"If you can drill a hole and weld upside down, you can install RCLT HD" – Nate, Dirt Lifestyle
RCLT HD Install and Q&A by Dirt Lifestyle & BigMike
Welcome to the BRAND NEW WORLD of Toyota IFS Rock Crawling
Welcome to the birth of the Toyota Rock Crawling IFS industry, brought to you by the founder of the Rock Crawling industry, Marlin Crawler.
The facts are simple:
- A 35" tire is the minimum entry size to be taken serious as a Rock Crawler
- No Long Travel IFS Kit can Rock Crawl 35" tires without modifying the cab A-pillar mount, and therefore
- No Long Travel IFS Kit is designed for Rock Crawling
The goals of the all-new Marlin Crawler Long Travel IFS:
- To install 35" tires without cab mount modification
- To improve approach angle closer to or on par with Solid Axle Conversions
- To take full advantage of the Heavy Duty MarRack Steering System
- To carve a new path away from existing Long Travel kits not designed for Rock Crawling
How Marlin Crawler accomplished this:
- By moving the knuckle forward for tire clearance & approach angles never done before
- By increasing ground clearance of the traditional lower control arm design to a level never done before
- By having the strongest factory-style steering system integrated with the IFS in a way never done before
The Patented RCLT HD is born
RCLT HD stands for Rock Crawling Long Travel, Heavy Duty, and is the very first Long Travel IFS Kit specifically designed for the Rock Crawler.
RCLT HD has many unique industry first features that puts it in a newly created market segment strong enough for Rock Crawling. Main features include...
- Relocate front axle so far forward it requires a new steering system,
- Unmatched IFS approach angle,
- Unmatched IFS ground clearance,
- Unmatched IFS knuckle strength,
- Unmatched IFS steering strength,
- Flex equal to wider LT kits yet without requiring fiberglass fenders,
- Ability to run 35" tires without body mount modification, and
- It is the first IFS system that challenges the benefits of a Solid Axle Swap
For these reasons, RCLT HD avoids competing with existing Long Travel kits and is why RCLT HD is proudly Patented! (No. 11066099)
Approach Angle, Ground Clearance, and Steering Strength are all serious handicaps to the IFS off-roader and RCLT HD greatly improves all three!
RCLT HD is 100% designed, developed, tested, built and manufactured in Central California, using USA steel with USA-made FK uniball bearings and tie rod ends. Comprised of 242 carefully designed individual parts, it is not just another Long Travel kit. This is a first-of-a-kind full IFS and steering systems integrated replacement consisting of...
...and made possible by the MarRack steering rack replacement and our extended length steering arms that reduce driver steering effort perfect for handling oversized tires on- or off-road. In fact, RCLT HD has the strongest Toyota Long Travel Knuckle ever made, with our signature one-piece steering-hub-caliper solid lower section cut from billet larger than two dual case adapters!
- Never-before-done two-inch forward control arm geometry,
- Never-before-done knuckle geometry, and
- Never-before-done steering geometry
Strength, handling, steering, ride quality, & on/off-road
traction is unparalleled in the Toyota IFS market
While RCLT HD was never meant to replace a Solid Axle Swap, it greatly challenges the benefits thereof in the following ways:
- RCLT HD has vastly more ground clearance and less unsprung mass than an SAS
- Is 99% bolt-on and easily transferable from vehicle to vehicle
- May be removed and all original IFS components reinstalled
- Retains all factory ABS, cruise, and traction control systems
- Reuses OEM brakes and hub components for ease of service
- Can be aligned by any shop without special instructions
- Retains superior handling, ride quality, & stability for daily-drivers
Testing Score Card
Iterations of RCLT HD have been tested on the following trails without failure:
On 40" x 13.5" tires:
Rubicon (6-times), Fordyce (all winch hills successfully climbed and descended without winching)
Dusy/Ershim (both directions), Coyote Lake, Red Lake, Strawberry Lake, West Lake, Bald Mtn, Cheapo Saddle
Pritchett Canyon, Top Of The World, Cliff Hanger Gatekeeper
Hole In The Rock
Poughkeepsie Gulch, Imogene Pass, Black Bear Pass
On 35" x 12.5" tires:
Southern California/Johnson Valley:
Jack & Sledge Hammer, Aftershock, Fissure Mtn, Not Her Problem, Guacamole, Cougar Buttes
BigMike's 2016 Tacoma now has over 35,000 miles of daily driving and off-road wheeling with RCLT HD + 40" tires (never been trailered). Drives to, wheels hard, and returns home with zero suspension, steering, or RCV axle shaft failures. His truck averages 19.5 MPG with cruise control set to 70 MPH. Quite possibly the most accomplished street-legal IFS truck on 40-inch tires of all time!
BigMike is running approximately 5.25" of front end lift compared to stock.
Please click here to return to the top to explore more about RCLT HD through the page tabs above. Thank you!
The designation of RCLT HD is as follows:
"+2 RC": Rock Crawling (RC) Capability!
- Knuckle moved forward +2.00 inches (50.8mm)
- Approach Angle comparable to a mild Solid Axle Swap setup
- Target goal of fitting 35" tires without requiring body mount modification
"+2.75 LT": Extended control arms for Long Travel (LT) capability
- +2.75 inches (69.85mm) longer per side, overall track width increase of +5.50 inches (139.7mm)
- Greatly improved side-hill stability, ride quality, and smoothness over large objects
- Includes Secondary Shock Mounts (not shown in Preview photos)
- Sets the bar for a New Mid-length Solution:
- Exactly between the industry standard of 2 and 3.50" LT widths
- Maneuverability: Being too wide is often detrimental for use on technical trails
- Flex: We use horizontal ball joints that exceed the articulation of vertical joint LT setups
- Our +2.75" kit achieves up to 12.5" of travel at the hub, which is 96% as much as typical +3.50" kits yet is 27% more narrow for better maneuverability in technical trails.
- Example: With 9" wide 4.06" backspace -24mm offset wheels this equates to 14.5" of travel at tire centerline, or 29" of real-world/RTI cross-articulation.
- Fenders: The articulation performance of a +3.50" LT without requiring fiberglass!
"HD": Heavy Duty (HD) Boxed design
Including HD Knuckles and integrated HD MarRack Steering Rack
- Maximum strength for Rock Crawling
- Double-sheer Horizontal Ball Joints top and bottom
- Suspension travel no longer limited by ball joints
- Double-sheer 1-ton SAS-sized Steering Tie Rod components
- Extended height knuckle for greatly reduced bump steer and rate of camber change
- Maintains alignment parameters for a far greater range of motion
- Handling and ride quality vastly improved over Long Travel setups re-using factory knuckles
We have a +3.50-inch LT design already being tested, however, we are currently only focused on the +2.75-inch LT.
Click here to read BigMike's TacomaWorld Reply #1,086 of how
RCLT HD is changing his 38 years of off-roading experience!
The first production RCLT HD will be our +2.75" version that fits:
2003+ Lexus GX470
2003+ Toyota 4Runner
2005+ Toyota 4WD Tacoma
2006+ Toyota FJ Cruiser
We have a +3.50-inch LT design already being tested, however, we are currently only focused on the +2.75-inch LT.
What Parts are Included?
- Heavy Duty Lower Control Arms, 2.75-inch longer than stock (5.50-inch track width increase)
- Heavy Duty Double-sheer Upper Control Arms with adjustable caster
- Heavy Duty Double-sheer Knuckles with unique geometry only compatible with a MarRack
- Not compatible with factory racks or narrowed Tundra racks
- Not compatible with sway bars or K.D.S.S.
- Not compatible with 15- or 16-inch wheels (see FAQ for more details)
- Heavy Duty 1-ton SAS-sized Double-sheer Steering Hardware
- Mounting Templates, Sector Shaft Adapter, & Hardware to install a MarRack
- Adjustable 15,000 lb-rated Limit Straps with Heat Treated Chromoly Ends
- Military grade USA-made Steel Braided Brake Lines
- Complete Hardware Kit
Full Kit Photo and Online Instructions will be posted prior to shipping the first Production Run
Please see the 'Required Parts' tab for remaining parts required to install RCLT HD.
Three Required Parts NOT Included
• MarRack Heavy Duty Steering Rack
The MarRack is a central component of RCLT HD and our Patent would not be complete without it.
The late-model 2003+ Toyota IFS System uses a light-duty rack & pinion that uses light-duty "fused" inner tie rods. These light duty components are known to fail with 34" tires, and because 35" is the entry point into Rock Crawling, by definition your steering system MUST be upgraded if you wish to off-road without failures. This is where the MarRack comes into play.
The MarRack is the first Heavy Duty Steering System that integrates with Long Travel in a way never previously done before. By using a 54% more massive and seriously heavy-duty steering rack, we custom designed the first Rock Crawling Steering and Long Travel Integrated System with new & improved geometry designed for lifted applications & focused on maximum strength. Our unbreakable double-sheer CNC billet steering arms provide 15% more steering power while reducing steering effort by the driver by 15%. Moreover, this unique design decreases stress acting on steering components from objects encountered on the trail. A serious win-win! Finally, the MarRack enables our knuckles to be pushed forward more than double any other Toyota LT for unparalleled Rock Crawling IFS performance!
So exactly what is the MarRack?
The MarRack was originally designed from the strongest Koyo Seiko steering rack used on a non-commercial vehicle and was meant to be a 100% custom & bolt-in Marlin Crawler product. We sent RCLT HD designs to Japanese and US rack manufactures but ultimately could not make a MarRack at a competitive price point. As a result, the design of RCLT HD was carefully altered to allow a Toyota-based solution to work which is internally known as the "MarRack 2.0", now sourced from a 2008-2021 200-series Land Cruiser. Compared to a 2nd gen Tundra rack, the MarRack is stronger, larger, has an increased cooling capacity, and has three frame mounts instead of two. Best of all, the MarRack never needs to be narrowed or shortened because RCLT HD has its own geometry!
Now then, when we show you the following pricing, you're going to be astonished which is why we could not make our own rack in a cost effective manner.Standard Build: $330
Aftermarket overseas manufactures. Random examples shown, pricing as of 9/2/21
RockAuto » Ultra-Power P/N 3676N for $305.89 (link, Region-based network)
RockAuto » AAE P/N 3676N for $351.79 (link, Region-based network)
BuyAutoParts » Remanufactured P/N 80-01660 R for $373.95 (link, Kentucky)
BuyAutoParts » New P/N 80-01660 AN for $549.67 (link, Kentucky)
Ultimate Build: $500
Genuine Toyota P/N 44200-60170. Random examples shown, pricing as of 9/2/21
MC George Toyota » $467.76 (link, Richmond, Virginia)
Toyota Parts Deal » $477.49 (link, Nation-wide dealer network)
Olathe Toyota » $478.79 (link, Olathe, Kansas)
Your Local Dealership » $704.11 (link, Nation-wide dealer network)
Compared to other LT setups, the $330 to $500 MarRack is the only new expense required. Should you desire to refresh the MarRack after say 100,000 miles of trouble-free rock crawling, you don't have to pay extra for a special narrow or custom tig-welded rack; You simply order one from anywhere, re-use our simple parts to modify it, and install.
The remaining two parts are standard required parts for any Long Travel Kit or Solid Axle Swap conversion.
• Axle Shafts
We recommend RCV Axles
Standard Build (for tire sizes up to 35"): $750
RCV Chromoly Replacement Inner Shafts
Two required @ $375 each, currently available direct from RCV (815) 877-7473 with a typical lead time of 6 to 8 weeks. Specify "OEM +2.75 Shafts". Reuses your original factory inner & outer joints & boots.
Ultimate Build (35" tires or larger): $2,195
RCV Ultimate CV Set -- Click to view RCLT HD Axles on rcvperformance.com
P/N CVJIFS-TOY2X2.75, one set required @ $2,195, available direct from RCV (815) 877-7473 with a typical lead time of 6 to 8 weeks. Complete axle, joint, & boot replacement using unbreakable Dana 60 35-spline 300M Chromoly with a lifetime warranty up to 40" tires.
• Long Travel Coil-overs
2.5-inch LT coil-over with a 24.5" extended length and 8" stroke, or equivalent. For best results we recommend Radflo.com coil-overs which have been custom built by our own specifications in testing and tuning RCLT HD and have a true 8.0-inch stroke. See FAQ for more details.
Standard Build: $1,700
The standard build has a remote reservoir without compression adjustability.
Radflo P/N 6CT-001-5R sold as a pair @ $1,702.00. Coil: 550 lb-ft, other rates available by request.
Icon P/N 59730-CB sold as a pair @ $1,679.95. Coil: 600 lb-ft, other rates by request.
Fox P/N 880-02-953 sold as a pair @ $1,749.00.
Ultimate Build: $2,000
Total Cost Overview based on the above
"At time of launch, the price goal for a complete DIY turn-key RCLT HD installation will come in
at less than just the shop labor charge to do an SAS, which is often $10K or more." -BigMike
Standard installation of RCLT HD:
$286.79 (MarRack) + $750 (Inner Axle Shafts) + $1,679.95 (Icon Coil overs) = $2,716.74 needed parts
$6,999 RCLT + $2,716.74 needed parts = $9,715.74 total
Ultimate installation of RCLT HD:
$461.03 (MarRack) + $2,195 (Ultimate CV Set) + $1,974.00 (Radflo, adj.) = $4,630.03 needed parts
$6,999 RCLT + $4,630.03 needed parts = $11,629.03 total
Tools required to install RCLT HD include a welder, grinder, drill, and simple hand tools. The total amount of welding is only around 25" inches of weld and can be done with home garage welders.
June 18: History was made as the first Long Travel IFS on 40s completed Fordyce, Northern California's most difficult trail, doing the entire trail in a V8 4Runner without any winching. Congratulations Fred & Dave from Dirt Every Day! Photo credit @harrysituations
"I can honestly say I was not sure how this beefy IFS was going to hold up. So far its very impressive. @marlincrawler RCLT is straddling big rocks, @rcvperformance axles are super strong! And the @arb4x4 air locker and @nitrogears are doing work. If it survives Fourdyce Im pretty sure its a winner." - Fred Williams, Dirt Every Day
RCLT HD placed 10th in the 2020 King Of the Hammers Every Man Competition (EMC) under a V8-powered 4Runner, becoming the first Toyota IFS to run both desert & rock crawling trail sections at the most abusive single-day off-road race on the planet!
RCLT HD is the only IFS + Steering integrated system strong enough for KOH EMC.
Shannon Campbell approved
At the 2020 King Of the Hammers, RCLT HD received an awesome endorsement from IFS Rock
Crawler and 3-time KOH Champion Shannon Campbell! Shannon races an 800 HP Ultra4 car with
IFS + 40" tires, and is the most successful competition IFS Rock Crawler around!
Del Albright approved
At the 2020 CAL4WD Convention, RCLT HD received another great vote of confidence
from Off-road Motorsports hall of famer and one of the largest land use advocates in
the country, Mr. Del Albright! Del is an incredible ambassador to off-road access and
runs professional off-road training and leadership programs. Please check out his
highly informative website at delalbright.com
Steve Sasaki approved
At the 2020 Fourwheeler Adventure Expo, RCLT HD got endorsed by Steve Sasaki
of PowerTank.com!! Steve said, "This is the new SAS for modern Toyota's."
Steve is the founder of Power Tank and has developed the best portable air system
for airing up tires, reseating beads, and running air tools out on the trail.
We have proudly carried his Power Tank products for close to 20 yrs
and highly recommend them: MarlinCrawler.com/powertank
Fred Williams approved
Also at the Adventure Expo, RCLT HD got endorsed by Fred Williams from
Motortrend's Dirt Every Day TV series!! Here is what Fred had to say:
"Marlin Crawler continues to innovate. What started with
gearing has evolved into a Toyota IFS for the Rock Crawler."
Thank you very much Fred and we absolutely LOVE watching your
show and working on your Toyota Rock Crawler "Clampy"!
RCLT HD Installation InstructionsBookmark link: MarlinCrawler.com/RCLTHD/instructions
Click here or on the below image to download Instructions
52-pages, 9.2 MB PDF, Updated: 11/18/21
Instructions Change Log:
v1.07 - Released 11/18/2021116 total changes (according to plain-text file compare utility)v1.06 - Released 10/8/2021
Increased estimated install time one day for inexperienced shops
Added additional Engine Mount Clearance notes, photo credit @lostinthewoodst4r
Copied Appendix A4's Seal Orientation Reference to HD Knuckle Preparation
Added info regarding removing debris from brake rotor mount surface
Added Appendix A12 for Brake Rotor Interference Troubleshooting
Minor other readability improvements
Pages: 52, Figures: 118106 total changesv1.05 - Released 9/9/2021
Fixed multiple page and reference number errors
Improved readability of Power Steering Flush
Improved readability of MarRack O-Ring Conversion
Improved readability of Hydro Bump Stop option
Improved Bushing Torch image
Improved Speed Sensor Harness routing image
Added note about LCA Steering Stop Limit
Added Seal Orientation Reference to Appendix A4
Minor other readability improvements
Pages: 51, Figures: 117
Website: Updated "Click to View" image255 total changesv1.04 - Released 6/21/2021
Added Version Number and QR code to front page
Added 2010+ SUV LH Differential Mount Instructions
Expanded MarRack Line Adapter to 2010+ SUV applications
Improved images of MarRack Line Adapter
Improved description of MarRack ITR removal options
Improved description of MarRack to oil pan clearance for V8 applications
Added image of non-VVT-i 8cyl MarRack oil pan clearance, photo credit @lostinthewoodst4r
Added image for torching out steering rack bushing, photo credit @4xfredwilliams
Added section to record final Sector Shaft measurements
Improved image of optional Hydro Bump Stop setup, photo credit @lostinthewoodst4r
Added more RCLT HD action photos, 5th gen 4Runner photo credit @acardena13
Minor readability and detail improvements
Pages: 51, Figures: 117
Website: Added Instructions Change Log
Website: Created easy to remember URL: MarlinCrawler.com/RCLTHD/instructions128 total changesv1.03 - Released 6/20/2021
Added Middle Caster Position Measurements
Many readability and detail improvements
Pages: 50, Figures: 109183 total changesv1.02 - Released 6/13/2021
Added Body Mount and Fender Clearancing Notes
Added Coil Spring Rate Notes
Added different MarRack ITR removal options
Improved view of MarRack Frame Insert Illustration
Improved Compression Sleeve Identification
Added Routine Maintenance
Improved Break In Procedure
Improved Closing Notes
Readability and detail improvements
Added RCLT HD action photos
Pages: 50, Figures: 109147 total changesv1.01 - Released 6/10/2021
Added comprehensive Checklist
Improved Knuckle Assembly Instructions
Added instructions for rare LCA-to-Rear Frame Mount Interference
Added Caster Adjust Feature Details
Improved Axle Nut Torque Instructions
Themed Torque Tables
Added Heavy Duty Frame Brace Kit Reference
Readability and detail improvements
Pages: 49, Figures: 10612 total changesv1.00 - Released 6/9/2021
Pages: 48, Figures: 106First Official Release!v1.00RC3
115 total changes
Simplified Estimated Installation Time breakdown
Updated Superseded Toyota OEM Oil Seal Part Numbers
Improved Prado frame identification
Finished Tools Required sections
Readability and detail improvements
Pages: 48, Figures: 106Third & Final Release Candidatev1.00RC2
283 total changes
Added Estimated Installation Time breakdown
Added LCA Compression Sleeve Application Information
Improved LCA Compression Sleeve Images
Many readability and detail improvements
Pages: 48, Figures: 106Second Release Candidatev1.00RC1
71 total changes
Added Power Steering System Flush Images
Added Toyota OEM Oil Seal Images
Added Limit Strap Images
Added ABS Harness Image
Added Caliper Hard Line Image
Added "Simple ±1° Caster Adjust Without Removing Tire" Procedure
Added units to various torque measurements
Readability and detail improvements
Pages: 48, Figures: 104Initial Release Candidate
First four installations performed with RC1!
Pages: 48, Figures: 99
An RCLT HD on 40s flexing atop another RCLT HD on 40s
Frequently Asked Questions
• First section: Installation FAQ (Updated: 6/11/21)
• Second section: BigMike's Q&A to Dirt Lifestyle's RCLT HD Install Video (Updated: 1/17/22)
RCLT HD is designed for use with 2.5" diameter coil overs typically used on +2.00" & +3.50" Long Travel setups, specifically with a 16.5" collapsed, 24.5" extended, and 8" stroke lengths and a lower mount designed for 1/2" hardware and 1.5" mounting width. Longer or shorter coil overs may be used at the expense of either less up-travel or less down-travel, respectively.
Body and/or Bumper Clearancing
Because RCLT HD repositions your front tires forward 2-inches for an industry-best and patented Long Travel IFS approach angle, you must take into consideration any new tire-to-body, tire-to-fender, and/or tire-to-bumper interference. Depending on your tire size and ride height, another use for a bump stop in such case may be to specifically limit up-travel to avoid tire interference (see Bump Stop section below). However, the high performance nature of RCLT HD begs to be fully realized in which case, just as with a Solid Axle Swap, proper tire clearancing is always recommended to achieve the full range of suspension articulation & steering performance!
Coil Spring Rates
Within the confinements of RCLT HD being a near bolt-on system, it is strong enough to handle anything thrown its way. Due to use preferences ranging from Rock Crawling, Baja, Sand, Mud, Snow, to Overlanding, as well as vehicle configurations from heavier 8cyl SUVs with full plate armor and coil rear suspension to lighter 4cyl single cabs with tube bumpers and leaf springs, there is no one-spring-rate-fits-all solution. The answer to what spring rate is right for you depends on how your vehicle is configured and how you plan to use RCLT HD. You may find yourself tinkering with the spring rate to dial it in to suit your needs.
Additional consideration applies to your rear suspension setup. The goal for Rock Crawling would be to have the front and rear suspension complement one another, whereby the front spring rate is not too high that it causes the rear suspension to be over-worked. Keep in mind that leaf springs are a progressive rate spring that increases with compression.
Please use the following as a general guideline to base your decision with. This information is a work-in-progress and is only meant as a suggestion. As we collect feedback data from customers, we will adjust values as needed:
Use case Empty Vehicle Weight Rear Suspension Suggested Spring Rate Rock Crawling 4,500 lbs Coil
500 or 550 lb-ft
4,500 to 5,250 lbs Coil
550 or 600 lb-ft
5,250 to 6,000 lbs Coil
6,000+ lbs Coil
Baja / Sand 4,500 lbs any 550 lb-ft 4,500 to 5,500 lbs any 600 to 650 lb-ft 5,500+ lbs ant 650 lb-ft
Short answer: Replacement Low Profile Bump Stops (included with kit) may be reused with the original factory frame mount bracket resulting in decreased up-travel. Fitting adjustable air bump bump stops are preferred for best performance and adjustability.
Long answer: RCLT HD's Lower Control Arm (LCA) has two patented features beneficial to Rock Crawling: (1) Inner V-groove for axle shaft clearance & protection and (2) Inverse arm design to maximize ground clearance. These features, however, limit compatibility with the factory bump stop frame bracket because the top of the LCA is closer to the frame resulting in prematurely bump stop activation and decreased up-travel.
See section "BUMP STOP CONSIDERATION" on Page 32 of our Installation Instructions for more info.
Designed to be jumped
Prototype 1.0 with custom fabricated
Air Bump Bump Stops
Not designed to be jumped
Prototype 2.1 compatible with
included Low Profile Bump Stops
RCLT HD is not compatible with factory-style sway bars including the Toyota K.D.S.S. system.
Our Lower Control Arms do have behind-the-axle Secondary Shock Mounts which could be used with a custom fitted behind-the-axle type swaybar (see LCA sway bar examples such as a 2nd gen Tundra or 100- & 200-series Land Cruisers).
Toyota Safety Sense on 2018 and newer vehicles
All products on this website are intended for Off-road use. RCLT HD prides itself in highly stable geometry resulting in superior drivability compared to other lifted Long Travel setups that reuse factory knuckles. Please be aware that if you alter the height of a vehicle equipped with Toyota Safety Sense (MY 2018+) then you may need to recalibrate your vehicle's dynamic radar cruise control, pre-collision with pedestrian detection, and lane tracing assist. Please ask your dealer or contact Toyota Motor Corp. for details.
While RCLT HD is fully compatible with all traction control systems, please bear in mind that a lifted vehicle on larger than stock tires will result in a higher center of gravity that may cause your traction control system to be more active than stock at heavy-acceleration low-speed sharp-cornering during city driving.
Wheel backspacing should be limited to 4.50" or less. This is due to 1) The oversized Heavy Duty design of the RCLT HD Knuckle, 2) Larger than stock Long Travel Coilover diameters, and 3) Wider than stock tires desirable for increased off-road traction (i.e. 12.5" or 13.5" wide tires compared to only 10.5" wide stock tires).
Here are two examples we've tested: 12.5" wide tires on 17x8.5" wheels with 4.5" backspacing results in roughly 1/2" clearance between tire sidewall and knuckle, and 13.5" wide tires on 17x9" wheels with 4" backspacing results in roughly 3/8" clearance.
If you are partial to 4.75" backspace wheels, then you could try using simple 1/4" spacers to test for wheel-to-knuckle clearance. These are available by many manufactures and can be had for $9 on Amazon. We tested these exact spacers on our V2 prototype and had no problems.
RCLT HD's steering geometry requires a minimum wheel diameter of 17-inch. Therefore, 15- & 16-inch wheels are not compatible.
Three silver linings to this are that 1) Off-road wheel distribution websites shows on average 40-times more 17" beadlock choices than 16", 2) Tire distribution websites list nearly no inch-sized tires (33"/35"/37"/39"/40") available for 16-inch wheels, and 3) Tacoma owners will be able to upgrade to 5th gen 4Runner or Lexus GX460 2010+ brake rotors (23% larger diameter & 28% thicker) and 2010-2015 brake calipers (28% larger piston volume).
BigMike's Q&A to Dirt Lifestyle's RCLT HD Install Video
Below is a collection of Questions & Answers by BigMike to comments from Dirt Lifestyle's RCLT HD install video.
BigMike: I'd like to first define the term "Long Travel"
Long Travel (LT) refers to replacing factory lower & upper control arms (LCA & UCA) of an IFS with new arms that are longer than stock. There are much longer LT setups in the world, from Ultra4 to Trophy Trucks, where the LCAs are inboard-mounted close to one another for maximum arm length. But arms from a "LT kit" attach directly to your existing frame mounts as a simple remove-and-replace install. As the arms are longer, we get more suspension travel, articulation, stability, and an improved ride, but at the expense of adding overall width to the vehicle. It's a compromise: Really long arms are great for performance, but the vehicle becomes excessively wide and difficult to drive in cities and narrow 4WD trails. In addition to more flex, longer arms extend further down for the same arm angle providing natural lift without incurring excessive CV joint and steering component angles. This is how we're able to get more lift instead of using a Frame Drop Bracket Kit which negates the ground clearance advantage of IFS.
Q: When will RCLT HD be available?
A: Kits have been shipping since Spring 2021.
Q: What does RCLT HD fit?
A: Type III & IV Toyota IFS frames, which include 2003+ Lexus GX470, 2003+ 4Runner, 2005+ 4WD/PreRunner Tacoma, and 2006+ FJ Cruiser. (See Appendix A6 of our Online Instructions for frame details.)
Q: What makes RCLT HD different from other Toyota LT kits?
A: RCLT HD has created a new market segment and does not directly compete with existing LT kits. Specifically, RCLT HD is the first LT kit designed for Rock Crawling and provides unmatched approach angle, ground clearance, and steering strength. Some of its "firsts" include: (1) First LT with an integrated replacement HD steering rack built with 1-Ton double-sheer components providing far more steering power & reduced driver fatigue, proven strong enough for King Of The Hammers (KOH) and 40" tires, (2) First LT to incorporate two-inch forward-mount knuckles, whereby a 35" tire easily clears the body mount frame bracket, 37s fit like 33s, and up to a size 42" tire may be installed without relocating the body mount, (3) First LT to incorporate an inverted lower arm with inset shock mount equaling the ground-clearance gain of going from 31 to 40" tires, (4) First LT strong enough for Rock Crawling, and (5) First LT that challenges the benefits of a Solid Axle Swap (SAS).
The fact that this is the only LT kit on the market containing the term "SAS" on it's product page tells you all you need to know.
Q: What frame modifications are required compared to other LT kits?
A: RCLT HD requires a steering rack insert to be welded into the frame.
Q: What skills and equipment are needed to install RCLT HD?
A: "If you can drill a hole and weld upside down, you can install RCLT HD" – Nate, Dirt Lifestyle
Q: How long does it take to install RCLT HD?
A: The experienced mechanic may install RCLT HD in 8 to 12 hours and the first-time home-mechanic should be able to do it in two weekends. Expect an average shop install time to be 2-3 days.
Q: What are the advantages of RCLT HD over an SAS?
A: While RCLT HD was never meant to replace an SAS, it challenges the benefits of an SAS by having vastly more ground clearance, less unsprung mass, is 99% bolt-on, may be removed & transferred vehicle-to-vehicle (ex. if you have a Tacoma now but later switch to a 4Runner), retains factory speedometer/ABS/cruise/traction control systems, no death wobble, reuses original brakes & hub components for ease of service & parts sourcing, can be aligned by any shop without special instructions, and retains superior IFS handling, ride-quality, & stability for daily-drivers.
Q: How does installation of RCLT HD compare to an SAS?
A: Shops typically schedule 2 to 2½ weeks to SAS a Type III/IV frame, whereby RCLT HD can be installed in 1 day. Moreover, the average home mechanic able to install a LT cannot build a custom SAS.
Q: How does the price of RCLT HD compare to an SAS?
A: SAS'ing a late-model Toyota IFS cannot be compared to SAS'ing a 1986 Hilux. Many shops charge $25,000 or more for a turn-key SAS which is more than double a turn-key RCLT HD. When installed at home, a complete turn-key RCLT HD costs less than just an SAS labor charge. If you're unable to install RCLT HD yourself, expect a 2-day shop labor charge to be just over $2,000.
Q: What makes RCLT HD cost more than typical LT kits?
A: Simply put, RCLT HD has the most massive and strongest Toyota LT replacement knuckles ever made. This is because our HD Knuckles are made from one-piece solid steel lower sections, where the brake caliper mount, hub, and double-sheer steering arm are all one interconnected solid part. This billet chunk of steel starts out at 50 pounds and is both larger than the billet we use to make our MC08 Dual Case Adapters and requires nearly twice as long to machine. In addition, we use 1/4" plate steel instead of 3/16" and have extra front & rear double-wall plating where stress forces are the highest. When you consider how each knuckle requires more manufacturing than a Dual Case Adapter with additional laser cutting, forming, assembly, welding, and powder coating, you can see how each knuckle is valued at $1,500. Without the knuckles, our retail price would be $3,999, which is on-par with typical kits despite our kit also having double-sheer HD upper arms with 1/4" steel plating, double-sheer HD lower arms with 1/4" steel plating, and required parts to build and install a replacement HD MarRack steering system with DOM MiniMarlinks and 1-Ton 5/8" tie rod ends. (Most all LT kits use single-sheer connections, only 3/16" plating, and are not an integrated HD steering rack upgrade.) I believe RCLT HD is very reasonably priced for what it offers: The strongest and most reliable LT kit ever made with Rock Crawling ability no other LT kit can hold a candle to.
Q: What is the MarRack?
A: The MarRack is an oversized heavy duty steering rack used exclusively with RCLT HD. Originally, we sought to make our own custom Heavy Duty steering rack, however, after working with both Koyo Seiko and JTEKT direct in Japan it was impossible to compete with the low cost of simply modifying an existing rack. So instead, we evolved RCLT HD to work with a Land Cruiser rack (Genuine Toyota: $475, Aftermarket: $300) which is modified into a MarRack. All parts are transferrable so should you ever need a new MarRack you can simply grab an over-the-counter LC rack, modify into a MarRack, and reinstall. (AutoZone, Advance Auto, Carquest, etc, carry LC racks. See "Required Parts" section for part numbers and ordering links.)
Top: Factory light-duty steering rack, Bottom: Marlin Crawler MarRack with DOM MiniMarlinks & 7/8-14 X 5/8" TREs
Q: How strong is the MarRack?
A: The MarRack is the only DOT-approved steering rack to survive KOH as well as more than 40,000 miles of daily-driving and rock crawling across six-states with 40" tires, Triple Transfer Cases (580:1 Crawl Ratio), F&R lockers, cutting brakes, & never trailed. It has three frame mounts instead of two with M14 mount hardware instead of M12 (2.1 X stronger frame connection), mounts are wider than stock for greater force loading, uses M28 ITRs instead of M14 (4.0 X stronger connection), and is built from a one-piece oversized aluminum housing that is 54% more massive than stock. On top of all this, our HD Knuckle steering geometry reduces load upstream to steering components, so every trail object the MarRack "feels" is reduced by our patented design.
Q: Can the MarRack be used with stock IFS or other LT kits?
A: No. Because the MarRack is derived from a Land Cruiser, which is wider than the mid-size SUV/Tacoma, a new steering and suspension geometry is required for it to work safely and properly. I spent over two years perfecting this geometry to be stable throughout 14-inches of travel and patented the design allowing an oversized rack to work in narrow frames.
Q: Do we offer the MarRack?
A: Unfortunately no, and for the same reason why we do not rebuild automatic transmissions: There is no way we can ensure the installer properly flushed the steering system in order to warranty a MarRack. Instead, we put together the most comprehensive Installation Guide of any LT kit on the market so that anyone can properly create and install their own MarRack alongside RCLT HD.
Q: Any power steering pump mods required?
A: No. Our steering geometry increases steering strength, so no increase in pump pressure or cooling is needed.
Q: Aren't other LT kits used for Rock Crawling?
A: While you could go rock crawling with other kits, none are designed for it. It is well accepted that a 35" tire is the minimum entry size to be taken serious as a Rock Crawler, and because factory inner tie rods fail with 33s, knuckles bend with 34s, and steering racks die with 35s, there is no Rock Crawling LT kit. In fact, other LT manufactures advise against technical rock crawling altogether. We are not only confident in technical Rock Crawling RCLT HD with tires up to and including 40", but our patented design provides SAS-like approach angles, increases ground clearance far beyond that of any LT kit, and has steering and knuckle strength proven strong enough for KOH underneath 4.7L V8 4Runners. We are achieving this with non-upgraded factory MarRack inner tie rods (ITR) and have yet to bend or break a single one, even with 40s. RCLT HD is in a league its own when it comes to IFS Rock Crawling capability.
Q: What's the point of all this strength when you've still got the front IFS differential?
A: We covered this from the 19:55 to 22:01 min mark, but another thing to add is that the reverse-rotation high-pinion 8" Type III/IV IFS differential uses the same R&P from the 100-series 4.7L V8 Land Cruiser, which is the same R&P as the venerable and popular 80-series High Pinion except it's even stronger due to it having a wider & thicker ring gear. So the SUV/Tacoma 2003+ front IFS differential is (1) stronger than the Toyota Solid Axle 8" High Pinion, (2) is from a V8 Land Cruiser, and (3) has well been proven very strong. The strength or reliability of my front diff has never crossed my mind throughout my entire 40,000 miles of daily driving and Rock Crawling with the same front diff, a 580:1 Crawl Ratio, and 40" tire/wheel combo that weighs 145 lbs each.
Q: Can RCLT HD be used for High Speed?
A: Absolutely, as proven at KOH. However, please bear in mind that our design is optimized for rock crawling strength & performance. Therefore, (1) our parts are heavy which reduces high speed efficiency and (2) because our lower arms are optimized for ground clearance, if you plan to be airborne then custom bump stops are a must as well as limiting down-travel to preserve the outer CV boots.
Q: Can RCLT HD be installed onto a non-USDM Hilux/Surf Toyota vehicle?
A: So long as the vehicle shares the same Prado 120/150-series IFS, then there is a good chance it can. Also, the MarRack can be made for LH or RH configurations. The only unknown variable is space beneath non-USDM engines such as turbo diesels, so oil pan modifications may be required to clear the oversized steering rack.
Q: Can I use a Big Brake Kit on RCLT HD?
A: So far customers have successfully installed oversized Wilwood and Stoptech calipers and rotors with RCLT HD. I have oversized Lexus GX460 brakes on my Tacoma that work great. Worst case scenario is you may have to limit down travel if your oversized calipers interfere with the LCA at steering lock + full droop. See also Appendix A12 of our Online Instructions for more info on oversized rotors.
Q: How much travel to expect from RCLT HD?
A: This depends on how much up-travel you're looking to have, pending your tire size and clearancing plans (see "Bump Stop Consideration" Page 34 of our Online Instructions). For example, on Nate's +3.50" setup, he is intentionally limiting up-travel to minimize 38" tire clearancing requirements, and is only expecting about 12" of travel. On my shorter +2.75" setup, I get just over 14" of travel because I relocated my bump stops. This is why we did not cover this in the video because Nate is not sure how things will turn out pending his fiberglass fender install. He has a lot more down travel than I do so if he did the same amount of clearancing as I did then I'd expect him to have around 16" of travel.
RCLT HD (+2.75) achieves up to 14.5" of flex using 24.5" extended & 16.5" collapsed length coilovers
IFS with 40" tires flexing atop another IFS with 40" tires
Q: How close are the 2nd & 3rd gen Tacoma front suspensions?
A: See Appendix A6 of RCLT HD's Installation Guide.
Q: Are factory and aftermarket skid plates compatible with RCLT HD?
A: As far as we know all skid plates, stock and aftermarket, are compatible with RCLT HD.
Q: How long will the uniballs last?
A: While uniballs do not last as long as sealed joints, I did not want to settle on anything less than the ultimate strength of double-sheer top-and-bottom mounts which means uniballs are the only option. How long they last depends on mileage and climate type. For daily driving in dry climates, expect them to last 5 years or more. For daily driving in cold climates where road treatments like salt are used, we've heard they may only last up to 1 year. We use 1" high quality USA-made FK Uniballs. Rebuild kits are currently available by phone.
Q: Do you have to relocate headlights in order to run 40" tires?
A: When I allowed my TacomaWorld forum thread to get hijacked last year, some user who has never ran a LT with 40s claimed I relocated my headlights in order for this to work. He is mistaken as I run my 8" Radflo shocks (p/n 6CT-001-5A) to full compression and all my components are in their stock location, including headlights and battery.
Q: How is the ground clearance comparison fair when Nate's Tacoma is on jack-stands?
A: Nate can easily set his ride height to match what's shown, and also the Jeep is on taller 39" tires while the Taco is only on 38s!!
Q: Will Nate's truck be at the 2022 KOH?
A: Hopefully yes and come see it & meet Nate in person at our Marlin Crawler booth!
Q: How did Mike like Nate's coffee?
A: It was delicious and was served in a stainless tumbler with "Dirt Lifestyle" logo!
RCLT HD with 40x13.5" tires under a 2016 V6 Toyota Tacoma
More than 40K miles of testing with zero steering, axle, or differential failures
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