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Another shocks and struts newbie question...

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by Reverend, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. Mar 15, 2011 at 11:41 PM
    #1
    Reverend

    Reverend [OP] Active Member

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    David
    Baltimore
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    2004 4-Cylinder Extra Cab
    Hi All,

    Thanks in advance for your help with this... I have enough experience and smarts to handle this job, but I could use some help with basic terminology...

    My mechanic has given me a laundry list of stuff that needs doing on my 2004 Tacoma SR5 (4 cyl.) and it's a pretty expensive list, so to try and keep it down, I'm going to do some of it myself and let him do the stuff I'm not equipped to do.

    Him; brake rotors turned, oil change (I have a free oil change coming or I'd do this myself) and alignment.
    Me; 02 Sensor replacement, replace shocks and struts.

    My questions are about the shocks and struts...

    1. Can someone do a run down for me as to just what a shock and strut consist of?
    2. Are they the same thing?
    3. If not, is it a good idea to go ahead and replace everything while I'm in there?

    and furthermore...

    4. Do I need a shock and a strut on each corner of the vehicle, and can I re-use the original springs?

    5. I've found a bunch of guys on here selling their original shocks after lifting their own Tacoma's and since I don't want to lift my truck, I am totally willing to buy a set... Is this a good idea?

    OK... Thanks again. I really enjoy reading the forums on here. Thanks.
    David
     
  2. Mar 16, 2011 at 7:36 AM
    #2
    MTgirl

    MTgirl too many frogs, not enough princes... Moderator

    Joined:
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    in the forest
    Vehicle:
    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
    1 front shock (silver) and strut (black coil) assembly. most people around here refer to the struts as 'coils' or 'springs'

    [​IMG]

    the springs hold up the weight of the vehicle and the shocks allow for down travel to adjust to changing road surfaces

    The rear of our trucks have just a shock, leaf springs hold up the weight there.

    [​IMG]

    2 not the same thing. many manufacturers offer matched sets of shocks and springs or you can mix and match - as I have done with Bilstein 5100 shocks and OME 881 springs. Mixing up the combo allows for different amounts of lift, smooth/harsh ride, etc

    3 depending on the condition of your truck you can reuse the springs and just replace the shocks. if your truck has a lot of miles on it or has been driven hard you would be better off to replace everything.

    4 see above

    5 before buying used equipment be sure to find out how many miles are on the items. what were the driving habits of the seller. why are they getting rid of the items.

    If you're doing the install your self, the rears are easy enough to do and don't require any special tools. The fronts can be a little tricky. The springs have to be compressed, placed on the shock, and then installed on the truck, and release the springs. You can typically rent a spring compressor at most auto parts stores and some dealers will ship the springs and shocks to you pre-assembled (for an additional fee). There is a lot of power built up in the springs once they are compressed so if you don't know what you are doing you can really hurt yourself...somethings are better left to the professionals! Do your research and know what you are getting into. There area lot of how-to write ups here, study those and ask lots of questions.
     
  3. Mar 16, 2011 at 7:39 AM
    #3
    CrazyCooter

    CrazyCooter Hold My Beer!

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    very well said and good job on the pics
     
  4. Mar 16, 2011 at 7:46 AM
    #4
    MTgirl

    MTgirl too many frogs, not enough princes... Moderator

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    58,339
    Gender:
    Female
    First Name:
    Weesa
    in the forest
    Vehicle:
    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
    Thanks :cool: I think I have carpal tunnel after typing all of that out!
     
  5. Mar 16, 2011 at 9:06 AM
    #5
    Reverend

    Reverend [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
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    David
    Baltimore
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    2004 4-Cylinder Extra Cab
    Wow, That explanation is perfect. Many many thanks.

    Just another few questions and I'm done...

    What counts as a lot of miles? I have 130,000 on mine... I feel confident I can handle the spring issue so I'm not too worried. I'm ULTRA careful, so...

    Also, are there any threads on the best budget springs/shocks to go with?

    ALSO, are there any boots or seals or other parts that I should replace with this job, or is it really just a matter of replacing only the shocks and spring/struts?

    Weather's getting warmer so I'm looking forward to digging into this!

    Thanks again.
     
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