2004 Tacoma SAS

Dec 19, 2021 at 7:32 PM

Well, there seems to be a common theme anymore with how often I can find time to work on the Tacoma. That's life I suppose. Anyhow, I managed to get some time here and there over the last week to put in some time on it.

First thing I wanted to do, was make sure the wheel base was close(+/- 1/16") so I could be confident in the placement of the coil mounts both upper and lower. I made this fixture that picks up the center machine mark on the rear axle shafts, and the center machine mark on the trunion bearing cap. Somehow, out of dumb luck...... I was exactly on.


Somehow during this process, I discovered the axle was off side to side, by 3/16". I believe this mistake happened because I measured from the center holes of the lower coil mounts, and now I assume those aren't reliable.

So to confirm my findings, I took a piece of leftover delrin, and machined a little indicator that allows me to place it in the center machine marks of the trunion bearing caps and get a good side to side measurement. This confirmed my findings, and allowed me to fine tune it into within 1/32" of centered.




Luckily my lathe is in a position that helped pulling the axle over with a strap haha.


After that was done, and I re-welded the temp panhard(which I cut apart). I was worried that a bunch of other stuff was off. So I dropped the radius arms to see if they were off, and they were fine. This was good news, because I thought I might have to cut the radius arm mounts off again, and adjust them.

I verified some other measurements, and made some adjustments to the upper coil mounts.

From there, I cut the tacks on the lower mounts, and dropped the upper mounts as low as they could go. This allowed me to better line up and tack in the lower mounts, so the coils now mount straight when its sitting on its own weight.



With all that taken care of, I was confident in beginning the process of welding everything up. I welded some Friday evening and a little this evening until I ran completely out of argon. I was able to get the frame plates completely welded up, and the upper coil mounts. After, I cleaned them up and wire-wheeled everything.

I'm now trying to work towards a checkpoint and have all the fab work complete on the frame and paint it all. Since its winter here in the PNW, I don't want to put it outside and have the frame rust. However, I want to have the ability to put it outside so I can bop around onto other projects like our Land Cruiser or my 85. So this is the little fire under my butt that I need to keep working on it.

This week I will get another bottle of argon so I can keep welding. From there, I will need to make mounts for the sway bar, upper shock mounts, and some other small detail work before I can begin prepping and painting the frame. More to come(hopefully)



Jan 31, 2022 at 4:48 PM

I've made some progress lately, but haven't been keeping things up to date in here. Since I have limited space at home, I decided that it was time to get the truck to the point where it could be put outside without rusting. This meant I needed to finish up some fab work and paint the stuff that would be a pain to clean if they got rusty outside.

I took the week before last off to help expedite this process. Like usual, life got in the way so I didn't get as much done as I wanted. However, I still made pretty good progress.

The first order of business was figuring out shock mounts. I spent a ton of time online reading about shocks and springs on ih8mud. Originally my plan was to use the stock shocks off our 80. However, they ended up being too short of travel for me, so I had to come up with something else. I landed on a set of fox shocks for an 80 series. This took quite a bit of time to make my decision. So I proceeded to use a junk 80 shock to mock up, and gorilla tape it to length to build shock mounts around.

If you look closely enough, I made some brake line parts. Towards the back of the fender well, I drilled and tapped the frame for a bracket that was welded to a modified pair of the old brake elbows. I also had a set of custom brake lines made by an awesome outfit down in Eugene, OR called Pacific Rubber and Supply Corp. They will be making my power steering line as well.





One little detail that I should have done before the coil mounts were welded to the frame, was made the top of the engine mounts look nicer. I cut them off, but neglected to do the detail work while I had the room. I put a support in so they're structurally sound, but am not terribly stoked on the looks. Luckily, its a small hidden detail that will only bother me


With all the important fab work done, it was time to paint. I would have liked a little more time to get the sway bar mounts in, but I decided that will have to wait



The last thing to sort out was the firewall plate at the steering column. Originally I thought I was going to make a new plate. But after looking at it with some precision cut CADboard, I wouldn't have had much room to work on it when removing the steering shaft, or clear the brake booster.


So the alternative was to use the stock plate and modify it. I wanted to get this sealed up so I could keep bugs, moisture, and rodents out of the cab.

Its again, not quite as cosmetically appealing... but ultimately its simple and hidden.

I will probably find a plastic pipe cap to press into the old hole. For now, a couple layers of gorilla tape will have to suffice.

I didn't have access to quality rubber on the weekends, so I cut a piece of heater hose and made a temp piece, and held it in with some spare fasteners I have laying around. It was also a good opportunity to have a practice piece. I will probably use a little thicker piece of beefy rubber, and use some bearing grease to keep it from wearing too quickly. The idea here is to keep it simple, and easy to replace if needed.





With all that done, it was time to put everything back together and move the truck out to underneath the RV port, where it will live for the next couple months. Of course I had to pop in one of the shocks to see how cool it looked haha.

There probably wont be many more updates on this until later in the spring. Hopefully that will be due to building out my wife's 80 series Land Cruiser for lots of adventuring


May 23, 2022 at 2:03 PM

Small update that's a bit late. I recieved my NW Fabworks T-Case setup not long ago. I happened to be the first person on the list for this particular combo, but had to wait a while until they had the triple stick kit designed. Almost exactly a year after I put my deposit down, and we had it!

I probably wont be back onto this project until around August or so. What I plan on next is getting the front end repaired so I can hang a grill, headlights, and markers. Then I can get the bumper sorted out and a radiator installed.


In the meantime, building up my wifes 80 has been consuming my time. For those interested, it's now sitting on 37's with an Iron Man 2" lift and an EIM Keith lower control arm mount. It will have 4.88's and be locked F/R with a factory elocker rear axle(getting swapped in) and an Eaton Elocker in front. Rock sliders, a rear swing out, front bumper modifications with a winch mount, sleeping platform, and more are all the goodies that I am hoping to have wrapped up by the time we go on a summer adventure.



Aug 13, 2022 at 12:27 PM

Figured it was time to breathe a little life back into this thread!

Now that we have been back from Moab, and the Landcruiser is done(for now) I can think about the next steps on the Taco!


The next thing that makes the most sense, is to get the core support straight so I can get the grille, headlights, markers and what not mounted. Then I can modify and install the bumper, get a radiator in, and power steering lines made so the ol' girl can move under its own power.

My cousin who helped me with the frame will be coming over in a couple weeks to help get the core support proper again. For now, I have gathered a combo of free/used and new parts to get it going.

Small update, but its progress!

Aug 22, 2022 at 9:55 PM

Small update,

I got a little motivated to drag her out from under the carport and giver her a bath, then roller her into the garage. There was about 6 months of dust and pollen that was caked on thick.



One of the first things I wanted to look at was this spot under the battery tray thats wrinkled. I pulled the wiring out of the way and washed it up a little to get a better look. My cousin is pretty busy so I may try and tackle this myself. I only have the month of September to work on her, since I am taking on a bit of side work(to help fund this) so I am hoping to accomplish something of substance within this window.

I was able to look at a buddies truck(who is also undergoing a SAS too) and confirm how much this spot was damaged.

For now, I will fart around with it and get some juices flowing in my noggin for a plan of attack. Ideally, having my cousin help get it all straight would be my preference but we shall see what happens




this is a great concept. I'm curious why more haven't done it this way..

QQ - in some of the pictures, it looks like the coil spring is hitting the bucket. Is that just an optical illusion?
this is a great concept. I'm curious why more haven't done it this way..

QQ - in some of the pictures, it looks like the coil spring is hitting the bucket. Is that just an optical illusion?

It does when the coils isn't perfectly in line. All the work I did to line up the lower coil mount was partially because I wanted to stop that. However, it is really tight. So when it flexes out, I expect it to rub. This shouldn't be a big deal 95% of the time. I mainly didn't want it making noises or anything on the street
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Just registered on here to follow this build. Looking forward to see how this turns out as I am looking to do something similar.

Thanks for having a build thread on a forum! I miss the days of endless build threads and tech to look through.
Just registered on here to follow this build. Looking forward to see how this turns out as I am looking to do something similar.

Thanks for having a build thread on a forum! I miss the days of endless build threads and tech to look through.

Thanks for following! I come originally from the RC Rock Crawling world dating back to about 2004. I worked in the field for 11 years and spent countless hours on forums. Some of the best times were spent on RC Crawlers forum.

This was a chance for me to get back to my roots when it comes to sharing my projects. FB and IG are pretty limiting and frankly, I have hit an age where newer ways of doing things are foreign and scary haha.

Bonus points: When someone asks for more details on something, I can give them a link to something like this, rather than digging around on FB which is cumbersome at best.
Not much progress, but some progress is better than no progress.

Life has been uncomfortably busy lately and I still don't see myself having any large chunks of time to myself, until mid November unfortunately.

Recently I stumbled across this tread and it has re-inspired me to get some stuff done. So I am hoping to chip away at things, even if its an hour here and there.

The next step is to get the core support and body damage repaired. With my cousin being busy as hell too, I figured I would take a stab at it. After all, I repair a lot of broken/bent metal at my day job. Even if its not legitimate body work, I am hoping I can make it all straight and presentable enough for everything mount fine.

I needed to tug some of it out. The space under the battery, between the battery back of the headlights had a significant wrinkle. I rigged up this totally safe contraption to pull on it some while I nailed it with some hammers.



Its really hard to see the damage in these photos unfortunately. I got one from underneath and it shows it a little better


After spending a couple hours with misc Hammers, wood, brass drifts, a body hammer kit, a floor jack, and a C-Clamp... I was able to make the space under the battery look less bad. I still have work to do, but I am waiting on more photos of a buddies truck for reference.

I did spend time pulling other parts of the core support straight while I was in there.



With some things more straight, I figured I would start attempting to hang things and see how close I am. It certainly helps light a fire under my butt to keep plugging away. There's definitely a fair amount of work left, but it is exciting progress

I think the hood might be tweaked a little so I am hoping I can get that figured out. It wants to sit higher than the fender on the drivers side, and its not contacting the rubber bumper on the core support. So there will be a little head and ass scratching to figure that out.


One other thing I did was dig out the damaged radiator so I could see how far down it hangs. I figured it would be good to get some measurements and see what I want to run for a radiator.

The stock one hangs below my "new crossmember" 1.375" and I am contemplating just making a guard for it to allow maximum cooling, or get a shorter one. Time to do a little homework. My current radiator is about 24.5" tall so I have some choices to make.



I love everything about this and wish EP had more builds with fab work rather than just bolting on fancy after market parts (nothing wrong with that, just wish it wasn’t so lop sided).

Always been a fan of the 80 series SAS projects. Keeps the truck so low and functional. Keep it up and keep us posted!

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