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Hans’ 2003 Phoenix2 TRD Rebuild

Discussion in '1st Gen. Builds (1995-2004)' started by HansWorldTravels, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. Jun 5, 2018 at 9:44 AM
    #1
    HansWorldTravels

    HansWorldTravels [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Hans
    Colorado/NY/Germany
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    '03 Toyota Tacoma 3.4L Ext Cab TRD
    Roll & Ram repairs on '95 Front end crash repairs on '03
    Bought my neighbor's '03 3.4L Ext.Cab TRD for $3k after he hit a deer & insurance totaled it. Replaced the radiator mount & D/S inner fender, same as I did with my '95 and upgraded my Taco by 8 years. :) It's mostly sat around with few miles since 2014, getting a WNY salt bath from being a OK/CO truck prior. :|

    He had Hankook 285/70R16 M&S (that deafened me from road noise), a 3.5" block lift on the rear and 1.5" over the spring spacers on the front. I could live without the lift & tire noise, so just went to factory tires 265/70R16 Trail Guide A/P after I didn't rotate & burned out the tread on 2 of the Hankooks.

    As you can imagine... the rear leaf pack is shot, more frown :( than smiles :). Gonna replace front and rear shocks, leaf pack, shackles and springs. Various bushings/universals/etc in the process.

    Looking at this option for shocks/springs - don't want to mess with front springs even though I've read enough times "it's not hard or dangerous" renting the tool. https://www.ebay.com/itm/271615561351

    Looking at factory OEM leaf pack from General Spring (others reference them on here too), but maybe go with the HD version. https://www.generalspringkc.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=90-237HD&CartID=1

    There seems to be lots of options/discussions of lifts, but not the reverse. Leaf packs... lots of lift options too. I'd be happy with a higher weight rating and upto a 1.5" manufactured leaf pack lift (without blocks), but having a hard time deciding given they all relate to each other and whatever I decide on the new leaf pack determines my other choices..
     
  2. Jun 5, 2018 at 11:08 AM
    #2
    pairodice

    pairodice Well-Known Member

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    I had dakars in my 03 double cab. They were close to 4 inches of lift after install but they settled 2.25-2.50 after about a month. I did carry an atv that weighted about 700lbs for a few days to speed up the process
     
    HansWorldTravels [OP] likes this.
  3. Jun 5, 2018 at 3:01 PM
    #3
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Well-Known Member

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    King ext travel coils Total Chaos UCAs Sticker mod
    Don't buy parts from someone who sells "struts" for 6 lug Tacomas. They're not struts. They're coilovers... They'll probably try to to sell you a panhard bar too, lol. Just buy auto parts from a auto parts store (on-line or brick), or from a Toyota specialist.

    I've heard the general springs sag somewhat quickly, but are definitely cheaper than OEM. I don't have personal experience with them, though. As you've seen, there's a lot more aftermarket support for lifted applications than just "stock" replacements.

    Wheelers sells a "stock" leaf pack, or they used to... just get those and a set of 4 Bilstein 5100's (~$350). If your front springs sag a bit, you can use the 5100's to level it out by moving the clip. And yes, it's not that hard. Rent the tool (for free) and DIY. If I can do it, so can you... Ideally, you'd get new coils, and "lifting" the front with the shock is a bit of a bandaid fix, but it worked for me for like 6 years until I got all new Kings.
     
    Running Man likes this.
  4. Jun 6, 2018 at 9:29 AM
    #4
    HansWorldTravels

    HansWorldTravels [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Roll & Ram repairs on '95 Front end crash repairs on '03
    Not fully following you, but get the equivalent “board stretcher” reference. :D They are pre-assembled shocks & springs - pre-compressed. And given there are 1.5” spacers in my front springs already (that I’d take out), I’ll go with new springs as is. I have 7+ inches from top of tire to wheel flare. Trying to get the lift out - CV boots have been shot since I bought it - wonder why.

    Looking at the rear - as I go through & break bolts loose (gonna take off the bed too - spray the frame) I see the shackles are pointing a good 50 degrees back, leaves are nearly flat - I wonder why with 3.5” blocks to lift it - even the General Spring OEM “HD” are gonna be an improvment. The rear pumpkin is a good 15 degrees angled, the top of the universal joint is just below the gas tank.

    Long story short - the previous owner did the bare minimum to get a “big” lift - hoping the can of worms this opened doesn’t cost me too much. I’ve always been fine with the “factory” lift on a Tacoma going back to 95. What was it 2005 when they changed the style to more “car aerodynamics” and a lift is more needed to bring back the lifted looked? Never liked that “factory” look.

    Bilstein does have a 1” rear lift kit - ~$130, but their other kits are more costly than I want to spend and comes with helper leaves (which doesn’t help me). Seeing prices of new leaves, kicking myself for spending $750 10 years ago on my 95 Tacoma to have them “rebent”. :|

    PS NY isn’t as Taco friendly as Cali or Colorado. I miss Yota Jim’s in Denver. :(
     
  5. Jun 6, 2018 at 9:38 AM
    #5
    Blue92

    Blue92 Well-Known Member

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    How frowned out are your leaf packs? I found out the hard way (after I replaced them) that the leafs on 1st gen tacos typically sit flat with possibly a little negative arch to them.
     
  6. Jun 6, 2018 at 9:39 AM
    #6
    wolfgang123

    wolfgang123 Well-Known Member

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  7. Jun 6, 2018 at 9:59 AM
    #7
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Well-Known Member

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    King ext travel coils Total Chaos UCAs Sticker mod
    I just mean that if the shop/on-line retailer is selling you "struts" for your Tacoma, they don't really have the correct terminology. Just kind of a pet peeve of mine for the experts (shop) to use the correct terminology.

    Struts and coilovers look similar while off the vehicle (shock inside a coil spring), but function very differently. With coilovers, the suspension would still cycle up and down without loosing alignment, the coilover just provides weight bearing capacity, whereas without a strut, the suspension would just flop all over since a strut provides structural support and alignment. The giveaway is the upper control arm.

    Also, $150 for front coilovers AND rear shocks is redonk cheap. You can't even get a decent pair of front Bilstien 5100's (no springs) for $150, and those are generally referred to as the best "budget friendly" shock upgrade.

    You get what you pay for.

    The shackles should have a backward facing angle, something like what you describe, so you're fine there. The HD leaf pack you mention is not "more durable" but is designed for heavier loads, so don't get those unless you carry heavy things like a camper shell, or bags of concrete or whatever...

    $750 to re-arch springs?! Granted I've never had it done, but when you can get a brand new set of Deavers for that price, sounds like you got over charged...
     
    HansWorldTravels [OP] likes this.
  8. Jun 6, 2018 at 10:42 AM
    #8
    HansWorldTravels

    HansWorldTravels [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Roll & Ram repairs on '95 Front end crash repairs on '03
  9. Jun 6, 2018 at 10:48 AM
    #9
    HansWorldTravels

    HansWorldTravels [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Roll & Ram repairs on '95 Front end crash repairs on '03
    My bad, the blocks are 2.75”. The spacing on the between the rubber mount & frame mount is ~4.5” on each.

    Selecting leafs is frustrating. Found a local springs place that can get them for $190 each, add a 5th leaf for $60 per side adding 800 lbs load. $710 installed. It’s tempting.
     
  10. Jun 9, 2018 at 3:43 PM
    #10
    HansWorldTravels

    HansWorldTravels [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Roll & Ram repairs on '95 Front end crash repairs on '03
    Still waiting for the suspension parts to come in... so changing the fluids. The rear diff only took about 2.2 quarts & had an 1/8” of oil over the threads coming out before I plugged it up. I was going to check at 2.5 quarts out of the bottles. Pretty sure I have the “extra long wheel base” (extended cab/6ft bed?) with diff lock system and the manual says 3.1 quarts. 2.8 quarts for “short wheel base”. Using Mobil 1 Syn 75W90 and it’s runny, so having a hard time believing it’s not getting into the diff where it needs to quickly. I’m in a level garage.

    As soon as the new leaf springs go on (& I ended up getting 1” blocks) - I’ll be checking the levels again.
     
  11. Jun 14, 2018 at 10:55 AM
    #11
    HansWorldTravels

    HansWorldTravels [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Roll & Ram repairs on '95 Front end crash repairs on '03
    @jbrandt or others.... with pre-compressed shocks & springs, is it going to be near impossible to turn the bottom mount/bushing to align with the lower suspension arm? Is it just a matter of getting the right bar & leverage, or am I going to have to go out and get the compression tool anyways?

    Just finished cutting the 3 nuts off the top of the passenger side and trying to figure out the above.

    Thanks!

    edit - now that I’m looking at both sides, if I switch them with the printed name inside (not facing out) - it looks as though they will align. There is rubber on top of the spring, so I don’t see this turning at all. Time to cut the other side nuts off and see.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  12. Jun 14, 2018 at 11:58 AM
    #12
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Well-Known Member

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    You should be able to stick a screwdriver or a lever bar of some sort in the bottom shock hole (once the top 3 bolts are secured) and twist it to align with the lower A-arm mount. There's obviously a lot of pressure with the spring tension, but doable...

    Curious why you're cutting the bolts off... rust?

    As for how much oil in your diff: there's absolutely no difference with the long or short wheelbase. Same differential. Maybe there's a difference between the diffs with and without lockers, but they are identical between frame lengths.

    For the first gens, there are 2 wheelbases: the regular cab, and the extracab/double cab. 1st gens didn't have a long bed option on the doublecabs (same wheelbase as the extracab w/ shorter bed).
     
  13. Jun 14, 2018 at 4:51 PM
    #13
    ThunderOne

    ThunderOne Average Contributor

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    Every time I read this thread title, I picture you walking into a manufacturing facility with coilovers going "here you go, your shit sucks" and leaving
     
    HansWorldTravels [OP] likes this.
  14. Jun 14, 2018 at 5:51 PM
    #14
    HansWorldTravels

    HansWorldTravels [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Roll & Ram repairs on '95 Front end crash repairs on '03
    @jbrandt - yes rust. Had to cut the 3 nuts off on each side. Not sure why they used 2 inch bolts up top, but one can’t even get a short socket & ratchet on the 2 back nuts thanks to the inner fender well. An open wrench only get 1/16th a turn thanks to the mount cutout on those 2 nuts also. Thanks Toyota - clearly they add the cab/engine compartment after the chassis is together! :D

    They went in like a charm, after I switch sides. The stamped name/ID faces inwards and is directly opposite the “3rd” outside bolt. No need to twist it. Added flat washers front/back on the bottom mount - there was only 1 on the D/S nut side - 4 all around sounded better to me. :)

    Anyways, moving on to the rear. Once the wheels came off... extreme “pucker factor” crept in. Now I know why I really wanted to take off the bed... not interested in crawling underneath. Funny how all the nuts are on the inside, not outside.

    E097769A-3204-4D83-80BC-D1720019A394.jpg

    Stacked the tires under the trailer hitch.

    Anyone know, are the shock/U-bracket mounts welded to the axle, or am I just lining it up where the U-bolts go around the leaf springs & topside mount?

    PS... I’m gonna cut off the U-bolts too... adding to the pucker factor :|
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  15. Jun 14, 2018 at 5:56 PM
    #15
    HansWorldTravels

    HansWorldTravels [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Roll & Ram repairs on '95 Front end crash repairs on '03
    Hahaha! I didn’t know about “your build” threads ... suppose I should have put this there. :) Just asked a Mod to move it there.

    I am questing a bit the strength of these new springs, after reading somewhere the TRD comes with beefier springs. But I think I’d be stupid to use the old ones after they had the spacer in there most of the trucks life.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
  16. Jun 16, 2018 at 12:43 PM
    #16
    HansWorldTravels

    HansWorldTravels [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Roll & Ram repairs on '95 Front end crash repairs on '03
    Live and learn... I ended up cutting both bolts off the passenger side, from both sides of the bushing. I did this with a 3” pnuematic cutting wheel & some heating & some hammering.

    Get to the driver side with gas tank in the way, I smartened up and sawzalled the tank-side bolt inside the mount - easy like butter. Fought with the 3” wheel for the outside as the sawzall magic ended.

    Then, hey go figure if you take the shackle plate off - no need to cut the rear bolt.
     
  17. Jun 20, 2018 at 7:21 AM
    #17
    HansWorldTravels

    HansWorldTravels [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Roll & Ram repairs on '95 Front end crash repairs on '03
    New wheel cylinder, spring kit & shoes are in.

    Not sure when the rears were changed last, but a bit disappointed the new 'stock' shoes have at least 2" sq less surface area and are not discernibly thicker than what I'm replacing.

    Moral of the story, had the parking brakes been adjusted, there would have been no need to replace.

    Off to pick up the turned drums.

    How many 100s of thousand miles do Tacoma rear brakes last? I never changed them on my 95 that I can recall.

    IMG_5771.jpg
     

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