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Enlightened TTB: Camburg Long-Travel for "The Juice" Bronco

Posted in How To on July 1, 2012 Comment (0)
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We’re guessing you’re like us: You went from a stock truck to a lifted truck…and then you wanted more. You liked the tire clearance and approach angles afforded by the lift kit, but yearned for more wheel travel, a better ride, and the ability to blast through deep whoop sections or slide around corners on dirt roads.

Yes indeed, you’re just like us—you want a long-travel suspension.

Four long years. It’s been that long since we first picked up a stock ’93 Bronco and daydreamed about someday putting a great long-travel kit suspension underneath it, with fiberglass fenders making room for some decent rubber. That was really all we wanted, perhaps with the addition of a few of mild power-adders and other basic mods. What we’ve ended up with is a completely rebuilt truck, created by necessity as its 19-year-old original parts routinely committed suicide during our on- and off-road exploits.

A full 8 inches wider than a stock Bronco front end, the Camburg-modified TTB beams fit nicely under our 6-inch-wider-per-side McNeil Racing fiberglass fenders. The truck was irrevocably transformed into an attention-getter; we actually had folks flag us down while driving more than once to ask us about the mods. At this point, we are ready to officially call the truck a full-fledged prerunner. The big question was, “How would it feel in the dirt?”

Even before we had this Bronco in our project fleet, we had eyed Camburg’s long-travel suspension kits for twin-traction beam-equipped Fords with interest. We knew there was a lot of race experience behind the design of these systems, and also that the components had a reputation for being rugged and well-matched. But that could be said for many suspension offerings on the market today, so we looked deeper and learned a bit about TTB theory.

“The details matter a lot,” explains Jerry Zaiden, Camburg Engineering co-founder. “The angle of the shock towers, the ways in which the beams are cut and welded, knowing exactly where the stress points are, and dozens of other bits of info. Some of them come from trial and error when you’re racing, but others come from understanding exactly how the suspension is supposed to work. Some shops just fabricate up longer components and call that ‘long-travel’ without regard to geometry or safety.”

01. The tech team at Camburg pulled our TTB components off the Bronco, then cut into the beams. They were extended by four inches per side and turned a bit to retain correct geometry. Next, the open spots in the beams were boxed in. The 14-inch-stroke Bilstein coilovers (9100 series—more about them later) were mated to Eibach springs and then mounted up on the new shock hoops, which are supported laterally with a removable crossbar support over the engine compartment.

After a number of long conversations with a few knowledgeable folks, we dropped the Bronco off at Camburg and its crew got started. Both traction beams were cut, turned, and extended by four inches. Coilover mounts were created, and then joined for support and rigidity with a removable engine crossbar. The old lift-kit radius arms were removed, and Camburg’s longer, heim joint-ended replacements were bolted in.

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We chose to use Bilstein coilovers and Eibach springs, as we’ve had good experiences with products from both companies. Our next step was to find some axleshafts that would match the lengthened beams. Calls to a few mail-order axle suppliers left us empty-handed; the custom length shafts (one side is U-jointed in the center) certainly weren’t off-the-shelf parts. Finally, we got in touch with the people at Currie Enterprises, and they set us straight, with a “Yeah, we can build whatever you need.” We had the shafts in hand a few days later.

We hung around Camburg headquarters in Huntington Beach, California, for a couple of days as the crew installed the parts. The place is a beehive of activity, with Trophy trucks being created in one area of the large shop floor, and individual customer vehicles in the process of modification throughout the facility.

We shot the install and then came the moment for which we’d waited so long—a lengthy off-road trip with long-travel suspension underneath our beloved project truck. Was it all that we’d hoped and dreamed for? Did the suspension transform the Bronco into a full-fledged desert runner? We’re guessing you’ve glanced at the photo and already have an idea, but follow along with the captions for a full-fledged report.

View Slideshow

Off The Road Again

We departed for a two-day, 200-mile desert trip a few weeks later, excited at the chance to test the suspension. And test it we did—through long washboard roads, deep whoops, bermed turns, patches of powdery silt, and passages of sharp volcanic rocks. The thing was awesome (and the General Grabbers survived the whole trip. Though the Bronco doesn’t have the power of a modern Ford Raptor, it easily kept pace with one throughout the trip. And we’re betting it would have even pulled ahead in gnarlier terrain thanks to the control and damping provided by the Camburg long-travel kit.

We even took the Juice into the rocks. We were curious to see how the long-travel TTB setup would work in the rocks. In this case, the Bronco crawled around pretty well! Wheel droop was much improved, as demonstrated in this photo. Sure, it was difficult to fit the Bronco into some of the Jeep trails, but other than that, the day was a success. This is one reason we’ve made sure to retain four-wheel drive, and we plan to do further testing at this year’s Moab Easter Jeep Safari. This Bronco can rip around in the desert and climb on trails in low-range. That’s some admirable versatility, and we won’t deny it: We’re thrilled with the Camburg kit.

Sources

Currie Enterprises
Corona, CA 92880
714-528-6957
http://www.currieenterprises.com
Eibach Springs
Corona, CA 92879
800-507-2338
www.eibach.com
Camburg Engineering
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
714-848-8880
http://www.camburg.com
Bilstein
Poway, CA 92064
858-386-5900
http://www.bilsteinus.com

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