In this tough economy we've all had to cinch our belt a few notches, but that doesn't mean we should neglect our cherished 4x4s. If you're on a meager budget and looking to increase your truck's off-road capabilities, there are ways to modify it without breaking the bank. Obviously you can't purchase a coilover suspension dirt-cheap, but you can find a budget lift that isn't just a compromise. 1. Installing the front 2-inch lift spacers is easy. Disconnect the sway bar links, unbolt the strut from its upper and lower mounts, and place some downward leverage on the lower A-arm, then the strut can be removed.1. Installing the front 2-inch lift spacers is easy. Disconnect the sway bar links, unbolt 2. The coil spring of the strut must be compressed so the factory retainer can be removed and the 2-inch lift spacer installed. With the minor 2-inch spacer, we found that using leverage on the lower A-arm didn't require us to disconnect the ball joint from the upper A-arm to reinstall the strut.2. The coil spring of the strut must be compressed so the factory retainer can be removed 3. Each side of the front and rear spring pack clamps must be bent outward in order to disassemble the leaf pack and install the add-a-leaf. We found that it was easiest to bend the clamps while the leaf pack was still bolted in place. It's not necessary to remove the entire pack to install the add-a-leaf.3. Each side of the front and rear spring pack clamps must be bent outward in order to dis 4. With the lower half of the spring removed, the add-a-leaf is placed in the center of the pack (arrows) and then the entire assembly bolted back in place. The BDS kit also provides U-bolts for the wider leaf packs, and a relocation bracket for the brake proportioning valve in the rear.4. With the lower half of the spring removed, the add-a-leaf is placed in the center of th 5. Since the original struts are retained, the factory ride quality didn't change much except in the rear. We expected a stiffer ride in the rear because of the add-a-leaf. However, combined with the BDS 5500 shocks the combo improved the truck's on- and off-highway handling, especially over wash-board trails.5. Since the original struts are retained, the factory ride quality didn't change much exc 6. The suspension boost allowed us to mount 2-inch-taller 285/75R16 (32.8X11.2R16) Yokohama Geolander M/T tires, which gave the truck its additional ground clearance. The clearance at the front skid after the lift and tire installation is now 14 inches, and the lowest point on the rear differential measured in at 12 inches. That's an increase of over 2 inches and a useable amount of ground clearance for a mild trail-runner. The truck not only looks great, but the Geolander's aggressive tread pattern offers superior traction over the all-terrain tires we removed. For such an aggressive tire we also found the Geolander's very highway friendly. We are told the tire's new rubber compound is longer lasting than the original M/T's, and they are available in sizes from 30 to 40 inches.6. The suspension boost allowed us to mount 2-inch-taller 285/75R16 (32.8X11.2R16) Yokoham Sticking to a tight budget, we recently lifted a '01 Toyota Tacoma that's used for minor trail running and desert exploration. BDS Suspension offers an economical 2-inch lift for the Taco, which consists of front strut spacers and add-a-leaves for the rear leaf springs. We also ordered BDS 5500 shocks (optional) for the rear and splurged on a set of redesigned Yokohama Geolander M/T tires. The suspension kit is straightforward and easy to install. We had our longtime friends at T&J Performance Center in Orange, California, install the kit, and they knocked it out in less than two hours. SOURCES Yokohama Tire Corporation 601 S. Acacia Avenue Fullerton CA 92831 800-722-9888 www.yokohamatire.com T&J Performance Center Orance CA 714-633-0991 www.tandjperformance.com BDS Suspension Inc Coldwater MI 517-279-2135 www.bds-suspension.com By Kevin McNulty Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!