Turning Wrenches

I'm a strong believer in learning how to do things yourself.  And I'm a strong believer in understanding, at least a little bit better, how your stuff works, especially something you rely on, like a vehicle or an outboard motor.  It's cheaper (as long as you don't mess anything up . . . ) and you gain confidence. 

The suspension on my 2012 Tacoma was starting to sag.  Years of boat hauling (including multiple trips from North Carolina to Maine), as well as my putting on a camper shell and carrying around too much gear, was taking its toll on the original suspension after 180,000 miles or so.  After bottoming-out a few too many times driving over dips in the road, I made my decision.    

So after probably too much research, I pulled the trigger on a full Old Man Emu suspension, made by ARB in Australia.  (Get it HERE).  It's not a "lift kit," per se, but instead a whole new suspension---new front coil springs, new shocks in front and rear, and new leaf springs in the rear---getting the Toyota about 2 inches higher off the ground.  

Then a month or so later, I tackled another much needed project, replacing the front brake pads and rotors.  And thanks to a generous neighbor who was moving and never tackled the project on his own truck before he left, I got the parts for free.  

And then came the new skid plate.  After hitting my relatively flimsy, stock "skid plate" (if you can call it that) several times (while not even doing any crazy off road stuff) and reshaping it with a hammer, I knew I wanted some heavier duty protection.  I went with a RCI steel skid plate, again after probably too much research.  

Give yourself plenty of time, watch some of YouTube videos, and peruse the online forums like "Tacomaworld," and again, don't rush . . . you'll feel good knowing you better understand, just a little, how something you rely on so much works.  And you'll save a few bucks.  I'm lucky, though, to have my engineer brother who has plenty of tools, and a good shop dog.  Now I can say, "not too bad for a liberal arts major!"  





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