Budget Bug Out Vehicle Pt 4
Yes, I’m back with the latest updates on my truck modifications to the Budget Bug Out vehicle project. This post will be about the suspension, which is normally the first thing the yahoos and kids do to their new trucks but my reasons for waiting will be covered in a minute.
The holidays and work have slowed my posts down a little but Ive still been out “doing” instead of just writing.
I bought a kit from Bilstein lifts which contained 4 Bilstein shocks, the 5100 adjustable for the front and standard for the rear. Springs front and a new leaf for the rear. Included were 2 half inch spacers for the front and an additional quarter inch spacer which caused a bunch of head scratching at first as there was only 1.
The quarter inch spacer for the front is in case your truck has a lean after the kit is installed. You pull the high side, remove the half inch spacer and install the quarter inch. I know this is slightly out of order but if you are doing this its much better to know it before you get everything bolted up.
I bought Bilsteins because the model Toyota I have, came originally with the same. Heres why I waited to do the upgrades and lift. There is nothing wrong with the factory suspension except I wanted slightly more ground clearance as well as leveling out the ride.
But there is absolutely no sense in removing a brand new set of shocks, basically donate them to whoever does your lift install, to put the same back on with springs and spacers.
Shocks need replacing anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000 miles depending on the shop and how bad they want to sell you something. So realistically when you need to do the normal maintenance is the best time to upgrade.
Swapping rear shocks is easy. Too easy in fact and jinxed the whole project
Get the truck up on the jack stands, level and pull the wheels. Unbolt the shocks top and bottom AFTER raising the axle with a floor jack, then lower the axle until the shock clears the top mount.
Give it a smack with the hammer and the shock should pop right out.
Install the new shock in reverse orderWithout the hammer hopefully
At this point if you are not adding a leaf to the rear springs, check your brakes for wear, grease all fittings as needed and put it back together. I have 80k miles on my truck, and the pads and shoes look like new. I bought new and they are on the shop shelf now, since I’m keeping this truck I will eventually install them.
The rear is easy, the leaf I added required removing the U bolts and then installing the leaf in the stack. I used the new bolt which was supplied in the kit and saved the old bolts in the shop parts bucket.
Its almost self explanatory, but if you aren’t comfortable doing it there is a shop local to you who can do it at minimal cost. I like this kind of thing and I have a friend who has an awesome shop.
The front was a different animal and I am not going to go into much detail except to say this. If you’ve never installed a front strut with compressed springs you really need to just break loose with the cash and either have a shop compress them for you, or have the shop do the install at the same time you get the alignment done.
This end of the project can bite you hard, and if you get smacked with a compressed spring don’t say I didn’t warn you to not do it.
The cost for the lift is actually reasonable considering the shocks need replacing at intervals anyway. The shocks I put in were upgrades but with parts you should get the best you can afford if you are replacing old.
The shocks alone would be around $525
The kit was $700 including shipping, so I got 2 leaves, 2 coils, and all the hardware for $175. That’s an easy decision to make.
From talking to shop owners and guys who did this when they bought their truck, install including front end alignment and parts would be between $1800 and $2300.
This is very much in most people’s budget for regular maintenance and less than $200 for a 3 inch lift is a bargain
I did it with 2 days and $850 including alignment, with help and a good shop setup. Having the right tools and the right help is beyond description.
Budget Bug Out Vehicle Pt 4