was used to sandwich the plates together, the same pipe is also used inside of the frame to keep it from crushing.
The front part of this plating was allready in place when I thought that was going to be enough, hopefully this will do it now!
From here you can really see the difference in clearance from the old setup to the new, I don't think I will be hitting the arm anymore..


UPDATE 1/23/2000 - The following was submitted to me, thank you! If anyone else has done something similiar please send it to me at webmaster@RiverCityRockCrawlers.com.

Hello My name is Ben Verbeek I am good friends with a lot of the S.N.O.R.T. club members who visit clay to wheel with your group of members I have a 79' toy that I put cross over steering on to accommodate for the extreme twist of the custom springs that I fabricated in.

In reply to your request I will explain the way I did my setup....

1- I built a custom pitman arm that resembles the ALPRO design

2- I also built a lower double triniun arm bracket

3- Next was locating some rod ends {heim joints} that would take the abuse of 35 and up tires climbing through rocks . I found them at a local store in Everett They have a tensil strengh of 45,000 lbs . I found this to be strong enough for me.

4- I wanted somthing strong enough for the draglink also, so a friend of my contacted his old boss at a machine shop and found us some 190,000 lbs tesil strengh cold rolled rod steel.

5- I had a machine shop drill and tap the ends of the rod for the rod ends to fit in and be tightened with jam nuts.

6- The machine shop also made shims to offset the rod ends for maximum twist. The final cost of the conversion was right around $230. Way cheaper than a bought kit from a big company. Please reply if you have any ?'s Wheel hard!!!!!!! BEN VERBEEK

E mail @ b.g verbeek @att.ne

UPDATE 1/23/2000 - I just finished a crossover installation on an 84 4 runner - the method was basically the same as my truck above and I have included some pictures below.

The above pictures are the parts that can (or need to be) removed when installing the crossover steering. The upper mount is where the rear plate for the steering box will need to be and the lower mount is no longer necessary since it can not be used - it can stay or be removed, since it is not in the way.

A few pictures of the upper mount - what you don't see are the 3 frame sleeves. The frame was drilled with a hole saw to fit the pipe pieces. The outer plates were welded to the frame also.

Above on the left is the reinforced pitman arm, then the new lower arm compared to the stock one and finally on the right is the finished product.




Please let me know if you use any of these ideas and if you have done crossover steering setup using a different method. If you are interested in having a crossover setup installed contact me at webmaster@RiverCityRockCrawlers.com.