RCI MetalWorks - Aluminum Skids Plates
RCI is one of the few companies that offers off-road protection hardware for the 4th generation 4Runner. Having recently bottomed out on my unprotected transfer case, I decided it was time to add the skids for the transfer case and transmission. I already owned the front RCI aluminum skid, which replaces the 2 OEM front skids. When I spoke with Josh Rudkin at RCI, I learned he had updated the front skid design to provide more coverage via increased width, and altered the curved up edges so they don’t better avoid the front sway bar. Thus, I ordered a full set of ¼-inch 5052 bare aluminum skids, along with matching lower control arm skids. The full set of skids are also available in 3/16-inch steel in bare or black satin powdercoat. In addition to the 4th generation 4Runner, RCI offers protection products for the 5th generation 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, and the 2nd generation Tacoma (I have the steel RCI front skid on our 2006 Tacoma and am very pleased with it).
After a year-and-a-half of heavy off-roading use, it was interesting to examine my old RCI front skid. The durability of this aluminum skid is impressive, so I had no performance concerns about the new full set of skids. My new skids arrived in time for Lone Star Toyota Jamboree where they performed as expected. Same with the Ghost Divide Expedition. They do the job, look great, and are lighter than steel.
Rock Smasher Engineering - 2Way Air
In case you missed our previous coverage of this slick air system, the 2Way Air product allows for even distribution of inflation and deflation. Since I don’t have onboard air—which is another item on my backburner list—I had it installed for portable air compressor connectivity. Frisbee Automotive, Inc. did the install and opted to place the whip connectors in the front and rear bumpers to keep them safe and away from mud.
AutoHome - Columbus Variant Roof Top Tent
I chose the Columbus Variant because it was one of the lightest tents available, quick and easy to set up and collapse, and can fit atop my 4Runner just fine for those times when I opt not to pull my trailer. Being triangular, it grants more headroom when sitting up than the rectangular style tents. The tent has a solitary latch at the rear. The pair of gas shocks raise the tent after a gentle upward push. The interior features an LED light and a net for holding clothing out of the way while sleeping. The tent floor is a comfortable 2.5-inch foam pad. Tent material is thick and rugged, and the hard shell is fiberglass. The two sides and the rear have zipped doors with optional screen doors hiding inside. The tent seems durable, is very easy to use, and is priced competitively. A lightweight collapsible aluminum ladder with bag is included. Sleeping bag and pillow can remain inside when the tent is closed.
FN Wheels – Five Star 17x8.5 Matte Black alloy wheels
At only 21.8 lbs. per wheel with a load rating that is more than enough, I couldn’t resist these attractive, lightweight rims. Having seen the various styles of FN rims on friends’ Toyota 4WD trucks, I had grown envious. My new Five Star wheels arrived in time for Lone Star Toyota Jamboree, so they were immediately put to off-road use. These aesthetically pleasing works of metallic art garnered many compliments at Jamboree, and later at Overland Expo. The rolling effects of unsprung mass are legitimate. While I didn’t head to the ¼-mile track to do baseline times with my previous rims for comparison, I did notice that the truck accelerated easier after the FN wheels were installed.
Hankook – Dynapro MT Tires
After prematurely wearing out a set of popular trail tires by a well-known brand several years ago, I decided to try a different brand and tread. Since I was losing chunks of tread off the trail tires, my hope was mud-terrains would be more rugged. I found that Hankook Dynapro M/T tires were priced very competitively and had good reviews. I purchased a set of five 285/70 17 tires from Discount Tire. After over 20,000 miles, which included heavy off-road use, I compared the four on the ground with the unused spare and found that the tread was exactly at the halfway mark. Considering the amount of tire spin against rock and granite they were put through at off-road parks over the two year span, I was quite pleased with their wear. Especially since the wear was even. Knowing that I needed two tires for the XVenture trailer, I decided to take the best three tires on the ground, make one a spare and the other two went to the trailer. I purchased three new tires to accompany the unused spare. For mud-terrains, the noise level is decent, the ride is smooth, and the off-road traction is impressive. They performed well in mud, even when I pulled the trailer through dirt trails after a heavy rainstorm.
Frisbee Automotive, Inc.
Having seen the professional level of air compressor lines installation work done on Land Cruisers by Frisbee Automotive, I chose Frisbee for installing the 2Way Air system. Mike Frisbee is a Toyota specialist, especially for Land Cruiser mechanical and outfitting work. The shop is located just south of the Dallas in Waxahachie, TX. In addition to the 2Way Air install, they also replaced my worn inner tie rods and did an alignment.
To get your copy of the
July 2015 issue:
FIND US ON: