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Quick and Easy Off-Road Upgrades 

The most popular modification is always a new set of wheels and tires, but to make enough room for the ideal set of rubber, upgrading your truck’s suspension will be necessary. Our factory fresh 2022 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport was no exception. While we didn’t have anything crazy or over the top for the truck, we did want to change up the wheel selection, as well as add a set of more capable, beefier tires. To properly fit the set of nearly 33-inch tires, however, the front suspension would need to be lifted a couple of inches to match the rear. After a few quick phone calls, we were able to put a game plan into place and line up all the parts we’d need for the quick reconstruction.

First, we contacted Crown Suspension in Brea, California, to secure the company’s 2.5-inch front strut spacer leveling kit, which would boost the Tacoma’s front end the perfect height to match the back. The kit itself is extremely budget-friendly and will maintain the truck’s factory ride quality once installed. Crown Suspension’s own Erik “Wolf” Rodriguez extended an invitation to us to bring our ’22 Toyota pickup into the shop for a full installation, which took just less than two hours to complete. We documented Wolf’s work here to show you how you can take care of the job in the comfort of your own garage or driveway.

To take full advantage of that extra space in the front, we contacted Toyo to get fitted with an ideal size of Open Country AT III tires that will deliver both on- and off-road traction and overall performance, even though the truck won’t be traveling too far from paved roads and well-beaten paths. To round off the Tacoma’s much beefier appearance that was quickly forming, the folks at Tire Pros suggested us to browse through KMC’s latest off-road wheel offerings, and the Impact OL wheel in matte black suited the truck just right.

Follow along to see it all come together, and watch as Wolf at Crown Suspension levels the Tacoma’s front end with ease before we end the job at McMahan Tire Service in Anaheim, California, to get the truck’s new wheels and tires dialed for installation.

The end result is a brand new pickup with a much more aggressive look and added real world function that can be used when the mild off-road scenario presents itself. Best of all, the truck was taken care of in a single business day well before dinner, which left us some time to head out to Joshua Tree to explore the desert for the rest of the day.

1. Crown Suspension’s 2.5-inch leveling coil spacers are designed to quickly and economically lift a truck’s front end to match the rear. With this kit, there is no need to make any frame modifications to get the extra bump in height while maintaining factory ride quality. Also, the spacers will come shipped in a semi-gloss powdercoat finish to prevent any rusting issues.

2. Another bonus of installing the front leveling spacers is clearing enough room in the front to run much larger, aggressive tires. We selected a set of Toyo Open Country A/T III tires in size LT285/70R17 (32.7-inch height) all around to create a beefier appearance as well as promote capable off-road traction and responsive and predictable on-road handling.

The most popular modification is always a new set of wheels and tires, but to make enough room for the ideal set of rubber, upgrading your truck’s suspension will be necessary.

3. To complete our quick suspension change-up, we gave Tire Pros a shout with the specs of our Tacoma and they suggested a set of 17-inch KMC KM724 Impact OL wheels in a satin black finish. The clean multi-spoke design makes a great first impression without being too distracting.

4(a). To start with the Tacoma’s front end leveling install, we dropped in on Crown Suspension’s own Erik “Wolf” Rodriguez. He then put the Toyota in the air and begin undoing the factory front suspension by first removing the cotter pin from the bolt connecting the outer tie rod on the steering linkage.

4(b). To start with the Tacoma’s front end leveling install, we dropped in on Crown Suspension’s own Erik “Wolf” Rodriguez. He then put the Toyota in the air and begin undoing the factory front suspension by first removing the cotter pin from the bolt connecting the outer tie rod on the steering linkage.

5. With the pin out, Wolf could then remove the nut.

6(a). A few swift swings from a mini sledge was required in order to separate the tie rod from the spindle.

6(b). A few swift swings from a mini sledge was required in order to separate the tie rod from the spindle.

7(a). Next, the bolt holding the lower part of the strut assembly was then removed.

7(b). Next, the bolt holding the lower part of the strut assembly was then removed.

8. The upper strut assembly bolts were then removed, which allowed for the strut to be removed completely from position.

9. Wolf then led us through the process of how he assembles the strut spacers in-house at Crown Suspension’s facility. Although Crown does offer leveling kits (as well as many other lifting and lowering components) for other truck makes and models, these specific spacers are designed to fit ‘05+ Toyota Tacoma 2WD models.

10. Crown’s spacer was secured to the top of the strut assembly, and was quickly ready for reinstallation. Told you it was a quick ordeal!

11. Since the strut assembly was not much noticeably longer in length, the spindle would have to be dropped a bit. To make this happen, Wolf first removed the sway bar link.

12(a). The ball joint nut on the upper control arm was next to be loosened and removed. A couple swings from the sledge will allow the lower arm and spindle to drop enough to clear the room needed to reinstall the strut. Don’t forget to position a floor jack underneath the lower arm so you can complete this process as smooth and controlled as possible.

12(b). The ball joint nut on the upper control arm was next to be loosened and removed. A couple swings from the sledge will allow the lower arm and spindle to drop enough to clear the room needed to reinstall the strut. Don’t forget to position a floor jack underneath the lower arm so you can complete this process as smooth and controlled as possible.

13(a). The strut assembly was then placed into back into position and secured at the top end.

13(b). The strut assembly was then placed into back into position and secured at the top end.

14(a). From here, the disassembly process was simply reversed starting from the ball joint on the upper control arm, then the sway bar link, and finally the tie rod from the steering linkage.

14(b). From here, the disassembly process was simply reversed starting from the ball joint on the upper control arm, then the sway bar link, and finally the tie rod from the steering linkage.

14(c). From here, the disassembly process was simply reversed starting from the ball joint on the upper control arm, then the sway bar link, and finally the tie rod from the steering linkage.

15(a). Just like that, the Crown Suspension’s front end leveling kit was successfully installed. Both driver and passenger side strut spacers were completed in just two hours. Wolf then took a few minutes to go over his work and checked all loosened bolts for adequate snugness post reinstallation. All of Crown Suspension’s components are backed by a lifetime warranty for everyday peace of mind.

15(b). Just like that, the Crown Suspension’s front end leveling kit was successfully installed. Both driver and passenger side strut spacers were completed in just two hours. Wolf then took a few minutes to go over his work and checked all loosened bolts for adequate snugness post reinstallation. All of Crown Suspension’s components are backed by a lifetime warranty for everyday peace of mind.

16(a). Next, we took the Tacoma to McMahan Tire Service in Anaheim, CA to first test fit the KMC wheels. Once the wheels were cleared for proper fitment, the Toyo Open Country AT III tires were mounted and bolted into place by Gio. Don’t forget to go get a quick alignment after everything is done. Your truck will not only drive better but life of your new tires will be extended overall—without any weird and annoying wear patterns.

16(b). Next, we took the Tacoma to McMahan Tire Service in Anaheim, CA to first test fit the KMC wheels. Once the wheels were cleared for proper fitment, the Toyo Open Country AT III tires were mounted and bolted into place by Gio. Don’t forget to go get a quick alignment after everything is done. Your truck will not only drive better but life of your new tires will be extended overall—without any weird and annoying wear patterns.

before

The end result is a brand new pickup with a much more aggressive look and added real world function that can be used when the mild off-road scenario presents itself.  

after


 SOURCES

Crown Suspension
714.671.9500
crownsuspension.com 

Toyo Tires
800.442.8696
toyotires.com

Wheel Pros
wheelpros.com

McMahan Tire Service
714.956.7290
mcmahantires.com 


 

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