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sdpnt
02-23-2012, 04:09 AM
Let me just start by saying how much I love this website. What an incredible resource and inspiration; such a pleasure after all the hostility over at the various car/motorcycle/4x4 forums. I picked up a 96 Tacoma 3.4 5-speed last summer with 114,xxx miles, a half-assed 3inch lift and 32 tires. Coincidentally, around the same time, my girlfriend and I decided to plan time off work and travel the US. In the last couple months, I've done a few things in preparation for our adventure. I know that none of the things I've done are revolutionary, but I finally feel like I've made some progress and would love to share. I know I've learned a lot from all of you.


http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22341/Toyota/forums/tacoma_firstDay_1.jpg
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22341/Toyota/forums/tacoma_firstDay_1.jpg
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22341/Toyota/forums/tacoma_firstDay_2.jpg


First off, I swapped the stock wheels with some black steelies. As I said, the previous owner had decent tires but I didn't like the way the stock rims looked. The new wheels improved the stance immensely.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22341/Toyota/forums/tacoma_wheels_1.jpg
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22341/Toyota/forums/tacoma_wheels_2.jpg


Once we decided to do our trip, I pulled the trigger on new suspension and a jeraco mid-rise cap. I ended up going with the following for my suspension:

- 3" Toytec/Eibach front coils over Bilstein 5100's
- All-pro expedition rear leafs with Bilstein 5100's
- Front differential drop kit

The front setup was a breeze but the rear was high enough that I had severe driveline vibration. I immediately shimmed the center-bearing which made it drivable, but ended up adding 2.5 degree shims to pitch the rear diff up a bit. Problem solved! The rear is a little higher than i'd like, but i went with the expedition spring because they can handle the additional weight of my sleeping platform.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22341/Toyota/forums/tacoma_profile.jpg


For lights, I grabbed some Hella 500's and 55W 5000K HID kit from DDM tuning. It was a fun little project getting the ballasts mounted well in the Hellas, and well worth the effort. Needless to say, I can't drive around town with them on, but I'm sure they'll come in handy when we're off the beaten path. For those of you that are interested in this, don't get the "black magic" series as I did. The crosshair interferes with with the ballast when it's seated correctly, so I ended up having to add a spacer which means the ballast is further away from the lens, which means the light beam is more dispersed then it should be. It's subtle, but I'll eventually replace the black magics with the standard 500's.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22341/Toyota/forums/tacoma_1041.jpg


As I started to think about living out of the truck I decided we'd need a second battery. I bought the IBS-DBS Dual Battery System with Microprocessor from Sierra Expeditions and an Optima yellow-top handle the load of our accessories. The kit seems expensive initially, but when you look at the price of welding cable these days, it makes you feel a little better. Not to mention this is one of those kits that actually comes with EVERYTHING you need and was actually a blast to install. I was prepared for much more of a project, but I was up and running in an hour or two! Once the aux battery was installed, I added a Blue sea fuse box in the bed(with the battery), and another under the hood. I figured this was a smart way to run accessories in the front of the truck off the aux battery in the bed. Can anyone tell me if I should have a fuse/circuit breaker between the aux batt and each fuse box? I'm no electrician and I just can't decide how important that is.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22341/Toyota/forums/tacoma_auxBatt.jpg


For onboard air, my grandfather gave me a super cheap Master Flow MF-1050. I wanted to make use of it and after some research, found out it's actually a great little pump. First I had to drill out and tap the stupid non-standard thread on the pump's head so that I could use a standard quick-connect. After that, I ended up buying another air compressor from sears for $49 that came with a 1 gallon tank, which is what I wanted, and took everything else off it. It came with a manifold and pressure regulator that I could use, and even though it had a pressure switch, I replaced it with one from VIAIR (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FQ1HM4/ref=oh_o06_s00_i00_details) with a relay built in. The pump is bolted to the bed behind the passenger side wheel-well, directly above the 1 gallon tank which I stuffed up in the fender behind the rear wheel. When I flip the switch in the cab, the compressor runs until there's 110PSI in the tank. Then it shuts off until pressure drops below 80PSI IIRC. Its a simple and powerful little system, I just need to get a check-valve between the pump and the tank and I'll be all set.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22341/Toyota/forums/tacoma_compressor_1.jpg
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22341/Toyota/forums/tacoma_compressor_2.jpg


We'll definitely be needing onboard water for showers, cooking, etc. so I did some research on tanks and got a great tank for amazingly cheap from randpcarriages on ebay. Definitely check them out, I got my brand new 21G tank made from polyethylene for $35. I also bought a Flojet Water Pump, and a Camp Chef HWDS Triton Hot Water Heater to hook up for showers. I like this system because I didn't want the added complexity of a heat-exchanger but I do plan on showering and will want hot water for that. I plan on having a cold water system, plumbed to a faucet of some sort, and then I'll hook up the water heater/shower when we need it.

Water Tanks (http://stores.ebay.com/R-and-P-Carriages-Trailer-Sales/RV-Fresh-Water-Tanks-/_i.html?_fsub=2&_sid=13922267&_trksid=p4634.c0.m322)
Water Heater/Shower (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001J4AU2E/ref=oh_o04_s00_i00_details)
Water Pump (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002P33KVQ/ref=oh_o05_s00_i00_details)


My latest project has been the sleeping platform, which is coming along great. My goal was to maximize storage, hold the water tank in place and, of course, provide a bed for us to sleep on. I'm using 3/4" exterior grade ply that I painted with water-based polyurethane.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22341/Toyota/forums/tacoma_sleepingPlatform_1.jpg
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22341/Toyota/forums/tacoma_sleepingPlatform_2.jpg
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22341/Toyota/forums/tacoma_sleepingPlatform_3.jpg
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22341/Toyota/forums/tacoma_sleepingPlatform_4.jpg


And that's where I'm at for now. We're planning to leave mid-march, so I don't have much time left. I'll be working over the next couple weekends to finish up the sleeping platform and any other loose ends. I'll be sure to keep this thread up to date.

TangoBlue
02-23-2012, 04:50 AM
Welcome and good luck on your trip; looks like you're well prepared for an adventure.

Nice pictures and good looking truck - the only thing I see that you might want to move is your OBA manifold. Perhaps its just the perspective from how the image was captured, but it looks a little exposed in its current location. I'd recommend adding some high pressure hose from the tank and relocating it to a safer location in the rear, underneath the bed.

toyota_jon
02-23-2012, 04:57 AM
welcome aboard and good start!

One thing I noticed that you might want to take a look at is where you routed your line off your air pump though the bed, I would add some sort of grommet other wise you'll find yourself with an air leak in no time.

Keep us posted on your progress.

haven
02-23-2012, 06:02 AM
Nice truck! Looks like you'll be ready to go, so long as the weather doesn't get too cold. I wish I had as much shop space as you do!

I'm a little concerned with the width of your tires, compared to the rims. If you have to air down the tires, you may have problems with the tire bead breaking loose.

Blackdawg
02-23-2012, 08:59 AM
I approve this truck :D


looks great man! Way to rep up the 96 taco :cool: I love mine too!


One question..how the F! did you get all pro expo leafs to fit!! or did you relocate your hangers??

sdpnt
02-23-2012, 02:16 PM
Welcome and good luck on your trip; looks like you're well prepared for an adventure.

Nice pictures and good looking truck - the only thing I see that you might want to move is your OBA manifold. Perhaps its just the perspective from how the image was captured, but it looks a little exposed in its current location. I'd recommend adding some high pressure hose from the tank and relocating it to a safer location in the rear, underneath the bed.

Oooh, I like that idea. Never thought of relocating just the manifold. P.S - I love your truck.




One thing I noticed that you might want to take a look at is where you routed your line off your air pump though the bed, I would add some sort of grommet other wise you'll find yourself with an air leak in no time.

I shouldn't have shown a closeup of the compressor, I'm well aware of the ghetto-ness with the air line. I have a steel-braided line coming and will definitely clean up/protect that hole for the air line. Does anyone know what type of check-valve I need? The size is 1/4" NPT but I ordered one, but it wasn't a "ball-style" and I could blow air through it both directions. Is there such a thing as an in-line 1/4" NPT "ball-style" check valve??




Nice truck! Looks like you'll be ready to go, so long as the weather doesn't get too cold. I wish I had as much shop space as you do!
I'm a little concerned with the width of your tires, compared to the rims. If you have to air down the tires, you may have problems with the tire bead breaking loose.

The shop is my mom's boyfriends. Absolutely incredible. And they live upstairs! Valid concern on the width of the tires...I'll have to keep an eye on that.




One question..how the F! did you get all pro expo leafs to fit!! or did you relocate your hangers??

I had a shop relocate the hangers for me. I was a little anxious about it initially, but man was it worth it. I just hated the idea of sacrificing load capacity!

Blackdawg
02-23-2012, 03:46 PM
I had a shop relocate the hangers for me. I was a little anxious about it initially, but man was it worth it. I just hated the idea of sacrificing load capacity!

Ahhh okay..i was like wtf! haha

i am worried now how my leafs will hold the future weight. Planning on doing this..just don't have a shop really to do it..might have to try and do it myself :/

sdpnt
02-26-2012, 04:39 AM
Had some time to work on the sleeping platform today. Still need to plumb the water lines, mount the remote electrical sockets from my power inverter, and add the drawers. It's gettin there though, I'm very excited. Anyone have any creative ideas on how I should store my propane tank while we're driving?

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22341/Toyota/forums/tacoma_sleepingPlatform_5.jpg
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22341/Toyota/forums/tacoma_sleepingPlatform_6.jpg
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22341/Toyota/forums/tacoma_sleepingPlatform_7.jpg

2scars
02-27-2012, 03:40 PM
Your platform is looking great, the 21G tank is a great addition and the Expeditions springs should do well with that weight. Currently planning a trip for a couple weeks myself and have added those springs, in addition to the drive line vibes. How far did you space down the drive shaft in addition to the 2.5 degree shim. I think I will be giving these springs to my brother in return for OME Dakars and the AAL. He works out of his truck and could use the payload increase daily where I really only drive the truck on the weekends and when road trips crop up. can't wait to see how this turns out.

sdpnt
02-27-2012, 06:10 PM
i actually used the skid plate spacers from my diff drop kit. I think they're about 1/4" aluminum. I was able to use the stock bolts, but should probably replace with longer ones.

2scars
02-29-2012, 01:59 PM
Hold do you plan to secure the tank from sliding side to side, and how thick is the wall of the tank?

What are your plans for the two spaces under the platform, drawers or plastic storage boxes?

upcountry
02-29-2012, 09:20 PM
I love the sleeping platform water tank setup. Good work!

toyota_jon
03-01-2012, 02:48 AM
I shouldn't have shown a closeup of the compressor, I'm well aware of the ghetto-ness with the air line. I have a steel-braided line coming and will definitely clean up/protect that hole for the air line. Does anyone know what type of check-valve I need? The size is 1/4" NPT but I ordered one, but it wasn't a "ball-style" and I could blow air through it both directions. Is there such a thing as an in-line 1/4" NPT "ball-style" check valve??


No worries, I've certainly done worse temp fixes. I also mentioned just because I know what a PITA it is to be counting on that air supply to get back to civilization and have it fail on you in the middle of no-where. I used to have MV-50 air pump as well. Most people have had great success with those little pumps mine was a problem from day one. Before I even used it once, I had to take it all apart to find where one of the wires was grounding internally. Then after cobbling it together a bunch more times it was on it's last legs when I was out in Moab after completing Beef Basin at 10pm. It was windy and cold and I was fighting with the stupid pump and just BARELY got my tires back up to street level.

Back on track... your sleeping platform is looking good!

sdpnt
03-01-2012, 04:46 PM
Hold do you plan to secure the tank from sliding side to side, and how thick is the wall of the tank?

What are your plans for the two spaces under the platform, drawers or plastic storage boxes?

The lid that covers the tank has a lip on it that will hold the tank. Plus it's wedged in there so damn tight, I doubt it will move much. As far as the storage spaces below, I wasn't sure about drawers, only because I was concerned at how long they would take me (we're leaving on 3/19 and I have a full-time job until 3/16). Since the rest of it is coming together pretty well, and aren't really any storage containers in the dimensions that I'd need, I'm not sure what to do. However the "drawer" system ends up working, they need to have dividers. One thought was build low-profile drawers that just slide on the truck bed, that could then hold 3 or 4 smaller plastic containers with lids. The only problem with that is, without drawer tracks, everything will be free to bounce around...so I'm not sure yet. Aren't drawer sliders at this length pretty expensive? I'm open to ideas here guys :)

DesertBoater
03-02-2012, 04:23 AM
With your craftsmanship, you should be able to rig up something akin to what user roadtripcrazed did on his drawers. The bearings/slides might be a little more than you have time for, but the interior of the drawer design is genius. Check out his thread here (http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/47516-LATEST-PROJECT-Truck-Drawers-Sleeping-Platform?highlight=) or

http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/47516-LATEST-PROJECT-Truck-Drawers-Sleeping-Platform?highlight=

I built a similar system with two drawers, except that instead of dividers, i used milk crates. Once I reached camp, the drawers slid completely out (used UHMW strips on the bottom), the sides hinged out, and a set of legs went in the front side. Flip the whole thing upside down, and I had a 6 foot long 3 foot wide table to cook/prep on with my food/cooking stuff neatly organized in crates that fit into bear boxes, stacked well, and had minimal wasted space. I really don't like carrying around an extra table, if I can just make another item pull double duty. I hope that description above makes sense.

Cheers,
West

upcountry
03-02-2012, 02:20 PM
Are there baffles in the tank to keep it from sloshing?

2scars
03-16-2012, 06:20 PM
I am dying for an update....besides aren't you supposed to be leaving soon? PHOTOS!!

sdpnt
01-07-2013, 08:42 AM
I'm so sorry for never updated anything here! Once I left for the trip, I never really had time to make posts since I was focused on my blog. I'm still traveling, but not with my truck since I left america almost 8 months ago. Please check out my website for information and photos from my trip around the world (sorry it's not very focused on the truck). I should be back in the USA by april, and can't wait to be back to working on the truck and giving you all updates!

www.miles-miles.com

Stefaan

saltandgranite
01-17-2013, 08:49 AM
I'm so sorry for never updated anything here! Once I left for the trip, I never really had time to make posts since I was focused on my blog. I'm still traveling, but not with my truck since I left america almost 8 months ago. Please check out my website for information and photos from my trip around the world (sorry it's not very focused on the truck). I should be back in the USA by april, and can't wait to be back to working on the truck and giving you all updates!

www.miles-miles.com

Stefaan

Really cool blog man. You guys look like superheros in workboots... uncaged and set out to rediscover the elusive western flannel trees. Those are compliments, btw.

sdpnt
09-26-2013, 01:24 AM
Hahaha thank you, I appreciate it! You live in Yosemite? My brother is a ranger there right now. Can't wait to spend some more time there.

2scars
03-21-2014, 08:53 PM
Great blog, great update! Thanks for sharing.

Byrd-Shooter
03-29-2014, 07:09 AM
Nice rear storage. How does the rear susp handle the added weight?