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406 Camper build thread

406Camper

6️⃣ Aficionado
Tacoma3G Supporter
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Location
Montana
2017 TRD OR AC Auto
Quicksand
Hi, I'm Mark @406Camper.
Instead of treating the What have you done to, or with, your Tacoma today? (https://tacoma3g.com/threads/what-have-you-done-to-or-with-your-tacoma-today.740/) as my own personal build thread, I decided it was time to make my own.
So here goes...

I purchased my 2017 TACO TRDORAC (I know I like acronyms, it comes from the Army I guess) in November 2019. It was a dealer parts truck, with only 17K miles on it at the time.

First mod I did was the infamous TRD Pro Grill, purchased from R4T. I had some quality control issues, but there are many other vendors now that offer this grill.
Then I got the all weather floor mats from Oedro. Really nice quality and price. Fast shipping. I highly recommend them.
Then I took it snow wheeling, which turned into mudding on the first trail ride in Dillon, MT.
 

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Next I purchased my Artec Industries Tacoma 3G Venture steel (low profile) bumper.
I love this bumper. Quality is stellar and this thing is pure beef!
Pricing was very competitive, and I got it on sale (17% off) and it included free shipping at the time.
I paid $100 to have it powdercoated and it looks great. Heavy duty recovery hooks that are very accessible and at the right angle.
It has room for a winch, but I don't plan on installing one to save weight.
Since I live in a state that requires a front license plate I came up with this solution, which I am pretty happy with.
(last pic). Technically, I still have a front license plate displayed as required by law.

Here is my write up for the Artec Industries bumper:
Very good product, great company to work with. Very fast shipping and competitive pricing. High quality welds and fabrication. It just doesn't quite fit as nicely as I hoped it would, but better than most other aftermarket bumpers.

So either the fabrication is slightly off, or my 2017 TRD OR truck is slightly off. Not sure which, so I didn't take away a star. I believe the factory tie down is preventing the Artec bumper from seating flush. See pics. Installation was trickier than what Willie P's YouTube videos show. Great tip on cutting the factory bumper with a heated up hook/roofing blade. That worked great.
1) Rough Country 30" CRE LED SR (Black Series) didn't fit. The mounting screws were thicker than Rigid and would have required me to route out the holes. Even then I don't think the Rough Country would have fit. I will have to pony up the cash for a Rigid 30" SR Pro lightbar.
2) The rubber weather-stripping is prone to falling off during installation. Recommend applying CA (superglue) beforehand.
3) Install the driver side first to clear the factory tie down and then manipulate the passenger side into place.
4) Even if you don't install a winch, you will need to relocate the oil cooling lines.
5) I recommend purchasing it bare steel, and then having it powder coated to ensure no damage in shipping (though it was very well packed), and the bonus of this is you get to choose your finish. I chose a textured finish.
6) No 4mm allen wrench/hex key was included with the hardware. Had to run and find one at Harbor Freight at the last minute.
7) I couldn't break all of the nuts free from the framehorns and couldn't reach them very well so I removed the front crash bar with an impact wrench and then was able to get to the framehorn nuts that way. There are three screws on each side that you can get to with a deep impact 14mm socket.
8) Due to fitment issues mentioned above the holes in the bumper do not line up with the holes in the factory plastic shroud where you would use the spacers. It is off by about 1/2 inch. I am going to have to drill new holes so that the bumper mounts solidly to the plastic shroud and I can use the spacers provided.

The above issues were fixed and I am very happy with the bumper.
 

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Then I purchased the Rigid Industries 30" SR Pro Light Bar from Battle Born Offroad (Battle Born Offroad - The #1 Offroad Part Supplier from Las Vegas (https://battlebornoffroad.net/). Very competitive pricing (on sale of course) and fast shipping (like 2 days).
I was hoping not to have to spend so much money on a light bar, but it was the only one that fit the Artec Industries bumper.
I tried a much more affordable Rough Country LED light bar, but it didn't fit. The attachment screws were too thick and it would have required me drilling out my new bumper, not a fan of that after I got it freshly powdercoated. On the positive side, Rough Country was very professional and returned it with no hassles.
Then I went on another trail ride in the Tobacco Root Mountains.
 

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Next on my list was to address something that the Tacoma should have come with already as a standard package like all other Toyota's... hood struts!
I purchased mine through amazon.
I went with Spiker Engineering. Redline Tuning also makes them, but I liked Spiker Engineering better.
I am very happy with this purchase and you don't realize how heavy the hood is until you don't have to lift it anymore.
Also, it provides much more space to work under the hood with a taller opening height.
These require drilling (not a big deal) and a rivet gun to install. I considered the non-drilling models, but didn't like the angle of the strut or how they looked.
 

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Then off to do some more snow wheeling. This time near Virginia City (an old mining town).
Had to go to 8,000ft to hit snow in December.
 

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Recent installations include stuff to get ready for Moab in April.
Thanks to @Trudog for the BAMF Rear Dif Skid plate!
I ordered and installed the Total Chaos Bed Stiffeners after watching @Classytacos awesome video. Very easy to install.
Original link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-fQrf8yMSc


Ordered White Knuckle Off Road Rock sliders after extensive research and watching Kelly @ Adventure Built and they arrived!
I got the DOM steel and they are heavy! Write up to follow.
Original link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qc25p31DOV8

Off to powdercoat next week.

I was so impressed with Artec Industries quality and products that I purchased their LCA Skid Plates and they arrived last week.
True to their reputation, these things are solid. 6061 high quality aerospace aluminum, guaranteed for life!
Pricey, but worth it (and on sale -17% off).
I will add a write up later.

This week I ordered my Toyo Open Country MT pizza cutters (255/85/16) from Discount Tire. Saved 20% ($350) with Presidents Day Sale and Military Discount (yes, you get to combine both discounts!). Scheduled for installation next week (coming from Minnesota). Write up to follow. These are the heaviest tires of the pizza cutters in this size, but I am hopeful they won't slow the Taco too much or cause gearing issues.
Shout out to Mike (@StormRnr), he did an awesome video and write up on these types of tires.
Original link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OffaywI7zg
 

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I forgot this quick mod that makes a major difference.
Very impressed with Hooke Road tailgate insert.
It took like 15 minutes to install. No issues with closing the tailgate or clearance (sometimes reported in reviews on amazon).
 

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Next up, I received my anytime front cam kit and will be installing it this weekend.
Anytime Backup and Front Camera - Kit Variants (https://www.anytimebackupcamera.com/products/anytime-backup-and-front-camera). Brian, the CEO, is a cruiserhead and very helpful. They also offer a military discount.
Most people get this camera with the kit or separately:

I got this one as well and will be testing both.
Some first hand testimonials and reviews say the first one has a 'fish eye' effect.
I will report back with my results.
 
Not really a mod, but a very important safety purchase was this Element 50 fire extinguisher. I got mine from one of my favorite suppliers (Northridge4x4). Great pricing, super fast shipping.

For those of you not familiar with this, it has more capacity than a standard fire extinguisher without the weight or concerns of a torpedo flying around your cab if it isn't strapped down properly. I velcro'd mine to the inside of my glove box for quick and easy access. I highly recommend this product. I would buy 2 to have one as a back up just in case.

Original link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUR6zrz3DYU
 
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For those of you not yet ready to pull the trigger on a RTT, you may want to consider this budget overland alternative instead.
Purchased at REI for $150 with the ability to return at anytime in the event it rips or fails.
This was my first time setting it up, so it wasn't quite right (rear sags too much). Survived many rain and wind storms so far.
Add this air mattress, sleeping bag, and pillow and you are good to go.

Update:
Exchanged this one for the full size version for a 6.5' truck bed (last two pics). It is better. Still not perfect. A little too big. But the other one was too small and pulled at the zippers which would have failed sooner than later.
 

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I'm a fan of those truck tents, though I've never used one. They seem like a great way to turn the bed into, well... a bed. Even the short beds can sleep an average person if the tailgate's down. To be honest my height is the only reason I got a long bed, though I'm only average.

Those fire extinguisher sticks, on the other hand. I don't know. They remind me more of blessing something with burning sage than putting out a fire. I have very little training for those situations so I'm worried that I'd start to panic when trying to put out a fire with something like that. For keeping in my truck I'm sticking with my 4lb, just need to get a new mount.

I like those tires, too. I'm thinking of going skinnier, though, at 235 85 since I have a stock suspension. I think they'll fit...
 
Installed my LCA Skids.
The front bolt is a little to short for my Taco, and for my comfort (first pic). I am going to call the company on Monday and ask them to ship me two longer bolts, same as the ones used on the back of the skid. I still have to trim the factory skid that comes with the TRDOR. Probably tomorrow.
 

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I'm a fan of those truck tents, though I've never used one. They seem like a great way to turn the bed into, well... a bed. Even the short beds can sleep an average person if the tailgate's down. To be honest my height is the only reason I got a long bed, though I'm only average.

Those fire extinguisher sticks, on the other hand. I don't know. They remind me more of blessing something with burning sage than putting out a fire. I have very little training for those situations so I'm worried that I'd start to panic when trying to put out a fire with something like that. For keeping in my truck I'm sticking with my 4lb, just need to get a new mount.

I like those tires, too. I'm thinking of going skinnier, though, at 235 85 since I have a stock suspension. I think they'll fit...
@Meclizine , it has been great! Yes, the tailgate has to be lowered which provides a bunch more space for even tall people. I throw a yoga mat down in the bed, then I have my air mattress on top of that. You can't feel the bed ridges at all. I can move around pretty well inside. It even has hooks to hang lights from. The best part about this one is that it doesn't have a floor. So even if it is raining you can get it up quickly and get inside and finish setting up the tent from the inside. Stows away in a very compact bag. I have to remove my tonneau cover to install the tent, but that only takes a minute or so.

I have a real fire extinguisher in the back of the bed too. I just like this for quick access. It has a different chemical makeup that won't ruin engine components too.

I'll post up pics of my tires on Monday after they are installed.
 
So I started load planning for Moab just to get an idea of how much space I am going to need, and although I didn't plan on it I decided to delete the rear seat in my AC for more room. Then I decided to soundproof or use sound deadening mat that I already had left over from my van build. I also built a very crude platform.
 

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Did everyone know that those black vents go straight to the outside between the cab and the truck bed? Should I cover them or leave them as is? I can't remove them, because you have to remove the bed.
 
Did everyone know that those black vents go straight to the outside between the cab and the truck bed? Should I cover them or leave them as is? I can't remove them, because you have to remove the bed.
Don’t remove them. They equalize the air pressure. Slam your door shut on a hot humid day and you stand a good chance of breaking the window.
 
@Bird dog, Wow! Glad I asked. I almost covered them. Thanks!
You can cover them with foam or a pool noodle and you definitely should if you want to cut down on road noise. I did a rear seat delete and more sound deadening than you did and the increase in road noise was dramatically louder until I put some foam over the cab vents.
 
You can cover them with foam or a pool noodle and you definitely should if you want to cut down on road noise. I did a rear seat delete and more sound deadening than you did and the increase in road noise was dramatically louder until I put some foam over the cab vents.
I can confirm the vents are the main source of noise back there. I put a layer of 80mil mat on the steel and then a plywood panel. With this I can still tell when the vents are open but it's not a big difference now, though still louder than with stock upholstery and panels.
 
Tire Update:

So I got my new Toyo MT Pizza Cutters (255/85/16) and I really like them. I gained 1.5" of clearance. Granted, my previous tires had 25K miles on them (and were somewhat worn), but still impressive. I am going to do a road test later this afternoon. They are a little noisier, but remember I have the rear seat deleted and haven't put in insulation yet. I will take a new decibel measurement as well and better pics.
 

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Better pics as promised of my new "skinny" tires / pizza cutters (255/85/16) and recent installs.
That new spare barely squeezed into the space.
I got new hardware for the BAMF Rear Dif Skid Plate ($20).
 

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Damn, those tires look good. I'll be going skinny for my next set, which will probably be this year. What load rating are those?
 
Think you are going to love those Tokyo’s. 18 psi off road….amazing.
 
So still working on the rear seat delete and pirate "Goose Gear" deck. In the mean time I installed my new to me KC Gravity 4 LED Fog Lights. Thanks @gelsi2033.
 

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Working on an alternative to the super expensive recovery board mounts. It appears a carriage bolt with large washers works fine. I am going to install a wing nut or something easier to unscrew. But here is my test fit. I will post exact specs this weekend.
 

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Better hardware (wing nuts and bolts).
Details:

2 Each: 5/16" x 2 1/2" Carriage Bold Grade 8 with washer and 5/16"-18 Wing Nuts, Zinc, Course for the Jack Base.
2 Each: 1/2" -13 x 3" Hex Cap Screw Grade 8, with 1/2" flat washer and 1/2" - 13 Wing Nuts, Zinc, Course for the Recovery Board.

2 Each: 9/16" - 12 x 3" Hex Cap Screws, Grade 8 with 9/16" x 1/2" washer for the fire extinguisher mount (still 'fabricating').

I couldn't find 1/2" or 9/16"carriage bolts, but these work. Will replace later. Solid as a rock!
Purchased at Tacoma Screw (love the name) for $11.
 

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Just picked these up...
 

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