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Advice please! What would you do differently first time purchasing a lift kit/suspension upgrade?

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by SHBCTacoma, Jun 23, 2020.

  1. Jun 23, 2020 at 9:27 AM
    #1
    SHBCTacoma

    SHBCTacoma [OP] Member

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    New member first post so don't destroy me please and apologies for the long post!

    If i'm going to spend very hard earned money i want to make the most informed educated decision i can. i own a 2015 4X4 stock Tacoma Access Cab. I have spent 20+ hours researching on this forum before posting this. Trying not to waste anyone's time if my questions have already been answered and 99% of them have so thank you all. I believe i have narrowed down what i (think) would like to purchase and more importantly why and what i want to achieve from a lift.

    Essentially i think i want to go with the below options but being new to this its hard to know what route to go. Its like buying a guitar. Your first one is cheap because you don't know if you want to invest money into a decent one. Then you like it and you buy a nicer one and wish you just spent a little more on the first one to have a really solid guitar not one crappy one and one decent one. I'm rambling but hoping you get the point. Asking for anyone's advice that was in my shoes and now you're more experienced and knowledgeable and wish you would have done something different.

    I want a 2-3" lift and most likely 265/75/16 (maybe 285?) Falken Wildpeaks. I drive down crappy country roads often and camp whenever i can. I am limited at the roads i can take at times because of my truck being stock. I drive miles down the coast as well but i also drive on the highway a ton and once a month make a 1200 mile round trip and don't want to hate my life because i chose a cheap suspension upgrade with bigger tires. I have 300-500 lbs in the back often but empty 65% of the time. Spoke to Marie @HeadStrong Off-Road and that has been the best advice ever so thank you TW for recommending them. I believe i want to go with one of the options below. Option 3 may be overkill but guitar scenario again. Buying the 6112's with 5160's vs 5100's. I would like to upgrade UCA soonish but for now i know i need to stay below 2-2.5" of lift. And of course no bull shit just want it to also look cool.

    Please Please ask me anything or tell me anything i haven't thought of. Recommend anything else or just say do you research and best of luck. Either way thank you!


    1) $886.99- HS COIL/BILSTEIN 5100 KIT - 2.5 lift coil, HS 3 LEAF AAL
    https://www.headstrongoffroad.com/store/p452/HS_Coil/Bilstein_5100_kit.html

    2) $1,370.99 - HS COIL/BILSTEIN 5100 KIT W/ DAKARS medium duty leaf pack (Do not believe Option 1 comes with extended travel 5100's for the rear)
    https://www.headstrongoffroad.com/s...n_5100_Kit_w/_Dakars_(HS05BK-1-Dakar-HS).html

    3) $1,411.99. - PERFORMANCE BILSTEIN KIT - (SET TO NOTCH 3) - HS 3 LEAF AAL
    https://www.headstrongoffroad.com/store/p186/Performance_Bilstein_Kit_(HS05BK-2).html
     
  2. Jun 23, 2020 at 10:23 AM
    #2
    nd4spdbh

    nd4spdbh Well-Known Member

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    Firstly, full leaf pack to begin with, dont bother with AAL.

    With that amount of weight on a consistent basis.... the heavy duty pack get it, and if you find it too harsh you can always pull the 3rd leaf out.

    Next.

    Just pony up for UCA's to begin with. Im only at 1.75in of lift up front and UCA's were necessary to not having binding on droop of the upper ball joint, clearance for the coils as well as a MUCH easier and MUCH better alignment numbers. My SPC UCA's with the xAxis joints have been awesome.


    As far as shocks. Its up to you. BUT you must pay attention in the rear to collapsed shock lenght regardless of shock you go with. Go too long and you will have to space your bumpstops limiting precious up travel.

    I have enjoyed my 5100's up front, Just put new ones on at 100k miles on them. Out back I went with a proper length 5125 shock to pair with my stock bump stop with zero need to space out anything and OME Medium pack. FYI the "extended length" 5100's that are sold, the B110 model, are for a tundra and has a collapsed length that is likely too long to be used without spacing your bumpstops quite a bit which will really limit uptravel.

    The 5125's that i used are part number 33-230337, have a collapsed length of 15in, vs the 14in of a stock length 5100. And at that length with a dakar medium pack with a thin degree shim i have about .5-.75in of shock collapse length left right as the bumpstop touches the frame. Any longer of shock like the extended length B110 shocks (16.34in collapsed) you will bottom the shock first, or have to loose out on close to 2 in of uptravel which is no bueno.

    Only caveat to the 5125's is the eye is about 3/16ths of an inch too wide, easily remedied by cutting down the bushing a bit and chopping a little off the bushing sleeve.
     
    PzTank and SoCal_Erik like this.
  3. Jun 23, 2020 at 1:11 PM
    #3
    RoughRder

    RoughRder What fresh hell is this?

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    5100s and OME 885 coils front, 5100s and AAL for the TSB leaf pack (overload left in) rear. Jeraco camper shell.
    From what I've heard, Headstrong will not steer you wrong.

    I recently did a version of option 1 to my truck, 5100's front and rear, new springs, lean spacer, I upgraded to the TSB leaf pack and added one. I'm really happy with it, but I wish I would have done a new UCA while I had everything apart. I have about 2.25" of lift in the front, alignment is fine and everything was great with 265's, but I have some steering play with 285's. UCA's should solve that and its on my list.

    The ride is amazing over stock and even better with the 285's absorbing bumps. I mostly drive highway, but frequently run rough/muddy access roads for work and do some dune trails a few times a year. I also have a shell and plan to have 100Lbs+ of gear in the back. This setup is plenty for what I do. If you consistently have more weight, a heavy leaf pack is probably for you.

    I also recommend a dif drop for the front and shims under the rear. Also be ready to realign your drive shaft angles, although not everyone has to. The kit drop blocks were a waste in my amateur opinion since every case is different. I found that the old u-bolt washers were perfect as carrier bearing spacers.
     
    HeadStrong Off-Road likes this.
  4. Jun 23, 2020 at 1:18 PM
    #4
    coopcooper

    coopcooper certified youtube mechanic

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    What do people mean when they say there truck rides soooooo much better with ucas. I literally didn't notice any change going from stock ucas to the icon delta joints I have now. feels like a scam.
     
    DanishTaco, winkel and boston23 like this.
  5. Jun 23, 2020 at 1:33 PM
    #5
    nd4spdbh

    nd4spdbh Well-Known Member

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    For the reasons i mentioned above. Stock uca on my truck with stock trd or springs on 5100's at the 1.75 in setting, alginment settings were marginal at best, coil hit uca, and upper ball joint was at max flex when drooped. SPC uca allowed for WAY easier alignment, more cab mount clearance, and fixed coils hitting uca and the ball joint of the SPC uca have way more range of motion than your stock ball joint (let alone uniballs).
     
    Sharpish likes this.
  6. Jun 23, 2020 at 2:32 PM
    #6
    dk_crew

    dk_crew Well-Known Member

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    Bilstein 5100s with 2" HS Coils and AAL 265/75/16 BFG KO2 Dirt King UCAs
    I agree on the UCAs. Also be ready for the ECGS needle bearing swap and possibly new wheel bearings and to possibly deal with vibration issues. FWIW I went your first option but with 2" and have since added new wheel bearings and the ECGS bearing and just got my UCAs delivered yesterday, but I had a stock '05 with 150k which is much different than a 15 so who knows. I'm glad I did all these over time b/c I have more of an appreciation of the benefits of each ... so I may bore you here but here goes ...
    • 05 with 150k miles on a full stock setup. my truck was loud, with blending of pedal vibrations and frankly I chalked it up to a 15 yr old truck -- didn't really bother me. 15th bday of the truck = new suspension -- not a crazy one, your option 1 above with 2". figured i'd install, learn a bunch and see where it goes. My offroading is on the ntl seashore in TX with very occasional ranch roads.
    • A bit louder, but was already loud. To me it wasn't much different and I figured it was the KO2s. Shop actually told me my wheel bearings were shot as I got it aligned immediately after I replaced the suspension. quoted me $600/ea, I thought that was crazy and left, figuring I'd do some research and DIY if I deemed it necessary.
    • 6 weeks later new wheel bearings from 05taco - https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/wheel-bearings-hubs-press-service-4x4-prerunner.537080/ - best $$$ spent yet on the truck, I installed these and felt like I had a new truck. Quiet, smooth, great ride from the suspension above.
    • now I'm noticing every little noise = ECGS bearing replacement. If you've read a ton I'm sure you came across this. 2nd best $$$ spent. Installed that about 6 weeks later and I had another new truck. Vibrations under my feet are completely gone. My '05 is now a brand new truck. Awesome.
    • now ... maybe 3 months later ... caster is still too low and after 2 alignments so finally pulled the trigger on the latest DK group buy and will put those on this weekend. I'm thinking I'll have yet another new truck after I get these on and am going to a recommended alignment shop that deals with lifted trucks of others in my area.
    I still have a slight shudder on startup that I know is related to driveline angles ... I have it all charted out with a few options, but it's only at startup and drives great after I get going so I'm really nervous to touch it after all the reading I've done on here. So I'll hopefully be done for awhile and may tackle the driveline at some point or at least I'm sure i'll tinker with a few things.

    Keep us posted! And you mentioned you're spending hard earned money -- if you weren't already planning on it I'd DIY. It's worth the investment in the tools and in my opinion you gain an entirely new understanding about your truck.
     
  7. Jun 24, 2020 at 5:35 AM
    #7
    SHBCTacoma

    SHBCTacoma [OP] Member

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    Thank you all so much! This is exactly what i was hoping to learn from my post. Its obvious to me lifting the truck will have its issues if you dont do it right or know what will need to be replaced upgraded etc. Seems i still have some research to do but I am in no rush. Would love to do it myself but i live in an Airstream out in the country without a shop or even a shed right now. Looks like i need to find a good ole boy with a lift but I think DIY is the way to go and even though ill have tons of issues ill only be learning which is half the fun and more importantly will hopefully know how to fix something when if i break it. Would rather spend $$ on the tools than pay someone else to do if I can avoid it. Ill definitely keep y'all updated and seriously much appreciated for real honest feedback and suggestions.
     
  8. Jun 24, 2020 at 5:53 AM
    #8
    batacoma

    batacoma Well-Known Member

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    Do you have a Prerunner or a 4x4? :anonymous:
     
  9. Jun 24, 2020 at 5:54 AM
    #9
    SHBCTacoma

    SHBCTacoma [OP] Member

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  10. Jun 24, 2020 at 6:11 AM
    #10
    Wattapunk

    Wattapunk Stay lifted my friends !

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    Agree, rears should always be a full leaf pack replacement if given the choice.
     
  11. Jun 24, 2020 at 6:11 AM
    #11
    batacoma

    batacoma Well-Known Member

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    I'd try OME nitro chargers and go with one of their lower rated coils, and leaf springs.
     
  12. Jun 24, 2020 at 6:16 AM
    #12
    SHBCTacoma

    SHBCTacoma [OP] Member

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    @batacoma Honestly ive never heard of them but just looked them up. i was mainly thinking Bilstein because of the opinions on TW. So many choices it can be quite overwhelming at times especially as a newbie.
     
  13. Jun 24, 2020 at 6:25 AM
    #13
    Hikerbox

    Hikerbox Well-Known Member

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    I bought a set of 3rd gen OR suspension aka Bilstein 4600 - my understanding is the shocks are the same as the 5100 just stock travel. I got 3/4" of lift in the front, most people report 1" but I have a topper with some crap in the back.

    That will give you an idea of how the 5100 would ride and they can be had used for $100-200 if you decide this is getting too pricey and want to save up do to the whole she-bang. Not enough lift to cause driveline issues either.
     
  14. Jun 24, 2020 at 9:58 AM
    #14
    nd4spdbh

    nd4spdbh Well-Known Member

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    Stock TRD Bilstein shocks are NOT 4600s. 4600 are much bigger diameter (same size as 5100s)
     
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  15. Jun 24, 2020 at 10:07 AM
    #15
    ResearchMonkee

    ResearchMonkee Techn9cian

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    I just installed my first lift myself. As I don't offroad enough just yet and this is my daily driver, what I bought works perfect for me.

    Bilsteins 5100s with OME coils, SPC UCA's, Dakars medium duty, Timbren Bumpstops, and a ubolt flip kit.

    All from headstrong offroad.
     
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  16. Jun 24, 2020 at 10:39 AM
    #16
    Hikerbox

    Hikerbox Well-Known Member

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  17. Jun 24, 2020 at 1:58 PM
    #17
    nd4spdbh

    nd4spdbh Well-Known Member

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    Just snapped this pic. Front 5100 on the left, front OEM TRD Bilstein on the right (same physical shock used between 2nd and 3rd gen's, slightly different valving on the 3rd gens to deal with the higher spring rate/different spring that nets the lift on the 3rd gens) , Note shock body diameter is drastically bigger on the 5100. 4600's have the same body diameter as 5100's.

    IMG_20200624_135133853.jpg


    Rear 5100's are the same diameter as front 5100's, and rear OEM TRD Bilstein's are the same diameter as their front OEM TRD Bilstein counterparts.

    And with 4600s being the same diameter as 5100's ... Needless to say 4600's are NOT what is used from the factory.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2020
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  18. Jun 24, 2020 at 2:18 PM
    #18
    Hikerbox

    Hikerbox Well-Known Member

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    I stand corrected! Any chance you can measure the diameter and the shaft diameter?
     
  19. Jun 24, 2020 at 3:13 PM
    #19
    nd4spdbh

    nd4spdbh Well-Known Member

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    Sure thing, might not get to it today, i get to put in a new alternator in the truck this evening. yaaaaay.....
     
  20. Jun 24, 2020 at 3:31 PM
    #20
    MR5X5

    MR5X5 Well-Known Member

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    You plan to add armor or a winch winch up front? Build for it now if you do. ....and lose the front sway bar while you're at it.

    You really should add the OME lift to your list for consideration. It is a tried and true setup for what you are trying to do. The DAKARS in option 2 are part of the OME system.
     

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