I bought my 2013 DC V6 Off-Road last month, and since then, I've spent hour after hour on this site (like so many of you!), trying to educate myself about the best choices for what I have in mind. In the searching I've done, I realized two things:
1) For every question answered, three more arise. (again, like the rest of you).
2) I'm not an "off-road" type, and I should be honest with myself and Mod accordingly. (Some of you seem to be in the same boat, though I get the feeling that you're embarrassed to admit it like I was).
So why the hell did I buy an off-road pickup? Because it's bad ass! If/When I DO get a gonad transplant and find myself in the snow, mud, sand, etc, I want to know my truck can handle it. Also, and this is just being real, these trucks LOOK AWESOME!. I've seen them around for years and wanted one for as long. Now that I have one, I want it to look, sound, and perform exactly how I imagined it.
It's a daily driver, and I'm literally afflicted with Down's Syndrome when it comes to mechanical knowledge/ability. I will be using it probably 99% on pavement. I hope to do some off-road stuff some day, but I shouldn't base what I'm doing on "hope". I rarely haul heavy stuff other than helping somebody move or taking a load of trash to the dump, and so on. I don't pull trailers have a boat or other toys, and I probably won't be getting any. With all that said, here's what I'm planning on doing:
I've read SO much about suspension. All the stickies, threads with 100s of posts, and I've visited countless websites and seen tons of builds. For somebody like me, here's what seems to make sense:
I want about 2.5" of lift, and this is basically because I think it looks nice and allows for a bigger (nicer looking) tire. I don't want the nose higher than the front. 2.5" seems to be the safe height that isn't likely to cause problems with the vehicle's geometry and raise issues like "vibes".
The stock ride is nice, and it feels firm and well controlled. I want to maintain, at a MINIMUM, that level of performance and paved-road comfort.
I work a lot of OT, so I can afford whatever I NEED to afford. I just want to figure out what that is. My big concerns are:
* Effects on the Reliability/Dependability of my truck, Performance of the lift as it relates to daily pavement driving (comfort and handling on the highway), and Aesthetics, in that order.
So whatever lift is least likely to cause problems with my truck, while giving me, at a minimum, the comfort and performance of the stock ride and the added benefit of the "cool" factor (neat red coils, shiny, slick UCAs, etc) is what I'm looking for.
Here's what I'm considering, and I'd like some really specific input and feedback from people who have these or have experience with them.
TRD Baja Kit: From what I understand, this kit will raise the front end about 3" and add much better shocks to the front and rear of the truck without sacrificing the integrity of the suspension system in any way. Because it's manufactured by Toyota specifically for the Tacoma, it should fit like a glove and give me everything I'm looking for, even if the price is a little much for what you get. The added "peace of mind" of knowing I'm putting on something that's not gonna screw up my alignment, CV boots, etc, is worth the extra few bucks to me.
Questions and concerns about this kit:
Q: Can I add a Dakar leaf pack with it?
Q: Although I don't think I NEED UCAs with this kit, would it make the kit even more stable and reliable by ensuring that my alignment would be perfect? Are the UCAs even an option with this kit?
Q: Is this kit a more "high end" kit than the OME and Toytec ULC ?
Q: I'm planning on putting on an ARB front bumper (no winch), a steel rear bumper, and rock sliders. How does that change things with this lift?
Other Lifts I'm Considering:
OME/Toytec: With similar price points and reviews, these two kits seem to be about equal to each other. They would both accomplish what I want, with the difference being that the Toytecs are adjustable, which could come into play once I armor the truck. The OMEs appeal to me because of the reputation they have for being built with "real world" performance in mind, and everybody who gets them seems to love them.
Q: I'll have an ARB front bumper and sliders, but I'll also have a steel rear bumper. Would 885 coils with a Dakar leaf pack, a carrier bearing drop kit, and TC UCAs do the trick, or would I need 886 Coils to make up for the added front end weight?
Icon/King Coilovers: I think these are too much for me (not price wise, but overkill). I don't really off-road or race, but I LOVE the sexiness of these kits. The Kings are all around bad-ass, and everybody seems to be satisfied with them. The Icons have some haters, and I'm a little concerned about the top plate breaking. That bothers me a lot. But the icons look really cool, and they're easily adjustable in case I don't like the way my ride sits after I put on armor and wheels/tires.
Q: Has Icon fixed the top plate issue, or are people still having problems with it breaking?
Q: I'd opt for Stage I Icons if I went that route, but isn't it overkill for me?
Q: Are either of these likely to be as "nice" to my truck's other mechanical parts as the Baja kit?
Q: With all the armor etc, should I get 700Lb coils? Lighter? Heavier?
Other Miscellaneous Questions:
1. I know you don't always need UCAs, a carrier bearing drop kit, and so on, but can adding those things EVER hurt the truck, or are they just things that I might not have needed but installed just in case as insurance? If so, I'll install them for peace of mind.
2. I want to replace my break lines with stainless steel braided. Any reason I shouldn't?
3. Is this post ever gonna end?
Thanks for reading and any/all replies!!