If you're on a budget for your t swap and are doing it in stages this is pretty much the ideal setup. You may even find that you don't need the very expensive Radflos/SAWs. This setup will get you ALL the benefits of a full on T swap and a fraction of the cost.
What is it?
- These are Gen1 (99-06) Toyota Tundra Front coilovers. You use a Tundra strut and either a Tundra or 4 Runner spring with a Frontier/Xterra top hat or custom tophat to max out the travel.
Do they fit the Frontier/Xterra?
- Yes*, on a Titan Swapped Frontier/Xterra they fit nicely with Aftermarket Titan UCA*Must swap over top hats*. If you choose to use the OEM tophat, it will be slightly difficult to install the assembled strut. The custom tophat makes the fit much better.
How much wheel travel do these cycle?
- With Aftermarket UCAs they will give you a solid 7"-10" of actual wheel travel depending on which strut and tophat you choose. (Nearly the same as what a 2.5 Radflo/SAW would provide) Stock Frontier/Xterra cycles 5.6" for reference. With OEM Tundra struts, springs, and OEM tophats I had exactly 7.5". With Tundra 5100s, 4 Runner springs, and OEM tophats, 7.75". With Tundra 5100s, 4 Runner springs, and Custom
. These weer all with with Total Chaos Clone UCAs, which were the limiting factor when using OEM tophats. PRG/ Dirt King arms will put you closer to 8-9" when not using the custom tophat.
How much do they cost?
For the lower travel versions (7.5-8")- $50-250
To get max travel with the custom tophat (10")- $250-400*
*high end varies depending on how much it costs you to make the tophat
How stiff are they?
Probably the better choice if you have full armor or like a stiff ride
(Mush cakes) 1 - - - - - 6.5*
- - - 10 (Rattles your teeth out)
4 Runner springs
Better for lighter weight trucks (stock 4x4s or 2wd), will produce a softer more compliant ride
(Mush cakes) 1 - - 4
- - - - - 10 (Rattles your teeth out)
I'd place stock at about a 3.5 for comparison, with a 5 being ideal.
*Rating given for stiffest spring rate available (double cab longbed), other springs from different trims will provide softer ride, also at stock weight*
How much lift do they provide?
In my opinion, the sweet spot with this setup is at about 3" of lift. This provides a great balance of ground clearance and ride quality, but you can go up to about 5" and as low as about 2".
Tundra Bilstein 5100s:
Tundra springs -
No snap ring grooves added, OEM top hat: ~4"+ (7.75" wheel travel)
1-2 snap ring grooves added, OEM top hat: ~3"+ (7.75" wheel travel)
3-4 snap ring grooves added, Custom top hat: ~2"+ (10" wheel travel)
4 Runner springs -
No snap ring grooves added, OEM top hat: ~2"+ (7.75" wheel travel)
No snap ring grooves added, Custom top hat: ~4"+ (10" wheel travel)
1-2 snap ring grooves added, Custom top hat: ~2"+ (10" wheel travel)
How would you rate the handling/ overall performance of these compared to other setups? B-
ride on the highway, handles washboard very well, tundra springs firm enough to reduce most body roll, provide near perfect lift height for droop/bump travel ratio, small and large bump compliance
What's not so good:
Good amount of body roll with 4 runner springs, spring rate a little too high with tundra springs to be able to stuff tire all the way, rebound valving too light (feels like a 5100 with too much preload, minus the topping out)
What made you try this?
- This is actually a very popular setup for gen1 Tacomas and 4Runners. It gives them a stiffer ride with some lift.
Gen 1 Tundra 5100
P/N: BIL 24-188265
Collapsed Length (IN): 13.23"
Extended Length (IN): 18.68"
Travel Length (IN): 5.45"
2.5 SAW T Swap
Collapsed Length (IN): 14"
Extended Length (IN): 19.5"
Travel Length (IN): 5.5"
Ideally these are the ones you want. They will allow for the use of nearly any Toyota truck/SUV coil spring of similar vintage*.
*Some modification required to use certain springs
: You have a few choices, the original version of this setup used 99-06 Tundra springs but I've since switched to 4 Runner springs. These are the two spring variants that have been proven to work well. With the Tundra 5100, if you are open to adding more snap ring grooves to the body you can run just about any Toyota truck/SUV spring (4 Runner, Tundra, Tacoma, FJ, LC, etc). Nearly all use the same coil diameter and end type and as long as the free length of the spring is within 13"-15" you should be able to use it.
If you decide to buy used OEM 4 Runner springs be mindful of year. 98 and 99 springs are considerably longer than the rest and can result in too much lift.
More info on struts and springs
This is really the deciding factor on how much travel you'll get. It's pretty simple, if you use the OEM top hat you will be limited to about 7.5-8" of wheel travel (slightly more than you would get in a ext travel setup). CBC and the shock bottoming earlier than it should is what drives this. You will absolutely need to
extend/ replace the lower bumpstop on the LCA with the OEM top hat (needs to be about 2+" tall). The shock will bottom out and the factory one will NOT protect your shocks. If you use the custom tophat, you will get a solid 10" of wheel travel. The custom top hat allows the shock to compress more before bottoming without affecting droop. You will still need to extend the LCA bump stop with this but only by about a .25-.5". You can not buy these at the moment, you'll need to find a way to make them. I am considering doing a run of 10-15+ sets summer 2017. Until then, shoot me a PM and I'll send you the design and additional info (donations appreciated).
Click here for all the info you need on the custom top hat
NEWCurrent Gold Standard: (Check list for what has been proven to work)
Specs: 595lb/in spring, no shock mods
Option A- ~2"-5" of lift (7.75" wheel travel)
Option B- ~3.5"-5" of lift (10" wheel travel)
Item______ Model-P/N______________________________Approximate cost
Bilstein 5100 - 24-261425(new P/N)____________________~$110ea
Moog - 81092____________________________________~$50 per pair
KYB - SM5699________________ ___________________~$12ea (free if reuse)
_____Option A. OEM Frontier/Xterra (KYB SM5698 )_____________~$16ea (free if reuse)
_____Option B. Custom Top hat (DIY/shop built)________________~$50-120 per pair
Option A: $266-$326
Option B: $320-$414
NEWBuying New Pre-assembled:
Due to the popularity of this setup now and the sizable market share it has started to take away from other choices, the big vendors have taken notice. PRG and Nisstec are now offering/currently working on their own variants of this setup. While this is great and wonderful for the community, it really takes away from the cost savings this setup provides. Last I checked, PRG was selling its version for $619, while this is cheaper than Radflos, its a far cry from the average DIY cost of about $300-350. There are some Pros and Cons of buying from either vendor vs doing DIY.
-One stop shop, easy bolt on, no hassles, can return, etc
-Both variants are using Eibach springs, so getting the correct spring rate is easy
-Nisstec variant will use a threaded collar so height adjustment will be just like Radflos
-COST, can be double the cost or more of DIY
-Top hats they come with will not get travel numbers that my custom top hat provides (at least for now), can still change the top hat they come with to the custom one though. Travel with provided hats will be comparable to that of OEM top hats.
1) Change top hats-
*Must use Fronty/X isolators, Tundra ones will not work*
Go rent a spring compressor and remove the top hats from the stock Fronty/X coilovers. You can only use the Toyota springs as the Frontier/Xterra ones don't fit. The Toyota springs are only just slightly larger in diameter than our springs so they fit just ok in the Fronty/X isolators. The key is to try and center the spring on the hat as best you can when assembling them. They will make a depression in the isolator over time. Assemble each strut exactly as they were on the stock coilovers.
2) Mount on truck-
When installing I had separate the UCA/Spindle bolt, but not completely remove it to get the coilover in. I just backed the nut off until it was only on by about 3 threads and that was enough. The lower mounts are actually slightly smaller (about 1/8") than ours, so the LCA mount tabs will bend in just slightly. The lower bolt is exactly the same, so just reuse the stock bolt. Toque down everything and your done!
This opens up alot of other coilovers to the t swap crowd. It would seem that any gen 1 Tundra OEM length coilover would work as long as the top hat is able to be changed. Another thing too is that gen 1 Taco or gen 3 4Runner coilovers could also work, although they have slightly less travel due to being a bit shorter overall. If you go this route (used OEM struts that is) I can provide no assurance that it will work well/if at all. It has been a mixed bag thus far, some have worked and others have provided way too much lift. If you are considering this route, shoot me a PM or post a reply in this thread on what you want to try.
If you are strapped for cash but have/want a t swap and still want to get most of the benefits of it (namely full travel) this may be a good alternative. Or if you need a coilover to hold your truck up that doesn't suck while getting your nice coilovers rebuilt, these are what you want.
Q and A Here!
Some threads to take a look at:
Coil Spring Color Code help - Toyota Tundra Forums : Tundra Solutions Forum
The Club Frontier Thread
Space Between UCA and Bucket at ride height:
Does not stuff as well as previous setups due to higher spring rate:
Front Hub to Fender: 24 1/8" or about 4" of lift over stock
Ground to Fender on 285s: 39 1/4"