Today's the day we're going to lift my truck.
I'm super excited about this.
Normally I don't teardown things this size or, you know, expensive, but this should be
I have an Icon Stage 9 lift kit, and we're going to remove a huge chunk of the factory
suspension and replace it with these aftermarket components.
Let's get started.
So the reason people add lifts to their truck, or I guess my reason why I'm lifting my truck
is just to get a little bit more performance than the stock vehicle.
So most vehicles are designed so they can be used on the freeway because that's where
it's going to spend, you know, 99% of it's life.
I like things that are practical and useful in a more broad spectrum.
So having a lift on my truck allows me to go off-road and have more performance if I
ever do need to go off of, you know, a paved road.
So we have the truck lifted up off the ground a little bit so we can get those tires off
and start working on the suspension.
If you're...when I first started my YouTube channel I was doing more automotive and car
And the reason my whole channel exists is because of this guy: BriansMobile1.
We're in his shop today and he's going to be helping me out a little bit.
[Brian] Alright, step one: get rid of the wheel.
[Zack] So it's interesting that I've had this truck for about 6,000 miles and there's already
some rust on some of the bolts inside.
And rust is not a good thing when it comes to cars, it makes things seize up inside.
So we're going to wire brush that off really quick and that will give us easier access
to remove some of the components.
So we're replacing some of the suspension on the truck and we're going to show the majority
of the passenger side right now.
The passenger and the driver's side are pretty similar.
I'll kind of explain a little bit what each component does as we're going through the
So that sway bar that we just disconnected, it wraps up and goes all the way through the
front of the truck and attaches to the other tire.
[Brian] Basically what that does is it connects the wheels and the frame and everything in
such a way that you don't get body roll.
This is what body roll looks like: if you go around the corner it would lay to the side.
And that's fine for an off-road vehicle, but on the highway you don't want to be doing
this on the freeway on-ramp.
[Zack] So the sway bar keeps the body of the truck from swaying side to side.
It keeps everything stable.
[Brian] So this is a tapered bolt and it goes through this in such a way that it really
To get them undone what I like to do it put some shock through it.
So now they're not tight – we won't be pulling on them hard.
[Zack] So obviously with a project like this there are a lot of dangers.
So the truck is supported in multiple locations.
And we're taking special precautions not to damage the brake lines because if the brake
lines break during this process, it adds another level of complexity that we don't want to
deal with right now.
So to keep stress off of this brake line right here...this brake hose, we have a jack stand
supported up underneath here on this knuckle, and that's keeping the weight from breaking
that hose up there.
My truck is brand new, I've only had it for 3 months, and there's already rust on some
of the bolts inside.
The last time I did this was on like a '95 Jeep Wrangler, and that was a nightmare.
Some of bolts had seized up so much that I had to just sawzall through them and remove
the part, you know, with the bolt still intact with the metal joined together.
[Brian] Hooray, now I can turn it however I want.
[Zack] If we were to just hit this with a hammer it might damage the threads, so we
put a castle nut over the top like this, and then it gave us a flat surface to hit the
hammer on without damaging the actual threads themselves.
A little trick of the trade.
And like always, it's a really good idea to keep your screws organized during the whole
So up at the top of the shock there are three bolts with a 14 millimeter....with a 14 millimeter
nut attached to it.
So we're going to pop those out and that allows the whole shock assembly to drop out from
the housing that it's in.
[Brian] So with the tie rod off, we can manipulate it to turn right or left with ease.
So if you turn it like this, I can lift it up and out.
Turn it back the other way, slide it out.
[Zack] Alright, so this is the shock we just took out.
You can kind of see this housing inside that has like, you know, a bunch of gas and oil
inside of it.
And that's kind of what makes a smooth ride when you're driving your car or your truck...whatever
vehicle you have.
It also has this huge spring on it.
Now Icon was nice enough to send me out one of their lift kits.
This is a Stage 9 from my truck, and you can see that the inside reservoir first of all
is super beefy.
And it has an external reservoir as well.
So when you're going off-road and there are, you know bumps and stuff in the road, and
your shock is fully extended, it still has enough dampening oil and fluid inside of this
to give you a smooth ride.
Now the vast majority of people will never ever need that because most cars spend 99%
of their lives on paved roads.
But since my truck is useful and has features, I want it to be able to go off-road, and that
extra fluid and stuff and the shocks gives a smoother ride off-road when you're crawling
or just, you know, going on roads that aren't paved.
[Brian] So that reserve reservoir is going to mount to this bracket.
So with this out of the way we can get this into place just like that.
[Zack] Alright, so this is the upper control arm.
It's kind of like this u-shaped thing right here.
And we're replacing that to give, you know, more travel to the shock.
So that bolt we were working on inside with the upper control arm...that needs to come
out through like underneath the hood.
[Brian] So we've got an air conditioning line that's in the way, a little wire harness,
so we got to unmount this so that it can flex out of the way.
With the bolt out of the way, now we can get a little bit of movement on it.
You don't want to grease it, but you can certainly move it to clear the path for the bolt.
[Zack] Now this bolt right here we're making progress.
Look at that thing.
To make enough room for that bolt to come out, we had to bend on that little side wall
[Brian] Just flex it on the body mounts.
[Zack] A little bit of aggressive persuasion.
[Brian] In order to get the reservoir bracket in there, you have to take out this plastic
If you push on it, you can see that it's not steel at all.
Looks like it's part of the stamping of the frame, but it's not.
There we go.
The irony is that there's already tape right there, so we just complete it.
So with those plastic clips gone, the reserve reservoir brackets are going to fit nice and
flush against the frame.
[Zack] Alright, so this one is for the passenger side, which is the side of the vehicle we
are working on.
[Brian] Get it up in the top as far as you can and then just use a pry bar to get it
the rest of the way.
I would recommend leaving this undone and bolting the top first.
It makes it a lot easier to get those 3 bolts in the top.
Blue holds things in place through vibration without being too aggressive.
And it also coats this.
This is steel and it has some kind of anodized coating on it.
But anytime you put steel into aluminum, it's good to have something on it.
So once you get the first one in, you can let it hang by that and it will help to line
the other ones up.
So I don't tighten it all the way until I've got all 3 bolts in place.
If you get a bunch on one side as you twist it in, it'll get around the other sides too.
And the beauty of doing it this way is you can fit a pry bar underneath it here and get
yours up and down and forward and back pretty easy.
But these are tough otherwise.
Then go back through by hand and snug them up good.
Alright, so the bolt goes from the back side towards the front, to support the shock it
goes in really easy.
I like to have this side straight and then have this one angled up just a little bit.
And you put the straight side on first where the bolt's going to go.
[Zack] Stick this massive bolt over here.
So the best way to get this in from underneath the hood was we had to put the washer and
then this metal bit right here on top of the bolt first, and then that allowed the angle
to get through this other hole and then feed through the entire control arm out the other
We had to get a little creative with tapping the end of the bolt from underneath the hood
after that washer and metal bit were on, and then it sank all the way through the rest
of the control arm.
Alright, so the upper control arm is here, and we're going to attach this bottom part
with this massive nut.
Do you remember the sway bar?
Right below that is something called the tie rod, and this is what is attached to your
steering wheel, and it moves the steering knuckle.
It's what makes your wheels go back and forth as you're driving your car.
So we're going to take that, pop it up back into this hole where it came from, put the
castle nut over top.
So the reason they call it a castle nut is because it has these little pillars, you know,
like a castle looks like.
So we're going to stick this pin all the way through this whole.
Once that pin is in, and make sure that the nut is not ever going to spin, because when
you're moving your steering wheel back and forth, everything is constantly moving, and
that will keep things secure.
So this bracket right there, the sway arm needs to be offset a little bit from where
it was before, so included with the Icon Stage 9 kit is one of these offset brackets, so
we're going to go ahead and plop this into place.
Basically this uses the original bolt holes inside of the frame and then gives us new
bolt holes to mount the sway bar to.
And that reservoir bracket is between the spacer and the frame.
[Brian] You'll notice we've got the rubber splash guard between the bracket and this.
That helps to reduce any potential for noise.
[Zack] So in order to mount the reserve reservoir we had to cut a few slits inside a splash
guard for the clamps and then we can slide the reserve reservoir through the clamps and
then tighten them down.
This part right here is attached to the sway bar, it's called a sway bar link.
We're going to toss it through here and then we're pretty much done once I can get this
We have the reservoir, we have the top control arm, we have the shock in place.
Not too bad.
Take a look at the hardware.
I think that looks sick.
One thing about these lift kits is that they're adjustable.
So I can go all the way down and have it basically to like the stock height, or I can raise it
up along all of these threads and getting more clearance as the spring gets more and
more compressed down the shaft.
The higher we go lift-wise, like the more you compress that spring, the stiffer the
ride is going to be, but the more clearance you'll have from the ground.
Which depending on what you're doing, if you're doing a lot of freeway riding you don't need
a lot of clearance, but if you're off-road most of the time, I need to clear like boulders
and hills or whatever, give yourself a higher point of gravity, a higher center of gravity,
then it's nice to have a higher truck.
Alright, everything is mounted and in place.
All of the bolts are snug and tight.
We have the skid plate stuck back on along with the sway bar underneath that.
So we'll get the tire put back in and we'll be good to go.
Alright so the front tires are done, but believe it or not there are 4 tires on a truck and
so now we're doing the rear which are actually leaf springs instead of like the coil shocks
we saw earlier.
So they should go a little quicker.
There are less parts to replace.
The leaf springs are actually super heavy.
I'll show them to you over here.
These things probably weight over a hundred pounds and there are quite a few more springs
than the ones we have underneath.
So this is called an impact gun, and it's probably been my favorite tool of the entire
Alright, so these are drum brakes, the emergency brake line comes up through here so we're
going to remove these lines.
This is the emergency brake cable, and we're going to remove that which will give us more
room to mess around with like the axle and the shocks and the leaf springs and stuff
So this is the shock itself which we're going to be replacing.
Should come out.
Now let's get the better ones in.
Alright so we're dropping the rear tire down.
Just want to point out that we have the truck supported on a lift and a secondary support
underneath the axle so I'm safe in more than one regard, along with eye protection.
And right now we are taking off the bolts, these u-bolts right here that hold the axle
to the leaf springs.
Front bolt's out of the leaf springs.
These aren't the hardest part, but they're the heaviest.
We have the 2 old leaf springs here.
Working with leaf springs is kind of tricky cuz they're under pressure when they're all
pinched together with this center bolt.
And keeping them all lined up at the same time while they're pinched together under
pressure is kind of tricky.
Alright so I have a c-clamp on this and we've released all of the bolts holding this sandwich
together, this big metal sandwich.
And as I slowly loosen up this c-clamp, it's going to expand all the way out and allow
us to switch out some of the leaves inside the leaf spring.
So with this big metal sandwich of a leaf spring, there's this one center guiding pin
and so that's what we are c-clamping together as we lined up all the layers.
And there are little metal plates in between which minimize the sound and the squeak-age
between the layers as they flex together.
[Brian] So you got these little barrels that space out the middle part.
Just trying to keep the key up.
You gotta be careful of your threads but if you're lined up you can just knock it through
In this case, according to the instructions, this goes to the rear with the one and then
two go to the front.
[Zack] Alright, we'll tighten everything down and then get it back on the truck.
So as Brian is setting this back into the axle, there's this little pin at the bottom
which sits inside of the axle and what does that do?
[Brian] It keys it up so that your axles stay a fixed distance.
Now that we have a slack in the brake hoses we can put the brackets back on and get those
[Zack] So this little guy here is called a bump stop which is a little bit different
than another video I made recently.
It sits right on top of this and that's so when the truck bottoms out it doesn't hit
the leaf springs, it hits this rubber on top of the bump stop.
[Brian] Okay so the u-bolts are what hold the axle to the leaf spring and essentially
the rest of the truck.
So there's a great big cup that goes on the bottom side.
It's like a giant washer that helps to center it on the axle
[Zack] So the thing with these is that they all have to be even, like they all have to
be evenly spaced and have an even number of threads sticking out through the bottom.
So right now I'm not going to go up all the way, I'm just going to snuggle up till they're
Alright, so this shock right here we're going to put it up through this hole in the top
section, and then the bottom section goes into that little slot right there.
We are almost done and my truck is almost put back together.
Pretty heavy-duty stuff.
So even though this truck is the off-road TRD Tacoma, so it's built for off-roading,
this shock right here, you know, it's still you know, mainly going to be driven on the
freeway so these shocks are quite a bit smaller than the Icon Stage 9 shocks we're putting
So you can see the off-road freeway shocks verses the off-road off-road shocks.
Pretty big difference.
[Brian] So this next step we have the bottom of the shocks secured, and then for the top
it's hard because you got to squish these bushings.
So to accomplish this part, you can either jack the axle up with it or you can let the
Once you crush it down a little bit on the bushing then you can get your nut started.
You just stack it with a bushing like this, washer on top, and then you should have just
enough thread now to where you can get this started.
These nuts hold the top of the shock on.
To do it right you want to tighten it down to where when you put the second one on it's
So put the first one on till you wind it up like this and spin on the second one and lock
If you look at it it's got some texture on one side.
This is a mechanic trick: put the texture down, it bites better.
Put this in the middle and ding it.
And that will help locate the drill bit so it doesn't creep.
One of the things that I really like to use when I'm drilling stuff like this is a Boelube.
Boeing company came up with this for drilling.
It comes out like margarine, when it gets hot it gets more runny.
When you get your bit hot, you just dip it again.
[Zack] Alright, so this is the bracket that holds the reservoir, so we're going to stick
that in place.
[Brian] That'll work.
[Zack] So the rear shocks and reservoir are in.
Everything is tightened down.
Remember we have the bottom of the u-bolts, we have these bolts right here on top of the
leaf springs and these leaf springs have to be loaded, meaning that the weight has to
be down on the axle and all the way to the truck is on the leaf springs before you can
tighten these bolts down in at the end because of the bushings.
[Truck squeaking/lowering sounds]
I'm super excited about this!
The truck is back on the ground and look at all that extra space for extra tires.
I am super excited about that!
[Brian] Looks like real suspension.
[Zack] That's awesome!
You've done the suspensions on trucks and stuff before, so what would you change?
What did you like about this one and what would you change if you had to change anything.
[Brian] I really like the reservoirs on this one.
As far as changing things...I would do something with the mounting of the reservoirs on the
I'd weld bolts on.
It's way easier and it keeps it up off the frame.
I like it where the lift comes from the steering knuckle having a little bit of change, but
they are a lot harder and more expensive to make.
[Zack] So with this with the Icon Stage 9 we started about ten o'clock in the morning
and it's nine o'clock now, so it took us I would say about 10 hours or so.
If we had to do it again, we could probably do it a little bit quicker, but you know,
it's not too bad.
[Brian] There's some learning curve, we cheated and looked at the instructions a few times.
[Zack] So right now with the truck, it does have the stock tires on it still, which are
pretty, like, you know, hidden inside of the truck and leave plenty of space around the
outside, so inside of the wheel well.
So I will be getting new tires and rims but I will save that for a new video.
This is just how to install the lift on the truck.
And huge thanks to Brian for helping me out with this process.
I don't have all the tools to do it myself.
You can do it with hand tools, but with the right tools it's a lot easier.
If you have not seen Brian's channel, definitely go check it out.
I'll leave a link right here somewhere on Brian for his channel.
[Brian] Check me out, I've got all kinds of stuff that show how cars work, how to diagnose
I got some hard hitting heavy duty stuff and I've got some easy stuff too.
[Zack] Huge thanks to Icon for hooking us up with this Stage 9 lift.
If you have any questions leave them down in the comments and Brian will be here to
answer them all.
[Brian] You bet.
[Zack] Thanks a ton for watching and I will see you around.