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1st Gen Suspension Install

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas' started by JDMcQ, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. JDMcQ

    JDMcQ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I finally got around to doing a little write up on installing my new OME / Total Chaos suspension. It is no way a complete set of instructions, but I will at least outline the highlights.

    This is what I started out with. Stock springs and 2" spacers from Fat Bobs Garage:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I also got a pile of parts from Wheelers:

    [​IMG]

    Here's how she measured out front and rear:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. JDMcQ

    JDMcQ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I decided to start on the front of the truck. I figured it would be more difficult and wanted to get it out of the way. The first step would of course be to jack it up and support it on jack stands. Then remove both front wheels. I strongly recommend that you spray down all of the faasteners which you intend to remove a few days in advance and several times.

    [​IMG]

    Next, I removed the front strut assembly. This is pretty easy, just 3 nuts on top and one bolt on the bottom of the shock. Ratcheting box wrenches are a huge help for the top nuts. Of course, I didn't buy a set until after the install was complete. You will also find it helpful to remove the anti-swaybar end links from the lower control arm. It will help the suspension droop to remove and install the strut assembly.

    [​IMG]

    Next, remove the pin and castle nut holding the upper ball joint to the upper control arm. While you are at it, remove the brackets holding the brake lines to the spindle. Next you will need to break apart the upper ball joint from the upper control arm. There are ball joint tools to do this, get one. I used a pickle fork on one side and on the other, I had to cut the top of the ball joint off and use a pittman arm puller to get it done. 6 years and 75,000 miles of corrosion makes things stick together.

    After much swearing, your spindle will be free. Tie it off to something to keep it from stretching your brake lines or pulling your axles out of the differential.

    The bolt which holds on the upper control arm comes out through the front of the control arm. You may find that the airbag sensors are in the way on the inner fender. Disconnect your battery and remove them and move the wiring out of the way. Worst case, you may have to loosen the cab mounts and jack it up a bit for clearance. Get it apart and you have this:

    [​IMG]

    Time to put it back together
     
  3. JDMcQ

    JDMcQ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Chad, I'm trying to write it from memory.
     
  4. Colton

    Colton Reagan/Bush '84

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    Good job John! :woot: :)
     
  5. ETaco23

    ETaco23 Marshall offroad Fabrication

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    Nice Job so far man!
    Its ganna look awsome when done!
     
  6. Colton

    Colton Reagan/Bush '84

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    John, how much did the OME leaf pack run?
     
  7. JDMcQ

    JDMcQ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    The total Chaos upper control arms are really nicely made. The old vs new:

    [​IMG]

    They require a slug adapter for the uniball, it presses into the spindle in place of the upper ball joint. To make things easier, put your slug adapters in the freezer overnight. They will shrink just a little, which may help during the install. Make sure that you clean the area of the spindle where they press in. Mine had a bit of corrosion. I used some 320 grit, followed by a red scotchbrite pad to clean it up. Make sure that you spray it out after with some brake cleaner.

    Now for the fun part. I don't know how others have done it, but My experiences with the slug adapters are as follows. TC sells a press tool to help press the adapters in place. It is basically 2 pieces of pipe welded to some flat stock. The theory is that you use this tool in a C-Clamp to press in the adapter. I bent 3, 8" C-Clamps attempting this and still didn't get the damn things installed. Take TC's tool, drill a 1/2" hole though it, get yourself a grade 8 bolt long enough to run though, an appropriate nut and some washers. Lube up the adapter and spindle hole with plenty of anti-seize. Run the bolt through the tool, and through the spindle and adapter, tighten down the bolt and it goes right in, the freezing of the adapters help too. Don't forget the snap ring on top of the adapter.

    [​IMG]

    That was the hardest part of the whole install. Chris4x4 had to talk me down out of the bell tower before I figured it out.

    [​IMG]

    Your next step is pretty easy, per the instructions, lube the heck out of the UCA bushings and press them into the UCA. I recommend Mobil 1 grease (Actually Chris4x4 recommended it, I am just taking his advice). Then following the drawing included with the UCA's install them on the truck, just like how you took the old ones off, except this time the bolt slides in from the back of the truck. The large washers go up against each side of the bushing. Clean off the threads and put some Loctite on them, then tighten the nut to whatever the torque spec is (I have since forgotten). Cycle the UCA's a few times to make sure that they do not bind. You may need to do some trimming of the splash guard around the UCA's

    Next, Take the large bolt that came with the UCA's it runs down from the top, through the UCA, then the slug adapter on the spindle. Add some Loctite and tighten down the supplied nut. FYI, it is a 1 1/8" nut top and bottom. Go buy the correct wrench.

    [​IMG]

    You can now go back and reinstall your airbag sensors and hook the battery back up.
     
  8. JDMcQ

    JDMcQ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I do not recall. Check out Wheelers, that's where they came from. Those guys are awesome!
     
  9. JDMcQ

    JDMcQ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks bro, it's actually been done for a few months, just getting around to the write up.
     
  10. JDMcQ

    JDMcQ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    OK, now the easy part. Install your new strut / spring assembly. They go in the same way that the old ones came out. This is where you will really appreciate disconnecting the Anti-sway bar link. Slide the strut into the top mount and thread a couple of nuts on to it loosely. You will have to pry a bit to get the lower bolt in place, but it will go. tighten the top nuts (using the ratcheting box wrenches I hope that you bought) followed by the lower bolt.


    Old shock / spring vs new:

    [​IMG]

    All done:
    [​IMG]

    Tie up, or reattach your brake lines. I replaced mine with braided lines from Goodrich at the same time as the install. You want to keep them away from any pinch points and any chafing. Make sure that you spray off your brake rotors with brake cleaner to get rid of any penetrating lube which got on them.

    Reconnect your anti-swaybar links (I forgot mine and drove it for a week, including a trail ride without them). Give the grease fitting a shot or two of grease, not too much or you will blow the bushings out. The front is now done. You can put the front wheels back on and take it off the stands. The rear comes next.

    Front Before:
    [​IMG]
    Front after:
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Colton

    Colton Reagan/Bush '84

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    Thanks! Wheelers' run about $50 less than Toytec... Wheelers it is!
     
  12. JDMcQ

    JDMcQ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    BTW, If I forgot anything, please let me know. I did this install a while ago and am going from memory. I will edit this for accuracy
     
  13. PrezidentRedz

    PrezidentRedz Uncivilized Creations Prez

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    Looks good John, I need some damm UCA's maybe my next check. Do you like the TC ones over the Camburg ones?
     
  14. JDMcQ

    JDMcQ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    As they are the only ones I have ever owned, yes. I figured if I was spending the money I might as well spend a bit extra for TC. I had heard that they were less prone to squeeking and the uniball was bit higher quality. They sure seem to be made well.
     
  15. ETaco23

    ETaco23 Marshall offroad Fabrication

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    Oh, cool, I love the TC UCA's.. Best thing Ive baught, plus the coilovers.:)
     
  16. JDMcQ

    JDMcQ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    For the rear, as you might imagine, you will begin by jacking up the rear of the truck and supporting the frame on jackstands. Do not forget to block the front wheels, front and rear to keep the thing from rolling around on you. You should also remove the rear tires, they are in the way. Dig out the tool kit that came with your truck and drop the spare tire from underneath. I recognized it from the giant sticker on it that said "SPARE" This is what you have before you:

    [​IMG]

    My spare is still in there, but I wanted you to see the sticker so that you could recognize it too.

    Now that you have some stuff out of the way, grab a 3/4 inch wrench and socket and crawl underneath. Remove both the shocks from the axle and frame. I think it is a bit easier to remove the bottom mount first, then the top.

    Support the axle with a jack or twoand you are going to remove the 4 nuts on each side which hold the U-bolts to the axle. The ubolts them come off the top of the spring, you may have to give them a sot with a hammer to pop them off. Also remove the bump stop, it is held down by the U-bolts.
    [​IMG]
    Carefully lower the axle out of the way, but watch your brake lines, you may want to disconnect them to keep them from stretching. If you are replacing them, like I did, remove them first before unbolting the axle.
     
  17. JDMcQ

    JDMcQ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    What you have left is a loos axle, and two leaf springs which are still hanging from the truck. The leafs are pretty simple, 3 bolts hold them on. I would recommend starting with the front bolts. You will likely find that once you remove the nut on the inside of the bolt attaching the front of the spring, that the bolt will not come out. It is very likely that the bolt is rusted in place and you are welcome to try pounding on it, but might not get it to budge. I went the more direct route and chose to cut the bolts out. Get yourself a grinder and a thin metal cutting wheel. All you have to do is slide the cutting wheel between the spring and the mount and cut the bolt. Pay attention to where your blade is, try not to cut into the mount too much. The springs can get beat up, but try to save the mount.

    Wear your safety glasses and some long gloves or sleeves, the sparks are pretty, but hurt like hell.
    [​IMG]

    Bolt head gone:

    [​IMG]

    After that bit of fun, go to the back of the truck and unbolt the shacles from the frame. Give the bolts a good shot with a deadblow hammer and the spring will come right out.

    [​IMG]
    Now is a great time to paint some things that have gotten nasty over the years. I Painted the axle tubes at the spring mount, the U-Bolt plates and the bump stop brackets while they were out of the truck. You could also paint the frame, nothing is in the way now.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Once you have it all cleaned up, it is time to put it back together.
     
  18. JDMcQ

    JDMcQ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Old springs vs new OME Dakar pack:

    [​IMG]

    You can see the marks from the cutting wheel on the old spring, bottom right.

    For those of you paying attention, yes the driveway is wet, it rained the night before and at times during the final day, so I got to finish the install on wet asphalt.
     
  19. JDMcQ

    JDMcQ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Reassembly is easier than the tear-down. You will not need the grinder.

    Before you get them under the truck, grease up the new bushings and press them in to the spring eyes on the rear of the spring. Then you can position the springs under the truck. i found it easier to start with the rear shackles and work to the front. I recommend that you grease the shackle bolts with grease or anti-seize to help if you ever have to take this apart again. The shackles are in pieces, so, assemble them on to the frame, wide end up, there is a hollow bolt with the shackles, orient the bolt so the the nut will be on the outside, clean your threads and Loctite them before threading on the nut. Now, just raise the rear of the spring in to the lower end of the shackles and insert the bolt, again, the nuts to the outside, don't forget the Loctite. Now is a good time to install the grease fittings in the ends of the shackle bolts.

    [​IMG]

    Moving to the front of the spring. You will have to replace the bolts that you cut out of the old spring. Even if you got the old bolts out in one piece, buy new ones, they do not cost much and they will be shiny and clean just like the rest of the parts. Make sure that you get Grade 8 bolts, nuts and washers.

    Once again, I recommend a generous serving of anti-seize on this bolt. Remember having to cut the old one out? You do not want to have to do that again.

    [​IMG]

    Once you get the spring eye lined up with the mount hole, insert the new bolt and washer from the outside of the frame. There is no room on the inside to fish the bolt in. Clean off the threads, add some Loctite and thread on the nut.

    [​IMG]

    You can now go back and tighten all 3 of the spring bolts.
     
  20. JDMcQ

    JDMcQ [OP] Well-Known Member

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    This what we have so far. The spring is hung from the frame. The yellow strap is to help pull the axle forward in to position. I did one side at a time, so there was still some tension from the old spring on the other side. There is a hole in the spring pad on the axle that matches a stud on the bottom of the spring. Make sure that these line up.

    [​IMG]

    Next you are going to attach the axle to the springs. The bumpstop has to go on top of the axle first, it sits on the bolt sticking throught the spring pack in the picture above. The bolt is longer than the hole in the bumpstop is deep, so you will have to drill out the bumpstop a bit to get it to fit. You will be drilling into rubber, so it is not too tough. Place the modified bumpstop onto the spring and the new u-bolts over top of it.

    [​IMG]

    Underneath the axle and spring, put some Loctite on the U-bolt threads and install the plate and four nuts. The stud on the plate faces inward, this is where the shock absorber mounts.

    [​IMG]

    leave the u-bolts a bit loose. Once you get both sides installed, make sure that the axle is square to the frame of the truck. Take measurements from each side to a crossmember on the frame to ensure this. Once everything is OK, go ahead and tighten down the u-bolts.

    The last parts to go on are the shock absorbers. You will have to greas and install the bushings on the shock eyes. They go on just like the old ones came off. The writing on the shock should be right side up, at least with the OME's that I have.

    Do not forget to install your brake line.

    You now have this:

    [​IMG]

    You can go ahead and put the wheels back on it and take it off the stands.

    Before you do anything else, go back through the entire truck and recheck every bolt that you touched to make sure that they are properly tightened. Then you can go and return the spare it it's perch under the bed. Don't forget to get the front end aligned, you will need it.

    After you drive the truck for about a week, you will need to go back and hit the grease fittings on the rear shackles and UCA's. Give them each a shot or two of grease, but be careful not to blow out the bushings. You should also re-check all of the fasteners at this time to make sure that nothing came loose.

    Here is the old junk that came off of my truck:

    [​IMG]
     
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