Toyota Tundra Leveling Kit Review: TundraRacing.com Rear Leveling Kit
As we all know, new Toyota Tundras have a pretty substantial forward rake:
This is a picture of a 2008 SR5 Regular Cab 4×2 with the 5.7 V8. If you look at the building behind the truck, you can see that the ground is roughly level. The truck, however is not. The rake (or forward tilt) of the truck is pretty severe. You can also take a look at the amount of space between the tire and the fender in the front and compare that to the rear. It’s pretty significant.
Before, we’ve discussed different options for raising the front end of the truck in order to level out your Tundra. Today, we’re going to blow your mind – what if, instead of raising the front end of the truck to make it level, you lowered the back end?!
Lowering the rear end will make loading and unloading your truck easier. It will improve handling by lowering the center of gravity and reducing body roll. Unlike leveling your truck with a front end lift, you won’t increase your truck’s aerodynamic cross-section with a rear drop kit. That means lowering the rear end of your Tundra won’t impact your fuel economy like raising the front end will. Simply put, there are a lot of advantages to lowering your Tundra’s rear end to make it level.
Tundra Racing, based out of Panama City, Florida, has come to this same conclusion. They began designing, manufacturing, and marketing a rear-end leveling kit specifically designed for the Tundra. They have a fleet of vehicles that they use to test and drive their designs, and they have come up with a rear-end leveling kit for the 07+ Tundra that doesn’t effect the ride OR the payload rating.
Tundra Racing’s rear end leveling kit doesn’t require new softer leaf springs, cutting leaf springs, or any modification that will fundamentally change the orientation of the factory suspension. You simply move the leaf springs from just above the rear axle to just below it. That results in about a 3 1/4″ drop of the rear end without sacrificing payload or ride quality. Genius.
NOTE: The leveling kit does not work as advertised on the Tundra CrewMax. Installing the rear leveling kit on the crew will result in the front end of the truck being about an inch higher than the rear. However, TundraRacing.com is now offering an air suspension kit (for an extra $350) that will fix this.
Anyways, on to the kit itself. All of the parts are excellent quality – as good as any kit we’ve reviewed. Every part is plated or powder coated, and the new shackles and axle components are CNC machined steel. Top notch.
Installation is pretty simple, but like a lot of kits we’ve reviewed, the instructions could definitely be better. Installing the kit is pretty basic really – you get the truck in the air, support the rear end with a couple of floor jacks, remove the leaf springs, attach some new hardware to the axle, then put everything back together. The instructions weren’t terribly clear when it came to putting the leafs under the axle, but the parts themselves provided the information we needed. Each piece of axle hardware was marked with a sticker that indicated orientation (the stickers said things like “Driver Side – Top Rear”) and there were notches in each piece that helped you make sure you were lined up right. Once we figured it out, install was easy enough.
You can see the leafs above the rear axle to the left (stock), and below the axle on the right (modified).
While install was easy for the most part, there were a couple of challenging tasks: removing and re-installing the leaf springs is a two person job, and you may need to modify the rear exhaust bracket to get the exhaust pipe to fit once the leaf springs have been moved below the rear axle (at least on the regular cab). Finally, install isn’t complete until you’ve re-torqued all the bolts after 100 miles (just in case anything settles).
Take a look at the building behind the truck and you’ll see it’s much better than before. The fender-tire gap is just about even now too.
The warranty on the kit is average – 90 days for defects if you install it yourself, 1 year if you have it installed by an ASE certified mechanic. One of the things we really like about this kit is that it would be fairly simple for a couple of people to do this install at home in the driveway, so we’re a little disappointed the warranty isn’t as good for this situation. But considering just how simple the parts are, it shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s unlikely anything will break if it’s put on right. As far as price, the kit is towards the higher end – $399 + $20 S/H. However, as part of this review, Tundra Racing agreed to discount the kit 10% and provide free shipping and handling – just mention “you read the review on TundraHeadquarters.com” to get the special discount. Even though price is a little higher than some front end spacer kits, the quality is excellent and this is something just about any home mechanic can handle (as long as you’ve got a torque wrench).
Driving the truck with the rear leaf springs moved below the axle doesn’t feel much different. It seems a little bit tighter during cornering, but overall it drives about the same. If anything, it doesn’t seem quite as bouncy as before it was leveled. Tundra Racing offers a more aggressive version of this kit that will level and then lower the truck 2″ – we’re putting that kit on this truck next, so we’ll let you know how much better the truck handles then.
Bottom Line: Lowering the rear end is a smart and simple way of leveling the new Tundra, and we think you should definitely consider it (unless you have a CrewMax – see note above). Installation doesn’t require any fancy tools (like a spring compressor), and you don’t need to attack your suspension with a prybar to get new spacers or coils to fit. While we suspect some people have no interest in lowering their truck’s overall height, we hope that you can see it’s a very practical method for achieving the leveled look. Visit TundraRacing.com for more information about the Tundra rear-end leveling kit.
Download instructions for the Tundra Racing leveling kit (links to 4.8mb pdf).