Ironman 4×4 Foam Cell Pro Stage 2 Suspension Kit Review

Lifted Super White Tacoma with AL Off-Road Aluminum Roof Rack and Toyo Open Country AT 3s

5,000 Miles Of Testing Across Different Terrains

For the first 12,000 miles I put on my Tacoma, I had to live with the subpar performance of the stock TRD Off-Road Bilstein suspension. At the time, I felt like my shiny new truck could go anywhere and do anything.

To an extent, I was right! But after a while, I found off-roading to be uncomfortable and I actually woke up sore the morning after difficult trails. Let’s be honest… your body, your passengers, and your truck all deserve better than the factory shocks. Especially if you’re planning on putting your truck to work on more than just the pavement and standard fire roads.

I’ll admit, at first, I was a bit unsure about this lift kit. There are several popular suspension setups and not many people, at least not that I saw on social media, were running Ironman suspension products.

Spoiler alert… This setup ultimately blew me away and I was left with a newfound respect for Ironman 4X4.

Factory Vs. Ironman

Ironman 4X4 2005-2021 Tacoma Lift Kit Review - OEM Bilstein Struts VS Ironman 4X4 Coilovers

Ironman 4×4 has and innovative and completely unique foam cell shock, where instead of using gas-emulsion, a porous piece of high-density foam is used for damping. This means the shock body contains more oil, handles impacts more efficiently, the shock runs cooler, and lasts much, much longer. Above, you can see the difference between the factory front and the new one. Huge difference.

I was skeptical that this type of shock made a difference, but with over 5k miles, I’m a firm believer in this technology.

My Setup

  • (Front) 2.5″ – Performance Load
  • (Rear) 2.5″ – Performance Load

Find It Online

  • Ironman 4X4 2005+ Toyota Tacoma Stage 2 Foam Cell Suspension Kit: Check Price

Find Individual Parts


3rd Gen Tacoma with Ironman 4X4 Stage 2 Foam Cell Pro Lift Kit

Before reviewing this complete suspension kit, I must note again how impressed I was with the quality and the completeness of this kit. It included everything I needed to lift my truck.

  • driveline spacers
  • sway bar relocation kit
  • extra hardware

…it was all there.

There’s nothing worse than having to waste time making sure your kit is complete, just to be missing a vital component come install day. Being able to purchase everything you need with only a couple of clicks makes lifting your Tacoma that much easier. No more confusion.

Ironman 4X4 Front Coilovers and Pro Forge Upper Control Arms on 3rd Gen Tacoma

Read my install guide and initial impressions.

On-Road Performance

Lifted Super White 3rd Gen Tacoma with Ironman Stage 2 Foam Cell Pro Lift Kit and Custom Blacked Out Retrofit Headlights

I was worried the larger shocks and springs up front would affect the feel of the steering, making the truck feel unresponsive or disconnected, maybe even too stiff. I was happy to find out that the opposite effect occurred — the truck felt more planted and stable than ever and it soaks up the roughest roads with ease.

Cornering is easier and the truck feels planted, and with the added benefit of less body roll, the truck feels lighter. Even with oversized all-terrain tires, controlling the side-to-side movement and body roll of the truck is all but effortless. I look forward to winding mountain roads more than ever.

OEM Leaf Spring VS Performance Load Ironman 4X4 Leaf Spring - 2nd & 3rd Gen Tacoma

With the added stiffness of the heavy-duty leaf springs, the truck rides slightly higher in the back, and the rear end is prone to shimmying around. This is mainly due to the fact that I don’t carry too much gear regularly and that the leaf springs are meant for up to 440 lbs of extra weight.

I would recommend consistently running some weight in the bed with this setup. It can easily handle a bed rack, tent, spare tire carrier or even a rear bumper. These added accessories will improve the suspension cycling and the overall performance of the rear end. If you think your setup will weigh more than 440 lbs, there’s a Constant Load option available.

Off-Road Performance

Lifted Super White 3rd Gen Tacoma with RCI Bed Rack, Method Race Wheels 701 and Black Maxtrax

This kit from Ironman 4×4 isn’t a traditional kit. It serves a very unique purpose, and in my experience, better than the other competitors.

If you are someone who focuses more on overlanding, long-distance traveling, light off-roading, and pavement driving, this is the kit for you. This kit is purpose-built to handle long hours of punishment and maintain on-road drivability while being durable and reliable regardless of what you subject it to.

This kit is not designed for the hardcore rock crawler or dedicated high-speed off-road racer. These shocks are built differently from other manufacturers like King and Icon for a reason; don’t expect racing shock performance out of this kit. I’m sure the kit could handle a good amount of abuse, but the point is that the kit is designed with a purpose and specific application in mind.

I’ve been in vehicles with both King and Icon setups, other truck suspensions feel much different than my Ironman suspension. They tend to be much bouncier, rougher at slow speeds, and worse on the road than the Ironman kit, because they aren’t tuned specifically for long distances on the pavement.

At the end of the day, flashier setups that you see online might catch your eye, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for your build and potential usage. Especially if you do a lot of miles on the asphalt.

Multiple Terrains & Environments

3rd Gen Toyota Tacoma Snow Wheeling with Toyo Open Country AT 3s

In my 5,000 miles of testing, I saw temperatures as high as 108 degrees and as low as 10 degrees. I conquered Jeep trails, cruised down dirt roads, plowed through sand and mud, and even the occasional snowdrift.

I hit small jumps, large rocks, and tight turns at speeds that were faster than they should have been. I took a few long road trips on winding mountain roads, and drove my truck daily, to and from work. I definitely used this suspension kit in a variety of conditions, at one point, hard enough to knock one of my retrofitted halos loose.

In those 5,000 miles, not once did I regret installing this kit. The massive front shocks eat up obstacles all day long, and it takes over an hour of hard abuse to notice any fading. The rear shocks and leaf springs keep my back tires planted on the road, making the ride smoother and giving me more reliable traction. Even after long wheeling trips, the drive home is controlled, and comfortable.

Minor Concerns

285/75/16 Toyo Open Country AT 3s on Method Race Wheels 701 on 3rd Gen Tacoma

I have very few complaints, but no product is perfect. The directions were lacking in some key areas and could have used more information and a few more pictures.

Ironman more than makes up for this though, as they have a detailed installation video on their YouTube channel and website that covers the entire process. Their customer service is also incredibly helpful and responsive.

The rear heavy-duty leaf pack raised my bed well over 3″ and the advertised lift is around the 2.5” figure. While it will eventually sit a bit more level once I add on the weight of a tent and rear bumper, it was higher than I expected it to be and my stock brake lines barely have enough length for the suspension to cycle completely. Something to keep in mind. It would be wise to get some extended brake lines.

3rd Gen Tacomas Off-Roading & Overlanding in Arizona

The front shocks also settle quite a bit once you work them in, and I saw a loss of around .5-.75″ after they settled. They will need to be readjusted to get the advertised height of 2.5” of lift, but this is to be expected with every brand and size of coilover.

The only other genuine complaint I have is the lack of color options. The classic green and black color scheme Ironman uses is stylish and is definitely part of their branding strategy. I have no problem rocking it. Other builds may require a specific color palette or something more neutral.

However, the lack of customization might turn some people off. Of course, you can pay to get your shocks and coils powder-coated elsewhere if you’re serious about matching colors, but offering them in a small variety of colors might help drive a few additional sales.

Final Thoughts

Lifted 3rd Gen Tacoma with AL Off-Road Roof Rack, RCI Bed Rack and Method Race Wheels 701

If you are considering building an overlanding/camping Tacoma, if you travel long distances on paved roads, or if you want more comfort and capability on moderate off-road challenges, this is the kit for you.

Even if you’re hitting the occasional difficult trail, this kit gives you the articulation and stability you need to conquer tough obstacles. Not many kits in this price range can match the durability, build quality, capabilities, and completeness of this kit. I firmly believe these shocks will outlast my next three sets of tires, and they’ve completely changed how I view and experience trail riding.

Ironman products continue to surprise me, and I have to say, they definitely exceeded my expectations.

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2 years ago

So glad I came across this review. This review has nailed my decision to make the Iron Man purchase. Everything in this review is exactly what I am looking to achieve in my 2019 Tacoma. Adam what size tires and wheels are you rolling with on the Tacoma in the pictures of this review? I went with 285/70/17 tires on 17×9 wheels with a -12 offset. Just looking at the suspension lift kit which I feel comfortable now with the Iron Man 2.5” lift kit. Excited to get the lift kit, wheels and tires on my truck. Thanks

2 years ago
Reply to  Adam Margaris

Your truck looks great in the pictures in the review. I am concerned that I will have to do cab mount cutting with my set up. Any suggestions is greatly appreciated to avoid having to do that but I already have the tires and wheels.
thanks for replying back.

2 years ago

Wish I saw this article early….I look at Ironman stage 2 last year and almost order them and the prices were rising…so I went with Bilstein 6112. & 5160…had to order many other parts, like uca, spacers, etc..
Ironman stage two has almost everything you need…they say Ironman is the only ones who sells a complete kit….and is matching to its own set ups…. stock rims fit too…
Every body else has so many add on’s ,to make a complete kit…(sure more options..? But ,may come mis-match?

Richard Lushenko
Richard Lushenko
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeffery

All ironman suspension is currently 30% buy now if interested.

2 years ago

When you purchase the front suspension pre-assembled, do they come preset at the 2.5″ or do you have to adjust them to get the 2.5″?

2 years ago

Looks great. Thanks for the right up. I have been looking at these lately and can’t decide yet. Looks like we live pretty close (in Montana). Thanks again

2 years ago
Reply to  Aaron

I think for the value, especially since they run solid sales quite often (15-25% off), it’s a tough price to beat with how complete the kit is. I haven’t personally heard anything bad about these kits from anyone who is running them either.

Tom McConnell
Tom McConnell
3 years ago

Basically just what I’ve experienced myself. Compression, roll and rebound are all greatly improved. Even though I carry 100 or so pounds of recovery gear, 5 gallons of water under a mid height ARE shell on a consistent basis and removed # 3 and 5 leafs, it’s still a 3.25 inch lift. Pre assembly was a slight problem as one bolt rubbed the fuel tank and had to be removed. At some point I’ll drop the spring and reinstall it properly however with 2 missing leafs I’m not worried about the rest of the pack popping free of the fingers.… Read more »

Dom Guzman
Dom Guzman
3 years ago

Great review! I appreciate you taking the time to help others. I have the Eibach kit now, Stage 1, and will likely swap out for this kit. Do you know if Ironman will build the front strut/coil assembly? Also, they give the option of a 2.5” or 3” lift for the front, is this a different coil, or a difference in where the locking coil base is set? I will likely give them a call to confirm as well, but appreciate your feedback. Thanks again.

Dom Guzman
Dom Guzman
3 years ago
Reply to  Adam Margaris

Ha, no worries brother. I was able to get a hold of them and get an order in. Great people and lots of help. After a little shipping delay on my rear shocks, I have all the parts and will be installing today! I’m rewatching the Ironman install video and going over your install notes now. I can’t wait to experience this kit for myself.

Gareth Grandt
3 years ago

2012 TRD OR – When looking for a ‘proper’ suspension/lift kit, my installer absolutely recommended IronMan — their preferred manufacturer. I got it installed Oct’20 and have since been to Sedona AZ, Joshua Tree, Big Bend, and a local ORV park near Austin TX. This package is awesome! I went with the ‘standard’ package (TOY066KPS2) to go along with KO2s and CBI skid plates. IronMan not only has awesome products, their customer service is outstanding – Bubba spent plenty of time talking/chatting me through this package and my 5″ universal ditch lights (installed after photo). Hands down, the BEST!

3 years ago
Reply to  Gareth Grandt

Gareth, thanks for that detailed response. We’ve had nothing but positive things to say about them either. We appreciate you sharing. Glad you’re enjoying your Ironman products and experience. Hopefully, comments like this reinforce the way our users and potential Ironman customers feel about running their products!

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