Tacoma SAW Coilover Tech

Dillon

Well-Known Member
A few of us who own the Tacoma SAW coilover have a problem with the coils that SAW supplies with the kit and some of us (including myself) have snapped the coils. My personal belief is that the coils just aren't great quality and that we have to preload the hell out of them to achieve lift.

I've been thinking about it and using a single coil on our setups, we shouldn't have to go over 650#, it doesn't make any sense, our front ends are really light. If I run a 16" Eibach instead of a 14" SAW and there is barely any preload on the coil, then it shouldn't sag nearly as much as the stock coil, for a few reasons...

- Barely any preload, look at coil spacers on stock coils, the stock coils don't sag as fast as ones that have a coil spacer thrown into the coil pack, yet if you could get the exact same coil as a stock coil but 3" longer, you would get 3" of lift, not nearly as stiff, and alot less sagging.

- The Eibach coils just doesn't sag compared to the SAW coils, they will last alot longer and I doubt constant cranking would be an issue.

I don't think that a longer coil would bind if you aren't preloading it, or would it?

The general consensus of the SAW coilover is that it sucks crap up and gives an awesome all around ride, but I think it could easily be better, I personally think it is too stiff to easily compress in fast compression/droop situations. There are a number of people using these to rockcrawl and they work great but again, I think they could compress alot more then they do now. Right now it is using a 650# coil and there is talk of using a heavier coil.

I don't think is solving the problem, wouldn't it be better to have a longer coil that is fairly stiff and lighten up the valving or the other way around?

Help! :)
 

schafer

Well-Known Member
dillon, what i see being the problem with a longer coil is, look at it like this, you could have a coil 3" shorter, that doesnt mean it will be on the ground, that means you have to take the collar and raise it up 3 more inches just to get it to hohd a stock height, that doesnt mean its preloading it per say, but rather that its keeping the coil on the shock with some tention.

so if you take a longer coil and stick it on the same shock, then you now have to lower the collar 3" just for it to fit, you still have not fixed the issue of actually lifting the truck to the ride height, so you will be preloading it to get it up there again, now the talk of heavier coil is by me, because i am now on my 2nd set of coils and find the saw 650lb ers to be too soft, and to sag to much and too quickly. i could be wrong, but using the same 14" length coil but having it heavier would mean it would support the truck better, keeping me from reaching the bump stops as quickly, remember we only cycle like 8-9" with our tiny aarms. and i cant keep stiffening the shock because its going to hydrolock if i put it any heavier, i already ahve a problem now with it cooking the oil if i run it hard. i think its just time i step up to LT, got some extra money laying around.... :)

my eibach coils should be in by friday, just gotta get down to King to pick them up when they call.



Corey Schafer
tmcorey@ttora-socal.com
 

Kritter

Krittro Campbell
The problem with coil springs is designers want the springs the lightest and smallest that will provide the proper spring rate, coil length, and stand up to fatigue. Coils also are most often designed with a safety factor of unity which means if they are taken out of their intended environment the fatigue life decreases exponentially and leads to failure. Whether the coil is preloaded or not should not affect the spring life because you are in the linear area of the spring. The thing that effects the coil most is heavy bottoming. When the coil is completely bottomed out or at it's "solid length" the stress on the spring is increased a huge percent which I cant recall off the top of my head and that in turn will lower the life of the spring and cause it to sag. Also remember that the more coils you add (longer spring) the lower your spring rate will be(all things equal).
Heres a cool article for some shock tech <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.off-road.com/dirtbike/tech/2002spring/>http://www.off-road.com/dirtbike/tech/2002spring/</A>

Kris
"Buy American before it's too late"
 

Dillon

Well-Known Member
I see what you think I'm saying, let me clarify...

First off, I think you think I'm saying a longer coil will help coil fatigue, I'm not saying that, sorry. First, I think the SAW coil is poor, so if we step up to a better coil, it should help against coil fatigue. My issue isn't with coil fatigue as I think an Eibach would help that. My issue is using a superstiff coil and having adverse effects because of compression, you make it too stiff, you are not going to use the full length of travel that we have. Sure we compress it jumping but I'm not talking about jumping, I'm talking about straight desert driving, you hit a bump on you left wheel that is a few inches higher then where the wheel already is, it won't compress as fast as a lighter coil, so you will bounce off whatever you hit instead of sucking it up.

Now you use a longer coil but at the same rate of 650#, the coil will have a lighter spring rate but we won't have to crank the coil, so it won't stiffen up. As our coils stiffen up as we crank them correct?

Are you trying to get it superstiff? I don't think stiffness helps a whole lot offroad, just on the street, you want to use all the travel, not limit it by the spring forcing itself against compression.

Lets talk about the SAWs straight out of the box. They come with a 14" coil that isn't preloaded at all and you have to crank your self because the collar is to the bottom. Why not take off the 14, get a 16 and a coil compressor, slide it one and put the top back on (just like a spacer), boom, you have 2 inches of lift without touching the collar and without preloading at all. If I'm missing something someone please tell me, I still think its simple as that.

I don't think a heavy spring helps at all, they are heavy enough, again, the quality of the spring comes into play. If we used a 650# spring that is longer, then that article I just read that the spring rate would be lower then rated, but if we preload it an inch then we make up for it because preload ups the spring rate in the early travel of the shock.

Again I have to ask the question, what is the ideal coilover setup for anybody that knows? A stiff spring and lighter valving or visa versa?

Corey, lemme know how those coil work for you, I'm on my second set of SAW coils and they are sagging too. Its weird I have a unique set of SAWs, haven't heard anybody's like mine. I raised my collar only 1.5" and 1.75" (driver side) and getting a little over 3" of lift while everyone else has to crank it like 3.5" to get that much....weird. Is your body fully threaded?
 

Dillon

Well-Known Member
>>>The thing that effects the coil most is heavy bottoming. When the coil is completely bottomed out or at it's "solid length" the stress on the spring is increased a huge percent which I cant recall off the top of my head and that in turn will lower the life of the spring and cause it to sag.<<<

Thats where I'm thinking the problem is also, in order for us to acheive lift we must crank the coil like hell, yet when we do that, in heavy compression we get coil slap or damn close to it. This is one of the main reasons I think a longer coil would be better, it would suck on the street not being real stiff, but guess I can get a stock sway bar and fix that.
 

ntsqd

Well-Known Member
You should be able to get the longer spring in the proper rate, i.e. no difference in ride quality or suspension dynamics. That is assuming that the SAW Tacoma kit uses a std coil-over coil diameter. I would pull both existing coils and find someone who can tell you what their rate is assuming you don't already know or can more easily find out.

TS

I used swerve around my halucinations, now I drive right thru them.
 

schafer

Well-Known Member
one thing i find is, the coils we get on teh saws are too soft to start with, asyou know like eveyone else i have no sway bar, well when i feel the truck bottom out and the arms start acting like a sway bar then i know they are too soft. i find that most of the time my truck seams to be on the bump stops even when teh coils were new! notice this is my second set also.... i figure its 120 bucks, if it doesnt work then i will eat it and buy a coil 25lbs lighter per side. i cant really seam to get a strait answer out of anyone so i figure what the hell i will try it

Corey Schafer
tmcorey@ttora-socal.com
 

Dillon

Well-Known Member
Yeah, I think we need to take these things into our own hands, SAW has been great but they aren't going to tell us to get new coils from Eibach. As soon as I finish my rear I'm going to get the 16" 650 coils and see how that does. I honestly think a 650 SAW coil doesn't feel anything like a normal 650 should feel like, they really aren't that stiff. I think if the new Eibach 650 becomes alot stiffer like it should be, then I'll bring down the valving on the shock (probably to Tacoma valving), should be a better happy medium with stiff coil and lighter valving, from what I've looked at on the internet, that is the best combination....You know Jordan is running Eibach 550s?

Sold my Bilsteins, decided to go through the bed :)
 

Dylan

Well-Known Member
The difficulty with that coilover is obtaining enough travel from a spring in the available package. I didn’t look it up in the Eibach catalog but I don’t think you will find a 16” spring at that rate. In spring design for any given desired rate and diameter you can get more available travel by making it longer…..up to a point!!! You reach a point of diminishing returns that’s why the longer coils are only available in lighter rates. The 14” 650# coil was chosen because it was the best standard design that would work in that application.
A larger diameter spring will also give you more travel, all other thing being the same.
So the next step up would be a 2.5” shock with a 3” id coil!!!

Donahoe racing will be offering a Tacoma and Tundra shock available the first week in February featuring:
2.5”shock body
650# 3” id coil
Black anodized billet aluminum components (top cap, rod end, seal head)
Upper and lower spherical bearing pivots.
Flutter stack compression valving
Also available w/ a Deaver rear mini pack or full spring!

If you want more info you can give us a call at Donahoe Racing- 714 632 3033
You can ask for me-”Dylan” or “Scott”
You can call me if you have any questions on the SAW coilovers also (I designed that shock when I was the Engineer at SAW and would be happy to give any info that might help)


“Those of you who think you know so much really annoy those of us who do!”
 

rdc

- users no longer part of the rdc family -
"Corey, lemme know how those coil work for you, I'm on my second set of SAW coils and they are sagging too. Its weird I have a unique set of SAWs, haven't heard anybody's like mine. I raised my collar only 1.5" and 1.75" (driver side) and getting a little over 3" of lift while everyone else has to crank it like 3.5" to get that much....weird. Is your body fully threaded?"

My saws are the same way. I got the partially threaded tundra valved saws in early august. I hardly had to crank up the collar to get about 2.5 or so inches of lift. But it seems like every time that I go offroad the springs sag a little more.......

If it continues to sag like they are now, I dont think I will have any threads left in 9-12 months.
 

Dillon

Well-Known Member
Aha!! Another one with f-ed up SAWs, I knew I wasn't the only one lol....yours partially threaded?
 

vorra65

Well-Known Member
OK, so all you guy's have me spooked. I was all ready to buy some c/o's for my 99-just wasn't sure whose to buy. Now, maybe I should hold off.

If I were to buy a set, whose would you guys recommend? I mean, if the Kings are a couple of hundred more-it makes sese to spend the extra coin.

Are the manufacturer's aware of all these problems?
 

rdc

- users no longer part of the rdc family -
dont know how far up they are threaded but I dont even think it is half way. might be 4" +/- .

It also looks like the metal was shaved off so even if I wanted to I would not be able to get them threaded by a machine shop.

They also neglected to put the top small plate on straight on one of the shock bodys and I didnt see it when I installed them.

needless to say that shock promptly exploded, there was oil leaking everywhere....

I kind of wished I ponyed up the extra cash for the kings they look much better, I was just too damn cheap.

at least I got my saws for $ 560.00 new.

let me know if you find a better spring. lately it seems I have to crank my saws up weekly just to keep the same ride height. even where it is now I get a little rubbing when bottoming out on the dunes.

Did yours settle much the first day? I think mine dropped a little more than an inch the first night. I set them up to stock height (waiting for bigger tires) and that was just sitting in the driveway, I didnt even take the truck out that night. At that point I thought something was a little fishy...

but I have to admit they are a million times better than the TRD shocks that I had on both on and off road.
 

Kritter

Krittro Campbell
Sounds like SAW didnt do there homework with the Yota shock kit. I have SAW and they have worked fine for what they are.

Kris
"Buy American before it's too late"
 

Dillon

Well-Known Member
Well, its very few that are having coil problems. If you are only going to use the truck for some mild offroading the SAWs will do fine and can keep up, you will get SOME sagging, but nothing you can't just crank the collar up to make up for, hell all coils sag. But I need long travel and so does Corey and the few others that have actually snapped coils, we are just cheap bastards and trying to get the most out of what we have. The SAW out of box is very good, awesome and gets about an inch more travel then the Kings due to the design. But the Kings are 2.5" and have just flat out better coils.

The Kings are basically just heavier duty, the quality is there in the SAWs, its just a smaller shock and uses an improper coil (in my opinion). Corey is trying out an Eibach coil and depending on how that treats him is where I'm gonna go. SAW has changed alot of things due to user request and need, like the shraeder valve that would bust off, they recessed it. I got the newer version which uses only a partially threaded shock so it can't be cranked a whole lot. Problem is coil sag and I just think the SAW coil is crap and could be better, they shouldn't be sagging as fast as they do.

It it were me and I could do it again, I would get the Kings cuz the 2.5 is nice, the coil is better quality, and the option for a reservoir is nice also...

If you have a doubt on how ad you are going to treat the suspension, just get the Kings and save the hassle, this is not to be a shock war, it apples and oranges, one is overkill for most people, but for some it might be a better option.
 

Dillon

Well-Known Member
No mine wasn't that bad, they changed how the coilover works tho and I still can't figure it out, I cranked like everybody else said to and that I had seen but twice as much lift as I was supposed to (seriously got like 5-6" of lift lol). So I drove around a day like that till I could get it on a lift again, readjusted and it didn't sag till I went offroading. Then it stuck around not sagging too much (but it was progressively) till I snapped my driver side coil...3 hours later the passenger side snapped. I didn't talk to SAW about it cuz I had beat on my truck pretty bad and just blamed it on myself, but my second set of coils are starting to sag and it hasn't been very long...

Your situation is crazy tho, never heard of that problem.

Think the Eibachs will help a lot...don't worry, Corey will test them out in his backyard I promise lol :)
 

yotatech

Well-Known Member
I dont know if im hitting a sore spot or not, but has anybody tried the Downey kit with the bilstiens. I know a guy who has had his for two years with no sagging. But i guess he doesnt really beat his truck like everybody here Just a thought.
 

EQuin

Well-Known Member
I have the Downey coilovers with the 5100 series Bilsteins. I have had them on for over 2 1/2 years and about 90,000 miles. I had them cranked up to about 2" to 2 3/8" of ride height in order to clear 32's. They've sagged a little bit, but I haven't measured by how much. They were definitely an improvement over the stock ride. They body did not lean as much on street cornering, and the front end did not bottom out off-road like it used to do with the stock setup. If I remember correctly, my Downey catalog claims that the stock coil springs have a spring rate of about 420 lbs. Downey claims their coils have a spring rate of about 600 lbs.

I rode in Clay's truck immediately after he installed the Tacoma SAWs, and I noticed his truck rode better than mine on the street, especially when going over speed bumps. Granted, his SAWs were brand new compared to my then 2 year old Downeys, but I'm sure the different shock technology of the SAWs played a part as well.

The only problem I've had with the Downeys is a creaking/groaning sound everytime I hit a dip or bump in the road. Then again, my truck is pretty much a street queen driving around the mean Dallas streets. I only take it off-road a few times a year on easy dirt roads. So I have no idea how they would fare with some of the heavier off-roading that Corey, Dillon and the rest of you lucky So Cal desert runners do. Kevin (brother of Jason - of the famed "Fireracing Guys" team) used to have Downeys on his Tacoma a long time ago, and he has always done serious desert running with his Tacoma, so he should be better able to compare the Downeys to some of the other coilovers and shocks he's run on his truck.

Also, I know that the SAWs come with a lower heim joint, as opposed to a regular rubber bushing like the Downey/Bilsteins come with. Luckily, I've never had any problem with the lower bushings, but like I said earlier, my truck sees mostly commuter, light cargo hauling and kid transport duties - and only occasional light off-roading.

I remember reading only one post on the Tacoma message board from someone who claims to have broken a Downey coil spring. This post was a while ago, though, and I don't remember reading any more such posts. My guess is that those who've bought the SAWs bought them for a reason - to do some serious off-roading, so the broken springs as posted by a few Tacoma SAW owners could be due to the more serious type of off-roading they do. Not to say that Downey owners don't do any serious off-roading, but from the posts I've read on here and on the Tacoma message board it appears that there are more SAW customers than there are Downey customers who do more serious off-roading. Of course, I could be definitely wrong about that, though.

All in all, this is an interesting thread for us Tacoma owners. From the sounds of it, a 14" 600 to 650 lbs. Eibach coil seems like a good combination with the high quality 2.0" SAW shock. I remember when the SAWs first started coming out that there was talk that SAW (or was it Camburg?) offered to sell them with Eibach coils for a slightly higher price. I'm wondering if Hypercoils also offer a 14" 600 to 650 lb coil that could be used with the 2.0 SAW's?

Take care,


Ed Q.
 

rdc

- users no longer part of the rdc family -
has anyone measured a saw coil that has been used for a little while?

Do they compress and stay that way?

I dont really have the motivation to crank mine all the way down to see if the spring is the same as a stock spring, but if anyone has a spring that is off the truck and used, I would be interested in how long it was if its not too much trouble.
 
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