Pro Comp Vs. Supreme Suspensions Vs. Toytec and Options for Leveling Kits on the 5th Gen
If you want to remove the forward rake and level your 4Runner without spending an arm and a leg, consider a spacer leveling kit. If you are looking to remove that raked look (front-end slant/ pointed down), without spending close to $1000 on a decent suspension lift, then a leveling kit might be a good option.
Before looking into a leveling kit, it is a good idea to understand to types of leveling kit options out there, how much they cost, and then weigh the pros and cons of a leveling kit vs. a suspension kit.
Types of leveling kits
For the 4Runner, you typically have two different types of leveling kits.
#1 – Front Strut Extensions (shims and spacers)
These extensions (spacers) sit on top of your coilover (front struts). With a spacer on top of your factory coilover struts, you can add anywhere from 1″ of height up to 3″ of height. This is standard on most spacer kits for the 5th Gen.
At 3″ of height, you may want to look into a differential drop kit (diff drop) as this may help the alignment of your CV axle, put less stress on your CV boots and hopefully protect your CV joints. Some leveling kits come with a diff drop.
Once you get to 3.5″ and higher, you should probably upgrade your UCAs (upper control arms) but very few leveling kits, if any will reach heights of 3.5″.
If you don’t want to reach heights of 2″+ you have the option of running strut shims. Shims give you the ability to add in minor increments. For example, an Ekstrom Design Strut Shim measures .5″ but after you install it, it provides a full 1″ of lift. Shims are a great way to level out of the front of your 4Runner without sacrificing ride quality.
#2 – REAR Coil Spacers
This is just like strut extensions, except the spacer in the rear is placed on top of your spring. On top of your rear spring, you have a spring seat. Most coil spring spacers will sit directly on top of this coil spring seat.
The benefit of a rear coil spacer is that you can keep the OEM quality ride while giving the 4Runner a better overall stance and slight clearance when needed. This is what most spacer kit suppliers say, but that is heavily debated.
Shim Front Leveling Kit
One .25″ shim will give you .5″ of lift. Stacking two .25″ shims on top of each other will give you a full 1″ of lift. Depending on tire size on other variables between 1″ and 1.5″ will provide a perfectly level ride height. Typically 1″ of lift is perfectly level.
- Supreme Suspensions Shim Front Leveling Kit (.5″ – 1″): Check Price
Spacer Front Leveling Kit
One 1.25″ spacer will provide 2.5″ of lift. Pair this front spacer with a 1″ rear spring or 1″ rear spacer to level the back out.
- Spacer Front Leveling Kit (2.5″): Check Price
Spacer Front & Rear Levling Kit
- ProComp Spacer Leveling Lift Kit (3″ front/ 2″ rear): Check Price
- Supreme Spacer Leveling Kit (3″ front/ 2″ rear): Check Price
Limited Leveling Kit
What we purchased and Why (ProComp)
We looked at many leveling kits out there for our second 4Runner (non off-road use) and decided that the Pro Comp Nitro kit was the best option for something quick. At less than $400, the Pro Comp kit was everything that my girl wanted for her set-up. We wanted a lift without spending a bunch of money on coilovers, UCAs, and springs. This kit was the best option for her needs because it came with everything packed in one box; front and rear spacers as well as the differential drop.
We explored many other options in the suspension department and leveling kits. Seeing how this 4Runner will see very little off-road (maybe, the occasional easy tag-along adventure), we didn’t need anything robust or overpriced for this application. Another option comparable would be a Ready Lift or Supreme Suspensions. It really comes down to personal preference on what you want.
We wanted to spend money on a suspension system, but we also could not justify spending over $1000 or close to on a mid-level suspension system like Bilstein or OME. If I was going to buy a suspension (coilovers, rear springs, and UCAs), I would like to do it right and buy ICON, KING, FOX, OME BP-51 or a Toytec Boss.
If you have the money, buy aftermarket coilovers (shocks and springs) and avoid a spacer lift. Spacer lifts are going to give you cheap lift results but provide no improvement in ride quality.
Pro Comp Suspension 65210K Level Lift
They call it a “suspension” leveling kit but to be a real suspension kit, you would need to swap in new coilovers, UCAs, and rear springs. With this kit, it will work for you as advertised and the install is fairly simple. It will give you 3″ of lift in the front and 2″ in the rear.
By adding this kit, you can now add 33″ tires, but smaller 33″ tires. I would not plan on adding large 33″ tires with this spacer kit. By smaller 33″ tires, we are looking at 285/70R17s (32.7″) and not 285/75R17s (33.8″). Basically, the kit will allow bigger than the stock 265/70R17s (31.6″) with more than enough room to prevent severe rubbing on anything around 32.5″.
With this kit, you will clear 275/70R17 no problem. With 285/70R17 (32.7″) you will need to trim for sure. Here is what 285/70R17 trimming looks like.
With anything closer to a large 33″ (285/75R17s – 33.8″), you will run the risk of trimming your fender liners, having your body mounts chopped (BMC), trimming your body, along with many other areas.
This is one of the largest spacer leveling kits out there for the 4Runner. Any larger than this and you should consider a suspension system.
Toytec, Daystar, Revtec Supreme Suspensions, and other Spacer Kits
The combination of the Toytec 2.5″ leveling kit in the front and the Daystar 1.5″ lift in the rear is a common leveling kit.
This is the combination that the dealership uses to level out 4Runners on the lot. This is the leveling kit that we came home with from the lot off the showroom floor. If you want to go with something comfortable, affordable and easy to install, these spacers are a good option.
The Supreme Suspensions is also another full leveling lift kit like the ProComp.
With all of the leveling kits out there being so similar, it may be hard to choose one. Just use your best judgment and buy a leveling kit that makes sense for your daily driving and Off-Road needs.
Ride Quality with Spacer Kits
It is important to understand that everyone has different goals so take everything you read, see or hear with a grain of salt. You have SR5s with stock shocks and springs, Trails and Off-Road with KDSS and Limited Editions with XREAS. Each of these is going to feel different with a spacer kit.
Our experience has been with an SR5 and a Trail Edition with KDSS. I will break them down.
Leveling Kit Ride quality on SR5
Was ride quality sacrificed with the ProComp kit on the SR5? Yeah, maybe a little.
On the stock SR5, you may feel body roll, nose dive, slight steering wheel shake when braking, and bad cornering (again, body roll). This is all normal with the 4Runner.
After installing the ProComp kit on the 4Runner, I noticed the body roll more. I felt the body roll when I backed out of the driveway more. As each wheel drops the curb, you can fell a slight sway from left to right. I also noticed more roll when cornering one-lane winding roads. Braking and nose dive stayed consistent as before, so nothing major here.
Keep in mind, my daily driver is the Trail Edition with KDSS, not the SR5. My daily experience is much stiffer so going from a 4Runner with KDSS to Non-KDSS is a big difference.
The kicker: My girl didn’t notice a difference one way or another after the spacer kit was installed.
If you have an SR5 and you are looking to install a spacer kit, just know that you might feel more body roll. Or, you may not even notice a difference at all.
An upgraded suspension is the only real way to have increased on-road performance handling as well as off-road flex.
Leveling Kit Ride quality with KDSS
My experience was off the lot with a leveling kit on 2014 Trail with KDSS. On the test drive, I noticed a difference from the SR5 to the KDSS but I wasn’t focused on it as much as I should have been. I only really noticed a difference after we bought the second 4Runner a couple of years later in 2016.
The point here is ride quality on a 4Runner with KDSS is better than an SR5, even with a leveling kit. This is also my honest opinion, so again, take it with a grain.
KDSS offers a more stable on-road experience.