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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted a build thread on TS, but I think I have exhausted the knowledge base over there. So I figured I would hit you guys up for a little brainstorming session. I would love to hear from the experts out there as I believe I am crossing into uncharted tundra territory here.

My rig is first and foremost a trail truck. It is a tool that I use to get to remote areas for camping/hiking/biking etc. And I do mean remote. So far the farthest I have been is two hours into the fish creek washes in anza, but I plan to study and practice and by next year I would like to do stuff like White Rim, Moab, Mojave, Sedona etc. I also have on my bucket list Alaska and Baja, but those will probably have to wait until I get a camper.

So I have a trail truck. This means that I must maintain ultimate reliability. I do not want to add complexity to my truck or fancy parts that favor performance over reliability. I also will be carrying appropriate spare parts and tools for common trail side repairs (this will eventually be another thread).

Another quality I must consider is load handling. I have already piece weighed all of our glamping gear. If we are fully packed for a week living out of the truck in the desert (desert gear weighs the most due to water), then I will be hauling about 1100lbs. Most weekend adventures will be in the 800lbs range. The four wheel camper that I plan on getting in a year or two will weigh about 800lbs dry.

Third on the list of importance is speed. Overlanding is no fun if it takes you an hour to travel 5 miles. So maximizing suspension travel and using quality shocks and wheels/tires is important. I will not run heavy bumpers and rock sliders. If I do any armor, it will be aluminum.

Other factors to consider:
I also want to be able to negotiate any trail obstacle I come across within reason. I know I have a full size truck, but I believe that I can negotiate 90% of what a Tacoma can if I am careful. But I must remember to keep my track narrow (which is why I decided against LT, glass fenders, wheel spacers etc) and lift as much as possible while considering the factors I listed above. I can see front/rear lockers in my crystal ball; as well as a high clearance aluminum rear bumper (yet another thread).

Here is my main issue and reason for this post:
I believe my rear shocks might not be adequate for my goals. I recently installed a new leaf pack from Alcan. It was built with +800lbs preload and is an 8 leaf progressive pack. I am still breaking it in so I don’t have any comments on load hauling or off road performance. However, today I drove over some rough road and several substantial speed bumps. The rear is silky smooth. In fact, it is now softer than the front over the bigger bumps. If it is this soft unloaded, it should be even softer when loaded. But do you guys think I am now under-shocked??? Assuming 1000lbs in the bed, it would seem like the weight on the rear would be similar if not more than the weight on the front. Do you think I should upgrade to 2.5 piggybacks??? I also think that the current 2.0s I have are limiting articulation. If I disconnect them at the top and fully droop the axle, they will drop down from the upper shock mount 2”-3”. Plus they have a 2” spacer on them as well at the upper mount. I wonder if this spacer limits up-travel or if the leafs hit the rubber bump stop first? I have no idea why fox would use this, but it must have something to do with geometry or maybe the shock body will contact the upper mount in some fashion.

So do you guys think I should go with a 2.5 or maybe get the adjuster for the 2.0s?

What about a hydraulic bump stop?

And my biggest question, can I fit a longer shock with my current setup? :confused: I am ok with relocating/redesigning the upper shock mounts, but would this even help? I really want to get more articulation and travel out of the rear, but I have no idea where to start. Should I ask a shop to take some measurements for me? Will they charge and how much is reasonable? How do I know if the shop is capable of accomplishing what I am going after? Is there any R&D I can do on my own? I am completely new to this kind of stuff so any insight you guys can provide will be most welcome! I have a couple grand I can throw at this problem, but money doesn’t help when you don’t know how to spend it lol
 

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bump for interesting question.

I don't have any experience to contribute on this, but I've been considering similar issues. I'm wondering with your Alcans w/#800+ preload your rear will be too stiff with 2.5 piggies. Are you planning on getting them custom valved for you application? From limited discussions with a few others, one with considerable knowledge, the leafs and a large shock might be pretty stiff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well I am assuming it will get a little stiffer, but I hope not too much. I actually really like how it's riding right now unloaded. I can tell that rear compression is not as stiff as the front tho. So getting a little stiffer is no biggie. Besides, I can't really expect it to ride like a lexus whether loaded or not unless I do bags (which I won't do). I am willing to consider custom valving and/or adjustable shocks if they would help in my particular situation. I know that king and fox both have adjustable solutions, but before I can decide on damping I have to figure out length and geometry. That is my biggest hold up at the moment. When I look at custom shocks there are so many types/sizes that I get lost. I could go all out with triple bypass etc, but I need to keep my goals in mind and make sure that I match the front without going over board.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Talked to a local fab shop yesterday. They said they could relocate the upper shock mounts no problem. Altho I might have to re-angle them. Does anybody know what I can expect if I change the angle??? I've never done this kind of thing before. They were also trying to talk me into some kings but idk

I still have no idea if the benefit is going to be worth the expense. The shop couldnt really tell me how much travel I might gain. They just eyeballed it. Maybe I need to try to flex the suspension myself. If I could assure myself that I would gain a couple inches of articulation then that would be enough for me to pursue this

I suppose I need to talk to other shops as well. These guys seemed pretty cool and my neighbor had some work done with them, but they were short on details. I just dont enjoy interviewing shops ya know?
 

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You'll need to take measurements between the upper and lower shock mounts when your rear suspension is completely collapsed at the bump stops, and completely extended. Take that info and look for the collapsed and extended lengths of shocks you're looking for. When you find something really close, write those figures down. Now go back to the rear and look for a spot to mount the new upper shock mount making sure that shock will work fully extended and fully collapsed. When a shocks mounting angle is changed, the speed of the stroke does change so you'll probably need to re-valve, or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah I guess I need to flex it, just not sure about the best way to go about it for accurate measurements. I am also looking into extending the lines. Figured I would get the lines extended first, then start flexing it somehow.

Im also procrastinating on the measuring because I am thinking about going with the +3 shackles.
 
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