Overlanding, like life, is full of ins and outs, lot of what have you, lots of bumps along the way, and you might be thinking that something to put an end to some of those bumps or at least to smooth them out a bit might be a useful thing to add to your vehicle.
One popular option would be to add a second set of shocks that you only use if you hit a bump way too fast causing your truck to leave the ground in a risky maneuver called, in the parlance of our times, “sending it.”
But all cars come with bump stops and if you’re wondering if you need them I have a little story.
My first car was a 1999 Jeep CJ-7 and when I drove it home and drove into the driveway the gutter compressed the springs, and the shocks and the metal of the axle slammed into the metal of the frame and made a very loud and jarring noise. If the windshield hadn’t already been cracked, that might have done it.
For a cheap fix I shoe gooed a tennis ball to the axle and that worked OK, but the tennis ball first popped, then fell off and I was back to banging.
Fortunately they make a bolt with a dome of rubber on the end that is designed to bolt to the axle or the frame and make a soft, yet still fairly abrupt stop to a big bump preventing the jarring of metal on metal. So I found one at the Jeep Dealer, bolted it on and down the road I went.
Now, I have this 2017 Toyota Tacoma with perfectly good factory installed bump stops. I had the idea to put on these Timbren Active Off Road Bump Stops to improve the ride, stop the bumps and really tie the truck together.
There are several videos here on YouTube about how to install these, and if that’s all you’re after, have at it. Here, I’m going to answer the question, Do You Need Timbren Active Off Road Bump Stops on your Stock Tacoma.
First of all this is a Toyota, and as such, if it’s loaded, it’s overloaded. For some reason the springs they put on these are optimized for for unloaded performance even though they have this big cargo area in the back.
This truck came with a fiberglass topper, and I cary around a few things, not much really, but when I put the trailer on, the kids in the back and camping gear, it was hitting the bump stops a lot. So after Lightning Dragon and I went on an overnighter in the Pine Nuts to shoot some video for Roxor where we bumped down the roads with the Roof Top Tent on top hitting the stock bumps constantly, I decided to upgrade the bump stops first.
The stock bump stops are just a little cone of rubber that stands off the axle only a few inches and absorbs impacts when the axle gets close to the frame of the truck. The Timbren consists of all the parts you see here. and stands at least twice as far off the axle.
Assemble is pretty self explanatory, so I’ll keep talking about whether you actually need these.
This kit came with the u bolts and shackles necessary to do a u-bolt flip as well. Stock, the u bolts point down and the ends of the bolts hang below the axle where they can scrape and get hung up on rocks. When I’m done here, they’ll be sticking up with only the bends of the Us below.
This kit removes the brackets and bolts you can see hanging below the axle tubes here. Incidentally, when you’re done the space between the u bolts will be a perfect spot to place the jack stands when you lift the truck.
You can see all the parts that are coming off here. The Lower bracket, the U-Bolts and the stock bump stop. An impact makes short work of this part.
Now, here’s where the question at the start of this video comes in. The stack height of the Timbren bump stop and the u bolt flip plate is greater than the gap between the axle tube and the bump pad on the frame. Although it’s worth noting that the truck has a topper on it and at the time of this mod, also had a Roof Top Tent on top of that.
I actually had to jack the truck up more to make space for it.
But that’s OK, because since the U-bolts not point UP, you need a lot more space to get the impact in to tighten the nuts down.
Once you’ve got them torqued down you can mount the bump stop assembly and get the tire back on.
And as you can see, once I let it back down there was very little room between the bump stop and the frame. So little that once it was loaded, the bump stop was the suspension.
So, should you install the Timbren Bump Stops?
If you have s stock Tacoma and you don’t cary a load, no you should not.
If you have a stock Tacoma and you DO cary a load, no you should not. With the bump stops alone, you’re sacrificing a small amount of up travel with a short bump stop for no up travel and a long bump stop. The Timbren is much better than a standard bump stop at stopping bumps, but it sucks as primary suspension.
When driving over the speed bumps in the Home Depot parking lot, which is something I do fairly often, the front hits the bump and compresses and we go up and over. The rear compresses a little, then hits the bump stop and you go from a nice damped compression to a heavy rubbery bump and you go up and over.
It’s not really that BAD per se, but it’s not really all that necessary. With the stock bump stops, the overload springs would ramp up and the shocks would dampen the movement probably before hitting the bump stops.
If you are lifting your Tacoma and want to minimize harsh bottom outs due to bumps whether you cary a load or not, yes, you should get the Timbrens. If you can lift the vehicle far enough off the bump stops that they are only engaging on bigger bumps, then they work great. Soon after I installed these, I installed add a leafs to carry more of the load. And I’ll talk more about those and the future of the suspension of this vehicle later. But I’d estimate that you need at least 2 inches of overall lift for the Timbren Bump Stops to be bump stops, and not overload springs.
For now, I hope this helps you decide if you want or need the Timbren bump stops on your truck. If it was, please to hit the like button, If it wasn’t leave a comment and maybe I can help. Happy Trails.