Adrian Flygt (Big_Flygt)
Toyota Tech: Toyota SUV Suspension Lift Collaboration
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1995 Toyota 4Runner SR5, 4WD, 3.0 Liter, 6 Cylinder, Automatic

Bilstein HD Shocks
Sway-A-Way 25mm Torsion Bars
Rockstomper front sway bar disconnects

Rancho 5009s
Downey Heavy Duty Springs
Downey 1.5 Spacers
Downey 3" Panhard Drop Bracket

Downey Heavy Duty Springs:

When I got my runner, I noticed the rear end sagging when empty. When it was loaded even modestly the tail almost hit the ground. When funds permitted, I started looking for some sort of way to lift the rear that would help load carrying and the aesthetics of the tail dragger. A local shop recommended a set of air bags that fit in the coils. I continued research and found out about Downey springs for the rear of 90-95 runners. The coils come in two spring rates. Regular, which is identical to stock, and heavy-duty which is twenty percent stiffer. Because I have a pair of 12 subs and their box in the back all of the time and occasionally carry large amounts of camping gear, I went with the heavy duties. The kit comes with two coils, a longer rear brake line, and a bracket to raise the brake proportioning valve. The bracket includes a set of lower holes to be used when only the coils are installed and a set of higher holes if the coils are used with the spacers. A local shop did the install. When I came to pick it up, I was quite impressed. I could tell the tail now sat where I thought it belonged, a little higher than the nose unloaded. Driving the truck revealed the rear was now slightly firmer on the road unloaded, but not jarring by any means. With a full load in the back, the settling was only around an inch, nowhere near the level it had reached before. Off-road, the springs articulated well. I had originally feared the Heavy Duties would be too heavy duty and stiff, but I was pleasantly surprised. I am quite pleased with both the functional and aesthetic gains the coils offered, they really make a pronounced difference. I would definitely buy these again if I were looking for a slight lift and an increase in load capacity in the rear.

Doetsch Tech Shocks with Heavy Duty Coils:

At the same time I got the coils, I also added new rear shocks to replace the stockers that had almost 95k miles on them. When ordering the coils, I asked the sales rep what sort of shock he recommended with the new coils. He advised a Doetsch Tech model that was slightly longer than stock to fully use the new travel offered by the coils, I believe they are 8000 series Pre-Runners. I didnt argue with the guy and ordered a pair straight away. The stockers stopped complete extension, but were still manageable on compression. The new shocks were relatively cheap, around $35 and did the job of controlling the springs preventing excessive bouncing or rough ride. I would by them again because they were cost effective and utilized the new travel.

Downey 1.5 Spacers:

I found these while preparing for some new tires and thought that extra rear lift would be necessary. The All-Pro 2.5 spacers seemed impractical at the time because I did not have a heavy rear bumper and was hesitant to go with 4 full inches of rear lift without changing any other suspension components. The spacers install on top of the rear coils to provide a 1.5 lift bringing the rear total to 3 with the coils and spacers together. This was just what I was looking for to go with the cranked t-bars up front. This created a slight rake, but did not take on a full-scale hot rod stance with the rear looking grossly out of place in the air. The kit includes two spacers, extended swaybar end links, a panhard rod drop bracket and a brake proportioning valve drop bracket. The brake valve bracket that is included with the coils has two sets of holes, one for use with just the coils, one for use with the coils and the spacers combined. It is not necessary to put the new bracket in, just use the top holes from the bracket that should have gone on with the coils. Because the spacers work as a stepwise gain with the springs, I easily and happily added the springs one summer and the spacers the next. This allows a gradual gain of height and compliments the growing stages that most of our rigs go through. Although it worked well at the time, I would avoid going this route if it all possible. I would prefer a full 3 lift coil to the spacer and spring combination. My current set-up allows enough travel to get the coil and spacer assembly to slip down off the bumpstops, but not off the rig all together. For now, this is a nuisance, but it could be a bigger problem. A complete 3 coil with a spring rate near that of the Downey coils that I already have would be great, for me in retrospect, but at the time, the springs first and the spacers a year later was really practical.

Doetsch Tech Shocks with stud conversion and 3 of rear lift:

These are the first shocks that I ran with the coil and spacer combination. I set out looking for shocks and was leery of going with Ranchos for a number reasons, one of which I later dispelled. I thought that a Bilstein rear would be great after the experience I had with my fronts, but there was no application for the rear other than stockers. A rep I talked with at Bilstein recommended looking at a stud conversion to allow a wider array of shocks and provide what he regarded as a better mount. This led me to Rosser Jeep and the stud conversion. It is a little metal C that bolts to the rear mounting hole and allows the use of a shock with eyes on both ends. With these in place, I measured for new shocks and found that the Bilstein 5100s that I really was hoping for would not work. This led to a call to All-Pro and some 8336 Doetsch Tech shocks. The new shocks rode all right and allowed for a tremendous amount of extension leading to some issues with the drive shaft and the gas tank skid plate. It also allowed the upper control arms to contact the back of the gas tank skid plate. Unfortunately it did not allow complete compression. The shock has an integrated bump stop that compressed most of the way, but does not allow the bump stops on the truck to be reached. I could have cut them off, but I had not wheeled this set-up yet. Judging by garage flexing it, things were going to be too close. I would not try this plan again, but the product itself was not the problem. I tried going away from tried and true parts in the rear and did not have the patience to make things work. A shock that is a stud on one end and an eye on the other is the best way to do this.

Rancho 5009s:

After really missing the mark with the Doetsch Tech shocks and their integrated bump stops, I reluctantly turned to Rancho. Although I had never experienced it, I had heard horror stories about 9000s in the rust belt, so I was hesitant to go that route. Instead, I turned to the 5000 series, model number 5009. I was afraid that these were going to be too stiff, but bolted them on anyway. The ride certainly firmed up, but it was not harsh. Rancho shocks that have a 0 as the second number are valved for dual shock applications, so perhaps that prevented them from riding too rough. These shocks measure 15.67 compressed and 26.8 extended, according to Rancho. This allows full travel in the rear, which is a blessing in disguise. The rear coils can now come out of the spacers and be pulled almost completely out of the truck. The control arms now fight the mounts to twist, and both the drive shaft, and the upper control arm on the passenger side hit the gas tank skid plate. A little work with a pliers and some trimming of the skid plate should solve the problem. The shocks ride great, allow tremendous travel, but do expose some potential problems with the otherwise stock rear suspension. Three inches appears to be the practical lift limit without lengthening control arms or experimenting with panhard rod drops. The only problem with the shocks is that they came with a bottom bushing that is too small, but also has a metal collar in it. This was a slight annoyance to remove, but not a big problem at all. I would definitely buy these shocks in conjunction with this rear lift again.

Stock Length Bilstein Shocks:

The ride in my runner was getting a little rough with almost 95k miles on the stock shocks, so I began looking for some replacements. The bulletin boards that I frequented spoke highly of Bilsteins, so I decided to give them a try. I went with the ones from Performance products, the non-TRD versions. The incredibly flexy suspension up front does not need extra compression travel, so I stuck with stock length. I already had low profile bump stops up front along with Rockstomper sway bar disconnects, but no other front end modifications beyond that. The new shocks firmed up the ride, but the old shocks were certainly well-worn so there was not much else to compare to. With the sway bar removed, the shocks slightly limited extension. Although I have not done it yet, the problem can be eliminated with some extra shock bushings below the mount to move them down as needed. I was pleased with the ride with the stock torsion bars and was also impressed that the shocks seemed to work well when I swapped in the 25mm torsion bars. I would buy these shocks again, definitely worth the money. They work great both off-road and on.

Sway-Away 25mm Torsion Bars :

In anticipation of 33s, I was looking for some sort of extra front lift without going to a full IFS lift. Instead of cranking the stock torsion bars, I turned to some 25mm Sway-A-Ways. Late in the life of the runner, I hope to add a front bumper and winch, so I thought it would be worth adding the thicker bars that are supposed to help manage the extra weight. I installed the bars and cranked them to 15 from the top of the rim to the bottom of the fender. The install was a bit tight, one of the adjust bolts snapped in half, the other just snapped off the head. It is manageable for one person to do in an afternoon and there are a lot of great write-ups on it. The new ride height was noticeable as was a much stiffer ride. The A-arms do not rest on the extension low profile bump stops, but they are close. A lot of the down travel was eaten up by cranking the bars. As far as compression, I have yet to get the arms to reach the low profile compression bump stops. This is a bit of a concern because front travel was not tremendous to begin with. I hope that this will change as I get more miles on the bars and hopefully add more weight up front. Because the rear flexes fairly well, the loss of some front travel is a little less bothersome, but still a problem. These bars ride well on the road and do decent fire road type speeding. Slow going off-road is adversely affected by the bars at their current height, but might change at a lower height or with more front end weight. I am genuinely in limbo about purchasing these bars again. The loss of travel is frightful, but the potential to better manage more weight would be a blessing.

Doetsch Tech Shocks Front Suspension Drive Shaft

Rear Suspension Suspension Flex Lifted Stance

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