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479 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My Taco as of Jan 2014.

When I first got it.

So much has changed, and here's the story...

I first got my truck from my dad when I was 14. It sat for a while since I could not drive it. It had a 3" Tuff Country lift (blocks and spacers) and a brush guard on the front. I turned 16, got my license, and found TTORA. The research then began...

My first move was to ditch the spacers and go with some adjustable Bilstein 5100's instead. Set them to 2.5". I also removed the brush guard. I blew a ton of money on some Westin step bars because I thought the looked cool. What a waste of money.

Rear setup. Still had blocks and Tuff Country shocks. This is when I began saving for Alcans and rear 5100's.

Next, I ditched the step bars and got some 32x11.50 BFG AT's with Pro Comp 1069 wheels to replace my worn out 32x12.50 Mickey Thompson Baja Belted tires and Centerline Hellcat wheels. They looked much better.

Didn't do too much more for a while. Decided I wanted some fender flares though so my buddy Alex (user name AlexXx) hooked me up with his old ones off his 99 Tacoma.

SO I got into a little accident and dinged up my front bumper. I really wanted an aftermarket plate bumper but couldn't afford one. I decided to get a black replacement bumper instead to get rid of some chrome. I also blacked out my corner lights and grill emblem.

Old bumper:

New bumper:

NOW the fun began. I still planned on running Alcans and 5100's in the rear. I saw on the local forum (LATTORA) that a member was going to be doing a SAS on his 96 Tacoma (user name goofballtech). He already had 3" Alcans and 5100's in the rear but was planning on getting new Alcans all the way around for the SAS. So I contacted him and he gave me a great deal on the Alcans and 5100's. Looks like all the good shit isn't in Cali after all :D.

Old rear setup:

New goodies! :D

All cleaned up.


I drove around for a bit with the 5100's up front and the Alcans with rear 5100's out back. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! The truck handled much better and no longer had any bad axle wrap. The back was about 1.5" higher than before when I had the blocks. I also noticed that the rear suspension was much more stable than the front. I knew the best way to balance out my suspension was to either get new coils for the 5100's or just go all out and get fully adjustable coilovers. I decided to save up and do it right the first time. Meanwhile, I got a a great deal from a friend of mine on a black toolbox.

It was time for a good tune up. I recently had my timing belt, water pump, and front seals changed at the dealership. So I did the usual Royal Purple oil change except this time with a genuine Toyota oil filter. I also switched from NGK spark plugs to Denso. I got an AFE Dry Pro air filter to swap in also. Oh, and a can of Seafoam with every oil change keeps the doctor away. :)

MY DREAM FINALLY CAME TRUE! :D I finally saved up enough to afford some coilovers. I saw Demello Offroad had a pair of open boxed Icon extended travel coilovers for sale at a discount price. I got these and installed them the day they came in!

New next to the old:


My plans now are to get some TC UCA's and replace my lower balljoints. I also have some polyurethane rack bushings waiting to get installed. Once I get the TC UCA's, I'll crank the Icons a little more to level out my truck. The Icons put my truck at the exact same height that the 5100's did. Well, that's it for now! :)

479 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Well I haven't really been doing much to my truck other than regular maintenance. I have been real busy with college and haven't had the time or space to really work on my truck. I came home for christmas break and got a nice surprise from santa!

Wet Okle Seat Covers!

The install wasn't too bad. Taking the seats out made it much easier. I got them in the taupe 100 color. It matches my oak/tan interior almost perfectly.

Next on the list is a clutch, ball joints, and steering rack bushings. The clutch is the original clutch and has 108,000 miles on it. I have also been experiencing clutch chatter. Figured it's about time for a new one. The bushings and ball joints have been sitting in the box for a few months now. Just need to get some time to install them.

479 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Not much has been going on with my truck. Since I've had some free time this summer, I decided to knock out a few small things.
Here are a few updates:

1. The brake pedal started to feel funny and stick. While inspecting the brakes, I noticed I had a bad rear wheel cylinder. I decided to replace both wheel cylinders with genuine toyota wheel cylinders. It was a piece of cake. However, the problem is still there. Next will be a booster/master cylinder.

All clean and shiny!

2. I have been having polyurethane steering rack bushings sitting around for about a year now. Finally decided to tackle the job. It wasn't too hard until it came to getting the rack back into the correct position to mount. The middle crossmember mount is a HUGE PITA. The new bushings would not fit back into the mounting slot. After about an hour of fighting with it, it went back in. My steering doesnt even feel any different! :mad:

Old bushings.

3. I did some regular maintenance. Oil change and tire rotation. While the tires were off, I took the opportunity to clean up my coilovers and install these cool red bump stops I've been having. :D

While changing the oil, I decided to wipe down the engine bay a bit.

That's all for now! Next update should be when I change all my balljoints and adjust my coilovers for .5" more lift.

479 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
FINALLY got around to doing all 4 balljoints and adjusting my coilovers to try and level out my truck. They have been at the factory setting (2") for over a year now.

Not many pics of the install, but got some shots of the new balljoints installed and my coilovers adjusted!

After reading numerous write-ups on balljoint installs, I was convinced all I would need was a pitman arm puller and a 3 jaw puller. The pitman arm puller worked great for the tie rods and lower balljoints, but the 3 jaw puller was too much of a pain to use on my upper balljoints. I ended up renting a Balljoint Service Kit and 4WD Balljoint Adapter Set from O'Reilly. These kits worked GREAT! I also had to get a quick fix driver side outer tie rod from Autozone since I destroyed the threads on my old one and could not reuse it. I normally ALWAYS use genuine Toyota parts, but in the near future I plan in replacing all my tie rods with Toyota parts.

Another note: I cranked my driver side coilover 7 complete turns and my passenger side a tiny bit less than 6 complete turns. This resulted in about 1" more of lift right off the jacks and NO TACO LEAN! However, I'm sure they will settle to about .75". This would result in a total of 2.75" of lift which is perfect. My upper balljoint and CV angles are a bit steep, but I'm expecting the truck to settle a bit. Also I have manual hubs and don't really flex out my suspension too often on this flat Louisiana land :D. I have limit straps which will be installed soon to prevent my brand new upper balljoints from over extending since my Icons are extended travel. I will post pics when I get the straps mounted.

Need an alignment!

Here's a few pics of how the truck sits now. Also, I painted the entire front grill and corner light trim black! Now the only chrome I am down to is my rear bumper and door handles. This will change soon though!

That's all for now! Next jobs are my brake booster (mentioned in previous post) and new rotors/pads (steering wheel shakes like crazy when braking). And as mentioned earlier, limit straps.

479 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Picking up where my last post left off, I discovered my braking problem was my LSPV. I messed around with the spring that connects to the axle and adjusted it a bit. To my surprise, the brakes feel better. They are still not 100%, but that is something that can wait.

Besides regular maintenance, I had my clutch done at a local Toyota stealership about 3 weeks ago. It was pricey but well worth it IMO. The clutch feels AMAZING. I did not realize how worn out my original clutch was. The horrible chatter I had is now gone. After this, I decided I was not content with my 3" Alcan springs. They lift the rear too high (more like 3.5") and are more than what I need. I figured I could use the extra cash for something better. Check the "For Sale" section for my thread if you are interested in the springs. After some debating, I removed the springs and went back to stock springs in the rear with my 5100's. Its got quite a bro lean but I should be ordering my ICON 3 Leaf AAL soon to level things out. Here's some pics of the springs and bro lean :p

This summer I got an internship working at an Entergy Nuclear Power Plant. I am an intern for the Systems Engineering Department. Instead of using some of my first check to purchase the ICON AAL, I decided brakes were more important at the moment. As mentioned in my previous post, my steering wheel shakes like crazy when braking (warped rotors). I have had my stock rotors turned already so I decided brand new rotors and pads were the way to go! I found a great deal on Brembo OE replacement rotors and Hawk LTS pads from Amazon. I ordered these along with new Pilot sealed beam conversion headlights. I currently run these headlights with PIAA Intense White bulbs. I noticed the housings were beginning to yellow and decided to get a new pair (they were like 30$ from Amazon). Oh and I also ordered TC limit strap clevises and clevis mounts from ORW. I should now be able to set up my limit straps in the front. Pics of the goodies!

And finally, today I modified some Mag Lite mounts and mounted a small Pelican LED flashlight to the trim of my shift levers. :cool:

Thats all for now! Next update should be after the installation of my ICON 3 Leaf AAL!

479 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Got my Brembo Blanks and Hawk LTS pads installed! My stopping has improved and I no longer have a shimmy while braking. I also installed my new headlights. I decided to repaint my bumper and grill while I had everything apart.

Old vs New!
My first pair of these housings lasted about 5-6 years before showing any signs of yellowing. Pilot H4 Conversion Headlamps. I got the new pair from Amazon for about 30$. Can't beat that! I highly recommend these to anyone who has the 95-97 Tacoma 4WD sealed beam style headlamps.

All buttoned up!

Also got these 2nd Gen badges! Haven't decided where I'm going to put them yet! :rolleyes:

That's all for now! Next WILL BE my Icon 3 Leaf AAL install!

479 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Did a lot of work on the truck this past weekend. I finally finished the install of my MidTravel kit.

- I added TC UCA's to go along with my ICON Ext. Travel C/O's.

- I added the ICON 3 Leaf AAL along with ICON VS 2.0 Monotube rear shocks.

Other things:
- Cleaned up and painted the rear axle/drums
- Painted visible part of spindles
- Rotated tires while off
- Adjusted driver side coilover
- Cleaned up coilovers
- Dropped spare tire and cleaned it/checked pressure
- Hand wash
- Stickers :D
- Added a little Kicker 10" sub

And now for pics!

Also helped a buddy install a lift on his 2nd gen. The lift included Maxtrac spindles, Fox 2.0 Coilovers, TC UCA's, 4" Allpro expos, Allpro U-bolt flip kit, Fox 2.0 rear shocks, extended brake lines, Brembo rotors, Hawk LTS pads, and 17" SCS Stealth 6 wheels wrapped in 285/70/17 BFG All Terrains. :cool:

Next Up:
- Wheelers extended front brake lines
- Rear plate bumper
- Power steering flush

479 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
For those who follow my build thread, I am just updating this thread with what I have added to my build thread over at Tacoma World. Just pasting everything in at once so it will read as several updates in one post.

Got my new Pro Comp 7069's installed!

Next Up:
Install Wheeler's extended front brake lines
Power steering flush

Front and rear bumpers will also be added very soon. As for the rear, I currently have a custom plate bumper being made. For the front, I will be getting a Demello tube bumper from a fellow TW member in exchange for some Icon UCA's. Will post pics once the bumpers are installed!


Just a quick update.

Got a custom rear plate bumper made by RAT Products (isu2014). He did some awesome work! It is the EXACT bumper I have always wanted. A link to the rear bumper I purchased can be accessed here: It's the second bumper.

Anyways here's some pics of the bumper installed. I added my own license plate light. All I used was a small piece of angled iron from Lowes and an LED light bar with 3M tape on the back from Autozone. I wired it in to one of my original license plate lights and it works perfectly.

I also got around to replacing my front window trim. It looks so much better! I noticed my gas cap was getting old and cracking. So I replaced it too.

Last but not least :D, I received a Demello front tube bumper from SCRunner12 as part of a trade we worked out. I just need to get an aluminum skid for it and then it will be ready to mount up! As for now, here's what it looks like.


Got a skid for the bumper and mounted it up! I love it! Here's a few pics.

I am currently waiting for my Trail Gear turn signal kit to come in so I can get rid of the zip tied turn signals.

Also added these cool shackles to my rear bumper :D


Here's a pic with my TG turn signal kit installed!

And just for fun, here's a sneak peek of my other baby :D


Quick update:

Haven't been doing much with my truck lately. Just getting slammed by school.. Anyways with the little bit of free time I've had, I managed to get some small things done.

- Ordered/received my RAT IFS skid w/ rack coverage. Just need to paint it and mount it up.

- Ordered some 303 Protectant from Amazon. Love this stuff! I put it on my C/O's and UCA's along with my wheels and tires in hope of it not allowing dirt to build up. I basically coated everything I wanted to protect from UV damage also.

- Got some CREE 5W LED reverse bulbs. They're nice. Not SUPER bright but definitely better than stock!

- Ordered a new shift console and bracket that's for 98 and up Tacos. It should be a direct bolt on to my 97. It contains a cup holder on the side. My current shift console is a bit beat up from me drilling into it to mount different things. Plus I figured it would be cool to incorporate another cup holder! It will look just like this except brand new.

- Finally, I talked to a local off road shop yesterday (Searchers 4WD) and I am going to have them modify my front bumper. I want them to remove the headlight hoops. I don't really like them plus they get in the way of my headlights. I also want them to add 2 more mounting points to the bumper that will bolt up to the frame on each side where the tow hooks are. Finally, I am going to have them add 3 tabs to the lower tube of the bumper so I can mount up my skid.

I will post pics with my bumper modified and the skid mounted up once they are done. I am scheduled to have the work done on Monday the 25th! Thats it for now!

Thanks for looking!


Ok so I got my new shift console in and mounted. I love it! Here are some before and after pics.



Also, I finally got my bumper modified and mounted up my RAT skid. I had a local shop perform the following:

- Cut off headlight hoops
- Add 2 plates on each side to mount the bumper to the frame using the tow hook holes
- Capped the tube ends
- Added a bracket to mount my RAT skid


I love the way the bumper looks now! Just need to touch up the spots where the work was done and I will be good to go!

Next job is valve cover gaskets/tune up. We'll see how that goes...


Quick update. Touched up bumper, removed skid for painting, and painted TG turn signal clamps black.

Here is a better pic of the 2 mounting points I had added along with the bracket to mount my skid.

Now my truck will sit where it's at for 2 more weeks until I am out of school and can do the valve cover gaskets.


I have done a lot with my truck the past few weeks. One major thing I accomplished was a valve cover gasket job. This included valve covers (cracked an old one by over tightening a bolt), valve cover gaskets, intake plenum gaskets, cam plugs, spark plugs, and spark plug wires. A few other things I did was re-pack the semi circle plugs with new FIPG, new valve cover bolt washers, new oil filler cap, and thoroughly cleaned the throttle body and intake manifold. I didn't take many pics of this but here's a few pics of the new gaskets in place and the motor with the new covers on.


New clean valve covers. Motor looks new! :D

For christmas I got a pair of 5" Rugged Ridge HID Offroad Lights. I also managed to finally prep and paint my RAT skid!

Shot of skid from the front

I kind of wish my light bar was a bit higher so it doesn't block the top of the lights. I may modify this in the future.
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