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Knowing When To Replace Your Shocks

Depending on how you drive your truck and where you drive it, you may not give your shocks a lot of thought. Since shocks tend to “wear” very, very gradually, people often aren’t aware that their shocks have gone bad until they’re told by the local dealership or auto shop.

As you undoubtedly know, shocks aren’t just a part that improves your vehicle’s ride. They’re an important piece of safety equipment as well. Shocks help to prevent front end dive under hard braking, helping to reduce the amount of force that the front brakes must dissipate and decrease stopping distance. For truck owners, shocks are also important because they help keep large loads (either towed or hauled) manageable during turns, bumps, etc.

You need good shocks to have a safe vehicle. The trouble is, most people – and a fair number of auto technicians – don’t really know when it’s time to replace a shock and when it’s not. There are a lot of simple, amateur tests that you can do to “prove” your truck may or may not need shocks (like the one in the video below), but these types of tests are usually only accurate when the shocks are already in pretty bad shape.

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A better way to evaluate shocks is to look at how much hydraulic fluid they’ve leaked. Shock failure is caused by leakage. While a little bit of leakage is considered normal, once a certain amount of fluid has drained out – or if the fluid has leaked out of the shocks in a very specific way – then it’s time for new shocks.

Fortunately, Toyota has given their dealership technicians some clear-cut illustrations that explain when shocks need replaced…and we’re sharing them with you.

Electronically Bypassing The Tundra’s Air Injection System (Hypothetically Speaking)

UPDATE: We have recently become aware of a module that “fixes” this issue. See http://www.tundraheadquarters.com/blog/2012/10/24/air-injection-system-bypass-module for more details.

If you own a second generation Tundra, something you should be aware of is an apparent design flaw in the Tundra’s air injection system. While the likelihood of having this problem is probably pretty low (most of the dealers we talk to report this as a fairly rare problem), you never know if it could strike your Tundra.

Some trucks are covered under warranty (see the link above for more details), but if your truck has this problem and it’s not covered, you don’t have a lot of options. You can either rebuild the pumps and/or remove and clean the valves yourself, or you can pay your dealer a few thousand bucks to put in new parts…or maybe, hypothetically speaking, you might be to bypass the issue altogether…

Stinky Air Conditioning and A/C Misting Services

Does the air coming out of your climate control vents smell like your grandma’s cellar? If so, you’ve probably got a little mold or mildew growing in the evaporator and/or duct work. To get rid of it, you’ve got three options:

1. You can shut off your A/C a mile or two before your destination but leave the fan speed set to HI. This will help dry out the system and keep the little guys from growing. Hopefully, they’ll die out.

2. You can use some chemical weapons on the fungi, bacteria, etc.

3. You can take the A/C apart, clean up the evap and any duct work you can get to, and then put it all back together.

Ready to get started? Here’s how you go about it:

2007 and 2008 Tundra Owners – Heater Upgrade Available

Toyota recently sent dealers a TSB regarding “reduced cold start heater warm-up in cold conditions.” In English, that means “Tundras that don’t warm up quick enough.” The fix for this problem is really simple – it’s just a software upgrade.

Since the colder months are on their way, now would be a good time to talk to your local dealer if you have a 2007 or 2008 Tundra or a 2008 Sequoia. The TSB number is 0231-10 – here’s some more info on how your dealer will perform this software update:

How To Remove Your Tundra’s Transmission Valve Body

Following up on our two-part interview with John Lombardo of Import Performance Transmissions (IPT), some people may be interested in purchasing a modified valve body for their Tundra’s transmission.

Just to recap, IPT’s transmission modifications are designed to make your truck shift a little more crisply, reduce wear on internal transmission components, and enhance durability. One of the services IPT offers is to send you a new valve body that offers all of the above benefits.

Based on this video from IPT,swapping out the old valve body for the new one looks pretty manageable for someone with the tools and time – check it out:

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