Considering a new Taco, but I have a few questions and am looking for advice...


Drop Bear
Hi all! I'm strongly considering purchasing a Tacoma TRD Off-Road, but have a few questions before I go down this path.

I'm looking for roughly 2" of lift and a much better off-road ride from the stock Bilsteins/coil-overs and rear leafs.

I am considering the Icon Vehicle Dynamics Stage 4 or stage 5 suspension up front. I know the coil-overs were legendary when they were Donahoe - are they still that good after changing to Icon? Has anyone actually measured the increase in wheel travel associated with the new UCAs?

I am considering a new set of Deaver springs for the rear. I would like to have a leaf pack made of thinner steel to improve the ride quality and provide a more dynamic and progressive spring rate. Am I on the right track here?

Can anyone with this (or very similar setup) speak to the impact to the factory ride of the vehicle? Should I expect a firmer, softer, about the same ride quality? Is there "squishiness" or increased body roll? Any "gotchas" that I would need to consider?

I looked into the supercharger that is available for this setup and can't imagine it being practical. Any disagreements here? I'd love to have the increased 20% power bumping up to 360HP, but I don't see any significant increase in fuel mileage to offset the associated expense over the life of the vehicle. Can anyone with the supercharger installed provide any information on real-world impact of the system?

I also looked at the TRD cat back system and am not sure that 5 to 8 HP increase is worth the price tag. I can't find any information on the fuel mileage impact (if any) on this system. Does anyone have this installed and is there a fuel economy increase? I know it is reported to be one of the quieter systems on the market, but is it louder than stock?

It appears that a cold air intake seems to have the best price/performance bang-for-the-buck. Is there a way to link this with a snorkel or does the snorkel provide the same function? Does this increase the usefullness of the cat back system allowing the entire engine intake and exhaust operate more efficiently? Does this result in a net MPG improvement?

Thanks in advance for any input from this well-respected group!


Icon is just as good or better than the old Donahue's, with my Icons I got a firmer ride and imo are the best coilovers on the market for this truck.
I have Total Chaos uca's and I think u get .5" increase in travel, but I got them to get my alignment within spec.
For the rear I went with OME Dakar HD springs for a true 3" lift and increased payload, the deavers are a good choice go with a 12 pack for a soft ride and increased payload.
For performance I went with replacing the muffler instead of a new system, I noticed a good difference with.the throttle response immediately as I went with a magnaflow. The TRD is an excellent system bit slightly louder then the stock exhaust bu only noticeable when taking off an hitting that throttle.
Don't waste your money on a CAI, tons of R&D is put into the intake systems by Toyota.


I also went with the OME Dakars for my rear lift. They are half the cost of Deavers and I like them so far. They gave me about 3.5 inches difference from my stock, worn out leaf springs. Once I get some more weight in the platform I plan on building they should be at a perfect 2.5-3.0, which is the lift I was going for.

As far as the front, you can't go wrong with Icon. I would have got Icons, but I found a great deal on the Sway-a-ways so I got them instead.

What is the purpose of trying to get more power via the supercharger, exhaust, and cold air intake? Most guys on here tend to leave the engine alone because keeping it stock keeps the great Toyota reliabilty.


What is the purpose of trying to get more power via the supercharger, exhaust, and cold air intake? Most guys on here tend to leave the engine alone because keeping it stock keeps the great Toyota reliabilty.
Lets just say he has a heavy right foot... His last truck "Had a Hemi in it" so...


What is the purpose of trying to get more power via the supercharger, exhaust, and cold air intake? Most guys on here tend to leave the engine alone because keeping it stock keeps the great Toyota reliabilty.

I "believe" if you stick with TRD components it remains under factory warranty.

More power is always better, always felt that the Tacos were underpowered turds...I should know I have one, and yes it is an underpowered turd, which is amplified
when they are loaded down, 2nd gear crawling over a Colorado mountain pass is not fun...

350HP/350TQish would be perrrrrrrfect in a second gen Taco.

As for suspension, I always felt that Fox coil overs are superior than anything out there (other than Ohlins), and I would go with custom Deavers over OME, and Fox emulsions for the rear. But that is just my opinion.

Seems like here on EXPO, most are hell bent on Icons and OME's....there are other suspension manufactures out there.:ylsmoke:
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When I first bought my truck in early '05, I bought a Magnaflow catback from JBA and a K&N CAI. Ran them both for a short awhile. The catback was off in a week.
My assessment is:
-Not quite sure if there was an increase in HP or not. So on that alone, it's not worth the money.
-If you love that classic American V8 muscle car sound, do not put a catback on this truck. I know you're probably not expecting that sound, but it's not even close. I thought the exhaust note was embarassing. The closest thing I could liken it to would be a zipper.
-The CAI gives it a not bad note at full throttle.
-I thought the CAI actually decreased performance in hot weather/slow traffic I believe from sucking in much hotter engine compartment air.

Donahoe coilovers and UCAs:
-I've about 80k miles on my coilovers.
-One rebuild, one broken spring, a Donahoe issue I've heard others mention but not with Icon to my knowledge.
-They are smoother than OE on road and do an excellent job off.
-After installing an ARB bumper, I didn't have to adjust the ride height, road manners were the same, handles compression beautifully.
-Overpriced but they perform superbly.
-I would not buy uniball UCAs living anywhere but the southwest. Actually, I don't know if I'd buy them for a daily driver anywhere. I have 2.25" of lift in the front and it aligns just fine, camber set at 0°. Tire wear near even, slight outer wear on the tires I just changed out but not enough to shorten overall tire life. Uniball vs Balljoints
-Not sure about travel limits. Not a lot of off road here where I live now, although some of these country R/R crossings are nothing to scoff at.

I just stuck a single AAL on the back of mine from Wheeler's Offroad. At 1.75", it brought the truck perfectly level. But I utilize the OE springs with the overload and am not concerned with overall rear spring travel as much as I am weight carrying ability. Originally I didn't go with the Dakars because I didn't want that much lift and other available springs at the time actually had a decrease in weight carrying capacity.

-I was close to getting a snorkel but, I really don't see the need. If I ever go that deep in water, I've made a serious error in judgement.


-I was close to getting a snorkel but, I really don't see the need. If I ever go that deep in water, I've made a serious error in judgement.
A snorkel does more than just give you the ability to go through deep water. Getting the air intake up high and out of the engine compartment makes it a cold air intake (sort of) and also gets the intake up out of the dust. Plus they just look cool. Advantages of a snorkel - part II.php

...and a little less biased article on the benefits of snorkels:


Drop Bear
This is really great information and I appreciate all of the thoughts and advice.

My main concern with improving the flow through the intake and exhaust has nothing to do with performance. I'm actually trying to improve the fuel mileage by reducing restriction through the system. More power is a nice side benefit, but I'm old enough now that economics are starting to trump performance considerations.

Thanks again for all of the feedback.


For more power I would go with a TRD supercharger and have it dealer installed that way you keep the Toyota relaibility and no issues with warranty. I have 2 buddy's with that supercharger and they.have nothing.but.good.things to say about it except that its pricey.


I don't know how much power you think you need, but I can say that my 2012 Tacoma hauled me, my wife, two dogs and 800 lbs of gear to, through, around, and over, and from the Badlands and Black Hills with ease.

I've never been in a situation where I desired more power than was available. And my truck is pretty much stock.

I will be adding an OME lift to it, because the squatting and load handling on the stock suspension is... suboptimal when off-road. I won't say the stock supspension sucks - it performed acceptably well on trails, and very well at highway speeds (80-90mph). But I'd like a bit more clearance and a little less squat when loaded.

Don't bother messing with the intake. The stock one is pretty well designed and aftermarket ones don't have any real benefit for the cost. The TRD catback exhaust seems to be a decent upgrade.

the Tacomaworld forum is a great place for suspension mod questions. Lots of experienced people there. Bit higher noise to signal though - you'll have to wade through more bro-dude crap.


Abosolutely nothing you can bolt onto the 4.0 will increase MPG, and most of it will decrease power as well. Neither the intake nor the exhaust are limiters on this engine. The supercharger might be something I would consider if I spent a lot of time at high altitude. For me, even with all the towing I do, the 4.0 is plenty. The best thing you can do is run a good stock air filter in the stock intake. Don't waste your money here on "upgrades'. A snorkel is fine if you want/need one.

The suspension improvements can produce great gains, so that is worth your effort. I have no expeience with the Icons, but they are very highly regarded. I have the Fox 2.5 coilover, remote resi, with the stock UCAs set at 2.5" lift. I did not want to mess with trying to keep uni-ball UCAs lubricated. The ride quality and performance are outstanding with what I have. A front suspension system is a must if you want to add bumpers. The adjustability of a coilover allows you to tailer the preload to the weight. Lots of people like to push the limit on the lift with these trucks. I feel pretty strongly that 2.25 to 2.5 is the best place to stop, for a long list of reasons. CV boot wear, vibrations from the front diff, and CV angles are just a few. The milder lift also allows you to keep the stock UCAs, which in my book is an advantage.

There are many choices for the rear. I'm running Allpro expo leaves and they have been a great match for my truck. I would not recommend them for people with lightly or even moderately loaded trucks. They are for heavy loads. I would seriously give Alcan a look. They will build a custom pack for you designed just for your weight. They sell a quality product. That is the problem with the rear though. You need to decided what you will do back there before deciding on the springs you want. I installed airbags in my truck and ran then for almost 2 years as I fiddled with getting my truck set up. Once I had a final weight I picked my spring pack, and sold the bags. The result is a very well matched suspension and a perfect ride height.


We sound similar. I'm running ICON Stg 4 suspension front and rear with the TRD supercharger on a 2012 4wd 6spd truck. Supercharger is great if you have access to 93+ octane fuel, which is all I've been running in any of our vehicles anyway, and is readily available now nearly everywhere (yes, even East Africa) - I know, there are still places without 93+, but many fewer than 10 years ago. Cost of the supercharger is reasonable, in my view, when you look at the fact that it's now been proven over the course of a decade that the 1GR-FE can take the extra stress.

I put a smaller muffler on and ran a side outlet exhaust, I didn't see the point of having an exhaust pipe go up and over the rear axle just to exit. I really like the fact that this cut a bunch of weight and potential for a long exhaust system to bounce around on a truck that is mostly used off-road. The system is no louder than stock, which is also nice.


Drop Bear
You should consider jumping on and doing some research before buying, if I had known how many problems tacos have I would have stuck with getting another Rover.
This sounds quite out-of-character compared to what I have been hearing from many taco owners. I have ridden in several of these that were owned by friends and co-workers and all have been happy with their purchase. I have worked on an older model with a friend and the truck seemed quite well made. I have always had good experiences with Toyota (4 of 5 new vehicles that I have purchased in my life have been Toyota). Am I missing something here? I'm genuinely surprised by this post.

Thanks all!