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How's a 1st gen supposed to drive

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by summerboy1958, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. Dec 29, 2010 at 2:18 PM
    #1
    summerboy1958

    summerboy1958 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Hidden Hitch Trailer Hitch, Timbren Shock Assist System, Billy 5100's all around, Deck plate mod, AFE Pro Dry air filter, Amsoil 85W-90 Severe Gear Oil in the transmission/differentials/transfer case.
    Note: I moved this here from suspensions as I got no responses to my questions there.

    I have a couple of questions about the suspension in the 1st Gen Tacoma. I have had my extended cab for about a year now. When I drive it over a twisty road with a rough surface, the ride is… well… exciting? It bounds and jumps around. I have always figured this was just the way thy ride. On straight bumpy roads, the ride feels like any other pick up truck, rougher than some, but not too bad.

    I installed Timbren suspension assists because I haul my own firewood. When I first installed them, there wasn’t the suggested 1” of clearance over the axle, but I didn’t think much of it as the ride didn’t seem to change. That is until I went over the nearby railroad crossing. The Timbrens bottomed out with no load and it felt like my spine had gotten shoved through my skull. I called Timbren and they sent a set that was shorter. That seemed to solve the issue. With the increased clearance, the ride over the rail crossing was just a bump, like before. The truck has run fine for several months, whether loaded with wood or driving to work.

    I finally got enough money to replace my tires and went with the Michelins. The ride is great, still bumpy, but muted. All was great until I went over the rail crossing. It’s back to spine crunching. I checked under the truck to see if the Timbrens had come loose, but they look fine.

    Here are my questions.


    • Is it normal for the front end of a 1st Gen to bounce around when on twisty, bumpy roads (at 45 – 65 MPH)?
    • Got any idea what might have happened to my rear suspension when they installed my tires? Is there anything I should look for? Is there a picture I could take that would help the diagnosis?

    [FONT=&quot]Any help is appreciated!![/FONT]
     
  2. Dec 29, 2010 at 2:24 PM
    #2
    JLee

    JLee The Man! Vendor

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    I lost track thousands of dollars ago.
    If your suspension is stock Id say the shocks in the front and the leafs are shot. But i can't really tell without seeing it
     
  3. Dec 29, 2010 at 2:33 PM
    #3
    scocar

    scocar Scouting the perimeter for weakness

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    Many of us have been through this. The stock suspension is...unimpressive and prone to wear. Aside from the Timbrens, you are describing what I was experiencing when I bought my 2001 w/ 101k miles.

    1. You need shocks to keep your tires on the road.

    2. You may need new front coils.

    3. You need leafsprings. Probably a new leaf pack, rather than an AAL.

    Check out these threads....

    http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/suspension/83863-1st-gen-needs-suspension-upgrades-asap.html

    http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/gr...heelers-offroad-1st-gen-leaf-replacement.html
     
  4. Dec 29, 2010 at 5:41 PM
    #4
    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Well-Known Member

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    Yup at 60,000 miles I changed out my leafs to the supposed new/improved ones (I hauled 1830lbs on them-they're tough) and changed all 4 shocks to new originals (Tokiko) and huge improvement-even handling is better. I recommend it.
     
  5. Dec 29, 2010 at 6:36 PM
    #5
    2000fun

    2000fun Well-Known Member

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    Oh my gosh...just got the truck back after installation of 5100's all the way around. It is a brand new truck...ride is tighter...cornering is solid...no more wobbling around the corners...and best of all no more skipping or jumping around whenever I ride over imperfect pavement.

    Best investment ever!

    2000 Prerunner with original shocks and 106k miles...woohoo new shocks changed the whole ride!
     
  6. Dec 29, 2010 at 8:24 PM
    #6
    Digiratus

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    I would echo everything that scocar wrote and would only add that the reason the new tires seemed to make the ride worse is their weight. Without knowing for sure, I'll guess they are heavier than what you had on before. The added, unsprung weight, compounds the issue of weak springs and worn out shocks.
     
  7. Dec 30, 2010 at 9:15 AM
    #7
    MTgirl

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

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    x2 on what they said.

    stock suspensions on these trucks isn't the greatest and they only get worse with age. your best bet would be to at least invest in new shocks and an AAL (or new leaf packs if you have the $$$). Scocar, Digi and I all have the same (I think) set up on our trucks now and I'm sure we'd all agree that the improvements are 10000% better. take the plunge, its well worth it.

    I can attest to the 'railroad track test' as well. There's a rail that crosses one of the highways here (65mph limit), its a little bit unlevel and the last time that I remember crossing it before I put on the new suspension I thought I was going to die. My truck bottomed out, went airborne and the back end swung out and tried to take the lead as it slammed back onto the road. Not a fun experience! Now when I hit that crossing, its still rough but the truck stays planted and in control and I don't see my life flash before my eyes.
     
  8. Dec 30, 2010 at 9:23 AM
    #8
    scocar

    scocar Scouting the perimeter for weakness

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    ^^^MTgirl, she :crazy:
     
  9. Dec 30, 2010 at 9:26 AM
    #9
    MTgirl

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

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    :(
     
  10. Dec 30, 2010 at 10:25 AM
    #10
    Southern01Taco

    Southern01Taco Well-Known Member

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    Also check your tire pressure. I'm running around 25 psi in mine to make it ride better. I also have a little more in the front than I do in the back.
     
  11. Jan 1, 2011 at 2:07 PM
    #11
    summerboy1958

    summerboy1958 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the great input.

    I'm going to take some pictures of the suspension to let you take a look. When there is no load, the leafs don't look anything like the ones in the links you attached, scocar. But I haven't really looked with a small load or when the bed bounces around. I'll get my kids to jump around in the bed to see what happens. If they look OK, then I guess I may still need shocks?

    How can you tell if you need front shocks, other than the ride? Ditto for the coils?
     
  12. Jan 1, 2011 at 9:22 PM
    #12
    drifter

    drifter moderately modded

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    I noticed one of my front shocks going out because it was leaking. *still haven't replaced them :(*
     
  13. Jan 1, 2011 at 11:17 PM
    #13
    TacoBlitz

    TacoBlitz Well-Known Member

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    If you are bouncing around a lot over bumps and having bad handling around turns and on uneven roads than I would say that you for sure need new shocks.

    I would start with buying new quality shocks and seeing what that does first and then if that doesn't solve all of your problems than look into replacing the actual springs. But I am guessing that replacing the shocks will do a lot.

    The stock leafs are known for being very weak though, I had the same problem with having the rear end bottom out a lot especially when towing. thats why I decided to replace the leafs too, better for the long run.
     
  14. Jan 2, 2011 at 1:27 PM
    #14
    scocar

    scocar Scouting the perimeter for weakness

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    front shocks: go around a freeway curve with potholes and aim for the potholes. If the front end keeps getting pushed to the outside and changing your track each time you hit one, you need shocks. The ride is pretty much the only way to tell, unless you see oil leaking down from the top or cut the plastic sleeve off the top to look. You can't really do the traditional bounce test for shocks like you can for cars.

    coils: general squishy bounciness with excessive nose dive when you go down over a steep driveway into a gutter or similar (while rolling with no brakes so brake dive does not contribute to the effect). Also, look at the top of the coils. The stock ones are progressive, to the top 3 coils are narrow gauge and compress more easily that the lower coils, but if they are really close together, they are collapsing. Sorry I dont' have any pix, but go take a lok and measure the distance between the coils.
     
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