Catching big air with a 4x4 is easy. Here's how it works: Find a sand dune or a mound of dirt, line vehicle perpendicular with aforementioned launch pad, back up 50 feet, ensure seatbelt is fastened, tightly grip steering wheel, mash throttle, and enjoy the flight.
Unfortunately, that's where the easy part often ends. The impressive hang time and awe-inspiring beauty of a rig in flight can be followed by a gut-wrenching thud, an ear-splitting crunch, and a violent regurgitation of expensive parts.
Fortunately, vehicles can be built to handle big air landings and general abuse. Take, for instance, this '08 Toyota Tundra. After several big air launches, it was no worse for the wear. The key to its resilience lies in the fact that when Nitto Tire set out to build this rig, they specifically designed it to fly, and land, reliably. Naturally, this didn't magically happen. It took an infusion of tried-and-true off-road desert-racing technology. Read on and see how they did it.
A Donahoe-built rear bed cage adds structural stability to the Tundra. It is made from 13/4-inch, 0.120-wall DOM tubing. The cage has an integrated rear bumper, tire carrier, mounts for the triple-bypass shocks, and a Power Tank mount. In addition, the tubing travels through the rear of the CrewMax cab and continues inside the truck, where it provides occupant protection as well as a mounting point for items like the seats. The eight-point interior cage was fabbed by the team at Hill Performance Solutions in Signal Hill, California. The folks over at South County Autobody filled and painted the area of the cab the cage travels through to give it a clean, finished look.
Inside the Tundra are a slew of mods. The list includes Sparco Modena seats, a vast amount
The rear suspension was also upgraded to provide more wheel travel as well as absorb abuse
The Tundra is ultra-stable, whether blasting over rough terrain or sticking big-air landin
Owner: Nitto Tire
Vehicle/Model: '08 Toyota Tundra CrewMax
Estimated Value: $90,000 (Yikes!-Ed.)
Type: 5.7L V-8
Aspiration: Fuel injection, Airaid intake, Doug Thorley headers, 2.5-inch Bassani dual exhaust with Bassani muffler
Output, hp/torque (estimated): N/A
Transfer Case: Stock two-speed
Front: Camburg Racing long-travel upper and lower A-arms and upper shock mounts, Donahoe Racing ZooRoad coilover shocks, Donahoe Racing ZooRoad shocks
Rear: Deaver leaf springs, Donahoe Racing triple-bypass shocks
Ring and pinion: Stock
Wheels: 18x9 KMC Monster
Tires: 37x12.50R18 Nitto Dune Grappler