Project Tundra, Installing the Ultimate Bolt On Off Road Suspension From Icon Vehicle Dynamics Part 1

It’s been a long time in between updates for Project Tundra.  Most of the time Project Tundra is the garage’s muscle. Moving big parts and towing cars is what it’s mostly used for, but every once and awhile we take it out for some off-road fun.  One day we were commuting to work when suddenly one of the springs on our King shocks exploded into around 20 pieces without warning.  This was simply being driven down the street, not even hitting any bumps or potholes. When the spring exploded the truck slammed down and bent the shock shaft to where the shock was stuck in the down position, so we could not just change the spring. We inquired at King if we could have our shocks serviced and repaired and they told us it would be 6-8 weeks before they could even look at them.  That was not going to cut it, as we need our truck.  Fortunately we had met the guys at Icon Vehicle Dynamics at a SEMA event and they had told us to call them if we ever needed anything. This could not have come at a better time.

Being suspension guys we really wanted to have the ability to adjust the suspension of our truck.  Our King shocks were adjustable for compression, but we have always felt they could use a little more rebound.  Our zero offset wheels made our suspension links effectively over an inch longer, which changed our motion ratio enough for them to feel under damped in situations where we really G-outed the suspension.  So we opted to start with Icon’s stage 9 suspension system and build from there.

The first part of the system is Icon’s 2.5 Series front coilovers.  These shocks have a generous 2.5″ piston for more heat dissipating fluid capacity, more room for a valve pack on the piston and more bearing area for durability.

The Icon 2.5 shocks have an eye type upper bearing. This allows for a longer shaft with more travel, while maintaining a shorter body that fits within the confines of the stock shock tower.  The anti corrosive cad plated adjusting collar for the chrome-silicon Eibach spring is on top, where it is more protected from rock hits.  The coilovers are adjustable from 1-3 inches higher than stock.

The large remote reservoir adds to the fluid capacity for better cooling. Inside there is a floating piston that keeps the shock fluid separate from the nitrogen gas that pressurizes the shock.  Running the shocks at about 250 psi reduces cavitation when the fluid is forced through the valves at high velocity. Inside the reservoir is Icons CDC adjustable compression damping valve.  This adjustment mostly affects low speed compression damping which controls roll and dive under braking.  There are 10 clicks of adjustment here.

To upgrade our Stage 9 system we added Icons S2 Stage 3 front secondary shock system.  This adds a set of 3″ remote reservoir external bypass shocks to fortify the coilovers.  This upgrade doubles the amount of damping capability and drastically improves off road performance.  The external bypasses give position sensitive damping.  The external bypasses have a ride zone, a big hit zone and top out zone. They act like an internal hydraulic bump stop and soft top out.  Adjusters on the bypasses give you independent adjustment of compression and rebound damping. The trick is to use the compression adjuster on the coilovers to control body lean and nose dive, while using the adjusters on the secondary shocks to control response on big hits.

8 comments

  1. What the F**K??? I have kings on my white tundra rock warrior because of project tundra, now you’re telling me i need to drop a boat load of money on this?? Thanks a lot guys.

    1. Kings are extremely good shocks but ours broke and we found out that their customer service was not the greatest. We simply cannot wait for 6 to 8 weeks just to get our trucks shocks looked at. I explained that our shocks had obviously defective springs but they were not concerned with that. They is nothing wrong with what you got, Kings perform really well. I just made the choice that I felt that after getting a nonplussed treatment for what was a techical issue, not abuse and since to get the truck fixed faster my only alternative was to buy new shocks, I decided to give my money to a different company and at the same time upgrade to a more hardcore system. To be fair, King makes shocks not suspension systems or packages and they do not sell anything off the shelf that is equvalant to the Icon system.

      1. Funny, We had the opposite experience. The Icon struts we put on a 2015 Tacoma promptly blew the seals out and Icon couldn’t be bothered about it. Swapped to comparable Kings and haven’t had any problems out of them.

      2. I actually just ordered all the parts to rebuild my Kings. Honestly never dealt directly with king but through Filtymotorsports which is one of their larger distributors. Great response and customer service. If I lived out west and could go flying through the desert when I wanted I would definitely be more interested in something like the icon setup, but in florida its dirt roads and rarely anything too hardcore. Your experience with the springs had me concerned so i ordered replacement parts just to be on the safe side.

        I use the Camburg tubular upper control arms, same kings you guys have, and a 1.5″ rear lift shackle. Survived many salty winters in new england and lots of abuse. I’ve only replaced the UCA bushings (mainly because i went way too long without greasing them.)

        1. The spring problem was bizarre, the spring suddenly shattered into over 20 small pieces just driving down the street! When changing arms, be careful and look to see if its going to affect bumpsteer. We drove a Camburg complete system and although it had a lot of travel, it also had a lot of bumpsteer which made it feel sketchy sometimes.

        2. I guess dealing with a distributor is the way to go. The guy on the phone was most unhelpful and kurt just shy of being rude which annoyed me because I am a professional asking professional questions. Thus I decided to spend my money elsewhere even though I loved the product. Maybe the guy was just having a bad day but it left a bad taste in my mouth.

          1. Their loss i suppose. FYI Camburg makes a few different types of control arms depending on your needs. they do make a long travel kit with extra long UCA/LCA’s. Mine are essentially the same dimensions as the factory ones but with a uniball located to give you more positive caster which allows for a much better return to center when you are on the throttle. The only negative impact i’ve found is more feedback due to the uniballs but it doesn’t bother me at all.

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