Dirt King 2.5″ DCA Shocks – Install & First Impressions

New Dirt King 2.5 Shocks For 2nd Gen Tundra

A Brand New Shock Lineup For Tundra: Install Guide & Initial Review

When it comes to improving your off-road experience, the choice of suspension components plays a major role in elevating your performance and control. In a sea of aftermarket upgrades available to the Tundra, suspension upgrades stand out as one of the best ways to enhance ride quality and versatility on the trail.

A good lift kit will help you clear bigger tires to give you better control and clearance over obstacles. A great lift will give you all of that and a much better ride quality on and off-road. In this guide, we delve into the installation process of the Dirt King 2.5 DCA Shocks. This includes upgrading the front and rear shocks as well as the Dirt King Ball Joint UCAs.

These components can be purchased individually, but the whole lift kit together will help to unlock the full potential of your off-road Tundra. Also important to note that these shocks will require aftermarket upper control arms to allow for the additional down travel, so you might as well go with the Dirt King UCAs.

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    Unboxing

    Dirt King 2.5 DCA Coilovers & Rear Shocks

    My first impressions upon unboxing? You can absolutely tell that this is a premium kit. I’ve had a few lifts kits in my time and this one is by far the highest quality fit and finish. These components are engineered to actually withstand the demands of off-road terrain, not just giving you more height.

    The UCAs have been around for a while and you can see a plethora of positive reviews. However, in an effort to provide a complete system, the new Dirt King shocks were added to the arsenal. This kit boasts robust construction and precision components all while being one of the most aesthetic kits I’ve seen.

    Installation

    Dirt King Shock Install On 2nd Gen Tundra

    Required Tools

    • Floor jack
    • Jack stands
    • Breaker bar
    • Socket set
    • Needle nose pliers
    • Allen key set
    • Torque wrench
    • Lithium or synthetic grease

    Step 1. Remove UCA

    How To Remove UCAs on 2nd Gen Tundra

    The installation process begins with the removal of the old upper control arms, which should be performed on level ground with the parking brake applied.

    I’m installing new UCAs at the same time, so this was the order we followed. Alternatively, you can disconnect the tie rod to maneuver the coilover out.

    Whichever side of the vehicle you are starting with, go ahead and break loose the lug nuts on your wheels. At this point you will want to get your vehicle up off the ground either on a lift or with a floor jack and remove the wheel and tire.

    Remove the factory brake line bolt and remaining line clamp attached to the knuckle.

    Separate the sway bar end link from the lower arm. This is the bolt found next to the lower shock mount.

    Remove the UCA cotter pin and nut.

    Remove the long UCA bolt and you will be able to remove the entire upper control arm. You can see the bolt on the left of the UCA above.

    Step 2. Remove Coilover

    How To Remove Front Coilover On 2nd Gen Tundra - Sway Bar & Shock Mount

    Remove the lower shock bolt and nut found next to the sway bar mount.

    Remove the (4) upper bolts on top of the coilover bucket and at this point you should be able to remove the entire body easily.

    Step 3. Mount Coilover & New UCA

    New Dirt King Coilovers For Toyota Tundra

    Before we move forward with installing the shock, take a look and clean out any residue that may be in the lower control arm pocket. This may not be necessary but its worth it to take a look.

    Install the new coilover ensuring that the remote reservoir is towards the front of the vehicle as the reservoir will be mounted forward to the sway bar mount on both sides .

    Apply blue thread locker to the factory bolts and reinstall the lower bolts torquing these to 114 ft lbs. Apply blue thread locker to the top of the shock mounting bolts and torque these to 35 ft lbs.

    At this point you can mount your UCA. The order is the reverse of removal.

    Slide the new UCA into place, grease in between the bushings and bushing washers before bolting the upper arm nut to 173 ft lbs.

    Bolt the arm back to the ball joint and torque this nut down to 81 ft lbs. Reinsert the cotter pin after this is completed. The line that was previously bolted down to the old upper control arm can now be zip-tied to the arm.

    Step 4. Attach Front Reservoir

    The front shock reservoirs will mount under the sway bar mount. When removing the factory sway bar bolt you may find it easier to remove the skid plate, let it hang and leave it undone for both driver’s and passenger’s sides.

    We did this in our install but you may not find it necessary and that will really depend on whether or not you have factory or aftermarket skids.

    Unbolt the factory sway bar mount in order to install the reservoir.

    Slide the reservoir mount in between the sway bar mount and the chassis and bolt it down to 51 ft lbs. Mount the reservoir into the reservoir mount, close the clamps, and torque these bolts to 12 ft lbs. Reconnect the sway bar links and torque to 89 ft lbs.

    Tundra With New 2.5 DCA Coilovers & UCAs

    Repeat this for the opposite side.

      Step 5. Mount Rear Shock

      How To Replace Rear Shocks On 2nd Gen Tundra

      The removal and install of the rear shocks is a straightforward process. There will be two bolts to remove, one on the top, and one on the bottom and then the shock will slide out.

      The only additional step when installing the Dirt King shocks is mounting the reservoir to the frame. It’s important to note that the driver’s and passenger’s sides will mount in opposing directions; one with the reservoir facing forward and one side with the reservoir towards the back.

      Install the upper shock mount to the vehicle and torque to 18 ft lbs. Then mount the lower hardware and torque to 43 ft lbs.

      Step 6. Rear Reservoir Bracket

      Rear Shock Reservoir Bracket

      The rear reservoir will mount to the frame using factory holes. You will need to add a bolt to the mount in order to attach it to the frame. You will use the reservoir mount in order to line up the new mounting holes, and drill the holes to the frame and bolt those down. You will see two holes on either side of the mount, those will be your guide holes to mount the reservoir mount to the frame. The driver side will mount in the opposite direction of the passenger side but there are corresponding holes on either side for the reservoir.

      Attach the rear shock reservoir mount to the frame using a center hole located on the frame. And torque down to 20 ft lbs.

      Note: you can use the mount as a guide to drill an additional hole in the frame to make sure the mount doesn’t move, we opted not to do this as it doesn’t move enough to warrant drilling the frame. No real harm if you drill and mount – this is what Dirt King recommends.

      New Dirt King Shocks On Tundra

      Mount the reservoir to the reservoir mount, close the clamps, and torque these bolts down to 12 ft lbs.

      Repeat this for the other side. The reservoir will face forward on one side and towards the rear on the other.

      Alignment & Fine Tuning

      Once the Dirt King 2.5 DCA Shocks are securely installed, make sure that you take your vehicle to a qualified shop. I always take my trucks to Runnin4Tacos and, like usual, was able to get everything done no issues.

      After the alignment, we finally got the truck down from the rack where I would finally find out if my 35s still rub on the stock bumper (during street driving). I’m happy to say that even with the supposed adjustability boasted by the previous upper control arm company, the new set up has absolutely no rubbing (at ride height) even with 35s and a zero offset on a wide wheel. We’ll have to test for rubbing on the trail as soon as possible.

      I’m super happy with the ride quality compared to my previous lift kit and stock ride quality as well. Now I’m happy to turn heads for a good reason, and not because my tires catch the bumper when I make a turn into the parking lot. Also great to note, with any kit install many mechanics will recommend you come in at around 500 miles to make sure everything is still as it should be after the break-in period. I just finished up my 500 mile check and everything is exactly where it was set.

      Final Thoughts

      Dirt King Shocks & Control Arms On Tundra

      I have had a few lifts on a few different vehicles over the years and I can say by far this is the most high quality lift I have ever run. The best UCAs, the best rear shock, and the best front shocks I’ve had by a long shot.

      Not just better clearance for 35″ tires, but ride quality is smoother on road and it eats bumps while off-roading. I’ve already hit a few trails wit the suspension and it is night and day difference from my old set up.

      Quicksand 2nd Gen Tundra With Dirt King Suspension & 35" Tires

      This kit sits at about 25% more in terms of cost from my old kit, however the performance boost far outweighs the cost difference. I have also noticed that the dreaded “bed bounce” I previously had on concrete roads has been greatly diminished and almost unnoticeable. I’m excited to test these out more and really put them through their paces. Make sure to bookmark Trail Tundra if you want to see the update I have for you guys in another article.

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