We don't get to do a lot of Toyota tech around here. It's not because we don't want to. We love Toyotas—just look at this month's cover truck. The main reason is there's simply less Toyotas that are being modified than the Big Three, and less of them out there in the first place. But all that is changing rapidly. Sales of Tacomas and Tundras have skyrocketed in recent years, and the aftermarket has followed suit with a ton of offerings to modify your Toyota truck. Possibly stemming from the ludicrous amount of JK and JL Jeeps being built for overlanding (or mall crawling), that trend has spread into the truck market like wild fire, with Toyota being the truck of choice more times than not.
Recently we were talking with Thomas Hale of Fuel Off-Road Wheels, who had picked up a gently used 2014 Tundra Platinum. Original plans were modest—levelling kit, 20s and 33s (Fuel, naturally), and even a TRD Pro grille to toughen up the look. That configuration served Thomas well for a while, but in his line of work, he sees some of the baddest trucks on four wheels every day, whether for show or for the trails, so it was only a matter of time until he was looking to go bigger and badder with the Tundra. We decided to get involved with the build, and pretty soon, we had a whole plan of attack to make the truck look and function better for camping, the trails, and everyday driving.
Our first call, and the subject of this first installment, was a BDS Suspension for their 3-inch coilover system, which includes not only their custom tubular upper control arms, but also a set of Fox 2.5 factory-series remote-reservoir coilovers. This setup gives the Tundras plenty of room to fit 35-inch tires as well as a healthy dose of attitude. For this installment, we added in Fuel's new Gripper XT tires to show off that aggressive new tread pattern. The size we chose was 35x12.50R20. We're using the Fuel Sledge that was already on the truck, but in a future installment, we will introduce a brand-new Fuel wheel in a custom color. We showed up bright and early to Performance Plus in Long Beach, California, and knocked out the install in about half a day. Even though we have a long way to go, we were impressed with the stance of the Tundra as well as the road manners this lifted-on-35s truck still has. Come back next month, we've got a lot more to do on this Tundra.