Project Tacoma: Sway-A-Way Long Travel Coil-Over Shocks

""Trails Less Traveled""

Jun. 01, 2003 By Jesse Katz
Sway-a-way is the premier manufacturer of aftermarket coil-over shocks for the Toyota Tacoma, 4Runner and Tundra. The Sway-a-way Racerunner coil-over shocks feature 2" diameter and 5.5" stroke with threaded shock bodies that allow for adjustments in lift and ride height. King is another prominent manufacturer selling bolt-in replacement coil-over shocks, and the main differences are that the King shocks use 2.5" diameter bodies and use an internal nitrogen charged reservoir. The larger diameter Kings have a greater fluid capacity and the reservoir helps to prevent shock fade, but these apparent advantages are offset by the stroke of the shock, which is EXACTLY the same as stock.

  The Total Chaos replacement upper control arms have the potential to allow more extension travel, and Swayaway shocks provide the additional suspension travel that Kings cannot. The best solution we have found is to use a pair of Swayaway 2.5" x 8" stroke shocks that have a fluid capacity similar to the Kings and way more suspension travel than any alternative. The 8" Swayaway emulsion shocks are a universal part that can be ordered using the following part numbers. They will bolt-in similar to other shocks, using Total Chaos upper shock mounts shown below and they can be installed to provide more travel and 0-3.5" of lift with stock arms or Total Chaos Uni-ball arms. The shocks can be ordered custom-valved for any application, but Swayaway techs can recommend valving for your truck based on weight and intended use.

Parts List

Swayaway shock, 2.5" x 8" emulsion, 7/8" w/spherical bearings
-Part # 56000-408
-Quantity 2

2.5" coil carriers, single rate
-Part #56107-100
-Quantity 2

 14" long x 600lb/in, 3" ID coils springs
-Part # 14/600/3
-Quantity - 2 

Spacer, 5/8" heim to 14mm Tacoma (lower shock mount adapters)
-Part # 56702-002-1
-Quantity - 4

Limiting straps from Kartek
Part #FIL-46040312
Quantity ­ 2
Adjustable Clevis mounts from Kartek
Part # CLV-123
Quantity - 2

The Total Chaos shock mounts are made out of 4130 and position the Swayaway shocks up high in the upper shock mounting bucket to allow for the proper eye-to-eye length at full compression.  

Remove enough pressure from the Schrader valve to allow the shock to be compressed and installed on the vehicle. Use nitrogen to re-pressurize the shock to 200psi before driving it. THIS IS A CRITICAL STEP. An alternative is to pressurize the camber to 200psi with air, and then drive it to a shop that can pressurize nitrogen bottles.?

There is no binding or bottoming through the suspension travel. At full compression (compression bump stops removed) there is still 1/4" of shock shaft exposed, and with 8" of stroke the shocks will never be a limiting factor on extension travel. In fact, these shocks MUST be used with some form of limiting strap to avoid damage to the CV shafts and suspension components.

Note the limiting straps installed on the leading edge of the control arm and shock tower, in line with the shock. The clevis mounts at the upper end of the limiting straps provide for about 2" of threaded adjustment and should be mounted so that the tension can be taken in as needed, because the straps are designed to stretch approximately 20% in order to function as a progressive stop. The mounting tabs are easily welded into place after the determining the exact mounting dimensions.

Observe the difference in suspension travel between the blue King shock on the passenger?s side (image left) and the Total Chaos upper replacement control arms with the red Swayaway 8? stroke shocks installed on the driver?s side (image right). Stock Toyota TRD coil-overs and King replacement shocks are both only capable of providing 6-7? of suspension travel. In comparison, the combination of Total Chaos upper control arms and 8? Swayaway shocks allow for closer to 10? of measured vertical wheel travel. Practically speaking, travel should probably be limited closer to 8.5-9? in order to extend the life of CV shafts.?

Any time adjustments are made to the ride height of an IFS truck, it must be realigned in order to maintain proper handling characteristics and promote even tire wear. After we installed our Total Chaos upper replacement control arms and Swayaway coil-over shocks, we set the desired ride height at 3? of lift over stock. Our truck has manual hubs and will not be driven at high speeds in 4wd often, so we were not too concerned with CV wear. 

Next, we will review the performance of these parts to a Total Chaos long travel kit that we will be installing on the same truck for a back-to-back comparison. The long travel kit will require installing fiberglass fenders to cover the 3.5" wider per side suspension, using new the brake lines, and replacing the CV axle shafts. We'll evaluate the pros and cons of all the extra work, parts required and additional cost. The bottom line is that the Total Chaos replacement Uni-ball upper control arm kit and Swayaway coil-over shocks are an excellent, cost effective upgrade and the perfect alternative to drop-bracket type lift kits.

Contact Information:

Total Chaos Fabrication
159 North Maple St. Suite J
Corona, CA 92880

20724 Lassen St.
Chatsworth Ca 91311

Kartek Off-Road

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