Dan Redifer first purchased this truck off the Internet when it was completely stock and in perfect condition. Shortly thereafter, he tore it completely apart and began the modification process. After previously owning a well-built '94 Jeep Wrangler, his family thought he was crazy for once again turning a nice vehicle into a mass of metal fabrication. Dan had his truck built with the patience that many of us wish we had.
He took his time finding just the right parts needed, waited for them to arrive, found the right shop to do the work, and had his truck built all at once. Before the truck was sitting in his driveway, Dan had a vision of what he was going to create. His first stop was at ESB Fabrications. Over the past few years, Mike Clark of ESB has built race-proven vehicles that have earned the right of class champions in the MDR race series. Knowing that ESB's products were of top quality, Dan did not hesitate to order his suspension components, even though he knew it would mean he would have to wait several months before his parts would arrive. "You get what you pay for, and sometimes it's worth the wait," Dan informed us. We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
The ESB Fabrications 17-inch Toyota Tacoma long-travel suspension system consists of boxed 4130 chromoly tubing extending 5.5 inches wider per side, increasing the track width by 11 inches. Something unique about this kit is that it uses uniballs on both upper and lower spindle connection points. The kit also comes complete with a chromoly steering setup that replaces the stock inner tie-rod pivot with a Heim on a custom-machined clevis piece. A fully fabricated lower steering knuckle that double-shears the outer steering for strength is also included, and upper spindle upright gusseting will help keep your spindle from failing during serious load or off-roading. In order to modify this kit to fit your truck, you must provide ESB with your stock spindle so they can adapt the lower uniball mount.
This kit also allowed Dan to keep his four-wheel-drive system working just in case he finds himself buried deep in desert sand. With his front suspension system all set up and ready to install, Dan set out in search for a quality shop that could turn his stock truck into a desert destroyer. Jason and Steve Morris of Suspend Industries in Dana Point, California, have been turning out quality prerunners and race trucks over the past few years, which was the type of experience Dan was looking for. Quickly, he realized that his vision could come to life through the tools of Suspend Industries, so he turned over the keys. Take a look at what happened next.
ESB Fabrications' front suspension was installed complete with 2.5-inch King Shocks coilovers and 2.5-inch King double bypass dampers adding a King 2.0 bumpstop. The custom spindle gusseting can also be seen adding strength to the system, with the extended steering components just behind the A-arms. The geometry of this suspension allows 17 inches of wheel travel, which will be more than adequate for Dan's needs. As soon as the axles are finished, the four-wheel-drive system will be added back to the truck.
The cab of Dan's truck was caged, connecting to six points on the frame. Suspend also created a center console containing a Winters race shifter working with the stock transmission. The benefit of adding a shifting assembly such as this is it replaces the stock linkage with a cable pull system. During many off-road trips, Dan noticed his shifter slipping out of gear and into Neutral, thus losing his momentum and possibly creating a problem on the trail. A cable shifting setup can help prevent this from happening. The console also was cut to keep the four-wheel-drive shifter in place. No matter how well your truck is built, you won't get far hitting the dirt at night without a good lighting system. Suspend fabricated this light switch panel so that even when strapped into the harness, the driver or passenger could control the lights. A Grant steering wheel was also swapped in place of the stock steering wheel, removing the factory airbag system.
The rear shot of Dan's truck reveals the rest of the front-to-back cage work that has been done. Hella Rally 4000 lights have been mounted to the top of the truck using Suspend's custom light rack that folds upright and down, locking in place so that Dan can run his lights only when necessary. A Hella amber dust lamp was also added to let anyone chasing Dan know where exactly he is ahead of them. Glassworks rear fiberglass fenders were installed as well as the company's entire Tacoma Desert Kit front fenders, including a supercharger hood.