Total Chaos Fabrcation

Off Road Suspension: Stock Width, Mid-Travel, and Long Travel Explained

In the off-road world suspension terms like stock width, mid-travel, and long travel are thrown around without explanation. But what do they mean and how do they affect vehicle handling? In this article we will take a quick look at a few of our different truck & SUV suspension lift upgrades and explain how much lift and wheel travel you can expect to gain from the different systems that we offer.


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Entry level stock width suspension systems replace the OEM components without changing any of the factory geometry. Track width, or how wide the vehicle is from hub to hub, remains the same as it was from the factory. Stock width setups consist of basic shock & spring lift kit such as Bilstein 5100, Old Man Emu, or Dobinsons. With these configurations the front end is lifted anywhere from 1”-3” and you’ll have the same amount of travel as the stock vehicle. The down side to these is often times a stiffer, more harsh ride. When you lift it closer to 3” you’re maxing out the stock ball joint angle and accelerating wear.

It is important to upgrade upper control arms even on the more entry level lift kits. When you lift a vehicle you lose caster in the front end which negatively affects handling. TC stock width upper control arms are designed to add a few degrees of caster back into the front end which helps improve steering feel and makes alignment easier. The 1″ stainless steel uniball is tougher and offers greater articulation over a ball joint. If the basic stock width setup isn’t quite enough, upgrading to a mid-travel system might be necessary.


Modern Toyota off road suspension track width comparison showing lift, travel, and tire size


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Performance mid-travel setups consist of stock width uniball upper and lower control arms paired with with extended travel adjustable coilovers from manufacturers like King, Fox, and Radflo. These extended travel coilovers are designed to maximize wheel travel without binding the inner CV’s and outer tie-rods. With an adjustable threaded shock body, they provide anywhere from 1” to 3” of vehicle lift and cycle 8” of wheel travel plus an additional 1” of droop or down travel.


Vehicle track width will remain the same as stock since the upper and lower control arms are stock width. A mid-travel setup can be extremely effective on the trails. Ride quality is enhanced along with the occupant’s comfort and trail driving fatigue is reduced. The benefit of installing a TC mid-travel setup is significant performance gains and added component durability without having to worry about installing fiberglass fenders. Stock length UCA kits are designed not to be too wide for tighter trails in dense wooded areas often found on the east coast or in the PNW.


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To maximize your mid-travel set up you can install a 3.0” coilover or add a secondary bypass shock with compression and rebound adjustment tubes for maximum dampening control and tunability. To add a secondary shock up front you will need a shock hoop and a lower control arm that is tabbed for a dual shock suspension system. From our experience, upgrading to DuroBump bump stops can further enhance the ride quality and reduce the harsh bottom outs.


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long travel toyota tacoma expedition series moab utah bfgoodrich



Still looking for more performance? A long travel kit might be in your future. Long travel suspension includes upper and lower control arms that are wider than your stock components. These high performance IFS suspension systems are designed to increase the amount of wheel travel that you cycle and ensure that you maintain traction on rougher terrain. Because they are wider than stock, long travel suspension kits offer more articulation when crawling over obstacles and will add stability when cornering at high speed.


TOTAL CHAOS offers long travel kits for most Toyotas from 1986 to present including Tacoma, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Tundra, Lexus GX470, and GX460. Our most popular long travel systems are the +2” Expedition Series or +3.5” Race Series. With extended upper and lower control arms you’ll be adding 4″ or 7″ respectively to the overall track width of the vehicle. Both Expedition and Race Series kits offer 3″-4″ of vehicle lift with adjustable long travel specific coilovers. +2″ Expedition Series kits will cycle about 11.5″ of wheel travel while the wider +3.5″ Race Series will cycle about 12.5″.


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TC custom long travel shocks are built by each manufacturer to specifically cycle the correct extended and collapsed lengths based on each long travel system and its factory bump stop configuration. Stock width extended travel shocks do not work with a long travel kit. All TC lower control arms are manufactured with dual shock capability for maximum dampening control to tune your vehicle for harsh bottom outs or added aftermarket equipment weight.


long travel toyota tacoma 2 inch expedition series fox shocks coilvers bypass


Extended control arms will require you to increase the length of many of the other parts that are now too short. Additional items that are part of the package include extended tie-rods and extended brake lines. Extended axles will also be required when retaining 4WD (sold separately) and are re-inserted into the factory inner and outer CV’s. Each vehicle platform has wheel travel limitations in the factory steering system and axle assembly and we design our parts to work within the parameters needed to retain many factory Toyota components. Based on our 25 years of experience they last the longest.


Whether it is a stock length, mid-travel, or long travel suspension setup the most important thing is hitting the trail and sharing good times with your friends and family. Learning the capabilities of your rig at all modification levels is important and helps you to appreciate each upgrade you make. More importantly you will build your skill as a driver. Get out there and cause CHAOS. We will see you in the DIRT!


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Warning WARNING: This product can expose you to a chemical or chemicals such as Talc, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects and/or reproductive harm. For more information go to


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