Starting Stock, Building Up
A year later, after some trail running, he decided to add a 3-inch IFS spacer lift and a 3-inch body lift. The truck was shod with 33-inch Goodyear MT/Rs on aluminum rims. The truck was then wheeled fairly hard, causing the body-lift pucks to push through the cab floor in places. These areas were repaired with 1/4-inch custom steel plates that were welded in place. One problem solved.
A couple of years after that, Mike was lucky enough to win an All-Pro Off-Road suspension package consisting of adjustable coilovers, upper uniball A-arms, and rear lift leaf springs. The wheeling continued as the capabilities of the Tacoma grew along with Mike's driving skills.
Jump forward to 2005 and 35-inch General Grabber Mud Terrains were installed, but soon after Mike set his eyes on gathering swap parts for the truck's largest evolution yet.
The tie rods, ball joints, and steering rack were all in a state of rapid decline. So rather than patch it back together with new parts, out came the plasma cutter. With help from friend Josh Boerner, the entire IFS drivetrain hit the garage floor in May 2006. When the grinder sparks stopped, the front framerails were stripped of all the old suspension bracketry, and over the next few weeks all-new front hardware was installed.
They started by building a front crossmember and spring hangers from 1/4-inch square tubing and plate steel. All-Pro 5-inch leaf packs were strung between there and some 3/8-inch plate shackles in the rear.
A '79 Ford Bronco high-pinion Dana 44 with disc brakes was mounted up under the front end. The nearly 30-year-old innards were replaced with 5.13 Yukon gears spinning an OX Locker and splined to Alloy USA chrome-moly shafts and U-joints. Other axle upgrades included Crane knuckles, Sky-Manufacturing high steering arms, and Warn Premium hubs.
Steering for the rig comes by way of a Scout II power-steering box that's been rebuilt and tapped for hydro assist thanks to PSC. The ram assist is on hold at the moment for a future project, but we'll see how long Mike lasts turning the big Michelin tires.
Tie rod and drag link were built to be beefy using 1-ton ends and 0.250-inch-wall DOM tubing. A modified Wagoneer pitman arm adds the final link to piece it all together.
Out back, a Ford 9-inch axle was used from the same Bronco donor. Performance upgrades include disc brakes, 5.13 Yukon gears, a Detroit Locker, and 31-spline Alloy USA 1541-H steel axle shafts.