2018 Toyota Tundra Double Cab build

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Cobblecrazy

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As I begin this narrative I must give a little history which may give a little insight into why I went this direction.

I would say this is my 7th, or 8th, true "adventure" vehicle (with another 4 or 5 of the two wheel variety). Some have been basic alterations - such as adding tires and a camper shell - while others have been an all out, wallet cringing, experience - aka Sportsmobile. I would hope I learned lessons along the way, but at times I, like others, have been tempted by the bling/cool temptress. Throughout it all I have found these things to be true: 1) My vehicle is a daily driver so a "rock crawler" is not what I'm looking for 2) I enjoy going down backcountry dirt roads, as well as , driving in sand and snow to get to locations to ride my mountain bikes, do trail runs, or just camp 3) My vehicle must comfortably sleep two people and a dog - being able to "close up" at night is a must 4) There must be a comfort level to driving long (or rough) distances 5) The vehicle must be robust/powerful enough to tow without feeling like your trailer is driving you...

First, we start with the vehicle of course. A 2018 Tundra Double Cab Limited edition.
IMG_7494 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

I test drove the Crewmax version, and although it was the same length, I thought the Double Cab "felt" more like a truck. There was plenty of room in the back of the Double Cab for passengers to ride comfortably (although I wish they had kept the vents for the rear passengers like the Crewmax). I wanted the 6'5" bed for hauling items, but, mostly, because I know I wanted to be able to comfortably sleep in the back. One of the things I had originally had on my list was the bench seat in the front (with the drop down center console), but we discovered you could not get the heated seats in the bench seat. As I spend a considerable amount of time recreating in winter and colder conditions, the heated seats were something I was not willing to give up. I did end up with the TRD Off-Road, but I knew most of the "package" would go by the wayside with alterations.

If I were to make one observation (and something I put in my after purchase survey to Toyota) I would hope they would start to eliminate at least some of the chrome all over the front.
 

Cobblecrazy

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Since I did not have much of an interior/lockable area for my stuff I purchased a set of Yakima Bedrock locks to attach my Yakima bars, bike racks, and top box to the bed.

IMG_7541 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

This allowed me to put things in the bed underneath the rack, but I found the bars to be a little "bouncy", and, worst of all, the box partially blocked my view out the back of the truck. I looked at several of the more elaborate bed rack, and I had considered the RCI bed rack which I would have mounted either a fold over or pop up roof top tent, but was not excited about not being able to secure much of the stuff I would be carrying in the bed while I was away from the truck (I like to be able to keep stuff in the truck 24/7 so I can go at a moments notice).
 
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Cobblecrazy

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A drawer system was something I had originally wanted to do to my 4Runner, and this build was no different. I've watched Youtube after Youtube, poured over pictures and build narratives, and quite simply been left with my head spinning and bags under my eyes...

I'm fairly handy, and I'm willing to give it a go on coming up with a design, but I also like to keep my options open. During my "design" faze I came across the "Decked" drawer system. As I was still going back and forth on an enclosed cover on the bed - weather a tonneau cover or shell - or if I was going to do a bed rack, I was intrigued by the water and element proof design. The drawers could be configured to suit your activity. The materials were strong and durable, and each system is specifically cut for your year/make/model of vehicle. Not only could heavy things be stored on top of it, but it also appeared that it would be a very nice sleeping platform.

In the end I decided on the Decked system.

IMG_7781 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

A few Youtube videos had soothed any apprehension I might have had about a box full of parts...

IMG_7782 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

IMG_7783 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

IMG_7784 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

About 2 hrs and only one spike in blood pressure later (it had to do with getting the final two wheels attached).

IMG_7785 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr
 

Cobblecrazy

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During my 4Runner build I did the Southerstyle Offroad slimline bumper with the integrated light bar. I liked the lines so I decided on the same for the Tundra.

After a while of waiting patiently, the delivery guy finally arrived.

IMG_7689 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

I opened the box and began going through the parts and pieces.

IMG_7690 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

During the inspection of the bumper I noticed the two "tabs" on the bottom appeared to be bent - one more so than the other. I contacted Southernstyle Offroad, and I sent them a few pics. They confirmed the tabs should not be bent and gave me suggestions on how to flatten them out with a rubber mallet and a block. A few easy blows and they straightened out to normal (the people at SouthernStyle were great to deal with by the way).


IMG_7699 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

I liked the design because there is minimal cutting involved and the weight is rivaling that of what you end up taking off. Installation was pretty straight forward, but the tricky point came not during installation of the winch, but in mounting the winch controller.

IMG_7787 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

There is a cross bar in front of the radiator just above and slightly behind the top of the winch, and it appeared as if you could still mount the controller on top of the winch, but alas it was about 1/4" too tall. I ended up drilling holes in the plating to the side of the winch, and using some of the hardware from the winch, I was able to get the controller low enough to clear the bar. I have a remote controller, but I was still able to get the hard wired connection to work before we put everything back together. I apologize for the lack of images, but I was fairly frustrated and tired at this point so I did not get any pictures (maybe later).

IMG_7816 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

I still have to wire in the light bar, but I noticed there aren't as many predrilled holes through the firewall and into the cab, and I also don't have any open/empty places for the switch. I have a few ideas...
 

Cobblecrazy

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Tires and wheels were next.

I had my mind set on the Method NV from the beginning. In the last two builds (a Tacoma and a 4Runner) I used the MB 352 that I got at Discount Tires. They are similar to the NV in design, at about a $70 a wheel savings, and just slightly lower weight rating per wheel. I was happy with the MB's, but I had the extra money allotted so I decided to go with he Methods (and I got a "package" deal that lowered the cost a little).

IMG_7789 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

Now we come to the tires. I must have gone through hundreds of images, as well as, I strolled through isles of tire racks trying to come up with what I wanted. I knew I didn't want a MT for a variety of reasons, but I also knew some of the ATs didn't have the "bite" I was looking for either. I've used the BFG AT2 like everyone else, and I've had success with them, but I haven't always been excited on how they wear over time on at least one of my vehicles. I had a set of Goodyear Duratracs on my Tacoma, and I was very pleased with their performance. They seemed to fall into that "Hybrid" style similar to the Toyo Open Country R/T (one of the options I considered).

Having finalized the brand/style, I now had to figure out the size. I did not want to look like a monster truck, and I also didn't want the truck to look like it was driving around on skateboard wheels. I wasn't apposed to doing a little plastic or sheet metal trimming, but I wasn't interested in doing the body mount chop (I had done it on my Tacoma). The problem is trying to come up with what will fit based on how much of a lift you are going to do.

I knew I was going with a 2'-3" lift so I decided on the 275/70/18. Basically a 33" tire with the same width as the stock. I knew I would be going with the Icon system - specifically a 2.5 coilover in the front and a 2.0 with remote res in back. This coupled with an OME Dakar leaf pack (with the extra leaf).

IMG_7820 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

IMG_7821 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

IMG_7822 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

IMG_7804 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

I wanted to have the tires/wheels on at the time the lift was installed as I also knew the alignment would be better (confirmed through a variety of sources).
 

Cobblecrazy

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Now we come to the back.

We travel with our dog. As a member of the family she rides in the back seat 99% of the time, but on occasion we have guests for an extended period of time. A little cramped conditions are okay on short excursions, but the more people who are along might push her into the back (occasionally she has a play buddy who comes along as well). I am not a fan of having a dog riding in an open truck bed.

I went to several of the local truck shell retailers. I have experience with the ARE shells, but I also liked the looks of the Leer shells. Recently there have been a growing number of aluminum shells with a pop top sleeper coming into the market. One company, GoFast Campers, had been making a top for the Tacoma for a few months, and they were just coming out with one for the Tundra. Their design appeared bombproof and the price point was within budget so we put down a deposit. The completion date was slated for late October. I wasn't able to make it to Overland Expo to see the shell, and I wasn't able to make it to any of the meet up days they had during their deliveries.

One of the issues I noticed was it did not appear the GoFast had a way to vent for my dog. I contacted the company and learned that the design of their shell/cab window could not have a slider, and they did not have an option for side windows. I learned they have been trying to design something for venting for animals, but nothing had come to fruition after several months (I'm assuming they have been testing options). Ultimately I decided to pull my deposit on the GoFast and go with a shell (they had a 100% refund as long as you did it before they started your build and I was close to two months away from them even getting to me).

Now, if you want to be confused go talk to several shell retailers. Kind of like buying a car and trying to find a salesperson who will actually give you an unbiased opinion on other brands. I get it, they are in the business to sell their product, not the competitors brand. Like I said before I have experience with the ARE shell. I think they were a great company, but I did have some fit and finish issues that I found others experienced. I really liked the Leer shells. I knew I wanted the side windoors as they make it easy to access items in the back of the truck bed without crawling inside. Leer had a really cool windoor that was a three window pane design with one of them being a screened slider. I wanted to have the access window that matched up with the rear cab slider window to the truck, and I wanted the lines of the shell mirror those of the truck. After a couple weeks the shell arrived.

IMG_7798 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

IMG_7799 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

IMG_7800 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

Installation day was excruciatingly long, but I think it was worth the wait.

IMG_7812 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

IMG_7813 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

IMG_7814 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

IMG_7818 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

IMG_7823 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

IMG_7825 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

When all was said and done I achieved about a 4" lift in the rear between tires and suspension with he front slightly lower (similar to the factory rake). The tire/wheel combo certainly have the more aggressive look than stock with the tires slightly protruding from the wheel wells. I had about a 3 to 4" rub area on the plastic in the front lowest portion of the wheel well at full lock. A little trimming of the plastic solved the issue. Overall I am very pleased with how it turned out.
 
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Cobblecrazy

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Recently I began testing out different sleeping arrangements. The addition of the dog is a factor in any of our setups, but I can always set her up in her bed in the back seat of the the cab with the two windows open between the shell and the cab so we can hear if she needs to get out when nature calls, or just so she still thinks she's sleeping "with" us...

My wife's comfort level seems to have changed over the last few years (I'm sure she would say it has always been the same, I have just failed to supply her with a sufficient platform). I replaced one of my tents earlier this year with a nice MSR 4 person tent with the added luxury of a queen sized inflatable mattress. I found the Alps Mountaineering mattress which had a rechargeable air pump that was just under $100. The unwired system meant I could inflate the mattress inside the tent regardless of how far away the tent was located. Another selling point was the whole mattress could be inflated in about 1 1/2 minutes (hands free), as well as, the pump has the ability to be turned around and deflates (again hands free) in about the same amount of time. The system has been used a few times with a high approval rating.

I believed this mattress and my Decked system and shell combo were destined for greatness (at least in my mind). I have yet to get it out in the field, but home testing has been positive so far.

IMG_7806 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

As the decked system is above the wheel wells it creates an almost custom fit for this mattress. There is not a lot of headroom, but you can easily crawl into bed without feeling like your spelunking. I can "sit up" onto my elbows and even get up into a semi-seated position - especially with my legs hanging over the decked drawers and with the tailgate/hatch open. Venting is good with the cab slider window and side sliding windows. In time I will come up with a screen attachment so I can fully open the side windoors if it's really stuffy/hot at night.

I also had a short cot that I've had for a few years, but have only had the opportunity to use it on one prior outing (originally it was purchased to accommodate an additional guest at our house during the holidays). Out of curiosity I put it together and put the cot in the back. The length was almost custom to the full length of the bed with about an inch to spare. I noticed there was easily enough room to fit a second cot in there as well. I have a couple Mountain Hardware base camp mattress pads that have seen years of faithful use, but are certainly not for backpacking (unless you happen to have a few Sherpa around). I threw the pad on top of the cot with a sleeping bag and climbed aboard. If I might digress for just a moment; this may seem a little odd of a combination, but I actually learned of it reading some gear reviews in Backpacker magazine several years ago. I have experienced a few nights using a cot and mattress pad combo and I do have to say those have been some of the most restful nights I have spent in the outdoors. Well, needless to say I was actually more impressed with the comfort level of the cot/mattress combination than I had been on the inflatable mattress. One of the unforeseen things was the ability to store things between the bed and the Decked platform (such as clothes for the next day, shoes, coats, or extra bedding for my wife as the night gets colder). This would be even more useful if I had the two cots set up in the back.

IMG_7828 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

I'm interested to try both systems over this fall and winter.
 
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Cobblecrazy

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As I said before, one of my passions is mountain biking. I've competed off and on for quite a few years, but mostly I just like to get out an ride in the backcountry.

I had been looking at several of the hitch mounted bike carriers, but I hadn't really come across one I thought would fit my needs (some were a little more than I wanted to spend while I was still in the "build" process for the truck).

When I had my Tacoma, I also had a Four Wheel Camper. One of the items I purchased was the Rola hitch mounted tray. I got the one rated for 600 lbs. It had lights/turn signals which connected into the trailer 7 pin connector, and I purchased a no sway pin so things stayed stable. I had it set up to carry a couple bikes as well as a water can and even the 1000 watt generator. When those things were removed it acted as a makeshift patio to step out onto from the camper. The only down side was it made it near to impossible to get into the camper with those things still on the tray (for instance when we stopped along the highway for lunch).

I still had the tray, but I thought the bikes would interfere with the tailgate. I figured I'd give it a try to see how it might work.

IMG_7830 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

IMG_7829 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

My fat bike and my full suspension bike fit perfectly, and there was no interference with either the tailgate, or the shell hatch. I could still put my generator, a water jug, or even my soft sided ice chest, on there, but those things would have to be removed for the tailgate to fully come down. Unlike the camper, I could easily get into the back of the truck/shell with ease and without having to be a contortionist.

The Decked drawer can still be opened to access the items stored inside.
 

REWDBOY

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Awesome build and write up. Your rig looks bad ass! I think you need a rtt tho!
 

JCWages

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The truck looks great!

I too have to design around our mountain bike life. It's a little easier when you only have to carry 1 or 2 bikes around but when you also regularly serve as the shuttle rig things get a lot harder. Things like caps and bed drawers just don't work when you need to fit 5+ bikes over the tailgate. :( Basically I'm saying I'm hpjealous of you setup. :)
 

Cobblecrazy

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The truck looks great!

I too have to design around our mountain bike life. It's a little easier when you only have to carry 1 or 2 bikes around but when you also regularly serve as the shuttle rig things get a lot harder. Things like caps and bed drawers just don't work when you need to fit 5+ bikes over the tailgate. :( Basically I'm saying I'm hpjealous of you setup. :)
Thanks.

Still trying to figure out how to transport the tandem :)

If I was the shuttle guy, I could probably do a 4 bike rack on the back, coupled with the 3 or so I can carry up top (if the top box isn't there). I was hoping to be able to carry one, or two, inside by removing the seat post and having removable fork mounts on top of the drawers, but my fat bike and my 29er hard tail are too tall. Haven't tried the full suspension one yet...
 
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Cobblecrazy

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Awesome build and write up. Your rig looks bad ass! I think you need a rtt tho!
Thanks.

I like the RTTs, but my wife wasn't as big a fan. She thought the interior was comfortable and roomy. She didn't mind the climb up into the tent at Tepui's shop, but she figured it might be a little sketchy going down for a midnight bathroom run. Now that it's even higher all I get is a shake of the head...

If I do one, I'd probably couple it with a RCI bed rack. The ladder climb would be less, or I can go out the side window into the bed as that window totally unzips (also an easier way to get the dog inside). Most likely I would do one of the hard shell pop up styles. Roofnest has one that's about the same price as a Tepui 3 person RTT.
 

DividedSky

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Awesome setup!
I too am a mountain biker with an 18 tundra. Used to go up to Northstar 5-6 times a year... plus D-ville etc. I’m down in SoCal now though. We do occasional shuttles, so the cap/drawers are out of the question, but if it were just me and the wife, your setup would be perfect!
 
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Cobblecrazy

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Awesome setup!
I too am a mountain biker with an 18 tundra. Used to go up to Northstar 5-6 times a year... plus D-ville etc. I’m down in SoCal now though. We do occasional shuttles, so the cap/drawers are out of the question, but if it were just me and the wife, your setup would be perfect!
One of the things I liked about the Decked system is it's pretty easy to take out. It's held down at the four corner factory tie down points (they supply an L bracket which replaces your factory hooks). Unload the drawers, take out the J hooks and unscrew the center screws and the system is pretty much set to remove.

During the build I came across "Softopper" canvas truck topper. There are dozens of videos, but here's a fast one for an install on a Tacoma. I saw a couple on Tacomas and thought they looked pretty nice. There were several configurations that you could run - full enclosed top, top "up" with all the sides rolled up, or the shell completely folded down. The quality looked pretty good, and it was very light compared to what I had been looking at. I decided to go with the hard shell in the end, but if I was doing the shuttle thing and still wanted a top this might have been the way I went.

Here is a pic of a Tacoma I saw while I was waiting for service at the Toyota dealership.

IMG_7735 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr
 
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Fellow Jeeper

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As I said before, one of my passions is mountain biking. I've competed off and on for quite a few years, but mostly I just like to get out an ride in the backcountry.

I had been looking at several ou77 really come across one I thought would fit my needs (some were a little more than I wanted to spend while I was still in the "b1NJ hu7uu3uu3uuu788uild" process for the truck).

When I had my Tacoma, I also had a Four Wheel Camper. One of the items I purchased was the Rola hitch mounted tray. I got the one rated for 600 lbs. It had lights/turn signals which connected into the trailer 7 pin connector, and I purchased a no sway pin so things stayed stable. I had it set up to carry a couple bikes as well as a water can and even the 1000 watt generator. When those things were removed it acted as a makeshift patio to step out onto from the camper. The only down side was it made it near to impossible to get into the camper with those things still on the tray (for instance when we stopped along the highway for lunch).

I still had the tray, but I thought the bikes would interfere with the tailgate. I figured I'd give it a try to see how it might work.

IMG_7830 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

IMG_7829 by cobblecrazy, on Flickr

My fat bike and my full suspension bike fit perfectly, and there was no interference with either the tailgate, or the shell hatch. I could still put my generator, a water jug, or even my soft sided ice chest, on there, but those things would have to be removed for the tailgate to fully come down. Unlike the camper, I could easily get into the back of the truck/shell with ease and without having to be a contortionist.

The Decked drawer can still be opened to access the items stored inside.
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