We've done it! Welcome to our third year of publication, and we've started off with a bang! In this issue of Tacoma Magazine: Kurt Williams from Cruiser Outfitters begins his retrospective on his first gen Taco build; Jim installed an iPad Mini in his truck; the long awaited hidden winch mount article is here; Bob finished his snorkel install; and Wyatt concludes his 2WD to 4WD Tacoma Conversion.
All that and something new from Stay the Trail, a couple of great New & Noteworthy items, Jim updates us on his Discount Tire wheels & tires, and more!
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Until next time: Tread Lightly, Stay the Trail, and Have Fun!
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In the last issue we have gone as far as getting all the parts together and installing the front differential and hubs. We have also installed the wiring to activate the ADD actuator on the front differential. Lets continue where we left off with installing the new transmission.
With the transmission in place we ran into our first problem. You would think that Toyota would use the same frame for both the Prerunner and the 4wd Tacoma, for the most part they do. However, the cross members are not the same design and they are not in the same place on the frame. The Prerunner cross member is an inch further back on the frame versus the 4wd Tacoma.
Because the transmission cross member on the Prerunner is an inch further back than the 4wd version, we had to make a custom cross member. We took the 2wd cross member and cut the ends off.
My Tacoma story started over a decade ago now: it was the year 2000 when my father purchased a gently used 1996 V6 ExtraCab. He enjoyed the Tacoma but, as fate would have it, I ended up buying the truck from him a few years later and was instantly addicted to the platform. It was originally intended as a daily-driver/parts-runner, though it soon became a trusted transport into the back country as well. The factory rear springs had the typical sag and eventually cracked under the loads I had in store for them, thus an OME suspension was one of the first modifications my father and I installed on the truck. From there it was a slow build-- an ARB front bumper and winch, sliders and a rear bumper. Accessories such as a snorkel, communications, and on-board-air followed suit.
For five years the truck would haul me all over the west, commuting to school every day, hauling a bed full of Land Cruiser axles back from California or engine blocks to the machine shop. I put nearly 150,000 miles on the truck before passing it along to a good friend who has made it right at home with regular doses of abuse and the less-than-occasional car wash. Rather than a continuous build article, I've choosen to retrospectively look back at the truck, the modifications done, and the repairs I've made over the last 4 years. I'm not going to detail my reasoning or install choice for each and every mod, rather just highlight and briefly touch on a few aspects. If there is something that warrants more detail ask away, I'll gladly offer my thoughts.
The installation process between the common snorkel kits for the Toyota Tacoma is very similar. They all require a disregard for the well-being of the truck body and/or some liquid courage to help you get over the idea of drilling into your prized possession. The main variations lie in the plumbing running from the snorkel to the factory airbox. Installation will take normally 3-6 hours, depending on the amount of liquid courage you decide to have and any unforeseen delays. Here are some tools needed and highlights of the installation process of the Airflow snorkel on a 2006 Toyota Tacoma.
So, I finally made my first Mod that is primarily for fun. With quite a bit of help from and a huge Thank You to Otter Box, Kicker, and FJC Magazine we switched out the Tacos previous aftermarket head unit for an IPad Mini.
I am more than impressed with Discount Tire Direct and the Discount Tire store in our neighborhood. We have had a very interesting first six months with our evaluation. From a tire damaged in a parking lot due to a contractor’s lost debris to getting hit by a Jeep and ruining 3 tires and rims. We have been to the top of 15 mountains. We have put on 10,000 miles. But best of all, we have made a lot of great memories. And we look forward to the memories we have yet to make!
We have been talking about building up Tacoma’s yet keeping a little of that stock look. We got an email from Brian and Justin over at UHWMS (Undercover Hidden Winch Mount System) with a couple of pictures of their product installed on Tacomas, 4Runners, and FJ Cruisers. With their setup you get an aftermarket sub-bumper that has a mount position built it for a winch while using your existing bumper skin. I have to say I was more than a little intrigued. So I got a hold of Brian, figured out what I wanted to pick, had it shipped, and now we get to install.