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Enhancing Off-Road Prowess with Tacoma Control Arms

Enhancing Off-Road Prowess with Tacoma Control Arms

If you are looking for a way to make your Tacoma more off-road capable, a lift kit with replacement control arms is a good way to go. The kit will provide a moderate amount of lift, increased suspension travel, increased ground clearance, improve handling, and allow for proper alignment settings. Control arm kits are also reasonably affordable, so you won’t have to blow your entire budget. Most kits are simple and designed to be installed by the average do-it-yourselfer, with some basic tools. Of course, after installation, you will need to seek a professional for a wheel alignment.

Shop Tacoma Control Arms

Control arms are an integral part of your Tacoma's suspension, affecting alignment and suspension strength. Some control arms are specifically designed to correct geometry changes from lift kits, ensuring that your truck's off-road prowess match your on-road capabilities.

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What are Control Arms, and How Do They Work?

Control arms are the two metal arms that connect the spindle and wheel to the chassis of a vehicle, via rubber bushings. There are typically two control arms per wheel – an upper and a lower. Most of these resemble the shape of a capital “A”. This is where they gain the nickname “A-arms”. These arms move together in an arc in order to locate the wheel and allow the springs and shocks to absorb bumps and rough terrain. Control arms also contain a ball joint on the outward tip of the arm, which allows the wheel to turn independently of the chassis and suspension.

What is a Control Arm Lift, and How Does It Work?

A control arm lift is typically a combination of spacers for the top of the strut assembly and replacement upper control arms for the front axle, with lift blocks, and U-bolts for the rear axle. The spacer provides the actual “lift” for the front axle. The spacer sits between the top of the strut assembly and the body of the vehicle. This effectively makes the strut and spring assembly longer. The suspension of the vehicle is forced further downward, thus producing the lift

The control arms are re-engineered to allow for more clearance at the chassis. That allows for greater movement, or “travel,” without the control arm contacting any other parts. The control arms are redesigned to allow for greater suspension travel, better ride quality, better ball joint angle, and improved alignment adjustment. They are also stronger and lighter than the stock control arms, reducing unsprung weight. 

The control arms allow for the use of a bigger spacer, increased suspension travel, and an overall higher lift. Replacing the control arms also allows for the use of different types of ball joints, which are stronger and last longer than factory units. Be sure to do some research here, and select the ball joints that most closely match the type of activities you’ll be participating in with your truck. Lastly, aftermarket control arms allow for more suspension travel, which means they provide the clearance necessary for larger lifts, or the use of a coil over suspension, later on down the road.

The lift on the rear axle is accomplished by placing the lift blocks between the bottom of the rear leaf springs and the top of the rear differential housing. They are then secured with the longer U-bolts. This forces the rear axle downward and the rear suspension upward, creating lift. By using the combination of the front and rear suspension kits, the end result is a nice, level, lifted truck that has increased ground clearance, increased suspension travel, better ride and handling, and better alignment geometry.

Benefits of Adjustable Control Arms

When you lift or lower any vehicle, it will change the alignment angles. Sometimes the factory control arms do not allow for enough adjustment to restore the alignment angles to the correct specifications. This is where adjustable control arms become key.

Adjustable control arms provide the ability to adjust the caster and camber settings during an alignment. Aftermarket control arms are designed with the position of the upper ball joint relocated to allow for less binding and more adjustment. After returning the alignment angles to specification, the vehicle will ride and handle better, have a reduced tendency to wander and decrease abnormal tire wear. 

How Aftermarket Arms Help Off-Roading/Overlanding Capabilities

A spacer and control arm lift enhance the off-roading capabilities of a vehicle greatly. The increased ground clearance provided allows the traversing of ruts and rocks with ease. The increased suspension travel allows for greater speed over obstacles, and a smoother ride for you in the driver’s seat.

Better travel also increases articulation, needed for slow crawling over rocks and large obstacles. The stronger, tubular construction of aftermarket arms reduces the chance of breakage or failure off-road, under tougher conditions.

The upgraded ball joints allow for smoother, less restricted turning of the wheels. This allows for faster steering and corrections in the off-road environment. All in all, the control arm lift kit provides a pretty potent off-road package, while still maintaining on-road manners and a reasonable budget.

Fitment includes: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Pre-Runner, X-Runner, SR, SR-5, TRD-Sport, TRD-Off-Road, Limited, TRD-Pro