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Suspension Upgrades for towing.

Discussion in 'Towing & Hauling' started by ColoradoTJ, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. Jul 5, 2016 at 10:43 PM
    #1
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ [OP] Black Rifle Coffee

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    There has to be a fix for my truck. Here is the problem, and some of you have read my other thread about my towing experiences (1500 miles with the Tundra), so please bare with me:

    - The rear seems to be fixed with airbags and is not a harsh ride/feel when towing my camper. Some new shocks should also help with this issue since the factory craptastic ones have 76+K miles on them.

    - Front end spring rate feels light. I totally understand the teeter totter effect from towing something like a Travel Trailer, but it feels like the front bump stops are getting used more often than not.

    Has anyone had this issue or something close to it? Hell, there are people on here that tow larger TT than mine. I'm just not ready to sell my paid off Tundra and depleting some accounts to pay for a 60K truck that I might use 5-10K miles per year. At the moment, it just doesn't make sense to me.

    I have been looking at:

    - The Bilstein 6112 kit. Not really interested in the .75" lift, but I can compromise a little to make this truck perform better. Not sure on the spring rate yet, will have to look into that (I'm sure these are progressive springs and hopefully more than the factory ones).

    - OME springs and some 5100's. Anyone done that?

    Some of the research on other forums on diesel trucks is just nerve racking and flat out scary. Not sure if I want to subject myself and my family to that BS again. My Tundra has been rock solid and now the best truck I have ever owned (last one was a Chevy 1/2 ton that make it to 75k without any major issues). However, I do want to be safe and not push limits. I still need to test out the actual tongue weight of the trailer loaded up without water.

    So if you have some input on this issue, please jump right in. Thanks
     
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  2. Jul 6, 2016 at 1:42 AM
    #2
    4wd

    4wd New Member

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    Personally I'd add some leafs to existing & I'd also dump the overload... & increase some dampening by way of shocks...


    [​IMG]
     
  3. Jul 6, 2016 at 3:40 AM
    #3
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ [OP] Black Rifle Coffee

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    What did you go with?
     
  4. Jul 6, 2016 at 4:14 AM
    #4
    bandit

    bandit New Member

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    Blue Ox weight distribution/Sway bar hitch has always been my go to. Used it with my 09 silverado 1500 I had along with the tundra towing a 25ft. stupidly over built enclosed car hauler. Haven't had any of the issues you've described through your other thread though. My tundra road like butter once the trailer was hooked up. Is your TT a triple or double axle? Whats the current hitch setup that you have, or are you just hooking it up to a standard receiver and heading out?
     
  5. Jul 6, 2016 at 4:20 AM
    #5
    bandit

    bandit New Member

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    I just went back over your thread. Your rig is certainly bigger than mine. Weight wise, probably close to the same once it's loaded up with a car. Check out the 3500lb system from OX. Their anti sway receiver works pretty damn well. Best one I've used yet. However I did get a chance to compare the tundra to a new chevy 2500 and it was no question which performed demonstrably better.
     
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  6. Jul 6, 2016 at 5:43 AM
    #6
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ [OP] Black Rifle Coffee

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    I do have a Equal-I-Zer LDH, 1000 lb bars. Good point on having a LDH for the towing I am doing.

    In this picture the Hellwig overloads were installed, LDH needed a small adjustment.

    69539CA6-A444-4913-88D2-65FFD95C4FF6_zps_75ac614eb0d99ed54d9402f51156fc1d589742da.jpg
     
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  7. Jul 6, 2016 at 3:38 PM
    #7
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ [OP] Black Rifle Coffee

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    Anyone else do front spring upgrades and tow?
     
  8. Jul 6, 2016 at 8:23 PM
    #8
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ [OP] Black Rifle Coffee

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    Also, I needed to add that at times, when in corners with this trailer, the traction control is going off. The tires are wearing out on the outside and the alignment is good.

    So this is telling me the front end is still on the light side and skidding in corners. I can add one more washer to the load distribution hitch for maximum set-point.
     
  9. Jul 7, 2016 at 11:26 PM
    #9
    4wd

    4wd New Member

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    What you see pictured is a set I put together for a 2nd gen Tacoma that tows relatively heavy & often, I've rebuilt springs for about 200 Tacomas on another site...
     
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  10. Jul 7, 2016 at 11:32 PM
    #10
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ [OP] Black Rifle Coffee

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    So what would you build? Use current spring pack and add what?

    Thanks for any help.
     
  11. Jul 8, 2016 at 4:52 PM
    #11
    4wd

    4wd New Member

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    Sure no worries.... When I build a set of springs for towing , I look for springs that are slightly thicker & have very little ARC to them, these are what I'd use for donor springs to add to stock leafs (usually off early Chevy/Ford trucks) I get these at the local wrecking yard. Since towing a trailer puts a lot of down force on the shackle end of the springs, I'll cut & configure my donors accordingly to reinforce & stiffen up the shackle end, this stops a lot of pitching & diving ("swimming" of rear end) while turning at speed & stops the wandering of trailer whilst maintaining a straight trajectory down the road/freeway/expressway/etc;..

    Here's a link to my spring thread on another forum, it may help clarify what I'm talking about....

    http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/suspension/194386-tacoma-spring-refurbishing.html
     
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  12. Jul 8, 2016 at 7:39 PM
    #12
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ [OP] Black Rifle Coffee

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    Thanks Doug. That thread cracked me up. I got up to about page 9. Good times. I have used Alcan springs on my 99 & 2000 Tacoma's since they were complete shit (my 14 Tacoma isn't any better, but it is a pavement pounder).

    Not sure a new spring pack will help my front end issue. The rear is pretty good once I removed the Hellwig overload spring. Hell, The factory springs with my Load Distribution Hitch properly set up was a 100% improvement. After the airbags were installed, like a dream in the rear.
     
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  13. Jul 8, 2016 at 8:05 PM
    #13
    zcarpenter92

    zcarpenter92 Yotas, Coronas and 'Merica

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    Is that a euphemism?
     
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  14. Jul 8, 2016 at 8:54 PM
    #14
    4wd

    4wd New Member

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    Shit, I probably missed the whole point to your issues dude, I'm sorry..:oops::oops: What's up with front end...??



    I don't think this man dreams about his rear, so I'd say , no, not a euphemism...;);)
     
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  15. Jul 8, 2016 at 8:57 PM
    #15
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ [OP] Black Rifle Coffee

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    I was gay once, until it was my turn....
     
  16. Jul 8, 2016 at 9:00 PM
    #16
    4wd

    4wd New Member

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    Thats some funny shit right there....:rofl:
     
  17. Jul 8, 2016 at 9:02 PM
    #17
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ [OP] Black Rifle Coffee

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    The front end:

    Feels like the shocks are worn out with no dampening effects, and this is probably the issue with factory socks at 76,500 miles.

    In some corners, dry pavement at or below the speed limit, the front traction control goes off like the tires are skidding. To be honest they might be and the trailer is pushing me in corners. The outside of my tires are wearing faster than the insides for sure. Alignment is good.
     
  18. Jul 8, 2016 at 9:03 PM
    #18
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ [OP] Black Rifle Coffee

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    I like Zach, but not in a gay way. He one funny mofo.
     
  19. Jul 9, 2016 at 12:07 AM
    #19
    4wd

    4wd New Member

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    If your sure your numbers are right...But gotta say, with that kind of wear it sounds like too much camber...
     
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  20. Jul 9, 2016 at 12:15 AM
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    4wd

    4wd New Member

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    & do you trust your alignment shop of choice ?? Reason I say that is next time you get it aligned, make it a point to look & see if your cam adjusters on LCA's loosen up for alignment purposes, I got a feeling that their froze up & if thats true, no proper legit alignment can be done until the froze adjuster issue is resolved, wouldn't be the first time a shop BS'd the customer....
     
  21. Jul 9, 2016 at 4:37 AM
    #21
    bandit

    bandit New Member

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    This is so damn true! +1 for 4wd guy knowing his stuff.
     
  22. Jul 9, 2016 at 7:52 AM
    #22
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ [OP] Black Rifle Coffee

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    My tires have always worn well. A good portion of the 2500 miles towing has been in tight mountain twisty roads (past 2 months). It is not extreme on the wear either. 1/32s difference from outside to inside is not uncommon I would think. The wear is not visible to the eye, just my depth gauge.

    I do trust this alignment shop. I get a printout every time and I am within specs. To be honest, I'm still on the factory alignment. This shop has actually had me not perform work that I thought needed done in the past and showed me I was ok. I have to say, it is a refreshing feeling fully knowing that this shop values repeat customers.

    When I upgrade shocks, I will try to break the cam bolts free to see if that is a problem. I will need an alignment anyway. Good point and idea.
     
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  23. Jul 9, 2016 at 1:28 PM
    #23
    4wd

    4wd New Member

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    Thats good you have a legit/honest shop looking out for ya, they are getting harder to come by...
     
  24. Jul 10, 2016 at 5:41 AM
    #24
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ [OP] Black Rifle Coffee

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    Been doing some research.

    The Bilstien 6112 kit is looking pretty good right about meow.
     
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  25. Jul 10, 2016 at 5:42 AM
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    bandit

    bandit New Member

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    I still say it's your LDH.....
     
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  26. Jul 10, 2016 at 1:47 PM
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    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ [OP] Black Rifle Coffee

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    Could be, but I have ran two different ones that are pretty much industry standard. I will look at the setup again though when I get back out to the camper.
     
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  27. Jan 3, 2017 at 1:49 AM
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    NurEye

    NurEye New Member

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    So what did you end up going with?
     
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  28. Jan 3, 2017 at 4:13 AM
    #28
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ [OP] Black Rifle Coffee

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    A GMC 3500 diesel :D

    I put on the Bilstein 6112/5160, coach builder +2 shackles, and airbags. I also tried overload springs rated at 2500 lbs.

    To be honest, I just tow more weight than I should have with the truck and compounded with the Colorado mountains it was just to much. My tongue wight was just heavy.
     
  29. Jan 3, 2017 at 5:04 AM
    #29
    mverkaik

    mverkaik New Member

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    Been bouncing in and out of you threads for a while now. I tow a 29' Jayco TT that when loaded is probably near 1,000# on the tongue. I wanted to get some miles under my belt before I weighed in.

    This past August we did a 5,000 mile trip from MI to Yellowstone and a bunch of other places. The truck did well but here is what I learned.

    - The rear of the Tundra is under built for the towing capacity that it is advertised. My hitch bent but more on that later.
    - The Tundra's powertrain is one of the best I have used in the sub-HD truck world. It is defiantly the best of the half ton world.
    - I love the 4.30 gearing.
    - The factory brake control is GARBAGE!

    I believe your biggest problem is that your WDH is not adjusted properly. If your rear is sagging that much with helper springs you are not moving enough of the weight to the front the the truck.
    I believe that the front of your truck is bouncing a lot because it lacks weight. Your TT is wagging the dog (up and down). You were feeling this in the rear bump stops and with that fixed you are now feeling this with the front end moving up and down a lot.

    Now, back to the story of the bent trailer hitch.

    I have a Rigid CenterLine hitch. I adjusted it so that the front was at the same height when loaded as it was before I started. The rear of the truck went about 2" (the truck sat level).
    Things were great till we started running two-lane roads in Utah, Wyoming, Colorado. There are some significant dips in the road there that at 60 mph will find your bump stops. Never once did I feel out of control. In fact I felt like the truck did a little too well for its own good.
    When we got to Dinosaur National Monument I noticed that the truck was no longer level but rather squatting about 2". The front of the truck was up a little and it did not drive as well with a lighter front end (kinda bouncy). At this point I re-adjused the hitch and figured all was well.
    From there we continued east through Rocky Mountain National Park and eventually we stopped in Kansas. All this time I watched the back of the truck continue to sag more and more. I triple checked the hitch, cussed a little but we were on the home stretch so I pushed on.
    When we go home I took my hitch and put it next to a brand new unit. Nothing bent and nothing out of where it should be.
    I went to my local Toyota dealer with my hitch to find out that in my truck the hitch was twisted up about 3 degrees. They stood there with their jaws on the ground.
    Toyota declined to replace my hitch at first claiming that I had overloaded the truck. Eventually they replaced the hitch and sure enough all was right with the world again.

    The long and the short of this story is that you don't want too much suspension travel when you have a WDH hooked up. As the rear of your truck moves down the bars load up significantly (5x the rate you loaded them to level the truck based on my measurements). This is the problem.

    I installed a set of airbags. I set up the WDH exactly like I had it before and then add 25 psi. This brings the back of the tuck up about an inch but like any airbag adds significantly more force as the suspension attempts to compress (my truck sits nearly the same with the trailer connected as it does without). This eliminated the deflection of the rear suspension over large dips in the road.

    My experience and my two cents. Feel free to tear it up.

    Mike
     
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  30. Jan 3, 2017 at 9:01 PM
    #30
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ [OP] Black Rifle Coffee

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    Sorry for the late response. I had one of "those" days at work where a smart person would have brought a 1/5th of good whiskey.

    I will answer your comments and address your concerns inside the quote in color. I will tread lightly, as I have said in the past since moving to a 1 ton diesel doesn't make me king ding-a-ling towing Jesus. However, I do have a rather long history with towing and over 150K miles of that loaded. This does not include my Commercial Driving time.

    I often wonder if people towing 8000-10K with their Tundras and say "tows great, I don't have any problems" have ever truly towed with something solely designed around towing loads or "something superior" to a half ton gas motor? I'm thinking not. We have a few members that have diesel 3/4 or 1 tons and Tundra trucks due to enjoying the Tundra much like I did for daily duties and what not. Towing long distances and in mountains it just was not safe in my opinion.

    Now I no longer even use a LDH, it isn't even required until past what I am even towing. Get the right tool for the job, ask questions from reputable people that will not lie to you "just because that is what they have"....
     
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