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Skyjacking a Tundra

The 2014 Toyota Tundra was a big deal in many ways. It not only marks the third generation of Toyota’s half-ton, but this Tundra would be entirely built and designed on U.S. soil. Competing in the extremely lucrative half-ton North American market place, the Tundra has consistently charged a path uniquely its own. With an available 5.7L V8 pushing out 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque, the Tundra offered serious go-power and impressive towing potential of 10,100 pounds on certain models.

Today, the third-gen Tundra continues to be an attractive option for those looking to transition to a half-ton pickup. Thankfully, the aftermarket has been responsive to these pickups as well. One company in particular that offers an assortment of suspension options is Skyjacker. With over 40 years in the suspension manufacturing business, Skyjacker now offers everything from basic leveling kits to full-tilt 6-inch suspension systems for the late-model Tundra platform.

We recently stopped by our local off-road shop, Low Range 4x4, to check out the install of Skyjacker’s latest 6-inch kit (TU761PKS-B) on a 2014 Tundra. While the video above captures the start-to-finish install process, we’re highlighting the details of the suspension kit in the article below.

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The biggest shift in independent front suspension lifts over the past two decades has been the transition to replacement steering knuckles. By replacing the steering knuckles, you can leave the stock upper control arms in place. This cuts down tremendously on install time and complexity. Skyjacker’s Tundra knuckles don’t change the track width, so the truck remains uniform front and back.

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To achieve 6 inches of lift, Skyjacker sends new front and rear crossmembers, which bolt to the stock lower control arm mounts. In order to make room for the front differential, you’ll need to cutout the stock rear crossmember. Skyjacker provides you with step-by-step instructions to ensure this process goes smoothly. 

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The heavy-duty steel crossmembers come powdercoated and ready to install. To protect the front diff, Skyjacker’s optional differential skidplate was installed.

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Toyota did a pretty good job dialing in the front spring rate on the 2014 models, so Skyjacker built a set of replacement lift struts that retain the stock coil. This replacement strut is fit with more dynamic valving to adjust for larger tires and off-road conditions. To moderate the suspension travel, a set of bumpstop drop brackets are also included.

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The Tundra’s steering rack stays put, but you will need to swap the driver and passenger tie rods as they now mount atop the new steering knuckles. Longer sway bar end links, along with a drop brackets, ensures that the stock sway bar can be reused.

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One of the options we really liked about this particular Skyjacker kit was the complete replacement leaf-spring option. Not only do these springs ride better than stock, but it eliminates the need to run a lift block. This equates to decreased axlewrap and better traction to the ground. 

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Working to provide a smooth ride out back are the Skyjacker Black Max 8500 shocks. These are some of Skyjacker’s latest shock options that provide multi-stage valving and advanced foam-cell technology. The Black Max shocks have a twin-tube construction and increased fluid capacity, all in efforts to reduce heat and maintain consistent shock performance on-road and off.   

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An absolute necessity when lifting any truck with a two-piece rear driveshaft such as this Tundra, is the carrier bearing drop. While some take a little fine-tuning, this setup worked perfect the first time out.

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Since this Tundra is a daily driver and occasional off-roader, the owner wanted a tire that could go the distance, but also wouldn’t leave him spinning in place in the dirt. Ultimately, he landed on the Nitto Ridge Grappler in a 35x12.50R20. This tire’s been touted as the ultimate all-terrain tire, and with a load-range F sidewall, it can more than handle any hauling needs of this half-ton.

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For wheels, the truck’s sporting 20-inch Pro Comp Series 7036 wheels. It’s a cast-aluminum wheel with five inches of total backspacing. This setup worked great with the 35s, but did require some slight front bumper trimming to clear completely.

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The four-door Tundra is a sizable pickup to pilot off-road, but for this owner’s needs, it does the trick. Fit with the 5.7L V8, the truck still felt plenty strong on-road and off. While a numerically higher differential gear ratio would put things back closer to stock, it isn’t an absolute necessity.

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Skyjacker nailed the stance of the truck. It sits level and is what we would consider a true 6 inches of suspension lift.

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Overall, we were impressed with the Tundra. The Ridge Grapplers were extremely quiet, and their ride quality was better than stock. While lifting a half-ton 6 inches might not be for everyone, it’s a great option for those looking to increase the attitude and altitude of their pickup.

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Read why the Nitto Ridge Grappler really is the hybrid tire of your dreams.

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