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shocks for towing

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by landandsea, May 31, 2003.

  1. landandsea

    landandsea

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    Starting to prepare for the first long distance (1600 miles) trip towing a boat with the 96 LC I bought last October. The boat, trailer, load, will be about 5000 lbs. The LC appears to have original shocks and springs. 120,000 miles. I've been reading this forum since October so have read the OME posts and recently the Edelbrock shock info. My thought is to at least replace the shocks and am interested in advice/experiences/thoughts with towing in mind. I'm wondering if the Edelbrocks will adjust for weight. Their website doesn't specifically mention towing advantages.
    More info:
    -I've been enjoying the LC so much I'm using it as my DD (even though I bought it more for adventure) so I don't want to set it up strictly for towing
    -Most offroading will be in Baja - I'll appreciate the lockers -got the old FJ55 stuck in soft sand on beaches too many times
    -I'm leaning towards BFG AT KO's in a size close to original Michelin specs. Don't want to go much bigger and lose towing power. So I don't need lift.
    -Found a receipt in the glove box for a PHH replacement at 112,000 so that's taken care of.

    Any advice/experiences/suggestions concerning towing setup greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    Ed
     
  2. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    :beer:Re: shocks for towing

    Ed,

      Since you are sporting stock suspension and do not plan to lift you would probably be well served by replacement OEM shocks. After all there's 120k on the first set.

    Front 48511-69435 x 2 $22.37 each
    Rear 48531-69486 x 2 $21.93 each

    They are gas-charged shocks. You would be hard pressed to beat that price with any decent aftermarket shock.

     Dan :beer:

    Been around since October and had nuthin' to say? ::)

    Oh, welcome......... :G
     
  3. Brentbba

    Brentbba Former Golfer SILVER Star

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    Dan,

    He's afraid of Junk! :ugh:
     
  4. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    Oh,.....that would explain it.

    You know, Junk is quite easy to control. You just boot him in the private bits and buy one of his fashionable t-shirts. :G

    Piece of cake ::)
     
  5. landandsea

    landandsea

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    CDan,
    thanks for the OEM part #'s but get ready for some blasphemy (remember I'm only the messenger). A friend towed a similar weight with his 95 LC and he said the stock suspension allowed the truck to drop enough in the back that oncoming traffic flashed their lights at him thinking he had his high beams on. He doesn't use the LC for towing anymore, just mall runs by his wife. But I think you guys are smarter than him and can come up with a better solution than his - he bought a Suburban with an 8.1L and something like 12,000# towing capacity. I think I can solve the problem for more like 1/60th the cost of his solution.

    As far as nothing to say for 6 months - I'll make up for it. But instead of being out changing the wheel bearings on the trailer, here I am having fun instead.

    BBA, six months ago I would have been afraid of Junk but either I've gotten used to him or he's mellowed (is that more blasphemy?).

    Ed
     
  6. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    Ed,

    True, the old butt will be a dragging. Shocks, unless they are coil-over or air, do not support more weight. If memory serves, OME has some low height heavy springs for people who pack additional weight but do not want a lift. Something like that would do the trick for you. They would be easy to install and probably not too too expensive. Look on Christo's site, he may list them there. www.sleeoffroad.com

    cheers, Dan :beer:
     
  7. firetruck41

    firetruck41

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    I would venture to say your friends problems had almost nothing to do with shocks, and almost everything to do with the springs. The shocks do not keep the rear from sagging, the shock's job is to "dampen" the ride, so that when you hit a bump it doesn't keep bouncing forever. Putting a heavy load in/on the back of the truck will make the rear drop, no matter what kind of shocks you have. If I was towing that much I would consider OME springs, which, while slightly taller, have a higher spring rate, or consider an "air" helper "spring"/load leveler setup.
     
  8. Photoman

    Photoman SILVER Star

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    Ed,
    I bought some airlift kind of things once for my cruiser but they wouldn't work since I had a lift. I got them from http://www.performanceproducts.com/ and they are part #120004 $83.95 US for the kit for 1991-2002 cruisers. They are supposed to lift 1000 lbs. They go inside the coil springs to give you some extra lift when inflated. They also make a self controlled leveling system if you check the site. Might be a thought for you.
    I ran two sets of the BFG AT's and they are a good tire. I liked the width of them as compared to the muds. I'm sure you know the cons but that should not affect you other than they are wicked in slush.
    Bill
     
  9. landandsea

    landandsea

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    Hey Dan and Ben,

    I had just about decided to go with the OME no-lift set-up until the forum started talking about the Edelbrocks. That valve that stops body lean by sensing the weight, I started to think might sense the load and firm up. But I don't know if that assumption is accurate or just wishful thinking. Thus the call for help from you guys.

    Back in 1989 when I got the FJ55 and loaded it for Baja camping, it sagged and leaned. I didn't tow anything back then. I put air pump- up type shocks in the back to level it out, even though the shop that sold them to me advised against air shocks for 4 wheel drive. I didn't mind doing that to a very low tech vehicle but putting MonroeMatic type stuff on a high tech piece of equipment like an 80 just doesn't seem right.

    While I'm in Mexico on this trip, I'm sure I'll leave the boat and trailer and do some exploring in the LC. The dirt roads that lead to dry riverbeds to follow are usually bone-jarring wash board -sometimes 30-60 miles of it. So I have to take that into consideration in the setup. Of course it probably won't be as bone jarring as it was in a pumped up FJ55.

    Ed
     
  10. landandsea

    landandsea

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    Bill,

    Thanks for the info. I just ran out to see if I remembered right and yes there is something that is in the springs that attaches at the top and runs inside the coil and not attached at the bottom. Did you remove that to put in the air bags? Air bags would be cool because when not towing just take them out.
    BTW, what is that thing in the middle of the coil spring?

    Ed
     
  11. CruisinGA

    CruisinGA

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    I think its for safety, in case you get some air or something and a wheel fully extends under force to keep the spring in. Either that or a bumpstop. :dunno:
     
  12. Photoman

    Photoman SILVER Star

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    Ed,
    As CruisinGa said that is the bumpstop. You do not remove that to install the airlift as I recall. I can't remember how the bags were installed. I don't think I took the springs out; just stuffed them in. Sorry, it would be better to call and ask them about the installation. It was a long time ago and since they would not work for me I just sent them back. They were a neat idea for some applications as, like you said, they can be inflated, deflated, installed, and removed as required. Since the back of your cruiser will be seeing only extra gear and tongue weight the extra 1000 lbs. of lift may work well for you.
    Bill
     
  13. CruisinGA

    CruisinGA

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    Yep, almost all consumer airbags just get stuffed inside the coils, they act as an add-a-leaf, not standalone suspension. You would most likely just deflate them, not uninstall and reinstall....
     
  14. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    Ed,
    You're getting good advice from everyone.My recommendation follows their advice; get the OME no-lift springs, new Toyota shocks, the air bags in the rear springs, and a good 12v air compressor.

    When you are towing the boat, pump up the bags to firm the springs and level the load. When you drop the boat, deflate the bags. When you hit the washboard roads without the boat, drop your tyre pressure down to <20psi. With new shocks and low tyre pressure the misery you had in the FJ55 will be a distant memory. When you're ready to load up, inflate the tyres and the air bags, load the boat and hit the pavement.

    -B-
     
  15. landandsea

    landandsea

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    Photoman,

    I went to the web site you recommended and the air products look good. I'm going to call them tomorrow for more info.

    You mentioned that the BFG AT's are wicked in slush. Is that good wicked or bad wicked? I'll be driving the LC on ski trips in the winter, so I'm interested in what you meant.

    Thanks
    Ed
     
  16. scottm

    scottm

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    My brother and I have Air Lift air bags inside the rear springs of our cruisers, we've also used them on other vehicles, we're very pleased with them. I tow a construction trailer several days a week, he tows a 6000# trailer occasionally on long runs through mountains. At max (35psi) pressure I calculate about 1000# of extra lift at the axle, more than enough. My cruiser is much more stable when towing now, though it wasn't bad before. You do take out the internal bumpstop to put them in, I cut mine up with a long knife and pulled them out in pieces, much easier than dropping the axle off the coils. They go in easy, just flatten and shove through the coil, but I doubt they'd come out easy enough to do regularly. No compressor needed, a small bike pump should work as they have little volume. If you have a lift, I've heard Air Lift can recommend another model with the appropriate height bags. Another option would be a thick rubber spacer. With just the bags, I'd expect some limitation at full suspension compression. I don't wheel except through construction sites, but my brother does, and he's had no issues with suspension travel. The air in the bags at normal extension has to compress at full suspension compression, and *could* limit suspension travel, although so did the long bump stops that were in the coils. I brought this up on another list, but never heard more. If I ever wheel I'll have to remove the hitch and bracket my valves are mounted in, probably I'd route the hoses inside and remove the valve cores to allow unlimited compression.
     
  17. Photoman

    Photoman SILVER Star

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    Ed,
    Bad wicked. Extremely bad wicked. On snow and ice they are terrific (good). I came down from the mountains in Alaska and had about 10-20 miles of transition from snow to rain. I slowed to 20 mph and could barely control the thing. It just wanted to go straight. My hands were sore the next day. It would not turn. I am experienced with snow, ice, etc. here in the North but wasn't ready for that. It was slide straight, stop, turn wheels, slide straight - repeat for 10 miles. There was someone else on SOR that said they had similar problems. I have always been surprised that there haven't been more comments about this. That being said I would still buy the tires myself because I think the benefits outweigh the negatives. It's just like other things in life, we must be aware of the limitations and stay within them.
    Bill
     
  18. landandsea

    landandsea

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    Talked to an Edelbrock tech rep and he confirmed what you guys have said. Their shocks won't affect the back end droop when towing a load. I'm still intrigued by the reports of improved on and off road performance of the Edelbrocks and will probably give them a try. Edelbrock shocks and OME medium load 1/2 " lift springs.

    Creeper removed his bump stops to install air bags (thanks for the info, Creeper). If I did that and then deflated or removed the air bags when not towing, is there a risk of crunching the shocks in an extreme compression situation? Is that what the bump stops are for?

    CDan, I seem to remember you mentioning that you tow a boat. Does the rear drop much even with your lift?

    Thanks everyone
    Ed
     
  19. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    Ed,
    There are two rear axle bump stops on the frame in addition to the "bumpers" that are inside the rear springs. If you choose shocks that are the same length as the stock shocks then you will be OK with the axle bump stops. If the Edlebrocks are longer than stock then lower the rear axle bump stops with spacers.
    -B-
     
  20. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    Ed,

      Me butt dips a bit. I have Downey 2 1/2 inch springs (1994 vintage). Un-loaded I am a bit butt high. My boat has a 300 lb tongue weight. I usually go to Powell for a week of beach camping. I have 2 adults, 2 kids and one hungry ::)dog. I have a lot of camping gear in the rig as well, and 2 HUGE ice chests.(one for the :beer: ). I gross close to 10,000 lbs out the door. The rear at that point is about 2 1/2 inches lower than the front, or about stock height.

    Dan