Member experiences with shocks?

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Joined
Oct 26, 2009
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Covered in moss in Seattle
Got an 80-series last October and have worked all over it and it's time for shocks. On it now are Mountain Ryder shocks (lLes Schwab?), installed by the last owner. They are extremely hard for my usage (driving over the passes here in Washington State mostly, with some offroad while hiking. Mother in Law lives in a remote E. Washington town) They are unbearable on anything except smooth roads, so off they come. I looked extensively and nearly got Pro Comp S3000's but settled for stock shocks from American Toyota (thanks to members for recommending this source). Quick question: Can the shocks be installed without removing the wheels? Looks like they can.

I'm interested in other members experiences and will post when the stock shocks are on. I expect it will be much more comfortable.

One of the more interesting things I did was to fix the dome light switches on the doors. Two didn't operate the dome lights but the switches were just old. They had intermittent contact and I fixed them by stuffing bits of paper towel alongside the plunger, now they work perfectly. A nice solution for a cheap bastard like me.
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This is my first post, and I'm looking forward to learning a lot and contributing a lot. Cheers.

ADDED NOTE 5-30-10: The paper towel is placed inside the rubber boot alongside the plastic switch plunger, then the rubber boot is replaced. I found that for both switches I fixed, side force on the plunger causes contact to be maintained throughout its travel, and now the dome lights work perfectly. Cost to fix: ZERO. A new switch costs $24.50 at Autozone.
 
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I just replaced my shocks about two weeks ago. No, I don't think you NEED to remove the wheels, but it might be easier for the rears. I think you will also want to jack up the corner you're working on to take the load off the shock. Again, you don't HAVE to, but it will be loads easier if you do.

And for anybody else that is interested:
I went with Bilsteins. In hindsight, I think I probably would have gone with OEM shocks. The Bilsteins are very composed over rough roads and through the turns. They are not harsh at all, but they are not particularly comfortable on the road. They tend to toss the truck around a bit more on uneven roads rather than soaking up some of the irregularities (i.e. where the road may have a dip on one side or the other).

I think they are a good choice for off road. But my truck is primarily the family hauler and would prefer a little comfort back.
 
I just installed Old Man Emu shocks on mine last week. You do not have to take the tires off, although it would give you a little more room to wrench. I also did the steering dampner while I was at it. And I love the difference in the ride!

-Slee's website has a great write-up for rookies. The front shocks are pretty straightforward. Only after 30 minutes of cussing and swearing trying to get the top bolt on the rears off did I finally actually read the slee instructions and realized you just take the entire top bracket off! Doh!

Entire process front and back took me about 2hrs - 30 minutes per shock. That's without air tools. And the local mechanic wanted $300 labor to put them on! Very simple job and I'm glad I did it myself.
 
I I also did the steering dampner while I was at it. And I love the difference in the ride!

Did you replace the steering dampner with an oem or got one from somewhere else? Is it straightforward to replace?

Thanks.
 
Did you replace the steering dampner with an oem or got one from somewhere else? Is it straightforward to replace?

Thanks.

I replaced my steering dampner with Old Man Emu as well. Definitely noticed the difference in steering.

Pretty straightforward - bolt on/off. Plenty of topics on the forum thru search. Probably want a good pickle fork or heat. Mine wouldn't hardly budge.
 
I replaced my steering dampner with Old Man Emu as well. Definitely noticed the difference in steering.

Pretty straightforward - bolt on/off. Plenty of topics on the forum thru search. Probably want a good pickle fork or heat. Mine wouldn't hardly budge.

x2 and a BFH :hillbilly:
 
I just installed Old Man Emu shocks on mine last week. You do not have to take the tires off, although it would give you a little more room to wrench. I also did the steering dampner while I was at it. And I love the difference in the ride!

-Slee's website has a great write-up for rookies. The front shocks are pretty straightforward. Only after 30 minutes of cussing and swearing trying to get the top bolt on the rears off did I finally actually read the slee instructions and realized you just take the entire top bracket off! Doh!

Entire process front and back took me about 2hrs - 30 minutes per shock. That's without air tools. And the local mechanic wanted $300 labor to put them on! Very simple job and I'm glad I did it myself.
Thanks for the input - I practiced yesterday and loosened the upper and lower mounting bolts on the LH rear shock. To my surprise they broke free easily. I jacked the truck up to get clearance but after doing it I think installing the new ones can be done without raising the vehicle. I'll post after the job is done.
 
I replaced my steering dampner with Old Man Emu as well. Definitely noticed the difference in steering.

Pretty straightforward - bolt on/off. Plenty of topics on the forum thru search. Probably want a good pickle fork or heat. Mine wouldn't hardly budge.
I also replaced the steering damper with a Pro Comp ES2000. It has about twice the stiffness of the stock one, which has 160K on it. The Pro Comp cost $38, much cheaper than OEM. It's a pretty simple shock which doesn't do a lot of work so didn't seem the part in which to sink a lot of money.

Getting the stock damper off was awful. I put a scary amount of force on the Pitman arm puller with no result and ended up taking it to a local shop who had to break it to get it off.
 
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I just installed Old Man Emu shocks on mine last week. You do not have to take the tires off, although it would give you a little more room to wrench. I also did the steering dampner while I was at it. And I love the difference in the ride!

-Slee's website has a great write-up for rookies. The front shocks are pretty straightforward. Only after 30 minutes of cussing and swearing trying to get the top bolt on the rears off did I finally actually read the slee instructions and realized you just take the entire top bracket off! Doh!

Entire process front and back took me about 2hrs - 30 minutes per shock. That's without air tools. And the local mechanic wanted $300 labor to put them on! Very simple job and I'm glad I did it myself.
Just got done with the stock shock installation. Very straightforward as you said. I had hoped to get the rears off without raising the vehcile but the tires prevent removal of the existing shocks once they extend out when they are out of their attach points so I had to use the jack. The front shocks were a snap. Just turn each wheel fulll lock to gain access from below.

Slee's website does have an excellent how-to and I can't improve on it here. Their redcommendation of using a pipe wrench to turn the front shocks is a good one. I found that once the new stock shocks were put in place they could be turned by hand right down to the end of the attach nut travel.

Once done and on the road the ride was noticeably softer than the crushingly hard Mountain Ryder XT's that came off, but not as much as I'd expected. It's still well controlled in my opinion, and for the limited off-roading I will do, they are perfect. I also replaced the steering damper. Ride seems comfortable, controlled and secure now.
 
I replaced my steering dampner with Old Man Emu as well. Definitely noticed the difference in steering.


What difference did you see?
Did you replace this at the same time you installed a lift?
I'm trying to figure out whether or not it is necessary to replace the OEM steering damper with the OME damper when lifting an 80.
 
I

And for anybody else that is interested:
I went with Bilsteins. In hindsight, I think I probably would have gone with OEM shocks. The Bilsteins are very composed over rough roads and through the turns. They are not harsh at all, but they are not particularly comfortable on the road. They tend to toss the truck around a bit more on uneven roads rather than soaking up some of the irregularities (i.e. where the road may have a dip on one side or the other).

I think they are a good choice for off road. But my truck is primarily the family hauler and would prefer a little comfort back.

I agree with what you say. I have koni shocks and the experience is much the same. Although I do some amount of offroading so the control there is worth the onroad roughness.

I suppose if you wanted real comfort you could put some LX450 shocks in, as they are supposed to be even softer. Although I havent checked if they are available in Australia, as the LX450 was never sold here.
 
Just replaced the 113K-old original shocks on my LX450 with OEM Land Cruisers. Couldn't be happier. I can't imagine a better combination of comfort/handling. Remarkably smooth on the bumps and about as nimble as 2 1/2 tons are ever gonna get.
 
Just replaced the 113K-old original shocks on my LX450 with OEM Land Cruisers. Couldn't be happier. I can't imagine a better combination of comfort/handling. Remarkably smooth on the bumps and about as nimble as 2 1/2 tons are ever gonna get.

Man, I totally agree. I am glad I went with oem as they seem to have the perfect balance.
 
Swapped my LX stockers with OME 73 and 74E's at 140k. BIG difference. Enjoy the stiffer control on the road and LOVE the difference off road. Feels more like a truck and less like a worn out cadillac.
 
Way back, I had OEM shock when I bought the truck with stock springs and the ride was terrible. Wallowing on smooth tarmac, but over damped over larger stuff. Corrugations would fair rattle your teeth out.
Moved to Bilsteins with heavy duty King springs, much improved road handling much less body roll, but a bit more bumpy under small bumps esp stuff like expansion joints on concrete roads. On corrugations they were awesome.
Just changed them out now after 60,000miles, still working well but I wanted a longer travel shock.
Now running an Autocraft kit with RidePro 12" travel shocks, and I think these are even better. The small bump stiffness of the Billys is gone but still great control of the body round corners. Haven't done a long corrugation run yet, but initial 30 mile ride showed them to be really well valved over bigger hits as well.

Changed to a Fox 2" steering damper and that is the Don:cool:. Such a huge improvement in control and feedback. 3 thumbs up:steer:
 

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