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Suspending Tacoma: We Increase Our Toyota’s Suspension Performance With A Bolt-On ICON Stage 4 Suspension System

Posted in How To: Suspension Brakes on August 7, 2017
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Photographers: Maher Boulos

The Toyota Tacoma has been the top off-road performance preference for decades when it comes to midsize pickups. However, that’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement. Even the revered TRD model trucks leave something to be desired. This is especially true when it comes to the suspension. Of course the TRD Tacoma pickups come with upgraded shocks, but as with most factory off-road shocks, they are still tuned with street use as the primary function. With that in mind, we turned to the ICON Vehicle Dynamics Stage 4 suspension system and the knowledgeable techs at SoCal SuperTrucks to tame and tune our ’17 Tacoma. The completely bolt-on and U.S.-made ICON Stage 4 Tacoma system includes ICON extended-travel remote-reservoir coilover front shocks and remote-reservoir rear shocks. The kit provides up to 2.75 inches of lift to make room for up to 33x11.50 tires. We opted for 285/70R17 Nitto Ridge Grapplers to acquire increased ground clearance, give us more bite off-road, and provide good on-road manners during our daily commute. We wrapped our new Nitto tires around 17x8.5 ICON Alloys Alpha aluminum gunmetal-finish wheels. The choice was easy because all ICON wheels feature widths and backspacing measurements that are specifically designed to work with lifted applications and provide proper tire fitment. Here’s how SoCal SuperTrucks put our Tacoma together.

Before (left) and after (right).
Our ICON Stage 4 suspension kit came complete with ICON 2.5-inch extended-travel remote-reservoir coilover front shocks, tubular steel upper control arms with high-angle uniballs, progressive-rate rear add-a-leafs, and ICON 2.0-inch rear remote-reservoir shocks. We optioned in the bolt-on rear ICON 2.0-inch, 2.5-inch-travel hydraulic bumpstop kit to better control suspension bottoming on extra-rough high-speed trails.
Prior to removing any parts, the vehicle height is measured at all four corners on flat ground. The height you adjust the front suspension to will be based off of this measurement.
The factory front coilovers and upper A-arms are removed. The ICON 2.5-inch long-travel coilovers fit into the stock shock mounts.
The ICON shock reservoirs are attached out of harm’s way on provided brackets and hardware. Small spacers are used to lower the sway bar and ICON tubular upper A-arms replace the factory parts.
Out back, the factory bumpstop brackets need to be removed from the frame for the installation of the hydraulic bumpstop kit. You can grind or torch the rivets but use caution, you need the factory holes to remain intact for the ICON bumpstop brackets to bolt in place.
The rear shock mounts need to be trimmed a bit to clear the 2.0-inch ICON remote-reservoir hose fittings. Mark and clearance the mounts prior to permanently bolting the shocks in place.
Both rear leaf spring packs need to be disassembled for the installation of the rear add-a-leafs. New U-bolts and hydraulic bumpstop contact pads are provided. Torque the U-bolts to spec.
A liberal dose of anti-seize is smeared on the hydraulic bumpstops prior to sliding them into the mounting cups and cinching them down. The rear shock reservoirs are attached to the provided mounts.
The original Toyota TPMS sensor/air valves need to be removed from the factory wheels. The ICON Alloys Alpha wheels accepted the TPMS sensors and allow the system to function normally.
SoCal SuperTrucks used a touchless tire machine to ensure that our Nitto Ridge Grapplers and ICON Alloys wheels remained unmarred, at least until we take it in the dirt where we can do the damage ourselves.
After setting the ride height, SoCal SuperTrucks put our Tacoma on a four-wheel Hunter alignment rack. A proper four-wheel alignment keeps us going straight down the road and reduces tire wear.

Amazon Affiliate links are our attempt to show you real-world pricing and availability for the products we review and install, and while the Amazon links are separate from editorial and advertising, the Four Wheeler Network may receive a commission on purchases made through our posts.

Sources

Nitto Tire
Cypress, CA 90630
888-529-8200
www.nittotire.com
Icon Vehicle Dynamics
Riverside, CA 92504
951-689-4266
http://www.IconVehicleDynamics.com
Socal Supertrucks
San Bernardino, CA 92408
877/807-6225
www.socalsupertrucks.com
ICON Alloys
951-689-4266
iconalloys.com

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