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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was in the process of shopping for something to use offroad for hunting, overlanding, etc. and of course considered the usual Jeep Wranglers and Toyota Tacomas.

After doing a little research, I discovered that my wife's "full size" Armada has a shorter wheelbase and overall length than the current gen "mid size" Tacoma, and a significantly tighter turning radius than the Taco or a 4 door Wrangler.

Our '07 is paid off. I've done all the maintenance and some minor upgrades. The tow package gives me the lower axle ratio. AND I get an amazing V8 and weirdly good traction control.

So the upshot is ... I'm buying my wife a car and commandeering her Armada for our offroad lifestyle! :cool:

50458
 

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If you need help finding off-road/overlanding parts let me know...After hours of digging, I've found companies that make snorkels, winch bumpers, swing out rear bumpers, etc. for the mada/qx56.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you need help finding off-road/overlanding parts let me know...After hours of digging, I've found companies that make snorkels, winch bumpers, swing out rear bumpers, etc. for the mada/qx56.
Cool, thanks!

I've found a couple of good bumper options, but shipping kills it. There's a local fabricator here that some friends have recommended that I plan to check out.

We already have a Taxa Tiger Moth camper that the Armada tows like a dream so next steps are to lift that and install some offroad tires on it.
 

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That is a nice looking Mada! Can't wait to see what you do with it. I went and looked up the specs you mentioned for the Tacoma and Mada and wow I can't believe the Tacoma was that large. I always thought they were smaller than that.

Also Love the Colorado Sticker!!!
 

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Cool, thanks!

I've found a couple of good bumper options, but shipping kills it. There's a local fabricator here that some friends have recommended that I plan to check out.

We already have a Taxa Tiger Moth camper that the Armada tows like a dream so next steps are to lift that and install some offroad tires on it.
I really like the Taxa products. I really want a Mantis! A Mantis, lift winch bumper and good tires and I would be a happy camper,..literally!
 

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Thank you I’ll check them
Out i found a guy on Instagram that build custom lifts as well cjdracing.com hes also building lift brackets for the armada as well
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Off to a good start:

50494


I'm still in the planning phase, but from what I've found:

Suspension:
I'll be ordering the pre-assembled Bilstein 5100 front strut/coils from them soon, with 1" lift and probably the heavier spring rate. (I plan to call and talk to them about regular spring rate versus heavy) This will level the front with the current 1" lifted rear (long story).

I'll report back with how it goes.

I did look at their taller lift kits, but for now, 1" of lift and 265/70R18's are a good setup with plenty of clearance and decent highway manners / fuel mileage. I'm currently running a mildly aggressive passenger rated tire. When aired down they have impressive traction, and as mentioned; decent highway manners. When it's time for a new set, I may go with LT275/70R18, which will give me a true 33" tire with stiffer sidewalls. With the passenger rated tires I get more rear body roll than I like and I can see that the sidewalls are flexing even at the recommended 35psi.

I'm not planning on turning this into a rock crawler, and it's still a daily driver, so I just want to be able to confidently go where I want to go like I used to with my 1st gen Taco ...
 

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I'll be ordering the pre-assembled Bilstein 5100 front strut/coils from them soon, with 1" lift and probably the heavier spring rate. (I plan to call and talk to them about regular spring rate versus heavy) This will level the front with the current 1" lifted rear (long story).

I'll report back with how it goes.

I did look at their taller lift kits, but for now, 1" of lift and 265/70R18's are a good setup with plenty of clearance and decent highway manners / fuel mileage. I'm currently running a mildly aggressive passenger rated tire. When aired down they have impressive traction, and as mentioned; decent highway manners. When it's time for a new set, I may go with LT275/70R18, which will give me a true 33" tire with stiffer sidewalls. With the passenger rated tires I get more rear body roll than I like and I can see that the sidewalls are flexing even at the recommended 35psi.

I'm not planning on turning this into a rock crawler, and it's still a daily driver, so I just want to be able to confidently go where I want to go like I used to with my 1st gen Taco ...
I'm running those as my fronts right now as well...Mine are at stock height, with stock spring rates. I'm sure PRG will be able to talk you through better than I can, but the higher you set the 5600s the harder it rides...So just something to keep in mind as you look at HD springs. My plan is to lift the front with a spacer, and then use the height adjustability to compensate as I add a bumper & winch & etc to the front of the truck. I'm hoping to go with 35" tires on mine, but I'm the same as you in that I'm not going to be doing any real rock crawling, but the trails here in the North East are fairly rock laden, so I want something a little taller to help get over some of the taller rocks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm running those as my fronts right now as well...Mine are at stock height, with stock spring rates. I'm sure PRG will be able to talk you through better than I can, but the higher you set the 5600s the harder it rides...So just something to keep in mind as you look at HD springs. My plan is to lift the front with a spacer, and then use the height adjustability to compensate as I add a bumper & winch & etc to the front of the truck. I'm hoping to go with 35" tires on mine, but I'm the same as you in that I'm not going to be doing any real rock crawling, but the trails here in the North East are fairly rock laden, so I want something a little taller to help get over some of the taller rocks.
My current chinesium strut/springs somehow manage to be harsh on small bumps, but spongy on larger stuff. I want to stiffen up the front end significantly, and if it's not any harsher than it is now it'll be a win win.

I plan to add a winch bumper and winch to the front, which is why I could potentially need the heavier spring rate.

Curious, if you already have the height adjustable shocks, why bother with the spacer lift?
 

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Curious, if you already have the height adjustable shocks, why bother with the spacer lift?
The main reason is ride comfort...As you lift the truck with the 5600s the ride gets firmer and firmer, so I want to lift it primarily with the spacers, to keep the softer ride, and then as I add weight to the front, I'll use the adjustment on the strut to counteract that weight and keep the front level.
 

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I'm running those as my fronts right now as well...Mine are at stock height, with stock spring rates. I'm sure PRG will be able to talk you through better than I can, but the higher you set the 5600s the harder it rides...So just something to keep in mind as you look at HD springs. My plan is to lift the front with a spacer, and then use the height adjustability to compensate as I add a bumper & winch & etc to the front of the truck. I'm hoping to go with 35" tires on mine, but I'm the same as you in that I'm not going to be doing any real rock crawling, but the trails here in the North East are fairly rock laden, so I want something a little taller to help get over some of the taller rocks.
I've been looking at doing the 2" lift and the 5100, just cant get a hold of Greg. My rear air shocks are leaking so swap them out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I think the factory cooling is quite robust. Even with pushing ours hard over the mountain passes in hot weather I have never had even the slightest increase in operating temps above normal. Granted I do have the towing package which, in addition to the transmission fluid temp, I think also includes a bigger transmission cooler.
 

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I think the factory cooling is quite robust. Even with pushing ours hard over the mountain passes in hot weather I have never had even the slightest increase in operating temps above normal. Granted I do have the towing package which, in addition to the transmission fluid temp, I think also includes a bigger transmission cooler.
It is, but as they get older the plastic end tanks tend to crack...Also the transmission cooler inside the radiator is known to crack and allow coolant to mix with the trans fluid and kill the trans...The all aluminum radiators address both of those problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Also the transmission cooler inside the radiator is known to crack and allow coolant to mix with the trans fluid and kill the trans.
This would explain why my neighbor lost his transmission after several years of towing his 28' camper through the mountains with a non-towing package 'mada

The towing package has an external transmission cooler.
 

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This would explain why my neighbor lost his transmission after several years of towing his 28' camper through the mountains with a non-towing package 'mada

The towing package has an external transmission cooler.
It actually has both...All of the Armada and QX56 models (at least the first gens) have the radiator cooler (although it is there to help the trans fluid get up to temperature faster so it is actually a heater.) and then the towing package Armadas, and the QX56s got the additional cooler. I have a QX56, and I just bypassed the radiator. It takes longer for the trans to get up to temp, but I'll take that over killing the transmission altogether. Many people who bypass the radiator, add an additional aux. cooler, to help make up the difference of losing the radiator. I have one, but haven't installed it yet...The factory cooler is already pretty large.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
It actually has both...All of the Armada and QX56 models (at least the first gens) have the radiator cooler (although it is there to help the trans fluid get up to temperature faster so it is actually a heater.) and then the towing package Armadas, and the QX56s got the additional cooler. I have a QX56, and I just bypassed the radiator. It takes longer for the trans to get up to temp, but I'll take that over killing the transmission altogether. Many people who bypass the radiator, add an additional aux. cooler, to help make up the difference of losing the radiator. I have one, but haven't installed it yet...The factory cooler is already pretty large.
Good info. Bypassing the heat exchanger is now on my to-do list.
 
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