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1st gen needs suspension upgrades ASAP

Discussion in 'Suspension' started by MTgirl, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. Mar 28, 2010 at 6:52 PM
    #1
    MTgirl

    MTgirl [OP] too many frogs, not enough princes... Moderator

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    So I've been searching around here for awhile now and am no closer to any answers about changing out the shocks and leafs on my truck. I'm pretty sure the original shocks are on there still and my leafs are almost flat so they've got to go too. Question is what will be the best setup for my driving? Most of my time is spent on dirt - nothing too crazy - but some moderate bumps, ruts, and lots of washboarded roads. Right now I hit a bump and there is no give in the suspension at all, at least it feels that way. My truck will soon be my only vehicle so I need it to still be able to handle highways too. Ultimate goal - smoother ride on dirt and able to handle curves at highway speeds.

    I was hoping to get away with just an AAL but I don't think that will be enough based on the current condition of the leafs. I'll try to get some pics tomorrow if it would help. Open to suggestions here, never had to work on leafs before. Everyone here seems to be crazy for Bilsteins but how do they feel compared to 1st gen stock shocks? And how do they handle off-road and highway?

    Starting budget is (hopefully) $1000 and labor is (almost) free.

    Any input you all have is appreciated.
     
  2. Mar 28, 2010 at 7:03 PM
    #2
    shitroc

    shitroc Master of War

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    check out http://wheelersoffroad.com for their stock replacement 4 leaf packs and they carry bilstein 5100's this would be a good start. certainly within your price range
     
  3. Mar 28, 2010 at 7:16 PM
    #3
    kroggy

    kroggy Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure you can get a full OME system, front and rear springs, shocks, and new hardware from wheelers for about $1100. That would be the best bet if you think you need new everything.

    I'm thinking I might start with the 5100's, then update and upgrade from there though.
     
  4. Mar 28, 2010 at 7:18 PM
    #4
    tacomaman06

    tacomaman06 Carolina Alliance: Enforcer

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    wheelers is definitely the place for the suspension stuff. i went with wheelers 5 pack leaves and some ome 881 coils, to go with the billy 5100's i got from dsms.

    on my new suspension, i gained 2 inches in the front and about 1.5 in the rear. worked out great for me.
     
  5. Mar 28, 2010 at 7:21 PM
    #5
    scocar

    scocar Scouting the perimeter for weakness

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    Actually, a bunch of 1st genners are agonizing over this very issue right now.

    From what I have found through numerous posts and much research on other sites, Bilstein 5100s struts (front) and shocks (rear) offer a great ride under both conditions, and furthermore, the front struts are height adjustable, should you ever want to do a little lift, or end up with a little lift because...

    Most of the solutions for the rear springs add a little height. Basic options seem to be:

    New leaf packs (replace the entire set of leaf springs on both side in the rear). Two options:

    1. Wheelers Offroad replacement leafs, they offer two options for these, which we are currently attempting a group buy on to get a discount. (I'll provide a link to the GB in a sec).
    http://www.wheelersoffroad.com/tacoleafs.htm

    2. Alcan custom built-to-order leaf packs. You sent them a bunch of info, and the build them to your needs. A lot of people like these.
    http://www.alcanspring.com/

    Add-a-Leaf (referred to as "AAL"). This in an extra leaf spring that is inserted into your existing leaf pack (one each side). It usually results in a minor lift, from what I understand.

    Here are a coupls threads where we've been discussing this and asking people for their experiences with these options:

    http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/1st-gen-tacomas/81221-my-leaf-springs-shot.html

    http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/1s...eelers-offroad-1st-gen-replacement-leafs.html

    Axle wrap is another issue associated with the weak stock leaf springs. Here is a link about that, and there are many more under the suspension discussions:

    http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/1st-gen-tacomas/83443-axle-wrap-help-me-beat-dead-horse.html

    Here is the group buy thread. Not sure that we are going to be able to pull it off, becuase we are almost at the deadline, and not many takers:

    http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/gr...heelers-offroad-1st-gen-leaf-replacement.html

    For the Bilsteins, search for Billie 5100. Wheelers Offroad and Down South Motor Sports, both TW vendors, sell them. Be aware that the two up front are the same, but the rear requires a different one on each side. Here they are at Wheeler's:
    http://www.wheelersoffroad.com/9504tacoadjbils.htm

    A lot of folks like OME (Old Man Emu) shocks and springs, too.

    Hope this gives you what you needed. Happy hunting!
     
  6. Mar 28, 2010 at 7:28 PM
    #6
    scocar

    scocar Scouting the perimeter for weakness

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    Uh, I'm a dumbass. I responded to your post before I read the last paragraph, so my response was a little off the mark. Please don't take offense; you have obviously done a lot of homework and know what you are talking about, and didn't need AAL 1A. Regardless, the links I provied to other threads have some useful discussion from others.
     
  7. Mar 28, 2010 at 7:39 PM
    #7
    MTgirl

    MTgirl [OP] too many frogs, not enough princes... Moderator

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    Sure, you just assume that I'm a girl and I know jack...kidding.
    I have done a lot of research but it's all still a gray area to me. I'm curious to hear from other 1st gen-ers that have changed out everything on their trucks. Got to know what the real world experience is before I buy. And I want to get it right the first time so I'm not rushing into anything.
     
  8. Mar 28, 2010 at 7:48 PM
    #8
    graymaurer

    graymaurer Well-Known Member

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    I just changed out my suspension in December to Bilsteins, Eibach springs, and an AAL from Toytec.com. So far, I'm pretty happy. I haven't pushed them hard off-road yet but for my daily driver its pretty nice. Very responsive. And all for way less than $1100.
     
  9. Mar 28, 2010 at 7:57 PM
    #9
    MTgirl

    MTgirl [OP] too many frogs, not enough princes... Moderator

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    Now: 12 T4R SR5 Then: 99 - 3.4L SR5 4WD
    Wheeler's/Alcan 5-pack leaf springs, Bilstein 5100's front and rear, OME 881's, de-badged, Jungle Fender Flares, Herculined bed, HomerTaco grille, Anzo headlights, clear corners, CVT Mt. Bachelor RTT, custom bed rack & CBI sliders
    You drive the same roads I do around here so do you think 5100's would get me a better ride? Have you had 5100's before?

    I'm hoping to keep lift to a minimum but am not opposed to the idea. In replacing everything I know I can expect to see a lift just because everything is so worn out and sagging right now.

    How does your truck ride with your current setup? I've only ever driven Tacomas with stock suspensions.

    Been to just about all of those threads before. I was really thinking about the group buy but the deadline is a little soon. Any chance for an extension?!?!? Had to pay Uncle Sam this month. Hoping I can shell out money on more useful ventures next month!

    I forgot to mention that I have the dreaded axle wrap too. Hoping that all of this will fix that problem for me.
     
  10. Mar 28, 2010 at 9:08 PM
    #10
    mikesdoublecab

    mikesdoublecab LT Chase Truck

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    Engage Offroad long travel front and rear with some fat tires.
    i been in the game for a while, and my vote is with king coilovers up front, deaver j59 leafs in back on 5125 rear shocks in 9" travel...

    go that route and be done with it...

    it will handle the washboards with lil worry about breaks and leaks, and improve the on road handling and stability...

    :thumbsup:
     
  11. Mar 28, 2010 at 9:12 PM
    #11
    MTgirl

    MTgirl [OP] too many frogs, not enough princes... Moderator

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    Is this a good set up for those of us who prefer to keep all 4 tires on the ground at all times?
     
  12. Mar 28, 2010 at 9:30 PM
    #12
    mikesdoublecab

    mikesdoublecab LT Chase Truck

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    Engage Offroad long travel front and rear with some fat tires.
    figure, if its solid enough to go through what i put it through, its solid enough to get you through the washboards...

    best bet if you dont want to buy brand new, is find the guys around tax time who are upgrading to long travel as they dump their old parts pretty quick to prep for their builds...

    MattNelson just went LT and he dumped his Icons for $750 obo...
     
  13. Mar 29, 2010 at 7:51 AM
    #13
    nelson18matt

    nelson18matt Well-Known Member

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    actually, even less than that :D just wanted them gone...

    mike is right, spend that little extra $$$ to get the best products and peace of mind. that way you only have to do it once
     
  14. Mar 29, 2010 at 11:42 AM
    #14
    tacomaman06

    tacomaman06 Carolina Alliance: Enforcer

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    getting there....
     
  15. Mar 29, 2010 at 6:56 PM
    #15
    MTgirl

    MTgirl [OP] too many frogs, not enough princes... Moderator

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    in the forest
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    Now: 12 T4R SR5 Then: 99 - 3.4L SR5 4WD
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    Just got done crawling around under the truck - damn! That concrete floor is cold! NOTE: I do still have my sandbags in the bed...240lbs shouldn't have this effect though, IMO.

    Drivers side looking towards the back. The angle is a little deceiving, but the forward half of the leaf does arch down...

    [​IMG]

    Drivers side from the rear, just about horizontal...

    [​IMG]

    Same on the passenger side...

    [​IMG]

    And another...

    [​IMG]

    I'm betting that's original...should I keep them for sentimental value?

    [​IMG]

    So, AAL or new leaf packs?
     
  16. Mar 29, 2010 at 7:00 PM
    #16
    scocar

    scocar Scouting the perimeter for weakness

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    Worse than mine, which has a 200-lb cap on it. I have heard that once they go negative arch, it is too late for AAL, but someone else with more authority/experience should share...
     
  17. Mar 29, 2010 at 7:06 PM
    #17
    shitroc

    shitroc Master of War

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    you definitly would benefit more from a new leaf pack with that kind of sag and some new shocks for sure. do your truck a favor. an aal is more for the lift factor with leaf packs that arent sagging to bad. an aal on your truck would just make the ride rougher
     
  18. Mar 29, 2010 at 7:11 PM
    #18
    MTgirl

    MTgirl [OP] too many frogs, not enough princes... Moderator

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    Pretty much what I have heard too.

    More of a favor to me and my passengers...I swear I'm going to have brain damage from getting shaken around so much. I've been out alot in the last few weeks and am fed up with the crappy ride.
     
  19. Mar 30, 2010 at 7:58 AM
    #19
    kingston73

    kingston73 Well-Known Member

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    I've done both the AAL and new leaf pack, but not in that order. When I first got my truck the leaves were shot, they looked like yours with no load at all, and 2 actually cracked. I bought new Alcans and a set of Billy HD's. The Alcans were custom made for me and I asked them to make an inch of lift to offset my 200lb+ cap. Just putting new shocks on the front actually gave it a bit of lift by itself, the originals had collapsed completely. It was a very nice ride, hell of an improvement.

    Last October I had the frame replacement done and got brand new OEM springs in the rear, along with replacing the rear shocks. The brand new OEM's actually sagged a little with the cap on, so I got an AAL (1.5 inch) and installed that, now it sits a little past level, aprox. the same as a factory-new truck would sit. A little bit of rake in the back means that I can put a full load in it and it won't ride the bump stop anymore. The AAL's didn't hurt the ride at all, they actually improved it.

    If I were to do it all again, I'd probably just buy the OME complete package from Wheelers for about $1000. It would have been the same price for me as buying all the components piece by piece. Trust me, even just putting new shocks on will improve your ride, but looking at your springs they are done, so whatever you do don't just add an AAL.
     
  20. Mar 30, 2010 at 8:12 AM
    #20
    MTgirl

    MTgirl [OP] too many frogs, not enough princes... Moderator

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    Thanks for the input. I'm sure I'll be going to a whole new set of springs. Only want to have to tear the truck apart once. If you had fairly new Alcans why did you get another leaf pack with the frame replacement? Just curious as I am leaning towards Alcans at the moment.
     
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