Toyota Front Differential and Sway Bar Drop Kits

4Crawler Offroad Products

a division of Visual Diagnostics LLC

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NOTE: Due to high order volume, it may take some time for production and shipments to catch up. Order backlog could be up to 6 weeks.

Introduction:

On the Toyota Tacomas (1995.5-2004), 4Runners (1986-2002) and 4WD pickups (1986-1995), with suspension lifts over 2", the front CV axles operate at too great an angle which increases wear and tear and can cause them to break under off-road conditions. One simple cure for this problem is to lower the differential on the front axle to reduce the angle on the CVs. So with a 1" differential drop (i.e. Diff Drop) on a 3" lifted truck, it returns the CV angles closer to that of a more mild 2" lift.

Stock Differential Mount 1" Differential Spacer Installed
A: 1" Diff. Drop Basic Kit B: Stock Setup C: Drop Spacer Installed

Pictured above (A) is the diff spacer or drop kit. It includes 2 - 1" tall x 2" OD T6061 aluminum spacers and a pair of long 1/2" bolts and lock nuts to replace the stock bolt and a pair of 8mm bolts (not pictured) to reattach the front skid plate. In (B) above, you can see the stock differential mounts and in (C) you can see the 1" spacer installed which in turn lowers the differential assembly. The differential mount to the rear is left as-is, the front differential assembly pivots down around that fixed point.

And now available for the 1986-1995 IFS Toyota 4WD pickups and 4Runners, the same front differential drop kit technology is now available:

IFS Diff Drop Kit Front Sway Bar Drop Kit Front Diff and Sway Bar Drop Kits installed
D: 1" IFS Diff Drop Basic Kit E: 1" IFS Sway Bar Drop Kit F: IFS Drop Kit Installed

Pictured above (D) is the 1" IFS front diff. drop kit. The spacers install between the frame and front diff bushing (shown circled in RED in image F above). Pictured above (E) is the 1" front sway bar brkt. drop kit. The spacers install between the frame and front sway bar brkts. (sway bar bracket shown for clarity, it is not included in the kit) and lowers the front sway bar 1". This does two things, one is to provide room for the lowered front driveshaft to clear the sway bar (see clearance in image F above). It also lowers the sway bar to help compensate for the suspension lift, restoring the sway bar to a more neutral orientation for better performance. This spacer kit is ideal for trucks with "cranked up" torsion bars or with the popular ball joint spacers.

IFS Differential Drop Notes:
The differential mount to the front is left as-is, the front differential assembly pivots down around that fixed point. The drop kit thus will slightly increase the u-joint angle on the front driveshaft, so it is a trade-off; lowered CV joint angles but increased u-joint angle. Since the u-joint is operating at a near zero degree angle and the CVs are operating at near their maximum angles, this is a fair trade-off. Also, the front driveshaft will only be turning when you are actually using 4WD, it will not be turning all the time. The CV axles can be moving all the time if your vehicle has the popular Automatic Differential Disconnect (ADD) front axle.
A diff drop will have no impact you the lift or ride height of the vehicle. It will neither raise nor lower the front suspension. It only affect the location of the front differential relative to the frame. Likewise it will have no impact (positive or negative) on the front end steering geometry (e.g. toe in, camber, caster).
Front Sway Bar Drop Brackets:
With a front suspension lift, you are in effect moving the suspension control arms away from the frame an amount equal to the height of the lift. One problem this can cause is that the front (anti-)sway bar, if attached, is now no longer sitting in it's original horizontal orientation, since the center of the sway bar is attached to the frame and the end links are attached to the suspenion control arms. This can lead to less efficient anti-sway bar operation. Why? Because if the ends of the sway bar are closer to level, one side will twist upwards and the other side will twist downwards by an equal amount when you are in a hard turn. It is the torsional stiffness of the center of the sway bar that resists this twist and helps to level the body by controlling the body roll (or sway) in hard turns. When the sway bars ends are down at an extreme angle, you end up with one end twisting down farther and the other end twisting less far down. With these unequal angles, you end up needing more twist of the bar to control the body roll and that means there is more body roll than you had with a level sway bar. See this web page for a more detailed explanation...
So there are two ways to fix this issue.
The first is to add longer sway bar end links, you can either modify your existing end links for the added length, or here is a custom built option.
A second option that is less expensive, is to simply lower the sway bar mounting brackets under the frame. This can be done with a simple spacer and longer bolts. See above for the IFS Sway Bar Drop Kit. Since the sway bar attches about half way out on the lower control arm, it only "sees" about 1/2 of the front suspension lift, so a 1" drop spacer is good for around 2" of lift. No need to be exact here, there are no "sway bar police" out there that will be pulling you over to check your sway bar setup. If you have a lift, the 1" sway bar drop kit will help restore your front sway bar to it's factory geometry.

How do I know if a differential drop is needed?

Not every vehicle with a suspension lift will need a differential drop kit installed. How do you tell if your vehicle might be able to make use of one? Well, there are a couple of symptoms which you might want to look for.

A diff drop kit will not cause a lot of loss of front ground clearance. As is, the front diff sits higher than the subframe/cross members and the diff drop will lower the diff down about to the level of the sub frame/cross member. And the diff. housing is made of pretty thick material to can stand up to a decent amount of abuse. After all, look at your rear differential, it hangs down lower in back. Now, if you have, or plan to install, a front suspension cross member, a diff. drop kit probably will not work, as that cross member will be in the way of lowering the front diff.

And, a related question that is quite common is should I order a diff. drop kit with my mild suspension lift kit? Again, it all depends, on your vehicle, on what you plan to use the vehicle+lift for and what amount of lift you plan to go with.

How can I check if a diff. drop kit will fit my truck?

It is fairly easy to check if a diff. drop kit will fit on your truck in case you are concerned about fitment, especially with non-stock lift or suspension parts installed. All you need is a ratchet and socket set and a floor or bottle jack. Simply locate the two vertical mount bolts that attach the front differential to the frame. On the earlier 4WD pickups and 4Runners, those two bolts will be behind the differential. On the later model 4WD Tacoma and 4Runner vehicles, the two bolts will be in front of the differential. There are also horizontal bolts that will attach the differential to the frame on the opposite side of the differential as the vertical bolts, these will not be touched. So, to check, simply place the jack under the front diff so it is close to contacting the housing. Then loosen and remove the two vertical bolts and let the differential drop down with the jack until you have a 1" gap between the frame bracket and rubber bushing on the differential housing. That is how far down the diff. drop kit will lower your front differential. If all is clear, you are good to go. If you find something like the sway bar or skid plate is in the way, see the deluxe diff. drop kit options to address those issues. If you find something like an aftermarket cross member or suspension brace is in the way, then a diff. drop may not be suitable. One option in that case is that we can make a custom sized drop spacer if perhaps 1/2" or 3/4" drop would fit.

What if there is no front diff. or sway bar drop kit for my vehicle?

What if we don't offer a diff. or sway bar drop kit for your vehicle? Well, if you have gotten this far, simply measure the length and diameter of the two mounting bolts and if you think a 1" tall x 2" diameter drop spacer will fit, we'll be happy to look into offering a custom kit for your application.

And for the sway bar, we'll need to know how it is attached to the frame of the vehicle. Usually there is a pair of metal brackets that hold a bushing through which the sway bar held. If those two brackets are bolted up underneath the frame, then a sway bar drop kit is possible. We'll need to know the size of the bolts used; length, diameter and thread pitch. Then we'll need to know what the spacing between the two bolts is as well as the rough dimensions of the bracket (length and width). For the bolt holes, a center-center distance is what we need and if those bolts are not in a line, we'll need a rough idea of the offset of the two holes. So an example might be the bracket is 90mm x 35mm and the bolts are 8mm (1.25mm thread pitch), 25mm long, holes are 65mm apart in the long direction and offset 10mm from each other in the short dimension. On the offset, that could also be stated as the holes being offset 5mm on each side of the center line (for a total of 10mm offset). Some things to watch for is that some vehicles use welded in studs instead of bolts, so in that case, it will be difficult to install much of a spacer atop the stud, but we may be able to design something to work with that.

All the kits we currently offer were developed in this same way, someone asked for the kit, supplied us with the basic dimensions and the rest is history. So if you are willing to do a little measuring on your vehicle, we'll be happy to design and build you a custom diff. or sway bar drop kit as long as it is a suitable application. Realize the vehicle manufactures do not provide us with a handy table of all these dimensions. And they don't inform us when they make changes to a particular model vehicle. They may change suppliers of parts and those parts may have different dimensions and as long as the part works on the vehicle it was intended for, the vehicle mfg. is happy. However, when it comes to adding something to your vehicle like a diff. or sway bar drop bracket, you need to make sure and get the proper sized part and the only way to know for sure is to check the part you intend to modify before ordering and see if it matches what we have to offer. If in doubt, contact us with the measurements of your part and we can check to see if that hatches one of our existing designs.

How do I know if a sway bar drop kit is needed?

A quick way to check the sway bar geometry is simply to look at the ends of the bar where it attaches to the suspension via the end links. Ideally, the end links should be plumb vertical and the sway bar ends horizontal when the vehicle is sitting on level ground. The reason for this is the way the sway bar works is that is resists the tendency of the body to sway or roll to the outside in a turn. When you go around a turn at speed, the centrifugal forces through the center of gravity of the vehicle produce an outward force which loads up the out-side suspension and takes weight off the in-side suspension. This is the cause of the lean you feel and see when you make a turn. The sway bar, being attached to both sides of the suspension is forced up on the out-side and forced down on the in-side and the bar in the center twists to resist that uneven loading and keep the body more level that it would otherwise be. Now if the bar ends start out horizontal at rest, then you'll equal up and down twisting on the ends in a turn and you'll get maximum roll stability. If on the other hand the bar ends are already angled downward due to a suspension lift, then you'll find the the two ends of the bar will be twisted at differing angles, one down more and one down less. This results in less roll stabilitity and thus more body lean in the same turn. Since the sway bars are typically attached to the frame in the center portion, by lowering that attachment point, you can help restore end thend of the bar towards horizontal. Also, note that the bar ends only attach part way out on the suspension, perhaps mid-way between the pivot point and the wheel, so they only see about half the actual height of the suspension lift. So a one inch sway bar drop spacer is good for compensating for a few inches of suspension lift.

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NOTE: Due to high order volume, it may take some time for production and shipments to catch up. Order backlog could be up to 6 weeks.

On-line Ordering:

Two main versions of the front differential drop kit are available, machined from billet T6061 aluminum - and as always Made in the USA :

Please be sure to order the right kit to match your vehicle. The "IFS" kits fit the torsion bar front suspension 4WD trucks and 4Runners up through 1995 (in the US anyway). Outside the US, the kits will typically also fit the 4WD Hilux pickups with the torsion bar front suspension. Aside from the suspension, the other distinguishing feature is that the two vertical retaining bolts for the front differential are behind the differential.

The other diff. and sway bar drop kits are for the coil sprung front suspensions on the 3rd gen 4Runner and Tacoma pickups. The two kits are not interchangeable between those generations.

The various differential and sway bar drop kits can be combined for shipping with other parts ordered with the multiple item order form. For international shipping, be advised that there are weight limitations in certain size packages that preclude combined shipping. For example with the ball joint spacers (3 lbs.) plus the IFS diff+sway bar drop kit at ~2 lbs., this exceeds the 4 lb. small package weight limit for USPS shipping. Two options are to place into one larger box for a shipping cost of US$45.00 for Canada/Mexico or US$66.00 for the rest of the world, or of course the order can be shipped in two packages, both under 4 lbs.

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Returns Policy:

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Insured and Trackable Shipping:

With the default shipping on the items on this page, there is no shipping insurance against loss or damage. Also, international shipments have minimal tracking information available. If that is fine with you, by all means order with the default shipping. If you wish to have your shipment insured against loss or damage in transit and have full tracking on international shipments, you may add insured, trackable shipping to your order:

US: Add insured shipping for US$3.00. International: Add insured/trackable shipping for US$24.00

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1995.5-2004 Toyota Tacoma and 1996-2002 Toyota 4Runner 4WD models:

If you have a 1995 or earlier Toyota 4WD pickup or 4Runner, these parts WILL NOT FIT!
Order one of the IFS kits in the following section

Pricing:
Basic kit (drop spacers+longer bolts p/n: DiffDropBasic) US$24.00
Deluxe kit (basic kit+skid plate h/w, p/n DiffDropDlx) US$29.00
Shipping cost/time:
US, territories and military mail:
- Priority Mail (~3 days): US$6.00
International: (any non-US address):
- Canada/Mexico Priority Mail (6-10 days typical): US$25.00
- All other countries Priority Mail (6-10 days typical): US$33.00

Basic Diff Drop Kit Deluxe Diff Drop Kit w/ skidplate hardware

US: Basic kit US: Deluxe kit
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Canada/Mexico: Basic kit Canada/Mexico: Deluxe kit
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International: Basic kit International: Deluxe kit

New lower pricing:

Order the basic kit if you do not have a factory skid plate (or intend to remove yours) and order the deluxe kit if you have the factory skid plate as it will need to be lowered to install the differential drop kit. You may also be able to elongate the holes in the factory skid plate to accomodate the diff. drop without the added spacers of the deluxer kit.

Front Sway Bar Drop Kits:

Below are front sway bar drop kits for use on the 1996-2002 Toyota 4Runner and 1995.5-2004 Toyota Tacoma vehicles. These will work with the 4WD and PreRunner model vehicles. Note that the Tacoma (2-3/4" center-center, 7/16" offset) and 3rd gen 4Runner (3" center-center, 7/16" offset) sway bar brackets have a different bolt hole spacing (as noted), so be sure to specify which type you need below, and feel free to double check your bolt hole spacing to see if it matches the above dimensions. If not, a custom sway bar drop bracket may be possible. Also note that this drop kit is designed to work with sway bar brackets that either attach with a pair of 8mm bolts or a bolt and stud where there is at least 1" of thread exposed on the stud past the end of the nut. Pictured below is the original white UHMW polyethylene spacers, we are now using a black UHMW at customer request.

Also available for Toyota Tundra pickups/Sequoia.

Pricing:
US$14.00 for the basic sway bar drop kit (p/n: SwayBarDrop)
Shipping cost/time:
US, territories and military mail:
- Postage: (~3 days): US$6.00
International: (any non-US address):
- Canada/Mexico (6-10 days typical): US$25.00
- All oth4er countries (6-10 days typical): US$33.00

1" Sway Bar Drop 1" Sway Bar Drop

Model:

Model:

US Shipping. Add-on to a diff. drop kit order
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Model:

Model:

Canada/Mexico Shipping International Shipping

New front Sway Bar drop bracket kits for the Toyota Tundra pickup/Sequoia:

And now for the Toyota Tundra pickup/Sequoia models that use the larger 10mm (14mm head size) or 12mm (17mm head size) mounting hardware for the sway bar brackets, we now have 1" sway bar drop kits for those vehicles. Be sure to check the bolt size on your truck, M10 is a a bit larger than 3/8" and the smaller M8 (12mm head size) hardware like the Tacoma pickups use is about 5/16" and 12mm is just shy of 1/2". The kit will come with a pair of 1" tall UHMW spacers to lower the sway bar brackets, 4 - M10 bolts, about 50mm long or 4 - M12 bolts about 60mm long. Be sure to check which type of sway bar mounting bracket is on your truck prior to ordering.

Some of the TundraSequoia sway bar brackets have a stud on one one side with a nut and then use a bolt on the other side with a nut welded to the bracket. You'll need to remove the studs, that are spot welded to the bracket, prior to installing the drop spacer with longer bolts. You'll be re-using the original nut that screwed on the stud as well as the welded on nut with the new bolts. Now, if you find that your Tundra/Sequoia uses 8mm bolts instead of 10mm, you can order the 3rd gen. 4Runner sway bar drop kit above and that has the same bolt hole spacing as the 10mm Tundra/Sequoia but uses 8mm bolts. Also, the kit in the first row is for vehicles with offset mounting holes in the sway bar bracket.

If your vehicle has in-line mounting holes and the mounting bolts are ~1/2" (12mm) in diameter, you'll need to order the 12mm bolt kit that is the 2nd row of order buttons. This sway bar bracket has been observed on some 2012 models, so best to check your bracket before ordering. We are sorry that Toyota has made the sway bar drop brackets so different, but that is the way they do things.

Tundra sway bar drop kits
Tundra /Sequoia offset 10mm and in-line 12mm kits

US: Cost of the front sway bar drop kit w/ offset 10mm bolts
kit is US$19.00 + US shipping + applicable sales tax.
International: Cost of the front sway bar drop w/ offset 10mm bolts
kit is US$19.00 - plus shipping to most
countries. Include local phone number
in the "Note to Seller" field.
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US: Cost of the front sway bar drop w/ in-line 12mm bolts
kit is US$29.00 - + US shipping + applicable sales tax.
International: Cost of the front sway bar drop w/ in-line12mm bolts
kit is US$29.00 - plus shipping to most
countries. Include local phone number
in the "Note to Seller" field.

Notes:


1986-1995 Toyota 4Runner 4WD Pickup/Hilux/4Runner/Surf models:

Apparently 4Crawler Offroad came up with a quite useful product when we first developed the IFS differential and sway bar drop kits. Nobody else in the industry offered such a product and we designed this at the request of the customer base. Now it seems that several other companies have used our design to come up with their own offerings. So apparently the saying "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" applies here as well! In fact we have noticed that some of the online auction sellers of IFS diff. drop kits are selling almost exact duplicates of our product and we even know now that they ordered one of our kits and copied it. We say "almost exact duplicates" because they missed one minor, but crucial aspect of the our design in their copy. We mention that difference in the installation instructions, but in order to not make it easy for the competition to find that aspect of the design, we'll not describe it here. But it sure makes it easy to offer low prices when your R&D budget is negligible - as in you steal all your new designs. Oh, and to top it off, they even our plagiarized our installation instructions, nearly verbatim, even down to the puncuation. If these guys were writing these instructions for a college paper, their professor would likely fail them for plagiarism.

These kits may also fit the 1996 and later Hilux and Hilux Surf models with torsion bar from suspensions as well as T-100 pickups (with modified front crossmember). Also, some T-100 pickups have sway bar backets with in-line bolt holes as opposed to the offset holes on the pickup/4Runner models. You can select the vehicle type in the order forms below. Pickup and 4Runner are the offset holes and T100 is the in-line holes. Note that some 1st gen 4Runners have holes just slighly offset and slighly farther apart that the normal 2-5/8" center-center hole spacing of your regular spacers. If you have a vehicle with this bolt spacing, order the 4R-W (wide) option, otherwise the 4R-N (narrow) option will work.
If you have a 1995.5 or later Toyota 4WD Tacoma or 1996 or later Toyota 4Runner, these parts WILL NOT FIT!
Order the one of the "IFS" kits above.

Pricing:
IFS diff drop basic kit (p/n: IFSDiffDropBasic) is US$19.00
IFS sway bar drop kit (p/n: IFSwayBarDrop) is US$14.00
Note: sway bar brkt/bushing not included
IFS diff drop deluxe kit (p/n: IFSDiffDropDlx) is US$29.00
Shipping cost/time:
US, territories and military mail:
Default method (~3 days): US$6.00
International: (any non-US address):
Canada/Mexico (6-10 days typical): US$25.00
Other Countries (6-10 days typical): US$33.00

1" IFS Diff Drop 1" IFS Sway Bar Drop 1" IFS Diff Drop Kit

Model:

Model:

US: IFS diff drop basic kit US: IFS sway bar drop kit US: IFS diff drop deluxe kit
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Model:

Model:

Canada/Mexico: IFS diff drop basic kit Canada/Mexico: IFS sway bar drop kit Canada/Mexico: IFS diff drop deluxe kit
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Model:

Model:

Other Countries: IFS diff drop basic kit Other Countries: IFS sway bar drop kit Other Countries:: IFS diff drop deluxe kit i

New lower pricing:

Thread:

Thread:

Longer Diff Drop Bolt(s) - US shipping Longer Diff Drop Bolt(s) - International shipping

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Installation Instructions:

Stock Differential Mount 1" Differential Spacer Installed T-100 rear crossmember mod.
A: Stock Setup B: Drop Spacer Installed C. T-100 rear crossmember

Allow approximately 30 minutes for the installation, assuming you don't run into any rusted or damaged fasteners. You'll need an assortment of wrenches and/or sockets plus a torque wrench to tighten the differential mounting bolts. Read through the instructions below to familiarize yourself with the steps involved. Note these instructions cover installation on both:

and cover installation of all components. Depending on your vehicle type and kit ordered, you may not need to do every step listed below:

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[Last updated: 16.May.2017]

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