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Old 02-01-2021, 10:27 AM #16
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jfeltT4R jfeltT4R is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Maryland
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Real Name: Jake
jfeltT4R will become famous soon enough
Front Suspension

*OME 883
*Bilstein 5100 (adjustable)
*JBA UCA
*0.5" Top plate spacer

First step was to press out the studs in the new OEM top hats. They were going to be way too short with the added reinforcement plate and spacer. In hindsight, just beat the studs out with a hammer rather than trying to press out all 3 at the same time. One stud gave prematurely to the others and the whole press assemble pretty much exploded.

Using the shop mount as a jig, pull the new studs through the top had until seated firmly. Now the top hats have 2" studs. I might have to trim the inboard stud as it might not clear with wheel well when I drop the body on.

jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0

jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0

jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0


Next I went ahead and assembled the struts. The new shocks didn't come with bushings or washers so I had to find a couple of kits that matched. Once I could get the top nut on I just tightened until about 4-5 threads were showing. The bushing was bulged pretty heavily after decompressing the spring so we'll see how that plays out.

Some small details, the bottom termination of the spring is to be facing outboard. I mounted the top hat by itself in the strut mount and marked center. Once you have the strut assembled with the spring still compressed, align the spring termination with the center mark on the top hat. Rotate the bottom mounting hole so that is is perpendicular to the center plane you just created. If the lower mount doesn't line up with the LCA quite right, just stick a screw driver in and rotate until it lines up.

jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0

jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0


I set the spindles in place just to clear some floor space and see how it was all going to look. Everything looks to be in good order. The only question I raised was how am I going to get the JBA UBJ out of the knuckle with the spindle gusset welded on there. Does anyone have any suggestions? I don't think any ball joint tools I have will fit this scenario. Another oversight on my part but I'm sure there's a way.


jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0

jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0

How will I remove this UBJ?
jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0


Well this pretty much wraps up all that I will be able to do for the next few months. Hoping to come home to lots of goodies to keep the project going. Thanks to all who have helped out thus far. This is a fun one!
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Old 05-03-2021, 08:39 PM #17
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Back from work for a little while. The weather is getting nice so I can finally work in the garage without spending all of my money on propane...


Rear Brakes

First order of business was to sort out the confusion between the 3rd gen brake differences. The rear diff assembly I used as a donor was from an 01/02 which had the "different" style brakes than what would appear on most maintenance videos on YouTube for example. This got tricky quick as I bought rear shoes for a '98 but did not realize the hardware I had would not work with those shoes. Rather than re-use the parts I had planned on, I went ahead and ordered all of the components with '98 P/Ns.

jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0


After doing my initial adjustments with the star-wheel I decided to leave the drums on and install the wheels. I wanted to make a couple more small adjustments through the window on the backing plate but quickly found out that the window is opposite of what would have been on a '98 (confirmed with cross-referencing P/Ns).

jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0


Rather than get new backing plates and have to completely go through the axle building process all over again, why not just slot new holes?? Drilled/cut new slots for the brake adjustment and ordered an extra set of plugs to seal it all up once complete.

jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0

jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0


I installed the new 3rd member studs in the diff housing before putting the axles back in. Clean threads with tap and be generous with the antiseize. The 3rd member will be coming back out after I get finished with the re-geared set. Having the diff installed will let me have some peace of mind after putting the wheels on and rolling the chassis around. Not a fan of the uneven bearing load... even if it's just sitting.

jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0



Front Brakes

Went ahead and just did the Tundra brake upgrade:

*OEM rotors
*13WL re-manned calipers
*Akebono pads

I always remembered how much of a PITA the caliper bolts were for me. I was always afraid I'd snap a head off trying to remove one. Cleaned the threads with a new tap and added a small amount of antiseize to the bolts. It's common to add some loctite to your caliper bolts but I don't see it 100% necessary in this case...I'd rather find out something is loose than find out it's stuck forever.

jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0


Everything went together as I had hoped and I think the red calipers and dark bronze wheels compliment each other nicely. I'm looking forward to having some extra beefy front brakes.

jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0

jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0

jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0



Rolling Chassis....finally

Spent the rest of the afternoon getting the new wheels on and getting the whole assembly on some dolly's. I have a couple of used CV axles that I may chop up to cinch up the front wheel bearings before moving it all around too much. We'll see about that or just waiting for the finished re-geared front diff. It's finally starting to look like something. Still a ton of little things to get done of course but it's time to start planning for the body swap.

jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0

jfeltT4R Build Thread 2.0


Cheers everyone
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Old 05-06-2021, 10:31 PM #18
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Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Dolores, CO
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epic build, wow. i know just enough to be seriously impressed when someone like you does a total rebuild from bare metal. it's looking superb. thanks for keeping the timeline going.
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'99 'Highlander' 4R SR5 5VZ-FE | 5-spd | LED lighting | TBU | 265-75R17 Duratrac stuffed after some pinch-weld convincing

'95 Xtra cab 5VZ-FE swap 5-spd | 33x10.50-15 BFG AT/KOs | 4" Superlift | ARB rear locker | OME torsion bars | Total Chaos idler arm & uniball | Smittybilt bumpers | Sportsman topper | Aisin manual hubs | K&N | Dual Optimas | Extended diff breathers | Bilstein 5100s | De-striped | Hella pencil-beams
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