Recently I have come back to the Toyota brand - specifically a 2013 DCSB. I have had Tacomas in the past and felt it was the best platform for my type of off roading adventures.
I did some image searches through a variety of platforms trying to find some similar builds that matched what I had in my beady little brain. Mostly it helped with finding manufacturers of bumpers, tops, etc, that I could research further if the look was what I wanted. Some local word of mouth also helped in my quest and a vision started to appear. The next was a budget - always a touchy subject when trying to convince the "wif" that our adventures will be exponentially better with better equipment (i.e. - most of time = more money).
What I had not quite expected was the multitude of options/companies now in the "ride better" shock business. I have done some suspension work on a Jeep JK I had before the Tacoma (but with help), and was fortunate to have some good people helping me out on a 4x4 van I owned in the past. Unfortunately - now I'm on my own.
As I have ventured down this road of shock options has been almost overwhelming - never more prevalent than during a recent trip to the store. There I was stranded in the cereal aisle for about 10 minutes pondering the best "bran" to buy. The oats turned into a box of Fox shocks, the wheat became Kings, and it went on, and on, and on... I pride myself as being a somewhat simple person - what happened to the days of a couple shredded wheat, a bran, a chocolate, and one with a incredibly creepy cartoon character on the front.
I moved to Alaska at age 2 (too many years ago to mention) and left when I was a teenager. We traveled the Alcan every year (when it was still dirt in most sections). In a variety of platforms to include '68 VW Westy (new windshield required each time), a Ford Maverick, a couple different trucks, and a 60's station wagon, so I'm well aware what can be done with some of the most modest of equipped vehicles.
What I'm looking for constructive thoughts on whats worked and why. I have no plans to do the Dakar, or Baja 1000, in my Taco, but I would like to be able to run 50-60 over the back roads and not be in need of a good dentist at the conclusion. I have an ARB shell, I will have aftermarket front and rear (w jerry can/rotopax and tire mounts) bumpers w/winch on front, and sliders. I race and do off road adventure rides on mt bikes so I am always looking for "out there". I camp in my truck, but also w/ an off road teardrop so that comes into play.
I like OME stuff for their apparent reliability and relative low cost. I really like the King adjustable shocks but the cost would prohibit a few other purchases. I had the 9000XL adj Ranchos on one vehicle and liked them, but I did not like their coilover setup (looked a little cheesy). Toyotec has a nice 3" Ultimate lift with the option of the 2.5" radflo (650 spring and aftermarket UCA), a OME leaf, and a 5160 Bilstein in the back, that I really liked for cost and quality. I would like to run a 2.5" in the front for a variety of reasons, and I think a ext res in the back would be good as well. My goal is 2-3" of lift with an additional few inches of gain in tires as well (285x70x17 possibly).
Thanks for reading