Accessories & Gear / Lift Kits

Trail-Gear Solid Axle Swap Kits for the 95-04′ Tacoma

Adding a solid front axle to the Toyota Tacoma is an excellent way of cranking up its ability to handle a wide variety of off-road driving tasks. There is no question that a solid front axle offers not only a much stronger suspension setup that won’t give out under trail driving conditions, but also one which dramatically increases the amount of suspension travel available to the truck.

Trail Gear SAS Kit in action.

Trail-Gear Inc. is an off-road equipment manufacturer that offers not one, but two kits for installing a solid front axle in all 1995 to 2004 Toyota Tacoma pickups. The company advertises its Solid Axle Swap (SAS) kits as the most complete on the market. I had the chance to speak with Matt at Trail-Gear about some of their kit details and what they had to offer Tacoma owners.

What’s In The Box?

Trail-Gear SAS Kit B.

According to Matt, the two kits (conveniently labeled Tacoma SAS Kit A and Tacoma SAS Kit B) were put together with slightly different purposes in mind. Kit A is intended for Tacoma drivers who are comfortable with modifying their own oil pan or transfer case crossmember, if required – and it definitely is required on some editions of the Tacoma. SAS Kit A is also intended to allow for a wider range of choices as to which brand of axle you want to mount underneath the pickup. Kit B provides the whole shebang – a modified cross member, custom oil pan and all of the hardware needed to slip a solid front axle under the Tacoma’s chassis. By necessity, SAS Kit B requires that you use a Toyota-sourced axle in your plans, as each of the additional fabricated components has been manufactured with a Toyota axle in mind. Trail-Gear suggests grabbing one from a 96-95 mini truck or Toyota 4Runner for an almost plug-and-play experience.

SAS Kit Benefits

Trail-Gear designed each of its kits to be easy to install, which means that shade tree mechanics have a chance of being able to swap out their old IRS setup and install a “new” solid front axle themselves. Matt says that the difference between the IRS and the solid setup is immediately noticeable out of the trail, as the Tacoma’s 7.5-inches of stock suspension travel before hitting the bumpstops grow considerably. On the street, the solid axle Tacoma is well-mannered and suited for daily driving duties, offering performance that Matt likens to a mix of the older second generation platform and the newer model pickup. Overall handling matches that of any leaf-spring pickup.

The Trail-Gear SAS Kits are both excellent choices for Tacoma owners looking to seriously improve their fun climbing rocks, pulling up inclines or handling uneven terrain. With two levels of pricing and a positive reputation in the Tacoma community, the Trail-Gear kits are well worth investigating.