Donahoe's Extended Travel Coilovers
Camburg's Upper A Arms
Donahoe Racing Extended Travel Coilover Review
(along with Camburg Engineering Upper Control Arms, Deaver 3-leaf rebuild pack, and rear 5125 Bilstein Shocks)
Out of the box...
Straight out of the box, I could tell that Donahoe Racing means business. These shocks are so over the top beefy, especially compared to the stock suspension, one can only assume that these guys really know what they're doing. The Black and polished metal looks is a great relief from other companies who seem to be obsessed with the 'bling' factor before performance. Another thing that was great about these coilovers was the sheer weight. All around these things seem like they could withstand a bomb.
Onto the Camburg Engineering UCA's. These things seemed to go great with the Donahoes with how burly they looked and felt. The huge uniball looks like it will be a vast improvement over the puny stock joint.
The leafs for the rear look like they will match up nicely and because I am removing the stock overload leaf, I will have a much more progressive spring to supplement the front suspension.
I've heard a ton of great things about these rear shocks. They look great and I'd imagine they are quite strong, but I'm a little worried about the valving that I got. 255/70 seams like it will be a little too stiff for what I'm looking for. I've heard lots of people have great success with 170/60, but this valving was not offered in a reasonably prices shock, and since all my money went to the front, the rear will have to come later.
Installation was a pain. Okay, not really. Just for the new UCA's, and more specifically, pressing the stock joint out, and the new ball joint into the spindle. If it weren't for this, I would have been done with the installation in 1 day, but it ended up taking me well into the night of the second day. Before you attempt this, get the proper tools and research the process, and even still, expect to work at it for quite some time. The rest of the installation was a breeze, and I'm not going to go into detail about it, because there are plenty of write ups on the installation process elsewhere.
Initially after installation (along with a shock drive to have things settle) I was really shocked at the height of the truck. Most people say they get around 2" of lift straight out of the box, but I was looking at just around 3" of lift up front. The rear claimed 1.5" and it looks like that is dead on. Now, me being worried about this and wondering what was going on, I contacted Donahoe and asked why this would be. They were very fast with their response, but unfortunately, they did not know why either. I have a few suspicions. First, my stock suspension could have been sagging (maybe 1/2"), and then I found that after off roading with the new suspension, that everything settled another 1/2" in front. So maybe it is around 2". There are also other factors specifically to my truck that could have different conclusions, like tire pressure. I found that I was running 34psi, so I dropped that down to the recommended 26psi for my truck on stock tires. I'm over trying to figure out why. I like it, so I guess that's all the counts.
First Impressions on road...
Honestly, I was a little shocked with how stiff everything was. I was thinking to myself, did I make the wrong decision? After some thinking, I decided to adjust the preload, so it wouldn't be quite so much. So I did, and the ride height supprisingly didn't go down (which is something else that seems really odd), but the ride overall seems a lot better. Now into specific qualities of the ride; something that I could not find anywhere even with all the research I did before I bought these.
First thing I noticed was the road feel. It was fairly more noticeable. Everything was very tight and cornering felt like the truck was lowered instead of being lifted. I can take a corner so much faster now with confidence where before taking a corner at 15-20 seemed nearly impossible. Another thing that was great was going up driveways. The truck is incredibly controlled and takes them very smooth. Uneven areas, potholes, small bumps, dips, drainage things running across the road, are all soaked up very well. I did some tests before and after, and things that were very harsh and that I would bottom out on, were soaked up, very smooth and were far from causing the new suspension from bottoming out. Now speed bumps on the other hand are fairly close to stock, and maybe even a little more harsh. In Donahoe's response, they said that speed bumps should be soaked up a lot better with these coilovers over stock. I think I'll play with the preload a little more and see if I can get it to perform onroad how I'd like.
First Impressions off road...
Shocking! (ignore the pun). These are definatly great components. Everything performed like a champ. Fast desert technical course driving, mild drifting, and jumping were all completed remarkably and without bottoming out once.
One Month Later...
My only complaint is that the rear seems a little stiff (both on and off road). I think I'm going to remove the shocks and drive to see if it is the new springs that are the culprit or the shocks. I think they might both be at fault, but we'll see. Because the front is lifted about 2-2.5" and the back is lifted 1.5", the rake was barely helped. I think removing one of the newly added leaves in the rear will help with the height of the rear and especially with the kick that I was still noticing when hitting certain bumps.
I would definitely recommend this set up to anyone. There are ways to go a little cheaper, and there are plenty of ways to improve on what I did, but if you are looking for something to have fun with and that will hold up to a lot of abuse, this set up will work out great. Best of luck.
Stock Components (used a pickle fork to remove origional joint...&...My Dad helping out with the install
Home Depot made ball joint press...It worked perfect for pressing the new adapter into the spindle
The Home Depot made press after pressing adapter in...&...The completed passenger side
Two more angles of the completed passenger side
Cutting on the old joint so we can press it out...&...Front suspension with the tire on
My lifted front end next to my dad's F-150...&...Another angle with just the Front lifted
The newly assembled driver side leafs and passenger side leafs
Passenger side without shock install...&...With shock installed
Driver side with shock and extended brake line...&...Sitting with completed lift installed
Another angle after suspension was completed
New 265/75/16's compared to old 265/70/16's
New and old mounted, and new backspacing
New tires mounted. Front height has been adjusted since, these pictures, but this is pretty much how she looks now.
16" Black Powder Coated Wheels with a 4" backspace.
BFG A/T's in 265/75/16's (32's).
Stock rims (16") and tires (30.6")
Stock skid plate
Removed lower part of bumper to see how I can design a skidplate/lightbar for the front end
Page 1 ~ Most Recent Photos
Page 2 ~ Photo Album
Page 3 ~ The Art of Breathing
Page 4 ~ Learning to Walk
Page 5 ~ Communicating
Page 6 ~ All Prettied Up
Page 7 ~ A New Life
Roads Less Travelled
Page 8 ~ Sky Valley
Page 9 ~ City Offroading
Pages about me
Page 10 ~ Photography