Suspension Question

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Jun 10, 2011
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Charlottesville, VA
How do you know when you NEED (not want) a suspension upgrade or refresh? If the truck does not sag or bounce light a boat in the ocean and there appears to be a normal amount of clearance between the fenders and the tops of the tires? Is it age related? Mileage related? or usage related? Or all of the above.

Is there a generally accepted method to determine when a suspension should be replaced?

Thanks in advance.
 
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Lansing, MI
There are some mileage estimates for sure like change your shocks every 60K or so. Not sure about springs, other than having them professionally tested, or maybe keeping track of your fender height from the new stock measurement.

I wondered the same thing a few months back and just ended up doing the OME 2.5" and it made a huge difference all around. I got over 3.5" of lift which showed how much my 140K springs were sagging. I think I had the original shocks too.

Just keep in mind that the basic purpose of a suspension is to keep your tires in contact with the road surface. Worn out springs and less effective shocks will do a poorer job of that and therefore handling, control, and safety will be reduced.
 
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Camas, WA USA
Shocks need replacing if they are leaking or are no longer dampening the bounce of the truck suspension. If you are not bottoming out your springs over bumps and such under your normal driving conditions, they probably don't need replacement, though you may see some improvement in ride/handling with some replacement springs
 
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Medford, OR
Shocks need replacing if they are leaking or are no longer dampening the bounce of the truck suspension. If you are not bottoming out your springs over bumps and such under your normal driving conditions, they probably don't need replacement, though you may see some improvement in ride/handling with some replacement springs

What he said.

If you're getting a Caddy/boat feeling when driving down the freeway (that soft rocking motion), then shocks probably need replacing. If you're bottoming out or getting wheel rub, then shocks and/or springs need to be replaced.

If you're happy with the way everything is, ride and handling, then I wouldn't worry too much about it. Replace when convenient to you, or let some buddies drive and see what they think.
 
Joined
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Thanks for the solid input. I believe I am running original springs and shocks with 143K miles. I want an OME 2" replacement but I would like to make a buying decision on need rather than desire. It seems generally accepted that going with a new setup makes a remarkable improvement. I should probably drive another 80 that has updated suspension to see what I might be missing.

Second question would be what kind of tools and setup would one need to do the replacement or is something better left to a shop. Particularly the caster bushings.

Thanks again.
 
Joined
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Thanks for the solid input. I believe I am running original springs and shocks with 143K miles. I want an OME 2" replacement but I would like to make a buying decision on need rather than desire. It seems generally accepted that going with a new setup makes a remarkable improvement. I should probably drive another 80 that has updated suspension to see what I might be missing.

Second question would be what kind of tools and setup would one need to do the replacement or is something better left to a shop. Particularly the caster bushings.

Thanks again.

Leave the caster bushings to a shop. Well worth the money IMHO.

For the rest, just a socket set. Possibly a breaker bar if your bolts need a little more persuasion. I found the craftsman ratcheting box end wrenches to be quite valuable as well.

You could just replace the shocks for minimal cost (around $160 for Pro Comp) and that will likely greatly improve the ride. Easy to do as well.
 

Flank

American by Birth, Texan by the grace of God.
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While having my alignment done at Toyota by one of the two people that actually understands the suspension / mechanics of an 80 (as reported to me by the shop foreman - who would only let two guys in his dealership shop touch my truck, and preferred one of them), my suspension on the OEM springs is sagging to the point where perfect alignment is not possible due to caster. So... he said I could correct with caster correction hardware for the lowered stance, or get different springs...

Poll: Should I correct the caster or get some new springs?:hillbilly:
 
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It took 60,000 lb of pressure to press out and press in my new caster bushings. I first tried to do it on a hi-lift jack. Not! Lining up the bushings was easy though.

Additionally, some of the bolts were seized, especially on the original steering dampener, and a shop had to do over half the job in the end. My experience was a small fiasco and I would have been better off just having a shop do the whole thing. Admittedly, I was working in a parking lot with cordless tools only.

As for want/need, one reason I got the suspension when I did was I wanted the ARB bumper and winch, so it made sense to go ahead and get the suspension which would support it.

P.S. Make sure you get the coil springs on the correct side of the vehicle and let the shop know about that if you use one.
 
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I just did springs all around and left in the aftermarket shocks that were already installed. It is really a pretty simple job, you just need a socket set, and maybe a pipe wrench, a pair of 6 ton+ jackstands (stronger and higher than the common 3 ton car stands), and I also justified the purchase of a cheap chinese rolling garage jack (I use this all the time for all kinds of stuff, turned out to be well worth it). The caster bushings, I took care of, by getting the template from Landtank, removing the control arms, and taking them to Les Schwab (a tire/suspension/brake installation chain) to press out the old bushings and press in the new Slee 3 deg bushings. That cost me about $60, IIRC.
 
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I just did my front only new shocks and springs with OME Stock Height replacement and used only hand tools.

My bolts/nuts were fairly clean but I did have a problem with getting the shock nuts to break free. Took some real tight holding with a pipe wrench on the old shocks and a lot of torque to break them free but then they spun right off. Would be nice to have air tools o well.

Everything else was fairly easy. Ratcheting box wrenches like I had were nice to have. I used 4 ton Craftsman jack stands at full height to hold up the frame.. made me a bit nervous but it worked fine. I'll have to get some 6 tons one day.
 
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I am having IPOR install an OME 2.5 on my 80 next week. While I could have performed this myself (except for the caster thingy) I am having them do it. Time is my biggest factor. I figured it would take me a full saturday and maybe more and then still would have had to take and have them do my caster. So for a little bit of $$$ and 4-6 hours it will be complete and I can save my weekend for something else like ( :princess: do's)

I see you are in C'vill. I work there and live in Richmond. Have you plugged in to Bay to Blue Ridge yet? Good club you should should check them out
 

WarDamnEagle

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While having my alignment done at Toyota by one of the two people that actually understands the suspension / mechanics of an 80 (as reported to me by the shop foreman - who would only let two guys in his dealership shop touch my truck, and preferred one of them), my suspension on the OEM springs is sagging to the point where perfect alignment is not possible due to caster. So... he said I could correct with caster correction hardware for the lowered stance, or get different springs...

Poll: Should I correct the caster or get some new springs?:hillbilly:

New springs. I went with the OME stock height springs and shocks. The ride is much better. They will lift it about 1 inch over stock factory height so if your springs have sagged an inch or so below factory then you might be surprised how much higher it looks afterwards. You won't need any caster correction with those springs.
 
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Charlottesville, VA
Black Op

I contacted IPOR about installation and they estimated the install cost at essentially equal to the purchase price of the suspension. Seemed expensive. I have read that others have done this mod pretty easily so I was curious. I get the part about time/money, but thought I might explore doing it myself.

I will look into Bay and Blue Ridge. I recently relocated to Cville from NOVA.
 

80t0ylc

Hill & Gully Rider
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Thanks for the solid input. I believe I am running original springs and shocks with 143K miles. I want an OME 2" replacement but I would like to make a buying decision on need rather than desire. It seems generally accepted that going with a new setup makes a remarkable improvement. I should probably drive another 80 that has updated suspension to see what I might be missing.

Second question would be what kind of tools and setup would one need to do the replacement or is something better left to a shop. Particularly the caster bushings.

Thanks again.

Just to add more "flavor" to your thread: After a trip from Central Oregon to Canyon-lands which is in Utah, near Moab which included a fair amount of off road miles, I found that my OEM suspension was not up to the task. This was back in 2004 and I had roughly similar miles to what you have. Over bumps of any size, the tailpipe would bang on the panhard rod. If you go into the "Garage" link on my post, you can see pics of how it looked loaded down. Not the best way to find out that your suspension is worn out. Anyway, we (2 of my sons and I) made it home fine and I soon after ordered the OME suspension I now have. And I'm still happy with it. We put it on - best to have some helpers - but if you've done your own vehicle maintenance, you should be able to tackle this (except the bushings - I had a shop do that, also). Just be aware that some of the shock bolts, especially the lower rears will need Liquid Wrench or something similar to help you bust them loose. And also use heavy duty (6 ton) jack stands. I'd get the brake line extensions also, just so you're prepared. IIRC, OME had ok instructions to help you get 'er done. I'd recommend doing it yourself, just for the experience and the satisfaction :wrench: :cheers:
 
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