From Trophy Truck To Your Truck
When you're making the decision whether to buy spacers, replacement struts, or new coilovers to level your truck, you should factor in price, ease of install, and the potential benefits and downfalls of leveling your truck.
Spacers can be a great, inexpensive way to level your ride, but certain spacer applications can lead to improper suspension geometry and premature wear on parts. Not only that, but they may also affect the ride (due to worsening the suspension geometry) on certain vehicles.
Replacement struts (if available for your vehicle) are another option to level your front end out if you're trying to fit a slightly bigger tire. They are usually more expensive than spacers, but less expensive than coilovers. Replacement struts often reuse the stock coils and hardware, and sometime give the option for setting the coils at a 1- or 2-inch-taller height for leveling your truck's suspension out. Though they can definitely improve the ride quality (with the new shock), they still use the stock rate coil and aren't meant for extreme use.
Coilovers are another option, and probably the most hardcore way you could go when leveling your ride. Replacing your struts with coilovers is also the most expensive way to go, by far. Their cost is almost five times that of a simple spacer kit. That being said, the improvement in ride quality and ability for hardcore use is likely multiplied tenfold.
After our white first-generation Prerunner (six-lug) Tacoma project truck got destroyed over a year ago, we had to find another original Taco to do some work on. Our friend had the perfect candidate-a tan truck with 185,000 miles that had already gone through a set of aftermarket struts, and it was using some spacers that were seriously affecting the way the truck drove. This Taco is used constantly on ranch roads and to haul mountain bikers for shuttle runs up a seriously degraded trail. The punishing this truck takes definitely necessitated a full coilover swap on the front end. When we checked out the King Performance Series coilovers to retrofit onto our Taco toy, we knew this was the way we wanted to go. King has billet adapters that would allow us to bolt up specifically-valved King coilovers directly into our Tacoma's front end without any other modifications. Not only that, but we were able to buy a coilover package without remote reservoirs to keep initial costs down. Later we can upgrade our existing King coilovers by adding reservoirs, and even add longer shafts and bodies to them, should we decide to put a long-travel suspension on this truck.
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