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Thread: Barlowrs Expedition Tacoma Build

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Orange County, Ca

    Default Barlowrs Expedition Tacoma Build


    OK, well I figure it is time to start my build thread as I have started getting the first pieces of this everlasting puzzle. This thread will have many dwells throughout it to allow for my funds to replenish, but I will try to keep up to date with it as much as possible.

    Having been a noob who spent countless hours searching forums for information, I have found that build threads contain endless information, however they are a hard place to get retrieve it because they get so cluttered with comments. To try to alleviate this and make searching information easier for people, I would like to try a different approach to this thread:

    Each aspect of my build will have a separate dedicated thread which will be a place for people to comment on. I will then link each of those specific threads to this main build thread, thereby creating a thread that acts almost like a table of contents to each individual aspect of the build. To make this work…PLEASE DO NOT COMMENT IN THIS THREAD. At the beginning of each post in this thread you will see a link to the build specific thread. THAT is where comments should go.

    I apologize if this is confusing, but I am just trying to clean it up for people to get the most out of any information I may be able to offer (though most I have stolen from all of you guys).

    MOST IMPORTANT NOTE: PLEASE FEEL FREEE TO ASK QUESTIONS AND GIVE ME ANY ADVICE YOU CAN. If I am doing something @$$ backwards, please feel free to tell me as I am learning as I go here.

    So here it goes, wish me luck on my endeavor :

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Orange County, Ca

    Default Base Vehicle

    OK, my canvas of choice is a 2006 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport Access Cab 4x4 in Silver.

    Like this one:

    My plan was to run her stock until my original tires wore out, then if I had no problems with her at that point, it would be time to start building her…well the time has come! So here are my plans:

    Phase 1

    Wheels/tires and suspension:
    - 255/85/16 BFG Mud Terrain KM2 (Complete - Click Here)
    - 16” FJ SE Anthracite wheels (including spare) (Complete - Click Here)
    - Full OME suspension all around. Looking at the 886 Coils as I intend to run winch, etc. (Complete - Click Here adn Here)

    - Sliders (Complete - Click Here and Here)
    - Allpro Plate Bumper (would like to add custom headlight protection like the ARB) (Complete - Click Here and Here)
    - Possible limb risers

    - Custom Roof Rack (Planning on building my own, wish me luck..anyone with 1" bender willing to let me use it?)
    - Bestop Softop (Complete - Click Here and Here)

    - 2x PIAA fogs in the bumper (Complete - Click Here)
    - 2x PIAA driving on top of bumper (Complete - Click Here)
    - 4x PIAA Driving Lights on rack
    - 4x PIAA rectangle lights (2 rear and 2 side facing) on rack
    - Yaesu 8900r (Complete - Click Here and Here and Here)
    - Onboard Air (Complete - Click Here)
    - Winch Probably M8000 (Complete - Click Here and Here and Here)
    - Cobra 75 WX ST CB (Complete - Click Here)
    - Aux Fuse Block (Complete - Click Here and Here and Here)
    - GPS (Complete - Click Here)

    Phase 2:

    ARB Air Lockers Front and Rear (also regear for the larger tires)

    - Custom rear bumper with Tire Gate (Complete - Click Here and Here)
    - Bud Build Skids (Complete - Click Here)
    - Safari Snorkel (Complete - Click Here)

    - Dual Battery System (Complete - Click Here)
    - 50" LED Light Bar(Complete - Click Here)

    - Hood Blackout (Complete - Click Here)
    - Relay Bank (Complete - Click Here)
    - Magnetic Comm Handset Mounts(Complete - Click Here)

    FLIPPAC!!!!!! (On-going - Click Here)

    Current State:

    This is not necessarily the order I will be doing everything. For example, the dual battery will come sooner if I do get all these lights going. I will also be doing lots of small things like sway bar removal, breather extensions, etc. These will all be contained in the write-up, just not outlined above.
    Last edited by barlowrs; 12-03-2012 at 03:28 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Orange County, Ca

    Default Wheels and Tires

    Specific Thread (Comment Here):

    Well, my stock wheels finally died, so we all know what this means…TIME TO START MY BUILD!

    After MUCH research, I finally settled on a set of 255/85 16 BFG Mud Terrains KM2. I really love the pizza cutter look, as well as the benefits this gives me.

    I cannot STAND the TRD sport wheels, so I was planning on trading someone for the stock off-road wheels, however, I got VERY lucky (as these are HARD to get) and was able to get a full set (including spare) of the Limited Edition FJ Anthracite wheels. I love the look of these wheels.

    So, without further ado, here is my tire/wheel combo .

    Now to convince my truck to allow these to fit on her! Haha OME susp, here I come!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Conway, AR
    Congrats on turning the "build" corner. Can't wait to see it come together.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    North of Superior
    Looks like you have good plans for your truck.

    Four Wheel Camper - The TARDIS
    Motorcycle - SETO

    Trip Reports - Travels with Hadley

    Large Format Landscape Photography

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Orange County, Ca

    Default Bed Topper Solution

    Specific Thread (Comment Here):

    Ok, this write-up is a little different; I have actually had the bestop on my truck for several years now, so this is more of a “review/what I have done to modify it over the years” write-up than an install write-up. Hope this is useful to people running into the problems I had, or thinking about installing this. (Note: pay no attention to the chorme offorad wheels in the pics, they are placeholders for now until I can get my new wheels fitted)

    Overall, I HIGHLY recommend the top. As it has been great, there were just a few obstacles to get over after several years of use.

    The History:

    Well when attacking the bed, I had some constraints I had to work around.

    First, I needed something removable, as I use my truck to haul my motorcycle to the track, which stands higher than the top of most campers. While most camper tops are removable, my next constraint really limited me. I live in an apt with a single parking spot, so leaving a fiberglass shell in my spot was pretty much out of the question. This left me with two options, the Bestop Softtop, or the Softopper. Both of which collapse and remain on the truck. I decided to go with the bestop as I like having the windows while I am sleeping in the back.

    The bestop is nice because it has 3 basic modes:

    UP (Acting like a typical camper shell):

    This is great for protecting things, and also sleeping inside. I have actually camped inside of it while ice climbing in Lee Vining, and I must admit, it actually stays pretty darn warm inside; the canvas is pretty thick.

    As you can see in this picture, it can support quite a bit of snow on top without collapsing..haha

    I cannot say she is COMPLETELY sealed, as a SMALL amount of water CAN leak in the front corners at the bed rails, however, it is a very small amount and only if the rain hits it right. To alleviate this, I have gotten the rubber bed mad. This allows for a nice rubber mat to sleep on, while also giving the bed a “false floor”. Any water that does creep in finds its way UNDER the rubber mat, keeping me nice and dry on top of the mat.


    I have found this mode to be quite useful on hot days on Joshua tree climbing when you need shade. I have even had my truck at the base of a climb and belayed out of it..haha. this mode works great if you just want shade, almost like an awning.


    It takes approximately 5 EASY minutes to collapse her fully, and this allows a fully open bed to haul my bike or any large things. As all of us with a truck knows, we always get called upon when friends need to move, and this allows for full loads.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Orange County, Ca

    Now for the modifications that I have had to make after several years of use.


    First off, the rivets that are used as the pivot points and to hold the upright bars are NOT stainless, and they WILL rust out. After about a years and a half, I finally got around to drilling them out. I installed some nice stainless hardware with lock washers and locktite to make sure the opening and closing does not back them off.

    The side windows actually rest up and rub against the heads of the upper hardware, so to keep from wearing a nasty hole in the sides, I put these screw caps on. This also makes it look cleaner when the windows are out.

    After 2 years, the paint started to wear in several places after repeated “up and downs”. This allowed for a TINY bit of surface rust on some parts. Luckily the whole thing is VERY easy to take apart so I just simply took her apart, gave a slight scotch brite rubbing and rustoliumed the rusted parts. Flat Black worked great and blended well so I didn’t have to paint everything.

    While I had her apart I also painted the aluminum clamps with rustolium, as they were starting to show small signs of corrosion as well. I think it actually makes everything blend better having them black too. (You can see the two clamps up front are not painted below so you can see the contrast between painted and not)


    While discussing the clamps, another issue I discovered was that at high speeds, the Velcro that is supplied to hold the front (under the window) down to the bed rails was not sufficient and would pull up due to the wind force. This made an annoying flapping noise form the bed. TO alleviate this, I was able to get 2 spare clamps from bestop and use them on the front flap. Have never had a problem since I did that.

    Another random noise issue was front the clasps. When the top is installed upright, the claps hangs down between the cab and the bed. Whiled driving, the plastic clasp would hit the bed and make an annoying ticking noise. This may not bother most ppl, but it annoyed the heck out of me, so to alleviate this, I wrapped the clasp in foam and wrapped some electrical tape around it. Noise gone.

    That is all the mods I have had to do, and overall this top has stood up VERY well to a lot of punishment and I HIGHLY recommend it!

  8. #8
    Man seems like you have invested for some toyota tacoma parts and mods but it is all worth it. I had the rust too and it really irritating to look at.
    Last edited by michaelross; 02-02-2010 at 01:08 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Orange County, Ca

    Default OME Lift Install on 05+ Tacoma

    Specific Thread (Comment Here):

    After much research, the lift I chose was a OME lift. All in all, the parts I used were as follows:

    Thanks to Wil from Sierra Expedition:

    OME front coils (886 due to winch and bumper)
    OME 90000 Nitrocharger Shocks
    OME 182 Rear Shocks
    OME Dakar Spring set (CSO47R no extra leaf set)
    OME Driveshaft Packer Kit (FK29)
    New U-bolts (supplied by Sierra Expedition)

    Toyota Bushings
    Toyotec 3 degree axel shims

    10mm lift enhancer kit from wheelers (

    I opted to not go for a diff drop as I have heard they are pretty useless on the 05+ Tacomas.

    As you can see below, the OME components are CONSIDERABLY larger and more robust than the stock bilsteins.

    Lessons Learned/Advice from Install
    I will not get into the details of how to install the lift, its is pretty strait forward, a few bolts come out, new parts go in, and the bolts go back in. I think instead, I will discuss some unforeseen issues/lessons learned for people that are planning on doing the lift themselves. Hopefully you find this useful:

    First thing is first, there is no way you are going to be able to do this alone, this is at least a 2 person job. My friend has an auto shop so I was able to use a FULL lift, and it still took two people. I would HATE to have tried this with a small jack and some jack stands! So, besides the obvious tools, you will need a friend and of course a pack of your favorite beverage:

    As far as the install goes, I HIGHLY recommend you get access to a press, you will need it for the bushings for sure. If you are like me and you purchased the 10mm lift enhancer, you will also use it for that, as you must press the stock bolts out of the spline and install longer ones:

    As far as actually installing the front, the sway bar must be removed (I left mine off…review of this further down) and I also found it easier to remove the tie rod as the OME shocks are considerable longer than the OEM ones and they are hard to jockey into position.

    Once they are in position and you get the top loosely bolted into place, you must use a LOT of brute force (2 people with pry bars in my case) to force the lower A-arm down enough to seat the shock.

    2006 Tacoma Access Cab (SLOW build thread:
    2007 Suzuki DR650

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Orange County, Ca

    Default Lift Install Part 2

    As for the rear, with the exception of the DAKAR springs being quite hefty, the install is very strait forward, remember though, on the rear of the springs, you must take the whole shackle off, as you will not be able to get an impact in to get just the leaf pack out.

    One thing I did discover though, that you will need to remember, is when reassembling, the center pin on the leaf pack sticks up higher than the original. This causes a clearance issue when you go to put the bump stop back on. It is very easy to drill the bumpstop hole deeper though.

    And here she is standing VERY tall with her new shoes (255/85) …. (It should settle a bit, but it defiantly seems a LOT more than the advertised lift height..haha).

    Post Lift Findings:

    After having the lift on for a few days, here are my findings, and thoughts on it.

    With the sway bar removed, there is not much body roll at all (maybe due to the stiff 886), though the susp does feel “squishy”. I am not sure how to describe it. If you have ever driven a jeep wrangler, you know how the susp just seems to squish, that’s how she feels, though she handles well, even at So Cal highway speeds.

    At highway speeds, my speedo now reads about 10 mph off (I am going 70 mph when I see 60mph on the speed). Just something for people to keep in mind after this install.

    As far as vibrations go, I know a lot of ppl complain about “post lift vibrations” however for me, it seems to be opposite. Prior to lifting her, I had some vibrations as I just started taking off, however, after the lift, the vibrations have seemed to stop..haha (Remember I did install axel shims)

    I have not been able to check gas mileage, and I am sure its gone down, however, one thing I do notice, is that at cruising speeds, my RPM are MUCH lower now (result of the larger diameter tire).

    The only significant change I feel I MUST mention is the BRAKING. PLEASE NOTE that with the 255/85 I have added a LOT of rolling mass, and the braking ability of the stock brakes HAS decreased. Not saying she wont stop, but it does take a bit more, so if you are installing this please keep that in mind, no tailgating!

    Haven’t had a chance to take her wheeling yet, will report on that at a later date.
    2006 Tacoma Access Cab (SLOW build thread:
    2007 Suzuki DR650

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