Trails Less Travelled Tacoma - Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum
 
Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum  

Go Back   Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum > General Tech > Expedition Vehicles
Notices

Reply
 
Share Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-09-2011, 11:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
Trails Less Traveled Tacoma

This little Tacoma has been around for a while, and I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with it. Sean and I published a lot of articles about it on off-road.com over the years, and it's gone through a lot of changes. The articles on my site are way out-of-date, and I'm just finishing-up another major overhaul. Was thinking about selling it, but have ended up putting so much time and money into it over the last few months that I'm not sure I want to part with it anymore. Just posting here to share some of the recent updates with you guys. After all these years, I wanted to see this thing DONE.



Probably ought to start with a quick run-down of what it's all about, and then I'll get into what I've been up working on lately. It's a 1996 base-model, standard-cab, 4cyl/5spd, 4WD truck (But there's not much left of it). The frame has been boxed, and it's fully caged (bumper-to-bumper, solid-mounted cab, etc.) Built like a full-kill race-truck, but it's still got 4WD (5:1 atlas transfer-case). It's basically a desert truck that can get pretty shifty on the trails too.

Total Chaos long-travel kit up front, with 2.5" SAW coilovers and 3" triple-bypass shocks. ESB heim-jointed steering, Total Chaos double-shear mounts, Total Chaos spindle gussets. Custom-tuned 62" Deaver springs with Deaver's Baja bushings, custom-built 12" shackles and another set of 3" bypass shocks, along with a set of SAW 2.0x4" stroke hydraulic bump-stops.

Junkyard engine. K&N intake and Downey header. Otherwise stock. Solid-mounted, mandrel-bent exhaust system though. Marlin-built V6 transmission, adapted to the 3RZ using a custom plate from Advance Adapters. Also has a B&M short-shifter installed. As previously mentioned, Atlas 5:1 transfer-case with HD 32-spline front output. Clocked so that it's almost completely flat. Major increase in ground clearance and break-over angle. Custom HD 1350 / Toyota driveshafts front & rear.

Custom Tundra-width rear axle. Custom Tundra-width Diamond Axles housing, stuffed with 5.29's and an ARB, full-floating 4340 axleshafts custom-made by Superior, FROR's full-floater kit, and Longfield drive-flanges. Custom-made disc brake caliper mounts adapt Tacoma calipers & rotors to the rear axle, so it's got 4-wheel disc brakes. There's a proportioning valve mounted in the cab, and I also installed CNC cutting brakes. Front differential has also been re-geared to 5.29's and I'm running Total Chaos-prepped CV's.

Built the rollcage around the stock interior, including the full dash, door-panels, etc. Sparco Evo seats and Crow 5-point harnesses. I've also done a lot of sheetmetal work, so the 'bed' is very usable. I can still haul two large dogs, dirt bikes, mountain bikes, camping gear, two full-size (35") spares, tools, coolers, etc. Glassworks front fenders. Front fenders and the firewall have been modified to clear 35" tires. Running 17x8" forged Alcoa 8-hole wheels, with OMF bead-locks and 35x12.5" BFG Mud Terrain tires.
__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com

Last edited by JESSE_at_TLT; 09-25-2012 at 08:58 PM.
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-09-2011, 11:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
About two years ago I reworked the bedcage and outfitted it with most of the sheetmetal that I had always planned on adding. Was planning on finishing it, but got distracted. As a result, the thin coat of primer that I'd sprayed on the all that fresh sheetmetal wore through and was starting to rust. Nothing more than a little bit of surface rust, but I decided to tear the whole back half of the truck apart and have it sandblasted. I wanted to do some more fabrication work on the bedcage anyway, and that figured that would make it a lot easier.

This is what it looked like a few months ago.







__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Old 02-09-2011, 11:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
Also needed to finish the interior. Passenger's-side dash, carpet, headliner, rollcage padding, etc. Built this truck to be a DRIVER and wanted to get it back to a point where it flet like something closer to a stock truck (talking about comfort and noise mostly).

__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-09-2011, 11:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
There was also a bunch of mechanical stuff on my to-do list. The rear axle was leaking because I used the wrong type of RTV sealant when I built it. Check engine light due to the custom exhaust. Shocks needed to be rebuilt. All minor stuff. Most of the components on this truck were relatively new/low miles, but I wanted to give everything a once-over.
__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-09-2011, 11:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
First thing I did was strip the whole back half of the truck, and then took it down to Agri-Trade School in Salinas to have the bedcage sandblasted. Talked with Tom about it beforehand, and worked out a deal on a sandblast, sandblast, paint deal. Meaning that he would sandblast it for me, I'd take it home and do a bunch of fabwork, then bring it back and he'd sandblast it again and paint it for me. Really happy I went this route. Sandblasting (twice) and paint ended up costing me under $400 and saved me a lot of time.









__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-09-2011, 11:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
Don't think I took any pictures of the rear axle rebuild, but I pulled the third and the full-floating adapters/spindles and re-sealed everything.
__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-09-2011, 11:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
Moving on to fab work:

Added these sheetmetal caps to the front part of the bedcage. The oval cutout is for a moto-style fuel jug, which I found out are made with filler spouts in a few different locations. On the other side I made a cutout for the Powertank, which I've been running for a while.









__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-09-2011, 11:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
Added some sweet-ass Yosemite Sam mudflaps a while ago (back off!) to get a fix-it ticket signed-off, and had a crazy idea to use those as the foundation for some small storage platforms that would sit outside the framerails, behind the rear wheels. Wanted to be able to lash-down soft luggage (dry-bags), a small cooler, etc. But I ditched my fiberglass bedsides a long time ago because they got thrashed running trails, so I didn't want anything hanging off my frame that might get damaged or hung-up on anything. This is what I came up with:





__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-09-2011, 11:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
I made some drawings for the sheetmetal parts in SolidWorks and then sent those files over to Pacific Fabrication. Would normally use my Tacoma to run these type of errands, but seeing as that's what I was working on, I couldn't exactly use that to pick up parts.

__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-09-2011, 11:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
Oh yeah, been doing all this work outside. That's why I had to plan on having the truck sandblasted twice. Funny to be back wrenching on trucks in the driveway. Spent the last two years building a custom motorhome, and have been planning on spending some time traveling as soon as it's finished. Wasn't intending to get into any of this type of work, so most of my tools were in storage. Making do with the bare minimum here, but I've seen more done with less, and I've managed to avoid cutting corners by outsourcing things that I don't have the ability/tools to do here (like these sheemetal parts).



__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-09-2011, 11:53 PM   #11 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
Finished the storarge platforms off with these CNC plasma-cut sheetmetal pieces. The cutouts are there so I can get tie-down hooks around the 1" tubes to secure whatever I'm carrying, and the big cutouts at the rear are to access the levers for the... I'll get into that later. Anyway, they're asymmetrical because of the hi-lift that's mounted on the passenger's-side of the truck. Also finished the fuel jug mount. It sits on a little shelf right above the battery. Have to take a better picture to show how that works.





__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-09-2011, 11:54 PM   #12 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
Installed a higher-clearance radiator from a 2WD 2.4L Tacoma (more info here). Radiator height went from 20.5" to 18.5", and I also raised the radiator mount up a little bit. Just elongated the holes with a dremel and then welded washers to the sheetmetal where I wanted the new holes to be located.

(before)




(after)




__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-09-2011, 11:55 PM   #13 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
This left plenty of clearance for the skidplates that I'd designed.



__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-09-2011, 11:56 PM   #14 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
I wanted to be able to mount a winch up front, and didn't want to have that weight hanging out there over the frontend all the time, so I decided to build a receiver-hitch into the front bumper. A BURLY one. This would also serve as the cross-bracing for the skidplates.

No drillpress here, so I had to hand-drill all the holes for the receiver hitches using my 1/2" Milwaukee Magnum drill and a receiver hitch-mounted vice that I made. Yeah, it took a while... but they came out as nice as anything I've ever built in a proper shop. I made three receivers because I wanted to have a place to store the winch on the bedcage, along with a hitch, or any of the other number of receiver hitch-mounted tools and accessories I've got.



















__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-09-2011, 11:57 PM   #15 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
...continued:



__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-09-2011, 11:57 PM   #16 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
Added these 1.5x.120-wall tubes to brace the lower half of the skidplate (which I expect to take a beating) and brace the receiver hitch and front bumper. Was using a JD2 notch-master to do all this work. Good quality tool, but not quite as nice as my JMR notcher. The vertical adjustment that allows you to do offset notches is nice, but I've had problems with it slipping, and the offset marks don't line-up with the centerline of the tubes.

Skidplates are made of 3/16" aluminum, and were CNC plasma-cut, so if/when they get thrashed, I can just have replacements cut. Got that stainless steel mesh from mcmaster-carr.

Welding the mounting tabs was a minor pain in the ass. I've seen a few different methods used effectively, but what I did was bolt the tabs to the skidplates using large nuts to space the tabs far enough away from the skidplate that I was able to tack them into place. Worked out alright in the end.

Turned out pretty well I think. Really like the way the frontend looks now that it's finally finished.













__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-09-2011, 11:58 PM   #17 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
Spent a bit a considerable amount of time adding little details here and there. This shovel mount has already come in really handy. Used to carry a small folding Gerber military-type shovel, but got tired of having to get down on my hands and knees, and only being able to scoop up handfuls of dirt/mud/sand/snow at a time.

Bought a nice D-handled shovel at Home Depot for about $25 and made a really simple mount using a door handle (like this), which the tip of the blade fits into perfectly (they come in different sizes). Drilled a hole in the handle, welded a 7/16" clevis pin to my rollcage and whammo - all done. I love it when there's a small project that I can actually complete with small parts that I can find at a local hardware store.








First trip in the Tacoma after getting it all back together was down to the tassajara hot springs for new years. We were camping on a ridgeline up at about 5000ft and got hit with a lot of rain (and a little bit of snow). Would have been seriously pissed if I'd only had that Gerber shovel to work with. Yes, there are FOUR dogs in the back of my truck. Told you guys there's a lot of space back there! Only took the receiver rack to carry a bunch of firewood.





__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-09-2011, 11:59 PM   #18 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
Another thing I've added that I'm just absolutely LOVING is this longacre rearview mirror. Bought it from Summit, and think it cost about $65? Thing is, when I'm all buckled in, movement is restricted. Duh, that's the whole point. The sparcos and crow harnesses are a great combination, but I had a few blind-spots. Problem solved.













__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-10-2011, 12:00 AM   #19 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
Added these tubes to the roofline. That's 1" x .120-wall tubing, and it's tied directly into the rollcage. Had an idea for a really neat roofrack, and also liked the protection (from things like tree branches). The idea is basically to build a removable roofrack that will be mounted to the top of the rollcage at the B-pillar on pivots.

In position 1) the roofrack will be forward, over the cab. There will be driving lights on the leading edge of the roofrack, and the front of the roofrack will be mounted to the tubes that I just added with some type of quick-release pins. This will be useful when hauling dirbikes, as it will be a great place to carry riding/camping gear.

In position 2) the roofrack will be rotated 180-degrees, and will be horizontal behind the cab. It would be supported at the front (now the back) of the roofrack by simple struts that would run down to somewhere around the upper shockmounts. This is how I imagine the roofrack would be set up/used most of the time, and would accomplish a few things. First, it would give my dogs (have four of them - big ones) a roof to get them out of the wind and rain. Second, it would get the driving lights and roofrack out of the wind, and hopefully help with gas mileage. Third, would still be able to use it as a functional roofrack (important because my dogs take up a lot of space).

In position 3) the roofrack would be rotated downwards from position 2, towards the upper shock mounts. The idea here is to create and enclosed and LOCKABLE storage area. Thought this would be awesome, being able to stash a bunch of gear in the back of the truck and not have to worry about anything getting ripped off.








__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-10-2011, 12:01 AM   #20 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
In order to create an enclosed space though, I'd need to do something about the open triangular spaces between the cab and the upper shockmounts. But that was something I needed to address anyway, in order to protect the back of the cab and the rear window from all the dirt and rocks that get kicked up by the back tires. Had an idea to use 1/4" solid round to make a kind of cage and this turned out to be a metric shit-ton of work. Probably took me close to 20hrs to do this.

I had to connect three tubes that were on two different planes, which meant I'd have to bend the tubes, and I wanted the tubes to look like they were horizontal when viewed from the rear, which meant that each tube had to be bent at some specific and wacky angle. Used a quite a few sticks, and was amazed that when it was all said and done, I only had a few random bits left over. Kind of uncanny how things like that have been working out lately, and specifically on this project.



















__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-10-2011, 12:02 AM   #21 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
These last two shots were taken after the truck was sandblasted (again) and painted, so I'm getting ahead of myself, but wanted to show you guys how this part of the project turned out (almost perfect).



__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-10-2011, 12:03 AM   #22 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
I had one dog when I started building this truck, and two dogs when I designed the bedcage. Then my two dogs had puppies and now I've got four dogs. So I had to figure out how to carry all of them safely in the back of the Tacoma. What I really need is a bigger truck, and I'm building one, but this is how we're getting around in the meantime.

And I've already mentioned this, but I designed the bedcage to haul dirtbikes - that was one of the main build goals. So I needed to be able to load/unload bikes. That meant carrying a loading ramp of some sort, and I was planning on building a custom one until I cam across these ReadyRamps.

Turns out this company already makes something very similar to what I was planning on building, which is essentially a loading-ramp that folds into three sections. It's the only way I could carry a long enough loading ramp, and as an added bonus, it would turn the rear portion of my flatbed into something much more usable and secure. I ended up ordering two ready-ramps. One of their tree-piece ramps, and one of their more traditional two-piece folding ramps (recently discontinued). I just had to chop them up to make this custom ramp to fit my truck. Don't have any pictures of it extended, but it's about 9.5ft long and 16" wide.

Couldn't be much happier with the way that it turned out, except that I messed-up when I was making the mounts for the tie-down clamps so I had to modify them (drilling an extra set of holes) to get the right geometry. Got it all dialed-in now so that the quick-release clamps hold the ramp really securely and I can remove/install it in less than 30 seconds. Any of you guys with flatbeds, or regular beds, I would HIGHLY recommend building/buying something like this. Increased the usefulness of my bed by at least 100%.

Pics of the mountain bike because I was worried that it might interfere with the bike racks, but didn't end up being a problem. That's a minibike (CR80 Expert) in the back of the truck, but I've loaded-up my big bikes too and they fit just fine.




















__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-10-2011, 12:04 AM   #23 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
...continued:









__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-10-2011, 12:05 AM   #24 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
Guess I haven't formatted the pics I took of the rear bumper/hitch reinforcements. But I gussetted the shit out of the hitch, and added a 1/2" CNC plasma-cut plate underneath it with holes cut out for safety-chain anchor-points. Also added these threaded bungs to the bedcage above the rear bumper. Not exactly sure how I might use them, but seemed like they might be useful somewhere down the road. Maybe to stabilize a hitch-mounted rack, or maybe to support a full-length roofrack (like a tubular campershell)...







__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-10-2011, 12:06 AM   #25 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Member # 30721
Location: on the road
Posts: 3,713
As you can probably guess by the time of year and the all the water/rust, I was contending with the elements. Not complaining about winter in CA, but it did slow me down a bit. We were getting some really heavy winds (ripped the solar panels off our roof) and this easy-up didn't last long, even lashed-down to the tacoma and mah deuce. Was drinking a lot of hot tea and trying to stay dry, but I should have known better. Gonna get wet working outside in the rain.





__________________
gatosbros.com cruxstudio.com trailslesstraveled.com
JESSE_at_TLT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

** A VERIFICATION EMAIL IS SENT TO THIS ADDRESS TO COMPLETE REGISTRATION!! **

Email Address:
Insurance
Please select your insurance company (Optional)

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:42 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0 ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.