Tag Archives: Suspension

Custom rear shock mounts for inboarding your shocks.

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When I was coming around to completing my project truck, I was wondering how to get more flex. I figured out that my shocks were limiting me, and decided I needed a cheap fix to get more travel in the rear. After research, it seemed that inboarding my rear shocks was the way to go on the cheap.

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1986-1995 4″ IFS lift for Toyota Truck or 4-Runner

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By: MaXXis85

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This system is pretty straight forward on installation. If you have a mechanical background, the tools, and the will; anyone can complete this kit.

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Front disassembly:

Jack up the front of the vehicle and place on jack stands. I found that right under the body mount is a suitable location on the frame. Remove the front wheels form the hubs and you are ready to work. Remove shocks and front sway bar from the vehicle. Keep all hardware.

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Remove the eccentric cam bolts that hold the Lower Control Arm (LCA) to frame. The nuts are 7/8″ and the bolt heads are 15/16″. Once nuts are loosened do not completely remove nut. Leave on to hit out bolt from LCA bushing. After all 4 bolts are out, dislodge LCA’s form their mounting locations and let hang.

Next remove the one bolt that hold the front differential to front cross member. Keep bolt for re-use. Remove the 4 bolts that hold front cross member to the LCA mounting locations. After removal of the bolts it is necessary to cut the tab that held the cross member in its original location off. This is done for removal of front cross member. After the front cross member is out cut the rear tab too. This allows for clearance needed when lowering front differential.

Now its time to install the lift brackets. Each kit has its own design. Trailmaster kits have a 4 piece subframe and others such as Superlift has a 2 piece subframe. Regardless of which kit you have, install the sub frames in original LCA mounting locations. Attach with square washers and supplied hardware.

Do not tighten bolts at this time. Re attach stock front cross member if you have a Trailmaster kit. If not discard it because other kits have it built into subframe. Re attach LCA’s to their new locations in the subframe with stock eccentric cam bolts. After they are all loosely attached it is time to lower the front differential.

Before lowering the front differential, remove the dual cardan protector on the front driveshaft. It is located near the transfer case, and will have to be modified for re use. Next support the differential with a floor jack and unbolt at the 5 mounting locations.

There are 2 bolts on the driver side and 3 bolts on the passenger side. The passenger side is sort of hard to get to, but with a long extension, it is possible. With all bolts removed, it is time to lower the differential. Allow enough room to mount the supplied brackets to stock locations using the supplied hardware. Now mount the lowering brackets to the front differential with the original mounting hardware. Leave all hardware loose at this time. Now move back to the front cross member. You have one more bolt to secure the front differential to its new location. Place the stock bolt through the front cross member and front differential case. At this point all differential bolts should be installed and is lowered. If so, torque the hardware to its new specs as per install instructions to the particular kit in which you have. You can now add rear cross member if you have a Trailmaster. If not, it is part of the rear subframe on other kits. This adds support to the rear subframe assembly.

Now it is time for brake line relocation, or new brake lines; whichever you have. I will explain the relocation process; I assume you know how to change brake lines and how to bleed brakes. Remove factory clip that holds brake line to frame and retain for later use. Using a hacksaw notch bracket large enough to remove stock hard line. Put relocation bracket on with supplied hardware and reform line into its new location. Be VERY CAREFUL, it is easy to kink line. Once done to both side of the vehicle it is time to move to knuckle extensions/adapters.

Next remove outer tie rod ends from stock steering arms. Place out of the way, and then loosen the two bolts that hold the steering arm to the knuckle assembly. Once loosened remove the steering arm and discard, the new adapter has it built in. Remove cotter pin and castle nut on upper ball joint. Using a jack to support LCA assembly; use a ball joint separator and split upper ball joint from knuckle. Use supplied tapered sleeve in stock ball joint mounting hole in the knuckle. Place the knuckle adapter onto upper ball joint. Then place the stock knuckle to the underside of the knuckle adapter and place bolt through stock ball joint hole, and through knuckle adapter hole to secure it. Now place stock steering arm bolts through knuckle adapter into stock steering arm holes to complete adapter assembly.

Now tighten these bolts to recommended torque specs as per kit instructions. Place castle nut on upper ball joint and snug by hand. Place pressure on LCA assembly to keep ball joint from spinning and tighten to recommended torque specs, and replace cotter pin. Do the same to opposite side of truck. Re attach tie rod ends to knuckle adapter and use a c clamp to keep from turning while torquing to specs.

Go ahead and tighten all subframe bolts, and all other bolts on kit that were left loose to their recommended specs. Remove stock bump stops and attach them to provides spacers. Attach spacers to original bump stop locations with supplied hardware. Put sway bar drop brackets supplied with kit using stock bolts. Attach sway bar to bracket using supplied hardware.

Install new longer shocks on vehicle with stock hardware. Grind the guard removed earlier to add clearance for new driveshaft angle and reinstall.

That’s It, double check all bolts and if they are tight the front is complete.


Rear lift:

Rear is real simple, so not much detail will be given. Rear lift options include blocks, add a leave’s, and replacement springs. I assume you know how to do these methods, so I will explain brake relocation. Use provided bracket and relocate line similar to front. Remove factory clip and retain for later use. Using a hacksaw, notch bracket to remove stock hard line. Bolt new bracket with supplied hardware and reform rear line to its new location and secure with factory clip.

On some kits a rear proportion valve relocation bracket comes with it. If your kit doesn’t have one I recommend making one and installing it. This allows brakes to work at factory specs. Unbolt tube from axle and mount bracket to axle with stock hardware. Remount tube to bracket with supplied hardware.


This concludes lifting your Toyota pickup. Be safe and have fun.

Here is what it now looks like with q-78 tsls


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73-87 Chev shackle flip

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Good Stock rear suspension shackles. They are good because all of the geometry is already figured out for you; just drive it.

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Better Shackle flip.
The easiest way to get 4 inches of lift out of the rear of your 73-87 Chevy is to convert the rear to a compression style shackle. To do that you must flip the shackle so it is pointing down, instead of up like factory.  It is entirely possible to do this yourself. You must get out the reciprocating saw and/or grinder and remove the metal below the factory shackle mount bolt so the shackle can swing. (1st 2nd and 3rd pics)

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This makes clearance for the shackle to move forward and backwards, but leaves very little metal to support the rear of the leaf spring. I’ve heard of people running this way without problem…..but I don’t want to count on “probably”. You can fabricate your own supports and weld them in,

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(pics 4, 5 and 6)  but, as you can see, my welder wasn’t up to the task. Even if they were good welds, look at that compared to the 7th and 8th pics.


Best   (This is my opinion) DIY4X Shackle flip n switch. Simply remove the old shackle brackets. I drilled the centers of the rivets out and popped them out with a chisel. You can use a cutting torch, or a hand grinder. I would recommend pulling the fuel tank (like I did) to make room for my big head and to eliminate any possibility of fire. I have heard you can just hinge the fuel tank down, but if you go that far, you might as well pull it all the way out.
Once the old brackets are out, the DIY4X kit is so complete, you just paint it your color of choice and bolt it in with the supplied grade 8 bolts. And look at how beefy they are!  There is no question these will hold up longer than the rest of the truck. :jumps:

The only problem I had was hooking up my old shackles. (9th pic)  All I did there was take some 3/8″x1 1/2″ steel and made up some 6″ (bolt to bolt) shackles. The stock shackles are 4″ (bolt to bolt) so this should give me 1 additional inch of lift. If it is too much I can just cut the shackles down and re-drill the lower hole.



That is that, now on to the rest of the truck.

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Shocking developments: Exploring new possiblities with new shocks.

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What started as a 1-ton axle install turned into an entire new suspension for the General, my 1984 Chevy K5 Blazer. My biggest concern with the new suspension was the street performance. I need to drive the truck to and from the trail and sometimes I just like driving the truck around town. I decided it was time to explore some better shock options.

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Now I’m not expert on shocks, but I am a thinking man. So everything that follows is based on my own research and the conclusions I’ve drawn from that research. I did a lot of searching on several Internet forums and talked with several people I feel “know their stuff.”

I think the first thing to look at is twin-tube versus mono-tube. Most of us are familiar with twin-tube shocks like the Explorer Pro-Comp shocks I was running in the past. Twin-tube shocks are less expensive to manufacture hence their pricing and popularity. The difference between the two types of shocks is evident in their design as illustrated in this picture:

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Basically the advantages and disadvantages of both styles is a result of their basic design. Monotube shocks have a relatively larger piston, subtle dampening adjustments are easier and they dissipate heat better all because of the lack of a second chamber. However there is one obvious disadvantage to the lack of the second chamber, a dent in the shock body of a monotube shock may cause the piston to bind. The research and development for monotube shocks is more expensive hence the higher retail price.

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For more detail on monotube vs. twin-tube designs I found these sites informative:

I decided on monotube shocks for a couple of reasons. Primarily I found through research and interviews that monotube shocks will give me the best results for what I desired in handling characteristics. I was also willing to pay the additional costs involved with monotube shocks.

I narrowed my decision to 3 choices in my $100-110 price range:

I ultimately chose the Doetsch Tech (DT) Monotube 2.0 smoothbody. The other two shocks are very good choices and come highly recommended. I felt the DT shocks were just a better overall value. Here’s what they have over the other two options;

  1. Owner rebuildable
  2. Therefore owner revalveable
  3. Custom built to owner specifications
  4. Optional remote reservoir that can be added at any point.

The only reservation I had about the shocks is the lack of information about them, or more accurately lack of reviews. I wasn’t able to find and other people using this shock. The closest I came as a friend who has a similar but older style from DT. I overlooked the lack of reviews because I know DT has been around a long time and their other shocks are well received.

Here is the chart of shocks available as of March 2007. There is also some sales information at the bottom:

Now don’t get nervous about the custom valving choice because DT can take care of that for you. I ordered the shocks direct from DT and I handled almost the entire transaction via e-mail. I talked to them on the phone twice and one of those was to pay for them by credit card. I gave them a very detailed description of my truck, what I use it for, and what I expected. They chose the valving options based on that.

The valving they set me up with was what they considered medium for my truck.

  • Front
    • Compression: 8 8 8 8
    • Rebound: 10 10 10 10
  • Rear
    • Compression: 6 6 8 8
    • Rebound: 10 10 10 10

I’ll bet you’re thinking the same thing I was when I received the information, “What the hell does that mean?” Well I sent a reply asking that very question, albeit a little bit less vulgar. This is the explanation I received:

2.0 monotube valving stacks are made up of 4 discs that control the compression and rebound based on the thickness of each disc stacked on top of each other.  These discs flex upon the entry of oil through the piston port.  The ports in the pistons have 3 rebound ports and 6 compression ports.

Below you will find the basic valve stacks and the dampening forces produced using the stacks listed for both compression and rebound.  The valving that is installed in your new shock is the base line or “medium” valving for that type of vehicle.  Valving or dampening forces are determined by personal preferences, i.e. soft, medium, firm

Other than oval track applications, valving’s are very rarely #1 over #1 “50/50 style”, typically the rebound side is always greater (thicker discs) than the compression side.  Here is an example of a very common medium valving and how it is described.

Medium valving: #2/#5, or 2 over 5, or 2/5   This means you use discs from row #2 for compression and discs from row #5 rebound.  Using these you would have a valving of 180 lbs. of compression and 350 lbs. of rebound.

The other options I chose were rod end mounting and 15″ travel.

In hindsight I would not choose rod ends again. They ended up being almost as much of an adventure in research as the shocks themselves. They are just like little heim joints on the ends of the shocks.

The first obstacle was the necessity for some sort of spacers in conjunction with the rod ends. You can’t just bolt them in because they need to be able to pivot with the suspension travel. I found some spacers through McMaster-Carr.com and they weren’t cheap. You can also pay a little more for some fancy ones from Polyperformance. This is how they look assembled with spacers:

The next problem with the rod ends became apparent once I received the shocks. There is a big warning label the specifically states that you cannot weld on the truck with the shocks installed. The rod ends can allow electrical current to flow through the shock and damage the internals. Now in some conversations with guys running coilover shocks, they’ve been able to get away with welding by putting the welding ground very close to the area being welded. So if you have rod end style shocks be very careful!

My final issue with the rod ends is noise. The rear shocks enter the cargo area of the K5 and at the time this is being written I don’t have them enclosed yet. Because they are rigid there is a constant “chatter” when going over rough terrain.

I don’t know why I went with the rod ends. I guess it was a “cool factor” decision gone horribly wrong. Buy poly bushings!

Back to my order options, let’s address the choice of 15″ travel. Once I had the suspension installed, I built an RTI ramp so I could take some measurements. I clamped a flat piece of metal to the top of the frame rail and measured the total suspension travel at the factory shock mount. It came out to 10″. I thought pretty hard about the 13″ travel shock, but I ultimately decided on the 15″ travel. It did cost any more and I hope to use these shocks for a long time and I may need more travel in the future.

I’m glad I went with the 15″ travel now that I’ve finished the installation. The reason is I had 5″ to play with. Meaning I didn’t have to get the mounts to come out to an exact distance. This made the bracket fabrication much easier.

Here are some pics to illustrate the length of 15″ travel shocks:

The next step was to actually install the shocks which required fabricating my own mounts. I had 2 goals with my mounts:

  1. Mount shocks as vertical as possible
  2. Keep the shocks as close to the wheels as possible.

I wanted to achieve those goals so that the shocks would have the best operating advantage. And I’m sure this is how they build them to operate.

This is what I ended up with:




So, how did I make them? It took a lot of drawing, math, measuring and head scratching. I knew I had 10″ of total shock travel, but you need a little more specific information than that, primarily the difference between up and down travels. The 10″ travel broke out into 4″ up and 6″ down from ride height.

Because I’d chosen the 15″ travel shocks and had the extra 5″, I set the brackets so that there was 5″ of up travel and the rest remained for down travel. Plus I installed the bump stops at a height to prevent the springs from excessively over-arching in the wrong direction so I have plenty of room for up travel.

The other factor or measurement to consider was how far out to lean the top of the shocks. The front driver side was the determining element on the front brackets because of the steering shaft. I didn’t think about this when I started and the first bracket I made didn’t clear the steering shaft. In the rear I just leaned them out enough to keep the shock inside the fender wells.

To make the brackets I used a piece of 4″ square tube with 3/16″ wall. I cut the tube in half to make a C. Next, I notched the brackets and bent them for the outward lean and then welded up the seam. I drew a straight line from top to bottom through the seam and cut the excess off. This made a nice smooth bracket. The final step was to add tabs for the shocks to bolt in. Hopefully the drawing below helps explain what I did:

You may notice some extra bracing in the pictures above. The rear brackets were so high off the frame I felt I needed to add a cross bar and it was pretty simple to do it. In the front the engine would make a cross bar very difficult, so I just settle for extra gussets and braces on the back of the brackets.

Next I made the tabs for the axle mounting. The rears were pretty straight forward but the fronts were a little goofy. The axle tabs landed right next to the inner C on the axle end. I cut a piece of cardboard and used that to trace and cut all of the tabs.

I did make one mistake when I welded them on in the bottom picture. I put the 3 spacers in there to get the exact 1.5″ spacing I needed to install the shock and 2 spacers. It was a little too exact. I ended up grinding some on my expensive spacers so they’d fit. On the rear tabs I remembered to add a piece of .040″ thick aluminum in there to give me a little wiggle room.

Installing the shocks with spacers is a HUGE pain and another reason to avoid rod ends.

Doetsch Tech recommends waxing the shafts periodically with good car wax. This creates a protective barrier on them and helps prevent dirt and debris from sticking to the shafts and creating future problems. To removed mud and debris from the shafts they recommend using WD40 (or similar product) to wipe it down and rinse with water.

So, how do I like them? They work awesome! I feel no difference with street performance compared to my old standard lift spring suspension with no swaybar. I actually feel less body lean on the curves now with 52″ springs in front and 56″ springs in the rear.

On the trail is where they really shine. The slow crawling stuff is not much different, but now I can fly down the “smooth” sections of the trail. Rough bumpy access roads are not nearly so horrible anymore. The best way I can explain it is that the softer springs take the force out of the initial impact and the shocks eliminate the rebound lurch in the opposite direction. I’m no longer getting jarred back and forth over the trail.

A buddy rode with me and immediately noticed the difference. My wife confided that she initially thought the shocks were a bit extravagent but after riding in and driving the General she feels they were worth the money! Now there’s an endorsement you can’t beat!

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SAS Solid Axle Swap on an 86-95 Toyota pickup/4 Runner

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This thread is to show the basic things needed to convert the Independent Front Suspension (IFS) to Solid Front Axle (SFA) using a Toyota front axle year 79 – 85. Also known as a Solid Axle Swap (SAS). I hope this gets the point across to those who are interested in doing this swap. First thing you need is an Axle.

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By: MaXXis85

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Then it all has to be stripped down to the bare housing and remove all brackets that is un needed anymore. Then Weld on upper axle gusset if desired. Paint the housing to the desired color ( Rustoleum Black ).

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Tear apart the Toyota Locking Hubs and verify that all of the internals are properly working. Grease the hubs lightly ans repaint if desired.

Time to drive out all of the Wheel bearing races and drive in new ones. Using a brass drift makes this job alot easier. Install the 1.5″ Wheel spacers on at this time.

Re gear the differential and install locker or LSD of your choice.

Install the Third member back into the housing and put in the axle shafts, backing plates, knuckles, high steer arms, and spindles onto the housing too!

Put the wheel hub assemblies back onto the housing, the locking hubs, and the tie-rod. It is fully assembled and ready to go in the truck.

Ifs Removal is the next step. Remove Stock components and/or lift kit.

Remove all of the IFS mounting brackets with a torch and grind smooth.

After the frame tube holes have been cut install the frame tubes (holds upper shackle bolt) and then weld them in place.

Temporary install front hanger and verify shackle angle on springs. Adjust hanger location until you get the proper angle you want.

Weld in front spring hanger in verified location.

Place the front axle onto the front springs and install U bolts to secure the axle to the sprigs.

Remove old pitman arm and install Drag Link onto the new pitman arm and to the Passenger side High Steer arm. Be careful not to break a pitman arm puller.

Add longer brake lines, brake calipers, and put the tires on the truck. YOU are done with the front of the truck after you set the toe on the front axle. Place the toe up to 1/8″ toed in.

Weld in new Spring hangers and add rear leaf springs and shackles.

Add spring plates ans ubolts to secure the springs to the axle.

Weld on new shock tabs and install longer rear shocks.

Install longer brake lines, Bleed the brakes, and set the tires back on the truck and double check all hardware before driving.

Gear install can be done at the time of the swap or at a later date. But now your truck is ready to be wheeled if you have you front driveshaft bolted up and extended for the extra travel that you will gain. Hae fun with your new SFA truck.

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