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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I get trucks into the shop from time to time with spacer lifts on them. There are three different types of spacer lifts.

1) The kind that just space the shock down to get lift. i.e. they space the shock down 2" you get a two inch lift. The problem with this type of spacer lift is the ball joints will bind at droop causing the ball joints to wear out very quickly or can cause the ball joint to just break!

2) The next type of spacer lift is the kind that pre-loads the factory spring with the factory shock tuned for the factory spring rate. The problem with this setup is you get lift but now your shock tuning will be very bouncy.

3) Third is the combo drop the shock down and pre-load the spring spacer. This just gives you the best of both problems.

PEOPLE IF YOU ARE GOING TO LIFT YOUR $20,000-$40,000 truck don't skimp on suspension!

I am only writing this because we took off a spacer lift to replace his kit with a Camburg 2.5" coilover and UCA. His alignment shop told him his ball joints were worn out and he needed new ones. After he was quoted the price to just replace the upper stock ball joints he came to us to set his truck up correctly.
Here are pictures of his spacer lift and his blown out ball joints. Notice they are blown out from drooping not bottoming out! His truck does not even look like he has used it off-road!
 

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No Really, I swear, I'm Done..
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Nice picks Jerry!
Spacer = :(
Coilover = :D
 

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Wouldn't the same thing happen to the ball joint if he was running a coilover too with the stock UCA?
No, the aftermarket kits meant for stock arms are no longer than the stock coilovers, or at least no longer than the additional maybe 3/4" wheel travel lthat the stock joint allows. Bilstein 5100s work that way. I've heard a couple places that Kings are actually slightly shorter.
 

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No, the aftermarket kits meant for stock arms are no longer than the stock coilovers, or at least no longer than the additional maybe 3/4" wheel travel lthat the stock joint allows. Bilstein 5100s work that way. I've heard a couple places that Kings are actually slightly shorter.
Doesn'tmake sense to me, but I have never been up to par on my coilover stuff :confused:. I think I understand a little. :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wouldn't the same thing happen to the ball joint if he was running a coilover too with the stock UCA?
The coilovers will be around 1/2-1" longer but not 2" longer. The coilovers are also solid because they use a spherical bearing and no bushings. The after market shocks with bushings will pull on the bushings at droop and also allow the upper ball joint to bind. The shocks limit the droop so if they are to long your droop travel will not be limited correctly.

I have a challenge for those with a spacer kit. This will only take a few minutes for most. Go remove the spiral snap ring off the ball joint boot and see if your spacer kit is allowing the upper ball joint to bind. If it is this is very dangerous!
 

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Doesn'tmake sense to me, but I have never been up to par on my coilover stuff :confused:. I think I understand a little. :p
To make it simple and the way I understand it!

If the coilover is not under pressure and is (for arguement sake) 10" long, then the UCA and LCA ball joints allow a droop of 11" long you don't have any problems.

However if you add a 2" spacer to the top of the coilover you are now making the relaxed, drooped, unsprung length of the coilover 12" long.

This is 1" greater than the UCA and LCA ball joints can handle and begin to bind.

The after market coilovers are 11" long but the spring compression is adjustable and therefore allows the truck to ride at a taller height. All the while it doesn't actually put the ball joints into any bind because they are not longer than the UCA and LCA ball joints can handle.

Hope this helps.
 

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The coilovers will be around 1/2-1" longer but not 2" longer. The coilovers are also solid because they use a spherical bearing and no bushings. The after market shocks with bushings will pull on the bushings at droop and also allow the upper ball joint to bind. The shocks limit the droop so if they are to long your droop travel will not be limited correctly.

I have a challenge for those with a spacer kit. This will only take a few minutes for most. Go remove the spiral snap ring off the ball joint boot and see if your spacer kit is allowing the upper ball joint to bind. If it is this is very dangerous!
Makes sense to me. Do limit straps help prevent this at all?
 

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To make it simple and the way I understand it!

If the coilover is not under pressure and is (for arguement sake) 10" long, then the UCA and LCA ball joints allow a droop of 11" long you don't have any problems.

However if you add a 2" spacer to the top of the coilover you are now making the relaxed, drooped, unsprung length of the coilover 12" long.

This is 1" greater than the UCA and LCA ball joints can handle and begin to bind.

The after market coilovers are 11" long but the spring compression is adjustable and therefore allows the truck to ride at a taller height. All the while it doesn't actually put the ball joints into any bind because they are not longer than the UCA and LCA ball joints can handle.

Hope this helps.
Thank you. Makes sense now.
 

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Makes sense to me. Do limit straps help prevent this at all?
They can as long as they are set to the correct length. You would have to droop out and check legths and where the ball joints are hitting the cups.

It is still better to spend the money to get a worth while setup instead of a cheap lift so you don't have to add unnecessary parts. :D
 

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...It is still better to spend the money to get a worth while setup instead of a cheap lift so you don't have to add unnecessary parts. :D
Yes yes I know that. :D I'm in that camp too.
 

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In reference to the Bilstein 5100s. Which style is more preferred? The true adjustable coil over style or the strut with adjustable c-clip? Pros vs. Cons of each?
 

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Great post and pics on ball joints and spacer lifts! I'm the unfortunate owner of an 05 Tundra DC who went the cheap route. I installed a ReadyLift 3" spacer lift and have since, within a year, replaced one BJ and see another appears to have failed now also. What do you recommend as the best way out of this predicament? I'm not sure I want to(read:am allowed:)!) spend the $$$ for a coilover replacement like a SAW. Short of the SAWs do you think I'd be better off with the Bilstein adjustable or the uni-ball UCAs to cure my BJ woes?
THanks!!!
 

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The bils will stay within stock lengths to keep you from binding UBJs. That is the cheapest way out of a spacer lift.

Just tell the wife that the "ONLY" way out is the SAWs or ICONs otherwise you could loose a balljoint on the highway and kill yourself and anyone else around you and their dog and their grandmother and grandfather and auntie and uncle and brother, etc... That way if she doesn't care about you maybe one of the other words will strike a cord that touches her heart and then she won't be able to say anything but, YOU BETTER BUY THEM TODAY!!! :D :devil:
 

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The bils will stay within stock lengths to keep you from binding UBJs. That is the cheapest way out of a spacer lift.

Just tell the wife that the "ONLY" way out is the SAWs or ICONs otherwise you could loose a balljoint on the highway and kill yourself and anyone else around you and their dog and their grandmother and grandfather and auntie and uncle and brother, etc... That way if she doesn't care about you maybe one of the other words will strike a cord that touches her heart and then she won't be able to say anything but, YOU BETTER BUY THEM TODAY!!! :D :devil:
I like the way you think Imdone!!:ts:
 

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I like the way you think Imdone!!:ts:

:tu: This ain' my first rodeo! I've had years of practice with the ol'lady!!!:D

Only problem is I didn't marry a dumb one, so she has caught onto my game... :(Dammit
 

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OK... you all have convinced me not to buy a spacer lift. I'm now looking at the complete OME setup for my 4x4 Crewmax... will this system damage the ball joints? Is there any reason to replace the UCAs? Should I still purchase a differential drop? I intend to run 305/55/20s as I really like hbonney's setup. Thanks.
 

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If the extended length of the OME shock is the same as the OEM shock then you will be fine.

The changing of UCAs provides additional wheel travel, when you get the extended length coilovers and use the Burg UCAs you will get more droop without binding ball joints.

Diff drops don't hurt, but not sure how necessary they are on this truck yet.
 

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so, the best way to go is with a full coilover...check...now with those i believe i read that you dont need the UCA's? But reading, your caster will be off and you'll have shopping cart like twitchy steering which is cured with the UCA's... so the best bet solution for a lift/level is about $2k?
 

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Yeah, full coilover is the best way to go. Who's ever it is, doesn't matter just go route of coilover, not spacer.

The caster will be harder to dial in with a lift, but it's not like the truck is going to fall apart without aftermarket UCAs. Yeah, they help and are great, I had them on my last tundra and have a set in the garage waiting for this tundra. I will also be putting them on my 4runner. Are they absolutely necessary? No, do they make it better, yeah!

The suspension for my 08 CM 4x4 is:
IVD extended length front coils
IVD 2 or 2.5" rear shocks.
Overload replacement rear spring pack
Camburg UCAs
Diff drop

This should all compliment the truck, be able to jam a 35" tire with the correct offset of wheel and some trimming of body mount and front plastics and bumper. I was going for least amount of lift, max size tire and keep it functional for towing my 9000lb toyhauler.

You could keep it cheaper by going with Bilstein adjustable coils and 5100 rear shocks. Good luck on the suspension pics!
 
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