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Recomendations for mods to tow with a Gen 1 Taco

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Old 11-09-2013, 04:41 PM   #1
Mulewright [OP] Mulewright is offline
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Recomendations for mods to tow with a Gen 1 Taco

I have recently acquired a Super Clean 1999 X cab 4X4 SR5 5 speed 3.4 V-6 Tacoma and need some tips on the equipment to upgrade the suspension for towing a 5~5500 lb enclosed 16' Trailer.
I have already fitted it with a better than class 4 (after mods.) receiver and 7 pin wiring connector and of course, a good brake controller..
I was planning on upgrading to 4600HD Bilstein's F&R due to excellent previous experience with their products.
I do not need or want any lift, however as I have already experienced, the stock springs are a joke in poor taste!
I have viewed AirLift air bag assists but have reservations due to previous experience with a in - transit line failure before. Not much fun loaded in the mountains coming down & have a line blow! (I'm still farting seat foam from that one!)
SO.... Specifically I need recommendations for rear aal's and if needed, front springs, along with slip on towing mirrors to complete the package.
I would like if possible to keep a non punishing ride when empty because I'll only be towing about 15~20% of the time.
I've viewed a lot of info on the later models, but not much for the Gen 1's.
I am a ignorant "Noob" & apologize for the annoyance this might cause some members but, I am not much on a computer & sincerely desire to Do It Right & thank you all for any constructive comments you might bestow upon me.
Link's, etc. would be most appreciated!
I know my desired info is here Somewhere... I just have not found it in the last couple of weeks lurking & searching.
This having been said, Let the flogging begin!
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Old 11-09-2013, 04:46 PM   #2
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Dakar leaf packs to start? Feed off that first gen people!
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Old 11-14-2013, 06:58 PM   #3
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I am so overwhelmed with the response I have recieved from forum members on this site!
Thanks!
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Old 11-14-2013, 07:04 PM   #4
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Not sure which shocks are series 4600, But knowing this site, others will agree with me; Get the 5100s.

As for the rear end, I never towed with my 1st gen, but I upgraded my leaf packs by adding some extra leaves from some spares I had. Helped out with hauling my bike around and the truck rode a ton better. Check out the Wheeler's 5 pack rear leaf springs. They add roughly 1.5" to the rear ride height, and since the 5100 front struts are height adjustable, you can set them to middle setting (1.25" I believe) which would level the truck out somewhat.

I also changed my rear gear ratio (Since your's is 4x4 you would need to do both the front and rear differential) from 4.10 to 4.30. Definately helped out with getting the tires moving. Made the truck much more friendly at stop lights.

I would also look into the Tundra brake swap. I tow a 12 foot trailer with 2 dirt bikes on it with my 3.4 Liter 4Runner and I find my braking ability somewhat lacking.

Hope this helps

EDIT: Grammar and shit

EDIT2: Dude your local to me! What's up I stay over in Ruston. Hit me up if you ever need any help wrenching!
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Old 11-15-2013, 05:11 PM   #5
Mulewright [OP] Mulewright is offline
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Red face

The only difference that I have found so far in the 4600 vs. 5100's are the adjustable front strut spring perch and a slight difference in extended length... and a couple hundred $. If someone knows more different, please let me know.
As far as gearing, I really did not want to go there... I will likely swap the 31x10.50x15's for a shorter tire instead of changing gears. And pick up a much better ride than these Destination 6 plys. I simply do not need these 50psi rated chunks of wood. Likely a 265~275/ 60 or 70/ 15 4ply next.
I have noted sufficient drive-line performance as is now, just borderline Scary suspension performance... Very "Limp Wristed " there!
I was sorta leaning towards a 3/16 to 1/8" add a leaf and maybe a "real" overload leaf. the stocker does not contact before it hits the bump stop now...
Stock front coils are pretty wimpy also.
I was sorta shooting for the tow capabilities that I had in my 4 cyl. '85 2wd 1 ton.... I used to tow a 2 car enclosed trailer (26') with a D-S/P 510 & GT-3 240z , tools & spares all over the south with it. 70~75 mph with the a/c on... no major issues.
Maybe I'm expecting too much from a V-6 Tacoma 4wd...

Thanks for the "Help" offer, Wes, we may well talk later!
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Old 11-16-2013, 12:33 PM   #6
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31's are a good size for the v6. I had them on my 2.7 tacoma with 4.30 rear and it did ok. I have 31's on my 3.4 4runner and it's the ideal size IMO for towing and all around daily driving. We have a Toyota enthusiest group here in LA called Cajun Yotas. We're on Facebook under that name. Also check out the Louisiana thread on the regional board here on TW!
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Old 12-01-2013, 05:06 PM   #7
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Mule, with a 1998 4Runner 3.4 manual I towed an ITS 240-Z from VA to Atlanta, Watkins Glen, and Mid Ohio. It was with an open aluminum trailer that ran about 4600# loaded. No sway control or weight distribution, but rear helper Air Lift bags with onboard compressor and inline gauge. Just followed the Toyota recommendations, which included brakes on all 4 trailer wheels.

Look at a 1999 Tacoma and a 4Runner in profile and you will notice that the Tacoma has quite a bit more rear overhang. This would concern me a lot if towing 5000#. A few years ago, I towed a 3500# boat trailer with my 1999 Tacoma 3.4 auto TRD, and at any speed over 60 it would oscillate at the back. This was with pumped-up 31's and new 5100s, and the tongue weight was as it should be. You might be able to cancel that tendency with weight dist. and sway control, but IMO you're not ever going to get the secure feel of the old 1-ton drw truck. Just too much overhang.

Good luck with your project, and at a minimum you should follow all the recommendations in the Toyota towing guide.

4toys
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Old 12-18-2013, 06:30 PM   #8
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After considerable research, I have about decided to go with Wheeler's OffRoad's stuff. (Thanks Dan!).
3 leaf AAL H.D. rear spring pak, Billstein 5100's F & R, F. bushing kit & F. spring perch pads.
Any comments / cautions / recommendations about this choice before I spend my money?
I await your reply's with A Worm on my Tongue...("Baited Breath").
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Old 12-18-2013, 07:02 PM   #9
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Following your mods with more interest, since a 2000 3.4 manual 4x4 TRD has come to live with us. Shorter tires are a good idea for sure, as 4th in particular seems pretty tall with 31's and 4.10's.

Sway control and/or weight distribution on the trailer?

4toys
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Old 12-19-2013, 03:26 PM   #10
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Nothing as far as W/D or sway yet...
I do not want to tow with it again 'till I get something done about the suspension. Once towing stock scared the crap outta me....
If need be mebe a w/d bar set up but if it Requires sway control in these parts (flat,no wind, etc.) It's time to look for another tow vehicle I.M.H.O..
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Old 02-12-2014, 05:13 AM   #11
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So how did it go with the mods? Am doing similar mods to my 04 extra cab for towing an RPOD camper. I have Bilstein 5100's and shackle lift in rear and am looking to upgrade to new coils and leafs, but need more info? Btw the Tundra brake mod works fantastic...
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:33 PM   #12
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Air bags are a great towing mod but don't allow much flex for serious offroad use. You would need to put on some limiting straps to avoid ripping the air bags in half at full axle articulation. I have ome heavy load dakar leafs with AAL and 4.5 inch bumpstops and it can handle the weight of a travel trailer without over-arching the springs, and still rips offroad. It is stiff as hell when unloaded, but I'll take stiff over sag any day. I run 300lbs of sandbags in the back during winter and it only drops the rear 1/4 inch. I just got a scamp 13' trailer and it doesn't drop the back at all. I used to tow a heavy landscape trailer daily for several years with the stock leafs and they were completely negative arched. The stock leafs are the only truly lame part of a Tacoma and should be removed and thrown in the trash ASAP no matter what you use your truck for. Extended bumpstops are important with the lift to keep your springs from going negative. I destroyed 2 sets of ome Dakar leafs in a year before I added the long bumps. I recommend mounting them on the frame instead of on top of the leaf pack. If they get blown out or ripped off you can easily replace them without messing with the leafpack.
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:01 AM   #13
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That's a really great idea about the air bags...I wouldn't have known about the limiting straps and longer bump stops. I just installed my Dakar leaf pack and love them. One trip with the dirt bike trailer and there's a huge difference (of course, anything but the stock leafs with 242k is an improvement). To be able to run air bags while having a bit of flex is a great fix...thanks for the input!
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:02 PM   #14
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So I made an interesting discovery today. I've been having intermittent brake problems for almost a year and nobody has been able to figure it out. Every once in a while my brake pedal will just fall to the floor. Usually while sitting at a stoplight, but occasionally when stopping. When I pump the brakes a few times it builds up resistance and returns to normal. It happened today getting off the freeway in Reno and I almost rolled through the stoplight. Took it straight to a shop and finally got some answers. The load sensor had created a tiny leak in the left rear cylinder that was too small to noticeably loose fluid, but big enough to inhale and exhale air. This is a result of spending 6 months sitting on a failed set of Dakar leafs with the rear end below stock height. If you understand this, read no further but the mechanics of it were news to me so I'll explain. The load sensor reads rear ride height via a lever attached to the rear axle and distributes more pressure and fluid to the rear brakes to compensate for the "heavy load" that the lever is sensing. By sitting on failed springs for so long, my brakes were running at 60/40 favoring the rear 24/7, instead of the normal 60/40 favoring the front. This caused overloading and failure of one of the rear cylinders. Also explains why my brakes felt so much better when I got new leafs and brought the rear back up, unfortunately the damage was done and I no longer had a closed system so air was being allowed in and out of the brake system. An important thing to consider when towing. When properly functioning, the load sensing valve effectively transfers more braking power to the rear. However if the rear remains "sagging" when unloaded, you get soft mushy brakes, and if left like that for too long, excessive pressure on the rear brake components that are designed to be secondary in stopping power to the more powerful front brakes. Mystery solved.
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Old 03-01-2014, 09:48 AM   #15
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Stumblestacks...I never would have known this about the brakes, I may have had this same thing going before installing my Dakars, thanks for taking the time to share this!
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Old 05-27-2014, 05:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulewright View Post
Nothing as far as W/D or sway yet...
I do not want to tow with it again 'till I get something done about the suspension. Once towing stock scared the crap outta me....
If need be mebe a w/d bar set up but if it Requires sway control in these parts (flat,no wind, etc.) It's time to look for another tow vehicle I.M.H.O..

All done now & used enough to prove itself....
I procured a 10k equalizer hitch as well w/ sway control to help with towing the 31' travel trailer in addition to the 16' enclosed cargo trailer.
Worked well last weekend going up to Mountain Home, Ar. from La..
I do not recommend this rig for towing in the mountains, but it did make it there & back, a total of almost 800 miles round trip.
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