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Installling Eibach’s New Pro Truck Struts and Shocks on Toyota Tacoma

Posted in How To: Suspension Brakes on March 28, 2017 Comment (0)
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Kids say the darndest things, especially when riding in an all-original 329,800-mile 2001 Toyota Tacoma. With two completely blown factory front struts, one missing passenger-side rear shock (it’s a long story), and a barely effective driver-side parts store cheapie shock, every bump, dip, and pothole our little pickup encountered made for some spectacular entertainment and a chorus of chatter from the peanut gallery. But as fun as it may be to hear your kids scream, “Boing! Boing! Boing!” as your vehicle uncontrollably pogoes down the road, enough eventually becomes enough.

Eibach has been in the suspension game for a long time, so when it announced a new line of Pro Truck and Pro-Truck Sport shocks and struts for pickups and SUVs, we knew they held the answer for our eardrums. Pro Truck shocks feature vehicle-specific valving for a great ride and handling, a monotube body for increased heat dissipation, a big 46mm-piston, nitro-coated rods, and heavy-duty powdercoating. Plus, the ends feature factory-type rubber bushings, which we always prefer.

Sick of magazine guys only working on pristine SoCal vehicles? Not anymore! This 2001 Tacoma has almost 330,000 hard New England salted miles under it. The shocks are original. Miraculously, the three strut retainer bolts came off without snapping the studs after soaking in penetrating oil for a week.

Up one level from Pro Truck is Pro-Truck Sport, which upgrades the monotube body to a very nice zinc coating for the shocks and struts. The valving is a bit more oriented to off-road performance, too. Pro-Truck Sport leveling struts allow several adjustment notches in the strut body to lift and level the front of the vehicle up to 2 1/2 inches, based on the application.

For our little workhorse Tacoma, we figured that the Pro Truck shocks and struts would be just fine. We soaked the East Coast hardware down with penetrating oil for a week, grabbed our (now-discontinued) Harbor Freight Tools coil spring compressors, and tackled the installation in our driveway. Given the fact that our baseline was just about as bad as bad gets, the Pro Truck shocks and struts made a night-and-day difference not only in the ride but also in the control of our Tacoma. No more chattering sideways down the road after a big bump. No more proposing of the front end after a dip. Best of all, the ride is still nice and soft, just the way we like it.

Note the top strut nut that’s rust-fused to the strut shaft. Repeated tries to turn it only resulted in rounding the square shoulder. A thin cutoff wheel is often the best method for removal. Just make sure you have compressed the coil spring and you don’t hit the three mounting studs. We left our nuts on for a little extra protection on the threads.
We have owned this Harbor Freight Tools coil spring compressor tool for many years. The part number on the box seems to be discontinued, but the company still offers several different types. Be sure to wear safety glasses and keep your fingers clear when working with these things under tension.
Remove the coil and prep the cast aluminum coil seat on the new strut. If you are installing a Pro-Truck Sport Leveling, you will have to figure out where on the strut body you want to put the retaining clip. The higher on the body, the more lift you get. Note how the original shaft remains compressed. The oil had long ago seeped out, rendering the strut all but useless.
Install the coil onto the strut, making sure the lower seat is oriented correctly compared with the factory part. Then compress it just enough to get the strut mount started. Once you have tightened down the top nut on the strut shaft until it bottoms, you can carefully release the tension on the coil spring compressors. You may have to use a pry bar to get the lower A-arm to drop enough to get the lower mounting bolt installed, but there is no need to disconnect anything in the suspension if you are staying at stock height.
Out back, the new Eibach Pro Truck shocks are a vast improvement over the cheapie parts-store shocks we purchased for this truck after the factory ones blew coming across the country. With factory-style rubber bushings, they bolt straight in place of the originals and really improve the on- and off-road control over the parts-store units and are smoother than most factory Tacoma shocks we’ve ridden on.

Amazon Affiliate links are our attempt to show you real-world pricing and availability for the products we review and install, and while the Amazon links are separate from editorial and advertising, the Four Wheeler Network may receive a commission on purchases made through our posts.

Sources

Eibach Springs
Corona, CA 92879
800-507-2338
www.eibach.com
Harbor Freight Tools
800-423-2567
www.HarborFreight.com

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