King Shocks For 3rd Gen Tundra – Review

King Shocks 2.5 Coilovers & Built Right Uniball UCAs on 3rd Gen Tundra

Premium Lift Kit Option: 2.5 Series Coilovers & Shocks

At the core of any good off-roading setup is a quality suspension system. Although the 3rd Gen Tundra with the TRD Off-Road package comes with a slightly upgraded one over the stock Bilsteins, it still leaves much to be desired for any off-road enthusiast.

I wanted a quality suspension system that could tackle any challenge I threw at it. After much research and discussion with experts in the community, I went with what may be the largest name stay in the industry, King Shocks. Their company has been revered for its product quality and customer support.

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Do You Need New Suspension?

3rd Gen Tundra With King Shocks

An aftermarket suspension system is no small investment. So, do you really need one?

For the weekend warrior who only travels forest service roads, probably not. Upgrading to all-terrain tires alone can significantly improve off-road capability through dirt, mud, snow, and sand.

There are cheaper options to “lift” your vehicle such as spacer kits, body lifts, or leveling kits. However, these options can reduce the quality of your ride and are not made to take the abuse of tough off-roading trails. These options are mainly only used to fit larger tires.

The biggest factor in buying an aftermarket suspension is how much risk you’re willing to take and your budget. Those who stick to maintained roads have little risk. On the other hand, those who wheel a bit harder and stray far away from civilization would reap the benefits of this investment.

Benefits

King Shocks 3rd Gen Tundra Review

The two largest benefits of modifying your suspension system are:

  • Increased Ground Clearance. There’s a pucker factor that comes with the possibility of damaging your expensive vehicle. A couple of extra inches of clearance will help clear those tall obstacles. This also helps with fitting larger tires.
  • Increased Suspension Travel. This allows your wheels to travel farther vertically to maintain contact with the terrain, allowing for improved traction and stability when tackling tough environments.

Most aftermarket options are also very customizable. Shocks can be tuned and springs have different lengths and load capacities. Whether you are flying down desert washboards, slow crawling over rocks or loading your suspension with an over-landing setup, you can customize your suspension to your needs.

2.5 Series

Rear King Shocks With Reservoir On 3rd Gen Tundra

The King Shocks 2.5 suspension for the 3rd Gen Tundra is a complete bolt-on replacement. It’s entirely possible to change these out at home but if you’re unfamiliar with the hazards of the coil tension, it should be installed by a professional for safety reasons. You’ll also need to get a professional alignment done after installation.

This kit is built from the same materials and tight tolerances used on their high-end racing shocks. Their dedication to their quality also extends to their customer service and support.

The large 2.5″ shock bodies come with external reservoirs that help drastically increase oil capacity and heat dissipation for effective damping performance under punishing environments. The shocks are serviceable and the springs are interchangeable to meet your rig’s needs. King Shocks are also fully rebuildable, ensuring your investment lasts for years.

How often you should service your shocks will depend on how you use them. Here is a general guide:

  • Street Driven/Minimal Off-Roading: Every 50-60,000 miles
  • Trail Weekender/Moderate Off-Roading: 30-50,000 miles
  • Fast Moving/Hard Off-Roading: 10-20,000 miles
  • Full Throttle Trail Destroyer: 1-5,000 miles

Although your shocks can last longer than the intervals stated above, the ride quality can progressively diminish.

Harry, from the Truck Shop in San Diego, gave me a few things to look out for when shocks need to be serviced. First is leaking oil, which should be serviced as soon as possible. Next, creaking noises can progressively get worse over time from worn shocks. Finally, overland setups commonly develop pitted shock shafts which deteriorate the seals and make them leak.

Progressive Vs. Digressive Vs. Linear

King Shocks Linear Dampening For Tundra

I won’t dive into this too much, but AccuTune off-road wrote this article about the different damping curves. It goes in-depth for each damping curve explaining their highlighted applications and their pros and cons.

King Shocks have a linear damping curve which offers a good balance for handling on and off-road environments.

Initial Impressions

King Shocks Review Tundra

Truthfully, my first drive after having the King Shocks installed was a little disappointing. They felt stiff and every minor imperfection on the road felt amplified.

I had planned a road trip to camp at Alabama Hills with some friends. Three days after the installation, we set course for our 6-hour drive to see Mt. Whitney. This was my chance to test the new suspension off-road.

This was where I felt better about my investment. At this point, I was just under 500 miles on the new suspension. Lightly corrugated roads that normally rocked the truck and felt borderline unbearable with the TRD shocks, felt like a breeze with the King Shocks. The damping performance was a night and day difference. The TRD shocks felt like a pogo stick by comparison.

King Shocks Initial Impressions

At 1,500 miles, I went to the desert in Anza Borrego State Park. I encountered washboard roads, water crossings, and crawling over rocks. The suspension felt even more responsive and controlled than my previous outing. Road handling has drastically improved, with small road imperfections going unnoticed and large potholes being uneventful.

Final Thoughts

King 2.5 Rear Shocks on 3rd Gen Tundra

I’m now passing 2,500 miles with this suspension. I was quick to judge my initial impressions but after breaking them in, I could not be happier with my decision. They have handled whatever I throw at them with flying colors.

I would absolutely recommend these to anyone looking to take their Tundra’s suspension to the next level. You get what you pay for, and I’m confident that these King Shocks will take anything I put them through for thousands of miles to come.

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