What Front Shocks/Springs? (1 Viewer)

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I have a 1996 TLC with 250K miles, and I'm soliciting advice for new front shocks and springs.

The truck only gets about 5K miles a year, I don't DD it. (My DD is my bicycle.) I'm a moderate to moderate plus trail difficulty kind of guy, not a rock crawler, and I usually drive a few hundred miles to get to the Sierras or the desert, where I use the rig.

About 30K miles ago, I installed a TJM 50MM kit all the way around. Since then, I have added a Slee Short Bus, Superwinch SR9500 (synthetic line) and an AGM battery (single battery system), which I'd say totals up to about 185# of weight above stock sitting in front of the front wheels. I added 20mm poly spacers to get back to the original 50MM lift height. The truck drives great on road, but on the trails the front end dips dramatically on the whoop-de-dos, and I'd like to get some more stiffness up front for that.

Should I just replace the springs? Or both springs and shocks? What would you install? I like a soft ride, I'm not excited about getting a really stiff set up in the front end. Incidentally, I put air bags in the rear, and I'm happy with how that is working out. So, I'm just looking to switch things up in the front end.

All advice appreciated. If you're going to tell me to use search or check out the suspension FAQ, please don't bother. I already did both, there is some good info there, and I've taken it under advisement. I'm seeking specific/recent thoughts on my particular question and set-up.

Thanks,
Russ
 

baldilocks

Battle Ground, WA
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In order to give any advice we need to know specs on your TJM springs. Heavies? Mediums? Wire diameter? Specific spring rate would be the best info for a starting point.

The same type of info on your shocks would also be helpful because the shocks may be the only change you need to make.
 
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Olathe, KS, USA
If you have not increased tire sizes dramatically, then the stock shocks could suffice. Heavier shocks give more improvement when the "unsprung" load increases. (Unsprung load is axles, tires, wheels, everything under the springs...)

If you have heavy wheels and tires, you need heavier shocks. The shocks dampen the springs.

However, if you are using a Nitro charger type shock (OME) They are a gas charged shock and will offset the sprung load because you have added weight to the truck. If you are running very heavy (Overlaunding) you may want the heavier shocks. Kings, others can be tuned to the truck, but you kinda need to know what you're doing and they are EXPENSIVE.

I run the OME heavier shocks because that's what was with the slightly used kit I bought. When I was running with low load, the tide was very stiff. Now that I regularly run 800+ lbs more, they are about right.

I DD my truck and have the heavy OME springs in front and rear.
 

Road Apple

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I prefer to avoid mixing components, mostly because the outcome can vary so much. Much prefer a suspension system made to match my mission. Many suspension companies offer relatively limited options to mix and match with off brand components.

Suggest calling Dobinson for specific advice on your truck. They have numerous options and will give you a good idea what will work for your intended use, weight, tire size, and terrain. Numerous people report great customer service and outcome.

(305) 424-8353

 
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Calling Dobinson's sounds smart. I couldn't say what the spring rate or wire diameter is on my shocks, I don't think TJM publishes that. The TJM set up I have is not designed for much added weight, of that I'm sure.
I agree about using a full system from one vendor, I'm just wondering if I can avoid it to save some funds. If there were a simple fix (such as OME 2.5 inch heavy front springs), I could probably come up on a pair of those in the classifieds. That would be a few hundred bucks versus a whole new lift kit at $1K plus.
But I'll call Dobinson's, and wait to see if others posts here offer any suggestions.
Thanks for the feedback thus far. I appreciate it.
 
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Santa Cruz
I ran the TJM front 50mm coils for a few years. They are essentially a “comfort” coil meaning they have a lighter spring rate than say an OME 850, but have a longer free height to settle at the proper 2“ lift. This is good for an unladen 80 since you don’t increase the spring rate but add lift vs. the more common increased spring rate that goes along with lifting a 4wd. Adding weight over the years, I had to keep adding spacers or keep that same lift and eventually the ~190# spring rate it had was way too soft for my truck. I upgraded to the Dobinsons 612v 3” Flexi coil. This coil with no spacers gave me the same lift I had with the TJM +20mm spacers and being a dual rate were still nice and supple on small bumps, but would stiffen up on bigger hits. I would also spring for some new shocks by way of the Dobinsons IMS mono shocks all around while you’re there.

Coil comparison
C37253D7-B198-4EA9-99F0-3B91E3B7625B.jpeg

TJM +20mm net 22.4” hub to flare w/285s
CC83A71A-C292-40D9-B064-BCECC0C7B4B0.jpeg

612v net 22.7” hub to flare w/315s
F8D955C4-2520-449C-A6BF-35F716FB25A8.jpeg
 
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Thanks so much, @Shoredreamer, that's very kind of you to take the time to post up those photos and offer your perspective.
I'll look into just that lift. Thanks again.
 

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