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Hodakaguy's Overland Tacoma Builds - On to new adventures.

Hodakaguy

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Looks like a great site! Over the next couple days I will transfer over my build thread here. Looking forward to learning and sharing info.......

With our Unimog sold we set our sights on new adventures.

After two big projects I'm ready to do less building and more using. My mind set is changing for now, I want to do as much camping and traveling as possible while my son is at the right age. This build will be more bolting stuff on than fabricating.

Selecting a Vehicle: We wanted a newer reliable vehicle that will haul the whole family and be capable off road at the same time. We also want another Four Wheel Camper to carry on the back for family trips as we really liked our past FWC.

We've always been a big fan of the Toyota Tacoma so my father and I set out to look at Tacoma's. We both liked the TRD Off Road quad cab model in the Quicksand color so now we own matching rigs :)

Not as cool as the Unimog but these will be practical for our intended use.


Planned upgrades:

OME BP-51 bypass shocks - Good suspension makes a HUGE difference.
Dakar rear spring packs
Firestone air bags with Daystar Cradles
Onboard air
Dual Battery Setup
Snorkel
Canopy with roof rack
ARB Fridge
SSO Hybrid bumper with 30" LED
Winch
wheels/tires
Misc


The Trucks

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Instagram at: Hodakaguy_Tom

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Hodakaguy

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On the test drive with my truck there was a noticeable vibration that felt like a tire out of balance, the roads around the dealer were in pretty poor cond and I eventually chocked it up to the road. Once on the highway heading home it became apparent that there is a tire balance issue at 54-60mph then again around 70. We were in a hurry to get on the road for home so we wouldn't be getting back super late so I figured I would deal with it at my local dealer once home.

Once we arrived home I scheduled an appointment for a tire balance at my local dealer. The service manager took a ride with me and said he had a hard time feeling the vibration, I let him drive next and he then said he could feel it. They re-balanced the tires and said the problem was gone....Nope. On the drive home it still had the vibration issue just slightly better.

The next morning my father came over so I swapped wheels and tires from his truck to mine.

IMG_2470-X2.jpg



My fathers canopy had came in so we took a test drive over to get the canopy installed on his truck. Once on the road the vibration was completely gone on my truck and my father said his truck now had the vibration. We will stop at the dealer again after the canopy install.

Leer canopy installed on my fathers truck. When doing off road trips we will use the canopy's to carry gear and support a roof top tent.

IMG_2471-X2.jpg



We stopped at the local Toyota dealer again on the way home and told them about swapping wheels/tires and the problem going with it. They said they just put a lift kit on a brand new 18 TRD OR and they would just take my 4 wheels and tires and swap me out with a complete new set. After an hr or so I had a fresh set of wheels/tires and they were driving nice and smooth. Great customer service this time around!

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Hodakaguy

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First mod is to get rid of the ugly looking chrome grill. We changed my father's grill out when he first got his truck and I ordered my grill shortly after. The Toyota Pro grill is $400 which is way steep for a piece of plastic, luckily there are exact knock offs from China on Ebay for $140. I was leery of ordering one at first but after reading a lot of reviews we took the chance. Our grills both came packaged extremely well and the units were in excellent cond, I've held the OEM pro grill and can't tell any difference between the two.

The ugly looking chrome cheese grater grill

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The Pro Grill came packed very well

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Side by side

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And installed. Simple mod but it really changes the overall look of the truck

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Hodakaguy

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One of the first camping/overland components showed up.....ARB fridges. REI was having a close out sale on some ARB refrigerators and allowed the use of a 25% off coupon coupled with the sale. ARB also had a rebate going on where you could get a limited edition map print cover for the units free if you purchased the units in December. We ended up each snagging a unit. The ARB fridge is a true compressor refrigerator/freezer. They will keep stuff frozen on 90 plus degree days and take very little power to run. We will use them in the back of the trucks on desert trips and I will fab a mount to utilize one of the units in the Four Wheel Camper as well.

Fridges waiting to keep something cold.

IMG_2486-X2.jpg


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Ok...Lets get this build rolling!

Parts have started to arrive and it's time to get the trucks ready for upcoming adventures this spring. Oh yeah!!

Picked up a large box of parts today from FedEx. I was planning on unloading the pallet and loosely placing it all in the truck but the pallet actually fit in the bed! Sweet!

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LOTS of parts.....and LOT of work ahead.

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Upper Control Arms. Decided to give the Delta Joints a try in hopes of a little longer life compared to a Uniball Joint....Time will tell.

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Well with 1200 miles on the truck it's time to get a little Invasive!! lol.

Stock....

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Up on 5 Ton Jack Stands.

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With the wheels/tires removed we stacked them under the middle of the frame on each side, this will be a backup safety just in case anything was to bump the truck off the stands.

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Stock rear suspension....with the mighty TRD OFF ROAD Shocks.

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Just a little bit of Difference between the OEM unit and the OME BP-51 Rear. I've read a lot of good on the BP-51's, can't wait to try them out! Initial quality looks amazing!

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Time to pull the Differentials. We will be re-gearing both trucks with Nitro 4.88 Gearing. The stock gearing on these trucks is insanely high, even with stock tires the trans hunts between 5th and 6th constantly with any bit of elevation change on the Highway. With the overly Tall overdrive and 285/75-R16 tires the 4.88's should make the truck a lot more fun to drive :)

Draining the Oil on the Rear Diff......Ahhhhh the aroma of gear oil :)

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Remove the guard and connectors for the rear locker.

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Placing paint marks to index the drive line so it goes back on in the same orientation.

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Disconnect the Drive line from the 3rd member.

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Pull the bolts on the E-brake cable to give some slack to slide the axles out.

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Sliding the axle out. Remove the 4 bolts holding the axle onto the housing, also remove the brake line connection (You can skip this step by removing the anchor points for the brake line along the axle and get enough slack, this will keep you from having to bleed the brakes but I'm installing longer SS brake lines so it won't matter in my case). Also disconnect the ABS sensor connectors.

Side note....I got in a hurry here and didn't clean off the flange areas before pulling the axle. It was cleaned after this picture and I pre-cleaned the other side before pulling to ensure no dirt falls on the axle/seals. A small plastic cap was installed to keep brake fluid from dripping out.

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3rd member removed from the truck.

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At this point I slid the axles back into place and bolted everything back up to keep everything clean until the new gears are ready to be re-installed.

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Axle sealed up and waiting.

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Stock 3rd member out of the truck.

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Nitro 4.88 gearing with REM Polishing.

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That's it for today.....Lots more to come.

Hodakaguy
 

Hodakaguy

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More Progress.....

This morning I decided to check compatibility with my spring compressor on the front shocks, The BP-51 Units are internal bypass shocks so the body is wider than most limiting use of most spring compressors.

I purchased this unit about 5 years ago and it has been awesome on all my projects, so much easier and safer than a cheap spring compressor. It has different size cups to match your spring diameter and you compress by turning the single bolt head at the bottom.

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Now to check compatibility with the Shock. With any aluminum body shock you should relieve tension on the spring before making adjustments to the collar, otherwise damage can occur to the aluminum threads.

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And success! Not a lot of clearance but the spring cups do clear the body!

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Now to get the front diff out of the truck.

Drained the front diff oil and removed the brake calipers, hub assemblies, sway bar connections, tie rod connections, axles etc. on each side.

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Placing index marks on the front drive line connection.

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Electrical connectors disconnected and 10mm bolt removed on the upper passenger side that holds the wiring.

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Drivers side has a hidden bolt up on top that holds a bracket that needs to be removed, hard to see in this picture. You can also see the drivers side needle bearing that always fails once lifted, this will be replaced with the ECGS bushing while the diff is out.

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Front Diff lowered out of the truck.

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Big difference between the OEM and OME :)

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More to come....

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Hodakaguy

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Got a little more work done tonight...slow but sure :)

Next up remove the factory upper control arm. The UCA bolt is a pain in the butt to remove. The metal lip of the fender interferes with the bolt and keeps it from being able to be removed, a little careful bending with some channel locks and there is just enough clearance for removal. It's still a super tight fit but it does come out.

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The red arrow shows the area that gets bent back a bit for clearance. You can bend it back flat when finished or leave it alone so it's ready for next time, it's really not noticable.

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The UCA Bolt passes next to the battery tray and under/through this wiring bundle (Red Arrow). You need to make sure it's not snagging on the wiring as you use a drift to push the bolt out.

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Factory UCA next to the Icon replacement.

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Greasing up the bushing for the Icon UCA. Everything gets a good coat of grease (Bel-Ray Waterproof) except where the bolt slides through, I cleaned that area out before install.

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All greased up and ready for install. They will get hit again with a grease gun right before final torque on the bolt.

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Looking better already :). Still need to install the brackets for the remote reservoir.

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Wheels showed up today. We are going with the "Cast Iron Black" AX201 Wheels in 16"x8", Zero Offset. Should look awesome with the Quicksand!

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More to come.......

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Hodakaguy

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Was able to get a little done on the truck after work tonight, not a lot of progress...but progress non the less.

Time to get the remote reservoir mounted up. The brackets that support the Res also acts as a sway bar drop bracket, everything is very well made and thought out.

This mud cover needs to be removed to install the bracket for the reservoir.

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The bracket will go between the sway bar mount and the frame.

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Res brackets.

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LOCTITE 243 Used on the threads, I like 243 vs 242 since the 243 is oil resistant and isn't as picky on having ultra clean threads like the 242.

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Bracket in Place.

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Reservoir mounted in place

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I re-installed the mud shields over the reservoir to help keep the engine bay clean.

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Next up remove the passenger side UCA. The bolt on this side interferes with the sheet metal as well.

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A little slight bending and the bolt slides right out. There is a lot more clearance on this side for the bolt to pass through, this side went a lot quicker.

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UCA geased up and installed.

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And the passenger side reservoir bracket installed and torqued.

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That's all for tonight, more to come soon.....

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Hodakaguy

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Tonight's after work Update..........

Passenger side front shock assembly removed.

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OME Shock and Res installed, Mud cover re-installed.

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Moving to the back. Drivers side rear leaf spring removed.

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OEM and OME Dakar springs side by side. Have to do some touch up painting on the new springs since shipping wasn't kind to the paint. New OME bushings installed in the springs.

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Aligning the holes to re-install the bolts into the springs. Giant crescent wrench makes the task easy :)

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Dakar springs installed.

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Next up....Firestone Air Bags and Daystar Cradles.

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More to come soon....

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Today's Progress.

Started back on the drivers side rear. Here I'm installing the new bracket for the lower shock mount. A new hole is required here as part of the mount.

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Shock installed, I love the integrated rock shields for the shaft on the shock....all shocks should come with this feature! I put a dab with a yellow paint pen on each bolt that has been torqued to final specs. Some bolts will need to wait until the truck is setting on the tires again before receiving final torque.

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Rear shock installed...minus the res mount.

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The upper assembly for the Firestone air bags. The instructions show the big silver through bolt turned around the other way but it extends to far that way and will interfere with the reservoir mount, if your running both airbags and OME shocks the bolt needs to be oriented in this direction.

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Reservoir mount installed

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Getting ready to have the tires mounted on the new wheels, we removed my fathers front wheel to verify clearance on the calipers before diving in and having the tires installed. Calipers cleared so mounting is a go!

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Tires mounted up. The wheels are AX201 16"x8" Zero Off Set, Tires are BFG KO2 285/75-R16. Here the tire is just leaned up against the hub to get a sneak peak on how it's going to look, the tires won't stick out this much once mounted properly. I really like the look against the Quicksand.

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RCI Sliders showed up today, these babies are very solid and quality looks very good as well. Can't wait to get them painted and on the truck.

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Got the passenger side rear spring installed and the upper portion of the air bags loose fit. That's enough for today.

P1190420-X3.jpg


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Hodakaguy

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Not a lot of time to work on the truck today, I did manage to finish up the passenger side rear suspension early this morning.

Passenger side all buttoned up except for the lower air bag mounts/cradles.

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The lower air bag mount is suppose to rest on the axle on the outer edge but with the thicker Dakar spring pack it hangs in the air 3/4" off the axle (bracket is sitting on backwards for picture). I will modify the lower brackets to get proper contact back before mounting.

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Going to place the sliders up onto the truck for a sneak peak....

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Well at this point my super squirrel powers took over and I jumped off the slider project and used the rest of my limited time to whip up a power brake bleeder. I'll use this bleeder when I install the new brake lines and re-install the calipers. These bleeders work really slick, way better than a vacuum bleeder and lets you easily bleed the system by yourself. The tank adds a bit of air pressure to the reservoir and when you open the bleeder it pushes the fluid out without having to pump the brakes, just need to check the fluid level in the reservoir often so you don't run low and push air into the system again. You can buy purpose built units but they are around $50 for the cheapest ones, I already had an extra small weed sprayer so I just needed a spare brake reservoir cap. My spare cap came in today so it's time to get it ready for the upcoming brake work.

New brake reservoir cap and brass fitting that will connect the cap to the weed sprayer.

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Hole drilled in the new cap.

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The brass fitting was threaded into the plastic cap with two part epoxy to ensure a tight seal. Cap is now ready to use.

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Ready to bleed some brakes! (I'll add a small pressure gauge on the tank body to monitor air pressure)

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More to come....

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Hodakaguy

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Up early this morning to get the Raptor liner sprayed on the sliders....but quickly got derailed when I realized I didn't have the 2K bare metal primer that I thought I had. Oh well...on to something else today.

Time to modify the lower mount for the air bags. The OEM mount is designed to rest on the axle on one side, it has a notch cut into the bracket to clear the curvature of the axle. When fitting properly the mount rests on the axle with two sharp points....probably not a lot of pressure here but I still don't like it. With the addition of the Dakar springs (This spring pack is thicker) it left the mounts support leg dangling in the air by 3/4" so modifications will have to be made to get it back to original design.

Firestone lower air bag mount sitting on the Dakar spring pack, this support leg is suppose to be resting on the axle (the mount is turned around in this picture for reference).

P1200438-X3.jpg



Starting to fabricate the new mounting leg, this piece of pipe will become the saddle at the bottom of the support. Here using a wrap around to mark a cut line. I like the idea of a saddle with any pressure being spread out instead of being focused on a sharp point.

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Checking fit, I tweaked the curve a bit for an exact fit. Still needing a little tweak in this picture.

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Laying out the new longer support leg.

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Parts laid out, edges beveled and ready for welding.

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Attaching the support base. Side Note....I absolutely love MagSwitches! These are super strong magnets that you can turn on and off with a switch on top. They are soooooo handy for holding parts when fabricating.

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I started fabricating parts for the passenger side while my father commenced tig welding the mounts back together.

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Testing fit

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Mount primed/painted, Daystar cradle installed and everything bolted into place.

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Alignment looks way off when the springs are at full droop, but it comes back into alignment as the springs are compressed.

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More to come....

Hodakaguy
 

Tyler

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Welcome to T3G!! I was wondering when you'd be in the house. I think everyone can agree you've got two of the best DIY builds out there. Really clean work.
 

Hodakaguy

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Received the differentials back from the gear shop. Can't wait to go for a drive and try out the new gearing!

The old cast carrier removed from the front diff. I ended up having an ARB air locker installed in the front diff while it was apart, no difference in labor at this point so now's the time if your gonna do it.

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Air fitting installed in the front diff for the ARB locker.

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This is the drivers side needle bearing in the OEM front carrier that ends up causing vibrations in lifted Tacoma's, If lifting a Tacoma it's wise to change out this bearing with a ECGS Bushing which will fix most vibration issues in the front drive line. The ARB locker carrier doesn't use this needle bearing so no need to change anything if installing this unit. I had already ordered the ECGS bushing and had it on hand then changed my mind on installing the locker.....guess I'll have a ECGS bushing up for sale soon :)

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The same area on the drivers side of the ARB Carrier.

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Shiny new REM Polished 4:88 Nitro gears installed in the rear diff.

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Gasket surface cleaned on the diff housing, getting ready to install the new gasket.

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Rear Diff re-installed and torqued, locker connectors fitted and guard installed.

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Axles torqued to specs and brake cables re-attached.

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Installed the modified passenger side lower air bag mount/cradle.

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Received new lug nuts in the mail. The new aluminum wheels need taper style lug nuts (can't use the factory nuts), I stopped by a local tire store and they gave me a Gorilla spline drive lug nut to try out on the wheel at home. With the new wheel in place I wasn't happy with the amount of threads that was protruding from the wheel and engaging the lug nut, time for some searching. I ended up ordering the same lug nuts in extended reach that add another 1/4" of engagement with the threads....much better.

New Gorilla spline drive ET lug nuts

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The standard lug next to the ET version. Much improved thread engagement.

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Testing fit in the wheel. Plenty of space left to allow the wheel to fully seat. There is also slight clearance between the lug nut and wheel to allow proper centering.

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More to come.......

Hodakaguy
 

Hodakaguy

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Still chipping away....Today's Progress.

Installed and torqued the rear drive line in place.

P1270567-X3.jpg



Installed the drop spacers on the center carrier bracket.

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Here's the OEM brake lines at full extension, pretty tight but could probably live with it. I'm installing extended braided steel lines in their place.

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The new extended braided line next to the factory line

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New brake lines installed, not near as tight at full extension.

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Getting ready to install the fill lines for the air bags. I'll be routing the air fittings out the two upper rear license plate bolts, this will allow for easy filling of the bags and having them separate will allow both side to side adjustment for load leveling as well as up/down adjustment. The metal edge just above the holes for the plate (Red Arrows) needs to be slightly bent upwards to allow clearance for the brass fill fittings.

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Hole enlarged and Air fitting installed

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Both air fittings installed, they also secure the plate to the truck.

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Air lines installed. I secured the tubing out of the way on the factory wiring harness.

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On the passenger side the tubing is fairly close to the exhaust as it comes out of the air bag. There should be plenty of air space to keep the tubing cool but I added a piece of heat reflective tape to that section of tubing as an extra measure.

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Rear wheels installed and torqued. Still sitting on the jack stands, I'm liking the look of these wheels.

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Getting the front diff ready to re-install. Here the supports have been re-attached and torqued.

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Running the air tubing for the front locker, here just loosely getting it into position.

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Getting ready to re-install the diff. Applied painters tape to the open ends to keep out dirt and nasties during the install process.

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Shot of my ugly mug re-attaching the vent lines and bracket, it's one of those areas that you can easily see but is very difficult to get to.

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Front diff installed.

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Front drive line re-installed and torqued.

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Air locker tubing installed and securely routed up into the engine bay. Excess tubing placed in the rear corner of the engine bay for now.

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More to come.....

Hodakaguy
 

Hodakaguy

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Up early to start back on the truck.

Snagged a cheap HF weed sprayer to use as a pressure bleeder (nice and clean inside unlike my old one) and added a pressure gauge to the tank. This will turn out to be a waste of time....more on that later :)

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Next up started assembly of the drivers side front end. Axle cleaned, greased and installed back in the Diff.

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Drivers side back together and new braided brake hose installed.

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Passenger side diff seal cleaned and ready for grease.

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Using a large brass drift to seat the axles back into the front diff.

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Passenger side back together again.

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Axle nuts torqued and keepers installed.

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Bleeding the brakes. Here I'm setting up the pressure bleeder and getting ready to start the bleeding process. Right after this picture was taken I read in the Toyota shop manual that you use the trucks built in pump to bleed the brakes and this air bleeder is completely unnecessary, probably should have read that before building this unit LOL. Bleeding brakes is super simple, Fill the reservoir, power on the ignition and pump the brakes 20 times, allowing the pump motor to shut down on each stroke. Repeat this process 4 times total then with the ignition on bleed the brakes like you would normally do, I had my father press the pedal while I did the bleeding. The power pump moves a lot of fluid and the bleeding process was done in no time.

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Next up fill the Diffs. I had this oil left from my Unimog project, it will work perfect for the initial short flush period.

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Front and back diffs topped off.

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One mile stone down. Lots of work to go still.

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And out in the wild again. Crappy pics here as I was in a hurry and the lighting wasn't the best.

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Took it on a real quick test drive and everything seems to be functioning just the way it should be, no weird codes etc. Only did a short drive but I think I'm going to like these gears!

Lot's more work to go.....More to come soon.....

Hodakaguy
 

Hodakaguy

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With my truck now mobile it's time for an alignment so I can start getting some miles on the new parts. I've had good luck in the past with the local Les Schwab tire center so I made an appointment and arrived early in the am to get the alignment completed.

Even with the REM Polished gears I will be following a break in period to ensure the gears are properly broken in. I left the house and drove for 25 minutes keeping it at or under 40 mph. When I stopped at the tire shop for alignment I used a IR gun to check the temp of the rear axle and 3rd member, nice and cool :) From this point I will drive it easy for several hundred more miles.

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I asked for 3 Deg Caster if possible, came out at 2.5 Deg. Not perfect specs but it's driving really well now.

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Out in the Wild.....

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I'm really liking the looks of these Wheels.

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With my truck out of the shop it's time to start in on my fathers truck.

Up on stands and ready for Round Two.....Ding Ding.

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Drained both axles, my fathers truck has 5500 miles on it at this point and the oil in both the front and rear had a dark grey color to it. When installing new gears they recommend a 500 mile oil change on the front diff and rear axle to flush any metal particles ect during the break in period. If keeping stock gearing it would be a good idea to change oils in the front and rear within the first 5k miles, most will just drive their new cars without ever doing a oil change on the axles.

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Pulling the front end apart, I was smarter this time and left the axles attached to the spindle.....a lot less work and speeds up the process. Second time around is always faster, should have thought about this when I did mine.

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Stock suspension components removed.

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Front Diff out of the truck.

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Supports removed and the diff is ready for re-gearing. All wrapped up and ready to transport.

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Removing the drivers side Upper Control Arm bolt was a bit tighter on my fathers truck than on mine, a little trimming on the bolt face allowed the bolt to be removed without cutting the bolt in two. A small air grinder with a skinny wheel made quick work of the trimming process. Once the sheet metal was tweaked back a drift pushed the bolt right out.

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Looking Bare. New UCA's installed on both sides.

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Getting the tires installed on the wheels...

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Lots more to come......

Hodakaguy
 

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Our Husky X-act fit Contour floor liners arrived this weekend :). The stock Toyota all weather mats leave a lot to be desired and the passenger side mat constantly creeps forward since it doesn't have a anchor. The Husky mats come with a anchor for the passenger side, has an excellent fit and a heaps more coverage than the stock mats. The quality of the Husky units is top notch! Lot's of pics since I was having a hard time finding good pics when I was looking at them.

Pics of the Husky mats next to the OEM units.

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Anchor for passenger side, screws into carpet/under matting. The floor mat snaps onto this anchor.

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Mats installed.

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Next up start installation of a dual battery system in my truck, I'll be piecing together the setup using different brand components. For the passenger side Battery I purchased an Off Grid Engineering aluminum mount, the battery in this location will be a NorthStar Group 35 740 CCA Batt and will be the starting battery for the truck.

The mount....machined aluminum goodness :)

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The mount/battery will be placed in the open space on the passenger side, The TRD Off Road models have this space open since the ABS controller is integral with the master cylinder and located on the drivers side.

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These three studs will be part of the mount setup.

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Mount Installed........Well....Kinda

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Should have been a quick and easy install but the mount does not line up with the rear most stud on the fender well, the hole for the stud (Blue Arrow) is about 2" away from the rear stud (Red Arrow). Maybe this battery mount is for a different year Tacoma? I'll make some calls on Monday, for now this project is on hold.

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Picked up my fathers Wheels/Tires from the tire shop, all balanced and ready to go.

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Managed to install both front shocks, reservoirs and upper air bag/mounts on my fathers truck this afternoon.

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Almost twins...:)

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More to come....

Hodakaguy
 

Hodakaguy

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Time to get some work done on this project.

Since I installed the lift on my truck I've had a vibration/shudder each time I pass through 20 MPH. I ordered some Degree Shims (3 Degree) to rotate the pinion upward and place the drive line back into proper orientation.

Dropped the axle, clamped the springs with two C-Clamps and removed the pins holding the spring pack together.

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Shims Installed.

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Trimming the excess stud to clear the lower Air Bag mounts...and being careful not to touch the shock :)

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And back together again. I took it for a test drive after installing the shims and the Vibration is gone, the shims did the trick! :). Now to make progress on other items.....

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Next up install the passenger side battery in my truck. I contacted Off Grid Engineering about the bottom rear stud (Red Arrow) not lining up with the hole in the mount (Blue Arrow), they said on the 3rd Gen's the rear mount isn't utilized and the mount is strong enough without it. Seemed like this mount was made for the 2nd Gen trucks and they just called it good for the 3rd Gen's instead of re-designing it to fit properly....bummer since it's not a cheap piece. Once installed I could pull up on the rear of the mount and get a little flex, I decided that it would be best to go ahead and anchor the rear of the mount down to prevent any fatigue over time from flexing when hitting bumps etc.

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Mount removed. You can see the three studs in this picture. I will be installing a Rivet Nut into the hole just ahead of the rear most stud and will use a bolt to anchor the mount down.

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Rivet Nut tool. This tool is very handy for installing threads into sheet metal.

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Hole drilled out to proper size and Rivet Nut being installed.

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And Rivet Nut Installed.

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Mount re-installed, rock solid and no flexing.

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NorthStar Group 35 Battery. This battery will be the starting/Truck battery.

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Everything Secured.

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Time to install the Drivers side NorthStar Group 31M Battery. This battery will run the Winch, fridge etc and will be tied to the Four Wheel Camper as well.

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For the drivers side I will be using a PerfreyBuilt Stainless Steel tray.

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Factory battery Removed.

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The edge of the tray is against the wiring bundle, I installed a piece of rubber fuel line to keep the sharp edge of the tray from wearing into the wiring.

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And installed. I will be modifying the stock wiring to extend over to the passenger side battery soon as well as installing the ACR etc.

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Next up installing a retractable step on the rear of my truck. It tucks up pretty high but time will tell if it will get in the way while off road, it will be very handy for every day use though.

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Step installed and retracted

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With a flick of your foot the step is extended.

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Preparing to install the Dakar springs on my fathers truck, here I'm installing the shims straight away this time while the springs are off the truck.

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Drivers side Spring out of the truck. OEM rear spring next to the Dakar springs.

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Dakar spring on the left, stock unit on the right.

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Time to install the Shocks.

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And both rear shock assemblies installed.

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Starting fabrication on the lower air bag mounts to adjust them to correct height following the Dakar Spring install.

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Both Diffs back from the shop today with the REM Polished Nitro 4:88 Gears Installed! Hope to get these babies back in the truck this weekend.

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More to come......

Hodakaguy
 

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Up early and started fabricating parts to extend the lower air bag mounts for my fathers truck. The thicker Dakar springs puts the outer support leg on the bottom mount about 3/4" off the axle, time to extend them for proper fit.

Marking and cutting the new support legs

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Welding it all up

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Lower mounts primed and painted. Installed the Daystar Cradles, these will allow the air bags to separate from the lower mount during suspension droop, this will allow full droop on the suspension and eliminate the stress on the air bag from the axle assembly hanging off the bag.

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Installing the extended Stainless Braided rear brake lines.

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Installed the air lines for the air bags. I ran the fill fittings out the rear the same way I did on my truck, so they perform double duty as license plate mounting bolts.

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Installed the carrier bearing drop spacers.

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Lower air bag mounts installed, the cradles and bags come back into alignment as the suspension is compressed.

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Re-installed the rear diff with REM polished 4:88 Nitro Gears :). The 4:88 gearing is my favorite mod so far, makes the truck WAY more fun to drive! These 3rd gen trucks should have came from the factory with these gears installed!

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Rear end complete, just have to finish torque on the spring eye bolts after the truck is sitting back on the wheels.

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Next up re-install the front Diff. Installed painters tape over the axle seals to keep any nasties out during install. No pics of installing the support arms back onto the front diff.

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Running the air tubing for the ARB front locker.

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Locker air tubing fitted up to the Diff, tubing not yet fully routed and secured in this pic.

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Front Diff back in the truck.

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Should be able to test drive this baby tomorrow, my father is excited to get his truck back :)

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More tomorrow.....

Hodakaguy
 

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4:30 am on Sunday...time to get back to work.

Routed the ARB air tubing down to the front diff following the breather lines. Will be installing the compressor soon.

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Getting ready to re-install the front axles. I pulled my fathers axles while they are still assembled to the spindles, this turned out to be a huge time saver and made re-installation a breeze. Not sure why I didn't do it this way on my Truck, oh well the second time always goes easier and faster :)

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Seal greased and the inside carrier/splines lubed with fresh gear oil

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Front drive line re-installed and torqued to spec.

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Fresh gear oil applied to the axle shaft. The red arrow is pointing at the clip that locks the axle in place, during installation you want this clip facing upwards to it doesn't hang down and stop the axle from sliding into the carrier. (Clip is upside down in this pic).

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Lower two bolts loosely fit on the spindle and holding the axle in place.

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Getting ready to seat the axle/internal clip into place. The red arrow is pointing to the machined lips where I'll rest the brass drift to drive the axle in.

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Using a brass drift to seat the axles, a couple hits and the axle pops into place.

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Drivers side completely assembled and torqued (Minus the UCA Bolt) with new SS Brake line installed, no pics but the passenger side was assembled right after this pic.

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Installing SDHQ ABS sensor guards, should do a decent job at protecting the vulnerable wiring connectors. Red arrow pointing to the passenger side front ABS Connector.

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SDHQ Guards, very well built and finished.

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And installed on the truck.

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Managed to get a cut on my thumb in the middle of all this on a sharp thread, couldn't be bothered to walk to the house so had to improvise :)

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New Tires/Wheels installed and brakes bled.

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Off the jacks and back on the wheels.

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After bouncing on the suspension several times it's time to torque the upper control arms and rear spring perch bolts. Greased the UCA's before final torque then re-installed the rear splash aprons.

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My father setting the tire pressure to 30 psi, we will do a chalk test to find the proper inflation pressure for these tires but I'm betting this will be close.

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Adding gear oil to both diffs.

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Out for a quick test drive to test all systems and get the first heat cycle on the gears. 20 minutes of driving total to allow the diff to heat up then will let it completely cool down again at home. All systems performed perfectly, no vibration issues, no codes, 4WH, 4WL and Rear Locker all working perfectly. Now to get the truck aligned and start getting some easy break in miles on the gears. Stopped here for a quick photo shoot as we hit a gravel road to try out the 4WD system.

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My fathers truck next to mine...twins! You can see my suspension has settled about an inch in the 500 miles that I've put on my truck since installing the kit, my fathers will settle out the same. Once the additional weight of the sliders, front bumper/winch get installed it should be about perfect. The initial harshness has also calmed down and my truck is riding better all the time, I'm really like this suspension setup so far.

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Posing with the trucks.

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Now that my fathers truck is out of the shop I warmed up my Diffs and dropped the initial break in oil. The rear looked really clean, the front had a little bit of grayish tint to it. Both magnets on the drain plugs had just a light gray film on them. We re-filled both diffs with fresh oil and I will drive another 1000 miles and drop the oil again, if all is clean at that point I will install the Redline Syn oil.

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Next up install the bed mounting bars for the Four Wheel Camper. These bars will anchor the camper to the bed with turn buckles hidden beneath the camper. There is a multi piece rubber mat that goes on either side of the bars to make the floor one height.

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The bed bars are held in place with the factory bed mount bolts.

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Quite a bit of progress this weekend, now to just keep up that pace :)

More to come....

Hodakaguy
 

Hodakaguy

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My father completed the break in miles on his truck so back in the shop to change both diff oils and the engine oil. All oils looked good, we will flush the diffs one more time then install the Syn oil.

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Time to install the wiring for the Four Wheel Camper. This connection will tie the camper into the Deep cycle aux battery on the truck, I will also use this connection to power the ARB fridge when the FWC isn't installed.

Drilled the hole in the bed for the electrical plug using a Uni-bit. I picked this spot since it's out of the way and will protect the plug nicely.

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After the hole is drilled I De-burred the edges with the De-Burring tool. This tool smooths out the sharp edges and reduces the chances of any cracks forming from the sharp edges. (Not a big concern on this plastic bed but still a good practice).

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Wiring up the Electrical plug before installing. The blue wire won't be used so here I'm just placing a piece of shrink tubing over the end to cover the bare wire. I placed some Liquid electrical tape on the end of the wire and into the end of the heat shrink tubing before shrinking it with the heat gun, makes a nice tight seal. This wire will then be enclosed in the larger shrink tubing with the rest of the wiring.

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I use marine crimps and heat shrink tubing, both have glue on the inside and when heated the glue oozes out of the connection forming a nice water tight seal.

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Connections made up and ready for install, heat shrink tubing sealed on both ends with liquid electrical tape to get between each wire.

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Installed

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Carefully routing the wiring up to the battery. I followed the factory wiring looms up to the front being careful of any rub points, exhaust etc.

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Fitting up the Blue Sea ACR (Automatic Combining Relay). This relay with combine the Aux and main batteries together when charging as well as disconnecting the two so the starting battery can't go dead . You can manually combine the two as well to jump start yourself off the aux battery if needed or to supply extra juice to the Winch. I'll weld on some small studs to the top of the Stainless battery mount to attach the ACR.

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This is where I'm planning on mounting the ACR. The factory harness will be removed from this battery, extended and connected to the smaller battery on the passenger side.

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Making up the connections to the battery on the FWC wiring, shown here pre-heat shrink.

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This will be a temporary connection for the FWC power until I finish the dual battery wiring.

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Installing the 30A Maxifuse into the fuse holder.

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Testing for power in the bed....looking good!

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Earlier in the build I modified the lower air bag mounts so that the outer support leg would contact the axle again after I installed the thicker Dakar spring packs. All was good until I added the Degree shims to the rear axle and the outer support legs no longer touched the axle again. Time to fix it......again lol.

You can see the gap between the lower perch and the axle. What looks like grease is actually a layer of battery anti-corrosive wax that I had installed between the axle and the pad, this stuff drys to a waxy consistency and will prevent moisture from getting between the axle and support pad. When I installed the degree shims and the pad no longer rested on the axle it allowed dirt to stick to the wax.

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Getting ready to cut off the support tab again.

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Time to cut out some new support pads. Laying out the lines with a wrap around.

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New support pad fabricated. Performing fit up and getting ready to weld on the new support leg.

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Newly modified lower mount next to the previously modified mount. You can see the height difference here. I also changed the support shape to give a little extra strength.

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And re-modified mounts installed and fitting as designed.

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Installed the 285/75-R16 spare in the stock location. It's a VERY tight fit but it does fit. Had to tweak/bend the two forward mounts out a bit to allow clearance. I will also be fabricating a new extended heat shield to protect the tire from the exhaust pipe heat.

Installed in the truck.

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It has clearance but I will be fabricating a better heat shield for the tire.

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The two forward tabs (Red Arrow) need to be bent forward some for clearance, a large set of channel locks or crescent wrench works nicely.

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Received the SSO hybrid bumper today. Overall the quality looks great although the push bar isn't level, it's a little less than a 1/4" lower on the right side than the left. I will cut the left side free and level the bar before painting, As well as cleaning up their welds. Pretty disappointing to see this on the bumper as I was going to paint it in the morning....oh well I can't leave it as it would drive me crazy knowing it's crooked :)

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Baja Designs lighting that will be going in the bumper.

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Warn Zeon 10-S that will be hiding behind the bumper.

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Factor 55 flat link, should stow nicely on the front.

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Back together once again.

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Lot's more work to go.....

Hodakaguy
 

Hodakaguy

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We headed in to my work early this morning to use the heated shop to get the Sliders prepped and primed.

RCI Sliders...the quality is great and they were packed and organized very well.

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At this point we started sanding.....and sanding.....then some more sanding. LOTS of sanding lol.

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Welds look good on the sliders.

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After we had all 4 sliders sanded (Doing my sliders and my fathers at the same time) we hung them up and started wiping them down with Wax Remover/Degreaser in preparation for primer.

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Time to apply the primer. I'm using a 2K Epoxy bare metal primer, should give the top coat great adhesion and durability.

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I'll be applying the primer with a HF HVLP gun, when done it's going in the trash....no cleaning today for me :)

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Primer mixed and waiting 20 minutes for activation before spraying.

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Sliders primed and drying....glad that's over. I hate Painting!!

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Now to level out the hoop on the SSO Slimline Hybrid bumper, the bumper arrived with the hoop a little less than 1/4" lower on one side than the other....Grrrrr.

Factory weld on the hoop. I'll cut this weld out, remove some material and then we will re-weld the hoop so it's level like it should be.

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I cut through the weld using both a skinny wheel and my favorite tool a Porta-Band.

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Next up remove some material so the hoop sits lower and level, any nicks will be blended back out before paint.

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With the hoop now level my father is working his magic with the tig torch.

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After the bar is welded back in place my father re-welded the other side to match. Much nicer looking than it started out....and the hoop is now level!

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Now to straighten out the metal above the light opening, this piece had a bow to it when it arrived and you could see uneven gaps around the light when installed. A wooden block and a wedge made quick work on straightening out the piece, a little at a time until it measured even all the way across.

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Done...ready for sanding, priming and top coat.

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More to come.....

Hodakaguy
 

Hodakaguy

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Time to get these sliders finished up. My father and I headed in this morning to apply the top coat so we can get them installed next weekend.

I'll be top coating with U-POL two part Raptor Liner, this is a bed liner material that is very tough and durable. The Raptor Liner should hold up better than powder coating in this application and if/when it does get scraped it will be easier to touch up. I've used this product before with great results.

Getting ready to apply the top coat, I'll be using the U-POL gun. I added about 75ml of reducer to each batch.

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Primer dried and top coat coming up.

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Raptor Liner Applied.....man I hate painting lol.

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Finished up. I'll have a couple very small areas to touch up once the straps are removed.

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With the Sliders left to cure it's time to move on to modifying the battery tray to accept the Blue Sea ACR. Pelfreybilt Stainless battery tray.

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The ACR (Automatic Combining Relay) set in place on top of the battery mounting strap. The ACR will automatically tie the two batteries together as soon as either battery starts to receive a charge, it will automatically disconnect the two batteries if the voltage starts to drop on one battery. You can also manually combine the two batteries to provide extra power/capacity for winching applications or to jump start the truck battery off the Aux battery. I'll modify the stock harness to extend it over to the smaller passenger side battery. The larger battery will be connected to the winch and the Four Wheel Camper on the back of the truck. The FWC has two of it's own deep cycle batteries giving 3 total batteries available to the camper to run the furnace and ARB Fridge. Once I install the Solar system on the camper the solar charge controller will keep all 4 batteries charged through the combiner.

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Using a transfer punch to mark the hole locations on the battery strap, a slight tap with a hammer makes a nice mark that I will deepen before drilling with another center punch once it's removed from the battery.

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Drilling out the marked hole locations.

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Next up making some studs out of 4 bolts, cut the heads off the bolts with the Porta-Band and they are ready to install.

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Time to weld the studs into the holes. I set the studs just below flush then used the Tig torch to make a flush weld so it won't interfere with the battery when mounted.

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And mounted back on the truck. I need to pick up some metric lock nuts to match the studs. Hope to be wiring up the ACR soon.

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More to come....

Hodakaguy
 

Hodakaguy

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Sorry guys....Long over due updates :)

I had a bad chest cold for about 10 days and I wasn't feeling much like posting...I did sneak out in the shop and get a few things done though :)

Installing the TPAM Mount. This is an aluminum mount with two port USB that bolts on top of the dash and allows the use of RAM mounts to mount phones, GPS units Etc.

The mount.

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Installation has you pull the dash apart, drill 5 mounting holes, attach a couple internal mounting braces then connect the wiring for the USB ports. I was way sick while doing this and didn't take the pictures I should have of the process.

Mount sitting on the Dash.

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Wiring installed. Re-installing the radio here.

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These are the internal support brackets that will brace the TPAM mount via the radio mounting bolts.

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Supports bolted in place.

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Holes drilled and bolts installed, all but the two that go into the supports.

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Installed. RAM X-Mount works great for the phone.

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Garmin Montana Installed. I really like this setup! The GPS is on the perfect angle, doesn't block the windshield and is rock solid.

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More to Come....
 

Hodakaguy

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No Pictures but I changed the Diff oils again on my truck, installed Redline Full Syn 75W-140. I went with the heavier oil since I live in a hot climate and will be pulling hills with the camper on the back.

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Time to install the Sliders.

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The fit of the RCI Sliders is excellent! I will replace their backing washers with something thicker and more HD but other than that I'm very impressed. Again I was way sick here so not as many pics as I would have liked.

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They look great and will do a long way in protecting the truck.

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Next up modify the spare tire chain hoist location. When installing the larger tire in the stock location you have to pull rearward pretty hard on the tire while at the same time trying to crank the tire up into position. This will be a royal pain to do out on the trail. After looking at the hoist mechanism it will be very easy to move it rearward enough so that you can crank the winch without having to pull on the tire.

Spare tire removed and this picture shows the hoisting mechanism in the stock location.

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Hoist removed.

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New hole locations marked and drilled

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Edges cleaned up, painted/sealed and hoist re-installed. Tire cranks up nice and easy now :)

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Hodakaguy
 

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3 Updates today...other two above....

Next up....install the FWC!

My father and I left at 2am Sunday morning and by 5pm we were sitting in front of Four Wheel Campers in Woodland CA. After this picture we headed off to the hotel to get dinner and some rest.

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Monday morning at 8am we were back at FWC and ready to install the camper. Here they pulled my truck around the back and we are waiting for them to take us back to the install area, checking out all the cool pics.

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While they were fetching our camper we checked out the showroom and got our first glimpse of a Swift model....lots more room than we were expecting!

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Their small demo model showing the welded aluminum construction.

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Here comes our camper :)

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Normally you would bolt on 4 manual camper jacks to install the camper, to speed things up they used an old fashioned 2 post lift and transferred the camper directly from the fork lift. The camper is attached to the truck via 4 turn buckles that are hidden in the bed, the turn buckles are accessed via the 4 trap doors on the FWC.

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Checking out a load of campers heading out to a dealer.

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And installed. Install takes about 15 minutes. I had the wiring per-installed before showing up.

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Filled the air bags, adjusted the tire pressures and adjusted the suspension. I've been running the shocks on #1 compression and 4 Rebound when empty, re-adjusted all 4 corners to #7 compression and #6 Rebound. Having the shocks stiff worked great on the trip home, the road manners were awesome and there was Very little body roll while weaving through the mountain passes.

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Dad checking out the interior. We ordered the shell model which is minus the sink and cook stove. The full kitchen model takes up a lot of space and weights a good chunk more, we found that we rarely used the water system and prefer the light weight setup of the shell models. I carry ultra light backpacking gear for cooking etc.

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Just as we were leaving FWC they pulled out another Tacoma getting a camper installed the same day....had to pull over for a picture :)

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Pulled over to get a shot of Mt Shasta and the cinder cone in the Background.

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Stopped in Grants Pass OR for a IN-N-Out Burger....Yummmm.

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About 8:30 we pulled over at a truck stop for the night....home sweet home. Not the most ideal spot but it's right off the highway and free!

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Stopped at StoneHenge this morning on the final leg home.

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Weather was awesome so I decided to snap some better pictures of the setup.

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Batwing Awning deployed. Love the coverage of this awning! There are 3 legs that drop down so you can brace the awning for wind. Takes about 30 seconds to deploy.

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Top up. Takes under 2 minutes to pop the top. The awning can go out with the top up or down.

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Interior. Our interior has two beds (one up and the bottom couch rolls over into a bed as well). There is a forced air furnace, two batteries, LED lighting, forced ceiling fan, storage under the seat and in several cubby holes. We will install an ARB Fridge on the drivers side as well.

Nice and comfy!

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Lower bed folded down. You can sleep here with the top down if you want to stealth camp.

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Upper bed slid out to make a Queen size bed. I usually sleep sideways without sliding it out.

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Beautiful day out!

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Rear.

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Batwing

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More to come....

Hodakaguy
 

Hodakaguy

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Testing the ARB fridge for fit in the camper. The ledge in the shell model is a perfect fit for the ARB!

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ARB Compressor Fridge/Freezer. These units are awesome, very efficient and keeps items cold or frozen if needed. You also loose less cool air when you open the lid compared to a standard fridge with the door on the side.

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This is the area in the camper where the stove and sink would be if you ordered the full camper model. Since we ordered the Shell model the kitchen was left out and this empty bench is left. The ARB makes a better fridge and we found we didn't use the water system in our VW Syncro so the shell model works perfect for us. I will use backpack camping gear for cooking etc.

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And fridge in place. Fit's perfectly on the shelf. I will make a tie down attachment point to anchor the fridge in place.

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Hodakaguy