Thanks everyone... and because this is TW, here is an excessive amount of pics and ramblings.
Stock suspension had 182,400 miles on it. Shocks and all. Old ride vs new ride? It's like getting off of Bea Arthur and rolling over onto Adriana Lima. No comparison.
I hit up all the nuts and bolts with PB Blaster for two weeks prior to the removal/installation. Probably 10-12 applications. I think it helps out a lot. The rear leaf front hanger bolts everyone talks about... came out like butter. The only stubborn ones we ran into we the shackles.
BDN and his buddy drove down from FoCo and met at my house at 6am. That means they left their place at 5am, at the latest. He had the back of his 95-97 loaded up with at least 400 pounds of tools and gear (everything needed for the job), including an engine hoist (see below). After seeing how the Dakars looked handling all that weight I was more sure of the suspension without the AAL, but I decided to put them in the leaf packs prior to installing on the truck. First thing's first:
All the parts. 881s, Dakar leaf packs, AALs, OME stock height greaseable shackles, new shackle bushings, nitrosports all around, new U-bolts, Revtek diff drop (didn't use), OME CB drop (didn't use), extended rear brake line, front brake lines (couldn't install them because we couldn't get the retaining clip off the line), and BAMF BPV bracket.
BDN's genius idea of using the engine hoist (attached to my recovery shackle in the hitch) to take the weight off the rear leaf springs.
Compressing the pack to take it apart so we could swap out damaged liner clips and add the AAL
Drilling out the center hole on the AALs because why should an OME AAL fit over the OME center pin? Crazy thought, I know.
Added the 4* shim to the bottom of the pack to sit atop the perch. This was more valuable in keeping good driveline angles than the CB drop kit. Hence not using the latter.
Apply a bunch of the moly grease to the bushings inside and out, then insert into leafs
Somewhere along the line my passenger side bump stop decided to leave home.
Like I said, everything came off pretty easily except the shackle bolts... apply heat and give'er hell.
After we got the stock shackles and bushings all off, we cleaned the hell out of the inside of the hanger. Lots of corroded stock bushing and crud in there. Makes life easier inserting the new OME bushings
Work the floor jack and jack stands to lower the axle so that you can remove the rear leafs entirely. Be very careful with your rear brake line and e-locker wire loom.
We unclipped the wire loom off the bracket and disconnected the rear brake line entirely - nary a single drop of brake fluid dripped out or was in the line. This is where I found out I probably haven't been using the rear brakes for years. Best conclusion is that I was sagging so much that the BPV was closed entirely.
Assembly the new shackles. Keep everything hand tight on the torquing. Makes putting all the pieces back together a lot easier. Torque to specs once the truck is sitting on all fours again.
I broke the last fucking zerk off in the threads
This is how not to seat the bushings into the new shocks. Went over to my neighbor's wood shop and used his vice. Took all but 10 seconds.
New leaf pack, with the AAL, and U-bolts installed.
Here you can see everyone's complaint about the OME set up. Full droop with the leafs but the shock fully extended is about two inches or so short.
BPV bracket installed. Originally with the AALs installed we had it at the highest setting. After removing the AALs and test driving it, I lowered the upper bolts down one setting. Brakes much better now. And yes, those are salvaged bolts/nuts from my collection because the BAMF bracket didn't come with hardware.
And here's what the rear looked like once back on the ground. After deliberation, I decided to remove the AAL. Even knowing it would settle a bunch, it would have still been too ridiculous for my liking. Worst case scenario I install them later if I feel the need.
Here's a helpful hint. Take a grinder with a flap disc or whatever and clean up the rear shock mount. Makes for a nice smooth install of the bushing.
Here are shots of the truck after removing the AAL. The stance is so perfect for me right now (after 40 miles or so of driving and settling in the front and rear).
New 881s and shocks up front. Simple to get the old ones off and new ones on. Cruiser Outfitters doesn't assemble their driver's side shock/coil with the trim packer to account for Taco lean. I'll see how that goes. Never had the Taco lean before on stock, so I dunno.
All done (note the spare tire is not on the truck yet, so the rear is really light):
After driving it around for a bit:
Pictures of the rear driveline after:
And because this is TW:
After driving it around today the front has settled a little bit as well as the rear. I also hauled a bunch of pressure treated lumber in the back of the truck so that should have helped.
1. On road feel is unbelievable. I can't even begin to describe how much more awesome it is than a 182,000 mile suspension. It's a little stiff which I like but the shocks eat up the potholes, manholes, bumps, etc beautifully.
2. The stance is perfect for me. Love the way it looks. The worn out 31s look great under the truck, something I was worried about when reading threads and looking at pictures for years - the wheel gap is totally fine for me. With the new tires going on Tues it will look even better.
3. The size of the lift is perfect for me. It definitely feels bolstered but not absurd for my style or needs. It sounds stupid but those with a daily driver as well will understand. My 7 year old daughter can still easily get in and out of the truck, open the topper and lower the tailgate etc. Not to mention my 5'4" GF has no issues.
4. Driving down the road it doesn't feel ridiculously lifted. It's the perfect amount for me. When I was driving my full sized Bronco on a 4" suspension lift and 33" tires, I felt kind of like an idiot. This lift on this wheel base Tacoma is great.
Once I put the fender flares back on I'll check back in and post up the pre and post hub to fender measurements as best I can.