Treaty Oak Offroad KDSS Spacers Installation Overview & Review for the 5th Gen 4runner
There is a clear difference in road manners when it comes to driving a KDSS equipped 4Runner versus a non-KDSS model. But after lifting a KDSS equipped vehicle one can encounter a lean towards the passenger side which looks terrible and affects the ride quality.
So, I had to address the issue after I lifted my 2021 4Runner and my research led me to Treaty Oak Offroad KDSS spacers.
Find It Online
- KDSS Spacer Kit: Check price
The quality and finish of the product are very good. The kit comes with 3 KDSS spacers (1 for the front passenger side and 2 for both rear passenger and rear driver). Its made out of 6061 aluminum, type 3 hard coat anodized in black, and comes with new hardware.
In my opinion, the kit is priced extremely well for the value it provides and it looks very stock to a normal eye.
What is KDSS and KDSS lean?
A little bit about KDSS first.
KDSS stands for Kinetic Dynamic Suspension system, a technology that is borrowed from Lexus GX and Land Cruiser series. It optimally adjusts front and rear stabilizers based on a set of interconnected hydraulic cylinders. The interconnection is made up of hydraulic piping and a control cylinder which is located at the frame rail. KDSS, which is fully mechanical, can disengage the stabilizer bars (the bars are jointed, allowing movement independent of one another). This system will not engage during normal driving conditions when hydraulic pressure is equal. In off-road conditions, KDSS activates when it senses that a wheel has dropped.
One of the problems with this KDSS system is “the lean”. KDSS lean is where the passenger side sits a little lower than the driver side thereby generating a lean and this is developed after you lift your vehicle. The reason for this is when your vehicle is lifted, the cylinder extends as the vehicle is raised, but the passenger side can’t due to that rigid link.
Why do you need KDSS Spacers?
There are a few things that can be done to get rid of this lean. A cheap alternate would be to add some strut top spacer plate that can be added to the passenger front and rear taller coil spring for the passenger side to offset the lean. At the time of this post, only Dobinsons offer different length coil springs for the rear side for KDSS equipped trucks if you plan to go this route.
The other option will be KDSS spacers, which extended the length of the passenger front bar by adding a spacer in there and adding 2 spacers in the back on both sides. The latter option will not only correct lean but will also add some droop to the suspension travel adding to more articulation while off-roading.
TREATY OAK OFFROAD or BLACK GATE CUSTOMS?
There are 2 options for KDSS spacers out there. Treaty Oak Offroad and Black Gate Customs which was previously covered on Trail 4Runner. The guy who created the product can now be found on Instagram and goes by the handle; @Dr_KDSS. He does not claim to be the KDSS doctor though, his initials are simply DR. But, with that said, DR. KDSS applies because he fixed major issues with KDSS. He also manufactures the KDSS on/off switch. As the name implies, it allows you to turn KDSS on/off with the push of a button.
Both Black Gate Customs and Treaty Oak Offroad achieve the same thing in the rear but Black Gate Customs does not offer a spacer for the front which is strange.
Because of this, I went with the Treaty Oak Offroad kit.
The kit comes with the 3 spacers and some bolts.
(Use hand tools only for this install)
Start with parking the vehicle on level ground in order to normalize the pressure between KDSS hydraulics. Now remove the front skid plate next to give yourself more clearance to install the front KDSS spacer.
Treaty Oak’s instructions mention to loosen KDSS shutter valves 2 turns which are located on the driver side (Don’t forget to remove the top cover first) but I did not want to mess up with the system so I skipped this part and had no issues. In that link, you will find some documentation on how to loosen the KDSS accumulator assembly.
Place a floor jack under the sway bar under the driver-side link. Jack up the sway bar and put a little pressure on the bar. Now carefully loosen and remove bolts on the passenger side fixed link.
Lower jack slowly, lower until there is room for the spacer to be installed on the link side. Jack the sway bar back up to get the sway bar/bushing to sit in the spacer. Next, install the collar on the bottom of the sway bar, and start both bolts by hand. Lastly, tighten bolts (alternate back and forth) and torque to 30 ft/lbs and remove the floor jack.
Move the floor jack to the rear sway bar just to the right of the cylinder. Jack up and put pressure on the sway bar, loosen bolts, and remove it. Now, lower sway bar and install driver side spacer. Jack the sway bar back up, install collar, and alternate tightening new bolts to 52 ft/lbs. Next, move to the passenger side, jack up the sway bar just to the left of the cylinder, remove bolts. Lower jack/sway bar and install spacer between link and sway bar. Jack up and position sway bar inside the spacer and install collar and alternate tightening new bolts to 52 ft/lbs just like you did with the front. Finally, rock the vehicle side to side and allow it to settle.
Adding these spacers will equalize the pressure in the system that are utilized within the KDSS system itself and return the angle of the sway bar back to OEM angles after a lift has been installed. In turn, this will dramatically reduce or eliminate your lean. This will help with ride quality as you’re correcting the geometry after lifting your vehicle and will also help with the articulation while off-roading.