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Coilover v.s. Drop Bracket (cutting crossmember)

Discussion in 'Suspension' started by Snoozer, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. Dec 2, 2017 at 5:23 PM
    #1
    Snoozer

    Snoozer [OP] New Member

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    "Search Button". There. Got that out of the way. I searched multiple truck forums all at once using this thing called "Google", and I did NOT find the answer to my question. So if my question annoys you, because you think you've heard it before, please do 1 of 2 things.

    1. Point me to the thread that answers it.
    2. Move along to another thread.
    :hattip:

    Ok. Simple question for those who actually may KNOW the answer here. I'm NOT looking for "well, my cousin, who's a mechanic at Grease Monkey told me...". :burp:

    Does cutting the crossmember in a Drop Bracket lift sacrifice the overall strength/integrity/rigidity (yes, I know they're different things) of the frame/chassis when installing a quality drop bracket lift system? Forget the brands that provide :cookiemonster: hardware that I've read threads about on here. Lets just compare the respectable, top notch systems here.

    For example purposes only, lets compare a BDS 4.5" drop bracket system (crossmember cut required) to an ICON 0-3.5" coilover system (pick a "stage"). -BTW, price, ride quality, add-ons mean :poking: here. Just the facts.

    If you take a SR5 Tundra Crewmax on 35s into Moab, on a trail that has a bit of technical rock crawling that requires a respectable breakover, approach, and departure angles, but also offers 50+ mph sand trail romps in between obstacles (the best of 4-wheeling)... :mudding:which setup is going to come out on top? I'm not taking about ride quality here. Lets assume both setups offer a great ride on/off road, with the same performance suspension-wise.

    Its a valid question. You can have the most bada$$ Coilover setup on the market... but if you get high centered on some granite rock or sand whoop, you're breaking out the HiLift jack, winch, and/or getting some buddies to jump up/down on the bumpers to break you loose. Breakover angle is important! However, IF those extra 2-4 inches of Drop Bracket lift mean that your frame is compromised (strength-wise), or that you'll need a new alignment after every trail run because you now have more “anchor points” holding your front suspension together, since you’ve cut the crossmember for a drop bracket subframe.... :duel:


    :spy::stirthepot:
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  2. Dec 2, 2017 at 5:32 PM
    #2
    TXRailRoadBandit73

    TXRailRoadBandit73 RUNNIN' WITH THE DEVIL RÖCKIN' N RÖLLIN'

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    Once cross member is cut no turning back
     
  3. Dec 2, 2017 at 5:38 PM
    #3
    Backslider

    Backslider Thirsty...

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  4. Dec 2, 2017 at 5:43 PM
    #4
    TheBeast

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  5. Dec 2, 2017 at 5:46 PM
    #5
    4x4_Angel

    4x4_Angel Perfectly Imperfect Tomboy....TTC #132

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  6. Dec 2, 2017 at 5:52 PM
    #6
    Jsena

    Jsena Trend setter, not a follower!!

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    they make those crossmembers for off roaring. They’re not gonna break
     
  7. Dec 2, 2017 at 6:03 PM
    #7
    TheBeast

    TheBeast The Beach

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    getting close to those 10,000 posts :spy::spy:
     
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  8. Dec 2, 2017 at 6:04 PM
    #8
    TheBeast

    TheBeast The Beach

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    paging @Spvrtan :D
     
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  9. Dec 2, 2017 at 6:24 PM
    #9
    4x4_Angel

    4x4_Angel Perfectly Imperfect Tomboy....TTC #132

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    Only reason i know is because you guys point it out :p
     
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  10. Dec 2, 2017 at 8:41 PM
    #10
    14burrito

    14burrito IG @14burrito

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    Not true. @sdhq_offroad has done cuatom cross members for people who did a 6" but wanted to go back to a normal 3" coilover lift.
     
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  11. Dec 2, 2017 at 8:55 PM
    #11
    blue16

    blue16 New Member

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  12. Dec 2, 2017 at 9:03 PM
    #12
    TXRailRoadBandit73

    TXRailRoadBandit73 RUNNIN' WITH THE DEVIL RÖCKIN' N RÖLLIN'

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    Well I've called all Houston area shops n say no beuno
     
  13. Dec 2, 2017 at 9:16 PM
    #13
    BlueFalconActual

    BlueFalconActual Field Day Inspector Extraordinaire

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    Did someone say something about cutting members?
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Dec 2, 2017 at 9:22 PM
    #14
    landphil

    landphil I can’t be serious.

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    Crossmember, not crossdresser.
     
  15. Dec 2, 2017 at 9:28 PM
    #15
    TXRailRoadBandit73

    TXRailRoadBandit73 RUNNIN' WITH THE DEVIL RÖCKIN' N RÖLLIN'

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    Gotta be damn good welder
     
  16. Dec 3, 2017 at 12:24 PM
    #16
    Snoozer

    Snoozer [OP] New Member

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    If you’re referring here to the Drop Bracket as a “crossmember” (which they effectively are) I believe that SOME of them are built strong enough for offroad... but certainly not “all”. -For example, personally, I wouldn’t subject a 12 inch “:infantry:-proof” Drop Bracket to the strains of a challenging offroad trail. There’s just too much leverage in the pieces of that size of a “Drop Bracket” lift. I recently read a Tundras.com thread where a member claimed that the Zone reps flat out told a customer that the Zone kit wasn’t built for offroad...

    In any case, my original question isn’t whether the Drop Bracket itself would “break” or not. I’m familiar enough with the concept and construction of Drop Bracketry and what makes them “strong”...

    My question,reworded:
    I’m wondering if cutting out the OEM welded crossmember and replacing it with a bolt-in crossmember/sub-frame assembly would compromise the integrity of the front end as a whole. A “pavement princess” Tundra doesn’t have to worry as much about it as a Tundra that flexes the framerails on Moab’s Golden Spike trail. If comparing a BDS 4.5” to an ICON 3.5” lifted Tundra, and subjecting both to a respectably difficult offroad trail, which truck is going to have a crooked steering wheel and front end problems at the end of the day? -And that’s certainly not the only aspect to be concerned with. But I’m trying to keep it simple and general here.

    Am I conveying my actual question clear enough? I’m trying to.:playball:
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
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  17. Dec 3, 2017 at 12:29 PM
    #17
    Snoozer

    Snoozer [OP] New Member

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    ...Where your LCAs were once bolted into a fixed and welded portion of the frame, they are now bolted to an assembly of pieces that are also bolted together and then bolted onto the frame.

    Perhaps with a top notch kit like BDS, where the crossmembers (front and rear) are boxed-in together with a rugged skid plate, this may actually be “stronger” than the OEM one piece crossmember that gets cut? -A rigid, 3-sided box, also connected to suspension and steering components. But those pieces are still all bolted together, not welded. This is what I’m trying to wrap my head around.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
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  18. Dec 3, 2017 at 1:11 PM
    #18
    Sunnier

    Sunnier “DO it!”

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    :popcorn: I'll check back. Either learn something really beneficial, or see how this thread goes sideways....
     
  19. Dec 3, 2017 at 1:24 PM
    #19
    Snoozer

    Snoozer [OP] New Member

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    I'm hoping a chassis/suspension engineer chimes in with a clear answer and SolidWorks Pro Simulation pictures of metal strain and fatigue to back up the claim. :thumbsup::cool:

    I "think" I may already know the answer, but I wouldn't be asking here if I did.

    When I built my last rock crawler, I removed 1 midship OEM crossmember (bolted to the frame at the GM plant in 1976). But I also fabricated and added 2 rear crossmembers (also bolted to the frame). It really stiffened up the miserable frame flex those 1/2 ton rigs had offroad. But also left enough flex that I wasn't tearing holes in the frame.


    [​IMG]

    Crossmembers are important components of a vehicle's chassis. But my point here is that sometimes we CAN make improvements over the factory design. Not always though! Sometimes we're better off not undoing the OEM engineering of something, when we don't know the full extent of those modifications.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
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  20. Dec 3, 2017 at 4:18 PM
    #20
    ColoradoTJ

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    83 average posts a day...
     
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  21. Dec 3, 2017 at 4:25 PM
    #21
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ So there I was.... Staff Member

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    I’m moving to the MacBook. Comment coming shortly.
     
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  22. Dec 3, 2017 at 5:11 PM
    #22
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ So there I was.... Staff Member

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    On second thought, I have more important things to do. Good luck.
     
  23. Dec 3, 2017 at 6:59 PM
    #23
    Eclipsed & Floating

    Eclipsed & Floating Over it.........

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  24. Dec 3, 2017 at 7:05 PM
    #24
    14burrito

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    Just gotta call the right shop is all :)
     
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  25. Dec 3, 2017 at 7:05 PM
    #25
    TXRailRoadBandit73

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    I have lots of em won't mess with it
     
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  26. Dec 3, 2017 at 7:06 PM
    #26
    14burrito

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  27. Dec 3, 2017 at 7:34 PM
    #27
    n2deep

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    A drop bracket isn't gonna get you more ground clearance - maybe a little on the frame rails. They call it a drop bracket for a reason. And the part were you said "assume". Well yeah. And it would depend on what shocks you paired with the drop bracket cause if your not using an ext coilover you're not gonna be able to romp between obatacles at 50 mph without breaking something. I know people who have bent spindles on a drop bracket lift trying to keep up with coilover setup. Maybe they need to drive better or maybe too much stress on the setup.
     
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  28. Dec 3, 2017 at 8:57 PM
    #28
    Snoozer

    Snoozer [OP] New Member

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    :annoyed::frusty:

    Where’s the anti-Troll option when starting a thread???
     
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  29. Dec 3, 2017 at 9:15 PM
    #29
    831Tun

    831Tun crazy Bastrd

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  30. Dec 4, 2017 at 8:02 AM
    #30
    the_midwesterner

    the_midwesterner New Member

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    None, yet....
    I'll try to answer your questions in order.

    Does cutting your crossmember sacrifice strength/integrity/rigidity?
    Short answer: Yes. The crossmember was designed in a specific format/shape in order to obtain the necessary strength required for chassis rigidity, durability, etc. Now does that mean your truck will buckle in half if you cut your crossmember and install a bracket lift? No, not for a while. If the lift is designed correctly, stress loads calculated correctly and sufficient R&D performed in a dynamic format, then you should be OK. Does this mean every crossmember relocation lift is great? Absolutely not. There is a lot of junk out there.

    Best setup?
    This is opinion based. My opinion is coilovers with matching shocks out back. This gives you some lift, extra fluid capacity on the coilovers, and extended travel. Now, there are other guys running 12" lifts on there with 24" wheels and they think that's the best setup. It's all about your realistic intended function of the vehicle. For me, I will be running a 3.0 coilovers up front and a matching rear shock only. Whether King or Icon, jury is still out.

    Your last statement best describes both situations. In the crawler world, ground clearance is king. Tons of guys shaving 14 bolts, Dana 60s, etc. etc. to gain that 1-2 extra inches. I personally shaved a 14 bolt to gain clearance in comparison to a D44 on 35s, while running 37s. This doesn't sound like much, but a 14 bolt is massive. I will be lifting my truck, but I have to sacrifice ground clearance on my crossmember to do so, then it's not worth it to me.
     
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