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I called sway-a-way and although the website lists them as backordered the person on the phone said she had some in stock! I put an order in and they should ship today.  I've got all new bushings for the front and rear sway bars and front strut rod ordered -- all of the original ones are still there and a few are worn/loose.  With the ball joint spacer, new torsion bars and all of the bushings installed I'll be ready for a proper front end alignment.

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Oh, my 100th post!  

I know this thread doesn't need any more detail, but I just returned from a trip on the new suspension and I wanted to give an update.

After the previous post I set about getting the front end set up correctly.  The sway-a-way torsion bars were pretty easy to install.  They seem to work well and I do not notice any significant change in stiffness.  I do notice that my front height stays where I set it now so I think the upgrade was worth it.  They still have some in stock even though the website says they don't and they shipped right away.  So, with the sway bars installed I then changed all of the bushings in front and started playing with the lift and alignment.

Lift is easy to adjust via the torsion arm adjuster bolt.  Alignment on the older IFS 2WD rigs is done by changing the shims on the upper control arm.  I  bought a simple gauge available for like $15 from ebay or amazon that was really helpful:

537889691_41OdyOYZ3L.jpg.c533207b6f0b2af01881a3e0e617596e.jpg

It's technically just calibrated for camber but it is possible to use it for caster as well.  I can post the instructions and some more info on doing a home alignment if that would be of interest.  I found a local shop experienced in trucks and they told me to get it close in the driveway and then bring it to them to check it.  I was pretty set on getting about 1" to 1.25" of lift on the front end.  When I set it this high I had very little room for travel before the upper control arm (UCA) hit the bumper.  Camber also required a big adjustment with this amount of lift.  To get the travel on the UCA I put a "ball joint spacer" in.  These come standard at 1.5" but that turned out to be too much because with 1" lift and that 1.5" spacer the camber could not be brought into spec.  I cut down the spacer to 1" on a milling machine and then everything fit together and could be aligned to spec.  It looks like this:

IMG_20190314_092938018.jpg.05cd4cf6b9c1cad6815e5e096678c307.jpg

The 1" lift with the torsion bar is a perfect match to the 1" spacer in terms of control arm travel.  If I went any higher than that with lift I started running into problems with alignment so I am sticking with 1" lift on the front.   When I brought it to the local shop to check it out they gave me an A+ on the front lift and alignment (camber, caster and toe).  I was able to get it all in spec and correct in my driveway so now I feel confident that I'll be able to keep it aligned myself.  No other shop near me would let me in the door due to the vehicle weight/height, age, the dreaded shims, and the modified spacer.  The folks at the big truck shop didn't mind any of that stuff.  They were actually really helpful and they spent a long time with me looking over the whole suspension to make sure it was all done properly.    They said the spring and air bag setup in the rear was good and saw no issue with that.  They said air bags are optional if you get the springs right, which echos several other posts on this topic.  Given my desire to change rear height to level the vehicle I'll stick with the air bags.  I just got back from a week long trip and I didn't have to use any leveling blocks the entire trip!  I was able to level from inside with the air controllers by lifting or lowering the rear bags as needed.  Score!  Driving I keep about 30 psi in them now and the ride is very good.  

I like the extra 1" of lift all the way around and I'm not noticing any down sides from front or rear lift.  I'm riding level while driving.  With all of the new bushings the rig is actually more stable than before I started this whole suspension thing.  I had quite a bit of wind at the Georgia coast and the sway was less than I used to have when I was lower.  I did have a small issue with the tires (totally unrelated to suspension and alignment) that I brought up in a different post but otherwise I was very pleased with the results of this suspension re-furb project.

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AtlantaCamper - happy to hear you got your suspension situated, lots of good info by the techies. i found the CS009R model 6-leaf spring on a variety of sites, and one had an application list. listed is every year from 1969 to 2014 for Toys, except for the years '75 thru '83. ... will they work on my '78? Did something change during that period?

i ended up with one broken shock mount and 2 missing shackle pins. 40 years of surf and spray has taken its toll.

i need to wait on addressing my height issue, but i dig the wheelie casters trick. i might just do that, too.

 

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On 4/14/2019 at 11:03 PM, Ron Alan said:

will they work on my '78?

Hmm, not sure on that.  I think it's a matter of the mount eye hole size, the width and the eye to eye center distance.  If all of those match the specs then it should work.

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Just CALL the folks selling the spring paks and ask about 75-83. Save a bunch of bandwidth.

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On 3/4/2019 at 10:47 AM, AtlantaCamper said:

I called sway-a-way and although the website lists them as backordered the person on the phone said she had some in stock! I put an order in and they should ship today.  I've got all new bushings for the front and rear sway bars and front strut rod ordered -- all of the original ones are still there and a few are worn/loose.  With the ball joint spacer, new torsion bars and all of the bushings installed I'll be ready for a proper front end alignment.

@AtlantaCamperWhere did you find the rear sway bushings? Was it a complete set? Also, do you have any feedback on the torsion bar upgrade?

 

Edited by mpanzar
additional question

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11 minutes ago, mpanzar said:

feedback on the torsion bar upgrade?

I am very happy with the torsion bar upgrade.  Before the new torsion bars I couldn't keep a consistent height on one side.  Now it's all rock steady.   I honestly can't tell any difference in ride quality or stiffness or anything.  They work, they fit, they are good quality.  And pretty straight forward to install.  If you have torsion bar issues the sway-a-way's are good replacement options.

13 minutes ago, mpanzar said:

Where did you find the rear sway bushings?

I ended up not changing the rear sway bar bushings.  The ones I bought didn't match up exactly and so I just didn't install them.  I determined that there was very little play in the rear sway bar so I left well enough alone for now.  I'll have to deal with replacing them someday, but for now the old ones are performing at an acceptable level.  Seems like replacing them will take a bit of effort to source some that will work/fit and there doesn't seem to be a great deal of consistency in the pictures I see of other folk's setups so one person's solution may not fit another person's situation.

One other thing I should note is that I bought regular old rubber (Moog brand) leaf spring bushings.  Two have already given out. Two others squeak. They didn't fit right from the start and maybe I messed them up on the install but I've recently purchased the Energy polyurethane bushings and I'll be replacing all of them soon.  I should have gone right for the Energy's from the get go.  

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Thanks for the quick reply. ive found the same thing when looking for the rear sway bushings. Good info regarding the rear leaf bushings, ive already purchased the poly kit so im in good shape there. 

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Ol skool redneck sway bar bushing shim ... automotive heater hose, just split it and push it on. Use a hose clamp to keep it from shifting.😜

 

 

 

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I like the heater hose idea!

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@AtlantaCamper im currently installing the leaf springs and just want to do a quick sanity check. below is a picture of the new leaf almost installed. I was expecting the shackle to be sitting a little more vertical. do you remember your installation looking like this?

image.png.f6c8c9871d5a51a51d959f39ed503342.png

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18 minutes ago, mpanzar said:

do you remember your installation looking like this?

It looks like you have one side installed but the other end not in the front mount point, right?  It's a little hard to tell from that image.   Once you install and put the weight back on it then the shackle will go straight - at least that's what it did with mine.  

If you unwrap the spring (do you still have the shipping wrap on there?) and let it relax and put it next to your old one you should be able to confirm that they are basically equivalent.

Did you look and see if your springs were labeled with a "+" or "-" painted on the front end?  That would mean "over" or "under" spec height by 1/4" for example.  Often they are either not labeled at all or have the same label - which means they are a supposed to be a matched equivalent set.  

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that image has the front end installed. 

the wrap is still on the springs. i though it was just protective wrap. are there clamps or something that needs to be removed under the red wrap?

Both springs are labeled with a "+"

image.png.515cbfedc5516d004b5eca328b863c94.png

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5 minutes ago, mpanzar said:

wrap is still on the springs

As I recall the red wrap is just for shipping. Take all of that off. There are clamps that hold the springs together under the wrap; those stay on the springs.  

Your springs look normal and should fit fine once you put the weight on them.  If they are too high after install you can take a leaf out.   You only have 18' so you won't have as much weight as I did so it's possible you could end up riding a little high.  They will settle down about 1/2" or so after initial install.  Do you have air bags on your rig?

Use good (poly) bushings if you can.  Let me know if you run into any more trouble getting them or getting it to the ride height you want.

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will do, thanks for the support. ive got some energy suspension bushings. 

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Great Thread.  

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@AtlantaCamper did you have to increase the length of your brake hoses?

Edited by mpanzar

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15 hours ago, mpanzar said:

did you have to increase the length of your brake hoses?

I did not.  I had replaced my brake hoses a while back and I may not have stock ones any longer so YMMV.

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I finally have the springs installed. The Sunrader is technically not sitting on its wheels yet but the jackstands are supporting the axle and the weight of the vehicle is on the new springs. A couple things i learned along the way. 

  • the bilstein shocks technically top out (less than an inch). I think this is ok since i dont plan on jumping the rig to often. (86' 18ft Sunrader for reference)
  • the center support bearing for the drive shaft did not line up properly when the axle was floating. But with the weight on the springs/axle pushed up, the drive shaft install was straight forward, so i recommend installing the axle then resetting the jackstands under the axle, then installing the drive shaft.
  • The shackles concern I mentioned above resolved once the springs were weighted, as @AtlantaCamper expected. 
  • The stock brake hose fit OK with weight on the springs but having some extra length would be nice since it was really taut with the axle free hanging on the springs.
  • I swapped out the original axle for a true 1 ton Toyota axle and it seems to fit just right... so far.  

I haven't measured ride height but based on where the wheel is sitting in the well it looks pretty good.

image.png.3a5d0bd523f6eeaa18ba4bfad6c17c3c.png

image.png.69d997c7c1e43d15c549d71fa7316665.png

(0 psi in airbags)

 

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On 11/20/2019 at 4:24 PM, mpanzar said:

I haven't measured ride height but based on where the wheel is sitting in the well it looks pretty good.

I hope it has all worked out well for you.  Hopefully after the break-in period (not long, mine settled in <40 miles) you will be sitting at a good ride height that keeps your fridge level enough while driving but also let's you put a little air in the air bags too.

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