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2005 Toyota Tacoma Pro Comp Suspension Install - Taco Grande

Posted in How To: Suspension Brakes on September 5, 2014
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The Toyota Tacoma is one of the best supported vehicles in the aftermarket, with a nearly infinite number of suspension lift kits available. These kits fall into one of three categories. First, there are spacer lifts. These are the most economical, retaining the factory suspension and just adding a small boost to the front of the truck (typically 2 inches). At the other end of the spectrum are full replacement kits with subframes and new knuckles, which can provide up to 6 inches of lift. Between the two you have replacement coilover struts.

If Goldilocks had a Tacoma, this is the lift kit she would get

Pro Comp offers all three of these options for the ’05 and later Tacoma, but the middle-of-the-line replacement struts was the best choice for our daily driven Tacoma with regards to price, lift height, and ease of installation. If Goldilocks had a Tacoma, she would get this Pro Comp lift. It uses ES6000 gas-charged struts and new coil springs in front, along with nitrogen-charged ES9000 shocks in back and your choice of a lift block or add-a-leaf to level the stance. And unlike most spacer lifts, the Pro Comp kit comes with all of little details to make your truck ride great, items like a spacer for the driver-side strut to ensure that the truck sits level, sway bar relocation brackets to prevent larger tires from contacting the sway bar, and front differential drop brackets to retain proper driveline geometry.

Being so affordable, we had money left over in the budget to let our local 4Wheel Parts in Reno perform the installation while we snapped photos. They had the kit on in a day, including mounting our new tires and wheels with the factory Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and performing a front wheel alignment after the lift was installed. The 3-inch front boost in height and 11⁄2-inch rear increase made room for 285/70R17 (33-inch) tires. Keeping with the Goldilocks theme, we choose Pro Comp Xtreme A/Ts, which work great on the pavement and in the dirt, and mounted them on 17x9 Pro Comp 7089 alloy rims with the proper backspacing—a critical factor when lifting late model IFS trucks. The new tires and wheels are larger and heavier than stock, but with the powerful 4.0L V-6 engine and a manual transmission there is no sense of urgency to regear the differentials in our Tacoma. The end result looks as good as it works, both around town and out on the trail.

The Pro Comp kit comes with everything you need to lift your Tacoma 3 inches, including new front struts and coils, differential spacers, and sway bar relocation brackets. Out back you have the choice of either an add-a-leaf or lift block to accompany the ES9000 nitrogen-charged shocks.

The included instructions were detailed, with step-by-step directions and illustrations. You could install this kit at home, but at the minimum you need a coil compressor to assemble the front struts and you will need an alignment after the lift is installed. The economical price of the Pro Comp lift left money in our budget to have our local 4Wheel Parts perform the installation.

Rather than use a coil spacer, this kit comes with new ES6000 gas-charged struts that are the proper length to allow full wheel travel with additional ride height. Pro Comp also provides new coil springs with a higher spring rate than stock to properly control the larger, heavier tire and wheel combinations that are possible with the increased stance.

The factory upper strut mounting plate is used with the new suspension. This helps to keep costs down. Our mounting plates were rusty but useable. If yours are in worse shape, factory replacements are available from most auto part stores.

The differential drop spacers rotate the front pinion upwards with the included hardware to retain the proper driveline angles with the increased ride height. The front frame brace on the driver side has to be notched in order to allow for fitment of the lowered front differential mounting points.

This kit is very well designed, with a lot of the little parts not found in spacer lifts. For instance, the kit includes sway bar relocation brackets to move the sway bar frame mounts inwards and prevent larger tires from rubbing the sway bar at full lock.

During the reinstallation, 4Wheel Parts technician Kenny Sherwood used thread locker on all bolts prior to torqueing them to spec. Torque specifications for individual fasteners are included in the very thorough installation instructions.

The front suspension on the Tacoma is not symmetrical. In order to account for this, Pro Comp includes a small spacer to be installed above the driver-side coil on the strut to ensure a level stance.

In the rear we opted for the add-a-leaf instead of a lift block since we often haul dirt bikes around in the bed of our Tacoma and could use the added spring rate. The installation is straightforward, with the new Pro Comp leaf added under the main leaf and then secured to the rest of the spring pack with the included (and longer) center pins.

PhotosView Slideshow

Size does matter! You can see how much larger the Pro Comp ES9000 nitrogen-charged shock is compared to the factory rear shock. A larger diameter means a bigger piston for better control of the valving and more volume of shock fluid, which helps to resist heat and fading when pushing the shocks hard off-road.

Kenny Sherwood at 4Wheel Parts’ Reno location also handled mounting and balancing our new 285/70R17 (33-inch) Pro Comp Xtreme A/T tires. This included transferring the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) from our factory wheels to keep our dash from lighting up like a Christmas tree.

The Pro Comp Xtreme A/T has larger lugs and deeper tread than most all-terrains, earning that “Xtreme” moniker. They are still quiet on the street though and, with the generous siping, work well in rain and ice. On average the tires took less than 7 ounces to balance.

We mounted our 285/70R17 Pro Comp Xtreme A/Ts on Pro Comp 7089 alloy rims. These rims are not only good looking but offer the 43⁄4-inch backspacing necessary for clearance of front suspension components regardless of steering angle. The rims measure 17x9 and were bolted on with Pro Comp low-profile, splined lug nuts.

The 4Wheel Parts in Reno has a state-of-the-art Hunter alignment machine and the knowledge required to align lifted trucks and SUVs. This gave us peace of mind since we didn’t need to drive a poorly aligned truck across town after the lift was completed, but instead could perform one-stop shopping at 4Wheel Parts.

After the installation was complete we didn’t waste any time before we hit the trail. The new Pro Comp suspension not only provided space for our 33-inch tall Xtreme A/Ts but also resulted in a firm, controlled ride without being overly harsh. The compression damping seems to be similar to stock, but the rebound is vastly improved. As a result the Tacoma settles right down after encountering bumps on the road and the trail.

Pro Comp 3-inch Tacoma Lift & 285/70R17 Pro Comp Xtreme A/T Tires
Inches  Before After
Approach Angle 27 34
Distance to Front Bumper 141⁄2 191⁄2
Distance to Front Fender 351⁄2 391⁄2
Departure Angle 20 27
Distance to Rear Bumper 171⁄4 191⁄2
Distance to Rear Fender 371⁄4 391⁄2
Distance to Rear Differential 93⁄4 101⁄4

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