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Custom Suspension thoughts - 1st gen

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Old 11-13-2012, 12:03 PM   #1
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Custom Suspension thoughts - 1st gen

Before I get started here let me preface something. I am not asking for flaming or "you shouldn't do that because it is not safe" gripes. If you have something to say, I simply ask that you say it with some tact. If you think the thought is unsafe, don't just SAY it, but support your reasoning. I am looking for real input here from professionals, and those who may have ventured down this road. I have seen the thread of the 19 year old who welded a tube to extend his shock, and I am not looking for that kind of response. Yes, if I wanted to spend the money and just buy a lift, I could. I am just thinking of an idea, and how it might work out. CAN it be done? Yes, SHOULD it be done? maybe not.

That being said, here is my thought: I have a 1997 Tacoma (1st Gen) that is at stock suspension height. I have obtained a pair of front shocks (struts) from a 2nd Gen(2012) as well as the factory coil springs, and was looking at something interesting.

The 2012 Tacoma factory struts are nearly 6 inches longer (fully extended) than a 1st gen. This is WAY too high I believe for a swap (As I recall most people on this board state that anything longer than 3 inches is too high, and causes a lot of problems for a 1st Gen) This makes option 1:Straight swapping out, a no go.

Another option I was looking at: The 2012 strut has a long lower rod (approx 4 inches in length) that is welded to the bottom of the strut.



Here is my question:

Can one safely SHORTEN the rod? I am thinking reverse of the other guy, where I would cut off the lower mounting, cut an appropriate amount of rod out, and reweld the mounting back on. I am an experienced welder and fabricated high-tensile parts when I was in the military, so welding knowledge and experience are not an issue. What I am thinking is that by shortening the shaft itself, I can maintain a decent length of a strut, but one that will still be say 2 inches longer than my stock 1st gen. This would result in up-to 3 inches of lift. What I am also considering is the ride quality. With a factory strut and spring, I would have a less stiff ride.


So let me here your thoughts. PLEASE try to be constructive here. Let's keep the flaming to a minimum. Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:11 PM   #3
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Is there any way to disassemble the shock so that you are not having to weld it while it's under pressure? are they even under pressure? Would heating the shock like that have any ill affects on the oil inside the shock? These are all things I am not familiar with, but would be my main concerns
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:15 PM   #4
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If it was cut to stock length and has the same amount of travel it should work. As far as lift by leaving it longer I would definitely cycle the font end (no spring) a few times just to be sure your bump stop is engaging before you bottom out the shock. You can extend the stock bumps or replace them if need be.
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:16 PM   #5
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkofwimbo View Post
Is there any way to disassemble the shock so that you are not having to weld it while it's under pressure? are they even under pressure? Would heating the shock like that have any ill affects on the oil inside the shock? These are all things I am not familiar with, but would be my main concerns

^good point^

You will need to make fast (hot) welds and maybe quench the shock body with a cold wet rag. I did the same thing when I welded "bolt on" castor to my work bench in order to save the rubber seal on the ball bearings for the swivel portion.

EDIT: my only real concern is the seals
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:33 PM   #8
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I have been thinking of the overheating issue of the charge inside. The plan is a water bath that the lower area will be submerged in while doing the welding. I will be looking at doing approx 2-3 seconds at a time, and tacking opposite sides initially to keep things straight. The job itself will be extensive, and obviously not exactly cost efficient. As mentioned I won't be going for efficiency or cost, I am simply looking to see IF I can do it, and SHOULD I do it (due to possible safety concerns).

The 6 inch lift is WAY too much from what I have heard. Too much stress on the CV joints and ball joints. After tearing apart several 1st and 2nd gens in my shop I am inclined to agree.
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:35 PM   #9
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Are the travel number equal? first gen vs second gen strut?
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DTFtacoma View Post
Are the travel number equal? first gen vs second gen strut?
Good Question! I had not thought about that. I will have to measure to find out.
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