Toyota/4x4 - Motor/Tranny Mount Spacers


NOTE: Due to high order volume, it may take some time for production and shipments to catch up. Order backlog could be up to 6 weeks.

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Contents:

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Introduction:

While Toyota 4x4 engines are typically mounted high enough so that dragging oil pans is not typically a problem, there are some benefits to raising the engine and thus the entire drive train on a Toyota truck. The most common part that drags on Toyota 4WD trucks is the transfer case cross member. In stock form it is a box cross-section and hangs nearly 4" below the transfer case itself. It is not built to take a lot of abuse and once the fairly thin steel box begins to crush, it loses most of its strength. There are a number of low-profile cross members on the market to address this problem, but even going this route leaves the transfer case hanging well below the frame rails. The transfer case already rides up close to the transmission tunnel, so lifting it very much is not a viable option. If you have dual transfer cases, the rear-most case often is left hanging unprotected behind the cross member.

However, by installing a body lift to gain clearance, the drive train may be lifted up in the frame by an amount up to the height of the body lift. To lift the drive train, you must raise the motor mounts as well as the transfer case cross member, and most likely the "horsecollar" crossmember on the frame, depending on vehicle type and configuration. On most Toyota 4WD short wheel base trucks, it should be possible to raise the drive train about 1.5" without hitting the horsecollar crossmember. On the Extra cabs, you can probably do 2"-3" without trouble. You can simply measure the vertical clearance between the rear driveshaft and the crossmember, allowing some room for movement under load (see picture below). If you have dual transfer cases and/or a reaf CV-style driveshaft, then you may need to raise that crossmember even without a drivetrain lift.

Measuring Horsecollar Crossmember Clearance

However, there are other parts of the body/cab that can interfere with raising the drive train up higher. The best way to check for clearance is to unbolt either end of the drive train (i.e. the motor mounts or the t-case mount) and then use a floor jack with wood blocks to raise one end of the drive train up until it hits the floor of the body/cab and then measure the clearance between the motor ot t-case mount and the frame or cross member. That distance would represent the highest you could possibly raise the drive train up, but be sure to allow some room for drive train movement under load. Since the engine and t-case are mounted atop rubber mounts, they can move around a fair bit in response to the torque applied to the drive shaft and more so in lower gears.

I did this very project on my 22RE-equipped 4Runner, lifting the body 3" and the drive train 2". I designed some bolt-on motor mount spacers and then used the Front Range Offroad Fabrication transfer case cross member and skid plate to accomplish the lift. I gained about 5-6" under the transfer case, replaced my sloppy stock transfer case mount and reduced the need for extensive modifications due to the 3" body lift. Since I had been running a 1" body lift before, I had set the radiator and shift levers to work at this height. So, my new lift (3" - 2") resulted in an identical 1" relative body lift off the drive train. It is still 3" off the frame, so things like steering and brake lines were modified. As can be seen in the image above, there is now about 1.5" of clearance above the driveshaft. Before the 1" (relative) lift, I had 1/2" (at rest) but under the stress and twisting off off-road use, that gap went to zero and let the CV hit the crossmember. So, you need to have at least 1/2" and better 1" of driveshaft clearance at rest to avoid contact.

Raising the engine had a side benefit when I later installed hydraulic-assist steering. With a high-steer (tie rod over the springs) setup, the hydraulic ram is mounted on top of the axle and the hydraulic lines are above that. I find I just barely have enough room to clear the hoses with the oil pan with the 2" drivetrain lift.

So after doing all the design work and tooling needed to make my own blocks, I thought I would offer my spacers to others interested in this modification. In fact, using my spacers and a BudBuilt crossmember, it should be possible to do most of this project in a bolt-on manner. Generally, most Toyota trucks can take a 1-2" transfer case lift without moving the horsecollar crossmember. If you have dual transfer cases, a rear CV driveshaft, or a shorter wheelbase, then relocation may be needed, which requires some cutting and welding, but results in a raised gas tank.


Motor Mount Spacers:

Pictured below are examples of a 2" motor mount spacer. To the lower-left, is the spacer installed on a stock motor mount (removed from the engine for clarity). To the lower-right is a 2" spacer installed between the frame and the stock motor mount. An advantage of this style of mounting is that it maintains the original engine-mount orientation. It also does not increase the load on the motor mount itself, as no added leverage is created.

Motor mount spacer close-up Motor mount spacer installed - note tab (circled)
Motor Mount Spacer on Motor Mount Bracket Motor Mount Spacer and Bracket installed

The motor mount spacers can be made in heights from 1" to 3" that fit the stock Toyota 4- and 6-cylinder motor mount bases. New mounting hardware is supplied to attach the spacer the the frame bracket. Then the stock hardware is used to attach the motor mount to the spacer except with the 1" - 1.5" spacers which include new hardware all around. The spacers are made of 3/16" steel plate with angle-cut 2" square tubing - fully welded or machined billet aluminum construction.

NOTES / FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
  1. Do the spacers include new motor mounts?
  2. What about raising the transmission higher or lower than the engine?
  3. What about vehicles with 2-piece rear driveshafts?
  4. What abount (coil sprung) 2nd gen 4Runners?
  5. How is the lift height measured?
  6. How long does it take to fabricate and ship the spacers?
  7. Will my driveshafts need to be lengthened and/or will the shafts handle the increased angle?
  8. How high can I lift my drivetrain?
  9. Are there any considerations when installing these spacers along with a body lift?
  10. Which version should I order?
1. Do the spacers include new motor mounts?
Motor mount shown above for illustration purposes only. The motor mount spacer kit is just that, spacers only, the motor mounts are not included. The spacers are compatible with stock and aftermarket motor mounts. If running stock motor mounts, you might consider chaining the motor mounts if you take the truck off-road a lot.
2. What about raising the transmission higher or lower than the engine?
While it can be done, the added angle applied to the motor mount will put it under some stress. An inch or so height difference between mounts is probably OK, but 2"-3" difference (front-rear) would likely be too much. I preferred to keep my engine and tranny level, so both ends are raised 2". Also, note that raising one end or the other a different amount will result in angle changes at the transfer case output flanges, which may affect driveshaft alignment and cause vibrations. And raising the engine and transmission equally will keep the exhast level, minimizing/eliminating modifications required to that component. Also, the factory setup has the rear of the engine angled downward a few degrees to help drain oil out of the back of the head back into the oil pan. So it is always best to raise both the engine and transmission an equal amount.
3. What about vehicles with 2-piece rear driveshafts or coil sprung 2nd gen 4Runners?
On vehicles equipped with 2-piece rear drive shafts (i.e. ones that use a center support/carrier bearing), raising the drivetrain is not adviseable, due to misalignment issues with the carrier bearing. The front section of the rear drive shaft (before the carrier bearing) is designed to only work at the angle it is set up for, raising (or lowering) the transmission and/or engine, will change that angle and cause drive shaft vibrations. It is possible to convert a 2-piece shaft to a 1-piece shaft if a drivetrain lift is desired.
4. What abount 2nd gen 4Runners?
With the rear coil spring suspension, it is difficult to modify the rear drive shaft u-joint angles. As such, it is adviseable to raise the entire drivetrain in a level fashion. That is raise the engine and transmission/transfer case an equal height. Why? Because this will preserve the alignment of the transfer case and pinion flanges on the rear driveshaft. You want to maintain their relative angles. If you only raise the transfer case end of the drivetrain, for example, you'll be increasing the transfer case flange angle more than the pinion flange angle and this can result in driveshaft vibrations.
5. How is the lift height measured?
Also you may notice that the motor mount spacer is not as "tall" as the specified lift height. Why is this? It is due to the angle at which the motor mount rests on the frame. Lift height needs to be measured "on the diagonal" between the mounting holes to account for the installed angle. So a 2" tall spacer (as shown below) may only measure 1-1/4" - 1-1/2" tall but it raises the engine the full 2" from bolt to bolt. Also, due to mfg. tolerances, the actual lift height may vary a little, probably +/- 3/16".
Lift Height Measurement
Lift Height Measurement
6. How long does it take to fabricate and ship the spacers?
Motor mount spacers are made to order to your specifications. Fabrication typically takes 2 weeks, then allow 2-3 days for US Priority Mail shipping or 6-10 days for International Prioity Mail shipping. A tracking number will be e-mailed when the spacers ship.


NOTE: Due to high order volume, it may take some time for production and shipments to catch up. Order backlog could be up to 6 weeks.

7. Will my driveshafts need to be lengthened and/or will the shafts handle the increased angle?
Raising one end of the driveshafts will pull them out a bit. How much depends on how high you are raising the drive train and at what angle the shafts currently sit at and how long they currently are. You can use a simple triangle calculator to see how the diagonal length will change for a given increase in vertical height. To do this measure the horizontal separation of the pinion and transfer case flange with a tape measure and likewise measure the vertical separation and enter those two numbers into the side-angle-side calculator and use 90° as the included angle (i.e a right triangle). Then note the resulting diagonal length (this will be your current driveshaft length, you could compare that to an actual measurement of your shaft, flange-flange). Then increase the vertical separation by however far you want to raise the transfer case and re-compute the diagonal length. The increase in this length will be the extension of your shaft due to the lift. Then compare this added extension to how much slip yoke travel you have in your shaft *see how much slip yoke is pulled out at full droop and then compare that to how much slip yoke extension is required to separate the shaft). The same calsulator will tell you the angular changes as well.
Generally if you have adequate margins on the driveshaft length and joint travel, you should be fine with the lift, I made no changes on my '85 with a 2" lift. However, if you are the "hairy edge" of length or angle, then you may need to modify the shaft a little. A driveshaft spacer can add length if needed.
8. How high can I lift my drivetrain?
That is a little difficult to answer as it depends on the vehicle, engine, transmission, any modifications that may have been done to it, etc. In general, if you have installed a body lift of X", then you should be safe with a motor mount spacer (or drivetrain) lift of X". After all, if everything fit beneath the body prior to the body lift, then it should still fit lifted an amount equal to the body lift. You can of course, lift the drivetrain less than the body lift.
The "rub" (pun intended) comes if you wish to raise the engine (or drivetrain) an amount more than the body has been lifted off the frame. In this case, it is best if you measure the amount of lift that is possible on your vehicle. This is actually fairly easy to do. Simply unbolt the motor mounts and/or the transfer case mount from the frame/cross member, and put a jack underneath the end you want to lift and raise away until you contact the body. Then, measure the vertical separation between the motor (or t-case) mounts and the frame/cross member and that is the maximum amount you can pobbily raise the drivetrain. However, you likely want to allow some room for the drivetrain to move around under load (after all it is attached to the frame with rubber mounts). And a final option is that you can choose to cut away the part of the body that is limiting the lift height. This is sometimes done in off-road-only vehicles, where the transmission and t-case(s) are shoved up between the seats with most of the "tunnel" cut away. This is probably not too practical in a vehicle driven on the street, due to the noise, heat and fumes coming up inside the cab.
But, the bottom line is that if you are planning to lift your drivetrain an amount greater than any installed body lift height, it is highly recommended that you measure how far you can raise the drivetrain before hitting the body. Some folks take a trial and error approach to this, ordering first one height then another height spacer and this ends up costing them more time and money in the long run, then a quick measurement prior to ordering.
9. Are there any considerations when installing these spacers along with a body lift?
Not many, you would of course want to install the body lift first in order to give you the room to raise the engine (and drivetrain) into. Then of course, you will need fewer components from a typical body lift kit. For example, the radiator drop brackets would likely not be needed as you'll be raising the radiator (with the body) and the radiator fan (with the engine). Also, if raising the transmission/t-case as well, you'll not need to deal with shifter issues since the shifter height below the floor will not be affected, depending on the body and drivetrain lift heights.
10. Which version should I order?
Since these spacers are desiged to raise the mounting point on the frame for the motor mounts to bolt to, you should be sure to order the version to match the engine that originally came in the frame you are attaching the spacers to. So if your vehicle originally had a 20R/22R/22RE/22RET engine, then you should order the 22R version of the spacer, no matter what engine you are planning to install in the vehicle. Likewise, if your vehicle originally had a V6 engine (3.0l or 3.4l) or later model 4-cyl (2.7l) engine, then you need the "V6" spacers. The reason being is that the 22R style motor mount brackets on the frame are at a 55 degree angle, while the "V6" style brackets are at 48 degrees. So you need the spacer that matches the angle of the frame brackets so that the motor mount attachment points are raised vertically by the desired amount. If you were to put 48 degree spacers onto a 55 degree frame bracket, the bolt holes in the top of the spacer would be tipped inward by the difference in angle between the spacer and the frame and that would move the mounting holes inward (or outward) and they would no longer line up with the mounts on the motor.

Ordering:

1-1.5" Motor Mout Spacers 2"-3" motor mount spacers
1.5" or shorter spacer 2" or taller spacers

Size: Style:

Size:

20R/22R/RE/RET Motor Mount Spacer
US Delivery for $7.00
2.7L-4 and 3.0/3.4L V6 Motor Mount Spacers
US Delivery for $7.00
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Size: Style:

Size:

20R/22R/RE/RET Motor Mount Spacer
International Delivery US$66.00
2.7L-4 and 3.0/3.4L V6 Motor Mount Spacers
International Delivery US$66.00


Application Notes:


The spacers are designed for easy installation with simple hand tools, no cutting or welding is required. A floor jack or factory bottle jack is needed to raise the engine up to install the spacers. A block of wood under the oil pan makes a convenient lifting point. You should loosen the transfer case mount and even raise it with a spacer block to assist in getting the new mounts to align properly. Loosely install the bolts and get everything lined up (no strain on the motor mounts) before tightening any of the fasteners. I found on my truck that I had to use a come-along to pull the engine forward about an inch to get the mounts to line up. On spacers less than 2" tall, it is necessary to insert the bolts from the ouside and place the retaining nuts inside the spacer. The 1" spacers are made of solid steel with threaded holes, so the supplied bolts thread into the spacer.

Of course, if you lift the engine, you should also lift the transmission/transfer case an equal amount. One method of doing this is to fabricate a custom transfer case cross member to lift the back end of the drive train. Another option, and the one I used, is the Front Range Offroad Fabrication cross member and skid plate, very nice, easy to install and you can set it for any height you want:

Note: This is just one of many steps in a drive train lift. They are all fairly easy, given the right tools and skill level, but some of the steps you may run into will remain hidden until you run into a problem. I've tried to document all the things I ran into in my lift, and had read Drew Persson's write-up and other write-ups on gas tank lifts, etc. But I still ran into other issues above and beyond what others had written about.

If you've read this far, you may be asking what would all this do for my truck? After all, 2" isn't that much (You could go up 3" like Drew did, but I went 2" for clearance reasons). Take a look at the photos below, a stock 4Runner above and a 2" lift plus new crossmember below:

Stock

2" drivetrain lift, 3" gas tank lift

For reference, the nerf bars are 2" square tubing. The gas tank skid plate is approx. 1" below the frame, skid plate on the transfer case is perhaps 2" below the frame. The above photo is taken parallel with the frame rails, no tricky angles were used. Click on the images above to download a larger version.


Motor Mount Spacer Installation:

In order to install the motor mount spacers, a body lift equal to or taller than the spacer height must already be in place. In addition, some method of raising the transmission end of the drivetrain should be available. So on with the install...

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Transfer Case Spacer:

So the FROFab cross member is a great thing if you have a solid axle truck, either stock or converted, or have IFS and dual transfer cases. If your rig doesn't meet the above criteria, you'll be unable to install this cross member due to interference with the front torsion bar brackets. However, the BudBuilt cross member does address all these issues and can be ordered with a built-in lift; highly recommended.

Perhaps you are planning to do one of the modifications above but want to get started early, or you want to use one of the other low-profile cross member designs, and simply lift the transfer case up above that, or you are using the FROFab cross member and want a spacer to use to let you install and remove the crossmember for servicing the transmission, etc. Now realize that this spacer *will not* provide any increased under-truck ground clearance as the stock cross member will still be in it's original position.

Pictured below is a 2" / 4-cyl ('84-'95) transfer case mount spacer, 3" is also available, as is a V6 ('88-'95) t-case spacer version (80mm x 57mm bolt hole pattern w/ offset center hole). Other spacer designs may be possible, but will need the bolt hole pattern and location/size of the large hole. As with the motor mount spacers, can also do 1" spacers in a billet alluminum:

Mount and spacer

Spacer attached to mount

Spacer and crossmember

Mount-spacer-crossmember ready to install

Tranny Mount Installation:

As you can see, installation is fairly straight forward;

  1. Support the transmission on blocks and remove the stock cross member and transfer case mount
  2. Bolt the spacer to the transfer case mount using the supplied Grade 12.9 allen head bolts and lock washers
  3. Bolt the spacer to the cross member (stock unit pictured) with the supplied Grade 12.9 allen head bolts, washers and aero-lock nuts
  4. Bolt the transfer case mount and cross member back in place.

I'm actually planning to keep a 2" spacer handy for my own use, in case I ever have to service the transmission or clutch in the future at a shop. If needed, I plan on bolting up the stock crossmember and the 2" spacer, and then removing the FROFab crossmember before taking the transmission out. With 2 transfers case and the huge crossmember bolted on, I think it would be almost impossible to take them out as-is.

Transfer case spacers are available, with mounting hardware, for $100.00, plus shipping, specify 2" or 3" lift (should match the motor mount spacer height). Spacers 2" and 3" tall are built of 0.125 steel plate and square tube, fully welded, primed and painted, 1" spacers are billet 6061 aluminum. We use a stock Toyota RF1A (4-cyl, gear driven) transfer case mount and cross member as templates. Feel free to contact us for advice on other applications, but we will need you to supply us with dimensions for the transfer case mount.

Size:

Size:

One item to note, if you will *not* be raising your horsecollar crossmember, you'll need to carefully check the rear driveshaft clearance where is passes under the crossmember. You'll want to ensure you have enough clearance for the driveshaft after the lift. Different wheel bases and driveshaft configurations can affect the clearance.


Other Transfer Case Lift Options:

Front Range Offroad Fabrication has a weld-on crossmember and skid plate combination:

As an alternative, the BudBuilt transfer case crossmembers are both functional and affordable. You can find out more about them from Bud's page:

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[Last updated: Thursday, 16-Mar-2017 02:57:14 GMT]

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