Author Topic: Are stiff shocks bad for the suspension?  (Read 5126 times)

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Lewis Hein

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Are stiff shocks bad for the suspension?
« on: Jun 01, 2017, 03:44:49 AM »
Hi all,


My current truck came with some super-heavy duty shock "absorbers" that hardly absorb anything. Even going ~2MPH over a road full of baseball-sized rocks you end up bouncing off the seat a lot, more as if you were driving 20 MPH on the same road in a normal truck.

I don't mind the rough ride so much as the thought that this is bad for my suspension parts -- seems to me that by the laws of physics, if the ride on such a road is as rough as driving 20 MPH with normal shocks, I am doing just as terrible things to my knuckles, rims, tires, and wheel bearings as if I really were driving 20 MPH with normal shocks. I go off-road a lot, so this is beginning to worry me a little.

I've pretty much come to my own conclusion but I'd like a second opinion before I take the plunge. Is my above reckoning correct? If not, why not?

Lewis

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Re: Are stiff shocks bad for the suspension?
« Reply #1 on: Jun 01, 2017, 10:30:21 AM »
I think the shock mounts, bearings and such can handle it, but there is no reason not to try something different if it rides bad.  I like those big yellow monroes on my 1st gen.  I don't remember what your truck is like as far as mods but my 1st gen rode horrible at stock ride height.  I like to add about 1 1/2"-2" of up travel with at least extended shackles, at best some better springs.  That and the right shock valving really helps the ride.  Stock the danged things are really slamming on the bumps the whole time.

My current setup on my '80 is some rears up front with the center pins redrilled to keep the stock location and some slightly longer shackles.  It rides great and is probably only 1 1/2" of lift.
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Re: Are stiff shocks bad for the suspension?
« Reply #2 on: Jun 01, 2017, 10:39:13 AM »
Wont really hurt the springs themselves, but the stress created by the shocks not doing their designed purpose is being transferred to the suspension mounting points, cab mounts, etc., not top mention an annoying highway ride. 

Are you sure it is the shocks or the springs?
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Lewis Hein [OP]

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Re: Are stiff shocks bad for the suspension?
« Reply #3 on: Jun 01, 2017, 11:06:53 AM »
Thanks guys.

I'm not so worried about the springs themselves so much as about the rest of the suspension -- knuckle bearings, wheel bearings, mounts, etc.

I assume it's the shocks, not the springs. They are Ranchos up front and big fat yellow ones (Monroe??) with the name worn off in the back. It seems as if they hardly absorb anything, but I can live with the ride if it's not a matter of damaging things.

I am sure that stiffer shocks do more damage to the rest of the car -- Newton's second law and all that. But I don't know how much more damage they do. Will I wear steering knuckles and wheel bearings 1.000001 times as fast? twice as fast? What about the tires? Again, I'm pretty sure that I run a greater risk of bruising tires against the rocks, but how much greater?

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Re: Are stiff shocks bad for the suspension?
« Reply #4 on: Jun 09, 2017, 12:42:11 PM »
Those shocks should not be too stiff at all.  Tires are the only part of your suspension that comes into contact with the ground.  What tire pressure do you run?  There is a difference between tire pressure and tire pleasure...
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Re: Are stiff shocks bad for the suspension?
« Reply #5 on: Jun 09, 2017, 12:48:57 PM »
my rear suspension has no down travel at all and 0 squat. its like driving an empty garbage truck ( i know its not a toyota, all the more is a full body it should move more ) so i need new shocks.
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Lewis Hein [OP]

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Re: Are stiff shocks bad for the suspension?
« Reply #6 on: Jun 09, 2017, 01:03:35 PM »
Those shocks should not be too stiff at all.

Hmmm. I've ridden in a 3rd gen 2WD with about the same tire pressure and factory shocks. The ride is much, much smoother, more than I think the different front end can account for. Also, loaded down with 4-500 lbs in the bed today the ride was noticeably smoother, which would seem to indicate stiff shocks.

I have some KYB shocks soon to be installed, so we'll see...

What tire pressure do you run?  There is a difference between tire pressure and tire pleasure...

30PSI. As above, this is a little less than is on that 2WD.

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Re: Are stiff shocks bad for the suspension?
« Reply #7 on: Jun 09, 2017, 01:45:09 PM »
That 2WD is a totally different animal though.  Stock solid axle 4WD trucks ride like hell in comparison.  Seriously if your truck is stock height on stock springs it will never ride much softer.

KYBs are outstanding though, you should be happy.  The GR2s are very soft and the monotubes (Gas-Adjust?) are pretty danged stiff but are also really good.  I thought the KYBs I had years ago rode better than my bilstiens.

You will have to let us know if the KYBs help out.  I'd like to be wrong :).
I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth.
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"Except for maybe Seattle."  -H8PVMNT

"I plan to hit 300k in this truck"  :)bestgen4runner

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Lewis Hein [OP]

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Re: Are stiff shocks bad for the suspension?
« Reply #8 on: Jun 09, 2017, 01:59:52 PM »
I know the 2WD is a totally different animal, but even so I didn't think that is enough different to account for what I'm noticing. Note, this is an unsubstantiated opinion. More proof (or dis-proof) will come shortly.

The other reason to change shocks is that the truck sits funny -- the rear is a good 1.5-2" higher than the front (except like now, when it's got a few hundred pounds of tires in the bed).

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Re: Are stiff shocks bad for the suspension?
« Reply #9 on: Jun 09, 2017, 03:07:07 PM »
Pull the shocks and go for a ride lol. and make sure you mess around with them while they're off. I know when I just bought my truck and it was on 4in blocks all around, it rode like TRASH. you'd get air time on every whoop. Switched to chevy springs and removed the blocks up front and it rides a lot better.
:)bestgen4runner [12:45 PM]:   I am so stupid.

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Lewis Hein [OP]

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Re: Are stiff shocks bad for the suspension?
« Reply #10 on: Jun 09, 2017, 04:11:08 PM »
I know when I just bought my truck and it was on 4in blocks all around, it rode like TRASH. you'd get air time on every whoop.

It's not even a lift kit on the rear-- Those shocks are just too long.

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Re: Are stiff shocks bad for the suspension?
« Reply #11 on: Jun 09, 2017, 04:16:57 PM »
It's not even a lift kit on the rear-- Those shocks are just too long.

it's less about shocks and more about stock springs. they are not very great. I still have the same shocks that I had when I first bought the truck.

pull em off, see how feel when you manually compress them, and then maybe jump up and down in the bed, you'll see the springs are stiff.
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Lewis Hein [OP]

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Re: Are stiff shocks bad for the suspension?
« Reply #12 on: Jun 09, 2017, 04:21:08 PM »
Time and the new KYB shocks will tell. I'm not after a perfect ride, just a good (even good for a 4WD SFA Toyota) one. I suspect that stretching those rear springs doesn't help the current setup, but we'll see.

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Re: Are stiff shocks bad for the suspension?
« Reply #13 on: Jun 09, 2017, 06:15:23 PM »
Time and the new KYB shocks will tell. I'm not after a perfect ride, just a good (even good for a 4WD SFA Toyota) one. I suspect that stretching those rear springs doesn't help the current setup, but we'll see.

shocks normally don't lift a vehicle...if you're stock, what's your shackle angle like? I think you may have the best ride stock toyota springs can provide
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Re: Are stiff shocks bad for the suspension?
« Reply #14 on: Jun 09, 2017, 06:58:12 PM »
My 84 Toyota rides stiffer than my grandfather's 86 F-250 HD. You can't compare 2wd to a 4wd SFA no matter what. IFS and solid axles will always ride different a SFA is always going to be a rougher ride.

Lewis Hein [OP]

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Re: Are stiff shocks bad for the suspension?
« Reply #15 on: Jun 12, 2017, 06:14:05 AM »
And the answer is....

The shocks were bad, and the rear shocks were too long.

I put in the KYBs Saturday and took it for a drive on my test road yesterday. The rear shocks were indeed too long, but as 300k pointed out, that doesn't lift the back end of the vehicle. However, all the shocks were shot. The front (Ranchos) you can compress easily and they never, ever rebound; the rear (Gas-matic) will take 30 seconds to rebound. The rear shocks are a good 2-3" longer than the KYBs that I put in -- I conclude that someone thought they were putting in a lift kit. This means that the shackle angle may be a little off, too.

On the test drive yesterday, the ride was improved, barely. It still rides rough, but not quite so rough as before


 
 
 
 
 

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