Scott B.'s 2015 AC Build - Expo Style

Scott B.

SE Expedition Society

The saga of my sliders. Well, yes and no. I had intended to install sliders as one of the very first mods to the truck. It didn't quite work out that way...

Shortly after taking delivery of the truck (and probably even before that), I spent countless hours reading on this forum and others about sliders. I learned of every manufacturer, of every style/design, of every everything. I perused all the information, compared one to the other against my intended use, all with the idea of finding the ultimate (for me) slider. Sure, we all do that, right?

After all that, I decided on the All-Pro HD Sliders. (At the time, they manufactured 3 levels of sliders - I don't think they do anymore.) I liked the frame mounting system, mounting to both the side and bottom of the frame rail. I also liked the appearance, and the weight of steel used in the construction. These met the approval of the engineer in me - not to say anything bad about any of the other designs.

I saved my pennies and ordered a set. When they showed up, they were not exactly what I ordered. More importantly, they did not have the proper business address on them, and the UPS guy almost did not deliver them. Additionally, the mounting hardware box looked like it had been through the ringer - I doubt that is how it left the manufacturer. :(

Here is a picture of the sliders, as delivered:


I did not order the fill plates, and was not sure I liked them. However, given the cost of shipping, I decided not to worry about it. I think I can learn to like them. (Spoiler alert - I did. I really like them, and they protect the truck paint too!)

As life happens, several months went by before I got around to do the initial fitment to the truck. I knew going into this that several holes needed to be drilled in the frame, so any excuse could be used to procrastinate that task.

I get the frame marked and drilled. I also determine that I can use 3 (1 on the driver's side, 2 on the passenger side) factory welded nuts on the frame. I have to modify a hole on the slider, but no big deal. I have to get some metric hardened bolts. I am starting to see that these are not exactly "just bolt right on"...

Here, you can see the slider held in its mounted position:


Here, you can see the mount to the frame, front to rear:





A couple more holes on the slider need slight adjustment. Again, no big deal. The big deal is how to bolt the front of the sliders to the frame. (The 3 holes in the first picture, above.) See, behind each hole in the slider is a huge opening in the frame - way too big for a nut and fender washer.

After thinking on this for a while (remember, months are passing) I came up with a simple solution. I welded nuts on backing plates. Simple, and I got to use my welder!

Here are the plates I made:


The large ones slide into the boxed section of frame, and the small ones slide into the transmission crossmember.

One more issue. Since I started this project, I replaced my exhaust system, which allowed me to mount my PelfreyBilt transfer case skid plate. Unfortunately, both the sliders and skid plate mount to the underside of the frame. This solution was easy. I cut a notch out of the under-frame part of the slider mount. Crisis averted.

There were still 2 questions I hadn't answered yet. One, how to prep the metal for finish, and two, how to finish the metal. I ruled out powder coating because it would be difficult to repair - I am sure these will get scratched. I went 'round and 'round between epoxy paint, frame coating, Line-X, and truck bed coating. I settled on Rustoleum Truck Bed Coating. Working backwards, I decided to prep the metal myself as opposed to having it blasted. Again, when repairing the finish, I will be doing it and not blasting it, so I figured it was not worth it. I really did not want to wire brush these things! I selected another Rustoleum product - Krud Kutter Metal Clean & Etch. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised! This product is great! It easily cleaned all the gunk off the metal - even light rust. And, it was fast!

Here is everything all cleaned up (drying in the sun):


Temperature is in the low 60s - let's start painting! (Finally :rolleyes:) Two coats of Rustoleum self-etching primer in my outdoor spray booth...


For the finish coat, I used Rustoleum gloss black on both sides of the frame mounting part, and Truck Bed Coating (TBC) on the rest. Since the TBC is textured, it will probably hold dirt. The gloss will clean easier, and not hold dirt between the mount and the frame (at least that's the idea).

So now I am playing a waiting game with the weather. I spray, and let it dry, and have to wait for warm enough temperatures to continue the process. It took about 2 weeks, but everything got painted - 2 coats:


Scott B.

SE Expedition Society
Sliders, Part 2

On the truck!!!!!



And a view from the bottom:


So, after making custom mounts, modifying mounting holes (both off and on the truck), multiple trips to the hardware store for more Grade 8 bolts/nuts/washers, and waiting on the weather, they are finally on the truck. And they look good. Really good.

The other half says they "finish the truck". They hide the pinch weld and visually clean up the bottom of the truck body.

I like them. They follow the lines of the truck, and don't stick out too much. The fill plates give a very different appearance - it makes the sliders look trimmer. And I really like the textured TBC finish. So far, it has proven very durable (they get used as a step...)

I can't wait to try them out in the woods!


I understand your pain of mounting sliders as a guy who built his whole set.

Mounting was the worst part.

Looks good tho and its always good to have more protection!


Nice job! They turnd out great. There's no such thing as a small project. :) I'm going to have to really think about sliders. Right now I have the Toyota step which looks good but...:safari-rig:

Scott B.

SE Expedition Society
Rear Bumper, Phase 1

Some months back, I started the quest for a rear bumper. My requirements were a swing-out for spare tire and 2 fuel (or water) cans. However, I could not a full width swing-out since I tow a teardrop. I need a dual swing-out.

No one builds a dual swing-out as a regular production unit. That is not a problem, as I can build the swing-outs myself. However, no one builds a base bumper to utilize dual swing-outs either.

After perusing the various bumpers/manufacturers, I decided on a Pelfreybilt. After some more contemplation, I decided on a standard bumper, not a high-clearance bumper.

Knowing what I want, and knowing they do not build what I want, I called and asked the question - can you build a bumper with dual swing-outs? I figured they build bumpers with left or right pivots, so why not build one with left and right pivots. Simple, right?

I called Pelfreybilt and spoke with Satin. She was most helpful. After speaking with Tyler, they agreed to build the bumper for me. Dual swing-out pivots and no swing-outs. Order placed!

About 10 weeks later, I took delivery of the bumper. It was just what I asked for. Now FedEx wasn't happy about having to move such a big, heavy box, but the bumper arrived in one piece, and I wasn't saving the box anyway...


My original plan was to build the swing-outs, then mount everything to the truck. So, that being the plan, time passed as I was traveling for work, wheeling, etc. Meanwhile, the bumper was sitting on the garage floor - just sitting there.

After installing the sliders, I decided to use the same paint coating on the bumper. My original thoughts were powder coating, but I really like the truck bed coating - and, the bumper will get scratched, so, like the sliders, the spray is much easier to repair than power coating.

Then it hit me - paint the bumper and put it on the truck! I can grind the paint off to weld to it, then repaint it. No sense waiting to powder coat the bumper (and tripping over it on the floor).

What a revelation! Why didn't I think of this sooner?

We had some unseasonable warm days in January, so I took advantage of one and painted the bumper. Same primer and paint as I used on the sliders.



Right after the painting, the temperature dropped. And, I was on the road again for work.

Finally, the day had arrived to install the bumper! Decent weather, a set of helping hands - you can feel the excitement in the air... OK, so maybe I exaggerate a little...

Off with old


On with the new!




I packed the swing-out bearings with grease, and put the collars on the pivots to prevent the pivots from rusting. They also finish up the look of bumper.

I put in the 7-pin connector, the license plate lights (with newly installed LED bulbs) and the license plate flip down (up, in this case.)

It looks great and I couldn't be happier. Thank you Pelfreybilt.

Next, I will build the swing-outs. I have the steel, and am working on a latch design.

Scott B.

SE Expedition Society
Oil Catch Can

I installed an oil catch can between the PCV and intake manifold. These usually are not necessary for normally aspirated engines, but they do prevent buildup on the inside of the intake manifold.

I modified an "L" bracket to use as a mounting bracket.


The bracket bolted to 2 existing threaded holes on the inner fender.


The only required maintenance is to empty (at least check) the can at every oil change. We shall see how much gunk it keeps out of the engine.

Scott B.

SE Expedition Society
SpeedBleeders and Brake Lines

I installed a set of Wheeler's extended rear brake lines shortly after lifting my truck. I much prefer running steel-braided lines as opposed to the stock style rubber lines. As the rubber lines break down, the brakes tend to feel spongy (actually, the rubber line is expanding under pressure, instead of pushing the pressure to the brake caliper/cylinder.)

Now that the front brake lines are about 2 years old, I decided it was time to replace/upgrade them. While I was working on the brakes, I also added a set of Speedbleeders.


A set of Wheeler's front brake lines (in red, to match the rear), stainless steel Speedbleeders, and a quart of fresh Dot 4 brake fluid.

As part of my routine maintenance, I like to flush the brake system with fresh fluid every 15,000 miles. We have rain, mud and humidity around here, and brake fluid is hygroscopic. Fresh, clean fluid goes a long way to helping keep the brake system rust free.

Replacing the brake lines was straightforward, as was swapping the bleed screws. Bleeding the brakes with the Speedbleeders was easier than I expected. Those things are great.

Scott B.

SE Expedition Society
CB Radio, In Dash

I have been using my handheld CB attached to the K40 antenna for communications. The radio works fine - you just have to get used to the wires and radio bouncing around as you mosey down the trial. Not the end of the world, but far from an ideal solution.

Mounting my mobile CB finally came up on the project list!

I have always liked an in-dash mounted radio. Aesthetically, they look nice, all the controls can be seen, and there is no worry of anyone hitting their knee on the radio. So the obvious question is, where to mount the CB in-dash on this truck?

The pocket at the front of the console would be an ideal spot:


This radio is not the smallest I could use (not the biggest, either.) I like this one because of the features. I also had it tuned, so it is working at optimum efficiency.

However, there is problem:


The box with the yellow wiring and connectors is the airbag controller. That cannot be moved. Next to that is a black plastic (shiny white in the above photo) part of the dash frame. Unfortunately, it is in the way of mounting the radio. The radio fits, but sticks out farther than I want it to.

After a little investigation, I determined (guessed) that that piece didn't have a major function. So determined, I removed it.


Now, the radio sits farther back. Ideally, I would like the radio where the air bag controller is, but that is just wishful thinking.

Next, I cut the back out of the cubbyhole in the console:


I made up a wiring harness for the power:


Using some 1" aluminum flat bar, I made mounting brackets to mount the radio to the cab floor. I don't have any pictures - they are just "L" shaped and screwed to the floor.

Here you can see the final result:


The way the radio sits, the front cupholders are almost useless. I will build a faceplate covering the cupholders and gaps around the radio.

Here is another view. You can also see the microphone hanger I made (again out of aluminum flat bar) which attaches to the bottom of the TechDeck.


I also want to add an external speaker - as soon as I figure out where to put it...


Very tasteful build! Good to see you didn't throw a credit card at every shiny accessory like most Tacoma builds you see these days.

Scott B.

SE Expedition Society
A-Pillar Gauges

Being old school, I like having analog gauges to monitor engine conditions. While the Tacoma dash has a couple of analog gauges, several are missing. I added two of the missing ones to the a-pillar.

So what functions are actually missing? Most important is engine oil pressure. Yes, there is an idiot light - but I have always liked to see trends, not just absolutes. In this case, the absolute usually means engine failure. By monitoring the oil pressure, I can see if a problem is developing - and hopefully save the engine. Not that I expect a problem, but you never know...

The other important function is transmission temperature. Again, there is an idiot light (a first on a vehicle for me,) but I much prefer to monitor the actual operating temperature, not just the "too hot" point. Again, by monitoring temperature, I can shut down when things start to warm up (+220*) to save potential and probably transmission damage. Going off-road and towing a trailer both add to the strain/load on the transmission. And as we all know, heat kills an automatic transmission.

I selected Autometer gauges - the Sport Comp II series specifically. I have used Autometer gauges for many, many years and have never had a problem with them - so why not continue? The Sport Comp II are similar to the Sport Comp, but have LED lighting. I like these because they more or less match the factory gauges.

For 20 years, on my trucks I have mounted the transmission temperature gauge on the a-pillar. Naturally, on this truck, the trans temp goes on the a-pillar. In the second slot, historically I have put either the engine oil pressure or engine oil temperature. Engine oil temperature is not as critical to monitor, so oil pressure goes in the second slot.

How to mount the gauges? Lotek makes an a-pillar replacement cover that has mounts for two gauges. Unfortunately, it does not fit the newer trucks with airbags. Autometer makes single gauge mounting cups, but the cover is nowhere near flat. Time to fabricate!

I fabricated a flat mounting plate to hold the gauge pods and mount to the a-pillar cover.


From the front of the truck:


The idea first went to CAD (cardboard aided design - I love that term!) I made 3 models before settling on this design. I then transferred the design to aluminum, drilled holes in the a-pillar cover. Once mounted, I had to make a couple of slight modifications to the plate, and ended up with what you see here.

Mount the gauge pods, and test fit.


Mount and wire the gauges.


The final product installed.


It looks rather industrial. It did not turn out exactly like I was thinking it would - but it is very functional. And unique looking.

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