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-   -   Goodbye Axle Wrap Mod (http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/1st-gen-tacomas/108316-goodbye-axle-wrap-mod.html)

iDigTulsa 08-14-2010 11:17 PM

Goodbye Axle Wrap Mod
 
Everyone has their own reason for their first visit to the TW forum. For some it is to learn about their "new" truck, for others it is to show off their recent "Baja Ready" build. Personally, my first visit was too try and figure out why in the world my truck was making this awful "thump" or "clunk" when stopping or accelerating. I had tolerated it long enough, and it seemed as if it was only getting worse. I wanted to know just what it was, how it could be fixed, and the most important question of all.....how much it would cost me.

From TW I have learned that I my truck suffers from "Axle Wrap". It's there from the moment our trucks roll off the assembly line, and gets progressively worse as our 3 leaf rear suspension (1st Gen) slowly deteriorates over time. Some on the forum say that I can temporarily solve this problem by greasing various points on the axle at every oil change, others have opted for the more permanent fix of rear suspension replacement. This ranges from the common AAL (Add-A-Leaf) to full out 5 leaf pack installation and a full set of coveted Blisten 5100's. My point is, I always find things I want to spend money on here on TW, but that does not mean that the money is instantly there to make the purchase.

I have read a few threads that mention this mod, and it has been randomly mentioned on other forums, but there has yet to be a complete write-up posted from what I can find. If you want to solve your Axle Wrap Woes but are still saving your hard earned pennies for a new suspension set-up then keep reading. What makes this a "mod" is the fact that you are not using the Leaf Spring Helpers as they are intended to be used, instead you are actually going to install them backwards. I know that instantly sounds like a bad idea, but the purpose of helpers is to "increase your load capacity by 1,500lbs" by acting as a support for your leafs when installed behind your rear axle. This act of installing them backwards means that we will be placing them in front of the rear axle. This does not provide the added support for increased load capacity, but it's new location will strengthen the tired and weak leaf springs. This added strength will not only provide an increase in traction, a more firm and sure footed ride, and much less body roll when cornering but it also effectively keeps axle wrap from occurring. These same actions seem to occur when a full suspension swap takes place, or an AAL is installed, but if you can stomach the fact that an "off brand" suspension component is being installed seemingly incorrectly on your truck, then you too can kiss your Axle Wrap Goodbye....at least until you have the money for all the upgrades you dream about for your baby.

This was performed on my 2003 Double Cab TRD Tacoma, it has 86K miles and has a completely stock suspension set-up. The mod will apply to other body styles and years, but the write up is specific for the 1st Gen owners.

All of the parts needed for this mod were purchased at Advance Auto but their cousins could be found at your local auto parts store. The main component for this write-up is the Leaf Spring Helpers which were $29.99. I chose to use 3M Rubberized Undercoating ($9.99) to hide the blinding metal finish of the helpers, but you could use a can of Duplicolor in flat black if you desire. If you already have all of the necessary tools, and a rattle can in your garage, then this mod will only cost you $29.99+ tax. I will also note that this is 100% reversible for those of you that fear the word "mod".

Ok, to recap, it's inexpensive, reversible and it fixes your Axle Wrap "thump"
.

What you will need to get started.
  • One set of Dynachrome Leaf Spring Helpers (Part# 18921)
  • One 1/2'' wrench or ratchet.
  • One 3/4'' wrench or Deep Dish ratchet.
  • One can of 3M Rubberized Undercoating (or equivalent).
  • One can of your favorite barley based beverage (or equivalent).

Step #1 - Paint your Leaf Spring Helpers and let them dry according to the directions of your chosen application.NOTE* Do not paint the threads on the bolts, just thought I would mention that since it would make it near impossible to put this thing together. If you think you will be unsure of the end result once this project is completed, or afraid that you will find yourself in dire need of $30.00 in the near future, you may want to save this for the last step. You cannot return the "helpers" if they are painted.

Step #2 - Park your truck on a flat, level surface and set the emergency brake. You do not need to to place the truck on jack stands to complete this project. If you own them, feel free to bust them out, but for those of us with out them, just wear a shirt you don't mind getting dirty. Check out the area of the leaf springs that you are about to improve.

Step #3 - If you have chosen to paint you helpers at a later date, then skip to step #4. If you have painted your helpers, make sure they are dry and get your supplies together.

Step #4 - Place the helper under your leaf springs with the attached bracket facing up, and on the end furthest from your axle. Remember, you are not installing these according to the included instructions, you are installing these IN FRONT of your rear axle. Place the bolt through the bracket with the included nuts. Follow the included instructions (a black and white picture) which show you that one nut goes on the inside of the bracket and one on the outside of the bracket on the threaded end of the bolt. Tighten by hand to the point that this will support the weight of the helper. Keep in mind that this end of the helper only serves as a guide to keep the helper from swinging around, it is not for support. The larger, stronger U-Bolt is your main support device.

Step #5 - Place the U-Bolt mounting plate on top of your leaf springs, directly above the "dip" in the helper. Insert the U-Bolt into the mounting plate from the bottom, seated inside the "dip". The threaded end of the bolts will be facing up if done correctly. Place the washer on first, then tighten the nuts by hand. (That's what she said.)

Step #6 - Repeat steps #4 and #5 on the other side of your trucks leaf springs.

Step #7 - Once both helpers are tightened by hand, take time to make sure that they are each in the same location on the two separate leaf springs. Once you have verified that the helpers are seated in same locations, meaning that they are both spaced the same distance from the axle and the end of the leaf spring, tighten the remainder of the slack out of the nuts on the U-Bolts. When using hand tools it is hard to gauge the actual amount of torque being applied, but keep in mind that you do not ever want these coming off unless you remove them yourself. On the other end, with the built in bracket, you can still tighten with tools, but this section should be free to somewhat slide and adjust with the movement of the leaf springs. There have been reports that over-tightening this bracket to the point that it could not self adjust will result in failure of the bracket.

Step #8 - The Leaf Spring Helpers included two rivets that when used on during their "recommended" application help increase the load capacity. I have opted not to install the rivets for this reverse installation, but if anyone decides to add this step to their installation keep me updated on the result. At this point, without the rivets, you're done. Step back, and check out your finished product.

After completing this project I went out for a test drive. I instantly noticed that when I put the truck in reverse to back out of the garage, and then into drive when leaving the driveway that my truck did not "thump" or "thud" like I had become so accustomed too over the years. I hit the streets and before making it to the freeway I hit four red lights. The "thump" was still missing from every stop, and no where to be found when I took off again. Not only was the thump gone, but the truck just seemed to "take off" easier. I'm not a mechanic, or an engineer, but I have driven this truck everyday for the last 5 years. You know when something is different, and I could tell that the tires felt more "sticky". When I made it onto the freeway on-ramp I could instantly notice the decrease in body roll, the truck was planted on the pavement. At highway speeds the truck did not move around with the wind, and on the cloverleaf for the interchange I could easily maintain a steady apex in my turn with the decrease in body roll. The drive home was just plain fun, because the whole time that I'm thinking of all the things that are so much better, I realized that I had only given up $40 bucks and an hour in the garage!

Below are the pictures that are in order based on the above mentioned steps.

iDigTulsa 08-14-2010 11:34 PM

Goodbye Axle Wrap Mod
 
http://www.tacomaworld.com/gallery/d.../DSCN04602.JPG

http://www.tacomaworld.com/gallery/d.../DSCN04401.JPG

http://www.tacomaworld.com/gallery/d.../DSCN04422.JPG

http://www.tacomaworld.com/gallery/d...m/DSCN0455.JPG

iDigTulsa 08-14-2010 11:37 PM

Goodbye Axle Wrap Mod
 
http://www.tacomaworld.com/gallery/d.../DSCN04442.JPG

http://www.tacomaworld.com/gallery/d...m/DSCN0449.JPG

http://www.tacomaworld.com/gallery/d...m/DSCN0456.JPG

iDigTulsa 08-14-2010 11:40 PM

Goodbye Axle Wrap Mod
 
http://www.tacomaworld.com/gallery/d...m/DSCN0458.JPG

http://www.tacomaworld.com/gallery/d...m/DSCN0450.JPG

http://www.tacomaworld.com/gallery/d.../DSCN04651.JPG

http://www.tacomaworld.com/gallery/d.../DSCN04543.JPG

iDigTulsa 08-14-2010 11:44 PM

Goodbye Axle Wrap Mod
 
:Dhttp://www.tacomaworld.com/gallery/d...m/DSCN0469.JPG

http://www.tacomaworld.com/gallery/d.../DSCN04701.JPG

I will be the first to admit that these are cheap off-brand parts when compared to ToyTech or OME, and they are performing a task that they were never originally intended to do. I'm sure the flaming will begin from those that "don't trust it" or would rather do things the "right" way, but these same people have also probably reached under their dash and cut a few "wires" because they read about it on TW. (I'm doing the Grey Wire mod next weekend.) I noticed the total change in my daily driver after doing this project, and I now fully realize the difference that could be made by actually doing an all out suspension set-up with parts that were made to be used the way we use them.

We know our stock suspension set-up has it's limitations, and we know it's basic useful lifespan. This project was easy, cheap, and did so much more than I could have expected. If for no other reason, perform this "mod" as an incentive to finally get that OME 3" Lift Kit and the recently released 1st Gen Blisten 5100's. After a taste of the Axle Wrap free good life, I know that's what I'm saving for.

I will also add as a final note, it is important to check the entire setup after approximately 50-75 miles and make sure that everything is still tight and in place. Let's say that everything looks good on your first check up, that does not mean that you should never check it out again. This system will be under constant stress, hence the tighter suspension with them on, don't neglect to check it out from time to time and make sure it's all still holding steady. Oh, and did I mention that it's only $30.00?!?!?!

timbo805 08-15-2010 12:04 AM

great right up
: )

Manlaan 08-15-2010 12:16 AM

Great write up. I've been thinking about doing this same thing myself for a while.

and wow, your springs sure have quite the negative arc in them...

Ahshiet 08-15-2010 12:41 AM

thats a cool looking setup and nice write up! i had this problem on my 2wd 80 pickup cause i removed the middle spring to lower it but i found a free sway bar that clamps to the leafs and handles like a dream compared to stock height.

ccoliver09 08-15-2010 12:47 AM

Great write up

iDigTulsa 08-15-2010 08:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Manlaan (Post 2065389)
Great write up. I've been thinking about doing this same thing myself for a while.

and wow, your springs sure have quite the negative arc in them...

Its sad I know, if only I had joined the forum back in April, it looks like I just missed the 1st Gen group buy for the Wheelers Offroad Leaf Spring Replacement by a few months. At least with this I will not have to suffer the "shudder" until I finally purchase a new setup.

ywen 08-15-2010 09:27 AM

Hey FYI.. the help spring does nothing.

All you really need is the U bolts and just clamp it down on the leafs real tight.

This is what I have on my truck.


Also it helps to put a couple of luck nut on each side of the u-bolt. This will prevent it from loosening over time. However, if you torque it down real good, like 50lbs, that should be okay too.

jandrews 08-15-2010 09:50 AM

The Tacoma's relevancy is solely that it has no good competitors?

So what you're saying is it's the best truck in it's class?

BBiggs 08-15-2010 10:02 AM

Yes.

01taquito 08-15-2010 06:58 PM

im real tempted to give this a try...

blackwidow2009 08-15-2010 08:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ywen (Post 2065914)
hey fyi.. The help spring does nothing.

All you really need is the u bolts and just clamp it down on the leafs real tight.

This is what i have on my truck.


Also it helps to put a couple of luck nut on each side of the u-bolt. This will prevent it from loosening over time. However, if you torque it down real good, like 50lbs, that should be okay too.


pics please

ywen 08-15-2010 08:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blackwidow2009 (Post 2068079)
pics please

No need for pic.. just look at the OP's pic. See how the U bolt is mounted? And seen the helper spring at the bottom mounted in reverse?

Just remove the helper spring and leave the u-bolts in. It will have the same effect.

http://www.tacomaworld.com/gallery/d.../DSCN04543.JPG

wolfgang123 08-15-2010 08:39 PM

i dont think so...it looks like the helper spring is keeping the stock springs from flexing up and down as much, which is something just u-bolts could not fix.

CUtigerfan 08-15-2010 08:40 PM

would the same parts work on a 1st gen 5-lug? and would this solve the wheel shudder/hop when accelerating quickly offroad?

ywen 08-15-2010 08:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wolfgang123 (Post 2068131)
i dont think so...it looks like the helper spring is keeping the stock springs from flexing up and down as much, which is something just u-bolts could not fix.

The only component that's applying pressure to the leaf pack is the u bolts. The other end of the helper spring is a weak bracket that does nothing other than preventing the helper spring from sliding side ways and hit the tire. You don't need the helper spring. Just the u-bolts. Trust me.


Quote:

Originally Posted by CUtigerfan (Post 2068135)
would the same parts work on a 1st gen 5-lug? and would this solve the wheel shudder/hop when accelerating quickly offroad?

Yes, since axle wrap is an issue affecting all leaf spring suspension setup. This is nothing specific to Tacomas. This u-bolt solutions have been used by Titan guys for a long time, which is where a good amount of tech write-ups exist.

CUtigerfan 08-15-2010 09:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ywen (Post 2068186)
Yes, since axle wrap is an issue affecting all leaf spring suspension setup. This is nothing specific to Tacomas. This u-bolt solutions have been used by Titan guys for a long time, which is where a good amount of tech write-ups exist.

but you know what i'm talking about right? the way the rear tires feel like they're hopping and you don't have as much traction accelerating? it only happens to me on sand.


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