Installing Eibach Suspension Upgrades on Our Tundra

J.G.
Update by J.G. Pasterjak to the Toyota Tundra project car
Apr 5, 2021

Our Tundra sees the great majority of its miles with a trailer hooked to the back. As such, having a properly functioning suspension is paramount for comfort and safety.

Suspension is an often-overlooked factor in towing performance, but even the smallest trailer loaded with the lightest car can impart forces to the tow vehicle that severely test the suspension’s ability to properly control all that motion and leverage.

Our 2010 Toyota Tundra had more than 100,000 miles on the factory shocks and springs, so they were due for replacement. We took the opportunity for a serious upgrade by installing a set of Eibach Pro-Truck coil-overs in the front and a pair of Eibach Pro-Truck Sport shocks out back.

While aimed at the off-road enthusiast, the Pro-Truck gear will seem very familiar to anyone who’s ever built a track car. These pieces feature details like threaded-body front coil-overs with a billet aluminum upper perch, thick shock shafts, and heavy-duty chassis attachment points.

But we didn’t want a high-riding, off-road stance for our Tundra. It mostly sees road miles, with the occasional muddy paddock or dirt road thrown in the mix.

That’s fine, because the adjustable Eibach Pro-Truck front units can be lowered to stock ride height or raised 2.5 inches via the threaded perches, allowing for a larger tire or more ground clearance. The Eibach dampers have the appropriate travel to accommodate either setup.

But for normals like us, the factory ride height is plenty.

Installation in the rear is a snap. The tops of the shocks attach with nuts threaded directly onto the shock shaft, which passes through some bushings to isolate it from the frame. A single bolt and nut on the bottom then connect the damper to the axle.

At the front, installation is a bit more complex. The coil-overs aren’t attached to the knuckles or tie rods like struts, but those pieces all have to be removed to allow the old units to be wriggled out and the new ones slid into place.

Eibach’s instructions are actually quite good and model-specific, dealing with a few of the traps that await—like thinking you can get away with not taking off the tie rods.

Basically, taking off the old front shocks requires removing some clips for brake lines and speed sensors, separating the upper steering knuckle from the ball joint, removing the tie rod from the knuckle, and detaching the anti-roll bar end link from the control arm. You can get the old shocks out without taking off the tie rod ends, but you’re not going to get those swanky Eibachs back on.

For one, the Eibach’s 3-inch-diameter spring—which can be substituted for any other proper-length ERS spring in Eibach’s catalog, giving your truck nearly endless rate availability—just isn’t going to fit.

And second, the extremely beefy upper and lower mounts require a bit more clearance passing through the suspension members than the old stuff, so additional free space is your friend. In fact, we also disconnected the lower ball joint by undoing two bolts that connect it to the knuckle, then loosened (but did not remove) the bolts holding the lower control arm to the chassis. This allowed the lower arm to swing down and easily create enough room for installation. If you’re doing this job without an assistant, this additional step makes your job much easier.

Once installed, we were immediately impressed—and maybe even a little shocked—at the ride of our Tundra. The shocks feel fast, as in very quick to react to road imperfections.

Small, high-frequency bumps like pavement seams practically disappear, and larger bumps that affect the entire chassis at once are instantly constrained, seemingly in a single motion. With a trailer out back, both ride and directional stability are greatly improved, and our recent trip through the construction-riddled highways of Jacksonville, Florida, was far less dramatic than usual.

The front coil-over system retails for $848.99, and the rear shocks are $103 each. This means that the entire suspension upgrade costs just a little more than a grand, which seems like a fair price for additional comfort and confidence on the road—or off, as the Eibach system is, after all, designed for our trail-attacking friends. Even if the worst obstacle you ever tackle is a nasty pothole, having that extra measure of chassis control is worth the money and effort.

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Comments
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philacarguy
philacarguy New Reader
3/31/21 8:26 a.m.

that one photo of a floor jack with a pipe supporting the rear suspension is a little scary.  IF that jack rolls ( and I have seen them do that), all of a sudden that suspension drops and you crush a finger.  I'd suggest a bottle jack with that pipe. You guys are supposed to be role models for good shop behavior!

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
3/31/21 9:44 a.m.
philacarguy said:

that one photo of a floor jack with a pipe supporting the rear suspension is a little scary.  IF that jack rolls ( and I have seen them do that), all of a sudden that suspension drops and you crush a finger.  I'd suggest a bottle jack with that pipe. You guys are supposed to be role models for good shop behavior!

It's not a pipe, it's a pine 1x2, and all it's doing is holding the bottom of the shock steady so we can insert the bolt through the lower eye. 

But, yes, in general whenever doing suspension work, be respectful of the compressive energies and preloads you're dealing with. On our Tundra, the front suspension in particular has a LOT of preload in the suspension arms, so when you disconnect them they tend to release that energy quickly. 

FMB42
FMB42 Reader
3/31/21 12:38 p.m.

Yep, compressed springs are, of course, energy storage devices. Using well designed spring compressors is a must in suspension work. And wearing a face shield over proper eye protection is always a good idea. There are a some bad motorcycle and 4 wheel vehicle 'runaway' spring stories out there.

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