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Old 10-02-2011, 03:26 PM   #1
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Considering long travel? Read here first.

This thread is intended as a primer for those interested in long travel suspension. There is a stickied thread that lays out a lot of information on what is available; the focus of this thread is helping others determine if LT is for them or not.

Long travel is the ultimate when it comes to high speed suspension for your Tacoma, but it comes at a price. Long travel is expensive, maintenance intensive, and will not ride well if it is not tuned well. The intention of this thread is to help folks decide if LT is for them and to have a better idea of what they're getting into.

To start off, a lay out of what a basic long travel consists of, as I know this is a subject of confusion.

Front:

1. Extended upper and lower control arms (trackwidth pushed out 2-6'' per side, depending on the kit). Long travel control arms generally use large heim joints, which allow more articulation and are stronger than ball joints.

2. Larger coil overs. Most LT kits utilize 8'' travel coil overs. Remember, travel is measured at the wheel, not at the coil over. That's why an 8'' travel coil over can yield 13-16'' of travel on a Tacoma. Most long travel trucks run remote reservoir coil overs to reduce shock fading.

3. Extended CV axles (Four Wheel Drive Only)

4. Extended tie rods. Some companies offer extensions (Total Chaos, Camburg) while others offer complete heavy duty replacements (All Pro).

5. Extended brake lines.

6. Limit straps. Whether or not you will need limit straps depends on what kit and what shock you are running. Some shocks are internally bumped/limited.

7. Fiberglass fenders. Every LT kit is going to need fiberglass fenders to be used for it's intended purposes. Even the All Pro kit will require fiberglass if you plan on stuffing those tires. You can skimp on glass for a while, but it will require dropping your bumpstops lower (by stacking washers) in order to limit up travel. You'll look a bit goofy with your tires way out from your fenders too.

This is a BASIC front kit. From here you can start gusseting your spindle, UCA bolt, your LCA mounts, and your coil bucket. In addition, with certain kits you can start adding air bumps, secondary shocks, etc. The sky (and your wallet) are the limits.

Popular kits off the top of my head:
1. All Pro
2. Camburg
3. Engage
4. Total Chaos

You can expect to spend $2,500-$4,000 for the long travel kit, $1,100-$1,500 on shocks, and $400-$500 on fiberglass fenders. Installation varies; just remember that four wheel drive trucks will require the extended CV axles which are a PITA to install.


Rear:

1. Spring under axle leaf springs. SUA allows a significant increase in up travel and the larger springs allow more droops as well. Most kits require welding or bolting on new mounting locations, but there are kits that re-use the stock mounting positions (Defined). There are pros and cons to each method.

2. 14-16'' travel shocks. Most guys will purchase bypass shocks because they are easier to tune.

3. A bed cage, or shocks hoops, to mount those longer shocks to. In order for the axle to rear full up travel, the shocks will need to be mounted at a higher than stock location, thus the need for a bed cage/shock hoops.

4. Bumpstops and strike plates. Rubber, air, or hydraulic; you just need something to buffer that axle from slamming into the frame. Obviously air/hydro bumps will handle better.

5. Limit straps

6. Driveline work. Certain models will require a slip-yoke on the driveshaft, others will not. The doublecab shortbed does not require driveshaft work for most applications.

7. Extended brake lines.

8. Fiberglass fenders.

Again, this is a BASIC kit. LT'ing the rear of the truck will involve welding and some fabrication no matter what kit you go with.

Popular rear set ups/shops for rear LT:

1. Giant Engineering
2. Defined Engineering
3. DMZ
4. SDHQ
5. Engage
6. Total Chaos

Pricing on rear LT kits varies a lot, but expect $2,500+ in leaf springs, hardware, and shocks. The fabrication work and bed cage will vary drastically depending on who is doing the work.
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Old 10-02-2011, 03:26 PM   #2
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Now that you have a basic understanding of what long travel consists of, ask yourself these questions before you jump in:

1. Are you the type of person who will check torque on a monthly basis? Are you comfortable working on your own vehicle?

Unless you are absolutely made of money, you will need to be able to spin a few wrenches in order to keep your LT truck safe and ready to wheel. With the amount of abuse that a long travel truck endures when it is used to its potential, you will need to be keeping a close eye on your vehicle. We have had more than a few trucks here have spindle bolts snap or come loose, which will cause your LCA and spindle to separate. At low speed this results in a tow truck ride and hopefully not too much damage. At high speed it could be fatal.

2. Can you tolerate the noise?

LT kits squeak. LT trucks rattle. Exposed uniballs and bushings will make noise. Bypass shocks click. Noise travels through roll cages. It is a constant battle that not too many folks can stay ahead of, especially if the truck sees dirt on a routine basis. Fiberglass fenders grab a lot of air and let a lot of tire noise into the cab. This also affects gas mileage.

3. Are you ready to break things?

Not even things related to the suspension. Motor mounts, plastic headlights/grill mounts breaking, etc. are all part of the game and most of us have dealt with these items breaking. I'd highly advise having a few extra thousand bucks and a back up plan of how to get to work the next day before you start hucking your brand new LT truck.

4. Are you ready to deal with shops and dealerships blaming your modifications for unrelated problems?

Can't tell you how many times I have had shops or dealerships point the figure at the suspension when the problem was not related to the suspension. Alignments are always comical, as there is no page in their "Alignment Machines for Dummies" book for long travel trucks. Unless you find a shop with a tech who actually understands how suspension works and is not just reading numbers from a machine, you will be in an uphill battle. That's why most of us do all the wrenching on our trucks.

5. Do your wheels have the backspacing to allow spindle gussets? Is your cab mount chopped? You will need both of these done.

6. Do NOT expect the truck to handle like stock. Isn't that why you just dumped ten grand into it, anyways? It will become a special purpose machine and will not handle like it use to. Even in the dirt, LT trucks generally don't handle well at low speed. The stiff compression needed to absorb jumps and whoops does not handle washboard roads or small bumps smoothly at low speed. That said, LT can hit stuff way, way faster than a stock truck can dream of.

7. Do you love hauling ass?

Because there is no greater feeling than hauling ass over rough terrain while floating on a cloud of suspension.
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Old 10-02-2011, 03:45 PM   #3
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Nice Write-Up Chase

Definitely sticky worthy
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Old 10-02-2011, 03:51 PM   #4
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If you can tolerate the above things and have the money, then what are you waiting for?

Just don't say we didn't warn you, because once you start you won't be able to stop!
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Old 10-02-2011, 04:00 PM   #5
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highly informative, well written, and funny. well done. just learned a lot.
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Old 10-02-2011, 04:03 PM   #6
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I can not tolorate any of the above. I'll stay a mall crawler
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Old 10-02-2011, 08:08 PM   #7
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Great write up!
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Old 10-02-2011, 08:11 PM   #8
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nice write-up! i can't wait to LT my DC!
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Old 10-02-2011, 08:26 PM   #9
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this is a great write up, nice job
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Old 10-02-2011, 08:42 PM   #10
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thanks

u just changed my mind and saved me alot of money was going to go ahead with LT but dont have the money and am not yet sure if i could deal with the constant tuning and other problems may be once i get a good job and some more knowledge under the hood
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Old 10-02-2011, 10:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mxpatriot View Post
If you can tolerate the above things and have the money, then what are you waiting for?

Just don't say we didn't warn you, because once you start you won't be able to stop!
X2 and great write up for pplz looking into going LT.
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Old 10-02-2011, 10:23 PM   #12
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what do you think of the all pro kit and rear SOA set up if the wheeling you do is mainly trails and occasional high speed burst? thats my plan, i do plan on gussetting spindle, lca tab, and shock mount, and can wrench. but from my understanding it gets expensive when you turn to higher speed pre running over slower crawling?
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Old 10-02-2011, 10:32 PM   #13
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If your mainly doing trails and light desert run your fine with the AP kit and SOA.
I had that setup for a while and it works out fine.
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Old 10-02-2011, 11:57 PM   #14
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How was the daily ride with that set up?
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Old 10-03-2011, 06:42 AM   #15
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It's pretty good, squeaks sometimes (seems to depend on the temperature). I use it for both high speed (just have to know your limit & have enough weight in the rear) and you can decently fast. Corners are fun with lean from the LT too
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Old 10-03-2011, 06:47 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Mxpatriot View Post
3. Are you ready to break things?
Of all the things above, this needs more bold.
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:28 AM   #18
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Of all the things above, this needs more bold.
Agreed~
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Old 10-04-2011, 03:56 PM   #19
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Good Job

Vote for STICKY!
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Old 10-04-2011, 04:22 PM   #20
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Good Job

Vote for STICKY!

i approve this message
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