How To Make Your IFS Toyota Flex Better
IFS-equipped vehicles offer excellent handling and ride quality for high-speed desert romping and everyday street driving. However, independent front suspension systems lack the crucial range of motion necessary to ensure ample traction on the trail. For this reason, most rockcrawlers prefer the older-style, solid-axle setup. Without low-hanging bracketry and limited articulation, a solid front axle simply works better when the road gives way to boulders. This is why several companies offer kits to convert the factory IFS to the stronger solid-axle arrangement.
One such kit we discovered recently was this new one from the experts over at Marlin Crawler. Designed for '86-'95 Toyota pickups and 4Runners, Marlin's kit provides most of the parts and pieces required for those looking for more articulation, and a stronger front drivetrain. The kit provides 5 full inches of lift and weighs in heavily on the mechanical difficulty scale. We recommend a high-tech know-how and a decent assortment of tools to complete this installation. That's why we enlisted the expertise of Toby Lavender, owner and operator of Triple-X Traction in Seaside, California. You may remember Toby from Top Truck Challenge 2002, where he successfully piloted his flexible flatfender to a Fourth-Place finish. Toby and his crew have completed dozens of clean solid-axle swaps since he started the business five years ago. It's important to understand several technical aspects of a solid-axle conversion before breaking out the torch. So follow along as we highlight the conversion process and showcase some very unique components that will make any IFS truck ready to rock.