CAISOB 2012 Tacoma Overland Build

#1
First thing you may be asking (and you'd be right to do so) is what the hell is CAISOB? Well, it's an acronym I coined a long time ago, and it describes me to a "T": Cheap And Impatient SOB. I am cheap. I am impatient, and, according to my ex-wife, I am an SOB. What it boils down to is this: there are hundreds upon hundreds of functional yet expensive farkles to be found for the Tacoma, yet there are also many, many DIY projects (or simply lower priced options) that can yield the same results without the significant expense.

As I build my truck, I am gearing for the most bang for the buck. This doesn't mean always going with the cheapest option, and, at times, I have and will continue to splurge on high dollar items as I see fit. Ultimately, I am a creature that prefers function over form, though I do believe the two don't have to be mutually exclusive. This is the third vehicle I've owned that is getting the overland (aka EAF) treatment, as such, I am utilizing lessons learned and equipment & gear accumulated from those previous builds.

To get things started, I'll share a couple of pictures from my previous overland ventures.

First, my H2.


Factory installed 35's (swapped the BFG AT's for BFG MT's), electronic locking center and rear diff, what more could you ask for as a basic platform to build from? I bought and built the H2 in 2010 when gas was just hitting $2 a gallon. Unfortunately, less than a year later, it was upwards of $5 a gallon where I was living, so it had to go. I traded it for a Subaru Forester that I subsequently kitted out:


After moving back to Florida, the Subaru was coming due for it's 100k service, and I was hearing a few more clicks and clunks than I could afford to fix at the time, so I traded it for another vehicle that was cheap yet fun to drive, a Fiat 500.

Laugh all you want, but those things are a blast to drive! After a couple years in that, I started to get the itch for another 4 wheel drive vehicle, which brings us to my 2012 Toyota Tacoma.

I don't have pictures of when I first got it, or even the pictures I took after I first installed the lift, so I'll start with how it sits today:









Modifications
Suspension

Bilstein 5100s - Installed
OME 885 Springs - Installed
SD Truck Springs AAL - Installed
UCAs - Future Upgrade
Shackle Flip - Pending Install
Custom Leaf Packs - being assembled by me
Bilstein B110 5100 Rear Shocks - Pending Install
Extended Brake Lines - Pending Install

Tires
Falken Wildpeak AT3W 275/70-18
Maxxis Bighorn 315/75-16

Exterior - Functional
eBay HiLux Snorkel - Installed
Rear Diff Breather relocation - Installed
Sliders (4x Innovations) - Installed
Bed Rack (AllPro) - Installed (bought from Tacomaworld member)
Skid Plates (SOS)- Installed
Plate Rear Bumper with tire carrier (SOS) - Installed
RTT - Smittybilt Overlander (bought from Tacomaworld member)
LCA Skids (4x Innovations)- Installed

Exterior - Aesthetic
Mesh Grill (Customcargrills.com) - Installed

Lighting/Electrical
30" Light bar in lower valance opening - Replaced with N-Fab light bar mount w/ 3-12" eBay light bars
Ditch Lights - Installed
Rock Lights - Installed
Camp Lights - Installed
Auxiliary Relay/Fuse Block - Installed
Dual Battery/Group 31 Battery tray - Future Upgrade

Recovery
48" Hi-Lift - Mounted
Speedmaster Traction Boards (x4) - Mounted
Wyeth Scott More Power Puller Hand Winch (3 Ton w/ Amsteel Blue line, capable of 6 Ton pulls) - Purchased
Snatch Blocks & Shackles - Purchased
BulletProof front recovery point - Installed
Receiver shackle for rear - Installed (kept under rear seat)
Hidden Winch Mount (Pelfreybilt) - Installed
Smittybilt XRC 9500 - Installed

Navigation - Software
Gaia Maps - Installed
Hema Maps - Future Upgrade

Navigation - Hardware
RCA 10" tablet - Installed
Globosat ST-359 Blue Tooth GPS Puck - Installed
BirdDawg Industries Tech Deck HD - Installed
Ram Tablet mount - Installed

Communications
Midland 75-822 - Installed
Cobra 25 WX NW ST - Installed
Nite Ize Steelie magnetic mount for CB (passenger side)- Installed
Nite Ize Steelie magnetic mount for CB (driver side) - Installed
UHF/VHF Radio - BTECH UV-25X2 - Installed, using for scanning functions pending license/exam
 
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#2
One of my original intentions was to utilize a roof rack for traction boards. I like the idea of having 2 on each side of the vehicle for ease of access. Most of the roof racks I was looking at were either crazy expensive or had a significant lead time (cheap and impatient, remember?). I found a thread on Tacomaworld where members made roof racks out of Unistrut, and that is the route I planned to take. I got the materials gathered up and built the roof rack, but I could never settle on a mounting solution that I was happy with.

I had been kicking around the idea of having a RTT mounted on either a bed rack or bed bars, but my last few camping trips I've used my hammock, and I have a couple of ground tents that I can use if I'm not camping solo. That led me to decide to just use bed bars to mount the traction boards. I decided to disassemble the unistrut roof rack and repurpose the components for the bed rack and a tray to hold a storage bin or two. I re-cut and bedlined the pieces yesterday, then assembled everything today. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.






I am considering one change. Since I had cut down the original unistrut already, I had to cut it down further and use mending plates to make it long enough to span the width of the bed. I may replace the spliced pieces with full lengths of the 1 5/8" unistrut, but that might be overkill since this won't be carrying a significant amount of weight.
 
#3
I like the mindset. Make what ya can. Learn from others. don't buy junk just to be cheap. Buy quality when it matters.

My truck is being "built" the same way.

Keep it up
 
#4
Thanks to Irma, I had no internet for the past week (excluding periodic data availability from what appears to be a single cell tower in Orlando). Since I work from home when I'm not travelling, and rely exclusively on internet for work, last week was essentially a paid "vacation". With fresh ideas based on my evacuation for the storm and a bit of spare time at my disposal, I tackled some of my envisioned changes and finally installed some other bits and pieces I've accumulated.

Bed Rack - Prior to the hurricane, I purchased and installed a pair of 36" Plano cases to hold recovery gear (one holds a recovery strap as well as tree savers, snatch blocks, shackles, etc. while the other holds recovery tools including Hi-Lift handle and base, bow saw, axe, machete, and a tarp). I had mounted the traction boards on top of those cases, and the Hi-Lift and shovel mounted outboard. One issue I found with this configuration is that the shovel and Hi-Lift interfered with ease of access to the cases. Another was how high everything sat which impacted rear visibility. I removed the Hi-Lift and shovel and moved the cases further outboard, over the bedsides. This seemed to solve the issues I had.

Next, I wanted a way to secure my fuel cans. The primary reason for this is my truck spends more time parked at the airport than at my house, and I had to change my flight to get in before Irma made landfall. This made filling up with fuel a priority, and a bit of a scramble. That being said, I have a Pop & Lock tailgate lock, so I was looking at a way to secure my fuel cans in a way that they would only be accessible when the tailgate is down. I explored several avenues, and decided to add a cross bar that prevents the cans from being lifted up and braces to eliminate side to side and front to back movement. My first mock-up kept two crossbars on top of the bedsides with two additional crossbars hanging down from the side rails to secure the fuel cans and to also mount the Hi-Lift and a D-Handle shovel across the back of the bed. Then I remembered I also have a pair of Scepter water cans I need to mount as well. I ended up with all crossbars hanging down from the side rails. I used unistrut components throughout, and now have the ability to secure my fuel cans and water cans (water cans behind the cab, fuel cans by the tailgate). I had also settled on HDX 12 gallon heavy duty bins from Home Depot in lieu of the ever elusive Front Runner Wolf Pack storage bins. The height of the crossbars provides just enough clearance for the bins to slide under.






Electrical - I've had my light bar mounted for a while, but was holding off on wiring until I installed an auxiliary fuse/relay block. I also had accumulated the switches I would need for future modifications. I finally tackled that project Sunday after installing ditch lights on Saturday. I had originally picked up a fuse/relay block combo similar to the Bussman that is so popular, but at a fraction of the price. The biggest downside I found was the need for additional buss bars (and where to mount them). I ended up scrapping that idea and instead grabbed and old 6 circuit Blue Sea fuse block that has been sitting in my spare parts bin (it was originally going to be used for some projects that never came to fruition for both the H2 and the Foz). I fashioned a mounting plate out of an 8" x 16" aluminum push plate for a commercial door that I had lying around.





 
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#7
Bed Rack Version 3.0
I really wasn't super stoked having the crossbars hang down from the bed tracks. I know that there are a handful of bed bars that depend on the tracks for mounting, but it had me feeling kind of, meh. I made a quick trip to Lowes to grab some of the 1 5/8" superstrut (supposedly rated at 600lb across a 6' span, IIRC). I picked up 2 10' lengths and cut them both down to 5'. This is long enough to sit on top of the bedsides. I'll say that I'm still not 100% happy with the mounting as there was a little sag along the top of the bed rail. I may end up with some metal bed rail caps in the near future.

Once I got the cross bars set in place, I started sorting out how to secure my gas cans. With the rails nice and low, they were held in place by the superstrut. They also stuck just far enough into the bed to interfere with my choice of cargo boxes. On my H2 and Forester, I had mounted my cans using the MFC racks from BajaRack. When I sold the Foz, the bases for both racks were still mounted to the roof rack, so I've had the top part of both mounts in a spare parts bin for a few years. I decided to split one of the brackets and secure it to the superstrut. Worked like a charm! Now both cans sit upright facing in towards the bed and the tailgate secures them nice and snug.

Enough yammering. Now for the pictures!








The step stool keeps everything near the tailgate nice and snug. I wasn't completely thrilled with the fitment of the water cans, so I tried some WaterBricks.


The above configuration kept the cooler a little more snug, but I couldn't put the step stool back in the way I wanted. :(


This configuration seemed to work the best, plus it gave me a place to mount the case with my tire kit (plug kit, Vaiar compressor, and ARB deflator). It was time for the happy dance. :wings:


In the front portion of the bed, I have 2 - 17 gallon HDX Storage bins from Home Depot. Behind those, are a pair of 12 gallon HDX bins. Down the middle is a Kamp-Rite Double Tent Cot.




Above is half of the BajaRack MFC bracket.

All in all (aside form the bed rail caps) I'm pretty pleased with this configuration.
 
#8
Finally got around to installing the mesh grill. I attempted to move my lightbar up behind the grill using the supplied feet, but it wouldn't fit properly. I'm going to work on fabbing a mount this weekend. I've been wanting to pull out the old Harbor Freight metal burner and give it a little use. This seems like the perfect opportunity. If it goes well, I may start laying out plans to build my own HC rear bumper and swingout tire carrier/jerry can mount...



This past weekend was the Florida Tacomas Camp 'N Ride at Citrus WMA. Right before I left, I installed a Hitch Haul Cargo Carrier from Walmart as a basket. I mounted it using some extra 9/16" unistrut that was left over from upgrading my crossbars. I ran one piece along each edge, then the other two pieces I had under the basket for support. It greatly expanded my carrying capacity as well as giving a decent viewing platform to stand on.



 
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#10
It's been a while since my last update, but I've been continuously working on the truck.

I replaced the Goodyear Adventure AT's (275/65-18) with Falken Wildpeak AT3W's (275/70-18). This required some trimming to the inner fender liner and the rear of the front fender flares.

Next, I revised the bed rack (again). I busted out the Harbor Freight Mig (aka spatter gun) and burned some pieces of unistrut together. I also added some LED cubes on the rear corners of the bed to help when setting up camp after dark. They also come in handy for adding a little more light when backing up at night. The bedrack has bars running front to back to hold my shovel, axe, and Hi-Lift. I also picked up an OutSunny awning from Amazon and got that mounted up today.

I ordered a set of 4x Innovations weld-on sliders that were mounted this past weekend. I painted them on Monday. If I had it to do over again, I would have painted them before mounting. Each slider is wearing one full can of primer, a can of Rust-Oleum bedliner, and 1.5 cans of Rust-Oleum Industrial gloss black.

I ordered a Pelfreybilt hidden winch mount to hold the Smittybilt XRC 9500 winch I picked up. That should be here Friday and (hopefully) installed this weekend.

I also ordered a high clearance bumper with swingout tire carrier and dual jerry can holder from SOS. I'm expecting that to be ready sometime in January or early February.

Now to the pictures!












 
#11
It's been a while since my last update, but I've been continuously working on the truck.

I replaced the Goodyear Adventure AT's (275/65-18) with Falken Wildpeak AT3W's (275/70-18). This required some trimming to the inner fender liner and the rear of the front fender flares.

Next, I revised the bed rack (again). I busted out the Harbor Freight Mig (aka spatter gun) and burned some pieces of unistrut together. I also added some LED cubes on the rear corners of the bed to help when setting up camp after dark. They also come in handy for adding a little more light when backing up at night. The bedrack has bars running front to back to hold my shovel, axe, and Hi-Lift. I also picked up an OutSunny awning from Amazon and got that mounted up today.

I ordered a set of 4x Innovations weld-on sliders that were mounted this past weekend. I painted them on Monday. If I had it to do over again, I would have painted them before mounting. Each slider is wearing one full can of primer, a can of Rust-Oleum bedliner, and 1.5 cans of Rust-Oleum Industrial gloss black.

I ordered a Pelfreybilt hidden winch mount to hold the Smittybilt XRC 9500 winch I picked up. That should be here Friday and (hopefully) installed this weekend.

I also ordered a high clearance bumper with swingout tire carrier and dual jerry can holder from SOS. I'm expecting that to be ready sometime in January or early February.

Now to the pictures!












 
#12
I got started on my rock light install yesterday afternoon. I apologize for the potato pics. I was too lazy to dig out the good camera.



Front to back:
In front of front tire:


Behind front tire:


In front of rear tire:


Behind rear tire:


I need to finish wiring this morning, and I have a few other things on the agenda as well.
 
#13
The behind front tire... Looks like that lense is going to get a good amount of activity from the front tire kicking up first, etc. the mount is super clean, but i think that lense is going to get thrashed.
 
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#14
The behind from tire... Looks like that lense is going to get a good amount of activity from the front tire kicking up first, etc. the mount is super clean, but i think that lense is going to get thrashed.
It very well might. Luckily, I bought 30 and have only used 8 so far. :)
 
#15
Well, I had a productive day. Had to leave a couple more projects on the back burner, but I'm happy with my progress.

Here are the rock lights lit up at night. I may make some adjustments, but, for the most part, I'm happy with them.




I also installed the Pelfreybilt hidden winch mount, Smittybilt XRC 9500 winch with Factor 55 Flat Link, and N-Fab light bar mount.