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Not another TRD Pro suspension upgrade thread...

Discussion in '3rd Gen. Tacomas (2016-2023)' started by 79CHKCHK, Mar 1, 2021.

  1. Mar 1, 2021 at 9:02 PM
    #1
    79CHKCHK

    79CHKCHK [OP] Padawan of Rock Lobster

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    First off, over the past few years I have wheeled my 2018 TRD Pro AT in stock form to figure out what I need and what I want. I have added a trailer, cap, storage, and skids, which has led to a struggling suspension.

    I have spent the last 6 months slowly upgrading the suspension of my Tacoma. I had one requirement…I would not depart with my stock Fox Pro suspension (it is why I bought a Pro in the first place). I don’t rock crawl with the Tacoma (I have a 2001 Jeep TJ for that), but I don’t just stick to fire service roads either. I use the Tacoma to get to destinations, to get out of town and into nature with my partner, two kids (10 and 12) and two dogs (beagle, 13 and mini poodle mix, 14). Needless to say, we have a lot of stuff to be comfortable in remote places. I tow a 2018 Patriot Camper X1GT, which carries most of our gear. We camp, cook, hike, fish, paddle board, and drink whisky (well I do, the misses drinks whiskey). Not sure what else one needs.

    upload_2021-3-1_21-1-48.jpg
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    upload_2021-3-1_21-2-4.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
  2. Mar 1, 2021 at 9:02 PM
    #2
    79CHKCHK

    79CHKCHK [OP] Padawan of Rock Lobster

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    I didn’t do this to fit 285s. I am going to upgrade to 265/75 R16 or 255/70(or 75) R17 when the stock GY Wrangler ATs die. Those sizes have the best selection of LT C load tires and it should ensure I have no rubbing…off-road (I don’t even go to the mall). I will either stick with my stock Pro wheels or may look for a set of T4R Pro SEMAs. The trailer will get the same wheel and tire treatment.

    I usually have about 700 lbs. constant load in the bed; ARE CX-HD, Decked drawers, tools, recovery gear, and two Wavian 20L fuel cans. I live in a small house in San Diego and don’t have room in the garage to store the gear I usually carry. I also have a full set of RCI aluminum skids at 60 lbs. This gave me about .25” rake on the stock suspension. On top of that, I add a Yeti Tundra 45 (filled with drinks), three inflatable stand up paddle boards, and our fishing gear to the bed of the truck. Add the 250+ lb. tongue weight of the X1GT and the rear squat is terrible!

    1st Upgrade: I tried 500 lb. Sumo Springs with the stock suspension. They would barely touch the frame rail without the trailer and provided a slightly firmer ride. They also stabilized the rear in turns, making the Tacoma lean less, especially with heavier loads in the bed. Add the camping load and I would sit about level. But add the trailer, I would get rear squat…which I hate!

    It's hard to see the squat in this pic due to the uneven terrain...but trust me, it's there!

    upload_2021-3-1_21-3-37.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
  3. Mar 1, 2021 at 9:02 PM
    #3
    79CHKCHK

    79CHKCHK [OP] Padawan of Rock Lobster

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    2nd Upgrade: Eibach has been developing a front spring upgrade for 3rd Gen TRD Pros over the past year or so (thanks @mark@eibach). COVID had a say, so they have been delayed. In October, I took my Tacoma into Eibach for a measurement and shock testing session. Then, in early February, I took my Tacoma in to get front springs and rear blocks installed.

    upload_2021-3-1_21-5-58.jpg

    The front was raised 1.5” and the rear 1”. The ride was nice. Slightly firmer than stock (not in a bad way) but still compliant and controlled. One of the things I hate most about my TRD Pro is the weird harmonic bouncing that happens on interstates, particularly on concrete with the gaps cut between slabs. Heavy loads exacerbate it, and the trailer doesn’t help either. The new front springs helped a bit, but the rear was still soft and induced it slightly. Again, as soon as I added the trailer, I would get rear squat…which I hate! The block added lift, but not load carrying capacity.

    upload_2021-3-1_21-6-11.jpg
    upload_2021-3-1_21-6-18.jpg
     
    Muajilong likes this.
  4. Mar 1, 2021 at 9:02 PM
    #4
    79CHKCHK

    79CHKCHK [OP] Padawan of Rock Lobster

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    3rd Upgrade: I wanted a solution to replace the rear blocks that was fairly cheap and would work with the stock leaf pack, increasing load carrying capacity. I have tried aftermarket add-a-leafs in the past on other vehicles (all Jeeps, because at heart I’m truly a Jeep guy) and it usually caused a harsher ride along with lift. I didn’t want that, I wanted something that would ride well without all my gear or trailer attached. Again, I didn’t want to spend a fortune and I also didn’t want a lot of lift, only a little lift to offset the load that it would have to support.

    About 2 years ago I bought an extra set of leaf springs that were taken off a 2019 Tacoma TRD Pro with 100 miles for $100. I put them in the garage with good intensions, and that’s where they sat collecting dust. Due to the current pandemic, I have had some free time over the last year, and finally finished all the things on the ‘Honey Do’ list. That left me free time to focus on the Tacoma. I finished up a few mods (RTMR, a bunch of lights, and power outlets) and then set my sights on the rear leaf springs. Over the last month, I have cut, ground, drilled, filed, hammered, bent, pried and painted the leafs to create what I’d like to think is the perfect rear lift to go with the Eibach TRD Pro springs. Bastard packs, Franken-packs, call them what you will. All together I have less then $300 into my lift; that includes gas from San Diego to Eibach HQ in Corona (just outside LA), used TRD Pro leaf springs, paint, hardware, and a new .5” drill bit (sprung steel is a bitch!). Add the cost of Eibach TRD Pro springs and subtract the gas to Corona, I’d still be sitting under $500. The rear lift is just over 1” and it feels slightly firmer than stock. With the front Eibach TRD Pro lift springs I have .75” rake which affords me a bit of rear height for my previously mentioned 700 lbs. constant load and armor.

    I am currently moving some stuff from the garage into storage. Once complete (hopefully the next week or two) I will reinstall the full load in the bed of the Tacoma and I’ll report back with updated measurements and pics. If I still have a little rear squat after hooking up the trailer and adding the camping load, I will add another leaf. More to come, I have the rest of the leafs remaining in my spare leaf packs. I may modify the last leaf before the overload and add that to the bottom of the pack and hope it will add load carrying capacity with minimal lift.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
  5. Mar 1, 2021 at 10:01 PM
    #5
    a2lowvw

    a2lowvw Well-Known Member

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    Stuff and things
    With 700lbs of added weight. A family of 4 and a couple dogs you are likely over capacity before hooking up the trailer. I’m surprised you didn’t do something to help with the rear suspension sooner. Hopefully your bastard setup helps but it may be worth looking into a custom leaf pack designed for additional weight and a 1” lift so you can get rid of the blocks.
     
  6. Mar 1, 2021 at 10:06 PM
    #6
    79CHKCHK

    79CHKCHK [OP] Padawan of Rock Lobster

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    No more blocks, the new leaf replaced them. The blocks were the Eibach installed rear lift while testing the front springs.

    I've been eyeing a custom Deaver setup...but at that price I figure I'd give this a shot.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
  7. Mar 2, 2021 at 6:29 AM
    #7
    JoeCOVA

    JoeCOVA Well-Known Member

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    6 months, hundreds of dollars and hours of labor later and you could have spent a couple hundred more for an OME, Dobinson, Alcan, Icon etc pack or simply got a progressive AAL

    I’m all for DIY but feel like that it wasn’t intended.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
    hiPSI and jeremy5000 like this.
  8. Mar 2, 2021 at 7:04 AM
    #8
    79CHKCHK

    79CHKCHK [OP] Padawan of Rock Lobster

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    Where would the fun be in that? And DIY is part of the hobby, and was intended. Not sure how DIY wouldn't be intended?
     
    Silentshredr and perkj like this.
  9. Mar 2, 2021 at 7:26 AM
    #9
    JoeCOVA

    JoeCOVA Well-Known Member

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    True, carry on. It just read like you had no other choice.
     
  10. Mar 2, 2021 at 7:51 AM
    #10
    79CHKCHK

    79CHKCHK [OP] Padawan of Rock Lobster

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    Just experimenting with other options. Time in the garage is the best type of therapy besides the trail. It took so long because life happened.
     
    JoeCOVA[QUOTED] likes this.
  11. Mar 2, 2021 at 8:12 AM
    #11
    perkj

    perkj Well-Known Member

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    @79CHKCHK have you thought about airbags to counter the rear squat with the trailer? I run the Firestones bags with the Air Lift 72000 auto/wireless inflator on my Pro
     
  12. Mar 2, 2021 at 9:24 AM
    #12
    79CHKCHK

    79CHKCHK [OP] Padawan of Rock Lobster

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    I have considered Firestones with Daystar cradles. I'd like to avoid the complexity of an airbag setup, but depending on the outcome of this experiment it may be the best option.:thumbsup:

    Right now I'm going to keep heading down this rabbit hole and see what the outcome is. Hopefully it's not an epic fail!
     
    perkj[QUOTED] likes this.
  13. Mar 2, 2021 at 10:03 AM
    #13
    hiPSI

    hiPSI Laminar Flow

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    lol airbags are simplest solution.
    Your challenge is varying loads. Your previous solutions will only work at... different loads. There is a reason bigger trucks use airbags and again... it is a simple solution especially if you have onboard air. during the week you run low pressure. Take off without the trailer run a slightly higher bag pressure. Fully loaded run even higher. Easy peasy and install is not even hard.
     
    perkj, RyanDCLB and GrilledCheese like this.

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