It’s no stretch to say the 3rd Gen Toyota Tacoma platform has completely taken off since release in 2016. The last 2 years, especially, have been nothing short of incredible for the Toyota Tacoma platform. Quickly, and heavily adopted into the aftermarket auto parts world – We saw an immediate need for alternative gearing options. Upon purchasing one for ourselves to do R+D on, we were left shocked at what we found…
A Stock 2016+ Toyota Tacoma with an Automatic 6 Speed, Double Overdrive Transmission…couldn’t keep itself in Over-Drive where we are! Based out of Cashmere, Washington, oddly enough, only two hours from the truck’s name sake of Tacoma, Washington – Nitro Gear & Axle Headquarters rests in the middle of a valley, completely surrounded by mountains. It’s a place of beauty, but with all the grades & hills in our area – We found the drivability to be far from ideal. This is why we make an issue on social media that #ALLTACOMASNEEDGEARS // It’s 100% True. But this truck received a lot more than just a more efficient axle gear ratio – Let’s talk about it…
We started with the idea that this should be a weekend warrior/daily driver type of truck – Something that you can make comfortable road trips in, while also being able to tame light to medium duty off-roading trails.
ALL TACOMAS NEED GEARS // #NitroRegeared
We decided to run a 4.88 Nitro Gear Package on STOCK tire configuration first, as we needed to do Research & Development on RPM’s at Highway Speed on stock tires. As we predicted – The truck performed MUCH more efficiently after this was done.
This was a GREAT test & turned out to be one of the best decisions we could have made. It gave us a First-Hand look at just how nice the difference is between stock geared VS 4.88 re-geared with a stock size tire. We had already driven the truck enough at this point, to feel for ourselves just how badly it needed gears (Right off the lot!) & we would absolutely recommend that every Tacoma owner do this upgrade.
Watch the video we put together of our 1st Driving Impressions, Regeared on 4.88s & Stock Tires: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxBWZGQIScI&t=26s
Nitro Gear Package for 16+ Toyota Tacoma is one of Nitro’s biggest sellers because these trucks need re-geared. The Tacoma has a very tall overdrive in 5th AND 6th gear to turn low RPMS. The new 3.5L V6 makes plenty of horsepower but needs to reach its power band. Even with stock tires we have found the 6th gear is nearly useless. The gearing is so high that the transmission is constantly shifting. In a STOCK Tacoma Automatic 6th gear puts you at ~1500 RPM @ 60MPH. This simply does not work. You may not realize it, but you probably are hardly ever in 6th gear unless you are almost going downhill. By re-gearing you can bring the motor back to the RPM it needs to be. This will improve Economy, Performance, and shifting. This is one of the most important modifications you can make to your late model Tacoma whether on a stock truck, or especially when running oversized tire. This is the only way to properly compensate for inadequate factory gearing and the increase in tire diameter. We often hear people are worried they will turn high rpm’s if they re-gear. This is not the case. Remember, the Auto trans has a double overdrive. See the below examples:
Example Stock 2019 Tacoma TRD Offroad w/ Auto Trans:
3.91 & Stock Tire, ~1500 RPM @ 60 MPH, ~1750 RPM @ 70 MPH (NOT ENOUGH RPM!)
4.88 & Stock Tire, ~1950RPM @ 60 MPH, ~2200 RPM @ 70 MPH
33” 4.88, ~1750 RPM @ 60 MPH, ~2000 RPM @ 70 MPH)
33” 5.29, ~1900 RPM @ 60 MPH, ~2250 RPM @ 70 MPH)
*Manual trans RPM figures will be higher.
After we got done with the 4.88 & stock configuration, having done the research & content needed to prove that this modification works as intended even in stock form, we went to the next step which was to add lots of ACC & Offroad Accessories, as well as 34″ Nittos & Nitro 5.29 Gears
ACCESSORIES & OTHER MODS
This truck started life as a TRD Off-Road, but quickly took the form of a TRD Pro with an extensive list of nice Pro modifications. TRD Pro Head Lamps, Fog Lamps (OE Rigid Industries with Bezels) Pro Grille & Radar Knockout, Pro Trim, Bezels & Badges, & 5 TRD Pro Wheels to boot! Here are some pics of the progress with those upgrades:
We Decided On 34″ Nitto Tire Trail Grapplers – But In Running That Size We Needed To Clearance The Front End
We Also Installed A New Suspension Setup:
– Old Man Emu 2.5″ Suspension Kit with Med-Heavy Load BP51 Bypass Shocks
*Available On JustDifferentials.com*
-Icon Vehicle Dynamics 2.0 Hydraulic Air Bump Stops
We Added: RM83011 / TAC-DR-05 – Toytec Front Differential Drop Kit –
05+Tacoma, 03+4Runner, 07-14 FJ Cruiser, 03+GX
As you can also see, we added our NEW & Improved Nitro UCA’s into the mix
Product Code: NPUCA
*Prototype UCA Shown // Full Production Version Already Released*
Extended Travel Ball Joint Style
Nitro Gear Upper Control Arms
The end-all 4-season UCA! Finally Upper Control Arms that allow you to run longer shocks for more travel, correct caster, and without squeaks!
- The arms are 100% BOLT-ON
- Heavy Duty Grease-able Sealed ball joint offers higher misalignment than OEM, and lasts much longer than uniball type arms, and no squeaks!
- Removable Billet ball joint Top Cap
- OEM style Rubber bushings for lower maintenance, quieter, less vibration and no squeaks!- Heavy wall tubular design provides more strength versus the flimsy OEM stamped steel arms.
- Lower profile than OE, thus providing additional clearance for larger tires, and/or larger/ longer shocks.
- 3 Degrees additional caster.
- Will work on stock height vehicles as well.
Find Them for Tacoma & Many Other Toyota Models:
The Setup Ended Up Being A Great Choice for Us & We Enjoyed The Ride!
When it came to the trucks Bumpers & Skid Plates – We decided on Victory 4×4.
Wouldn’t have changed that decision for anything – Sleek, Tough, Reliable & Excellent Fitment.
VT23SL-ST Double Cab Shortbed Sliders
VT3FB-0 Tacoma Blitz semi-hidden winch mount w/o tube.
This bumper nicely carries the ComeUp SEAL GEN2 9.5rs, 12V WINCH
We topped it off with a Factor 55 Hawse Fairlead, Slim, Large Radius w/ Type III Hard
coating in Grey & decided to run a Factor 55 Flatlink in Black.
Came out looking very clean & conservative, keeping all the nice factory lines while concealing the equipment needed to do recoveries safely & effectively. Exactly what we wanted.
We also got all the Victory Skid Plates:
VT23SD-TC Victory Transfer Case Skid for the 2nd and 3rd Gen
Tacoma – ALUMINUM
VT23SD-TNK The Victory 4×4 Gas Tank Skid for the 2nd and 3rd
Gen Tacoma – ALUMINUM
We added a few other accessories you can’t see so well:
Expedition Essentials, Bedside Mount for ARB CKMTA12 Twin
Compressor, 05+ Tacoma (19+ req BCM0008)
This held the ARB TWIN Compressor from ARB 4×4 Accessories PERFECTLY
Extremely Durable As You Can See! *Stock Photos Shown*
Also from Expedition Essentials – We did the 3TPAM Dash Mount, Rapid Charge
A couple other goodies worth mentioning:
ExTang Solid Fold 2.0 (This was actually our first upgrade!)
FOX Racing Tailgate Pad (because we are Mountain Bike Enthusiasts!)
So it was on to the next thing…
We were prepping this vehicle for FJ Summit, held in Colorado. The event is big with a huge vendor show & lots of scenic trail rides happening. So we wanted it to look the best it possibly could. Most of our company marketing vehicles get wraps, and we only use ONE wrap artist.
CWWRAPS.COM // He did a fantastic job for us, as always! We completed the wrap literally the week prior to taking the truck out to Colorado, so this was a tight schedule.
Well – After the wrap was done, the next week we took off for Colorado & FJ Summit 2019!!
Let the fun begin – and it was…but we had some seriously unexpected turns with the truck.
We Made It To Ouray, CO – After 18 Hours Of Drive Time From Nitro HQ in Cashmere, WA
Everything Was Going Well On Maiden Voyage – Until “Official Media Day” for the Truck…
We hit an Elk on the way out of town to start our media day. What a start that was 😦
Here are some pics from the aftermath….
As completely unfortunate as this was – the truck, albeit body damaged, was still completely sound as far as mechanics go. It had a slight pull (needed an alignment) but other than that, we decided it was still totally safe to drive into the mountains. So we did that…and we got some great content, regardless of the freak accident with wildlife.
We did a TON of upgrades obviously to this truck, but the overall goal was always performance over looks. Yes we upgraded it with a lot of OE TRD Pro goodies – but we spent the most money where it counted in terms of performance. Gears, Lift/Suspension, Armor, Recovery, Etc.
We knew it would be a big deal to re-gear the truck, but we are not exaggerating in saying the re-gear was HANDS-DOWN the best performance upgrade you can do to these trucks.
This 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Offroad, was built to not only get through any terrain it’s challenged with, but also drive comfortably as a daily driver. This is a challenge many folks have when building out a vehicle specifically for overland travel. The goal was to maintain drivability around town but also make this Tacoma capable of getting us anywhere, whether on a weekend vehicle-based adventure or an extended overland journey. I believe we accomplished that goal.
It can do everything from cross country touring & standard daily driver tasks, to mountain bike shuttling & medium duty off-roading at the blink of an eye. Well-rounded as possible!
Big Thank You To Companies That Made This Possible:
JustDifferentials (JT’s Parts & Accessories)
ARB 4×4 Accessories (USA)
Here is a FULL SPEC build sheet:
Differential Gearing & Carrier Upgrades:
- 5.29 Nitro Gear Package (GPTACO2016-8.75)
- ARBRD111 Air Locker (Front)
- Victory 4×4 Transfer Case & Gas Tank Skid Plates
- Nitro extended travel ball joint style upper control arms
- Victory 4×4 Blitz Semi Hidden Winch Bumper w/o Tube
- Victory 4×4 Double Cab Shortbed Sliders
- COMEUP Seal Gen 2 9.5RS, 12V Winch
- Factor55 Flatlink, Black
- Factor55 Hawse Fairlead, Slim, Grey
- 2016+ Tacoma 2.5′ Suspension Kit – OME BP51 Bypass Shocks
- SBR Offroad Front Sway Bar Relocate Kit
- ToyTec Lifts Differentials Drop Kit
- TRD Pro Grille – Aftermarket
- FOX Racing Tailgate Pad
- Extang SolidFold 2.0 Tonneau Cover
- Mountain Hatch Tailgate Insert
- ARBCKMTA12 Dual Air Compressor w/Manifold & Pump Up Kit
- ARB Fridge Wiring Kit
- Expedition Essentials Twin Compressor Bedside Mount, Manifold Mount & Extended Harness
- 3TPAM Dash Mount
- RAM Mount (phone)
- CB Mount
- Pop & Lock Power Tailgate Lock for Toyota
- Remote Start Kit
- TRD Pro Headlamps
- TRD Pro Wheels
- TRD Pro Rigid Fog Light & Bezel
- Hypertech Speedometer Calibrator
- 34″ Nitto Ridge Grappler tires
Are you running spacers on the wheels?
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Yes we sure did.
No wonder it looked so good. What size did you guys end up running?
These are the ones we ran: