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Old 11-09-2015, 01:09 PM   #1
justjesus
 
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Dirt Road / Off Road Yaris

Some years ago, and I forget what triggered the idea, I had decided to pursue the idea of taking the Yaris off road. Was it a bad idea? Maybe. Depends on who you ask. Was it a crazy idea? It might still be! Is it possible? Very much so.

Just so we're clear, I wasn't looking to do some crazy rock crawling. No, the Yaris has it's limitations (provided you don't want to do some crazy 4x4 conversion). I was mainly looking to take the little guy off the paved road and onto some dirt roads. To tackle some "mild" off road trails. I wanted to go off into some remote areas that didn't necessarily require a 4x4, or even a high clearance vehicle.

The idea of having a minor lift, some all terrain tires, coupled with the fuel efficiency of the Yaris, made it an idea worth pursuing to me.

There are no "lift kits" readily available, so that is the first challenge. Small all terrain tires are not readily available, even less so on a 15" wheel.

CTScott has already proven that Yaris owners CAN be creative, and can have a pretty aggressive little Yaris. He's got a good size lift in the front (I believe his is 4") and some mean looking tires.

At this point in time, I took my Yaris back to stock springs, but upgraded the shocks to the Tokico HTS (reds) for the adjustability and because it has a softer-than-stock setting! I figured this would come in handy if I wanted to pick up some speed over some sections of the trails. In testing, this turned out to be correct. I easily outran my friend in his heavily modded 4-Runner!

Specs:
2008 Toyota Yaris - 3dr liftback
Engine: stock with K&N filter in stock box
Trans: stock
Shocks: Tokico HTS
Springs: Stock with Firestone airbag helpers in rear
Wheels: Honda Civic HX 14x5.5, et 45 with spacers in front
Tires: 195/75-14 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO
Brakes: stock
Exhaust: stock
Other: Tow hitch receiver for the bike rack





Some short videos of my initial day out for some testing:

Short Vid - Easy Trail

Trying to go up rutted hill. NO CAN DO!

Finishing the Trail - Just casual drive

Last edited by justjesus; 11-09-2015 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 11-09-2015, 01:19 PM   #2
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I think the best way to achieve what you are looking for is sourcing a rally purpose built suspension kit that is long travel and will give you a mild lift at the same time. I know hotbits can do this for you but be prepared to spend about $4k (cnd) for a kit like this. And then invest in good tires and some skid plates and you are good to go. Plenty of people rally with the yaris platform so it has and can be done, as long as you are prepared to spend the money.
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Old 11-09-2015, 01:56 PM   #3
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Aspro, for sure. A custom set-up with long travel struts/shocks with matching springs would be the best way. Just way expensive for me :( I can even go down to Tein, and have them make something, rather than rely on some place in another country (Malaysia for Hotbits, MCA Suspension in Australia)

Doing something on the cheap would be preferred. I believe creativity is the key.
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Old 11-09-2015, 02:18 PM   #4
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I remember your original thread about this. I think this is pretty cool and enjoyed the vids. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-09-2015, 02:21 PM   #5
aspro
 
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I just watched your videos. Wow that is insanity. I think your first big investment should be a limited slip diff. That would help out big time with getting up those hills.
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Old 11-09-2015, 04:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justjesus View Post
Some years ago, and I forget what triggered the idea, I had decided to pursue the idea of taking the Yaris off road. Was it a bad idea? Maybe. Depends on who you ask. Was it a crazy idea? It might still be! Is it possible? Very much so.

Just so we're clear, I wasn't looking to do some crazy rock crawling. No, the Yaris has it's limitations (provided you don't want to do some crazy 4x4 conversion). I was mainly looking to take the little guy off the paved road and onto some dirt roads. To tackle some "mild" off road trails. I wanted to go off into some remote areas that didn't necessarily require a 4x4, or even a high clearance vehicle.

The idea of having a minor lift, some all terrain tires, coupled with the fuel efficiency of the Yaris, made it an idea worth pursuing to me.

There are no "lift kits" readily available, so that is the first challenge. Small all terrain tires are not readily available, even less so on a 15" wheel.

CTScott has already proven that Yaris owners CAN be creative, and can have a pretty aggressive little Yaris. He's got a good size lift in the front (I believe his is 4") and some mean looking tires.

At this point in time, I took my Yaris back to stock springs, but upgraded the shocks to the Tokico HTS (reds) for the adjustability and because it has a softer-than-stock setting! I figured this would come in handy if I wanted to pick up some speed over some sections of the trails. In testing, this turned out to be correct. I easily outran my friend in his heavily modded 4-Runner!

Specs:
2008 Toyota Yaris - 3dr liftback
Engine: stock with K&N filter in stock box
Trans: stock
Shocks: Tokico HTS
Springs: Stock with Firestone airbag helpers in rear
Wheels: Honda Civic HX 14x5.5, et 45 with spacers in front
Tires: 195/75-14 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO
Brakes: stock
Exhaust: stock
Other: Tow hitch receiver for the bike rack





Some short videos of my initial day out for some testing:

Short Vid - Easy Trail

Trying to go up rutted hill. NO CAN DO!

Finishing the Trail - Just casual drive
15" rally tires are easily sourced, and should be a better fit in your fenders.

I say go with the least expensive coil over kit you can find, maybe Ground Control sleeves on your existing struts, then swap the springs out for taller ones.

You MUST get an LSD for that thing, you are nuts going after that stuff with an open diff.
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Old 11-09-2015, 07:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aspro View Post
I just watched your videos. Wow that is insanity. I think your first big investment should be a limited slip diff. That would help out big time with getting up those hills.
I find a good trick is to do left foot braking as the wheels spin just tap the pedal works like traction control lol I used this method when taking my Jeep out on trails with an open front diff also hand brake does the trick with open rear diff or when the limited slips to much .
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Old 11-09-2015, 08:01 PM   #8
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also having throttle control on your shifter old trick on jeeps u wire it so u can use ur hand to control throttle and have ur right foot free to be used on brake pedal.
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Old 11-09-2015, 08:06 PM   #9
aspro
 
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Haha i remember those things! I used to be heavy into wheeling, i still have my tj and xj lifted and all but i use them now to clean snow for my company.

I remember i was wheelin in raglan one day and i ran into a guy with a stick sidekick and he had a gear lever off of a mountain bike that he used to control his throttle by hand when he was crawling over stuff. Genius!
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Old 11-09-2015, 08:24 PM   #10
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I had that setup in my 83 CJ lol

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Old 11-10-2015, 04:50 AM   #11
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Cool videos. So you didn't make it up the hill, I'm still impressed. Seems the Yaris can do almost anything.
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Old 11-10-2015, 01:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ern-diz View Post
I remember your original thread about this. I think this is pretty cool and enjoyed the vids. Thanks for sharing.
I remember adding to others' threads, not sure I ever started one, until now. Maybe Thanks, and glad you enjoyed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aspro View Post
I just watched your videos. Wow that is insanity. I think your first big investment should be a limited slip diff. That would help out big time with getting up those hills.
If I did go LSD, I would also add the FD from the xB. Both of those, and installation, is going into $2k territory! THAT investment would be saved for pretty much last. Tires seemed like a good place to start. If it didn't work out, take them off and sell off to the Baja VW guys. But yeah, didn't want to put 2k into it just yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason@SportsCar View Post
15" rally tires are easily sourced, and should be a better fit in your fenders.

I say go with the least expensive coil over kit you can find, maybe Ground Control sleeves on your existing struts, then swap the springs out for taller ones.

You MUST get an LSD for that thing, you are nuts going after that stuff with an open diff.
Rally tires were indeed a consideration. I was speaking with the guys over at Micro Image and was looking at tires. I do forget WHY I stuck with the BFGs, though. Could have been a tire size thing (slightly taller for added clearance?)? Such a long time ago, I forgot.

I was thinking about Ground Controls as well. Also was looking at those coilovers that have the height adjustment in the lower body part, rather than the spring perch that adjusts, that way it can sort of add to the overall height of the coilover.

NUTS. I thought I had my buddy's support (the 4Runner guy) until I was out there, trying some of these "obstacles" and he, too, called me nuts. As did my girlfriend. Okay. So I have to accept that I'm a bit nuts! And as much as I would LOVE and LSD, the price is juuuust a bit off my budget. Though, I will be having a CRX and some parts up for sale after the weekend. If I can make enough, maybe, just maybe, I'll get that LSD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exiwolfman View Post
I find a good trick is to do left foot braking as the wheels spin just tap the pedal works like traction control lol I used this method when taking my Jeep out on trails with an open front diff also hand brake does the trick with open rear diff or when the limited slips to much .
haha...yeah, I tried that as well. One problem that I encountered going up that hill was the RPMs kept dropping low, to where the engine would shut off. That's another argument for getting the xB Final Drive, to keep the RPMs a little higher. The engine shut off at least 10 times. I did the left foot braking, hand braking, etc. I'm not sure if it's in this video clip, but you can see my wipers going on. That's because my arms and feet were all over the place trying to keep it going, prevent it from shutting off, and steering. AutoX was never that hard!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exiwolfman View Post
also having throttle control on your shifter old trick on jeeps u wire it so u can use ur hand to control throttle and have ur right foot free to be used on brake pedal.
I remember those little thumb controls on the Jeeps! Old school. I don't think that would work, given our electronic throttle controllers. Not cable actuated, like in the olden days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NYC-SE View Post
Cool videos. So you didn't make it up the hill, I'm still impressed. Seems the Yaris can do almost anything.
Thanks. At the end, there were quite a few people gathered wondering if I were going to make it. I tried! But no. In the end, it just wasn't enough



Well, with the holidays upon us, I'll be taking a break from this project. I'll see if I can do some more and post to this thread. That hill is calling my name.
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Old 11-23-2015, 06:12 PM   #13
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Thanks for the thread.

Every time I think about this I want to do the same.

Portland area has many well managed off road type roads that just aren't truly suitable for cars. The added height and traction of these tires would aid in my pursuit of getting out into the woods a little further without the need of my truck. This set up and a roof rack with 1 five gallon jerry can and a come along could get me just about anywhere.

Now to get the money to make the needed purchases.

I like you am thinking that the tires and stock springs should be the bare essentials to get me out there on a budget.

Not looking to spend a huge amount over the cost of the tires and wheels. I have been scouring the web for inexpensive 14"s just being patient.
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Old 12-01-2015, 01:51 PM   #14
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You're welcome, Wifesyaris!

I just did a road trip from Los Angeles, CA all the way up to Eureka, CA. It was like 700 miles one way.

Biggest thing I took from this trip: STAY AWAY from steelies!

I wanted a "full size" spare with the same type of tire, and I went the cheapest/quickest route and got a brand new steelie in a 14" size to fit the BFG. That combo is heavy. I totally should have just bought one of those light weight Koseis.

Also, keep an eye on the air pressure. From sunny So Cal to pretty cold Eureaka (Redwoods National Park), there was a pretty big drop in temps, and as such, the air pressure in the tires dropped like 10psi. It affected my mileage (went from like 31-32, down to like 27-28). Aired back up, mileage went back up. :)

For recovery, I took a borrowed strap, a tree saver that I bought, as well as a come along. Luckily, didn't need any of it. Didn't hit any tough spots.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thewifesyaris View Post
Not looking to spend a huge amount over the cost of the tires and wheels. I have been scouring the web for inexpensive 14"s just being patient.
Patience is key! It's how you can get the better deals.

Last edited by justjesus; 12-01-2015 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 10-09-2016, 11:20 AM   #15
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Looks pretty good, those tires are sweet.

I'm looking to lift mine too, mostly for winter since I do carry hefty cargo (few hundred pounds sometimes) and we get a lot of snow. I don't think it would hurt to gain an inch or two of clearance in the rear to get in and out of snow banks, even more with several tools box in the back. I've seen the Firestone helper, which is a very quick and easy install, for about $150 CAD, and some rear coil spacers on eBay from Russia; 20mm, 30mm and 40mm (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Rear-Lift-Ki...-/112126152220). I don't know if these would work, hoping you could give me some info as I yet have to do any sort of suspension mod on a car, however all I need is to understand how it works (aka the purpose and function of each parts) and I can start wrenching.
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Old 10-10-2016, 08:22 AM   #16
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Yaris traction on choppy dirt and rock crawling

Front sway bar delete will improve Yaris' traction on choppy dirt (see first thread photo) and rock crawling, particularly with the stock peg-leg differential.
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Old 11-11-2016, 02:03 PM   #17
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Looks pretty good, those tires are sweet.

I'm looking to lift mine too, mostly for winter since I do carry hefty cargo... I've seen the Firestone helper, which is a very quick and easy install, for about $150 CAD, and some rear coil spacers on eBay... I don't know if these would work, ..., however all I need is to understand how it works (aka the purpose and function of each parts) and I can start wrenching.
Thanks. I do like these tires. Not so good for the MPGs, but it's a trade off.

You definitely want those helpers! Thanks to CTScott for info and pics on those (he's got a thread on it, I'm sure). He's carried quite a bit of weight with his. They do help with loads, and on my trip to the Redwoods, my car didn't compress much at all, with a little air added to the helpers. I could have added way more, but didn't need to.

Nice find on ebay for those spacers. I did similar, but I bought some for a Jeep, that I measured out and feel they should work, but I never tried them out. They're in a box somewhere in storage (recent move). I'll try and remember to look for them next week, next time I'm there, to provide a part number. I want to say about 40$.

The plan was to install them UNDER the coil spring, to act as a spacer between the lower mount on the beam, and the coil spring itself. I was going to test out travel, to make sure the springs don't get unseated. If they did, I would have added a limiting strap (or a thin cable). Also, You might need slightly longer shocks. I didn't measure them out. I've seen shock extenders, that basically attach to the top of the shock, screwed on, and add about 1.5" or so. That would have been the simplest solution

Quote:
Originally Posted by dogsridewith View Post
Front sway bar delete will improve Yaris' traction on choppy dirt (see first thread photo) and rock crawling, particularly with the stock peg-leg differential.
I did disconnect the bar, and went on that same trail shortly after. The disconnected bar made a nice improvement on the dirt roads. With the shocks set to a very soft setting, I was able to comfortably hit some "high" speeds (relatively speaking, of course). Easily outran that 4Runner.

On the uphill part where I couldn't make it passed a certain point, I was able to go just a bit further more up that hill with the disconnected bar. In the end, the LSD is needed for those ruts and what not. I also tried another part of the trail, almost knocked my front bumper off!! Was doing okay, but you get on those crazy uneven parts, and the tire unloads, and that's when it's over.
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Old 11-11-2016, 08:33 PM   #18
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Thanks for the reply.
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