Straps Save Your Shocks
Limit straps are often looked at as something you only need if you’re intent on going fast and flying high. Not true.
In the days of stiff leaf springs that didn’t move much in any direction, limit straps weren’t a necessity. Fast forward to the present, and today’s suspensions have no shortage of bump, droop, and flex.
When your suspension reaches full extension, something’s got to rein it in. If you don’t have limit straps, that something is your shocks. Add heavy axles, burly beadlocked wheels, and big tires to the mix and you’ve got a lot of force yanking downward on your shocks. Even if you’re not going fast or getting air, your shocks still have to withstand a lot of force when the axles articulate over obstacles.
The good news is that in addition to saving your shocks, limit straps won’t break the bank. Better yet, mounting hardware is available to smooth and ease your installation experience.
Our 2004 4Runner had limit straps up front, but not out back. We’d added a custom Currie 9-inch rear axle and 35-inch tires: items much heavier than stock. Not only that, the 9-inch and the 35’s let the ’Runner be driven much harder and faster than a stock rig. Since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the time for rear limit straps had arrived. Remember: straps save your shocks.
To choose the right limit-strap length, you’ll need to know where your mounting points are going to be, and you’ll need to take stretch into consideration. Limit straps are designed to stretch about 5 to 10 percent of their total lengths. The shocks should never be allowed to “top out” metal-to-metal, so adjust the threaded upper clevis a little on the tight side.
Limit straps should be mounted so that the tabs never slam together under full compression. Limit straps should also be mounted so that they don’t pull sideways on their mounts when the suspension droops. Anything else? Limit straps are nylon, so keep them away from hot exhaust components. Keep limit straps from pulling on brake lines, too. If you’d rather not mess with the installation, it’s worth it to pay a pro.