Leveling / lifting a Tundra -- will this hinder off road performance?


New member
So I was thinking of this from the perspective of aesthetics. (yes, silly, you could argue) I probably don't need to do a suspension lift. Will this actually hurt performance out on trails?

Has anybody else done this with their rig for overlanding?


I'm with bkg.....not sure I understand what is being asked here.

If you're asking if you really need a suspension lift to go out on trails the answer is "it depends". It depends on what trails you are doing, what you are carrying, what your goals are, etc. Plenty of people use stock rigs on Forest Service roads and mild trails. If you are doing more technical trails (named as 4W or Jeep Trails out where I live) then you could potentially complete some trails in stock suspension, but expect to have difficulty, body damage, someone pull you out, or a combination of the three. Mid-travel suspension will allow you to do more technical stuff and carry more weight, depending on your setup.

So the question really is what are you wanting to do with your truck? Tough trails? FS roads? Mild overlanding? Mall crawler?


Director of Adventure Management Operations
Run a set of Bilstein 5100s instead of those silly spacer leveling kits and you'll be fine.


Tons of info on suspension setup on the Tundras.com forum. I am a bit of an outlier in that I have no interest in lifting my Tundra. I'm amazed at the capability stock with only better tires. I am considering going with 5100s from my research so far but no lift at all.

The higher a truck is, the more capable it might be on really tough trails but the worse it is as a general overlander and especially for home use. The beds (meaning tailgate and bed wall height) is getting way over the top on trucks in general. If you lift it even more you physically can't get anything out of it! I don't understand the mindset here from the designers to the end user.

A stock height Tundra 4wd has a tailgate that is the perfect height for a galley or workbench. The sidewalls are almost too high for me and I'm 6'2". Any higher and the truck is less useful, less than useful, meaning useLESS. Also, it's worse offroad because you can't see over the hood.


Well-known member
the question is real obscure, but levelling is all about looks since a level riding empty pickup is going to squat under load
do you need a lift? likely no. on average most 4x4s have plenty of ground clearance.... more to the point, do you NEED bigger tires????

THAT is the question. No one does a real cost, performance, reliability, comparison of stock vs lifted real world results.
I'll say stock would be fine for 95% of those who lifted their trucks. And for at least 50% of those with lifted trucks, stock would be more reliable.
Lifting and bigger tires corrupts all that expensive R&D the factory does to build a reliable truck with great warranties.

Lifting, bigger tires, regearing, all add capability for sure.
They also add stress to the stock components leading to more "upgrades" to retain reliability.
Yes, moderate changes lead to moderate shortened life of the stock parts. I know I changed front u-joints more often with 33s than with stock rubber.
I am now back to almost stock spec because I like reliability, reduced maintenance more than the ego thing of running a lifted truck which really does nothing better than a stock truck.

I'll get flamed by a few who love their 37s but I have yet to not get to the same place on stock rubber.


Land traveler
A small lift is fine. Toyota thought it was a good idea on theTRD Pro trucks. Don't do 3+ inches like some many people do. Stock to 2".
2" won't increase wear and tear on the truck or screw up the ride. I also added 285/70R17 because these trucks have bad ground clearance and a long wheelbase. It's funny but my neighbors stock TRD Pro still looks taller than my truck. Like others said get the Bilstein 5100s and set them at a middle setting.