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Old 02-03-2014, 10:28 PM   #1
Smar969905 [OP] Smar969905 is offline
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My Slow Build/Plan/Wishlist

So I have had my truck for about 2 and a half years now, and have seen other people's builds, and thought it might be about time to start mine, without pics for now.

For those who don't care about my story, skip down to the Have done section. For anybody else, here is a little story. Before I got my truck, my wife and I had been renting a condo that was a little over 1000 square feet with at the time 3 dogs and a cat. I ended up getting in a wreck in my car, which left her totalled. The wife and I had been looking into buying a house as well to upsize a bit. We ended up buying our first house at the bottom of the market, about the best possible time to buy, and got a 2548 square foot house landed on 3.28 acres. While looking for a house, I was also looking for a new vehicle for me, because I didn't want to be using my little brother's car for long. With the thought in mind of having property, I said that I would need a truck, so I looked at various trucks online, including dodge, chevy, toyota, nissan, suzuki, mitsubishi, but not ford. After comparing them all, for the packages I would not live without, Toyota kept coming out cheapest, I liked the look of 2nd gen Tacos best, and I have only owned toyotas my whole life. So in a 3 week period of time, I bought a truck, bought a house, and got married (in that order too). I got my 2011 MGM 2.7 liter 5 speed ACLB 4x4. I really only told the dealership I wanted the 4 banger, 4x4, manual, ACLB, and not black or anthracite for color.

Since then, she has received the name Chaquita Magneta Taquito. I call her Magneta for short. She arrived as my girl with about 80 miles on her.

Shortly after getting her, I was quickly seeing a need to pull a trailer, since I had my mom's best friend's utility trailer sitting around my place. My parents paid for a tow package to be installed onto my truck by a local uhaul store. That came with a 4 pin flat connector. It wasn't long before my wife was looking at horse trailers to pull our 16.2 hand gelding around to ride on some local trails. Every horse trailer we found except 1 of them required a 7 pin round connector, so I went back to the morons at this uhaul store and had them install a brake controller, 7 pin round (with built in 5 pin flat) connector, and do the wiring for these, as I didn't have time with work to do it myself. It took 3 tries for them to get it working right, and even then, they only had 5 of the 7 pins hooked up. I looked up with the wiring should be, and did the rest myself and I now have a fully functional 7 pin round harness at the back end of my truck to go with my tow bar.

While watching TW, I decided I wanted to get some armor for my poor truck, since I got her under the theory that a truck isn't a truck unless you abuse it like a truck, and my girl was no trailer or pavement princess. The first group buy I could afford was BAMF LCA skids. I got lucky and got a "blemished pair" because a hole or 2 for the carriage bolts wasn't cut quite right. Since then, I have also replaced the front piece of steel meant as a secondary front recover point with an actual hook. Off of my tow bar, I usually have a triball stinger in, but for offroad excursions, I swap that out for a hook that is less likely to get caught on a tree root on the first dip in a run. I also did the secondary air filter removal very early on and noticed a difference right away. Recently, I read the 2Low mod, and got a good start on that, but got to a pausing point where I may need to dig deeper in to see if I can really make it happen because the writeup was done for 08 and older second gens.

After having been on TW for awhile, I finally went on my first wheeling trip, and that was both a triumphant success for me, as well as a great learning experience for how to do some things, as well as what to carry with me.


Have done:
Uhaul Tow Package w/ 7 pin harness (2 additional fused circuits added [5A & 10A] for brake controller and Aux power)
BAMF LCA Skids
Front recovery hook replacement
Secondary Air Filter Removal
New tires finally...Hankook Dynapro ATM RF10 265/75r16
ATO IFS skid plate
Drink Beer
Share good beer with fellow TWers

What I Want/Plan/Hope to do:
Suspension - I was originally thinking to give her about a 3" lift, but the wifey wants an SUV to replace her car, so if that becomes the main towing vehicle, I am thinking to go with a 6" lift instead, not sure yet which one (pro comp, RCD, camburg)
Shackle flip kit
Front bumper - custom using a piece of 4"x8" steel, 5/16" sidewalls, not entirely sure on design yet
Winch - Promark 12k#
Rear bumper - Custom Made by member 55chevy05Taco, high clearance, 2" receiver, pull out spare tire carrier
skid plates - Front/mid one piece skid custom made by 55chevy05taco, other skids but not sure what yet
2nd set of wheels - with true beadlocks, and a very aggressive offroad tire
Sliders - custom designed and made by member jeverich
2Low mod - started
Extra exterior lighting
Hood Struts
Regear with Air lockers 4.56 gearing
Different rims with 33" tires
Under hood hard mounted air compressor
Some sneaky PVC tubing for an air tank
Replacing factory lights with LED from here

Considering but not sure I want to do:
SAS
Canopy
Get a bigger truck
Rent my body to get mod money faster
Gun rack
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Old 02-04-2014, 12:57 PM   #2
...
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Thumbs up

"Have done:
Uhaul Tow Package w/ 7 pin harness (2 additional fused circuits added [5A & 10A] for brake controller and Aux power)
BAMF LCA Skids
Front recovery hook replacement
Secondary Air Filter Removal
Drink Beer
Share good beer with fellow TWers"


I like the bottom 2 on the list. This goes well with just about any mod.
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Old 02-04-2014, 01:54 PM   #3
Smar969905 [OP] Smar969905 is offline
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Smar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Name: Zach
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Providing beer for others tends to have positive consequences. Another guy here has given me all his stock suspension and a couple aftermarket lights he had on his bumper. Could be because he likes me, although sharing beer with him couldn't have hurt anything.
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Old 02-15-2014, 03:12 PM   #4
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Haha im in spokane as well!
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:16 PM   #5
Smar969905 [OP] Smar969905 is offline
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Smar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldblue1968chevy View Post
Haha im in spokane as well!
Not in Spokanistan yet. Big move is on Tuesday.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:04 AM   #6
Smar969905 [OP] Smar969905 is offline
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I'll leave this here too. taken from another thread
The Ultimate Tacoma Lift Kit Guide


Jason | Nov 29, 2010 | Comments 19
Leveling kits are a very popular accessory with truck owners, and the Tacoma is no exception. Yet despite the popularity of lift kits, there is an incredible amount of misinformation about lift kits. What follows is a good-faith attempt to explain the benefits and disadvantages of every basic lift-kit type.
2005-2010 Tacoma 3 inch Lift Kit from Rough Country Suspension Systems (RoughCountry.com)

First, let’s address some basic lift-leveling kit concepts:
- Most lift or leveling kits do not increase ground clearance. On most kits, additional ground clearance comes from increased tire size only.
- Almost all lift kits involve some sort of compromise. The trick is to make sure that compromise doesn’t impact your intended use.
- There are a lot of very smart people who have differing opinions on the long-term durability of various lift-leveling kit designs. While there is a lot of room for debate, one thing is clear: durability is directly related to use. Heavy off-road users have to be much more concerned with these questions than someone who occasionally drives down a dirt road on the way to a fishing spot.
- You always need an alignment after installing a lift or leveling kit.
- All front-end lift kits over 1.5″ should also include a differential drop kit. This will keep the CV joint angles as close to stock as possible during normal driving conditions. Some companies don’t include a diff. drop in their basic package – be sure to add one on.
- Whatever kit you buy, make sure it’s quality and backed by a warranty.
Different Types of Leveling and Lift Kits


Essentially, there are seven different types of front-end lift kits for the Tacoma:
  1. Above coil spacer lift kits (aka strut extension kits)
  2. In-coil spacer lift kits (aka “preload” kits)
  3. Combo kits that use both above and in-coil spacers (including adjustable shock spring seat kits such as the Bilstein 5100 leveling shock)
  4. Coilover kits that include new springs, and/or replacement springs
  5. Drop bracket kits
  6. Body lift kits
  7. Long travel kits and solid axle swaps
To lift the rear of the Tacoma, there are four different types of kits:
  1. Blocks
  2. Add-a-leafs
  3. New leaf packs
  4. New shackles (95-04.5 Tacomas only)
What follows is a good-faith attempt to describe each front and rear lift method in brief detail.
Tacoma Front End Lift Kit Methods

Above coil kits increase the length of the coil assembly, which in turn increases distance between the wheel hub and the upper control arm and raises the static ride height. Above coil kits are popular because:
  • they don’t require a spring compressor to install (a tool that most home mechanics don’t have) and
  • they’re usually the most inexpensive option
Unfortunately, despite their low cost and ease of install, above-coil kits can cause suspension damage at full down travel (aka full droop). This is because the increased length of the coil assembly isn’t 100% compatible with the stock suspension – ball joints, cv joints, cv axles, the sway bar, and the control arms should all be changed or lengthened if the coil length changes. Otherwise, they are all outside of factory design limits at full down-travel.
Also, anyone who has installed one of these kits will tell you that they’re fairly hard to pry into place – a large pry-bar and/or a ratchet strap are usually required to get the new longer coil assembly to fit.

In-coil spacer kits do not increase the length of the coil assembly to accomplish lift. Instead, they reduce the amount the factory coil can compress by “taking up space” in the coil pack. This is commonly (and incorrectly) referred to as spring “preload.” In-coil spacer kits are well-liked because:
  • Provided you have access to a quality spring compressor (or a local shop that has one), in-coil spacer kits are very easy to install and do not require any prying like above-coil kits
  • They are usually very inexpensive
The downsides to this type of kit are reduced up-travel and, arguably, reduced ride quality. Since the spring isn’t technically being “loaded” (it’s just losing some compression height), ride quality isn’t effected by a suddenly stiffer spring. While it is true that reducing the amount of compression distance slightly changes the spring rate, the difference in ride is likely very small on most vehicles. Many people who have installed in-coil spacer kits have not noticed a decrease in ride quality.
However, the reduced up-travel is an issue with in-coil spacer kits. By reducing the up-travel, the truck is more likely to hit the bump-stops during hard use. Obviously, hitting the bump stops results in a severe jolt and – if done excessively – can have multiple negative ramifications.

Combo kits use both an in-coil and above coil spacer to accomplish lift. By using both types of lift, these kits minimize the downsides of both designs while also gaining the benefits of both. In truth, most in-coil spacer kits – as well as adjustable “leveling shocks” like the Rancho quickLIFT or Bilstein 5100 – fit into the combo kit category.
Shock-based leveling kits offer quite a bit of value. They cost about the same amount as a quality above-coil or in-coil spacer, yet they also include new shocks. The main limitation of these kits is that they max out at about 2.5″ of lift.
Remember: Spacer lifts are the most popular type of front-end lift / leveling kit. Provided your truck doesn’t see much off-road use, it’s unlikely that any of the issues associated with spacer lift kits will ever cause you a problem.
A Note About Spacer Kit Sizes
Since the Tacoma doesn’t have a tremendous amount of rake, a very slight spacer kit is sufficient to level out the truck (only 1-2″ of front-end lift is needed to level a 95′ or newer Tacoma). Since most people are looking for a way to install larger tires on their trucks, pure leveling kits that raise the front end 2″ aren’t nearly as popular as 3″ spacer lift kits that raise both the front and rear of the truck.
Coilover kits and/or new coil springs are often said to be the best lift kit option available short of a long-travel kit. A new coilover kit (which typically includes a spring, shock with spring seat, and all-new mounting gear) can increase lift by using an adjustable ring that will decrease the amount of spring compression height.
Coilover kits are inherently better than spacer kits because they include a new coil spring that is designed for the specific application. The new coil spring is tuned to account for reduced travel, which decreases the chances of suspension damage occurring during heavy off-road use.

Drop bracket lift kits are easy to visualize. Imagine adding a new section of frame to the bottom of your truck’s existing frame, and then mounting all your suspension parts to that new section and you’ve got it. The main advantage of a drop bracket kit is size – they’re a reasonably simple mechanism for grabbing 5-6″ of lift, an amount that is impossible to acquire using a spacer lift kit alone. They also preserve the factory ride.
The main disadvantages of drop-bracket kits are:
  • Cost – $2500 is not an uncommon figure for parts, not to mention labor
  • Challenging install (especially for the average home mechanic)
  • Higher center of gravity
  • They’re essentially irreversible
Despite these disadvantages, most of the “big” lifted trucks you see driving down the road are riding on a drop bracket lift kit. This is often because of economics.
Body lift kits are just what they sound like – a kit that lifts the body of the vehicle 1-4″ off the frame using a series of spacers (also known as “pucks”). The main disadvantage to a body lift kit is the install – most kits have 20+ spacers to install – and some can take the better part of two days to install. The main advantage of a body lift is that it can be installed alongside almost any other lift kit. SO, if you’re doing the math at home, adding a 3″ body lift to a truck with a 6″ drop bracket lift = 9 inches of lift!
If you’ve got time and not a lot of money, combining a 3″ body lift kit with a 3″ spacer lift kit is a low-cost alternative to a 6″ drop bracket kit. Another advantage is that adding a body lift kit to a spacer lift kit results in a lower center of gravity than a drop bracket kit, a nice benefit for anyone concerned about handling and/or rollovers.
Long-travel kits are perhaps the very best suspension lift option available. Essentially, a long-travel kit is a new front suspension system. The critical components (upper and lower a-arms, uniball, coils, and shocks) are all replaced and/or upgraded. Some kits also include new axles, although Tacoma owners can modify Tundra CV axles to work with long-travel kits. Once all these parts are installed, the Tacoma’s ride height is increased while the factory suspension travel and geometry are maintained. In fact, since most long-travel kits use better quality components than Toyota uses at the factory, a Tacoma with a long-travel kit will perform considerably better than a stock Tacoma in almost all situations.
Toyota Tacoma with a Total Chaos Long Travel Suspension Kit. Click the image above for more info.

Long-travel kits are awesome in terms of performance, but they come with an awesome price tag too. Not only are the parts expensive (figure $2,000 minimum) but the labor involved is significant. It’s not uncommon to spend more money on installation than on the kit itself. Of course, if you have the tools, the time, and the know-how, labor is something you can provide yourself.
Most long-travel kits require body panel modification too. The Total Chaos 96000 kit, for example, requires Tacoma owners to install new fiberglass fenders. A set of fiberglass fenders installed and painted to match your truck will cost about $1,000 (less if you can do the fender install and light bodywork yourself). Long-travel kits are the best possible way to raise your truck’s ride height, but many people have spent over $5,000 to install one…which is why long-travel kits aren’t even 1/10th as popular as spacer kits.
The Dana 44 solid axle is a popular starting point for Tacoma solid axle swaps

Finally, we come to solid axle swaps (SAS). These kits are major modifications that require quite a bit of explanation. The big picture is that solid axles are most popular in the rock-crawling community, where there strength, durability and simple maintenance and repair requirements are major assets. If this is your area of interest, check out popular rock crawling forums like Pirate 4◊4 as well as rock-crawling threads on popular Tacoma forums. Solid-axle swaps usually involve considerable labor and a very high-level understanding of vehicle suspension design, so it might be a good idea to speak with some local 4◊4 shops if you’re interested in a SAS for your Tacoma.
The Great Spacer Lift Kit Debate

Many off-road purists detest spacer lift kits and berate anyone who installs one, citing the fact that spacer lifts negatively impact both suspension geometry and travel. While the purists are correct – spacer lifts reduce travel and negatively impact geometry – these changes may or may not impact your particular use. The fact is that, for many Tacoma owners, spacer lifts are a perfectly acceptable option.
On the other hand, many spacer lift-kit manufacturers will attempt to gloss over the compromises inherent in using their product. While this behavior likely comes from a good place, there’s no denying that spacer lifts reduce suspension performance in many measurable ways. Spacer kits are not the best way to increase ride height in terms of suspension performance.
So, are spacer lift kits bad?
In a perfect world, no on would install a spacer lift to increase ride height. Instead, they would opt for a long travel kit with a new coilover, new upper and lower a-arms, new axles, tie-rod extenders, etc. Of course, these things cost money. A quality long-travel suspension kit that will increase ride height 3-4″ while retaining factory suspension performance costs in excess of $2,000. Installation costs can sometimes equal the cost of the kit, and then many long-travel kits require other modifications (new fenders, for example) that have a cost as well.
Which brings us back to spacer lifts. For significantly less money ($200-300 for parts, $200-300 for labor), a spacer lift can increase ride height 2-3″. While they do reduce the overall performance of the suspension system, many “average” truck owners never notice the difference.
Should you use a spacer lift kit? Hopefully the information in this article will help you make that decision.
Tacoma Rear End Lift Kit Methods


The standard leaf spring suspension is conceptually very simple – the spring pack mounts to the frame, and the axle attaches to the spring. However, don’t let the simplicity of the concept fool you – this suspension must resist axle wrap, allow the axle to articulate, and also carry your truck’s payload.

Block lifts are just what they sound like – hunks of steel or (more commonly) aluminum that rest between the axle and the leaf spring. Along with a new set of u-bolts, a rear end block lift can be used to add 1-3″ of lift. Unfortunately, despite their low cost, block lifts are the least desirable of all rear-end lift methods because they increase axle wrap…which leads to a myriad of other problems including broken blocks, broken drive shafts, busted shocks, shackles, leaf springs, etc.
Having said all of this, a small block lift (1″) doesn’t appreciably increase axle wrap and associated risks, and many Tacoma owners have no problems with 2″ block lifts. Still, this is the most undesirable rear-end lift option. Anything else would be better.

Add-a-leafs are the next best rear end lift option. While not as good as new leaf spring packs, they offer many of the same benefits. They increase lift by increasing the rear leaf spring pack stiffness, but many people find that add-a-leafs deteriorate over time. Because you’re changing the stiffness of the spring, new shocks are recommended.

A new leaf spring pack is the best way to lift the rear-end of your Tacoma. Replacing the stock springs with stronger, stiffer after-market springs further enhances resistance to axle wrap as well as providing lift. Unfortunately, new leaf spring packs can be pricey – four to five times as much as an add-a-leaf kit. Also, just like an add-a-leaf, new shocks are needed here too.

Older Tacoma owners (95′ – 04.5′) can also use new shackles to gain suspension lift. This is a commonly accepted lift method that doesn’t change the existing spring stiffness, and provided the new shackles aren’t too long (2″ or less), you may be able to get away with using OEM shocks. Still, new leaf packs are the first choice.
The Best Lift Kit Is…

In a perfect world, every 05+ Tacoma owner would choose new coilovers and a new rear leaf pack to gain about 1.5″ of lift because:
  • 1.5″ is enough to install a solid tire upgrade – nothing massive mind you, but definitely capable (learn more about tire sizes for lifted Tacomas)
  • Going with such a small amount of lift keeps most of the factory suspension geometry – your suspension will perform as it was designed to, yet your upgraded components will give you excellent performance
  • The handling and ride will not degrade – in fact, both handing and ride may improve
  • Mostly stock vehicles with only mild lifts, new coilovers, new rear leaf packs complete the Baja 1000 every year
However, a lot of people aren’t satisfied with 1.5″ of lift. While some of these people are looking for better off-road performance (improved clearance, bigger tires), a lot of these people just want to go BIG. Whatever you buy, the most important thing is to match your intended use with your lift kit. Buying a spacer lift and then jumping your truck off sand dunes is going to cost you a lot of money, but buying a set of coilovers for your strictly pavement truck is a waste of money too.
In truth, there are a lot of arguments about the ‘best’ option. Read what you can, ask lots of questions, and take your time before buying.
Lift Kits and Factory Warranty

Many truck owners are understandably concerned about how a leveling kit or lift kit will effect their warranty. There are two answers to this question:
1. The law protects vehicle owners. The Magnusson-Moss act makes it illegal for an auto manufacturer or auto dealer to void a warranty just because a vehicle has been modified. The only way that a vehicle warranty can be effected is if the lift or leveling kit is the direct cause of a failure.
2. Some dealers are “cooler” about lift kits than others. Some Toyota dealers view themselves as the keepers of the sacred warranty flame, and they refuse to warranty anything unless a customer yells and screams. Other dealers, wise to the ways of the world, embrace owners who install lift kits and even install after-market lift kits themselves. If you can do your new vehicle service work at a dealer who sells brand-new lifted trucks, you’ll probably never have a warranty argument about your lift kit.
Resource: Learn more about your legal protections warranty rights.
Driveline Vibrations

Often times when Tacoma owners install a new lift kit that’s 3″ or greater in size, they find that their truck has some sort of vibration that it didn’t have before. This is because the geometry of the driveline has been changed. There are three common solutions to these problems described in detail in the following articles:
On popular forums, some Tacoma owners will guarantee that one of the items above will solve your vibration problem. But unless they’re running the same setup or they’ve gotten under your truck and taken a look at your specific geometry, they’re only guessing. The experts we’ve talked to – Tom Wood’s Custom Drive Shafts and KLM Performance – say that every truck is a little different. So, you should try one solution at a time and/or you should work with a 4◊4 shop to get a professional opinion.
It’s also worth noting that often times new wheels and tires are installed alongside a new lift kit. A poorly balanced wheel can mimic a driveline vibration, so it’s a good idea to verify wheel balance when diagnosing this problem.
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:02 AM   #7
Smar969905 [OP] Smar969905 is offline
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Smar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shedSmar969905 is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Name: Zach
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Shackle flip kit

more shackle stuff
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