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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The Truck

Click for Chapter Two

Click for Chapter Three

Click for Chapter Four

Click for Chapter Five

Click for the finish!

What up homies! TT is giving my sht about my signature size so I figured I would do a build log. This is my very first real vehicle build. My actual first was a 1967 beetle I bought in ’93 for $1k. I spent the next 6 years doing a poor man’s pan-up restoration. That was a badazz ride, but then I had kids and you know the rest. The next 10 or so years were cheap used cars and then economical new cars when my career started paying out. I bought a 2008 Accord V6 coupe in ’08. I loved that car! Smooth and fast and sexy. I started making plans to do a full build, but quickly realized that the Accord was not the right vehicle.

I grew up in Oceanside CA and when I was 19 I moved to Washington State. Lived there for 10 years and Portland/Vancouver for three, then in 2009 I moved to Arkansas. Culture shocker for sure! I started camping at Heber Springs a lot, fishing trout and floating the lake etc. I started thinking a truck would be better than the Accord. In 2011 I was convinced that I wanted a 4runner. So I shopped em and thought there was no way I could get used to how whimpy the drivetrain was. There just wasn’t any power compared to what I was used to. As I was about to leave the dealer, I walked by a “built” tundra on the raised platform. The sales guy saw me eyeing it and 4 hours later I drove it home:

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I quickly discovered that I am a truck guy. It checks every box for me. Room, comfort, power, CHECK. I started planning a major build. I was still wet behind the ears so I had all kinds of crazy ideas. I was gonna do a 12” bullet proof lift with 37s, lockers, gears, supercharger, etc. Then I found out I had flex fuel and couldn’t supercharge, Then I decided I was gonna do the chipped SC and give up the powertrain warranty. Then I started waffling because I needed more bed space and didn’t need the cab space.

None of that mattered because in fall of 2011 I got a 3 month lay-off notice. Lucky me. Thankfully, I hadn’t started my mods yet and I had a wad of cash saved up. I quickly forgot about the truck. Within a month I scored my dream job and relocated to Temecula CA. I forgot how much I love SoCal! First thing I did was take my truck on some local trails:

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The fun wore out quickly because my truck was basically stock. Also, the first year I was here, I was busy setting up a pad, solidifying my new job, and nesting with my girl. I started mountain biking. I was really into it, riding almost every day. I was also spending $500 a month on gas for my commute (75 miles per day). The truck started to feel like a boat anchor tied around my leg, financially speaking. So I traded it in on a commuter car and a wagon:

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I had a blast with that STi. It does a great job doing RACECAR. Then on Christmas Day 2012, I broke my neck and my collar bone spearing an uphill transition with my head after over-rotating a hip-high air (lol I learned a little lingo):

Ceiling Architecture Design Material property X-ray Radiography Radiology Medical radiography Medical Medical imaging X-ray Radiography Medical radiography Radiology

It took me 4 weeks before I could wipe my own azz, 8 before I could drive, and 6 months before I felt normal. The STi was agony to drive due to the manual and the suspension. Plus the accident was a game-changer for me mentally. Here I was with two boys who were 15 and 17 at the time, a solid career, a beautiful home, and I am doing 90mph on the way to work every day and launching my body down the side of mountains. I didn’t want to curl up and die though; I just wanted to find safer ways to get my adrenalin pumpin. So I traded in the STi and started my new adventure with The Truck:

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I’ll stop here for now and work on the next portions of the story. I have a five year plan and I am currently in the middle of year two. So far everything is coming together…
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Chapter Two

My plan when I bought The Truck was to map a plan lol What did I want to do with it? I am now living in SoCal again! Everything I could possibly want to do is within reach. Dirt bikes and quads were out though; I am done breaking bones lol. I started thinking I would buy a camper trailer. I had wanted one for 5 years. Everyone in Arkansas loves to camp and they all have fatazz trailers. So I started looking. I knew there was desert around so I looked for something that appeared to be capable. An Rpod caught my eye. I committed to the Rpod and then started planning money. Since I was going to take it off road, I figured I would invest in some simple mods.

First up was suspension. I didn’t want to go big because I was going to buy a camper, so I figured a nice coilover setup with UCAs would work. Spacer lifts offend me and I knew I needed something that would work in the desert. I added some Fox 2.5 remote reservoir coilovers and 2.0 rear shocks along with Total Chaos upper control arms:

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I wanted quality and it was between Icon, King, and Fox. Icon seemed like bling to me. Like a hot chick with no brains. That left King and Fox. The Foxs had better hoses and rod ends and those are important pieces. So I went Fox. The Total Chaos UCAs were a no-brainer after reading some Tacoma forums. After a while, I started noticing that the passenger side would make a loud THUNK whenever the wheel would droop out. Actually, both sides did, but the passenger side was louder. After drinking about it awhile, I grinded out my LCA:

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Next up was some 35” AT tires:

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Then I picked up an ARB air compressor because the desert websites told me I needed to air down lol:

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I had a hell of a time with the mount. I didn’t want it under the truck for various reasons so over the fuse box was the best location. I don’t mind having to unbolt it to get to the fuses, but the problem was that the ORW guy mounted it on one side to the engine block! Don’t get me started on ORW. Anyways, after several failures I rebuilt it. It isn’t going anywhere anymore:

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The interweb also told me I needed some sand boards. I couldn't see myself paying several hundred dollars for something that I may never use. So I made my own:



I now had a decent off road setup and I was positioning benjamins for the camper. I also had tents from Arkansas. In fact, I had a full camp setup. I figured it was time to take my truck out and see what SoCal had to offer in the way of camping. First place we went was Ocotillo Wells/Anza Borrego:

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I was instantly hooked! I fell in love! On the spot. You know, the first car I drove on a regular basis was my parents 1988 Jeep Cherokee Chief. It had 80k on the clock and the shtty 2.8L. I romped all over the south side of Camp Pendleton back in the day. Never knowing what I was doing, but having a blast. I started to remember how much fun I had getting lost in those hills as a teenager…

I spent all spring and first part of summer last year wandering all over the deserts and mountains:

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So much fun! Then the heat started hitting and I really started wishing I had a camper. Although, if I had a camper, how was I supposed to drag it to my favorite camp spots??? They were all in the middle of nowhere. I spent weeks trying to reconcile this in my mind. Maybe I would get a smaller camper than an Rpod. I looked at teardrops. SoCal Teardrops had an off road trailer that caught my eye. Seemed like a lot of money for a tiny little trailer. I think at the time they were like $14k or something like that. I kept searching around, not really knowing how I was gonna do this. I only knew that I was going to keep The Truck and figure out a way to camp comfortably.

I joined expedition portal and started reading their articles and forums. I got a subscription and everything. I began to realize that all along, THAT is what I wanted to do. I just didn’t know there was a name for it. Overlanding. I wanted to get lost driving through Utah. I wanted to wander around on my way to Juno. Throwing back coronas on the shores of Baja??? I never before dreamt I would actually drive Baja, but now I was dreaming. Actually, I was doing more than dreaming. I was committing. I would drive Baja in my truck! I would Overland!

Can’t do Baja with a trailer though. I needed something better. I settled on a Four Wheel Camper. They have a great reputation and they are built for off road. Perfect! They even have a shower and shtter and everything. Ok, so first thing I had to do now that I settled on a camper was to address the rear suspension. Campers are heavy! I needed some progressive leafs and some ground clearance. So I had Alcan build me a set of springs. I had them add 800# of preload. The camper had a dry weight of 900# so I figured it would be a little soft and flexy and still be civil when I remove the camper. I also added some Coach Builder ( @Coachbuilder1 ) shackles and poly bushings:

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And some axle line extensions from Coach Builder:

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Rear end was now tight and solid. It felt like a sports car on the street. When loaded up with about 6-800# it became super soft and flexy. I did some testing with a full load:

2013 Toyota Tundra rear suspension testing

So now I have a very capable truck and we are gathering experience camping. I still had some saving left to do before I could pull the trigger on a camper. I wanted to be smart with my money as I am mostly cash at this point in my life. No credit other than the house (30yr @ 3.25%), the truck (60mo @ 0%) and the outback (72mo @ 1.7%). When the car notes are paid, the next round will be strictly cash.

I love getting away from the crowds. I spent many days and nights in remote areas. I started learning my gear. What works, what doesn’t. Which items cause problems and which ones are reliable… And also my comfort levels. Turns out that I don’t like the cold that much so I built R2D2:

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He never fails to keep me warm and cozy. He works well in the wind too. Nowadays he’s getting a little beat up. I am thinking about making version 2.0.

I have a lot of gear that rides in the cab. I keep the little stuff in military tool bags. Habits I picked up from my dad who was Air Force and a vet. So I pulled out the driver’s side rear seat. I have two boys, but only one is living with me (my 18 year old is out in the world busy knowing everything lol) so I only really need one rear seat. We have the outback for guests and friends/family:

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I needed comms. We never have cell service where we go and I was starting to meet trail friends. I got a hair up my ass and decided to get HAM. I picked up a Kenwood TM-V71A. It does 50 watts in 2 meter and 10 cm. I also picked up a 2 meter hand held. First trip out with a friend and he only had CB, so I went and picked up a Cobra CB. Even got the one with bling lol :

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I got two firestik antennas, a shorty and a tall whip. I also have two antennas for a ham, long range/short range. I did the MARS mod on both my ham radios and now I can access virtually every frequency out there. Police, fire, aviation, race radios, etc. I can’t legally call out on those freqs unless its an emergency, but that checks the box for me. I also got lazy on getting my license. Screw it, I don’t need it. I only use the HAM as a two-way and as back-up in case I have an accident.

I started getting tired of $5 plastic water jugs from Walmart and I needed some extra range. So I did some research and picked up some real-deal NATO fuel cans with metal flexy spouts (decorative use only!) and some plastic MWCs:

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Shout out to Dana at Das Mule. I was concerned about buying the NATO cans because I was looking for a specific, high-quality brand, Wavian. She was able to address my concerns quickly and even snapped some pictures for me so I could be assured of what I was getting. If you live in CA it is illegal to buy these cans. If you tell Dana these are for decorative use only, I’m sure she will be happy to help you out.

Last Halloween I was invited to a party in Ocotillo Wells. A friend of a friend has property out there. That was a fun night! Tuan ( @SC Tuna ) made it out and Keith ( @dirtydeeds ) made an appearance. Turns out the friend of a friend owns a poor-man’s trophy truck and he didn’t know how to work the rear camera cuz he backed that motherF! into my bedside! lol $2600 damage which he was happy to take care of. He felt bad so he gave me a ride in his truck…

Ok, so I have to set the stage here. Me, Tuan, Keith, and 4 or 5 other vehicles went out on a night run to Superstition. Sand rails, a built RZR, a ‘50s Willys jeep, a built 4runner, Keiths 1st gen, Tuan LT rig… I couldn’t take The Truck because I didn’t have lights and I was drunk and medicated. So I hopped in my buddy’s brand new sand rail. I got the rear passenger side seat. On the ride out, I’m buzzing hard, we’re doing 80 mph on asphalt heading towards Fish Creek. It’s a warm night and I am hangin my head out the side and taking it all in. I look to my right rear and here comes the TT behind us, LEDs piercing, exhaust snarling, pulling up to us HARD. He shoots off to the side of the road right before passing us and tracks parallel to us… over some thigh high whoops! Doing 80! The F!’n thing was FLOATING above them while the wheels were just hopping and skipping and stroking those whoops. Ten feet from my face! For minutes! Pure badassery squared.

Ok so that was super cool and all, but the awesomeness faded. About halfway to superstition, we stopped by the bridge by the RR trax to chill. There were lots of cool rides to check out and rap about. The TT was cool. I learned it had 4.0 bypasses and 3.0 coilovers and hydro bumps at all four corners. 26” front, 32” rear travel. And about 500 switches lol. Anyways, Keith and Tuan and half the group continued on. I decided to cruz back to camp with my homies. That’s when Matt told Dave that he owes me a ride for bashing my truck. WTF?! Next thing I know I am strapped into a 5 point and he punches it and the big ass touch screen says we are doing 110mph! He ran us over those same whoops doing about 85. He launched some airs by his house. I cant tell you how high because I couldn’t tell exactly when the front wheels contacted the ground on landing and it was night so hard to judge.

Well let me tell you, that was an experience. A game-changer. I’m smart enough to know that I could never afford a trophy truck though. Even a poor-mans TT. But now I wanted more. I wanted to not only CAMP in the desert, but now I wanted to FLY though the desert as well. How the hll could I do both??? I mean, check out my loads:

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At this point I still thought I would get a Four Wheel Camper. For about 6 months I was seriously planning to pull the trigger. But I decided that I needed more suspension before I did the camper. So I did moar research. I really wanted LT front, but I couldn’t afford it. Right about that time Total Chaos and Camburg both released a secondary shock hoop. TC advertised that theirs would work with stock LCAs. What?! I was sold. Moar performance without the cost of LT. Perfect. So I pulled the trigger. DMZ got the job because TC recommended them. Welds looked good, but when I got the call to pick up the truck there was something missing:

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Turns out Fox had not made bypasses for this kit as they were waiting for someone to buy first. I was first up. Lucky me. Well, the bypasses they sent were not right. Tim thinks they just grabbed some ots shocks and tried to make em work. They weren’t clocked right and the length was off. Good thing I went to a good shop as the only way this would have been caught is if the installer properly cycled the suspension. So I had to wait 6 weeks and make a couple trips for fitment. In the end it was worth it:

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Funny side story: Fox not only made that first pair for me, they also made 19 other pairs for Russia and TC shipped em out before they were test fit on my truck. When they found out they were wrong, all hll broke loose. I never did hear how they fixed that order lol

I want a bullet proof truck which means I need to address weak points. The spindle is one such weak spot. So I added some TC gussets:

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I added some wheel spacers to clear the bypasses. Spidertrax got my business because they have a great reputation in the rock crawling world and I love the company story. I hear they are no longer making spacers for the Tundra. Sad, because these are top-quality spacers:

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I don’t like the idea of running spacers. I prefer to keep my unsprung and rotating mass as light as possible. Plus I want to keep my track narrow for technical trails. In this case however, the spacers were necessary to clear the bypass reservoir and the total weight of a rock warrior wheel plus aluminum spacer is like 2lbs less than a method standard 17”. When I do LT, I will remove the front spacer.

The bypasses are amazing! Pure awesomness. I had no idea. I mean, I knew they improved the ride, but the change is DRASTIC. It literally made the front end feel like it is ten times lighter. The truck just started to float over the bigger stuff. And big hits stopped feeling like I was slamming the bumps. My truck was on another level for me now:

Blasting through silt

omw to Superstition Mountain

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I was now having mega fun with my truck. But the rear was holding me back. My first problem was that my gear kept getting trashed because I could never strap it down properly. So I added some cargo rails to keep my gear stable. These are aircraft grade rails and are extremely versatile and durable:

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Cargo tracks VID

In February I met up with Craig ( @N2Deep ). He was in town getting some truck parts installed so I invited him to come share our campsite. He had just gotten a roof top tent. I thought about RTTs in the past, but the idea never took hold. Now that one was in front of me, I started thinking they were pretty cool:

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I started waffling on the Four Wheel Camper idea. So I decided to check em out in person. You know, for months I was sold on them, but I never actually saw one in person. When I did, I was even more impressed! Those things are badazz! I asked the guy for a solid quote with all the options that were important to us. Full solar, shower, lights, awnings, etc. Damn thing broke $20k! I think final tally before taxes was something like $23k. At this point I really started to second guess myself. Was I really going to drop $25k on a slide-in camper??? Just because I wanted to go fast AND have a camper??? I mean, I was already having a blast with tents. But little things started buggin me. For example, one Friday night, I did about 2 hours of trail riding trying to find Sheep Canyon only to arrive at about 8pm. It was dark and I had a hella of a time trying to find a camp spot. In the end, there were none available. If I had a camper then I could’ve just pulled off the side of the trail and popped the top. But instead I was forced to go back down to more familiar territory. Plus setting up tents was starting to wear on me. Setting up camp took about an hour, same amount of time to break down camp. I wanted to shorten this for convenience while exploring. If I could set up camp in under 15 minutes, that would be ideal…

The wheels started turning again. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I decided that for the price of a Four Wheel Camper, I could do some MAJOR mods to my truck. The first one I could do turned out to be the most important mod. I highly recommend this as I think it’s the first mod any of us should do when we get a Tundra. I call it the MPG mod:

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As for the camper, I ditched the idea last spring. I now have a new direction that I will pursue. The first year of mods actually fit neatly in my new 5 year plan. So now I am in the middle of year two. Target date is 2018. I will build the first RV that I know of capable of bombing the desert at 80 mph, tackling technical trails, and providing comfortable digs when the day's fun is over. A performance-oriented, expedition-grade vehicle. The Truck is about to start another transformation. Next update will be in November…
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Chapter Three

So now that I decided on a new direction and I had a little experience under my belt, I decided that my rear suspension was holding me back. There are many compromises with the rear though as the rear has to carry varying loads of cargo. My first setup was a budget build designed to carry loads. The alcan leafs I had built could carry over 1k# no problem. But when I took big hits, I quickly ran out of travel. Due to the high spring rate and limited travel, on big hits the rear would “donkey-kick”. This is very disconcerting. The rear will bounce up and down and side to side several times after landing hard. Makes you sht your pants…

I had limited choices on how to address it. I needed bypasses for sure, that was a no-brainer. But in order to properly fit bypasses on the alcans and capture a couple extra inches of droop, I had to strip the leafs and cycle the suspension and relocate the upper shock mounts. Quote came in around $3k and I could only be guaranteed about 10” travel; up from 8”. The next step would be to do the Total Chaos MT SUA conversion. Cost was $7k and I would achieve 13” wheel travel and I did not have to modify the bed. Next step after that would be full LT SUA conversion and bedcage. I did not ask about cantilever setups because I figured they were out of my budget. When I first approached DMZ about full LT SUA, I decided that I did not need glass bedsides. I figured I could pull the bedsides myself. Without glass, the quote came in just over $9k. So now I was looking at 3 choices: $3k for 10” bypassed travel, $7k for 13” bypassed travel with a big rubber jounce bump, or $9k for full blown LT SUA and bedcage; 16”-18” bypasses travel with 3” hydro bumps. The cheap option seemed too cheap to me, like I was wasting money. The middle option seemed like a waste of money too as for just $2k more I could gain a serious step up in performance…

Right after July 4th, I dropped the Truck off at DMZ for reconstructive surgery. The Truck was going to receive a full ass job…

Ok so the Truck was outta commish for a minute so I switched gears and started working on my camping gear. I committed to doing a roof top tent in jan/feb when I decided to ditch the Four Wheel Camper idea. I want quality. Buy once buy right is how I do it. The interwebs were telling me that there are Chinese tents and then there are South African tents; Howling Moon and Eezi Awn were the two with the best reviews. I decided on a Howling Moon because I wanted the skylight option and they were generally considered the best quality. Sierra Expeditions is one of only two importers that I could find. They had the tent on backorder for $2600. That was ok with me as I still had to save cash and address the rear suspension. In March I was told 8 to 10 weeks out. In May I was told the same thing. At this point I started shopping alternatives as I was starting to think they would never arrive.

I ran across Tepui in June. They are a small company out of CA. Their tents are made in China, but they do some extra quality control that the others do not. Almost every RTT you see out there is made in the same factory in China. But they all interface with China in different ways. Tepui stands out as they spend effort addressing QC at the manufacturing facility in China. And their customer service reviews are outstanding. They just started a new line of extra rugged tents and that sealed the deal for me. I pulled the trigger on a Tepui Ruggedized XL, 6’x4’ folded, 6’x8’ open. The fabric is extra thick, the base is aluminum diamond plate, and there are some extras like an anti-condensation pad, window Velcro for cold weather covers etc.

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First thing I did when I got it was to replace every single screw and bolt with upgraded properly-sized SS hardware. The current hardware wasn’t that bad, and it was stainless steel. But some bolts were too long, some mismatched, and some might chafe the fabric etc. I added a 2” memory foam topper and then called it good. Later on, I ran across a thread where Tepui mentioned that they have black covers available. I called them up, told them I have not used the tent yet, and they happily exchanged the cover for me. They paid to ship the new cover to me; I paid to ship the old one back. Excellent customer service skillz!

Next up was shade. I went with and ARB awning 2000, about 6’x8’ and a single wall wind break. I also got an awning room with windows, screens, and a door. This will serve as our living room. When the weather is nice, I will just use the windbreak; if it turns ugly we can retreat into the living room. I’ll post pix of this stuff once it’s mounted. So, I will have a bedroom on the passenger side (the RTT) and a porch on the driver’s side (awning) or living room if needed (awning room). Kitchen on the rear tailgate rounds it out.

No camper is complete without a water system. After a couple cold showers in the boonies with the wind blowing you start to realize why Man decided he wanted to be civilized. I can’t afford a full-blown RV water system though so I have to get creative. A 12v RV pump, propane heat exchanger, and some artistic hose routing produced this:

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See this thread for a list of parts. This is really just a proof of concept; final design has yet to be determined. I decided against a vehicle cooling system heater exchanger type system mainly due to cost. My design works very well. I had to play with it a little in order to reduce flow. I got it down to about 0.3-0.5gpm. Because it’s flowing slowly, the heater gets the water very hot. I had to reduce the flame to minimum and increase flow a little. It’s very comfy now and two people can take a nice shower on a half-ish jerry can of water. In the next few months I will try to design a way to package it better. Maybe a box of some sort. I would hard mount it to the Truck, but I can’t figure out a good way to do it since the heat exchanger has an open flame and needs to be vertical. I also plan on mounting on on-board water tank somewhere on the truck. Still thinking about final location, but it’s either gonna be in the cab or in the spare tire area. I’m shooting for 20-30 gallons with baffles. Eventually I will also do an on-board propane tank, probably 10 gallons.

Five months is a long time to have to wait on the Truck. Especially when I have to drive the corolla. Some of your may have seen me whining on the boards in a couple posts lol. I went on two different truck runs without the Truck. It sucks, but I saw it as an opportunity to truly appreciating what a badazz ride the Truck is becoming... or so I kept telling myself lol. It’s not all Tim’s fault though. He was a little busy at first so it took him a while to get started. Then he called me into his shop to show me my fenders. I previously told him not to order the glass cuz I was gonna pull the bedsides and save some $$$. When I got there he had the axle fully compressed and the tires were touching the upper fenders. I would have had to pull each side almost 2”! So I ended up having to wait on glass to be laid. Then Tim had some serious medical issues which held us up another couple months. Anyways, it was well worth the wait. Tim does excellent metal work and his attention to detail and design is spectacular!

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The Truck now has just under 17” wheel travel. Strapped, bumped, and fully articulating. Fox 16” 3 tube bypasses, Fox 3” bumps, Deaver I96 long travel leafs, and Total Chaos long travel shackles. DMZ went all out on the bedcage and supporting mods. The spring plates are fully gusseted and BEEFY (I think he calls them “Mr. Beefy Plates” lol). They should do very nicely if I ever accidently contact rocks. Tim was worried about the heavy loads I will be carrying (target gear weight is 800#). He decided to fully box about a 12” or so section of frame where each bump mounts. I think the axle will break before the frame does lol! I asked for a bolt-in bedcage as I felt uncomfortable permanently locking my bed to the frame. On the front pads, Tim connected to the frame on two points, one where the reinforced C-channel ends and the other on the single C-channel. This spreads out the stresses on the frame. He also fully gusseted all frame connections. The bedcage is robust and well designed. I opted for 2” tube for the main tubes and 1.75” for the secondary tubes. The dimple plate is badazz! There are strategic gussets everywhere. The upper shock mount is crazy! Eventually, I will powder coat it the same gray as my wheels.

First impressions were on the street. It rides like a Cadillac now. So plush and smooth. Body roll is increased greatly, but only when you really shove it. If I take corners normally, or even a little brisk, body roll is just like a stock truck. But when you really get on it, it will continue to lean until the inside front tire lifts and traction control kicks in. It’s all good though. I can take corners as fast as I want to and if I get too squirrelly, I like that the Truck gots mah back and will slap the back of my head for me.

In the dirt it’s a whole new truck. No comparison. I was a little worried that my front would not keep up with the rear and make the Truck feel unbalanced, but it feels VERY balanced. The rear always follows the front and now I can just drive to the limits of the front and the rear just follows along and sucks up everything the front leaves it with. No more donkey kicks, no more side to side, no more bucks. If I take a really hard landing, I can bottom out the front and just barely feel the rear bottom out (this was before I did some tuning, which I’ll get to in a minute).

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Pickup truck Automotive tire Land vehicle Vehicle Car Tire Automotive tire Land vehicle Vehicle Car Automotive exterior Auto part Land vehicle Car Vehicle Pickup truck Off-roading

My first day run was Ocotillo/Anza. I did about 100 miles. For the first couple hours I thought I made a mistake with my decision on the suspension. It rode kinda hard. Better than before, but bigger stuff felt very hard and stiff. After a couple hours of riding and thinking about it, a light bulb went off. Leafs springs have natural rebound resistance as compared to a coil spring which has none. My bypasses were setup with the tubes at stock settings. Rebound tubes were in the middle. So I opened them up all the way. Wow! Night and day difference! The Truck instantly became a Cadillac over the big stuff. I must have been packing big time with too much rebound dampening. It worked so good that I did the fronts too... which turned out to be bad as the front started to pogo. I have since returned the front rebound to the middle.

I have some limited trails by my house. There is one hill where I can catch a little air. Not much, just a foot or two; but enough to really unload the suspension and feel the landings. I started playing with my bypasses. Icon gave me the best description of bypass adjustment I have yet to read. For compression basically BOTH tubes affect the RIDE zone, and the TRANSITION zone is only affected by the long tube, and of course BUMP zone is only the shock valving. On all four bypasses, I left the short tube as is, in the middle. Icon suggests that you set the TRANSITION zone with the long tube until you are no longer blowing through travel and then use the short tube to soften the RIDE zone until it is where you like it. Since I was blowing through travel on both the front and the rear pretty evenly, I adjusted all four long tubes to one turn from close (1/12th open). Now I can hit 1’ to 2’ airs without bottoming out. The street ride stiffened just a little front and rear. I can soften it by opening the short tube, but I’m not going to worry about it. I can also close the short tube more when I hit the desert if I need more valving.

Now that I have my suspension mostly dialed in, I need to be able to see where I am going lol @Scooby hooked me up with his buddy, @biohazard2070 . After a lot of back and forth trying to decide what to get, I went with two 30” light bars using 10 watt cree LEDs. These are a newer style of Chinese lights with improved optics. I decided against a roof mount bar because I have run across too many complaints of wind noise and hood glare. So that’s about 60” of light bar which is more than the roof bars which are 54”. I decided to mount in my grill as that is the best height for driving lights. I had to break out my rusty aviation fab skills and whip up some mounts:

Car Tire Automotive tire Vehicle Pickup truck Vehicle Auto part Bumper Car Automotive tire Metal Automotive exterior Bumper Vehicle Car

Light output is amazing! I went with one spot and one flood bar. Pix don’t do this justice of course but here ya go:

Brass Metal Antique Furniture Molding Automotive lighting Light Headlamp Lighting Auto part Footwear Shoe Plastic wrap

I was actually going to leave the grill as is. I wanted good airflow and the bars were solidly mounted so I was ready to call it done. But of course, as soon as I posted it I got slammed by the TT fashion police! “It looks unfinished!”, “You need to make it look badazz cuz it makes the btches wet!” etc. Well, I hate spending money and effort on cosmetics. I just want my stuff to work and work well. I don’t really care if it looks good doing it. But I guess everyone has a point. I don’t want to drive a desert hoopty lol! So I went to the hardware store and spend a few dollars on some expanded steel and some aluminum angle and I produced this:

Headlamp Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Automotive exterior Bumper Automotive exterior Auto part Vehicle Land vehicle Tire Vehicle Car Motor vehicle Land vehicle Vehicle Car Tire Automotive tire

So there you have it. This is my story. I am still in the middle of living it. From this point forward, I will continue to post my trials and tribulations as they occur while I attempt to complete this build. I say “attempt” cuz life is strange; you never know where it will take you. I recently found myself single again so the Truck budget just took a major hit. It’s all good though as I will drive the Truck to the tip of Baja one day even if I have to do it in its current configuration…

I do have to finish my RTT rack. Hopefully by spring I will have my RTT mounted; low, hinged, and with gas struts so I can swing it up and access my gear. Stay tuned cuz the rack is gonna be a sick one-off made specifically for the Truck…

PS, here are some random pictures from my recent adventures:

Wadi Off-roading Geological phenomenon Geology Badlands Land vehicle Vehicle Off-roading Car Mountainous landforms Vehicle Car Desert Off-roading Natural environment Vehicle Car Automotive exterior Automotive tire Pickup truck

Snow Winter Light Sky Windshield

Click for Chapter Four

Click for Chapter Five
 

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Hurry the fvck up. I don't want to hear about the labor pains, I want to see the baby.
 

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Interesting, subscribed.
 

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Why does it look like two screws are loose?

I am assuming they had to screw a few pieces together before plating.

Sucks man.
On the upside, when they remove the plate you get to keep it :lol5:
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Why does it look like two screws are loose?

I am assuming they had to screw a few pieces together before plating.

Sucks man.
On the upside, when they remove the plate you get to keep it :lol5:
Dude my collar bone broke into 3 pieces! If you look at the first picture, you can see the middle piece floating.

The two screws that are in a different angle are holding the middle piece of bone in from the back. I was in the hospital for four days with my shoulder feeling like a box of rocks on every breath until they released my neck for surgery. Next level pain let me tell you...

Plate stays in for life I am told. If I have any problems they can remove it, but they wont unless it is causing problems.

Maybe next year I will swap it out on a long travel kit :D
 

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Great write up Alex! I've got to sit down and do the same with my build. My story is not as cool as yours though! Can't wait to read chapter 2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Great write up Alex! I've got to sit down and do the same with my build. My story is not as cool as yours though! Can't wait to read chapter 2.
Do it! I definitely want to hear about your thoughts when building your truck!

I've read a lot of build threads. Its way cool getting to see everything that someone installed to make their truck special. But a lot of guys forget to talk about WHY they chose to build it out the way they did.

Im not a writer, but I love hearing stories. Figured I would tell my own :)
 

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Sub'd :)
 
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Homie........
I didn't know you where an author. Great write up so far. I can't tell if this is going to be a drama, thriller or a love story yet.....
But I do love picture books.
 

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Homie........
I didn't know you where an author. Great write up so far. I can't tell if this is going to be a drama, thriller or a love story yet.....
But I do love picture books.
It's dianetics!! He gonna start the new religion called suspensionology!!!! I'm in!!!!!
 
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