Primitive and modern outdoor skills

Jane: The Lift!



As discussed previously, our Tacoma (Jane) is quite capable offroad, but the stock ride-height is a significant hindrance. With that in mind I purchased a lift-kit quite some time ago, but hadn't gotten around to installing it... well, I finally did.

So, I've now completed install of 3" lift on the back and 2" on the front. I've yet to test it out on trail. I did the install myself with a bit of help from Jess.

P1000989 I installed an All-Pro rear lift-kit. The packs are 7-leaf so better than new stock... and WAY better than old completely blown springs ;-). The dampers are Bilstein.

P1000994 I forget what the front is. Donahoe's aren't available anymore, but it's an isomorphic substitute. I seem to recall they're also Bilstein. Adjustable ride-height from 0" to 3" lift over stock. These have been installed for some time, I just cranked them up after installing the new leafs. Initially I cranked them up WAY too high, it turned out moving the ring 3/4" up was enough to get 2" of lift. I discovered this by 1/4" increment adjustments, consisting of jack truck, remove wheels, adjust, mount wheels, lower truck, look measure. It was mildly frustrating :D. After doing this I took it in for a professional alignment. It was slightly off before so it tracks better than it has since we've owned it.

The truck handles WAY better even on-road now. It used to be the rear-end would skip if you cornered hard, causing sudden overstear any time you hit a bump, not it stays glued to the road. I intentionally lifted the back more than the front. There are three reasons for this.

First: The 2002 Tacoma is an independent double-wishbone spring-over system on the front. The stock equipment has ~3" of down-travel or "droop" on the front suspension. This means that if you lift the truck 3", you're at the limit of the original equipment, and have no droop left. This leaves the truck with crappy ride-quality, the wheels leave the ground at the drop of a hat and skip easily, and on top of that it's at the limit of what the alignment equipment and CV joints can handle.

Second: Visually I really hate "saggy butts" on cars, and so does Jess. It looks like you blew your rear springs and didn't bother to do anything about it. I wanted the front to ride at least level with the back even if we load up the back with gear for a trip, for example.

third: It turns out 2.5" lift-kits for the rear were twice the cost :P. So, now I can't wait to get her out on the trails again! Our oversized tires aren't hitting the frame now with the lift installed, so the turning radius is back to stock. With that plus the lift the rear is 3.5" higher, and the front ~2.5". This means the breakover angle is much much better, so finally I won't bottom out going over bumps. It should also help the entrance and exit angles as well, thus helping prevent the situation where we were stuck on the front bumper.