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Unread 01-13-2013, 12:13 PM   #1
cmiller
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Default Metal Tech Offset Rear Lower Links Install

Here's a step by step install for Metal Tech's Offset Rear Lower Links.



A quick note on the links from Mark at Metal Tech:

Quote:
1. They are "Offset Links" This is where we have offset the rear bushing shell from the link tube to allow the axle to not bind at full flex with the larger main tube. This in turn also makes an uninterrupted glide path under the truck with the reinforced link. Both the bushing shell AND the mount on the truck cant hang up on the trail.

2. Currie Johnny Joints and custom made Daystar bushings, both with grease zirks

3. Made from 1 3/4" OD .290" Wall DOM Tubing with 100% of the parts cut on a CNC lathe. The threads for the Johnny Joint are cut almost 3" deep for maximum thread engagement.

4. Full powder coating

5. Only kit out there in this price range to include all new Grade 8 mounting hardware

We also have a limited lifetime warranty on the structure, bend one = get a new one.
This install is easy and takes about 1.5-2.0 hours to complete. It can all be done with the truck on the ground, no need to jack it up on stands.

Tools needed:
-Sockets and wrenches in 8mm, 11mm, 12mm, 19mm, 21mm, 22mm
-ratchet strap
-grease and grease gun
-large crescent wrench or pipe wrench
-plastic hammer
-impact gun is nice to have also

First a little prep:

Step 1.
Lay both links out and open up the bags of hardware and bushings. Note that the Johnny Joints mount forward and bushing ends to the rear on the truck so there is in fact a right and left link. The stickers should also be another indication of which side the link mounts by being able to read the sticker from the side of the truck. And the e-brake mounts should face to the outside.

Step 2.
Find the two grease zirk fittings in the new hardware bag and thread them into the holes on the ends of the links using your 8mm wrench, (the ends without the Johnny Joints).



Step 3.
Take the metal spacers out of the bushings and rub your grease all over them and around the bushings both inside and out. Then place them both back in the open ends of the links.



Step 4.
Use your grease gun to fill both ends of each link with grease. Pump it until grease starts to leak out the sides of the bushings and out the side of the Johnny Joints. Wipe off any excess grease then set the links aside.



Step 5.
At the truck now take your ratchet strap and wrap it around the rear axle and anchor it forward to the frame. This is just so when you take the factory link off the rear axle won't move on you and you can use the ratchet strap to line up the holes for the install.



Step 6.
With a 12mm socket or ratchet wrench disconnect the e-brake bracket from the rear link. You will be re-using the factory bracket but not the bolt.



Step 7.
With a 19mm socket remove the front and rear bolts and nuts holding on the factory link. (I recommend using an impact gun on this, they are on there tight). Take the factory link out and over to the new Metal Tech link.



Step 8.
Place the factory link on top of the Metal Tech link for that same side of the truck. Use one of the factory bolts to place through the bushing ends of the link to line them up. Then at the other end of the links (the Johnny Joint end) take your large crescent or pipe wrench and turn the threaded end until the bolt holes match up on both the factory and new links. Now the Metal Tech link is matched in length to the factory link you just removed and ready to install.



Step 9.
Install the Metal Tech link using the new hardware. The new bolt takes a 21mm and the new nut is a 22mm. I recommend using a bit of anti-seize on the bolts to make things nice down the road. Start with the rear bolt first, get it in but not tight yet so you have some wiggle room, (you may need to tap it in using the plastic hammer). Then swing up the link and install the front bolt. Tighten up both ends now. Then use the new hardware to install the e-brake line bracket to the mount on the new link with the 11mm wrench. Double check everything is tight.



Step 10.
Repeat these steps for the other side. Then take it out for a test drive to make sure everything is good to go. Now enjoy the extra beef that's under your truck!
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Unread 01-13-2013, 01:06 PM   #2
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Nice write up!
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Unread 01-14-2013, 08:36 AM   #3
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Do you have the rest of the kit, or just the lower arms?
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Unread 01-14-2013, 09:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryanmb21 View Post
Nice write up!
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wishbone View Post
Do you have the rest of the kit, or just the lower arms?
I just have the lowers right now, but plan to do the uppers soon! The lower links are the ones that get all of the abuse so I did those first for strength and a bit of articulation improvement. The uppers really help out with articulation.
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Unread 01-14-2013, 05:01 PM   #5
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Nice write-up. I have a few concerns about the links themselves, however.

Quote:
we have offset the rear bushing shell from the link tube to allow the axle to not bind at full flex with the larger main tube
Several trucks I know first-hand run beefier rear LCAs and suspension bind has never once been a problem (side note: the axle does not bind, axle bind is a completely different thing). Where and under what circumstances are they seeing suspension bind? Suspension bind caused by LCAs would be as a result of the bushings in the arm, not the diameter of the LCA. And, in fact, it appears to me that the urethane bushing they provide for the axle end of the arms would be prime suspects for binding - they allow nowhere near the range of motion the stock bushing do.

There are also better choices than Johnny Joints to use in this application, especially on the vehicle side. Hopefully someone can chime in with specifics, but I recall past discussions on why JJ's aren't ideal for use on LCAs.

Given the two bushings they used, an improved configuration would be to have the daystar bushing on the vehicle side and the johnny joint on the axle side. The ride quality would be much better. I am leery of either bushing choice for this application, however.
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Last edited by Mikestang; 01-14-2013 at 05:41 PM.
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Unread 01-14-2013, 05:21 PM   #6
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Good write-up. What was the recommended grease, when I installed my Total Chaos links they recommend to use 'Superlube' it is a Synthetic based product that is clear in color and outperforms mineral based grease that will breakdown quicker.

http://www.super-lube.com/synthetic-...se-ezp-49.html

This product can be purchased at Home Depot.
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Unread 01-14-2013, 06:37 PM   #7
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I used some synthetic wheel bearing grease called Valvoline SynPower I purchased from my local auto parts store. Works great so far in both my TC UCA's and the MT lower links.
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Unread 01-14-2013, 07:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikestang View Post
Nice write-up. I have a few concerns about the links themselves, however.


Several trucks I know first-hand run beefier rear LCAs and suspension bind has never once been a problem (side note: the axle does not bind, axle bind is a completely different thing). Where and under what circumstances are they seeing suspension bind? Suspension bind caused by LCAs would be as a result of the bushings in the arm, not the diameter of the LCA. And, in fact, it appears to me that the urethane bushing they provide for the axle end of the arms would be prime suspects for binding - they allow nowhere near the range of motion the stock bushing do.

There are also better choices than Johnny Joints to use in this application, especially on the vehicle side. Hopefully someone can chime in with specifics, but I recall past discussions on why JJ's aren't ideal for use on LCAs.

Given the two bushings they used, an improved configuration would be to have the daystar bushing on the vehicle side and the johnny joint on the axle side. The ride quality would be much better. I am leery of either bushing choice for this application, however.

I don't like poly bushings at all for links, they compress over time and freeplay between the polyurethane and the bolt sleeve develops over time. You'll start hearing the initial clunk when braking/accelerating first from the axle moving and then it will eventually get sloppy. The rubber OEM toyota bushings are actually far more durable over the long run.

As far as the binding, I think you'd need a LOT of down travel before that link ever hits the axle ...not sure I've ever heard of that before.

The johnny joints aren't necessarily bad, they're just a PITA to rebuild on the trail if you don't have the special tools. I like ballistic joints better because you can tighten them up if they get loose and aren't too hard to rebuild. Heims also work well, but you have to replace them completely when they go bad.

I don't mean to slam these links, MT makes good stuff, I just still don't understand why people shell out the money for things like these when for the same money, you could make a much stronger and durable set out of aluminum or DOM for about the same price. These are only 1" dia. too, even at .250 wall, guarantee they'll bend if you hit em' hard.

They're probably much stronger than OEM, just be prepared to rebuild those polybushings eventually.
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Unread 01-14-2013, 07:52 PM   #9
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also, you may want to stress that if you're going to remove a suspension link with the truck on it's own weight, that you only remove one at a time. Some assclown will think he'll save time by removing both at once ...could get someone seriously hurt.

A much safer way to do this is to raise the rear of the vehicle on jacks, take the wheels off and let the axle droop.
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Unread 01-14-2013, 09:49 PM   #10
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Thanks for all of the input.

I'll give them a good shake down this year and see how they hold up. Metal Tech stands behind them and will replace them if I encounter a failure.

By the way: Made from 1 3/4" OD .290" Wall DOM Tubing.

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Unread 01-14-2013, 09:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crozhawk View Post
also, you may want to stress that if you're going to remove a suspension link with the truck on it's own weight, that you only remove one at a time. Some assclown will think he'll save time by removing both at once ...could get someone seriously hurt.

A much safer way to do this is to raise the rear of the vehicle on jacks, take the wheels off and let the axle droop.
I agree with you on the assclownery of some people. I implied to work on one side at a time with my step 10. But, again, some people... no common sense.

I wanted to just put up a quick installation guide for helping folks. I know things like this have helped me out over the years. I'm looking forward to seeing how well these hold up. Thanks for your input everybody.
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Unread 01-15-2013, 04:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crozhawk View Post

I don't mean to slam these links, MT makes good stuff, I just still don't understand why people shell out the money for things like these when for the same money, you could make a much stronger and durable set out of aluminum or DOM for about the same price. These are only 1" dia. too, even at .250 wall, guarantee they'll bend if you hit em' hard.

They're probably much stronger than OEM, just be prepared to rebuild those polybushings eventually.
Crozhawk, what would you suggest using instead of the MetalTechs rear LCA's?

I too was thinking about getting these. Installing the rear LCA's first and then the rear UCA's second when $ allows.

Cmiller, thanks for the write up! I have been inpressed with MetalTech's customer service and knowledge base with my purchases from them. Figured this would be a good addition this spring or summer.
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Unread 01-15-2013, 07:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norseman View Post
Crozhawk, what would you suggest using instead of the MetalTechs rear LCA's?

I too was thinking about getting these. Installing the rear LCA's first and then the rear UCA's second when $ allows.

Cmiller, thanks for the write up! I have been inpressed with MetalTech's customer service and knowledge base with my purchases from them. Figured this would be a good addition this spring or summer.
No problem, these sort of things help folks get an idea of whats involved.


The last overland rig I just retired at 312,000 miles (over 100k off road) had poly bushings on several points of the running gear and I never had a problem with them wearing faster than the stock. I don't recall any even beginning to clunk or loosen up. Time will tell on this truck being a heavier rig than the last and I plan on putting it through its paces.
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Unread 02-04-2013, 08:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norseman View Post
Crozhawk, what would you suggest using instead of the MetalTechs rear LCA's?

I too was thinking about getting these. Installing the rear LCA's first and then the rear UCA's second when $ allows.

Cmiller, thanks for the write up! I have been inpressed with MetalTech's customer service and knowledge base with my purchases from them. Figured this would be a good addition this spring or summer.
I personally like solid alluminum with Ballistic joints or heims. check out Branik motorsports. Links are really quite simple, it's just a choice of what you want inbetween the two rod ends. I built mine to save weight and make them ultra strong. It all just comes down to personal preference.
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Unread 02-13-2013, 05:03 PM   #15
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Great write up CMiller! Thank you.

Folks, Mark here with Metal-tech 4x4. I can help shed some light on the questions raised on our links.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikestang View Post
Nice write-up. I have a few concerns about the links themselves, however.


Several trucks I know first-hand run beefier rear LCAs and suspension bind has never once been a problem (side note: the axle does not bind, axle bind is a completely different thing). Where and under what circumstances are they seeing suspension bind? Suspension bind caused by LCAs would be as a result of the bushings in the arm, not the diameter of the LCA. And, in fact, it appears to me that the urethane bushing they provide for the axle end of the arms would be prime suspects for binding - they allow nowhere near the range of motion the stock bushing do.

There are also better choices than Johnny Joints to use in this application, especially on the vehicle side. Hopefully someone can chime in with specifics, but I recall past discussions on why JJ's aren't ideal for use on LCAs.

Given the two bushings they used, an improved configuration would be to have the daystar bushing on the vehicle side and the johnny joint on the axle side. The ride quality would be much better. I am leery of either bushing choice for this application, however.
Over-sized tubing used in making stronger links increases the diameter of the tube. With the link mount behind the axle center line, it can make contact at full droop. This is even more prevalent when one runs our bolt on rear long travel kit. The combination of the taller duel rate springs, 4"longer free height shocks, allows the axle to drop past any other rear suspension. #1 reason these links were made. http://www.metaltech4x4.com/p-481-me...e-stage-2.aspx

Here is a photo showing the Metal-tech 4x4 link in play clearing the axle. If the link tube was not offset it would bind. Also you will notice how when the axle tube is engaged on a rock/obstetrical it is a clean exit all the way off the link and mount at the axle. With the offset being away from the bushing shell, there is no bulb'ed edge to slip onto. Clean.


Currie designed the Johnny Joint specifically for lower control arms for off road performance use.

The bushing at the axle and JJ at the fame have a few reasons the #1 is however sealed up, we want to keep the JJ has high out of the muck as we can to help keep it happy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crozhawk View Post
I don't like poly bushings at all for links, they compress over time and freeplay between the polyurethane and the bolt sleeve develops over time. You'll start hearing the initial clunk when braking/accelerating first from the axle moving and then it will eventually get sloppy. The rubber OEM toyota bushings are actually far more durable over the long run.

As far as the binding, I think you'd need a LOT of down travel before that link ever hits the axle ...not sure I've ever heard of that before.

The johnny joints aren't necessarily bad, they're just a PITA to rebuild on the trail if you don't have the special tools. I like ballistic joints better because you can tighten them up if they get loose and aren't too hard to rebuild. Heims also work well, but you have to replace them completely when they go bad.

I don't mean to slam these links, MT makes good stuff, I just still don't understand why people shell out the money for things like these when for the same money, you could make a much stronger and durable set out of aluminum or DOM for about the same price. These are only 1" dia. too, even at .250 wall, guarantee they'll bend if you hit em' hard.

They're probably much stronger than OEM, just be prepared to rebuild those polybushings eventually.
Poly bushings are the industry standard for a performance replacement bushing. Yes rubber bushings will last long and why the OEM's use them. However for more direct control (less squish) Poly is the way to go. We are not looking for flex from the bushing, only vibration control. We put the flex into the Johnny Joint, that will move considerably more than any factory rubber bushing. Poly Bushings should be serviced (greased and eventually replaced) over time, its a performance part and part of using them like any other performance part.

You are incorrect the links are not 1" in dia. They are 1.75" with .290 wall DOM-SRA tubing. They also carry a limited lifetime warranty on the structure. If you bend one, you get a new one.

Ballistic joints vrs. Johnny Joints, a Google search shows history here. With Johnny Joints being the industry standard over all, of course there will be others supported. Some great examples on a few of the other boards of where Ballistic's failed and were replaced with Johnny Joints. As for rebuilding JJ, they are easy to service and run about $10 for the rebuild kit. No threads down in the muck to deal with. When a joint needs to be serviced for wear, the ware is usually due to grit getting between the nylon cup and the steel ball. The grit gets embedded into the nylon cup as well. Simply increasing pressure to take up ware only pushes the grit into the steel ball. Its much better when servicing a performance joint, to dismantle, clean and replace the basic ware points with new. For $10 its easy to do. Most will go years before they need to do this with Johnny Joints.

An aluminum lower link with a joint is nice, however very unlikely one can be commercially purchased for $325 for a pair powder coated w/ brand new grade 8 hardware. The Metal-tech 4x4 lower links are 100% CNC machined DOM-SRA tubing. No weld on bung, the threads for the JJ's are almost a full 3" deep into the tubing, all single point threaded. The bushing shells are CNC cut to fit the custom Daystar bushings, with a grease channel between the two part bushings and external zirk to fill from. Branik is known more for one off custom cut links, commonly ordered by those building buggies etc. I think they only offer Johnny Joints over any other orbital style joint outside of a heim's as well. The Metal-tech 4x4 links are in stock on the shelf ready to bolt on.

We made these links to be used hard off road. They have been hugely successful and make for an outstanding bolt on solution when combined with our rear long travel kit. There will always be other options on the market, we feel we have crafted a quality, performance driven system and priced it were no one else can touch it.

Last edited by helocat; 02-13-2013 at 05:57 PM. Reason: Spelling fool
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Unread 02-13-2013, 05:35 PM   #16
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Thanks Mark, here is a link explaining more about the rear long travel kits.

Sorry CMiller if I just high Jacked your thread.

http://www.toyota120.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23430
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Unread 03-28-2014, 07:04 AM   #17
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I looked into building my own and yes you can do it for a little less or a little more depending on what you want out of them. With mine it would have been pretty close in price and I would have had to make them as well or have my buddy make them. I know MT put their homework into these and there rear LT kit. With future plans to run their rear long travel I decided to go with Metaltech lower links. Big thanks goes out to MT for their GREAT customer service and excellent knowledge of these platforms. My order shipped out very quickly. In fact he was wrapping them up while I as on the phone talking to him. They’re very friendly and helpful. I even received a small discount simply for asking. I look forward to doing future business with them.

BTW, thanks CMiller for the write up and info

I am about to install these and would like to add that when you assemble the bushings into the sleeve "hand grease" the entire bushing with a molly grease before you put them in the metal sleeves and before you put the bushing into the link. The grease zirks on these are for maintenance only and not installation. No need to add any grease to the J joints except for maintenance. Also, if you have a lift, it is a good idea to set the length about 1/8" to 3/16” longer then stock to adjust pinion angle down to compensate for the lift. In my case I have 4" of rear lift and will set them at 1/2" longer then stock. The end with the daystar bushing goes on the axle side with the grease zirk facing up to protect it from trail damage. The J joint zirk should also be facing up after adjusting the length. Hope that helps anyone in the future.

I have attached the instructions for members future use


Attached Files
File Type: pdf Rear lower links install.pdf (65.4 KB, 76 views)
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Unread 07-01-2014, 04:01 PM   #18
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Thanks for the write up! I just ordered a pair for myself and look forward to the install. I also ran across this video while searching for install tips. Seems pretty straight forward, and I'll follow Dave's advice of doing one side at a time.

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Unread 07-01-2014, 05:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmiller View Post
I agree with you on the assclownery of some people. I implied to work on one side at a time with my step 10. But, again, some people... no common sense.

I wanted to just put up a quick installation guide for helping folks. I know things like this have helped me out over the years. I'm looking forward to seeing how well these hold up. Thanks for your input everybody.
This sounds funny, but if I attempted this install I wouldn't even know better. As I start doing my own work on the truck, it would be good to have an online reference of "basic" mechanical skills. Anyone know of such a resource?
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Unread 07-02-2014, 08:24 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by HOJeepster View Post
This sounds funny, but if I attempted this install I wouldn't even know better. As I start doing my own work on the truck, it would be good to have an online reference of "basic" mechanical skills. Anyone know of such a resource?
Man that's a hard one to answer. Most mechanical skills are best learned hands on. I always had friends that liked modifying or fixing vehicles so we always had a "subject" to work on. Find or make a friend who can guide you.
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2006 SR5 V8, DR front and rear, Camburg UCA, 17x9 ProComp 8107, 285/70/17 Procomp Xtreme M/T, SW sliders, Curt front trailer hitch, front/rear removable Smitty 8k winch, dual batteries, Baja rack, Airlift 1000, HID - high, low, fog, DIY front (disconnect) and rear (fixed) end links, LED backup, pin striped by manzanita and buck brush...
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