Best 4×4 Suspension Lift Kits – Most Popular Lift Kits for 2nd and 3rd Generation (2005+) Toyota Tacoma – Detailed Suspension Buying Guide, What to Consider and Expect When Lifting Your Truck
A lift kit for your Tacoma should be a priority when it comes to mods. The added ground clearance, better ride quality and ability to fit bigger tires should be more than enough to convince anyone looking to get off the beaten track to buy a lift.
Best 4×4 Suspension Lift Kits
This is especially true if the target is off-road or terrestrial. Nowadays, finding a good lift kit can be a bit of a challenge, as the market is so saturated with so many different brands and varieties to choose from. All the different choices can make your decisions more complicated.
Toyota Tacoma 3in Suspension Lift Kit Vertex W/shock
Each kit on the market can be expected to perform a little differently than its competitors, so it’s important to consider a few things before you go and spend thousands of dollars on a lift kit.
What kind of driving do you do most? What kind of trails will you take your truck on? What is your budget?
Believe it or not, a lift kit does more than just raise your truck higher off the ground. While the added ground clearance is nice, in most cases (depending on the kit you buy), you’ll also improve the ride quality of your Tacoma.
Suspension lift kits, which are the focus of this article, should not be confused with body lift kits. Simply put, a “body lift” consists of several spacers that literally lift the body of your truck away from the frame. They are not very common because they drastically increase the center of gravity. On occasion, and this is usually on SUVs, one can add a small 1/2″ body lift to help clear the tires. The other problem with body lifts is that many components, such as your bumpers, are attached to the frame.If you raise the body you will start to create gaps that will need custom brackets/mounts to fix them.
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A complete suspension-based lift kit will raise the frame of your truck off the ground, giving you more clearance in the bumpers, radiator, exposed components, etc. This is the preferred method for lifting your truck.
Adding larger tires is something you’ll want to consider when lifting your truck. You wouldn’t want your truck to look like it’s had a leg day. Depending on the tire size you go with, your suspension lift will not clear them without some additional modifications such as cutting the cockpit assembly and cutting the fender liner. However, a lift will get you moving in the right direction when it comes to clearing larger tires.
Depending on the type of lift you take, you can expect the ride quality to improve. Suspension lift and coilovers will have the best ride quality and handling, while a split lift tends to ride worse than the factory setup. This is due to the change in shock load, which impairs mobility. A split riser should be the last thing you consider.
There are many things to consider before buying a lift, and a lot of it depends on what you will be using your truck for. With so many different brands and styles of elevators out there, finding the right one for you can be a challenge. Whether you want more of a dirt build or a full-on rock crawler, the type of suspension you throw under your Tacoma will play a big role in the truck’s performance.
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If you find yourself doing a lot of moderate or technical trails, then it’s definitely preferable to have a setup that’s built for abuse. Higher end lift kits include Fox, King, OME BP-51, Icon, Radflo and really any 2.5″+ adjustable reel.
Another thing to consider that is often overlooked is how much weight you intend to add to your Tacoma. Some of these companies like King or OME offer different spring rates for different amounts of weight. Other companies only offered a set spring rate which (unless you plan on adding a huge amount of weight with aftermarket parts like bumpers and skid plates) might work for you.
Like most things with this hobby, price plays a big part in what you buy. When it comes to suspension, many times, you get what you pay for. Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean bad, especially if you don’t plan on hitting the pavement that often. But technically speaking, the more expensive options have more adaptability and can take more abuse.
Less expensive options include spacers and bars, and while the ride quality may not be there, these options will get your truck off the ground without breaking the bank. It might be a good idea if you’re itching to hit the trails while you shop around for a more permanent setup. Options like adjustable coilovers will cost a bit more because you get more out of them, like remote reservoirs and the ability to adjust things like damping, compression and rebound on the fly.
How Much Does It Cost To Lift A Truck?
To begin with, your center of gravity will rise. Depending on the size of tires you use and how much weight you have on your Taco, you will have more body roll. Based on the lift setup you go with, the quality of your ride should feel much better. You should feel more in control while cornering, and those mall speed bumps will feel like you’re sailing on clouds.
Some people experience vibration from their driveline after lifting their trucks. This piece is hit and miss, but worth mentioning. The most common setups are solid needle bearing clutches, bearing drop kits, and custom driveshafts. Don’t sweat it too much though, minor tremors are easily dealt with.
Your truck will definitely look a lot worse with a lift kit and some matching tires. The added space will also help you off-road as you won’t damage your body or frame on every bump due to the added space. Not to mention, depending on the kit you choose, your truck’s suspension should also flex and articulate much better.
Lifts and struts won’t do you much good when it comes to off-roading, since you’re still using stock suspension components. The advantage is that this option will hurt your mpg less depending on the size of the spacers you go with, and they are much less expensive than full suspension lift kits.
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Shims are a great way to level the front end of your truck without spending thousands of dollars. The cool thing about bottles is that they have more than one use. You can buy a pair and flat your truck, buy one and adjust the drivers side skinny and even use them on top of your coilovers to prevent maxing out the preload to squeeze out some extra lift.
Some bars sit right on top of the post and lock in the middle of the shock tower. Others are part of the post assembly, meaning you will need a spring compressor to install these if they are not pre-assembled.
Although you likely won’t notice a difference in ride quality, the bottles can produce more of a stiffer ride than stock. All in all, this is a great way to raise the front end of your truck just a little without breaking the bank.
Similar to shims, spacers are another option to lift your truck without spending a ton of money. This style of lift kit generally provides more height than bars; anywhere from 2″ to 6″ (lots of obstacles to overcome in more than 2-3″ rise) depending on the kit you buy.
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Many spacers require a spring compressor to be installed in the stem assembly, but there are some that simply mount between the stem and the shock tower.
This is the perfect type of lift for anyone who doesn’t plan to do much off-roading. Since the splitters use stock suspension components, the ride quality may not be the best. On bumpy roads or off-road, you’ll definitely feel those bumps more than a coilover setup. Not to mention, you won’t have any extra travel since you’re still using the stock suspension components.
An example of a suspension lift is the Bilstein 5100 and OME combination. This style of lifting is similar to coilovers, but without the in-flight adjustment. Although you can adjust the 5100s and 6112s, it is not a threaded shock body – so to do so you must use a spring compressor to break the assembly apart.
Suspension lifts are great for anyone who does light to moderate wheelies from time to time. While they are a bit more expensive than a split lift, they are definitely less than high end wraps. In terms of ride quality, this type of lift will definitely ride better than spacers or tracks, especially off-road. On-road handling can be compared to coilovers, but off-road coilovers will be better.
The Pros And Cons Of Having A Lift Kit
Coilovers are definitely top of the line
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