Our Tacoma Gets Long-Travel Suspension, Wheels & Rubber
Ever left a theme park and still felt like you were feeling the ups and downs of the roller coaster you'd ridden earlier that day? Or perhaps after a long day at the beach, you've tucked yourself into bed and still felt the sensation of waves gently pushing into you. a doctor would tell you that such a phenomenon is a mild form of kinetosis, a condition that results when the vestibular system in the inner ear has been thrown out of whack.
Whatever ... we'll leave the medical terms to the experts. What we can tell you is that this kind of thing can also happen after a long day of blasting through the desert in a truck with an unforgiving suspension. it's a feeling we prefer to avoid. We'd rather drive a rig that sails over dips and whoops without making us feel like we're in a vibrating paint-can mixer. With that in mind, we decided to tear the cheapo spacer lift kit off our '03 Tacoma 2WD preRunner and install a Total Chaos long-arm front suspension system in its place. it seemed to be the best remedy for our lagging motion sickness and sense of balance after a day on the dirt. Oh, and the Chaos kit also just happened to do a much better job at keeping our tires on the ground rather than constantly bouncing up into the wheelwells, which improved the drive control greatly and allowed the Taco' to reach significantly higher speeds in the bumps.
Total Chaos kits have been race tested for years, and instead of utilizing a bunch of parts that extend components of the existing suspension system, it provided us with incredibly burly replacements for the primary pieces of the truck's front end, such as upper and lower a-arms and new coilovers. We paired Chaos components with a pair of King external reservoir coilovers and ended up with a surefire cure for the Tacoma's lousy handling on rough dirt roads.
With our front suspension ailments remedied, we'll turn to improving the rear setup in the near future (involving a couple of holes in the truck bed, a welded cage, and more King shocks). in the meantime, we wanted to show you what's involved in upgrading the Tacoma's front suspension in order to make it worthy of some high-speed fun. it should be noted that the Chaos kit is not a completely bolt-on operation - there is some grinding and welding involved, so it's recommended that you have a professional head up the install, or at least have some pretty solid experience with this kind of work. also, stock fenders won't allow enough room for the larger components and increased wheel travel, so fiberglass fenders with large wheelwells are a must. installation of this kit involves careful at-tention to detail and many steps - more than we have room to show you here, but the following photos should give you a pretty good idea of the parts and wrenching involved, as demonstrated by the expert install team over at Off Road Warehouse in Escondido, California.
The front end of the Tacoma, with the Total Chaos long-arm kit installed, is noticeably wider and helps the tires reach the edges of the fiberglass fenders. The longarm kit, paired with the King coilovers, will help the Nitto tires stay on the ground during high-speed passes through the desert and help the driver stay in control.