Pickup Trucks 101: Lowering Your Truck

Pickup Trucks 101: Lowering Your Truck
By Dan Sanchez for PickupTrucks.com

It's common for truck owners to lower their vehicle’s suspension system a few inches for a sporty look, or they go to the extreme and lay the frame on the ground to create a wild custom show vehicle.

You can lower a full-size or midsize pickup in a variety of ways that affect its appearance, handling, towing and cargo capacity. We’ve outlined the most common methods and best practices so that you gain a better understanding of the techniques and what best suits the look and performance you want to achieve.

Coil Springs

Eibach-Lowering-System
Manufacturers make it easy to lower your vehicle by offering a complete kit. This example shows a two-inch front drop with coil springs and a four-inch rear drop using new leaf springs, shackles and hangars.

An aftermarket set of coil springs is a great way to lower your truck’s suspension as much as two inches. Some trucks use coils at the rear, so look for a complete kit from the same manufacturer. The best choice is to use progressive-rate springs made from high-quality steel, to avoid spring sag over time. Some performance coils will also improve handling and lower the stance by one-and-a-half to two inches.

Cutting your factory coils may sound like a less expensive alternative but it’s not recommended because it can change the spring’s compression rate and can lead to a bouncy ride. A spring that lowers ride height more than two inches may be a bad idea. The right coils will lend a smooth ride and won’t affect the overall cargo capacity of your pickup when you need moderate lowering.

Coils can be combined with other lowering products when more lowering is desired.

Drop Spindles

 

Drop-Spindle
Drop spindles are very popular. Some four-wheel-drive vehicles can be lowered this way, too.

Drop spindles are probably one of the best ways to lower your vehicle properly by two or three inches without affecting the ride quality or factory suspension geometry. It’s worth paying more for a high-quality spindle from a reputable manufacturer; cheaper spindles are known to crack and shear. Combining drop spindles with a two-inch lowering coil can give you up to four inches of drop.

Control Arms

Truck-lower-control-arms
Lower control arms are another great method to lower your truck’s front end properly. The lower coil spring pocket brings down the vehicle’s ride height, while the rest of the suspension remains in the stock position. These can be combined with lowering springs for a four-inch front drop.

Tubular upper and lower control arms replace the factory wishbones in the front of your truck. A new lower arm will have a deeper coil spring pocket. This effectively lowers the vehicle two or three inches and maintains proper ball joint angles and a smooth ride.

If you’re going to use low-profile tires, it’s important that the lower control arm spring pocket doesn’t fall below the vehicle’s scrub-line, which is the lowest part of the vehicle that will make contact with the pavement should the tire go flat.

A new upper A-arm will compensate for the negative camber (top of tire points in toward the body) that occurs when the vehicle is lowered. Both matched sets of arms are necessary for proper operation and suspension alignment and are typically used with shorter coil springs, air springs and/or drop spindles to get your truck even lower.

Air Springs (bags)

Rear-Air-bag-kit

Airbags or air springs come in a variety of kits. This one attaches to the truck frame and axle to lower the rear five to six inches. Others systems can be customized to lower the vehicle all the way to the frame.

Air springs or airbags offer unique advantages for lowering a vehicle. They can be retrofitted just about anywhere, front or rear, to provide a very low stance when deflated. Then they can be inflated with an onboard compressor and a system of actuators, switches and hoses to drive the truck at a normal ride height.

Air springs provide the most options for a moderate to extreme drop. Usually they can simply replace your factory coil springs in the front and leaf springs at the rear. Extreme lowering, where the truck rests on the frame, requires more customizing and should left to a professional. One of the most important aspects of an air spring suspension is to set a normal ride height for driving and set the vehicle’s alignment for that height. This will avoid excessive tire and suspension component wear.

Depending on how low you want to go, air springs can be set into custom-built A-arms in the front to lay the frame on the ground. Likewise for the rear, a custom rear air-spring frame that protrudes through the bed can be built to lay the rear suspension and frame on the ground. Because of all this, you’ll have a great-looking custom truck, but you’ll lose any or all of its cargo-carrying capabilities. This should be done only if you’re contemplating creating a show-winning vehicle.

Hydraulics

Popularized by lowriders, hydraulic systems work like air springs but use hydraulic fluid to fill up solid cylinders that replace the truck’s coil springs, shocks and leaf springs. This system requires a sophisticated network of switches, solenoids, hydraulic lines, tank and a hydraulic pump to operate successfully. You’ll need to hire a well-known custom installer because of the extensive cutting and welding. Using hydraulics will eliminate any cargo or towing capacity.

Leaf Spring Eye Hangars
Most trucks use leaf springs at the rear because of they hold up to extra cargo capacity. Many truck owners replace the factory leaf spring mounts — also called hangars and shackles — to lower the rear one-and-a-half to two inches. This requires drilling out or cutting the factory shackles from the frame and bolting on new ones. This method works extremely well and is often combined with other products to achieve a lower stance. This method also works great to level out the ride of your truck from front to rear, and because you’re still using the factory spring, you won’t lose any towing or cargo capacity.

Lowering Leaf Springs

Leaf-Springs
Lowering leaf springs are a great way to drop the rear of your truck. They result in a great ride, but you’ll sacrifice some of the overall cargo and tongue weight capability.

For the rear of your truck, you can get leaf springs that lower the ride height two to three inches. If you combine those springs with new lowering spring eye hangars, the rear can drop four inches. These springs have noticeably less arch and work well for providing a comfortable ride. The drawback is less overall cargo and tongue weight capacity because fewer leaves are used in the spring and they typically don’t include a helper spring. Many truck owners, though, will use an airbag helper spring that sits on top of the leaf spring to restore some of the lost cargo capacity and raise the rear of the truck to compensate for a heavy load or trailer.

Leaf Spring Blocks

Blocks-with-shims
Lowering blocks are common for leveling or extreme applications. The best blocks are made of steel and should include a shim to correct the differential’s pinion angle.

Blocks have been one of most popular ways to lower the rear of pickup trucks anywhere from one to three inches. Many lowering kits include leaf spring blocks inserted between the axle and the leaf spring. The absolute best blocks to use are steel units with a built-in pinion angle correction. They actually look more like a wedge than a square block, or the blocks can come with a wedge that can be added to provide the proper pinion angle. In most instances, blocks are used with leaf spring hangars to lower the rear of the vehicle up to four inches. It’s important to use high-quality U-bolts when lowering with blocks.

Flip Kits
For extreme lowering of the rear — five to eight inches — flip kits tend to be a necessary component to provide enough travel and clearance between the axle and the frame. They flip the position of the leaf spring and axle so that the springs move from beneath the axle to the top. A proper high-quality flip kit will have a proper axle locator that positions the rear axle slightly forward and maintains the proper pinion angle geometry of the differential.

Most flip kits will also require that the rear portion of the frame be C-notched for added up/down travel of the axle. The notch is reinforced with a steel frame-support bracket that should be drilled and bolted in place. Welding can often weaken tempered steel, from which most truck frames are made. When flipping the axle and leaf spring, it’s important to consider shorter shocks or shock extensions. These keep the shocks at a more vertical angle to provide better operation and a smooth ride.

Because many trucks use a center carrier bearing for a two-piece driveshaft, vibrations can occur. To cure this, many flip kits come with a spacer to lower the center carrier bearing that places the driveshaft in the proper angle.

How Low Do I Go?

Air-Bag-Ram
This Dodge is an extreme example of a custom airbag system with a C-notch on the frame. This allows truck’s frame to rest on the ground.

With various products and methods available for lowering your truck, here are some of the more popular procedures that can help you decide what might work best for your application:

Lowering-560

Many manufacturers offer complete systems that take the guesswork out of adding the right components to lower your pickup. Using shorter shock absorbers or shock mount extensions will also improve the ride quality. If you’re interested in performance handling, adding a set of performance anti-sway bars may help, too. Also consider the correct load rating of the tire you will use. Trucks are still heavy, and various tire manufacturers sell lower-profile tires that will complement your lowered pickup also feature the correct load rating for a safe ride.

Comments

Well with my 2005 Tacoma I used 2 inch Renton drop coils up front that were also 20% stiffer over stock for the front and set my alignment to a negative 2 degrees camber for better cornering up front...

One of the issues was that Toyota had different rate coils up front, about 140 lbs. more on the drivers side for the a/c unit. 4wd models do not have this different spring rate. So it was like an old school Camero and we settled on the Renton's...

I also installed a larger diameter hollow tube sway bar up front, actually the size of the new Tundra which also helped in cornering...

In the rear I went low tech with just a custom 3 inch steel drop block, Calvert traction bars to prevent axle wrap passenger side under heavy cornering, a larger solid sway bar about 1 inch diameter and a custom Watts Link to keep the rear axle centered designed by a local Ford racing shop...

The factory X-brace was sweet and stock was rated 0.96g of lateral grip so I was well over 1g of grip for the track. My street tires also my wet setup for the track were 255/45 on 18x8 ASA wheels, BFG KDW2's, that would be the stock size...

My road racing tires were 285/30 on 18x9.5 ASA wheels BFG R1's. That tire size lowered the truck another inch likewise and I got some gearing also...

I also improved the brakes to 355mm and large 4-piston calipers which required 18 inch rims at minimal for clearance and converted the rear drums to disk which helps to keep the rear brakes clean vs. drums...

The rest of the chassis was stock as delivered from the factory and remained that way, NO REPLACEMENT of any single factory component other than what I mentioned for 5 years of parking lot auto-x or high-speed on road courses as well as 54,000 street miles...

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f36/oxi3/0231.jpg

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Parling lot auto-x was mainly with Milwaukee Region SCCA at Miller Park...

I ran high speed on road courses with Midwest Council at Blackhawk Farms 1.9 mile road course in Rockton, IL, Autobahn Coutntry Club road course in Joliet, IL, Milwuakee Mile infield road course in Milwaukee, WI and ran with NASA at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI as well as a driver instructor with the world's largest PDX at Road America!

I also visited and ran cones courses on Nascar tracks like 1/3 mile in Plover, WI, the 1/2 mile in Marshfield, WI, the 1/2 mile in LaCrosse, WI...

I had some serious fun for 5 years and represented pickups at the tracks and gained massive support with one of the biggest and toughest regions within SCCA. Nobody underestimated my driving or pickup at the events and I beat many sports cars on times.

Best track to drive full blown high-speed was Road America! To exit the carosel at 100 mph and hit the non-bike kink at 115 for a pickup was sweet and top out at 130 before Canada Corner and hit the brakes to make the turn from 130 with a Vette only 3 feet in front of you was sweet!

Another memorable moment was climbing the hill after turn 14, we were 3 wide. I was on the left, a Porsche 911 to the far right and a BMW M series 3 souped up in the middle, that was awesome 3 wide hitting over 90 mph...

My pickup was not for show, it was for performance, naturally aspirated that is, their was another dimension but I chose to go back to my roots and that was off-roading. Learned how to drive a pickup at speed and that was the goal for those 5 years!

I know lowering pickups not very popular with this group but any other stories out there?

Oxi, You just exposed yourself to being called a hypocrite on ground clearance with those pics.

That was before 2010 and I was not involved in off-roading anymore...

I went back to my roots when I felt I accomplished what I wanted with the lowered pickup in terms of driving...

That driving skill I learned helps me to run my higher 4wd pickup better and safer on the roads today...

You will be amazed that I still hit my apex and can run such higher speeds on ramps and corners with a lifted pickup, it's just a matter of adjustement in driving but the lessons learned on the track are still in play...

Also what most who lose control of their pickups never learn because they have never taken driving lessons at higher speeds is less steering wheel movement and straight line braking. You cannot jerk the wheel of a pickup and expect not to break rear traction or worse roll it!

That is why a real pickup has an aftermarket front bumper (and not those silly weak ones I see all the time) but ones that are sturdy to take on a deer but more importantly, smash the moron driver that does not know how to drive properly!

I am not going to jerk the wheel to avoid some moron that forgot to yield right of way. I will use small steering input before the impact to get me into the best position so I will not roll it and protects me or my passenger first and above all then I will consider the other driver...

A proper bumper can do wonderful things for you if properly built and used!

I'm sorry, but lowering your truck is like lifting your Corvette. Sure you can do it, but why? To each their own...

I fail to imagine a circumstance where lowering a pickup truck (or any other vehicle) offers the least shred of utility or practicality, or some improvement in handling or performance.

I agree 100% with Tyler. Why? Putting a pickup truck on the ground is just as stupid as the Crown Vics you see running around here with lifts and 28" wheels and candy paint. It is just retarded. What's the purpose of this? If you want to sit low and go fast, buy a Mustang, Camaro, or Charger/Challenger and have at it. You've got a better platform to start with right out of the box. Fact is, the ONLY reason people do this stuff to perfectly good pickup trucks is to be different. They just want to be different. A lifted Monte Carlo on 28 inch spinnas loses everything GM gave it... ride quality, comfort, ingress/egress, etc. And a dropped pickup also loses everything GM gave it.. the ability to haul, tow, and not drag it's frame on railroad tracks. It just doesn't make sense.

Again... to each their own, but I fail to see any reason to do this whatsoever. Maybe that's why only 3 people have left comments.

I didn't know this was still being done. I rarely see any trucks lowered these days, and when I do I can't help but think "what a waste of a good truck".

Big lifts on a truck make as much sense as slamming one to the ground. Either way, you lose a lot of practicle utility that the truck would normally provide.

I don't see a lot of slammed trucks anymore but remember the glory days of the 90's when it was mandatory to drop them to the ground lol

Lowering a truck is almost as big a waste as huge lifts on HD trucks- good job: now you cant get stuff in and out of the bed to save your life, need wonky-ass special hiches to pull anything, are over stressing wheel bearings and ball joits to the point of having no more strength reserves than a 1/2 ton, I could go on...
Actually, I think lower particularly some HDs, and F150s just a few inches can make life a lot easier for those who get in and out a lot. Senior RVers with 4x4 fords and Rams would probably like their trucks a little easier to get in and out. Over the last decade or so, 5th wheel trailers needed to become taller to match up to these trucks- tremendous waste of fuel. Especially with airbags, the unloaded truck can sit nice and level, while still being fully capable.

Mike Levine, even though lowered trucks are not my cup of tea I enjoyed reading this article because it shows you listen to feedback from the viewers.
I can only assume the "Guide to Lifting your Truck" article will be forthcoming?

@oxi,

Most people dont know how to drive,I think a performance driving school should be manditory before people get their license ! Most people have no concept of what a vehicle can do..or cant for that matter.I did some circle track racing back in the day in my 20's that helped alot with day to day driving.Adding a monster bumper is great but alot of people dont want to wreck the astetics of the truck,most leave them stock.I always had high powered Mopars since I was a teen,basically a old stock 440 ran mid-high 12's in the 1/4 mile (carlife back in 1969 confirmed this low 12's with slicks 13-14's with skiny 14 " street tires) and the low end torque made those things go side ways even flooring it at 20 mph on a dry flat road,add headers,re jet the carb ,build the heads up a little they ran 11's all day with the stock cam and traction with anything but slicks is non existant,thats how most ended up around telephone poles you floor it straight and next thing you know your going the opposite direction .That gave me great learning on how to handle a vehicle from take off around corners,high speed if it was dusty a bit damp when you floor it at 80 mph it will go sideways !! I always lowered the torsion bars on my old Mopars down a bit (5 min job) added 235 at the front and 275 at the rear and those things would stick on a Porsche 911's bumper around canyon roads,with a good driver in both !! Though my circle track racing helped out alot.Even some old Mopar mags did a lap of America Valiant ,junkyard parts and it out handled Vipers,911's,Vettes,Lambo's,Ferrarri's,and easily outhandled Mustangs ,other imports !

Anyways back to trucks,too low doesnt look good either does too high , in my opinion,but your racing did help you out in the real world with a lifted truck,as I know my racing helped me out in my classics and my new Ram.

I've seen several of my buddies level out their truck (esp when they don't tow frequently or heavy loads) and I think it can come out looking pretty sharp. I also agree with MrKnowitall, a couple inches lower can make bed work a lot easier for people who aren't real tall, especially in some of the HD's. I'm not a fan of scraping on speed bump type lowering, but it's cool to see an article which gave me a deeper view into something I didn't know much about.

@Oxymoron - Here's the article on lifting your truck: http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2010/07/four-ways-to-lift-your-truck-for-less.html

Not into slamming trucks, wast of a good vehicle just like a 10 inch lift is to drive on the street.

Whenever oxi brings up the ground clearance off-road just remind him of this:

http://img705.imageshack.us/img705/2531/oxioffroad.jpg

Thank you.

@ oxi

Thats a slick truck you had!

Most of the readers on this site have ZERO clue about what that truck accomplished stock. they also probably think you lowered it from a very high stance vehicle when in fact that truck was designed for EXACTLY what you were doing with it. kudos, now i only wish i could get my hands on the RTR version they made for sema LOL. a Supercharged 5.7 in a taco would be SO MUCH FUN lol.

Dont lower truck!

Redundant! To me.

I lift my trucks and lowering my cars.

To each their own.

@Frank,
But have you ever been offroad? Your full size truck lacks the proper ground clearance so who cares that you lifted it.

Full-size trucks are great for pulling trailers and hauling big and heavy payloads, but they are not meant to for off-roading. The Tacoma whether it is lifted or lowered is much smaller and lighter with more ground clearance than a full-size!

The reason you don't see full size trucks off-road is because they are too big and wide and you can damage the body. Full size trucks weigh too much and you can get stuck easier and don't even think about getting around a couple trees on the trails.

Just keep your full size trucks on the road where they belong!

@Tacoman,

I haul quads and play in the mud just fine in my F250 V10. However, if I wanted a desert off-road runner I know where to buy it and it's certainly not a Toyo.

I really don't care about damaging my body, it's an off-road truck.

"Just keep your full size trucks on the road where they belong"


Stop hating!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptp_ff1kz9I&safety_mode=true&persist_safety_mode=1

Can I do this to a 1996 Ford Escort?

@xs29L,

I agree racing helps with street driving because you react faster to situations, you don't jerk the wheel, understand how your chassis works and brakes, weight distribution, etc...

All that plays a role to why people lose it on the roads and crash...

Any good moments from your circle track days? You guys have one tough deal going full speed on an oval. I was not used to the g-forces I guess running at the 1/3 mile bowl track, taking the turns at 70 was not easy...

I lost it once coming out of turn 5 north track at Autobahn, too fast and the rear got out from under me. Typical driver would have let off the throttle and hit the brakes and wondered why he spun around and crashed into the wall...

My drive instruction kicked in, I kept the throttle down, turned the wheel into the spin, no brakes, I was doing 70 sideways down the middle of the track smoking the rears but guess what, as soon as I slowed down enough, corrected the wheel, had only the right side hit the grass and continued on with my lap!

Not bad for a pickup losing it at 70...

@Dan,

Yeah, I was not afraid to take on a local rallycross event!

I walked the course and payed attention to obstacles to my low ground clearance and planned my lines carefully and tried to avoid catching any air on the dirt track. I still went high-speed on the road courses and the last thing I wanted was to lose my alignment!

My wheelbase was the hinderance at 127 inches I was not very nimble on such a tight rally course but I was there to learn how she handled on the dirt at speed...

@hemi lol,

Thanks!

I encouraged newbs to the autocross to keep their vehicle in the stock classes and learn its strengths and weaknesses before placing mods to improve times.

Most buy a fast car like a Subaru or Evo, S2000 or Vette and they have no clue how to handle that speed or handling!

A pickup is a hard vehicle to master on the coned courses but I stuck with it and had some success and turned heads. It teaches you how to drive better with a pickup on the street!

Be careful, having those mega-powered trucks or cars does not mean success. You have to know how to use that power properly and I loved to beat Vipers or Vettes and even a Ford Lightening on my times...

Same with off-road, some of the best off-roaders have 4 bangers under them!

@Frank,

Why wouldn't you buy a Toyo? If you are talking about the Raptor, you need to check the the ground clearance numbers for the Raptor. Also watch your rear lower shock mounts hang below the axle line like all domestics. Full size trucks are not meant for real off-roading.

@Tacoman,

I just don't have the same enthusiasm as you because if I did, it would be boring.

Don't hate or get mad. It's God's honest truth.

I would never touch a Toyo. Sorry, don't get your undies wet.

@Tacoman,

We do find without Toyos! This is guy is stock. Gotta love it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13MtL_z4eWw&safety_mode=true&persist_safety_mode=1


We don't need toyos to offroad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j519Vy3opFg&feature=related&safety_mode=true&persist_safety_mode=1

@Frank,
If you won't even consider a Toyo that is your loss.

To quote Oxi, First of all just look at this Tacoma and tell me the competition in class does not even come close for off-road ability...This thing is built better for off-road, no torsion bars hanging too low or mounted on the lower a-arms or lower shock mounts in odd positions begging to get hit.

Hech even when Toyota had torsion bar fronts, they were the only company to mount them on the upper a-arm thus full frame protection! And I cannot tell you about mounting leaf springs above the axle back then while the domestics were below the axle.

Result was a taller truck, more running ground clearance and very easy to fit larger tires underneath. That is what sold me back in the day to buying a Toyota. Crap, just crank the front t-bars a bit, add a leaf in the rear and 35x12.5 BFG's fit no problem.

Try that with your little Ranger, Dakota or S-10!

Today, same story where the Tacoma is fit for off-road duty while the domestics are like low-riders. I can spend less with a Tacoma to mount larger tires than probably the big 3 combined! That is what sells to me concerning off-road ability.

You can say what you want about looks, tires from the factory (who gives a hoot, I always change them anyway to larger BFG's, I already took off my 245/75 Dunflops and placed proper 265/75 BGF A/T KO's on my Tacoma), too big or whatever but the Tacoma sells because it caters to more people by offering more configurations and styles.

I tend to buy one as close to stripped as I can, very hard these days and build it up myself.

My Tacoma has been solid so far through 7,000 miles and I am off-roading this weekend with her with various types of rigs, mostly solid front guys but I will be there showing how a standard Tacoma can do it like the hard-core guys can!

Speaking of being boring, listen to what Oxi said about the Raptor. You have no imgination when you buy the Raptor. You are lazy and just buying what the factory tells you to have. Boring.

To quote Oxi, "And yes the Raptor is one slick ride, I see them all the time in action at TORC races at Crandon, etc...

I just believe you should build up a rig yourself and not what the factory tells you what to have, that shows lack of imagination and laziness!

I do not mind the big heavy duty Ram either, at least no shocks below the axle line and leafs above the axle.

I am very picky when it comes to pickups because I have raced down in Baja, worked the pits at Crandon, ran hott-pits down in Baja, off-roaded locally with local groups and even raced my pickup on high-speed autocross events like at Road America.

I have been around pickups practically my whole life and always tinckered with them. In other words my opinions are from experiance in the field from what I saw or did myself. I just do not buy a pickup to say I got 500hp or can pull the big trailers. I use them daily and go on trail rides and overland adventures while still not being afraid to move my entire house to break in the clutch.

I am building my 2010 Tacoma and finished Phase I of my BOTT build. I am building it as a military tactical truck like the Marines MTVR (which I served back in the early 90's) where it will have to perform off-road and still carry payload.

Hint: the MTVR is fully independent with coil springs, straight axles are a thing of the past folks!

So I will be putting my Tacoma to the limits of a pickup with off-road, larger tires and payload. I may not be pulling the big trailer but my rig will not be built for that, that is why I have the 2.7 liter engine.

That is the reason I choose Toyota over the domestics because I want the ability to off-road and I cannot get that with the domestics without spending some $$$."

Anyway, ground clearance is number 1. You need it to play off-road or else you will damage just about everything. You can have a full size truck with 500 hp but only 2 inches of clearance, your not going to go far off-road. You will be like a road racing vehicle stuck in the little grass!


The Tacoma has been offering locking rear diff since 1995, has suberb ground clearance and solid wheel travel for a factory born pickup. And also they have the PreRunner option, the look of a 4wd yet it is only a 2wd. That sells to the desert crowd and southern states. In fact when Oxi raced in Baja it did not take long for him to gut the front end of his 86 Toyota pickup to lighten the weight up there and get more wheel travel.

@Tacoman,

You are preaching to the choir. Stop!

I choose what I want to off-road in, my F250 stock height fitted 35 inch BFG. I now have a lift with bigger Tires.

Honestly, I would buy the Raptor first. Why is it that Raptor fits 35 BFG's!

Stop comparing mid size trucks to full size.

The Raptor did just find in BAJA!

"I just believe you should build up a rig yourself and not what the factory tells you what to have, that shows lack of imagination and laziness."

I think the Raptor is perfect right out of the box.

Go ahead and spend the extra 20 grand on your Toyo to fit bigger tires.

I'm fine with that, I ain't mad. I will stick to American Trucks!

Thanks for the conversation.

Personally, I cant' stand lowered trucks. I don't like them jacked way up either. I drive a truck to work out of, not for show. I could see lowering a truck as much as 3 inches for 5th wheel towing. The clearance between some trucks and trailers is scary. Still, I couldn't do it. I've seen stock trucks get high centered at work. I'd rather be the one guys call to get them unstuck than the one placing that call.

I'd lower a Ranger for a good on road daily driver that gets great MPG while still having an adequate cargo and towing capacity when I need it. Then have a lifted Ranger for the weekends and stuff. Because lifted trucks become a PITA when daily driving and towing.

Dropped our 2011 Avalanche 2'/3' with Bell Tech spindles and rear coils. Reduce ugly fender well gap; between tire and wipe wheel lip. Also makes getting in and out of easier. Buttery smooth ride with Michelins on stock 17" wheels. Can still trailer our boat, but have to watch wheel stops for potential spoiler damage. Also think mileage has improved 1-1.5 mpg..

@Bob Mc,

Very interesting on 1-1.5 mpg improvement.

@Frank,

You can spend over $40,000 on Raptor, fine...

I could buy a 4wd SR5 Tacoma at $25,000, spend $3,000 to get clearance for 35's and since I come in still $12,000 under what the Raptor is stock and I can continue to mod my Tacoma to beat the crap out of the Raptor!

You still will not drive it much off-road, your wife will not let you scratch the Raptor you had to take a second mortgage to get the financing for...

Just keep it on road as a show piece like most I have seen so far!

how did a thread on a Eibach lowering kit turn into discussion on the Tacoma's off-roadability?

I would rather have a Raptor sit in my driveway, than to drive a tacoma. Alltough I think they should put the EB3.5 in the Raptor!! w/ a reg cab! what would that save 500lbs? or more than the crew cab /6.2!!

Oxi, Let's settle this once and for all.

Donate your Tacoma to Mike so he can test it against a F-150 in an off-road shootout.

Which is better off-road? F-150 or Tacoma?

Let's make it happen.

The e-locker equipped Tacoma would fare much better off-road than the larger F-150...

Better ground clerance to weight ratio...

Solid wheel travel with coil sprung front of the Tacoma...

But they will not compare them, a heavy full-size vs. a mid-size...

When the 1995 Tacoma first came out it won the truck of the year honors and Four Wheeler's 4x4 of the year even beating the Alpha Hummer thanks to the e-locker...

In 2005 the Tacoma won the award again when they debuded the 2nd generation...

Pound for pound Tacoma's are tough little trucks!

Pound for pound the F-150 is a solid and durable pickup!

They are the best in their classes and should be both treated with respect!

The ground clearance is greater on a Raptor.

On a regular F-150 the difference is a half inch in favor for the Tacoma but taller tires on the F-150 would take away that advantage.

F-150 has shown to have the best grearing, better crawl ratio, best locker. F-150 has much more power and more precise steering so weight is not an issue. A heavier and more powerful truck will also give you more traction.

The last 10 Baja 1000's were won with F-150's and Chevy trucks. Yeah, they were modified, but if the Tacoma was the best off-road truck, they would used modified those, don't you think?

Tacoma is a great truck but I'm not sold on it being "the best" off-roader.

@Dave,

Your missing one MAJOR point:

The Tacoma has a weight advantage ove the F-150!

The F-150 would sink faster than a Tacoma off-road and that is where the ground clearance to weight ratio would favor the Tacoma off-road!

And Tacoma's have solid gearing, my little 2010 SR5 has standard 4.10's in the rear axle, same as was on my old 1986 Toyota...

In Baja those are gutted full-size pickups full of wheel travel and LESS WEIGHT!

The more weight you have, the more abuse on the suspension, brakes and gearing as well as needing more torque to get the job done...

That is why I chose my 2.7 liter Tacoma as my off-roader, plenty of low range and impressive ground clearance to build upon with solid 4.10's in the rear and less weight than a full-size. I do not need a V8 to move this truck off-road and I love the coil sprung front, so many more options vs. weak torsion bars...

Put your Tacoma with $3000 to get more gound clearance up agains this EcoBoost F-150 on stock suspension (Only thing that has been changed is the shocks.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJ028xdfmCU

Put Mike Levine in the F-150.

We'll put you in your Tacoma.

My money is on the F-150. Baja tested and proven.


Oxi,
The F-150 is not going to sink. That is a myth you created in your mind.

The F-150 is baja tested and proven.

Not only did a stock suspension F-150 finish the Baja, it also helped pull vehicles out of mudholes or other spots where they were bogged down.

Ford F-150 EcoBoost Torture Test 5: 2010 Baja 1000
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epkCVPH1iRY

@Dave,

The Tacoma has solid ground clearance from the factory and a weight advantage than an F-150, so it already wins in off-road ability right away!

Yes, the more weight you have, the more you will sink thus a heavier pickup with its axles low will drag those axles and other suspension components and that's how you get stuck...

The Tacoma was proven in Baja years ago, back in the mid 1990's, where was the Raptor then?

I have been through some nasty fire lanes where I live where the Raptor would sink because of its weight and my mild-modded current Tacoma would make it through, why?

I have less weight and similiar ground clearance numbers with my tire size, so the Raptor will have to use every bit of torque to get through while I will rely on just my 4-cylinder and 4.10's and get the job done likwise!

Result: It's not the size of the motor you have or just because you have 35's, it's the overall weight, distribution of that weight, running ground clearance, SKID PLATES THROUGHOUT UNDERNEATH, gearing, wheel travel and size that will determine sucess off-road in ALL conditions and not just one arena!

@Tyler - agreed.
Each to their own.
I'd rather buy a BMW or similar car if road performance on 4 wheels was my goal.
I just drove over 120 miles on gravel roads yesterday when I took my sons fishing.. A lowered truck would of been dead, and I wasn't on what I'd consider rough roads.
I do see the opposite with monster lift kits that kill offroad ability just as much as a lowering kit.

Nice red truck. What kind of lawn mower attachments does it come with?



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