Toyota Tundra Lift Kit Review: Truxxx 3″ Lift Kit
Lift and leveling kits are some of the most popular accessories for the new Tundra — they improve the look and stance of the truck, allow for bigger tires and wheels, and can even improve ground clearance. We’ve already reviewed the ToyTec 3″ lift kit for the Tundra, now we’re going to review another popular option, the Truxxx Tundra 3″ lift kit.
Based in Tucson, Arizona, Truxxx started out installing after-market parts for truck owners in the Tucson area before becoming a manufacturer. All Truxxx lift kits are made in the USA and come with a lifetime warranty. The spacers are powder-coated steel, and the nuts and bolts are cadmium plated with serrated flange heads and built-in washers. We dislike the use of steel – it’s heavier than aluminum and the powder coating can be chipped, exposing the spacers to the elements…but this is a minor complaint. Overall, the kit is of good quality.
The Truxxx kit is designed to raise the front of the Tundra 3? and the rear 1?, thus leveling the truck while also increasing the height about 1?. Our test vehicle raised exactly 3″ in the front and just a little bit more than 1″ in the back (see before and after photos). The end result is the lifted truck looks better, is level, and can accommodate a much larger set of wheels and tires. The Truxxx website states the kit can accommodate wheels as tall as 33″, but we suspect you might be able to go bigger. Just make sure that you install the kit before you buy the bigger wheels.
The kit includes 3? spacers for the front, 1? blocks for the rear, and a 1? differential drop kit to restore the angle of the front axles and ball joints to factory spec. Like we’ve said before, we like kits with metal spacers (like Truxxx) instead of polyurethane (like Daystar). Metal kits don’t require re-tightening, and they tend to wear much better (see our Tundra Leveling Kit post for an example of polyurethane gone wrong) over time.
Installing the Truxxx lift kit is in some ways simpler than other kits we’ve seen – the kit doesn’t require the use of a strut compressor because the spacers simply sit on top of the strut rather than inside the strut. That one feature makes this kit much simpler for the home mechanic to install. However, once the spacer is attached to the top of the strut, the strut assembly becomes much longer. In order to re-attach the spindle to the lower ball joint, you’ll need to use a jack on the A-arm or a ratchet assembly (see the install video) to get everything close enough to bolt it together. This step is less complicated than dis-assembling the strut, but that’s not to say it’s necessarily easier. The instructions for the kit also recommend you completely lower the truck to the ground before attempting to reconnect the swaybar. That’s also because of the strut assemblies increased length – you need the weight of the truck to compress the spring so you can get the parts close enough to bolt them together. That being said, you’ll probably need a prybar to get everything bolted up.
While we’re talking about the increased length of the strut assembly, it’s a good time to mention that there’s a negative to having a longer strut. The distance between the upper and lower control arms is increased, and therefore the ball joints and CV axles are at a larger angle. This larger angle will accelerate wear and tear on these parts. The Truxxx kit reduces some of the impact of the increased strut assembly length by including a 1″ differential drop kit, but it’s not a complete fix. The real long-term impact of this change is debatable, but all things being equal a spacer on top of the strut will increase wear and tear on ball joints and CV axles. Of course, the big advantages with this type of design are simpler install (no strut compressor) and better ride (other spacer kits pre-load the spring and reduce ride quality).
Like almost all after market parts we’ve ever installed, we think the instructions for the Truxxx kit could have been better. While the photos were good, the instructions might not be very clear if you’ve never installed a lift kit. Of course, we’re sure a first timer would figure it out. One other issue with this kit, also minor, is that it’s not compatible with the TRD skid plate. The two rear bolts on the TRD skid plate aren’t long enough after the differential is dropped, and Truxxx didn’t provide new bolts to make the TRD skid plate work. We had to order a couple of bolts online. However, Truxxx did provide bolts to re-attach the standard skid plate (which is all most people need anyways).
Pricing the Truxxx kit was interesting. On the Truxxx website, the kit is listed for $367. That’s a lot of money for this kit considering you can buy an aluminum ToyTec Tundra 3″ Lift Kit for $289 (or less). Granted, the ToyTec kit requires a strut compressor (and therefore more expense in installation), but it’s also lighter and it might be better for your ball joints and CV axles. We did find the Truxxx kit on TireRack.com for less than $300, and we’re sure you can find a similar price with a little bit of effort.
Bottom Line: The Truxxx kit does exactly what it’s supposed to – level the truck by raising the front end 3″ and the rear end 1″. This kit seems to be popular with home mechanics, and we think we know why – installing the Truxxx kit is simpler than some other kits because it doesn’t require a strut compressor. Just keep in mind that simpler isn’t necessarily easier, you’ll need to do some prying to get everything to bolt together. The price on the Truxxx website is high, but you can find it for less elsewhere. Check out the price of the Truxxx kit at the TireRack.com. It’s better than you’ll find anywhere else (at least it was when we posted this link).
If you don’t mind spending more on installation, we’d recommend the ToyTec lift kit for the Tundra instead of the Truxxx kit. ToyTec’s kit is made from aluminum, it’s less expensive, and it’s better for your ball joints and CV axles (but how much better is up for debate).
Truxxx 3″ Tundra Lift Kit Specs:
Dimensions: Kit adds 3″ of lift in the front, slightly more than 1″ of lift in the rear.
Install Time: A competent mechanic can install this kit in 1 to 2 hours. Expect a shop to charge 3 hours of labor plus alignment.
Installation Tips: First, get yourself a ratchet strap. That will help you compress the spring a little when you’re trying to re-attach the spindle to the lower ball joint. Second, when you’re installing the differential drop, think about removing the bolts that hold the steering rack in place. You can then put a prybar between the steering rack and the frame and you’ll have some finger room when you’re putting the nuts on the new bolts for the diff drop.
Warranty: Truxxx has lifetime warranty on materials and workmanship. Despite what you may hear from your Toyota dealer, installing a lift kit will not impact your Toyota factory warranty. However, you may have to fight with them a little before they honor the warranty.
Thanks again to master tech Jerrod Jewell and Mountain States Toyota. Jerrod is always a pleasure to work with (and patient with our video demands too), and Mountain States has got the be the best Toyota dealer in Denver. If you want Mountain States to install your lift kit, ask for Fred Karford in the service department.