SFSMedic's 2012 Tacoma TRD OR - Build Thread

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sfsmedic

Rank III

Advocate II

The evolution

My history has always been with modifying vehicles, whether it was lowered cars in high school being part of the car club and show scene or functional off road vehicles. Evolving into offroading was an easy transition from the street scene because most of my hobbies warranted it. A lowered car doesn’t not bode well camping, hunting, snowboarding or taking the dirt bike to Glamis or Pismo Beach. After being part of the off roading racing scene for the better part of 10 years I eventually moved more towards wanting to explore our beautiful back countries. I needed something that was more reliable, capable and much more nimble than the long travel race type trucks I had been driving. I also wanted to slow it down because I now had 2 small kids and I wanted to safely share these experiences with them.


I had owned Jeeps in the past so I went looking at the new Jeep Wranglers, I also checked out the Toyota Tacoma’s. I knew from experience that the Jeeps were very capable offroad rigs right out of the lot, I had heard the same about the Tacoma’s from friends so I made the decision based off of features and intended purpose. The Tacoma’s simply had a lot more room that fit my need.


The Plan:


The general plan was to build an overland type rig for camping and hunting with the family but of course I wanted to be able to get out and explore and run some of the trails when the opportunity presents itself. The only way to do that was careful planning and avoiding the pitfall of building the rig so it was stuck being overly top heavy.


New from the Showroom



]



]




How it sits today



Where it All Started:


When I first picked up my 2012 Gen 2 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road, a discussion was immediately started up with Danny Walker of Rancho Suspension on the development of their new Toyota line of suspension. We came to the agreement that I would be involved in the development of their suspension, my role was to test, critique and give feedback on the equipment. So I started out by wheeling my truck bone stock to see what it was capable of, then do the same or similar trails with the firs iteration of their suspension system on and give overall feedback and so on.


So the Journey was started!

My Tacoma Tech Stats
I will create links as I have time

ARMOR:

Pelfreybilt Offroad Aluminum Plate Bumper
Pelfreybilt Offroad Hi-Clearance Rear Bumper
Pelfreybilt Offroad Steel IFS Skid
All-Pro Trans Skid
All-Pro Transfer Case Skid
All-Pro APEX Rock Sliders

FRONT SUSPENSION:
Rancho Suspension 2.5” Suspension System w/UCA’s

Rancho Suspension RS7000MT

REAR SUSPENSION:
Old Man Emu Dakar Leaf Spring Set (being upgraded to the HD Leafs)

Rancho RS7000MT (longer than their normal part for added droop)

OVERLAND GEAR:
CVT Mt. Shasta RTT

Prinsu Design Studios CABRAC roofrack
Softopper Soft Bed Top
ARB Outback Solutions Roller Drawers
Indel B 41qt fridge/freezer
Airflow Snorkel (waiting to be installed)

RECOVERY:
Warn VR8000 Standard Duty Winch
Warn Medium Duty Winching Accessory Kit
Hi-Lift 48” Red All Cast Jack

WHEELS / TIRES:
OEM Toyota TRD Off Road Wheels
255/85R16 Maxxis Bighorns (being replaced by Falken Wildpeak A/T3W)

LIGHTING:
Baja Designs 20" S8

Baja Designs Squadron Sports (4)
Rigid Industries A-series Low Power Natural White (2)
All Lighting is controlled by Switch Pros


MISC:
Cobra 75 WX ST CB radio
Yaesu FT-2900R
ARB On-Board High Performance 12 volt air compressor
CTEK D250S DUAL Battery controller
Tech Deck w/RAM Mounts
Garmin Oregon GPS (RAM Mount)
Ipad Air (RAM Mount)
AGM house battery
Cab Mount Chop (pending)
CBI Offroad Dual Jerry Can Carrier
CBI Offroad Ditch Light Brackets
 
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sfsmedic

Rank III

Advocate II

Bed Cover:

The very first thing done was to add a Soft Top from SofTopper in Boulder, CO. This allowed me a reasonable option to put things in the bed of my truck and not worry about the elements while driving to affect them. Nothing worse than getting somewhere to find something blew out of your truck bed.

https://www.softopper.com/






Note: The rancho suspension system is on in this pic.
 

sfsmedic

Rank III

Advocate II

Stock Wheeling Testing:


First order of business was testing the ability of the truck right off the lot. This was done to determine its inherent strengths and weaknesses so I could make an informed decision as to what needs upgrading and what doesn’t. Of course needs versus wants would come into play down the road. I was very surprised at this trucks ability off the lot, even with the tires it came with.


Flex testing:

It lacked flex lol.











But it sure didn’t lack traction!






Clearance was okay, never an issue but approach angle did require some go arounds unless I was to damage the front bumper.
 
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sfsmedic

Rank III

Advocate II

Rancho Suspension Install:


The initial rancho kit, came with adjustable RS9000 shocks all around, coils (pre-installed), Upper Control Arms, diff shim kit, and blocks for the leaf springs. We opted to forego the diff shim kit as it wasn’t needed and we also left off the blocks and went with ARB Dakar rear leaf springs.


We did the install in my garage as part of the evaluation process was to evaluate the instructions that came with the kit and determine if anything could be changed or written better for the end users undertandability.


First order of business was for us to remove the front suspension.



Front end system on, at full droop.













After install was complete:







The system came out to right about 2.5”-2.75” on the initial install. It would go through a lot of changes before the system was brought to market, as we needed to adjust spring rate etc.
 

sfsmedic

Rank III

Advocate II

Adding Armor and removing the Sway Bar:


Once the spring rate and shocks were correct, it was time to test the suspension with armor and a winch. In order to improve the approach angle also while accomplishing protection for the truck I contacted All-Pro Offroad and purchased an Apex Steel front Bumper, sliders, IFS, Transmission and T-Case armor. I had a new Warn VR8000 waiting for the bumper and a set of Maxxis Bighorn MT’s in 255/85/16 which are 33.3” tall. Thanks to a friend of mine the front bumper and winch was installed that night. Under a time crunch to make a run up in Big Bear the next day the guys over at YotaMaster’s in Corona, CA helped get the rest of the armor on in the morning and that same day we were headed to Big Bear with the gang from TTORA.


It’s important to note that Gold Mountain was previously ran with all stock body and bumpers and all the upgraded suspension previous to this trip.


In camp as she sat that day prior to running any trails




Gold Mountain














Everything performed as expected. However we (Rancho and I) did decide to go with a heavier spring rate up front due to the weight of the bumper and winch.


After the spring rate adjustment we headed over to the original testing area and ran Cleghorn again.

Initial testing at the powerpole:










So far so good, couldn’t be happier with the changes we made to the suspension. We did do a couple things also to lengthen the rear flex that is not in the system.


This was the only trail at Cleghorn I was unable to run the previous trip due to approach angle. As you can see with the All Pro Apex bumper and larger tires this was not an issue.
















Nope no approach angle issues!




I was still running the stock rear bumper at this point but had no issues so it was a low priority.

 

sfsmedic

Rank III

Advocate II

Now that the suspension and trail armor was up to my standards to be reliable and able to hit pretty much anything I would need it was time to address the usability of the truck.


We added a set of ARB rear drawers, one with a sliding top for a fridge system, both able to be locked. We also added a house battery in the bed of the truck and used a CTEK D250S Dual for the dual battery controller. The CTEK allowed me the ability to grow into solar power or even charge my truck off of shore power if needed. http://smartercharger.com/battery-chargers/#CTEK D250S DUAL












My buddy Jasen once again doing the heavy lifting on the work on my truck




Installed ARB Drawers







Added some tie down points for the fridge






 

sfsmedic

Rank III

Advocate II

Departure angle addressed:

The rear bumper in these pics is now off the truck and FREE to anyone who wants to pick it up in Corona, CA just PM me.


I wanted more clearance in the back of my truck for wheeling and trail work so it was time to design a rear bumper and employ my buddy Jasen and his welding and fabrication ability once again.


Fabrication time






























BTW this is posted in the equipment sales for sale currently as I just replaced it with a bumper with a swing out to suit our camping needs.
 

sfsmedic

Rank III

Advocate II

Upgrading the Front Bumper:


I was offered the opportunity to upgrade my All Pro Apex Steel front bumper with an identical bumper but with the aluminum version. The weight savings was immediately apparent. The human lift scale told us it weighed less with the winch installed than the steel bumper alone. Granted that is not a scientific test but it worked for me lol.











 

sfsmedic

Rank III

Advocate II

Lighting:


It was time to address the lighting so I purchased a 20” Baja Design S8 Driving/Combo LED Light Bar for the front bumper.



A Pair of Baja Design Squadron-R Sport Driving/Combo LED Lights were installed in the front bumper driving light locations.



I also picked up a set of CBI Ditch Light mounts and will be installing a second pair of Baja Design Squadron Sport Wide Cornering LED Lights in that location.

SAVE FOR PICS


I was also tired of crawling around in the bed in the dark when camping so I added bed lighting using the Rigid A Series low power lights. A switch that is easily accessible in the bed was also installed to turn them on and off. It was wired off of the house battery.








 
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sfsmedic

Rank III

Advocate II

Rear Bumper Re Addressed to Suit Camping Needs:


After several trips with the bumper we built we determined that there were some needs in the camping department that our wheeling bumper didn’t suit. So we gave our friends down at Pelfreybilt a call and ordered one of their high Clearance bumpers with swing out, camera relocation kit and fold down table.


These are not the best pics so they will be updated soon with better




 
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sfsmedic

Rank III

Advocate II

Got the fenders trimmed and back on the truck today.




Also got the CBI double jerry can holder for the swing out. I will be mounting that this week.
 
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sfsmedic

Rank III

Advocate II

Added Rivnuts to the swing out so we could install the CBI double Jerry can holder.


Got the Jerry can holder installed using Grade 8 bolts.


Installed the back up camera using the relocation kit from Pelfreybilt


Another pic of the back up camera relocation.
 
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sfsmedic

Rank III

Advocate II

Went by GooseGear today and Matt and Brian helped me install the new Prinsu Designs roof rack. Actually I think Matt did most the work in that




Then it was time to get the new CVT Mt Shasta up there. Brian and Matt did most of the work.






Still not sure why he wanted to get up there but he did.
 
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sfsmedic

Rank III

Advocate II

I will be headed out Saturday to run from Pioneer Town up to Big Bear as a guest of Rattlesnake44 with some of his 4Runner buddies if anyone else is out there from here come say Hello!
 
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