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Trail-Ready Tacoma: Creating Clearance For Our ’17 Tacoma’s New Wheels and Tires

Trail-Ready Tacoma

Jered KorfhagePhotographer, WriterEvan GagePhotographer

We had big plans for our ’17 Tacoma from the start. With our sights set on some of the deeper ruts and taller boulders found across the country, we knew the stock tires—or even 33-inch tires, for that matter—wouldn’t quite suffice. The Tacoma Off-Road package affords drivers just over 32 degrees in approach angle, a 21-degree breakover angle, and a 23.5-degree departure angle. Though respectable, it would still be difficult to keep the truck’s undercarriage from hanging up on the trail.

The solution? Bigger shoes. To bridge the gap between capability in the dirt and highway manners for the daily commute, 35-inch Nitto Ridge Grapplers mounted on Mamba Offroad M19 wheels fit the bill. That decision was simple, however, when compared to the question of how we should go about stuffing these meats beneath our Tacoma. We wanted enough lift to let the tires flex over rough terrain without rubbing, but did not want a towering truck requiring a stepladder to enter. We also needed to address clearance issues with the 35-inch tires in the stock wheelwells.

To make sure the Tacoma was outfitted for higher-speed desert trails while still being able to stretch and flex across muddy ditches and rocks, we chose the Fox 2.5 Factory coilover springs and upper control arms from Total Chaos Fabrication for the front of the truck. Considering the Tacoma routinely carries considerable loads of travel gear in the bed, we chose Fox 2.0 Performance Series shocks, Deaver Spring heavy-duty leaf springs, and Fox hydraulic bumpstops for the Tacoma’s rear. We visited Rebel Off Road in Laguna Hills, California, for the installation. Read on to see how we fit 35-inch tires beneath the Tacoma.

Following the included instructions, we used a grinder to clean the contact surface on the spindles; we marked our welds in paint marker, then proceeded to weld on the gussets.

About the Numbers…

After the suspension, wheels, and tires were installed, the Tacoma improved its score on the ramp travel index (RTI) ramp from 413 to 436 points. We measured an improved approach angle of roughly 45 degrees, an improved departure angle of about 31 degrees, and estimated the new breakover angle to be just under 40 degrees. What does this mean? We can drive over larger obstacles before we risk dragging the undercarriage of our Tacoma.