Proper shock length

Metcalf

Expedition Leader
Don't use the shocks for bumpstops or limiting straps if at all possible.

I like to set shock compressed length with the suspension metal to metal on the chassis if possible. If the rubber/foam bumpstop was to fail.
Yes, you could lose a little bit of potential droop ( from a longer shock ) because of this.
This insures you won't likely damage expensive shocks because a $20 piece of rubber failed.
Shock mounts, especially OEM ones, have a bad habit of failing if you use the shock for the bumpstop.
The best way to do this on a leaf spring suspension is to disassemble the leaf pack and use just the main leaf
Add in a wood block to simulate the thickness of the removed leaves.

On the extension side of things. Find some space for a limiting strap if possible to protect the shock.
This is especially true with heavier wheels/tire/axles which raise un-unsprung weight.
Having an adjustable upper mount with a limit strap helps dial out the strap stretch as it 'sets' to the final length.

It is best to maintain some preload on the suspension at full droop and not let the springs go negative rate.
This helps keep the coils seated and keeps from damaging the main leaf and/or inverting the shackle in some suspensions.
 

cr500taco

Adventurer
I opted for the 7100 reservoir model. Like a rebuildable and revalvable 5165 for close to the same price. The 5165 is welded shut, once it's done it's done. Don't like the valving? Buy a different set of shocks. The 7100 can be rebuilt, so if you change the oil occasionally they should last the life of the truck, and if you need to tweak valving that's an option, not very expensive, and diy if you're up for it.

I used a short body shock, to get more travel out of the same length as compared to non short body, for a given extended length. This made for a 12" travel shock with a 16" compressed length, 28" extended. Completely different application in my case but it seems Tacoma's are limited in space for a long rear shock and would be a good candidate for the short body.
I would determine compressed length, accounting for absolute full compression of the bump stop (for the unseen water bar at 50 mph while loaded), then get a shock that meets that minimum length while maximizing extended length. When you cycled the suspension without shocks, was the leaf pack disassembled so it was only the main leaf?
Thank you for the info

I saw the 7100's before, but read they were more for race applications. So, I didn't look any more into them. But, I looked into them more after your recommendation. I compared the lengths of the 5165 to the 7100. Comparing the same compressed length of 14.2" as Downsouth suggested, The 7100's have almost an 1" more travel. But, the valving is a little firmer than the 5165. I am upgrading my 5100 front and 5165 rear to the 6112 which I have already, so I am already use to how they ride and prefer how they handle. If anything, the rears could be a little softer, but, they seem fine when there's weight in the bed. I am wondering, since the 7100's are revalvable if they can be ordered revalved.. My truck is a daily driver and most of the time there isn't much weight in the bed. But, I do load it up for camping gear. I also will be towing a popup trailer with it. I read in some other forums that the 7100's are softer than the 5165. Which makes since, since they are geared towards racing shocks. Do you know if that's true? But, again that probably doesn't matter, since they are revalvable.

No, I didnt disassemble the leaf packs. That's the first time I have heard of that. Everywhere, I read about how to measure for shock lengths, didn't mention removing all the lengths except the main. Just said to remove the shocks. But, that explains why I only got 2" of compression out of them.
 

cr500taco

Adventurer
Don't use the shocks for bumpstops or limiting straps if at all possible.

I like to set shock compressed length with the suspension metal to metal on the chassis if possible. If the rubber/foam bumpstop was to fail.
Yes, you could lose a little bit of potential droop ( from a longer shock ) because of this.
This insures you won't likely damage expensive shocks because a $20 piece of rubber failed.
Shock mounts, especially OEM ones, have a bad habit of failing if you use the shock for the bumpstop.
The best way to do this on a leaf spring suspension is to disassemble the leaf pack and use just the main leaf
Add in a wood block to simulate the thickness of the removed leaves.

On the extension side of things. Find some space for a limiting strap if possible to protect the shock.
This is especially true with heavier wheels/tire/axles which raise un-unsprung weight.
Having an adjustable upper mount with a limit strap helps dial out the strap stretch as it 'sets' to the final length.

It is best to maintain some preload on the suspension at full droop and not let the springs go negative rate.
This helps keep the coils seated and keeps from damaging the main leaf and/or inverting the shackle in some suspensions.
Thank you for your info.

I am trying to get my shocks up as short as possible I will be getting more expensive bumpstops. I have read that if you need to sacrafice one way or the other, to sacrafice droop and not compression. I wasn't planning on limiting straps, but I maybe I will now. Better be safe than sorry.

I didn't measure with just the main leafs. The packs were still fully assembled.
 

tacollie

Glamper
You may want to move your shock mounts. Longer/fatter shocks will rub against you frame when articulating. My OMEs did on my first gen taco.
 

cr500taco

Adventurer
You may want to move your shock mounts. Longer/fatter shocks will rub against you frame when articulating. My OMEs did on my first gen taco.
I've thought about that. I've seen a few Tacomas that had them relocated. The upper shock mounts were relocated above the frame instead of centered of the frame and the Passenger side was relocated behind the rearend to match the driver's side. The lower mounts were relocated on the backside of the rearend. I have another rearend with the shock mounts already relocated. If I were to relocate, according to my measurements the shocks will be the same length or very close to it, but they will be closer to straight up and down, instead of angled.
 

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