If you’re a serious off-roader who wants to combine a functional rock crawler with some go-fast desert racing there are few better platforms than the Toyota Tacoma. We’ve seen Tacomas like this Double Cab first Gen 2001 model used for everything from snow wheeling to rock crawling.
This LT kit from Total Chaos uses 4130 chromoly tubular upper and lower control arms that bolt to factory control arm mounting points. It also includes heim pivot UCAs with 1″ uniballs.
What is a Long Travel Suspension Kit?
Long travel suspension kits are designed to increase the amount of wheel travel on your truck. This allows you to ride with larger tires and provides more control on rough terrain. Long travel kits typically use longer shocks with remote reservoirs to help dissipate oil heat and provide a consistent damping experience.
Most LT kits will also include custom axle shafts and tie rods that are engineered to work with the suspension geometry. This allows for a more stable ride and prevents the axle from shifting during hard cornering or acceleration. They may also include heim pivot UCAs to allow for more up/down articulation and increased clearance in the CV pocket.
LSK has a few monster long travel kits on the market including their race kit for 2wd Tacomas that pushes 16” of travel and their spindle bolt-on kit pushing 14” of travel. These kits are a mix of ‘go fast’ strength and rock/crawling focus with the main differentiator being the heim pivot UCAs.
Another important thing to consider is that a long travel kit will require more maintenance than a lift kit. This is because the additional movement of the suspension will result in greater wear on components such as shocks and ball joints. It is therefore important to regularly check and clean these components, as well as perform any alignment adjustments that are necessary.
What are the Benefits of a Long Travel Suspension Kit?
A long travel suspension kit will significantly improve a vehicle’s off-road capabilities. It will enable the truck to travel up and down over terrain that it would otherwise hit without enough articulation. This gives the driver and passengers a much more comfortable ride on rough trails. It can also help reduce the fatigue that can occur during long rides.
A key benefit of a long travel kit is that it can accommodate larger tires than a standard factory suspension. This allows the truck to better navigate obstacles, maintain traction, and prevent high-centering.
The typical long travel kit consists of extended upper and lower control arms (track width pushed out 2-6” per side), larger coil over shocks, and larger rear axles. The shocks are usually a Fox or King product with custom valving to match the specific kit.
Some kits also come with an aftermarket steering rack that is designed to accomodate the added travel. The Marlin Crawler RCLT kit, for example, features an OE-style rack that has been upgraded with double shear steering and sealed uniballs.
Like a lift kit, long travel kits can be installed by yourself in your garage. However, they do require a bit more maintenance than a standard suspension upgrade due to the increased movement of the components. This additional wear can cause the control arm pivots, stock spindles, and steering rack bushings to see more leverage than they are used to. In addition, some kits will require a weld on gusset to reinforce these areas of the frame.
What is the Cost of a Long Travel Suspension Kit?
If you want the ultimate performance upgrade from your factory IFS Toyota Tacoma, a long travel kit is the way to go. These kits typically replace many of the stock components and often come with much longer shock strokes than the OE units. They also use heavy duty replacement parts like steel uniballs instead of cheap poly bushings. This makes them a more expensive option than more basic suspension upgrades, but they are worth the price for incredibly smooth and responsive off-road handling.
The cost of a long travel suspension kit will depend on the brand you choose and how much travel you want to get. Most kits net around 10 inches of travel, but some can achieve up to 18 inches. A budget friendly “entry level” long travel kit will run about $1,500 for the front kit, but that only includes a new aftermarket UCA and coilover. Add in a secondary bypass shock or weld-on gussets and the cost will rise significantly.
If you’re looking for race-focused rock crawling or dune buggy style IFS long travel, there are options available to fit almost any budget. LSK offers a couple of monster kits; one for 2wd trucks pushing 16” of travel, and another for 4wd rigs pushing 14”. Both kits use the LSK signature heim pivot UCAs which feature massive 1” uniballs to support the increased travel and a full range of articulation. They also eliminate the factory ball-joint and rely on heat-treated heims to connect the upper and lower control arm to the spindle for ultimate strength.
Which Suspension Kit is Right for Me?
There are a few different options for adding long travel to your IFS Toyota Tacoma. The first is a mid-travel kit which is a great option for those looking to get more suspension travel without having to upgrade their shocks and springs. Mid-travel kits come in several different configurations but most include a set of aftermarket replacement UCA’s with a stronger ball joint or steel uniball and an aftermarket coilover that provides an additional inch or so of travel.
The next step up from a mid-travel kit is a full long travel suspension kit. This includes a complete set of custom fabricated upper and lower control arms with Energy poly bushings, adjustable rear coilover shocks, and a set of forged steel spindle to upper uniball adapters. Most LT kits also include longer shock studs to accommodate taller shock bodies and increased travel.
Choosing which long travel kit is right for you will ultimately come down to how aggressively you plan on driving your truck and what type of terrain you want to run it in. Rock crawler rigs typically focus more on up travel while go-fast builds are more interested in the overall amount of articulation that they can achieve.