Hello all. Just purchased a '98 Tacoma that will soon serve as my humble abode indefinitely. I'm selling practically everything I own, save for some tools, clothing, a few books and lots of backpacking and climbing gear and moving into the bed of my truck, with a labrador. A few days after purchase, I found a heavy duty lumber rack on CList for $250 and jumped on it immediately. The next day I found a rather beat up but salvageable fiberglass shell that fits under the rack. Plans are underway for a sleeping/storage system built into the bed.
Here is the truck: 98 Taco ext cab 4x4, V6, 199K, stock wheels, 235's, stock suspension. The rear leafs are just plain flat and worse with the rack and shell on. I imagine that after I move into it permanently the sad suspension would just give up the ghost. As it is, I'm not bottoming out, and the truck doesn't sag too much one way or the other, due to the fact that a good bit of the weight in the rack is over the cab.
I've searched and read tons of posts about suspension, tires, airbags and such but am still having a hard time deciding on upgrades.
What I want out of this rig is something capable of hauling said weight, used for light off road use, mainly highway and fire roads. I'd like it to be a little taller, but don't want to alter driveline and such. I've researced OME, AllPro, Deaver, Alcan, NWOR, Wheeler, etc until my eyes bleed but can't figure out which of these (or a mix of them) would suit my needs.
I'd like to hear what you think would be a good setup, without breaking the bank, for a solid heavy duty suspension that wouldn't require alteration of the driveline/brakelines/etc but still lift the truck a little. I will be putting taller tires on her after the suspension upgrade. And do you think this steel rack is just too damn heavy for the little Tacoma? Thanks for your time.