As it nears 100,000 miles on the odometer, our faithful 2006 Toyota Tundra DoubleCab pick-up truck and tandem hauler made it know that she’s in need of some new tires and struts. The Tundra had gone through two sets of Michelin tires in that time and was still riding on the stock struts.
All-in-all, it was a really nice “sport truck” that handled very well with its low profile-ish and very wide tires; however, it never quite looked right in profile… nor do most non-4WD trucks running modest-sized highway tires inside a rather large wheelwell.
Add-in the goofy Toyota wheel well “blisters” that come on the SR5 and Limited models and it really makes normal-size wheels & tires look undersized. In fact, one of the first things I did was to change out the 17″ Toyota alloy wheels & Dunlop tires for 18″ BBS wheels & Michelin tires and lower the rear suspension to eliminate the “stink bug” look that the raised rear-end gave the truck. That all helped, but I quickly realized that I should have probably gone “the other way” by raising the front end and upsizing the tires.
Just as a baseline comparison, here’s how our ’06 Tundra first looked when we brought it home back in October 2006:
So, up and until Monday, here’s how our trusty tandem-hauler looked after it’s initial make-over, i.e., debadging, wheel/tire change, blacking-out bright work, tinting windows, adding the cap shell, step-rails and lowering the rear suspension to level the truck.
As of yesterday afternoon, this is how it now looks after Phase I of its second make-over: The rear suspension is back to its original stock height (really, all I did was put back the stock shackles), the front suspension was raised 2″to level it with the rear suspension and new Bilstein struts were installed on all four corners. The Michelin Latitude HP tires were replaced with a set of Nitto Terra Grapplers, initially installed on the same BBS 18″ rims.
Phase II will see new rims fitted to the truck. Before changing out the rims I wanted to see how everything else looked and then “Photoshop” some different rims onto the truck with the larger tires and raised suspension to make sure they’d look right. The #1 contenders were the set of Pro Comp Series 31’s you see Photoshopped over the BBS wheels in the photo below. So, in a week or two this is how the truck will look once the wheels get shipped-in and installed.
At least for me, this will be like getting an entirely new truck! Or, will satisfy the part of my brain that drives my perceived “need” for something new. Moreover, this is the perfect solution, as there haven’t been any trucks that have come on the market since they made our 2006 Toyota Tundra 7/8th size truck that I like as much as our truck. It’s got a 6′ bed that lets us stuff our tandem in catty-corner with just the front wheel removed, the triplet fits on the roof, the rear passenger area is very generous and comfy for long trips and, well, it’s been paid for since about 6 months after I took it home! Yup, we should definitely be good-to-go for another 100,000 miles!!
Front End Transformation: Stock, 1st Make-Over, Phase 1 Make-Over:
I should note, this is actually a return to the types of trucks that we owned back in the 90’s, where I put some 250,000 miles on my trusty Toyota 4WD Xtra Cab and Debbie put a good 190,000 on a 1995 4Runner Limited. She’s never really liked the way our Tundra looked, even after the first make-over: that’s my little country girl!
Oh yeah, and do those step-rails ever come in handy now! Debbie’s always used hers to get in but I’ve been able to pretty much step in without them. Not any more! It’s nice to have a truck that finally feels like a truck again!