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Being honest with myself about Mods: Lift/Suspension

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas' started by Punintentional, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. Sep 12, 2013 at 9:09 PM
    #1
    Punintentional

    Punintentional [OP] Well-Known Member

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    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:

    Suspension:

    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:

    Lift:

    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.

    Top Pick:

    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!!
     
  2. Sep 12, 2013 at 9:21 PM
    #2
    plurpimpin

    plurpimpin Well-Known Member

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    For what you're talking about I would just go 5100's and add a leaf. The baja kit is sweet but alot of money considering what you're getting, there's better options for about the same amount. 5100's will give you the amount of lift you're looking for and still maintain a good ride while saving abunch of money.
     
  3. Sep 12, 2013 at 9:33 PM
    #3
    PBR Streetgang

    PBR Streetgang Well-Known Member

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    I think your bank account is doomed. But it's worth it.
     
  4. Sep 12, 2013 at 10:01 PM
    #4
    SCSPerformance

    SCSPerformance Stealth Custom Series™

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    Imo, from what you're describing, the Toytec Ultimate lift kit is probably the right kit for you. It's a quality kit that will offer you the ride and comfort you're seeking as well as offer some off-roading ability if/when the time comes.
     
  5. Sep 12, 2013 at 10:03 PM
    #5
    plurpimpin

    plurpimpin Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I missed the armor part when I first responded. OME def a good choice if adding a bumper and sliders
     
  6. Sep 13, 2013 at 5:54 AM
    #6
    Punintentional

    Punintentional [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Old man elmo keeps jumping ahead of everyone else in line. On line, if you're a stickler. It was what I originally intended for my truck, and then I got lost in a sea of information. It's funny that dozens of pages and hundreds of opinions later, I'm feeling the force draw me back toward this fowl setup.

    OME lifts the back, while Baja doesn't, right? That, and all the people who seem satisfied with their OME lifts, might be the deciding factor.
     
  7. Sep 13, 2013 at 10:09 AM
    #7
    jaymac10

    jaymac10 Well-Known Member

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    OEM Baja Kit
    While there is a lot of good things about the OME kit (provides adjustable lift and is fairly cheap), it's also pretty much a given that the majority of TW people (aka fanboys) are going to recommend it mainly because they have it themselves.

    In fact, saying anything negative about OME on TW is like you're committing sacrilege! lol

    In all seriousness though the Baja kit only raises the front by at most 2' (not 3'). Once the springs settle, it's probably more like 1.75'. It also does not raise the rear. However, it does level the truck out.

    I'm probably going to install a 1.5' AAL in the rear because I like a bit of rake.

    I chose to install the Baja kit over the other options and I'm 100% happy with it. That doesn't mean I wouldn't have been just as happy with OME or going to Fox/ICON either....

    One of my biggest reasons was because the kit is designed by Toyota for Toyota and is a factory option. Provided me with more piece of mind over going ICON for example. It should also be the least problematic as I don't have to worry about my angles changing too much which can cause other issues down the road and should also (hopefully) be more maintance free.

    Yes it cost more than going OME, but cost was/is only one factor out of many. And like you, cost really wasn't a big factor in my decision making process.

    You have stated that cost isn't really a factor. If that's the case, I'd move up the ladder and look at Baja or ICON/FOX.

    Cheers,

    Jay
     
  8. Sep 13, 2013 at 10:16 AM
    #8
    Taco Dan

    Taco Dan Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you really want to offload, but you need to figure out if you really like it. Since its your first "off road pickup", you should go wheeling with it stock, just hit some trails you will know you'll be safe on, and let your habits judge your modification list.

    If your truck just sees pavement the rest of its life, you may not want to invest much into your suspension. With this being said, I recommend you starting the right way and first stay cheap. Get the bilstein 5100 struts, and only them, preload your stock springs, and see how you like em. That will give you the "look" without compensating for spacers. You can always build up(add on) to the bilstein shocks, eventually work your way up to a true and good 3" suspension lift over time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013
  9. Sep 13, 2013 at 10:31 AM
    #9
    jaymac10

    jaymac10 Well-Known Member

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    OEM Baja Kit
    Sorry I thought OME was adjustable, is it just the Toytec kit that's adjustable then?

    The Baja kit is $1,550

    I agree it's more money and maybe overkill, but if the OP isn't really doing a lot of off roading (he actually says 99% pavement) then really all he's going for is the raised look.

    So even the OME would probably be considered overkill.

    Dare I say the dreaded word..... spacer lift?
     
  10. Sep 13, 2013 at 10:37 AM
    #10
    Taco Dan

    Taco Dan Well-Known Member

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    So even the OME would probably be considered overkill.

    Dare I say the dreaded word..... spacer lift?[/QUOTE]


    ^^^my thoughts for OP too
     
  11. Sep 13, 2013 at 10:37 AM
    #11
    Sandman614

    Sandman614 LRGRNR

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    5100's and an AAL would be the cheapest solution and give you what you want. OME would be the next step up and would be a good start for offroad after the transplant. Keep it cheap for now and when you get that transplant you'll have a headstart on the OME, Icon, Fox or King swap.

    ...Please go ride with someone that has a spacer lift before you think about installing one...Make sure that's really what you want first...
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013
  12. Sep 13, 2013 at 10:46 AM
    #12
    Punintentional

    Punintentional [OP] Well-Known Member

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    5100s and AAL actually sounds like a clever way for me to:

    1) Test out a "lift" of sorts without spending cash unnecessarily (just cuz it's not an issue doesn't mean I want to waste it!).
    2) Keep the wife happy

    So questions regarding the 5100/AAL setup:

    1) do the 5100s alone add lift? Or do they need to be adjusted? What kind of ride change should I expect by doing this?
    2) would UCAs be even remotely suggested with this setup, or don't worry about it?
    3) whats the best brand for AAL?

    Thanks! Great input as always fellas
     
  13. Sep 13, 2013 at 10:49 AM
    #13
    Sandman614

    Sandman614 LRGRNR

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    :thumbsup:
    -Yes the 5100s are adjustable, 0.85, 1.75, and 2.5" seat positions I believe. Each step will be a little stiffer, but most lift options will be too.
    -UCAs are required, but the higher you lift the more they become a necessity.
    -I have the Wheelers 3-leaf progressive AAL and it's pretty nice.

    http://youtu.be/hBpLKyaG9BE
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013
  14. Sep 13, 2013 at 10:50 AM
    #14
    Taco Dan

    Taco Dan Well-Known Member

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    5100s set at the 1.75 setting, paired with your stock coils will give you lift. Add the 1.5 aal for the rear and you will be set with a mild lift. (1.75") of lift. No need for new upper control arms. Toyteclifts.com can hook you up. Later you can add eibach springs when you get more serious and other components
     
  15. Sep 13, 2013 at 11:00 AM
    #15
    Sandman614

    Sandman614 LRGRNR

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    Shop around for pricing. Most shops will put your front springs together for you with new top plate and bushings for a fee, and then ship them. These are the ones I've bought from

    Downsouth Motorsports
    Wheeler's Offroad
     
  16. Sep 13, 2013 at 11:13 AM
    #16
    Nixinus

    Nixinus Well-Known Member

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    For a daily driver?

    5100's and better tires. 1.85 should get you a nice lift without compromising alignment specs on stock uca's. Anymore and you will be spending money on parts you didn't necessarily need in order to get stock feel back.

    Imho I had a similar debate. I have a sport 4*4 and so far its gotten me through everything I needed it to. Put 5100's at .85 with rear tsb and new tires. It still rides great but you can notice the added weight and height when it comes to mph. If you go to high with the 5100 you loose travel even though you've gained ground clearance. If you want the lift for off roading then do it right and get new springs too. Ome kit is the best price for a full package.
     
  17. Sep 13, 2013 at 11:19 AM
    #17
    ezatnova

    ezatnova Artax

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    Hankook Dynapro 265/75/16, Icon Progressive AAL, 5100's @ 1.75, derped badges

    This. And done.

    When you need new tires, get Grabber or Dynapro's in the next size 265/75 and you'll get another 1/2"ish

    :thumbsup:
     
  18. Sep 13, 2013 at 11:40 AM
    #18
    03f5sp

    03f5sp Well-Known Member

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    Front 5100s @ 2.5, 1.5 AAL, 265/75-16 all terrains
    If your staying on pavement, Icon, Fox, King, etc are overkill and a waste of a lot of money. Get Bilstein 5100 shocks for the front and an aal. The 5100's are better than the 4300's you have now.
     
  19. Sep 13, 2013 at 12:16 PM
    #19
    TenBeers

    TenBeers Well-Known Member

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    A lot of people here don't have a problem preloading with 5100s. I did it on my '09 with stock (not off road) springs set at 0.85" just to level it out (rear TSB springs done). I liked the ride, but I wouldn't want to go any stiffer. I probably wouldn't do this with the off road's progressive springs.

    I have done some mild trails in Colorado with the stock setup. It worked just fine, and I don't anticipate doing anything much more gnarly.

    Maybe I am anal, but I like my front CV axles level, and I don't want to ever do a diff drop (I saw those nasty pictures on here). My main issue is I would like to be able to carry more weight without overloading the rear springs. All the better rear springs I have found would raise the height of the rear. And I would hate the rake, more than I hate having my CV axles at an angle, so I would need to raise the front.

    Anyway, I am going to hold out until I need new tires, but I think if I do anything I will do the OME kit with Dakars and carrier bearing drop. If the rear springs seem to be holding out and I don't do any off-roading between now and then that I think would benefit from a lift, I will probably just do better tires and 5100s set at 0.
     
  20. Sep 13, 2013 at 2:08 PM
    #20
    Taco Dan

    Taco Dan Well-Known Member

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    who says the op is gonna armor out his taco right away. hes obviously new at offroading and says he will "one day do it". we are simply saying that first comes the lift. for just looks as well as function, and affordability the 5100s are a better choice. i say op still needs to consider function over form and first wheel with the stock tacoma. if he buys all the armor, $2k+ of suspension, then doesnt get into wheeling, its a waste of money.
     
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