My original plan was to run the stock bilstein set-up for as long as I could, but my build plans outgrew my suspension after ~1 year and 3 months of ownership when I decided I was getting a GFC installed in November 2018. Due to the increased weight and the terrain I planned to hit a suspension was in my future. After going thru many sets of suspension on my previous vehicle (06 Jeep TJ), I wanted to “Buy Once, Cry Once” with the Tacoma. After a lot of research and back and forth on forums and with vendors, I decided on the Arizona Desert Racing Level 3 Suspension Kit from Headstrong Offroad.
- ADS 2.5″ extended coilovers with remote reservoir and compression adjusters with 700lb coil springs
- ADS 2.5″ extended length rear shocks with remote reservoir and compression adjusters
- SPC Adjustable Ball Joint Upper Control Arms
- OME Dakar HD full leaf pack replacement
- Extended length u-bolts
- OME carrier bearing drop bracket (Unused)
- Full busing and sleeve kit
- SS Kevlar reinforced braided front brake lines (stock +1″)
- SS Kevlar reinforced braided rear brake lines (24″)
- 3* Leaf pack shims (purchased separately)
- Durobump Bumpstops (purchased separately)
- ECGS Bushing (purchase separately)
How I decided on this kit
Remember from my build summary page, I want components that last (pushing this build to 300k+ mile goal), a suspension that can grow with my build, and a reliable system that will not fail on me while Off the Map.
- Buy Once, Cry Once
- American Made
- Quality, High End Components
- Rebuildable and revalveable (can grow with my build)
- Adjustable (Daily driver mode and adventure mode for various offroad terrains)
- Adjustable height up front (grow with my build)
A friend and I installed this kit over a weekend in my driveway. If you have done suspension before, it is pretty straightforward. If not, then the instructions are clear and there are tons of threads and videos for the install on a Tacoma. The most difficult part of the whole thing was getting the front upper control arm bolt out (requires persuasion) and getting the bushings replaced in my leaf spring hangers (a torch was involved). Here are some pictures of the kit and side by side comparisons of stock components.
After the suspension install I had a local shop align the truck, I then installed some 3* shims to correct for the rear axle driveshaft angle and an ECGS bushing to replace the faulty front axle needle bearing. I don’t have pictures of these but if you want a smooth ride, good wear on your tires, u-joints that will last, and overall reliability then I recommend these steps.
Suspension at Work
The GFC was installed in November 2018, while on the trip my wife and I hit Moab, Utah to test out the Tacoma on terrain we don’t normally see in the Southeast. The Tacoma performed flawlessly and we had no issues with the obstacles. We hit steep inclines, large formations, and even did a little high speed testing (it is a Go Fast Camper build after all…)
Short video the wife took.