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I'm probably gonna get flamed for not looking more thoroughly as to whether or not this post has been made in the past, but here goes nothing. So I have some questions about Long and Mid travel suspensions. I know that when it comes to high speed off roading a long travel is the king of suspensions, but what about a mid travel? From what I understand, they are basically like https://snaptube.cam/ a middle tier suspension when it comes to travel. My biggest question is this: are long/mid travel suspension good for crawling? Not necessarily extreme rock crawling, but just slower paced articulation and clearance based trailing. And with that being said, what would be the best type of suspension for the described off roading?
 

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I’m sure you will get other opinions on this, but here is my take: long travel suspension is for a dedicated high speed off road toy and doesn’t play well with all the other attributes that make a truck a utility vehicle. In order to take full advantage of a long travel suspension, the rig is setup for a narrow range of weights, limiting it’s versatility. Too much weight in the vehicle and you bottom out; too little and you aren’t cycling the suspension well enough to properly absorb obstacles. This also makes towing a chore since your softer suspension isn’t setup to handle the now imbalanced weight distribution presented by a trailer hanging off the back of the truck. An LT kit also adds track width to the front of the vehicle (3-5”) making permanent modifications necessary (fiberglass fenders, longer tie rods and CV’s, etc); as well, the rear usually requires bed mods such as punching shock towers through the bed floor and a bed cage to shore up the chassis. This further limits the utility function of the vehicle. And the added track width can be a detriment trying to squeeze the wider truck down tighter trails. Sure, guys will chime in and say “I haul stuff in the bed and tow stuff all the time with my LT suspension; I even daily the thing!” but they are usually taking about groceries and mulch from the box store. And daily driving a vehicle doesn’t mean it’s comfortable, practical, or suited to the task. In reality, most LT setups become mostly dedicated toys for high speed blasting in wide open spaces like the desert or dunes. Not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing or that the LT crowd is a bunch of dingo dobbers. I wouldn’t mind owning an LT setup myself. But it makes very little sense for me and most pickup owners. And LT setups get quite expensive…

Thus, IMO, a mid travel or lightly modified stock suspension is best for general trail use and slow speed maneuvering. You retain the factory track width which not only helps you squeeze down a narrower trail, but maintains most stock components and close to stock geometries and handling characteristics. You maintain a wider range of towing and hauling characteristics. And all of the utility of a pickup remains intact. This also helps increase/maintain a more factory level of QDR compared to a crazy modded suspension (this is kind of a catch 22 because guys with crazy long travel kits are more apt to do crazy off-roady stuff; I suppose it might even encourage “hold my beeractivities more than a mid travel setup).

Most mid travel kits contain new UCA’s, extended travel coil overs, a few miscellaneous brackets, and maybe a few brake lines and extended sensor pig tails. There is also the possibility of adding sway bar disconnects or deleting them entirely. This can help with low speed off road articulation but sometimes can cause other issues, especially with an IFS rig. The rear live axle doesn’t generally need a sway bar. That said, I added the trd sway bar to my rig as I’m very rarely with an empty bed. For the level of trailing I do, I haven’t felt it or the factory front sway bar to be a hinderance even though I can lift a rear tire slightly sooner with it on the truck. For me, the onroad benefits outweigh the small off road advantages of deleting them.

For serious low speed trail riding, I would invest in traction devices and good tires long before looking at long travel suspension. Lockers and tires will get you further on a trail than open diffs and more suspension travel. The ATRAC system on the tundra is pretty good if you learn how to use it properly, but in doing so you will also learn it’s limitations. Sometimes, a locker is just the best tool for the job. I debated long hard between a locker and limited slip and ended up with an auburn in the rear as I wanted better traction performance in ALL conditions but especially on crummy, snowy, slushy, icy winter roads. The auburn does that better than a full locker, with the trade off being the ultimate off road traction afforded by an ARB. When I retire this truck and get a new one, I’m leaning towards 35’s, 4:88’s, and ARB’s. But we’ll see…
 
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