Lowering kit or air ride?

Discussion in 'Suspension/Chassis' started by shawnz82, Aug 5, 2022.

  1. shawnz82

    shawnz82 Newbie

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    Hey guys, got a 1986 2wd all stock. Not really obsessed with the whole lowering effect of the truck but I wouldn't mind lowering it a couple inches. Im looking to run the 15x6 weld racing rims on these. Im not interested in it sticking out of the fenders either. I want to make this my DD and so I need to make this ride more like a car. But I also don't want to sacrifice the use of the truck either. Its empty 99% of the time, just saying I would not want to cut this bed or make it worthless. I still want it to be a truck when i need it, i just dont need to carry 1/2 ton either. Am I better off with air ride so that I can fill it up at full ride height and have a stiff ride enough to carry a heavier load, then bring it down when empty and have a smooth ride? or is a simple lowering kit just easier because of no maintenance?

    If the lowering kit, any recommendations on brands and specific set up? I see a ton of combinations from different times in the past, so looking for an easy set up really. #1 goal is smooth ride since stock ride id stiff and rigid as we all know. Thanks.
     
  2. sirdeuce

    sirdeuce Enthusiast

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    Two factors that YOU need to think about;
    What do I want to do with this thing?
    How much do I want to spend?

    2" lower? Knuckles and leafs. You can get that with a twist of the torsion bar adjusters and blocks. For carrying a bit more? Overload springs (that thick, straight add-a-leaf) or air shocks will do what you are describing. Try going the cheap route first to see where you want to go. do the torsion bar and block thing and get a good alignment. might consider refreshing the rest of the suspension and steering as well.

    Going to the extreme and redoing the whole suspension isn't what you are describing.

    Personally, I have Belltech knuckles and leafs with their street performance shocks and Swa-A-Way torsions and overloads with sway bars. did the urethane bushings and looking at Stab Fabs rack and pinion bits. I do like a stiffer ride though. More of a carver than cruiser.
     
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  3. Erwin Merida

    Erwin Merida Addict

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    What he said! :waytogo:
     
  4. jetas

    jetas Grand Toyotaholic

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    I had the rear of my truck lowered via 3" block and i pulled a leaf spring out. It went down about 5" maybe and i was still able to carry a few hundred lbs in the back when needed.
    A 2or 3" drop without modifying the leaf pack will still allow you to haul a fair amount. Drop spindles and blocks will prob be the better way to do it.

    loosening the torsions will give you a shit ride
     
  5. shawnz82

    shawnz82 Newbie

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    ok guys also i heard drop spindles need a 17" wheel, is that true? i want to use 15" max because i dont like big wheels. like i said, im not super obsessed with a lowered look, its just that i dont mind it being a couple inches lower but would not want to sacrifice anything functional for the truck. if anything going over bumps sends a jolt through me unless its super slow so i wouldnt want to be riding super low and potentially damage anything going low because i dont want to stop at each bump. but no offense to those who do, its a neat look but for me its mostly about comfort, looks take the back seat.
     
  6. TRUCK ACTION

    TRUCK ACTION Grand Toyotaholic

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    When I started my project build I rode static dropped for a few years, & it was at the ride height I wanted , frame 4.5 '' off the ground.
    You will feel very bump very harshly!!
    Now I was planning to go air ride & did, put was force to install a full step natch sooner than I planned!
    I run Belltech 2'' dropped spindles & 18'' rims.
     
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  7. shawnz82

    shawnz82 Newbie

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    i had assumed lowering it would provide a smoother ride actually. can someone make recommendations for 15" rims? just trying to keep this simple. as mentioned, looking more for softening the ride really. lowering it looks cool but if it would complicate things then im ok about forgetting about it or going with a 1-2" drop
     
  8. jetas

    jetas Grand Toyotaholic

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    At a 2" drop you're not sacrificing anything, dont overthink it just do it. Drop spindles maintain current ride quality.

    You can loosen the torsion bars a little bit and that will soften the front while lowering the front a little
     
  9. sirdeuce

    sirdeuce Enthusiast

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    Lowering typically reduces the amount of suspension travel requiring greater spring rates to compensate for the lack of travel effectively reducing the ride comfort. Any modification improperl done will result in dissatifaction. If you're looking for asthetics a lowered or raised vehicle can look great, but so can a stock ride height. Matter of preference. If you want better handling it depends on what your planned use is to how you modify your suspension. The handling can be improved to a rather surprising level at stock height.

    You want a smoother ride? Simply refresh the suspension with bushings and ball joints and tighten up the steering. Add in a good oil shock and some decent sway bars and a smooth ride you'll have.
    If you want a lower ride, for looks or handling, it'll take a bit more. Spring rates and damper tuning are key.

    All that said, I'll ask why you want a lowered ride.
     
  10. shawnz82

    shawnz82 Newbie

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    i don't necessarily want too much of a lowered look. i really just want this truck to ride like a car, if that makes sense. i rarely use the bed but if i did, i would want to be able to put up to 500 pounds in there. the way it is stock is too rough. its a stiff ride because its got a truck suspension basically. so the purpose of this truck is a daily driver and i would also like it to have better handling but it handles fairly decent as it is.

    could i just remove 1 leaf spring in the back and reduce the front with the torsion bars and get a smoother ride (sacrificing some ability in the bed yes but hopefully not entirely) ?
     
  11. sirdeuce

    sirdeuce Enthusiast

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    Nope yoou don't want to remove any leafs, they're already pretty soft. Just use lowering blocks. For obtaining a "car" ride? Good shocks. Not "sport" shocks of gas charged shocks but a good set of oil shocks. Sport shocks and gas charged shocks tend to be a bit stiff, but I do like KYB Gas-a-just for overall damping. Go for the "stock" rubber bushings 'cause I haven't found any shore 30 bushings, they like to make at least shore 60.
     
  12. shawnz82

    shawnz82 Newbie

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    thanks
     
  13. Pearce

    Pearce Addict

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    It's going to be hard to make it not handle like a truck just because the way it is. A light rear-end with a lot of unsprung weight isn't the best combo.
     
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  14. jetas

    jetas Grand Toyotaholic

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    Honestly i know this sounds counterintuitive but driving with a small load out back makes a big difference in the ride quality. Softens up the leafs a little. Id say maybe 100lbs would be a good starting point, shit they make those giant water bag drop in things you can buy
     
  15. sirdeuce

    sirdeuce Enthusiast

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    Yes, adding weight over the rear axle tends to give a softer rear feel, but if you want to do it right it's best to bolt the weight to the bottom of the frame.
    The other way is to stiffen the front suspension, that tends to push the load action to the rear springs. A stiffer front sway bar can give some of that effect as well. Bad thing there is getting a stiffer front suspension.

    If you really want that "car" feel an IRS or 4-link mod will make that more acheiveable. But that is also excessive in the $$$$ area.
     
  16. shawnz82

    shawnz82 Newbie

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    lots of different options leaving me more confused! ha
     
  17. Pearce

    Pearce Addict

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    Try some weight first if you're only looking for a little better ride quality. Nothing to tall or it will feel worse. Go for a permanent solution if you like it. Might be a decent amount. Guys tend to use lead when making a ballast. The independent suspension would help free up your unsprung weight. Not the best option not just because cost. The truck down for a while depending on you're time, experience, and choice of swap. A 4-link will help you keep straight but still have the weight of the solid axle. Same thing as the irs. The work can be the biggest challenge. Not to mention the tools.
     
  18. shawnz82

    shawnz82 Newbie

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    yeah to be honest at this point i don't care much for lowering it. i can use slightly smaller tires to achieve the look i like. for me its really all about comfort. just get a smoother ride but really it isn't terrible. i once drove an 85 4x4 and that thing is literally best left for the trails. yes i do remember when having a payload did soften up the ride. independent suspension sounds interesting. not looking for something that requires too much work because i'm not really a welder or know how to fab and these days i find less competence in the automotive world since most likely someone else would be doing the work.
     
  19. MrDinkleman

    MrDinkleman Veteran

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    LOL

    Not surprising....

    The problem is you need to pick a solid target or goal; stop using "but..." as in, "I want it lower it but..."

    Ironically, the truck/car you're describing with all your "buts" is exactly how it is, from the factory. All vehicles are designed with compromises to fit the largest demographic possible which is kind of where you're at. Stock, your truck can haul 1/2 ton but needs stiffer springs but it needs a higher ride height to keep the ride reasonable. Lowering the ride height WILL require stiffer springs if you want to carry the same load. OR, you can take a leaf out for a softer lower ride but you won't be able to haul as much.

    I think you'll get better, clearer answers if you're willing to lose something, including $$$ (for an IRS, for example). Everyone who has modified their vehicle has, at one point, decided to sacrifice some aspect(s) of the factory setup.

    As for using smaller tires, your highway rpms and engine wear and tear will go up. So even that simple step is going to require a compromise. Sorry...
     
  20. Erwin Merida

    Erwin Merida Addict

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    When I needed weight ballast I just kept it full tank! Lol
     

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