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The DJM Suspension Toyota Tacoma kit is very simple kit to install. Therefore it is really surprising that DJM techs get so many calls about this kit. Since the front is lowered mechanically there can be little or no variance in the amount of drop from truck to truck (which can be true when lowering with springs, that may vary in height ½" or more). So why is one of the most common tech calls, "The kit did not lower my truck at all." Usually it is assumed that drop comes from the use of a control arm. This is true when using lower control arms, but the Toyota Tacoma kit includes an upper control arm for the correction of the alignment.

With the Tacoma lowering kit, the lowering is achieved by relocating the lower ball joint. Simply moving the ball joint to the top of the lower arms gives a 3" drop. Unfortunately, just moving the ball joint will cause excess negative camber and wear the tires on the inside. The upper control arms are necessary to complete the installation and save your tires!

Front Installation
We will go over the front installation to give you a better understanding of how this kit works. Moving the lower ball joint is a bit more involved than just unbolting and attaching it on top, but it is really not a difficult kit to install. This kit is designed to use factory coils. Using lowering coils with this kit for additional drop may not provide enough alignment adjustment.

The first step is to check all the parts in the kit. The installation instructions contain a parts list that we can use to make sure we have all the parts before we begin. Next fill out the installation helper sheet (blue sheet included with instructions). Measure each wheel from the center of the wheel to the bottom of the fender and record on the installation helper.

Preparing the Upper Control Arms
The first step is to prepare the upper control arms. This step is very important since it ensures that the new upper arms move freely without binding and that the bushings are well lubricated so they do not squeak. Loosen the two bolts holding the upper control arm shaft to the frame. Carefully remove the alignment shims and keep together. Note the forward and rearward since you will install them the same way they were removed. Remove upper control arm mounting bolts and remove upper arm. Be sure to keep all hardware!

You will need to use the factory mounting shafts from the stock arms (they will need to be pressed out). Remove the bolts from each end of the arms. To remove the shaft, one bushing needs to be pressed out. Set up the press supporting the arm and push out the shaft. Repeat this procedure for the other arm.

Now find the four sleeves for the new arms from the kit. Test fit each sleeve on the mounting shaft. Clean and file any burrs or dirt until each sleeve slides on easily and can turn freely around the shaft without binding.

Now prepare the new DJM upper control arms. Install the red bushings in the DJM arms and press in the steel sleeves. Drill a hole in each grease-fitting hole, through the bushing and sleeve. Remove any burrs on the inner steel sleeves. This hole will allow grease to pass through the bushings onto the mounting shaft. Mark a reference line on one of the bushings and steel sleeves and remove from the arm. Apply some grease to the end of the mounting shaft and install into new DJM upper arm. Push the remaining bushing into the arm and then the steel sleeve. Make sure to align your reference lines. Use a little blue loctite on the stock bolts, install with new custom ½" flat washers placed between bolt and bushing and tighten. CAUTION: DO NOT USE FACTORY WASHER AGAINST BUSHING!

Install grease fittings in pivot tubes in the pre-drilled holes. Using a nut driver is easiest. Carefully thread into the hole, keeping them straight, and tighten. Now test the assembly. Clamp the shaft into a vice, and raise and lower the control arm. The mounting shaft will rotate freely inside of the steel sleeves and the red bushings will remain stationary.

There are left and right ball joints. Both DJM arms are the same. The elongated mounting holes allow the ball joint to be installed on either arm. The ball joint goes on top of the new arm, attach with factory bolts. Slide mounting shaft over studs. Install the alignment shims the same way they were removed. Install and tighten.

Relocating the Lower Ball Joint
Remove the two bolts that attach the lower ball joint bracket to the spindle, located on each side of the lower ball joint. SECURE SPINDLE TO FRAME WITH SAFETY WIRE. DO NOT LET SPINDLE HANG FROM BRAKE LINE! Note position of factory parts (Fig. 1 & 2). Next, remove the two nuts on the bottom of the control arm holding the sway bar bracket and tension/compression rod (T/C) to the lower arm. Remove the T/C pivot bolt and remove T/C rod from the vehicle. The two studs are pressed into the T/C rod. Keep the T/C pivot bolt; you will need to use it later.

Remove the two nuts on the outer end of the lower arm that hold the spindle mounting bracket and remove the bracket. The two studs are pressed into the bracket. When all these parts are removed the lower arm will look like the picture in Fig 3. Note that the coil spring has been removed for the photo.

Remove the studs in the spindle-mounting bracket. This can be done on a press or tap them out using a mallet and bench vice (Fig 4). Use the same procedure to remove the studs from the T/C rod. Use a 9/16" bit and drill out the holes for the new bolts (Fig 5).

Install the T/C rod. Set on top of the control arm and align and install the pivot bolt. Tighten the nut hand tight. Place one ½" flat washer on top of each hole in the T/C rod. These will be used as a spacer for the spindle-mounting bracket. Set the spindle-mounting bracket on the top of the control arm and on top of the T/C rod.

Be sure the flat washer spacers are in place and holes are aligned (Fig 6). Place the sway bar bracket on top of T/C rod and install two ½"x20x3½" bolts down from the top and attach with ½" nuts. Install two ½"x20x3½" bolts up through the bottom of the control arm and attach nuts on top. At this point, just hand tighten.

With all four new bolts installed, tighten evenly and torque bolts. Be sure to tighten the T/C rod pivot bolt. Set the spindle on the spindle-mounting bracket and install the two factory bolts on each side of the lower ball joint. Tighten both bolts. Install upper ball joint in spindle and tighten the upper ball joint nut completely. Be sure that they are tight and that the taper is seated in the spindle. Install new cotter pins. Replace factory sway bar link with the shorter ones included in the kit. You may need to raise lower arms to align the end links. Grease all grease fittings. Install your new DJM front shocks. Now inspect the installation to be sure all hardware is tight, and all parts are clear and free to move without restrictions. Install front wheels and torque lug nuts. Check that the tires will turn both ways without hitting. INSTALLER MUST CHECK THAT THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO CLEARANCE PROBLEMS BETWEEN THE WHEELS AND TIRES, THE SPINDLE, THE CALIPER AND THE CONTROL ARMS BEFORE DRIVING VEHICLE. After that you can enjoy your new lowered Toyota Tacoma and cruise the streets.

Test the assembly. The control arm must move freely around the mounting shaft.

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

Fig. 6
Related Links:
  • Toyota Truck Accessories
  • DJM Suspension
  • Truck Accessories
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