1982 Toyota Pickup (Crawler)

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Michael Gonzalez
Dec 5, 2009
Camarillo, CA
I found some old shocks at my dad’s shop that he let me have. They looked rough but salvageable.



After getting them home and doing some measurements, I’ve realized I have:
2x Fox 2.0 x 12” Remote Reservoir (31” extended, 12” stroke, 19” collapsed)
2x Bilstein 7100 series 2.0 x 11.58” Remote Reservoir (27.68” extended, 11.58” stroke, 16.1” collapsed)

The 12” Fox’s should work well in the front.
The ~ 11.5” Bilstein’s will fit well in the rear.

The Fox’s came with some awful adapters. The anodized endcaps and rod ends are worn. The Bilstein’s were half-ass spray painted black. I’m going to clean them up and replace the spherical bearings. (Dgaf on rebuild/revalve for now) I’ve also realized I’m going to need a good pair of snap ring pliers, so, ***What quality snap ring pliers do you recommend?




After removing the resi’s from the Bilstein’s, I saw the pristine brushed finish from Bilstein factory. I’d like to get them down to that level if possible.

Apparently, "Nickel Plated Finish: 7100 Series feature an electroless nickel finish protected with a clear coat. Wash with mild soap and water only. Do not use chemical cleaners or abrasives on the finish. "
at least according to: https://www.offroadwarehouse.com/files/196030-0.pdf


After some elbow grease, I got a PN off the Bilstein’s.
Bilstein 1: 12190139, AK7112SB, VC: 170/60
Bilstein 2: 02120310, AK7112SB02, 170/60

Fox top cap before:

Fox top cap after half-ass cleaning:

Bilstein Shaft before:

Bilstein Shaft after:

Fox Shaft After:

No major gouges or pitting found on the shafts. Sweet!
I pressurized the shocks to 100psi with shop air (ghetto life) and they seem to hold pressure/oil for now.

Here are the Fox’s after a bit of cleaning:

Any idea what spherical bearings I need for both shocks? The 2.5 FOA’s I’ve had needed COM10’s but these seem smaller.

Maybe these for the Fox's?
Or is there a better brand/option?

Maybe these for the Bilsteins? (4x $23 = $92)


Admire my half-ass shock cleaning.
Recommend me snap ring pliers.
Recommend me replacement spherical bearings for the Fox's and Bilstein's.


Michael Gonzalez
Dec 5, 2009
Camarillo, CA
I went to measure the Toyota. Here are the results
Front Shock @ Ride Height: 24” eye-to-eye with 6” shaft showing (~18” collapsed)
Rear Shock @ Ride Height: 19” eye-to-eye with 3” shaft showing (~16” collapsed)

The rear seems to have 7” of up-travel POSSIBLE without the shocks. I think a good plan will be to make new shock mounts in the rear and shoot for 5-6” of up-travel. I’ll also add poly bumps for good measure.

Looking at the front up-travel, I realize there is a bit of an issue.

Currently, the front shocks at ride height show 6-6.5” of shaft.
And the poly bumps are ~6.5” from the frame (so useless, sweet)
The tierod is ~4” from the oil pan (You can see where the tie-rod has previously made contact).
Neglecting the oil pan, the tie rod is ~6” from the frame.
But looking closer, the pitman/drag-link is ~3.5” from the leaf pack. (How this hasn't made contact yet is beyond me)

Right off the bat, I think a flatter pitman arm would be a good idea.

Shock Shaft: 6-6.5"

Bumpstop to frame: 6.5"

Tie-rod to oil pan: 4"

Tie-rod to frame: 6"

Pitman arm/Drag link to leaf-pack: 3.5" *nervous laugh*

Yup, flatter pitman arm is on the list. Any recommendations on that?

Current frame height: 25"

Current belly height: 20"

4” of up-travel does not seem like much, but this is the crawler world afterall.
Is there something I am missing?

What is the best plan of attack for gaining more up-travel?
Flatter pitman arm?
Massaging or modifying the oil pan for more room?
Motor mount lift spacers?
Or should I accept that 4” of up-travel is good and move on?

Seeing as how the front end hasn’t exploded yet despite my driving style and the many miles/hours of abuse, I don’t want to re-do too much if I don’t have to. We will be doing the u-bolt flip kit along with the shock swap.

Here is a pic of the front end for reference: (Aint nobody got time for cotter pins)

I might just break down the leaf pack and cycle/flex the front suspension, get the appropriate size poly bumps and flatter pitman arm if necessary, and call it a day.

I want more up-travel. Maybe I should be happy with 4" (giggity).
Any recommendations on a flatter pitman arm?
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Senior Member
Sep 8, 2010
Phoenix Az
Your going to go too negative in spring arch if you want more up travel. Your springs will start sagging pretty quick if you do that. I’d cycle it with one leaf on the front and see where it slightly goes negative or flat and then recheck your clearances.

I’d at min move your bump stops down. Most the time, these crawler guys only concern themselves with articulation and not full bump on both sides as they ain’t bombing the desert. If you articulate the front, you will use more shock than you think before the pitman arm hits just due to motion ratio differences when articulating.
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Jan 29, 2002
Yuma, Az
Yeah I didn’t think much of that when I bought my Cherokee thinking how the hell am I going to drive around with 4” of shaft🙁(story or my life). But I’m also not trying to bomb any more whoopty Doo’s((old man in me starting to come out)no not out of the closet). Running 10” of shocks front and rear and having more droop the bump has opened me eyes on how much the thing articulates.... born and raised loving whoop scissor action but I can’t lie, it feels amazing going up a rocky hill knowing the axles are doing so much more work under me. Kinda want to get out and watch🙁

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