Project Toyota Tundra Part 10- Suspension by King Shocks

By Mike Kojima


When we last left off, we had installed bigger brakes as well as wheels and tires on Project Tundra.  The big wheels left us with rubbing problems which we addressed by moving the fender liners and modifying the front crossmember.  We wanted to get even more wheel well clearance so we decided to raise our truck slightly.  The stock Tundra has a nose down attitude which looks a little funny so we wanted to raise the front of the truck by about an inch.  We did not want to build a Metal Mulisha bro mobile, just raise our truck a little and improve handling if we could.

To do this we decided to get a set of King Offroad coilover OEM replacement shocks.  The King shocks were designed to maximize performance on a stock truck at close to the stock ride height.  The King Shocks were designed to run at the stock rear ride height while raising the front about 3"

To Read More about Project Tundra click HERE!


Our King shocks are substantially more heavy duty than stock.  The shock is a monotube in construction which has the advantage of greater heat dissipation. They feature amazingly huge 2.5" pistons with 7/8" rods.  The pistons are machined from 6061 billet, not your typical cast aluminum.  The pistons use high buck Rulon bushings for long wear and low friction.  The shock body is cad plated for corrosion resistance and honed to tolerances of 0.001".  The remote reservoirs allow easy external damping adjustment and improve cooling of the shock's fluid.  The also move the gas chamber and separator piston out of the shock body so the shock can have even more travel, about 25% more in our case.


The valve that controls compression damping is now moved to the cap of the remote reservoir which makes the damping easy to adjust.


The shocks are inverted which means the heavier body is attached to the truck's chassis.  This reduces unsprung weight and improves ride response.  A rod end is used on the control arm side of the shock for low friction, direct transfer of force to the shock and free articulation in three degrees.


This CNC billet piece adapts the shock to the OEM chassis mount.  The upper shock eye is a small diameter urethane bushing.  This is a lot more direct than the stock rubber and makes sure every bit of wheel movement is controlled by the shock. 

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Monday, September 24, 2012 9:49 PM
"Most likely on road handling and tire life doesn't concern many truck people!"

I'm not sure this is a fair assessment. Certainly, there are a lot of lifted truck bros that are in it just for the looks, but there are just as many offroad dudes that are very serious about handling as can be found in the world of sports cars.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, September 24, 2012 10:22 PM
Not on road handling. Off road for sure.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 4:19 AM
I might be way off here, but it seems that truck guys get far more bang for their buck when it comes to suspension pieces. I mean, those struts are twice the size of any car part I could pick up and are still less than a typical remote reservoir setup that would be installed in a car on this site.

I can only assume you are paying for more track time R&D for a performance car setup, but it always bugged me that high end truck equipment cost the same (or less in some cases) as "similar" high end car parts.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 5:31 AM
Project Tundra is turning in to a Raptor hunter. *_*
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 5:54 AM
I was wondering why truck stuff is so cheap compared to cars stuff as well. These Kings are half the price of high end car dampers.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 6:33 AM
Could the pricing disparity have anything to do with volume?

If there's a lot more truck guys who are fitting dampers to their vehicles then that could account for the difference.

I don't really know what the numbers are but anecdotally I see a lot more lifted trucks on a day to day basis where I live than I do lowered cars.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 7:50 AM
Economies of scale on multiple fronts:

1. A lot more people throw shocks like this at Tundras and other trucks than they do cars.
2. A lot more competition because people throw stuff like this at trucks more than they do cars.
3. The shock itself is a standard 2.5" King remote reservoir coilover that is sold for everything from pre-runners, to dune buggies, and in between. The only parts that are custom to this application are the brackets, ends, and maybe the rod/body length (which are easily adjusted). Valving, with the adjustability, is probably developed to be pretty close in the middle, with the user being responsible for the rest, so less R&D time is probably needed.

I've said it for a while: shocks capabilities are more important to the off-road community as a whole than they are for road racers. Yes, road racers want good shocks, and there are those that demand the best, but most aren't going to pay extra for large pistons, remote reservoirs, etc, mainly because they're not needed. No road racer is seeing the number of cycles per minute that off-road guys see. This is in reference to the guys who actually buy things for a reason other than looks. And yes, I'm aware that top teams stay up late at night worrying about mm of shock movement that even the top Baja teams won't think twice about. But, then again, have you ever seen a 3" triple bypass shock on a road racer?


Yep, adjustable valving for each segment of shock travel, on top of nearly infinite baseline valving otherwise. You'll find at least 2, but many with 4, just like that on regular recreation vehicles, pre-runners, etc. Then, there's the Baja 1000 guys with 4"+ pistons and quadruple bypasses.

For most off-road guys, spring rate is tuned mainly to hold the vehicle up, handling balance, and gross adjustment for travel use. The rest is done with the shock.

Then, there're the guys who do stuff primarily for looks in each community. With the "tuner car" guys out there, you're never going to see the shocks, so as long as it lowers the car enough, they don't care if it's Xin Ching China brand or Motons. Conversely, truck guys proudly display their shocks as a badge of pimpage, so if one dude has a row of King remotes in the wheel-well, he's way cooler than the guy who has a single set of steel-bodied Pro-Comps. Thus, more truck guys are willing to pay for it, more production means cheaper per-unit cost and more companies competing from both a price, and performance/feature standpoint. The fact that you can get a set of Kings like this for so cheap, but have a little more trouble finding geometry parts for cheap, is testament to this: the guys at the construction lot can't see your alignment unless it's horrible.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 9:51 PM
I think the high end road race shocks are good at providing precise damping control at the low fluid flows that only a few mm of movement make at high frequencies. The technology is different.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 9:03 AM
Great comments by everybody! I do think that the overall number of car models that get coilover systems is greater than the number of trucks which does drive up the price to recoup the low volume per model, BUT from a materials standpoint, the cars must have a greater mark up. The materials in those Kings is equivalent to an entire car coilover system! I've used Kings and they're a quality product.

An Auburn Gear LSD? Hope you went with Randy's Ring and Pinion ;-) Great staff, service and product selection! FAST shipping as well!
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 9:51 AM
Articles like this one make me poor :) I already have Bilstein 5100 but now I want King. Help!!! :D
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 6:42 PM
Somewhat related to many articles, but not this one directly; have you guys ever thought of doing a bio post on Howard W, or is there one here and I've missed it? I think he deserves the spotlight for one article.
Monday, October 08, 2012 12:07 PM
I have Bilstein 5100 on all four corners. Should I upgrade the front to King adjustables or 5100 is "good enough" for daily driving purposes? Still debating if I should pull the trigger or not...King is pricey.

Thursday, March 26, 2015 9:12 AM
Do you have any plans to install upper control arms soon?
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 3:41 PM
The issue with the traction control going off is donto you not
Taking the truck into Toyota to have the yaw sensor reset for the lift.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 6:15 PM
That makes sense, I will fix my donto.
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