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Improving ride quality and handling via lowering? '03 B3000, Std Cab+Short Bed.


bhgl

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Sideways hopping over bumps is inherent to solid axle, leaf spring suspensions. Assuming your suspension is currently healthy, that's not really going to change much unless you radically change something about the design (converting to a 4 link, IRS, etc).

A rear swaybar is a great upgrade to a reduce bodyroll and improve cornering feel/confidence, but it's not likely to do much at all to prevent hopping over bumps.

Lowering will drop your center of gravity, and improve handling. It will also give you the chance to get new shocks and a proper alignment at the same time, so you'll have confidence that some of the hardware/bushings/etc are new and not contributing to any of your issues.
Yes, this costs money, but it will likely have more of an impact on your enjoyment of the truck than the ignition stuff you just spent hundreds on (teasing).
Ignition stuff didn't cost me too much! Okay the coil was kinda expensive...

The leaf spring clamps and the traction bar should help with lateral shifting, but you're right. It is inherent.

The sway bar should help with that a bit too by just giving some additional points of contact and some resistance to the axle.

A full suspension refresh would certainly help, but just like you said, wheel hop/lateral shifting is pretty inherent to live rear axle/leaf springs.
 


stmitch

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One other thing that is likely contributing to your situation is F/R weight balance. These trucks (especially regular cab/short bed) tend to ride a bit softer with some weight in the back. You could experiment by throwing a few sandbags or something similar in the back of the bed and see what you think. If that helps, then you can consider something more permanent and less intrusive than always having sandbags in the back.
 

Lefty

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One other thing that is likely contributing to your situation is F/R weight balance. These trucks (especially regular cab/short bed) tend to ride a bit softer with some weight in the back. You could experiment by throwing a few sandbags or something similar in the back of the bed and see what you think. If that helps, then you can consider something more permanent and less intrusive than always having sandbags in the back.
Good point. If you don't always need all of the space, consider a tool box. Also, I've got an oak bed. It does "smooth out the ride" a little and improve F/R balance. This year I'm putting in a larger tool box. The tools come in handy and
20230417_115936.jpg


oak itself is rather heavy. A tonneau cover and a couple coats of spar varnish protect the finish from the elements. It is durable but prone to scratches. Most of the time I fill the bed with cardboard boxes, but sometimes I use cardboard or a moving blanket to keep everything looking new.. An extra coat of varnish from time-to-time is also good. A more durable finish could be bedliner. A cheaper solution could be plywood. Either way you add about a hundred pounds of weight, maybe more, depending on those tools.

I used to use sandbags in the winter, but installed a limited slip differential and just don't need them any more. The ride quality reminds me my old Buick, only far more stable.

Maybe too, those James Duff bars help with wheel hop.
 

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bhgl

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I do add extra weight to the rear to improve handling, but only in the winter. I have some pretty intense efficiency goals that make putting a couple hundred pounds of otherwise useless weight in the back counter productive. Also, I do genuinely use my bed most anytime I drive the truck, if I just need to get to an appointment or otherwise run errands the Toyota is the most efficient way of doing them.

Of course adding things like traction and sway bars seems counterproductive to those goals, but with my long distance high speed use case, stability is worth some weight
 

stmitch

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I do add extra weight to the rear to improve handling, but only in the winter. I have some pretty intense efficiency goals that make putting a couple hundred pounds of otherwise useless weight in the back counter productive. Also, I do genuinely use my bed most anytime I drive the truck, if I just need to get to an appointment or otherwise run errands the Toyota is the most efficient way of doing them.

Of course adding things like traction and sway bars seems counterproductive to those goals, but with my long distance high speed use case, stability is worth some weight
Sandbags are cheap and easy to use as experimentation. Once you know if you like the way it rides with weight all the way in the back, then you can do something more permanent and discreet like a battery relocation, fuel cell, etc. Those would add little overall weight, and would just move it around to improve weight balance while keeping the bed available for utility.

Really, for lengthy, high speed driving your efficiency will be determined more by aerodynamics and gearing than anything else.
 
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bhgl

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Mazda B3000
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Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Sandbags are cheap and easy to use as experimentation. Once you know if you like the way it rides with weight all the way in the back, then you can do something more permanent and discreet like a battery relocation, fuel cell, etc. Those would add little overall weight, and would just move it around to improve weight balance while keeping the bed available for utility.

Really, for lengthy, high speed driving your efficiency will be determined more by aerodynamics and gearing than anything else.
Powertrain, gearing, and aero are all in the works, handling and stability at speed is still a factor however. Given that it's really hard to get good MPG when you've slammed into a tree.

Redistributing weight, or carrying sandbags would be useful, but for my use case it's just going to affect utility too much by using up space/payload. Tractions bars, spring clips, and sway bars add weight for sure, but per pound offer greater benefit to handling, and don't sit in the bed.

This years winter I carried around a ton of tires to add some weight to the back, and I'll be doing something similar again this winter. It's still really annoying when you do in fact need the bed space however, and have to remove 200-400lbs of junk from your bed just to pick up an ikea order.
 

Lefty

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Powertrain, gearing, and aero are all in the works, handling and stability at speed is still a factor however. Given that it's really hard to get good MPG when you've slammed into a tree.

Redistributing weight, or carrying sandbags would be useful, but for my use case it's just going to affect utility too much by using up space/payload. Tractions bars, spring clips, and sway bars add weight for sure, but per pound offer greater benefit to handling, and don't sit in the bed.

This years winter I carried around a ton of tires to add some weight to the back, and I'll be doing something similar again this winter. It's still really annoying when you do in fact need the bed space however, and have to remove 200-400lbs of junk from your bed just to pick up an ikea order.
amen!
 

stmitch

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Powertrain, gearing, and aero are all in the works, handling and stability at speed is still a factor however. Given that it's really hard to get good MPG when you've slammed into a tree.

Redistributing weight, or carrying sandbags would be useful, but for my use case it's just going to affect utility too much by using up space/payload. Tractions bars, spring clips, and sway bars add weight for sure, but per pound offer greater benefit to handling, and don't sit in the bed.

This years winter I carried around a ton of tires to add some weight to the back, and I'll be doing something similar again this winter. It's still really annoying when you do in fact need the bed space however, and have to remove 200-400lbs of junk from your bed just to pick up an ikea order.


To be clear, I was suggesting relocating the battery and fuel to a location under the bed floor, behind the rear axle so utility wouldn't be impacted, and the only change in weight would be from the added length of wiring/lines to each component. And again, a little more weight farther back would make it much less likely to jump as severely over bumps. But, I understand that may be more effort and/or cost than you're interested in.

I'd definitely recommend a rear sway bar, and some amount of drop, even if you don't want to mess with anything else. They'll help efficiency (smaller frontal area), and improve handling at the same time.

But understand that neither one of those is likely to help much with the hopping over bumps that you seem to be most concerned with. If the hopping is the biggest concern, the ways to improve it are reducing rear spring rates (hurts capacity), moving weight rearward (kind of costly), or adding as much travel as you can (shorter bump stops, bolt in C notch).
 

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