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Racetrack Road Revisited - 2016 Toyota Tacoma Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,059
edited January 2018 in Toyota

imageRacetrack Road Revisited - 2016 Toyota Tacoma Long-Term Road Test

We head back to Death Valley in our 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road to test its upgraded Bilstein 6112 and 5160 shock absorbers.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • txg60txg60 Posts: 6
    I am still surprised at the issues you had with your Bilsteins. I had an 09 Taco 4x4 TRD Offroad and never experienced any kind of problems with the shocks going out...I am in the Phoenix area with similiar types of washboard roads...Interesting you had to upgrade to "resolve" the problem.
  • actualsizeactualsize Santa Ana, CaliforniaPosts: 451
    You say similar, but I lived in Wickenburg for five years (while I worked at Toyota at their proving grounds from 1993-2000) and I rallied around on many washboard roads in Arizona. This is different. Plan a trip to Death Valley and you'll see.

    Twitter: @Edmunds_Test

  • emajoremajor Posts: 332
    Disappointing cheap-out by Toyota. I'm guessing this is a 1-percentile type of road and they figured the small shocks were enough to cover the 99%. Oopsie!

    Been ten years since I've driven the racetrack road, in a 96 Camry. Perhaps a grader had been through more recently; one out-of-country tourist family blitzed in with a rental minivan. And just a few Aquafina bottles. And a donut spare. While college students sunbathed on deck chairs and a retired couple dressed as if straight from a Florida golf course wandered the playa with a leashed poodle. I haven't really wanted to go back after that.
  • actualsizeactualsize Santa Ana, CaliforniaPosts: 451
    edited January 2018
    emajor said:

    Disappointing cheap-out by Toyota. I'm guessing this is a 1-percentile type of road and they figured the small shocks were enough to cover the 99%. Oopsie!

    Been ten years since I've driven the racetrack road, in a 96 Camry. Perhaps a grader had been through more recently

    Or maybe not. If you link back to the Honda Ridgeline video that started it all, I think cars and 4-wheel indepently suspended SUVs and trucks have an advantage on washboard: their suspensions have much less unsprung weight. Imagine how much heavier the Tacoma's solid rear axle, big leaf srings, and 31-inch tall wheels and tires are compared to the smaller tires and slender indepenedent suspension components of your old Camry. Less weight hammering up and down means less energy, and less energy means less heat. A Camry's shocks would see much less incoming energy than the Tacoma's shocks. The question is this: which vehicle's shocks are more undersized with respect to the oscillating unsprung mass they must cope with? In Tacoma vs Ridgeline, it was the Tacoma that was the more undersized. Yes, it's a 1-percentile road, but shock an off-road package ever lose a contest off-road?

    Why do you think rally cars are cars? But the Camry's oil pan is vulnerable to rocks and its tires are far easier to puncture. Either one of those would be a huge concern on a deserted Death Valley road. If a car could avoid those hazards, it could well survive. Hike them up a little bit, put better tires on and you could go down this road easily. A Subaru Crosstrek would probably be the ideal choice for this trip if you had to take a bone stock vehicle. But I do hate the idea of a donut spare on any care that attempts this road. Flat tires are the most likely outcome, and they would be no fun out here. And in 54 miles, two flat tires could do you in.

    Twitter: @Edmunds_Test

  • Mr. Edmunds, I have enjoyed reading about the saga of the Bilsteins...You should know that your article was huge for Bilstein, and the shocks you replaced with now have a several-month wait to obtain because of back-orders...Apparently, a LOT of Tacoma owners now want to go to Racetrack Playa LOL!!
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