'14 Tacoma Suspension Upgrade - advice for beginner

dmpags

Adventurist
#1
Greetings Adventurists,

I'm mapping out some modifications for my bone stock '14 Tacoma QuadCab Off-Road, and I'm asking your wisdom and experience. The first thing I want to tackle is the suspension.

My ultimate goal is to gain approximately 3 inches of lift, minimal sagging under moderate to heavy loads, and a decent ride when empty. Eventually I plan to install a front bumper and winch on the front of the vehicle, and a topper and rack to the back. Other than that, I don't see much more in the way of heavy accessories until I get more experience. Overall, the end result will be a suspension upgrade capable of handling a good range of trails for camping trips ranging from 3 - 10 days.

Another consideration is price - I'd like to get the most bang for a little buck as possible.

My brief research has me thinking OME with Dakar springs... but I have also heard a Toytec Boss kit is a solid option, especially considering the added weight to come. As much as I'd love to go ICON, I think it's more than I need (for now) and can move up to that in time.

What do you think? Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Best - David
 

Andy

Adventurist
Moderator
Founding Member
#3
Based on what you intend the OME will work. You can start with the light duty front springs and upgrade to the heavy duty coils once you add the bumper. The only downside to the OME setup is a lack of adjustability. The ride may be rough in the rear with the dakars if you don't add weight at the same time.

But: I went straight to the ICON for the adjustability and don't regret it a bit. I went with the basic coil overs in front and an add a leaf and reservoir shocks in the rear for a long time (actually until yesterday). I knew I was going to add weight and the cost to get in on the ICON was only a few hundred more than the OME setup and it's easily expandable.
 

Brett C

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Moderator
#4
You might consider Rancho Suspension as well. @Ironworks Tactical and @Chris Wharton are both running Rancho systems and are very happy with them. Brett runs his truck pretty hard and the Rancho system takes it no problem.
I've been part of the development of the Rancho stuff for the past couple years. I have nothing but good things to say about the product and their ability to listen and adapt what I tell them to make the system work for us yota guys. I currently have their shocks and coils up front and OME springs in the rear. You don't need anything heavy in the bed for the OME Dakars as stated above. It's not rough handling. The stock bumper and hitch weighed as much as if not more than my first high clearance bumper in fact.




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Dave

Adventurist
Founder
Senior Staff
Editor
#5
Lots of opinions on 2nd gen Tacoma suspension.

Here's my .02

The loads we carry require attention. For OME, the heavy coils and Dakar with the extra leaf are great.

Icon is amazing. I ran Icons 100K with no failures (one coil over rebuild at 80K).

For the rear springs, the best solution I found before selling my Tacoma was the AllPro APEX Premium springs with Timbrens. Matched with Icon 2.0 remote resis it was about perfect.

Rancho makes great gear but I can't speak for it because I did not run them.
 

Brett C

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Moderator
#6
A lot will have to do with your budget and your end goal for your build. I am a subscriber to the buy once cry once mantra and many here will probably tell you the same.


Yes I will tell you the Rancho stuff is really good for biased reasons, I was involved in designing it etc. But I wouldn’t put it in the same class as the Icon or other high level coilovers. They are in completely different classes.


As for rear leaves you have to also decide what sort of weight you plan on having your vehicle at. Are you going to go lighter like I did with a soft topper and ARB drawers or heavier like a flip pack, hard shell, and full wooden drawer setup? That will help dictate what leaves you need. Keep in mind trucks get fat fast once loaded also. Weight balance plays a big roll. I have the Dakar’s as stated above but added the OME add a leaf once I added the heavier bumper with swingout and have been happy thus far.


Coilovers are usually if not always rebuild able which also means tunable in the valving department (if they aren’t already properly valved for your vehicle upon purchase). This will result in a better ride over rough washboard and bumpy type roads. Add remote reservoirs and you’ve just upped the total amount of fluid which helps keep fluid cool therefore the shocks run better than a standard shocks over rough roads when working their butt off.


If you have the money to drop go the route of the Icons (hands down the best thing out there for yotas imho), if you’re in a more budget conscious situation and monotube shocks with springs fit your need than I recommend the Rancho or the OMEs (as they are tried and true and have been tested all over the world).

In basic: suspension isnt cut and dry and there is no one fits ever person perfect, you have to decide what will fit YOUR need the best. There will always be give and take.
 

dmpags

Adventurist
#7
Thanks all. Very helpful information that has me considering different options. I have long been a subscriber to the "buy once cry once mantra." It's why I'm asking these questions of you, I don't want to be replacing my suspension in a year because I didn't foresee the need for something different.

BTW - I read a great shocks/springs test article in Overland Journal a few years back that loved the adjustable Rancho RS9000XL shocks over the others.

I'm not sure how much weight I'll add yet, and it will be a slow process as the mods are costly. In the short term I'm looking at a top, front bumper and winch. I don't know what way to go yet on toppers - most likely go with a softopper, for weight and ease of removal then move to a hardshell if I feel the need.

@Ironworks Tactical I checked out your truck on your links and that's pretty much what I'm aiming for. Very nice ride.

Thanks again gents.
 

Brett C

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Moderator
#8
Thanks. I'm going to throw a monkey wrench in the loop. I didn't care for the adjustable shocks from Rancho. I run their 7000's and am much happier. I also went with a longer rear shock than they prescribe for more droop to get more flex. I can easily find out the model number if you want for the rear shock.


Brett C.
IronworksTactical.com - owner
 

bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#9
I give the same basic advice to anyone looking to build an off highway vehicle. Take what you have and get out and have a good time with it. I think you'll discover that a bone stock 4x4 truck will get you through almost all trails except the last 10% in difficulty level.

If you just have to find something to spend $$$ on, armor is forever. I'm not a Toyota guy, not sure what all needs protection underneath, but a good set of rocker protection is always a good start.

I know entirely too many people that built internet monsters because that's what they were told they'd need to even drop a tire off on a dirt shoulder. Build your vehicle to meet YOUR needs, not what the interweb tells you you'll need.

You're headed in the right direction, asking what works for others. The next step is to get out on a trail run with us. There is a solid corps of experience and knowledge here. I think I can speak for most if not all of us when I say that we love trail runs with novice drivers as much as we like tackling a more hardcore trail. Getting a novice driver through an obstacle the driver didn't think he/she could get through is just as much of a rush for me as it is the driver. I think I'm also safe to say that no one here will ever ridicule you or goad you into attempting an obstacle you aren't comfortable with. I for one will turn around and lead anyone back out that asks for it.
 

bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#10
Thanks. I'm going to throw a monkey wrench in the loop. I didn't care for the adjustable shocks from Rancho.


Brett C.
IronworksTactical.com - owner
I had Rancho 9000's on my '05 Wrangler when I lifted it. I couldn't get rid of them quick enough. They would fade to useless after 10-15 minutes of hard use. I've since changed over to Bilstein 7100's with remotes. Certainly not an apples to apples comparison as far as cost, nor in performance!:cool:
 

Brett C

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Moderator
#11
Yes and no. There are definite needs. Suspension like mine will gain you ground clearance which is a definite help but to tall makes for an unsteady vehicle and isn't wise. Icon or others with uniball UCAs will gain more articulation which if you like to crawl is a nice improvement. Sure a stock truck can do a lot but there are definite gains to be had with a well laid out suspension setup.




The truck was put through its paces bone stock before we ever started adding to it.

I found approach and departure angles considerably increased with 2.5" lift plus of course different bumpers that further enhanced that.

Of course I could be a lot less technical on the same trails once I had the suspension and armor in place. Armor is a must, especially undercarriage and rock sliders.


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dmpags

Adventurist
#12
I give the same basic advice to anyone looking to build an off highway vehicle. Take what you have and get out and have a good time with it. I think you'll discover that a bone stock 4x4 truck will get you through almost all trails except the last 10% in difficulty level.

If you just have to find something to spend $$$ on, armor is forever. I'm not a Toyota guy, not sure what all needs protection underneath, but a good set of rocker protection is always a good start.

I know entirely too many people that built internet monsters because that's what they were told they'd need to even drop a tire off on a dirt shoulder. Build your vehicle to meet YOUR needs, not what the interweb tells you you'll need.

You're headed in the right direction, asking what works for others. The next step is to get out on a trail run with us. There is a solid corps of experience and knowledge here. I think I can speak for most if not all of us when I say that we love trail runs with novice drivers as much as we like tackling a more hardcore trail. Getting a novice driver through an obstacle the driver didn't think he/she could get through is just as much of a rush for me as it is the driver. I think I'm also safe to say that no one here will ever ridicule you or goad you into attempting an obstacle you aren't comfortable with. I for one will turn around and lead anyone back out that asks for it.
Absolutely. I've been out a handful of times in the past year and have had a blast each time. I'm about to the point where I can't go where my friends are going, I'm starting to break stuff, and I want to go out for longer. I'm very conscious of not becoming the "guy with all the gear and no idea," so I won't just be throwing money into this.

Good point on the amour. I've already taken some damage.

I look forward to getting out with you guys and getting some real world experience. I'll look into that here on the forum. Recommendations on threads for outings or groups?

David
 
#13
Absolutely. I've been out a handful of times in the past year and have had a blast each time. I'm about to the point where I can't go where my friends are going, I'm starting to break stuff, and I want to go out for longer. I'm very conscious of not becoming the "guy with all the gear and no idea," so I won't just be throwing money into this.

Good point on the amour. I've already taken some damage.

I look forward to getting out with you guys and getting some real world experience. I'll look into that here on the forum. Recommendations on threads for outings or groups?

David
Reviving an older thread.

David,
Just wondering how you've made out with your suspension upgrades. I'm in a similar situation and would love to hear about your experience.

Chris
 

dmpags

Adventurist
#14
Hi Chris,

After much feedback from the forums, and build discussions with my local shop (Dirty Parts), it was between Old Man Emu and a slightly modified ICON Stage 2. I decided to go with an Old Man Emu kit. This kit seemed to be the best solution based on a few key factors:
  • Experience. I'm a noob. I don't know if I'm going to want a suspension for desert running, cruising fire roads, crawling rocks, or a bit of it all. Once I start to get a feel for where I want to go and how fast I want to get there, I'll dial things in.
  • Cost. I couldn't justify spending more on suspension when there are other items (body amour, air compressor, topper, etc) I need as well.
  • Time. I have a toddler at home that I don't want to be away from on weekends. Unfortunately, Overland trips are not going to happen that often for me until he's a little older.
  • Knowing myself. I have learned that it's best for me to temper my enthusiasm and "ease" into my interests. I'm just getting into this and want to have my purchase decisions be based on need and experience.
I've been running the lift for about 6 weeks now and love it. It gave me about 2.5 inches of lift, just enough room to fit a new set BF Goodrich A/T KO2 LT285/75R16. Still drives well at speed on the freeway (no vibration). Did a three day trip in the San Bernardino mountains in July and was able to tackle a whole new level of terrain. No problems. I do get a bit of tire rub on my UCA's, so I'll need to get wheel spacers before long.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

[GALLERY=media, 304]Tacoma_Cleghorn_01 by dmpags posted Aug 25, 2016 at 10:30 AM[/GALLERY]
 
Last edited:
#15
Hi Chris,

After much feedback from the forums, and build discussions with my local shop (Dirty Parts), it was between Old Man Emu and a slightly modified ICON Stage 2. I decided to go with an Old Man Emu kit. This kit seemed to be the best solution based on a few key factors:
  • Experience. I'm a noob. I don't know if I'm going to want a suspension for desert running, cruising fire roads, crawling rocks, or a bit of it all. Once I start to get a feel for where I want to go and how fast I want to get there, I'll dial things in.
  • Cost. I couldn't justify spending more on suspension when there are other items (body amour, air compressor, topper, etc) I need as well.
  • Time. I have a toddler at home that I don't want to be away from on weekends. Unfortunately, Overland trips are not going to happen that often for me until he's a little older.
  • Knowing myself. I have learned that it's best for me to temper my enthusiasm and "ease" into my interests. I'm just getting into this and want to have my purchase decisions be based on need and experience.
I've been running the lift for about 6 weeks now and love it. It gave me about 2.5 inches of lift, just enough room to fit a new set BF Goodrich A/T KO2 LT285/75R16. Still drives well at speed on the freeway (no vibration). Did a three day trip in the San Bernardino mountains in July and was able to tackle a whole new level of terrain. No problems. I do get a bit of tire rub on my UCL's, so I'll need to get wheel spacers before long.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

[GALLERY=media, 304]Tacoma_Cleghorn_01 by dmpags posted Aug 25, 2016 at 10:30 AM[/GALLERY]
Very nice. Thanks David.

Did you upgrade your UCAs while you were at it? I've heard about 50/50 on whether it's necessary.

Chris


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