V-8 Toyota Needs Drivetrain Beef
Q. I'm looking for any ideas or input on how to make my '87 independent suspension Toyota survive my small block V-8 with 15 pounds of boost. Will adding ladder bars help? I am running 40-inch tires with stock gears and stock housings.
A. Ladder bars, depending on the design, may control wheel hop but generally limit articulation unless properly designed. But the ladder bars are the least of your problem. A small-block V-8 with 15 pounds of boost and 40-inch tires means instant destruction to most of the drivetrain components when the throttle is hammered. You need to sit back and realize the drivetrain that was designed for 150 or so horsepower, and while it's quite stout, it will never live for long when the power is more than doubled. The IFS is particularly subject to breakage, even with a few steps above stock in tire size in its factory configuration. I suggest that you browse through websites such as All Pro Off Road (www.allprooffroad.com) to get a better handle on just what is needed.
Torsion Key Lifts: Pros & Cons
Q. Question for you on something that's been bothering me for awhile. In the Jan. '10 issue, there was an article on lifting torsion-bar Chevys with a replacement torsion key. I've seen these before. The article says you can lift the Chevy by cranking the torsion bars, but it ruins ride quality and accelerates front-end parts wear. The solution, as I understand it, is to replace the torsion key with one that is indexed differently to allow you to crank the torsion bars even more than the factory key. How, pray tell, is that any different than just cranking the factory key? It still achieves lift by increasing the twist on the torsion bar, you still have increased angles on the CV joints, and you still have different angles and stress on front-end parts unless you drop the front axle assembly with spacers to match the lift, right?
The same article comments about putting Loctite on shock bolts. I'm about to replace my pickup's shocks, and Loctite is the furthest thing from my mind. I'm planning on lots of anti-seize. I've never had a nut loosen from the shock bolt, but I've spent hours with a hacksaw cutting out a bolt that's permanently rusted inside the sleeve in the shock eye.
A. Generally you don't have a lot of adjustment on the torsion bar key or cam, so with an offset key you can get more lift than just with the adjustment screw. Yep, you're right, it ruins ride quality and accelerates wear on front-end parts. Think about it as pushing the wheel downward. Now you have limited (to no) downward wheel travel, depending on the amount of lift. With no downtravel, ride quality and traction suffer in that direction, and as the torsion bar has to twist more to allow upward travel, the spring rate increases, which doesn't do ride quality any good. It also puts more load or twist on the torsion bars, which shortens their life. With the suspension at full droop, then most of the time the axle CV joints are running at maximum angles, which really shortens their life, too.
What you're saying about shock bolts and Loctite is also true. I can't ever remember having a shock bolt work loose, but I guess it could happen. I generally either use some type of locking nut on all my fasteners and tend to shy away from lock washers. When I was racing, we used Loctite on every nut and bolt as a safety precaution. The advantage of using a low-strength Loctite on such a bolt would be that you would block out any moisture from getting on the threads where the nut made contact and the resulting rust. My vote is for the nasty silver stuff and a locking nut.