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Bilstein 5100s at 2.5" up front. Do I need a diff drop?

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by thenrie, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. Apr 20, 2009 at 5:12 PM
    #1
    thenrie

    thenrie [OP] Well-Known Member

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    2000 Tacoma, SR5, TRD, 2.7L (LEV), 4wd, 5sp m
    Magnaflow cat and cat-back exhaust, AFE Stage 2 cold-air intake system, 2.5" lift via Skyjacker leaf packs, Bilstein 5100s.
    After installing my new 2.5" leaf packs, my pickup looks a bit like a stink bug. So, I'm getting ready to order Bilstein 5100s for the front. Figured the old original Bilsteins have 135K miles on them and a change couldn't hurt. Anyway, I haven't been able to find a lot re diff drops on gen 1 threads. Looking under my pickup, it appears a diff drop of any size would cause a problem with my rack and pinion. Am I missing something or does the 1" diff drop only lower the front of the diff? If so, how much does does it effectively lower the CV angles and is it really worth the trouble for a 2.5" lift.

    Other questions: The diff drop kit from Wheeler is only $24. Obviously it's just a couple 1" spacers and longer bolts. Will my skid plates bolt back up with original bolts, or do I have to make spacers for that, too? I have read some things re vibrations after lifting. Could that have to do with the lifts changing the pinion angle on the diffs, and does a diff drop exacerbate or help that problem? Lastly, I expect my coil springs have sagged a bit over the years, so I'm thinking a 2.5" lift will actually work out to be somewhat less than that. Am I right? If so, I don't imagine the diff drop is really necessary. Thoughts?
     
  2. Apr 20, 2009 at 5:14 PM
    #2
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    Dont install the diff drop unless it turns out that you have vibes. THEN install it.
     
  3. Apr 20, 2009 at 6:56 PM
    #3
    ForeRunner

    ForeRunner Scotch before noon. Moderator

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    I do not think it will cause a problem for the rack and pinion and the diff drop lowers the entire diff not just the front. You will run into a issue with the CV angle if you lift more that 1.5 inches and do not drop the diff. From what I understand you will need to remedy the stock skid plates to clear a diff drop.

    My best advice for you is to talk to Steve at Sonoran Steel about the diff drop or any other lift related question you might have. The guy is awesome and has bent over backwards and then some for me in the past. He is a very knowledgeable person regarding lifting of Tacoma's and 4Runners.

    I would have to disagree with you on this. Drop the diff to correct for CV angle and also look at extending the brake lines.
     
  4. Apr 20, 2009 at 7:10 PM
    #4
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    I understand. But consider a 1" diff drop, drops the axel 1/2". Over the length of the axel, this equates to only a 3% change in the angle. Not much. More issues can arise if the diff is not tightened propperly, and/or moved in the process of installing the drop. I have installed many front lifts, and none have had any Vibe issues. As long as the lift is installed propperly, Im not convinced the diff drop is efective.
     
  5. Apr 20, 2009 at 8:41 PM
    #5
    ForeRunner

    ForeRunner Scotch before noon. Moderator

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    If you lift 2.5 inches and do nothing to the diff you have changed the angle of the axle enough that the cost of a diff drop is well worth the consideration.

    Granted a lot of issues could arise but I notice that when I installed the Bilstein 5100's at lowest settings I now have a serious grind coming from the front CV's between 20mph and 50mph, granted they they are most likely sitting with 74k miles on them but before I didn't have a grind now I do immediately after install of 5100's and OME 880's. This I think netted me a total of .75 inches lift. I have heard of this before and have had people tell me that after they lifted the front they had to drop the diff to save CV's. Doesn't make sense I know but... if it works spend the $24 or in Sonoran Steel's case $40 for the diff drop.
     
  6. Apr 20, 2009 at 10:11 PM
    #6
    TRD4x4858

    TRD4x4858 Taco Traitor!

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    I agree, have you seen the cv angle without the diff drop?? any little bit helps, when those boot "fins" are rubbing on eachother its just a matter of time till the boot gives, if it helps and theyre so cheap why not right? :D
     
  7. Apr 21, 2009 at 7:05 AM
    #7
    thenrie

    thenrie [OP] Well-Known Member

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    2000 Tacoma, SR5, TRD, 2.7L (LEV), 4wd, 5sp m
    Magnaflow cat and cat-back exhaust, AFE Stage 2 cold-air intake system, 2.5" lift via Skyjacker leaf packs, Bilstein 5100s.
    TRD4X4858, I see your 01 is lifted with coilovers. How much lift and did you drop the dif? Have you encountered any problems with your lift? Also, it looks like you are running 33" tires. Is that right? Any trouble with rubbing in mild off-road use? By the way, nice truck. Looks like mine!
     
  8. Apr 21, 2009 at 6:12 PM
    #8
    TRD4x4858

    TRD4x4858 Taco Traitor!

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    Im running 2.5 inches of lift right now, Yes i am running a diff drop spacer, I have not had a single problem with the lift and yes im running 33 inch tires, Im running wheels with 3.75 Backspace so no rubbing, only slight rubs when I bash it hard but its perfect in mild off road use, and thanks! :D
     
  9. Apr 21, 2009 at 7:00 PM
    #9
    thenrie

    thenrie [OP] Well-Known Member

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    2000 Tacoma, SR5, TRD, 2.7L (LEV), 4wd, 5sp m
    Magnaflow cat and cat-back exhaust, AFE Stage 2 cold-air intake system, 2.5" lift via Skyjacker leaf packs, Bilstein 5100s.
    I ordered my Bilstein 5100 fronts and a diff drop from Wheeler's this evening. Sorry to tell you TRD, but the recipe for your 01 is exactly what I have been thinking for my 00. It's good we're on opposite sides of the continent, so we can still feel unique in our rides, since they will end up looking almost exactly alike (at least until I get my ARB front bumper, ).

    Are you running 33X12.50s or 10.50s? That's a question I haven't yet answered for myself. I'm leaning toward 10.50s, just to reduce some weight.
     
  10. Apr 23, 2009 at 1:39 AM
    #10
    dustinuhls

    dustinuhls Well-Known Member

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    I've got the 3" ToyTec lift on my '01 and added the diff drop kit. It's cheap, and doesn't hurt anything, so I figured why not? It does help to keep your CV joints in a "closer to factory" angle, so maybe they won't wear out any faster. I've had the lift and diff drop on for about 4 years now and haven't had a problem with my CV boots. It does just consist of spacers to drop the front of your differential and some longer bolts. You have to modify your skid plate a little by drilling out the rear holes by about one hole lenght to bolt it back up. I just used a Dremel Tool and cut them out a little further back. Everything bolted back up just fine after that. Here's a pic w/o the skid plate on so you can see the "spacers".
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Apr 23, 2009 at 4:50 AM
    #11
    thenrie

    thenrie [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    257
    Gender:
    Male
    Stafford, VA
    Vehicle:
    2000 Tacoma, SR5, TRD, 2.7L (LEV), 4wd, 5sp m
    Magnaflow cat and cat-back exhaust, AFE Stage 2 cold-air intake system, 2.5" lift via Skyjacker leaf packs, Bilstein 5100s.
    Thanks, that helps. Already ordered the stuff.
     
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