Mobile and Monitoring's 1st Gen Tundra

#1
Long time lurker here on Expo. I've finally found some time to work on the truck and put together some pictures of what I'm doing to it. Also decided to create a new account (old account is MobTuff) as we'll be also creating a website to log our upgrades and travels on. There's been so many inspiring build threads and articles on Expedition Portal it's too difficult to name them all but want to say thank you to this great community for all the ideas that I soon hope to implement in my own way. I hope my posts can help anyone who's looking to modify their Tundra and I hope to gather some advice from more seasoned veterans along the way for my truck.

Being newly unemployed I finally have no excuse to start making modifications to the truck while I look for new work. I've also just rolled over 200,000 miles a few weeks ago so the truck is finally broken in ;) This first initial post will be mostly older pictures catching up to it's current form.

The truck has been my daily driver ever since I purchased it used way back in early 2013 with 40,000 miles on it. Since then at this time of writing I'm at 207,500. The truck was primarily used at work in the communications business. I helped build and manage a large microwave internet network for the past 8 years so lots of driving off road to repeater sites on a weekly basis. Some much more difficult to get to than you'd think. Below is one of the older pictures I could find of the truck back in 2014. Stock truck with added Snug Top camper shell and Rack-it lumber rack.


Circa 2014 stock truck with only camper shell and rack added on.


One of first upgrades to the truck was some basic Bilstein 5100's front and rear with an add a leaf from Wheelers Off Road. Below is the truck after the lift:


Added Bilstein 5100's front and rear along with an add a leaf.


Then after lifting the truck I replaced the stock wheels and tires with Cooper ST Maxx 285/75/16. I've really liked the Coopers ever since and have purchased 2-3 sets since then. I also have the Pro Comp Series 69 flat black wheels. They give just enough back spacing to look good on the truck but also the wheel indents enough so you can use your tire as a step to access the rack. Below is the picture after the new tires were put on.



Looks so much better than stock wheels and tires :D


After a year or two I actually broke one of the Bilsteins in the front. Wheelers sent replacements after some emailing back and forth but from there I just couldn't trust them. So I opted to upgrade the suspension to the OEM King Shock replacements and have SPC Light Racing upper control arms installed. I know there's lots of internet chatter about how people have had issues with the ball joint but I have nothing but good things to say. On my first Tundra many years ago I ran Camburg UCAs and could never get the squeeking to stop after trying all the steps suggested. The SPC uppers seem to work great and no need to worry about poly bushings.


Clean new suspension.


We had the opportunity to go to Overland Expo West in 2017 and while we were there we picked up and installed our AluCab Shadow awning. Installed it right in our camping spot. Only one trip to Home Depot for hardware. It's an expensive awning but now that we've had it for awhile it's completely worth it. We've never had to tie the awning down to the ground yet it really handles the wind well. We used 3 Fourtrek Awning mounts to attach the awning to the rack of the truck. They work pretty darn well there's just a small amount of play in the piece that connects the mount to awning but hasn't been any trouble. We also later purchased the wall kit that's been really great. I'll have to find some pictures showing it off...







Picking up and installing AluCab's awning at Overland Expo West 2017


We also pulled the trigger on a James Baroud Evasion RTT last year around this time. Much better than our previous RTC... I enlisted the help of my brother to help me weld more cross supports to accommodate the RTT on the rack. Got everything welded up painted and headed south to pick up the RTT. Took a couple glamour shots near the beach on our way home.



The bro helping with welding.


The unboxing and RTT mounted.

Testing the new tent out by the beach.


...to be continued
 

Kpack

Adventurer
#2
Love it! Always good to see more 1st gen Tundra's out there. I'm a big fan of the Pro Comp wheels....I was seriously considering getting a set of the 7069's until I pulled the trigger on SCS.

Looks like you're sagging a bit in that last shot. Did you upgrade the rear springs?
 
#4
Love it! Always good to see more 1st gen Tundra's out there. I'm a big fan of the Pro Comp wheels....I was seriously considering getting a set of the 7069's until I pulled the trigger on SCS.

Looks like you're sagging a bit in that last shot. Did you upgrade the rear springs?
Thanks I've only driven Tundras for the past 12 years! As far as sagging goes back then I had a bunch of weight in the bed with all my tools and equipment all day everyday. Once weighed the truck with and without my work stuff and it was a 850lb difference! So glad to have all that out of the truck now. I actually think that's why I've gone through two sets of wheel bearings over the years and it sounds like I might need my third set soon hopefully for the last time. I do have an add a leaf but I'm open to suggestions to help lift the back of the truck. It still has a slight sag with the bed empty. I've seen longer struts, shackle flips, airbags. What do you recommend for the rear suspension? I doubt my camping gear weighs too much but with the RTT, rack, shell, wood drawer system, battery, water tank , etc I'm already at a higher than normal load.

Sweet Silver Access Cab Tundra! Your RTT looks very comfortable.

Are these the wheels you are using? Pro Comp 7069-6883
Does the 4 inch back space allow you to clear the upper control arm with 285/75r16?
Thank the RTT is really comfortable. We actually took out the mattress it comes with and put in our large special air mattress that has foam and it's even better. Those are the wheels. I like there simple style and the flat black looks good to me. The backspacing seems perfect to me. I definitely clear the upper control arm no problem. You can see in the picture of the front coil over how much space there is.
 

Kpack

Adventurer
#5
Thanks I've only driven Tundras for the past 12 years! As far as sagging goes back then I had a bunch of weight in the bed with all my tools and equipment all day everyday. Once weighed the truck with and without my work stuff and it was a 850lb difference! So glad to have all that out of the truck now. I actually think that's why I've gone through two sets of wheel bearings over the years and it sounds like I might need my third set soon hopefully for the last time. I do have an add a leaf but I'm open to suggestions to help lift the back of the truck. It still has a slight sag with the bed empty. I've seen longer struts, shackle flips, airbags. What do you recommend for the rear suspension? I doubt my camping gear weighs too much but with the RTT, rack, shell, wood drawer system, battery, water tank , etc I'm already at a higher than normal load.
Longer shocks won't hold the bed up, they are only for dampening. Springs control the ride height. Most guys with 1st Gen Tundras carrying the weight you have in the back will use something like the Deaver Overland springs from Archive Garage. They carry the weight better, have more available droop, and are progressive rating so they are supposed to be a better ride. I'm currently running stock with a block (hate it) but am unsure of what to move to next....I run with the bed unloaded most of the time.

The general feeling is to avoid a shackle flip because I guess it makes the truck tipsy. Archive Garage came out with new rear spring hangers for Tacoma's that increase spring travel and improves the ride apparently. I'm not sure if these fit the 1st Gen Tundras or not, but it they do I would be interested in them. Better ride with more travel is what I'm after.
 
#6
Longer shocks won't hold the bed up, they are only for dampening. Springs control the ride height. Most guys with 1st Gen Tundras carrying the weight you have in the back will use something like the Deaver Overland springs from Archive Garage. They carry the weight better, have more available droop, and are progressive rating so they are supposed to be a better ride. I'm currently running stock with a block (hate it) but am unsure of what to move to next....I run with the bed unloaded most of the time.

The general feeling is to avoid a shackle flip because I guess it makes the truck tipsy. Archive Garage came out with new rear spring hangers for Tacoma's that increase spring travel and improves the ride apparently. I'm not sure if these fit the 1st Gen Tundras or not, but it they do I would be interested in them. Better ride with more travel is what I'm after.
Ah yeah I should have known that. I've definitely heard people speaking of Deaver springs before. I always assumed they were best for empty beds but the overland springs sounds interesting. If there's more downward travel do you need to replace the shocks with a longer shaft shock?
 
#7
So to continue the build thread and to slowly catch up the present time I present you the drawer system. I based it off of @roadtripcrazed drawer system. I'm not much of a carpenter so they are nowhere near as great as his but they get the job done. They've also proven to be a great mounting location for on board air, water and power. I don't have many pictures of the actual build as I was working on them late after work normally. But you get the idea.

I'd like to think these drawers are version 1.0. Will hopefully have version 1.5 or 2.0 sometime soon. I would like to replace the poor executed skateboard bearing system with pre-engineered drawer slides soon. We are also planning on making one full drawer dedicated to a kitchen setup. The platform contains onboard air, auxiliary battery and electrical system and a water tank with pump. Keep in mind these drawers have been used everyday for the last year or so. They are beating up a bit. Below are some shots of it.











Here is the left hand side which includes the switch to turn on and off the inverter, along with a power outlet. Below that are left over ports for POE that were super helpful at work but will probably need to be taken out and make room for something else.



Here is the quick release water port that connects to the water hose. It appears it's not a standard quick release connector so we might be changing it out so we can use different hoses and attachments.



Here is the main switch panel for controlling the lights in the bed, POE, air compressor and water pump. There's also 12v cig outlet and two usb ports with a voltmeter built in. I've also mounted the air compressor quick release. With the included ARB hose I can reach all 4 tires from here. There's also a small storage area right behind it where I usually store the air compressor tools.




Here is the main electrical area. You'll notice our Samlex 600w Pure Signwave Inverter. It has one circuit that goes into the cab to an outlet and one that you saw in the back of the drawers. There's also our Full River DC210-12 battery. It's a 210Ah AGM battery. Most of the fusing and breakers are blue sea. I also have an IOTA 12v charger that I can connect an extension cord to the bumper to charge when I'm parked in the driveway. We also have a front runner water tank that holds 60L or almost 16 gallons.


Air compressor and manifold
 
#8
Finally getting to the communication of the truck. I have a Yaesu FT-7900 with a Larsen NMO 2/70 attached by an aluminum bracket connected to the hood. I have been really impressed with the performance of this antenna as it's a 1/2 wave antenna so it really blows the 1/4 antennas or small handhelds out of the water. I did put some shirnk tubing onto the middle coil to avoid getting hung up on lower tree branches. It seems to do well on most tree branches that I've hit. The radio was installed under the driver seat and cabling was tucked out of the way and under the carpet. I relocated the face-plate into the dash where the old ash tray used to be. It actually worked out really well. You'll also notice the National Luna battery monitor just below it. I've been wanting to make a little bracket so it can be moved out the of the way to the left but haven't gotten around to it yet.




I have also removed the back seats to accommodate the fridge. It's a Dometic CFX-65DZ on the Dometic made fridge slide. It sits about halfway over the under seat storage so I made a simple wood piece to prop it up and painted the wood to match. It was a bit rushed installation but it's held up for sometime now without an issue. I would like to design and build some storage for the other side of the backseat. It's definitely on the to do list.




I also have a RAM laptop mount that's installed to the passenger seat bolts. Unfortunately I had to give back my laptop when I left work so not sure what to do at the moment. Thinking about installing my iPad for now until I get a new laptop. I hear Gaia GPS is pretty widely used just thinking im going to miss having a full physical keyboard but we'll see.



All of the DC powered items in the cab run back to a fuse block I have mounted on the drivers side in the bottom corner. Just makes it easier to I don't have to run power all the way back to the bed every time I add something.



Well I think that's most of the major upgrades I've done in the past. I should be all caught up to present time and ready to start documenting new upgrades to the truck.

And look what came in the mail today....

 

Kpack

Adventurer
#9
I'd like to see a little more detail on the Ham install. Specifically what did you do to mount the face plate where it is? And how did you run your power for the unit?

And that looks like a Gamiviti hood mount? I have the same and love it. Going to do the same on the other side to replace my factory radio antenna (the factory mount is totally destroyed on my truck). Currently my ham set up is very limited....a Browning 1/4 wave antenna, with coax going back into an adapter that plugs into a Baofeng BF-F8HP. Receiving and transmitting quality is not that great. I'm looking to get either a Yeasu or Icom dual band mobile unit. Whatever it is, it has to have a remote mount face plate.
 
#10
I'd like to see a little more detail on the Ham install. Specifically what did you do to mount the face plate where it is? And how did you run your power for the unit?

And that looks like a Gamiviti hood mount? I have the same and love it. Going to do the same on the other side to replace my factory radio antenna (the factory mount is totally destroyed on my truck). Currently my ham set up is very limited....a Browning 1/4 wave antenna, with coax going back into an adapter that plugs into a Baofeng BF-F8HP. Receiving and transmitting quality is not that great. I'm looking to get either a Yeasu or Icom dual band mobile unit. Whatever it is, it has to have a remote mount face plate.
Have you looked at the Kenwood TM-V71A? That is what I want for my truck.
 
#11
I'd like to see a little more detail on the Ham install. Specifically what did you do to mount the face plate where it is? And how did you run your power for the unit?

And that looks like a Gamiviti hood mount? I have the same and love it. Going to do the same on the other side to replace my factory radio antenna (the factory mount is totally destroyed on my truck). Currently my ham set up is very limited....a Browning 1/4 wave antenna, with coax going back into an adapter that plugs into a Baofeng BF-F8HP. Receiving and transmitting quality is not that great. I'm looking to get either a Yaesu or Icom dual band mobile unit. Whatever it is, it has to have a remote mount face plate.
Yes its a Gamiviti hood mount (almost forgot the name)! Simple yet effective. Baofeng with a mag-mount is how I started. I realized how limited the 1/4 antenna is along with the baofeng and decided to upgrade. I really like my FT-7900 but if I had a second chance to purchase a radio I'd get the Yaesu FT-8900 instead for just a little bit more. It's actually just about the same radio @SportsmanJake mentioned above with most feature shared. Either radio would do you fine. I just like the look of the Yaesu radios more :cool: Dual receive and cross band repeat are features I wish I had.

If I really had some money to spend I'd get the FTM-400XDR. It has built in APRS and some cool digital feature like sending emails or pictures from your radio. I believe their about $600 plus used. The two mentioned above are closer to $350.

As far as the mounting of the face-plate I should have taken more pictures when I was installing it. Here are some below showing behind the face of it. I used a right angle bracket and screwed up into the dash above the cavity then bolted the faceplate bracket to it. It's not easy to see in the pictures but I'd rather not take it apart as it was a little PITA to put on.


 
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