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Hello,
My father passed down his trusty 1998 2wd Tacoma (5lug) automatic. (120k ) Maybe the worst possible candidate for performance mods, but it is what it is. I use it as a 2nd vehicle to save miles on my primary vehicle.
It’s a fine vehicle for around the town driving I suppose. But as far as commuting on the highway, it’s borderline dangerous in some situations.
1. the suspension is horrible, feels like a small boat. I get that it’s a small truck and I don’t expect it to handle like a sports car, but is there any way to tighten things up a bit?Just shocks and leaf springs here, and suggestions?
2. It’s an automatic, and although I understand it would be easier to sell and get a manual, (the truck was my father’s, so it’s a little sentimental).... is there anything that can be done with this transmission?
3. Looked into the low boost supercharger kit. I’m not looking for tremendous power gains, but I feel another 30-40 hp would help me out a little bit on the road.
I don’t mind and have the means to put $ into it, as I will probably have it for many, many years. But I’m not looking to race, or haul anything. Just something that feels just a little more modern and safe. I hope that makes sense. Thanks in advance.
 

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Mambeau / Admin
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Welcome to CT!

Let's see ...

Is this Taco a Regular Cab or an XtraCab?

If this '98 has the original shocks it would probably make a noticeable difference to replace them, regardless of any other changes.

If you'd like to make the mini corner a bit more crisply adding a rear anti-way bar would make the biggest difference. The longstanding conventional wisdom on CT is that Hellwig was preferable (compared to Addco) for the rear.

The transmission can be overhauled, and there are such things as performance upgrades that can be done, but I'm not sure whether it would make as much difference as you may be hoping for.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. Yea it’s the xtra cab. Yea changed the shocks first thing, they were the originals. Definitely got better, as it was nearly un-drivable when I picked it up. Will check out the Hellwig sway bar, sounds like that would solve some of my issues.
The tranny is what it is I suppose. Thanks again for your time.
 

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May I recommend LC Engineering for future engine upgrade parts. I have put some quality parts on my 3rZ engine, once was a 2RZ
 

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Thanks for the reply. Yea it’s the xtra cab. Yea changed the shocks first thing, they were the originals. Definitely got better, as it was nearly un-drivable when I picked it up. Will check out the Hellwig sway bar, sounds like that would solve some of my issues.
The tranny is what it is I suppose. Thanks again for your time.
Update us when you got a new sway bar. Welcome
 

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Yes, get a rear anti-sway bar. I considered my 2002 xtra cab unsafe without one! The Hellwig is okay, but the frame clamp system they devised for the 2001-2004 Taco is crap. If it's the same sandwich clamp for the pre-2001 Taco, you need to weld the mounts to the frame. The clamps for the axle work fine, but re-torque them after you've driven some distance, and keep checking the torque until it stops loosening. Those Hellwig axle clamps are still tight, ~230k miles later. I'm using an S-Runner rear anti sway bar (I doubt that will work for your MY) instead of the Hellwig, but I used the Hellwig clamps.

As for the supercharger, I'd say don't do it. I went through it all, URD 4 injectors, tried different boost levels, and I did a bunch of tuning, even on a dyno. It was fun to drive, but the power was disappointing even at ~8psi (IIRC). Buy a v6, it'll be cheaper and more drivable. Or go turbo. If you really do want to do the S/C, go with the 5th injector instead of the 4 higher volume injectors. That wasn't an option when I bought the S/C from URD.

BTW, the Alpine/TRD/URD supercharger (the only one available for that engine) has been sitting in my garage for many, many years, as the casting broke. It was a common problem with them, and the rumors at the time were that TRD stopped selling them at least partially because of the failures, low sales volume being the other reason (because, why not just buy the V6?) Before URD agreed to pick up the S/C after TRD stopped selling them, they had Alpine redesign it to prevent the casting failure, and that "redesign" is what I bought. It still broke.
 

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Regarding the lack of power, do you regularly rev it to the redline? Or at least to where the power drops off noticeably, which is about 600 rpm below redline on my 2RZ? If you don't do that, then you shouldn't bother getting boosted. I drive all my Toyota 4 cyl engines to get the power when I need it, and with these engines, you always need it! I put about 500 miles on a 2RZ automatic before I bought my manual trans Taco, so I feel your pain with the additional power lost in the auto trans.

Too many people (sorry, don't know if this applies to you) aren't willing to rev the engine, because "it sounds loud." I've actually heard people say about their 4-banger "it won't rev any higher" when they are only at about 3k, and they can't maintain highway speed. Somehow with me in their driver seat, it manages to rev higher, go figure, I guess I have some kind of magic. So grab some earplugs, or crank the stereo, and learn to love redline! When towing a heavy trailer (I'm sure I was way over GCVWR, but I was young) across the country with my '87 22R Hilux, I ran it at redline whenever needed, which was any hill or overpass. After 230k miles, the original clutch started going and I sold it, at 250k the next owner told me that the carburetor needed quite a bit of work to pass smog, but the engine itself was still strong! Same applies for towing (or even when driving unloaded) with my 2RZ Taco: rev it like you stole it. The Taco is still going strong at >230k miles and still on the original clutch, even with all the towing I've done with it. At it's current rate of mileage accumulation (5k per annum), it will outlast me!
 
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