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Need U-bolts by tomorrow - help! (SF Bay Area)

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Old 06-11-2010, 04:07 PM   #1
AlphaGeek [OP] AlphaGeek is offline
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Need U-bolts by tomorrow - help! (SF Bay Area)

I'm usually pretty good about reading the fine print when I order complex packages of stuff, such as (ahem) the suspension upgrade parts cluttering my workshop at the moment. In this case, though, I completely missed the fact that the ToyTec "Ultimate Lift" kit does NOT come with a new set of U-bolts even when you upgrade to the Dakar rear springs in place of the AALs. Argh. This does not make me happy.

Now it's Friday afternoon, and this is the ONLY weekend I have available to get the much-needed suspension work done before August, and I have no U-bolts. Looking for hints, tips, guidance, criticism, etc.

* Plan A: buy a retail set of 4 U-bolts. These do not seem to be commonly stocked parts at AutoZone/etc. type stores in my area. If someone knows of an exact part that is (a) the correct width for my Gen-1 Tacoma, and (b) is of the correct length for my Dakar springs, and (c) is stocked by a major chain, I'd love to hear about it. It sure would be nice to just walk in somewhere and buy a set that will work.

* Plan B: have a set made. I have not made much progress in finding a place in the Bay Area which I'd trust to make me a new set of U-bolts. Recommendations welcome, would prefer a place in the East Bay anywhere between Oakland and San Jose, but I'll go further if needed.

* Plan C: make a set myself. I have no problem getting a piece of 1/2 or 9/16 all-thread rod and heating/bending them myself, but I don't want to take chances with my safety. I'm slightly concerned about using all-thread instead of solid rod that's then threaded after bending, but the only alternative I see is getting some steel rod stock at high prices from a local metal supply house and threading it myself. This is well within my capabilities, but if 1/2-inch all-thread will get the job done...

Help, please. If YOU were in this situation, what would you do?

Oh, yeah, plan D: make an interim set of U-bolts from all-thread and then order new ones online to install next weekend. I will have enough time to do that much, and I'm not going off-roading between now and then.

-AG
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Old 06-11-2010, 04:14 PM   #2
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Plan B only.

Get your shit done son! You got time left. Call the suspension places.

Drive to the closest industrial park, and start asking.
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Old 06-11-2010, 04:23 PM   #3
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Plan A: Did you check with 4wheel parts? Several Bay Area stores

http://www.4wheelparts.com/stores/StoreLocator.aspx
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Old 06-11-2010, 04:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scocar View Post
Plan A: Did you check with 4wheel parts? Several Bay Area stores

http://www.4wheelparts.com/stores/StoreLocator.aspx
I spent some time looking through the parts they have listed online, but couldn't find a set that looked like it would definitely work. Never been in one of their stores, oddly enough.

Think it'd be worthwhile to just head over there and see if they can come up with a set that works?

-AG
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Old 06-11-2010, 04:49 PM   #5
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Old 06-11-2010, 04:50 PM   #6
You can't fight in here! This is the War Room!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaGeek View Post
I spent some time looking through the parts they have listed online, but couldn't find a set that looked like it would definitely work. Never been in one of their stores, oddly enough.

Think it'd be worthwhile to just head over there and see if they can come up with a set that works?

-AG
Hell, I'd start calling them before I went to any. They seem pretty focused on domestic makes, but you never know. It seems like the easiest thing to attempt, and those guys might even be able to refer you to another shop if they don't have what you need. The phone is your friend.

You might also want to try a reputable wheel and tire shop.

I think all-thread is unwise and unsafe.
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scocar View Post
I think all-thread is unwise and unsafe.
Glad to hear I'm not the only one who sees it that way. Looked at a couple of DIY guides to making U-bolts online, and the ones based on all-thread didn't impress me.

-AG
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:05 PM   #8
You can't fight in here! This is the War Room!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaGeek View Post
Glad to hear I'm not the only one who sees it that way. Looked at a couple of DIY guides to making U-bolts online, and the ones based on all-thread didn't impress me.

-AG
They should be grade 8. BTW, I have never bought anything from 4 wheel parts, but there is another raging thread right now about how much they suck! But if they have what you need right now, it could work. But they also might not have a clue about correct application and sell you the wrong thing. And they would suck to find out after teardown...
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Old 06-11-2010, 11:49 PM   #9
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Thanks for the suggestions, all.

Contacted a couple of places. One off-road chain gave me the clear impression that they carry and sell full kits for Toyotas because there's a market, but they mainly focus on domestic trucks. (No surprise there, I guess.) The local fix-it shops, at least the ones I talked to, tended to fall into the "for liability reasons we prefer to install parts that the book says are a fitment match" camp. I could keep trying, but I've decided to take the easy way out.

After inspecting and measuring my existing U-bolts, I've decided to temporarily reuse them with the Dakar springs. Already placed an order to Wheeler's for a new set, should be here by Thursday next week. It seems likely that the OEM bolts will be OK for 5 more days of driving after lasting 8+ years on my truck so far, but in any case, I'll be giving them a quick daily check when I measure and log the truck height to track spring break-in.

-AG
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Old 06-11-2010, 11:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scocar View Post
They should be grade 8. BTW, I have never bought anything from 4 wheel parts, but there is another raging thread right now about how much they suck! But if they have what you need right now, it could work. But they also might not have a clue about correct application and sell you the wrong thing. And they would suck to find out after teardown...
From what I've found in researching this, it's pretty hard to find U-bolts in Grade 8 for sizes under 5/8 (0.625) inch diameter. The smaller sizes generally come in Grade 5. Neither Wheeler nor ToyTec specify what grade their u-bolts are, so it's probably safe to assume that they're grade 5. Maybe I'll find out when my u-bolts from Wheeler show up next week.

-AG
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