Updated: May 4, 2020
Vehicle suspension modification is a hotly debated topic in the overland 4x4 community. While most modern vehicle’s stock suspension is more than adequate for a weekend off-road adventures, it is often lacking when it comes to meeting the demands of a fully-loaded adventure rig traveling to remote corners of the globe.
Given the generalist long-distance nature of our 2019 Tacoma build, we outlined the following criteria for aftermarket suspension selection:
Increased spring and damping rates to handle the extra weight of our Four Wheel Camper and gear without the need for airbags
Wide range of damper and spring adjustability to fine-tune the ride comfort and ride height for various load conditions and surfaces
Between 1” and 2” increase in ride height for extra ground clearance without significantly compromising street drivability
Increased wheel travel for a smoother ride over rough terrain without bottoming out
Ability to handle the demands of running off-road at medium speed and sometimes higher speeds so we can cover large distances and would like to avoid needing to putt around the entire time
Reasonable cost (it’s too easy to get carried away in this area)
Rebuild ability/ serviceability (we plan to refresh the stocks after 50,000 miles at our halfway point somewhere in Europe)
After much deliberation and research, we worked together with Wheeler’s Off-Road in Oregon to custom order an Icon Vehicle Dynamics Stage 6 setup specifically valved for the extra weight of our rig combined with stiffer Eibach 700 lb/in springs up front and OME Dakar Heavy rear leaf springs with a +1 add-a-leaf. Icon’s engineering prowess and reputation for durability in extreme conditions made the choice a no brainer. We installed extended stainless steel braided brake lines are the same time to accommodate the extra wheel travel and provide additional protection from brake failure.
With the addition of the Four Wheel Camper, the truck sits about 2” above stock without any adjustment although we suspect this will decrease slightly as the springs settle in when we add more weight. So far we love the effortless ride over rutted terrain and the versatility of being able to tackle open desert washes at a solid clip and then, after turning a few nobs, have planted feel on a long highway journey.