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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A lot of my mods are the same as those others have already posted (see my sig. line), so I won't recover that same ground here. I will try to just keep this buildup thread to "new" mods that I have not seen any or much discussion about.

First off, this truck was originally a 2wd Prerunner and we drove it (and wheeled it in some tight spots) stock for almost 5 years. But we didn't really get into wheeling officially until Yotamasters converted the rig to 4wd using factory parts from a salvaged 1997 Taco with manual hubs. Thank you Eric and Jay!

Since several other TTORA members had questions about our home-made sleeping platform/tonneau cover we built I have posted some pics showing its construction and use at this link...

http://s263.photobucket.com/albums/ii147/JWDicus/Crown King 10-5-08/Sleeping Platform Tonneau 1/Sleeping Platform Tonneau/?start=all

We were too cheap to buy a flip Pac or Pop-top camper to solve the sleeping 2 people (my wife and I) in a short bed and locking the gear into the bed space problems we had while planning for a 3-month expedition into Mexico. The shells we looked at ranged from $3,600 to $8,000 and were very nice, but just too much for our budget. We designed and built this home-made solution for about $250, then bought the truck tent for another $250 for a total of $500.

Materials are 2x4 and 2x6 lumber and 3/4" plywood, 5/16" carriage bolts with lock nuts, door hinges, framing braces, Master Locks/hardware, rubber stoppers, and some small u-bolts and fasteners. All readily available at your local hardware/lumber store. And all was built in the driveway using simple tools like a Skill saw, hand drill, and a jigsaw to cut the curve on the extension with no modifications to the bed except for removal of the factory bedliner. If anyone has questions after viewing the pics at the link, feel free to PM me.

This setup is not the nicest looking, but is very functional and has held up well for 6 years now. It locks all of our expedition gear into the bed nicely and still gives us a place to sleep where we can fit a queen-sized airbed to sleep 2 comfortably with our short bed setup. :D

The truck tent has held up nicely for extended trips during hurricane season in Mexico, and sheds water very well with the optional rainfly attached. Total weight of the platform minus the Hi-lift Jack is about 80-100lbs, which lowers the rear end of the truck about 1/2" when otherwise unloaded. Once we put the extra gear, water, 6-gallon gas can, etc. in for a trip, the truck loses about 1.25 to 1.75 inches in the rear. Interestingly, the truck gets as good or better gas mileage loaded like this as it does with the platform removed. I guess the reduced wind resistance of a tonneau style cover on the bed is the reason for that.

We have set up tripods and stood up on the platform (both of us) to use it as an elevated photo platform, set up camp chairs and used it as a viewing platform at events like 4th of July fireworks, etc. And it has been a simple cheap solution for us.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
I figured out how to get images into the post, so here are some shots of the wooden tonneau/sleeping platform we built for the bed...



With the bed tent and rainfly set up in Mexico at a microwave tower at 9,300 feet elevation where we camped.



Fits Queen-sized self-inflating air matress with foam inside -- very comfy!



U-bolts hold the extension in place -- we don't bolt them on, simply tapping them down into holes drilled in the wood rails securely holds it all together.



Three legs on extension drop down while in use.



And fold up for storage.



Extension just fits inside short bed.



Rear portion drops down and locks as tailgate lock to prevent theives accessing cargo area from tailgate. This part also serves to hold the 60" Hi-lift jack using QuickFist clamps and cable locks.



A look at the internal framing braces for crossmembers. You can also see one of the the 5/16-inch bolts with nylock nuts holding the whole platform to the bedrails. There are 5 of these bolts on each side.



And here are the locks for the flip-up lid/platform itself and the tailgate lock.



Ready to hit the trails until the next camping area.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Here are the interior mods we've added so-far (the ones that we have not seen around much on the forums anyway). We went ahead and mounted some interior inclinometers since we were getting tired of repositioning the truck at every campsite when we laid down on the platform and realized it wasn't quite level (we hate sleeping on a slope). Now we just pull up to a site, check the inclinometers, and reposition the truck right then and there to get it level before we get out. Much easier!

Also, our non-wheeling passengers get a kick out of watching the inclinometers while we are out crawling around in the hills and off-camber stuff.

Driver's Side B-Column Mounted Inclinometer



Front Inclinometer Viewed From Driver's Seat (mounted near accessory power supply we use for spotlight, GPS receiver, Handheld CB Radio etc.)



And as seen from front Pass seat...



Fire extinguishers were hardware required to be mounted in our vehicles for our job. After looking all around at where we could mount them, we decided on the rear kick plate areas right up against the sides of the back seat. Here they are not in the way of passenger footspace getting in and out of the cab like they would be mounted on the lower portion of the B columns. Plus in the event of an accidental discharge or leak, the nozzles are directed under the back seat and into the floorboard, which we hope would reduce interior damage. They are securely fastened by the mounting hardware which is bolted through the floorboard.

Rear Driver's Side Extinguisher Mount



Rear Pass Side Extinguisher Mount

 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Add-A-Coil Parts

I decided to try adding a coil to the rear suspension for extended trips when the wife and I are out hauling all the expedition gear around. My parts for the new add-a-coil rear suspension lift have arrived. I'll post more pics of the install, etc. soon. ***Edit be sure to read through the following updates for results of this mod***

For now, here are the parts...

10-Inch 125 lb racing coils from Southwest Speed.


Daystar 1 3/8-inch tall 2 1/2-inch diameter hard bumpstops.


3 3/4-inch diameter coil spring retainer plates from Foothill


Material is 1/4-inch steel


While I'm at it, I am going to install some Axle Relocation Plates from 4Crawler Offroad to move the rear axle 3/4-inch forward to center it in the wheel well. Hopefully this will reduce rubbing when I get my 255 85R 16's on the truck.



Material is 3/8-inch steel
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Add-A-Coil Install

Sweet! I made the mods to the truck today in a couple hours without air tools. And I also rotated the tires, bent the brackets on the rear brake lines to give some more room and adjusted the parking brake. This is a very easy install with some simple tools and a drill. Everything went smoothly and I am very happy with the result. The 10-inch 125lb coils gave me 2 inches of lift in the rear, and adding the axle relocation plate was like putting in a 3/8-inch lift block. Total lift was 2 3/8-inch from the coils and relocation plates, on top of the one inch shackle lift I already had -- so 3 3/8-inches total now with the rear unloaded. Here are some shots...

Before (with only 1-inch lift Toytec rear shackles)


After


Moving the rear axle forward 3/4". I used a ratcheting tie down from the axle to the slider. Worked great.


Here is a look at the relocation plate installed on the spring perch. The factory U-bolts were just long enough.


Now it was on to the Add-A-Coil Install. Here is the factory strike plate for the bumpstop.


And here it is after I drilled a 3/8" hole in the center to mount the top bumpstop and coil spring locator.


Now you can see the way the top of the coil will be kept in place by the locator plate and Daystar Bumpstop.


Here is the passenger side coil installed.


I almost forgot. The bottom of the factory bumpstop looks like this. I needed to drill a new hole to fit it over the bolt head on the top of the leaf pack to move it forward 3/4" so the coil spring would sit straight up-and-down.


Like this...
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
The Test Drive

I took it out wheeling this afternoon and it did great. I wanted to hit some flexy stuff and check everything out underneath. And I had to test out the ride. It was a little stiffer in the back unloaded, but not anywhere near what I expected. The coils ride pretty nice. No hopping on washboard dirt roads, which really surprised me. But they are a little more springy than stock unloaded. I am sure they will ride even better with some gear and a passenger or two in the truck, which is what I did the mod for in the first place. I may have forgotten to mention that I did this mod to increase the ride height in the rear end while the truck is loaded for expedition trips with the wife.

Here's a shot of the back tire with the suspension almost fully stuffed. Before I relocated the axle forward, the tire was almost touching the rear of the wheel well when stuffed. Now it is a little closer to the front of the wheel well, but closer to centered than stock. If I were to install axle relocation plates on another toy, I would have 4Crawler custom build them to move the axle 1/2-inch forward instead of 3/4-inch.


And the other side at full droop. The tire is off the ground, even though it's hard to see it from this angle.


Here is why I went with a 10-inch spring. I didn't want excessive lift or the coil spring to be pressing down on the axle trying to extend the shocks, brake lines, etc. any more at full droop. You can see that the 1 3/8-inch tall bumpstop keeps the spring in place even at full droop when the spring has no weight on it. This also makes it fairly easy to remove and reinstall the coils, which I wanted to be able to do in case it rode like a brick unloaded. That way I could have taken the coils out for daily driving and popped them back in for the expedition runs with a full load of gear. An 11-inch spring would have probably been perfect for my setup, but since my only other choice was 12-inches, I went with the 10 and am glad I did. Note, without the one-inch lift rear shackles I am running, the ten-inch coils would be perfect on an otherwise stock rear end.


Here is a look at the coil spring on the side of the truck that is almost fully stuffed. Just a little bit of space left between those coils. I worried that the coil might excessively limit uptravel of the rear axle, but the rear suspension is still plenty flexy for the off-camber stuff.


These rear leaf springs have 95,000 miles on them and have sagged quite a bit from what they were when we drove it off the lot. Be sure you evaluate your specific setup before you make this mod to your rig. Also, if you are not planning to run these Add-a-coils with a load, but want them as a lift-kit only, I suggest you look around for some 100lb springs, to improve the unloaded ride quality.

I guess in retrospect, I wouldn't really do this any differently if I had to do it again (other than getting 1/2-inch axle relocation plates).

I will note that there is room between the top of the factory rubber bumpstop and the Daystar bumpstop at the top of the coil when almost stuffed with the opposite tire off the ground (but not much). Since the bottom of the coil rests on the factory rubber stop, I think that is fine. The two bumps might hit when stuffed with some weight on the rear end to fully compress the coils. There was not enough weight in the truck during my flex test to find out for sure. But if you do this mod and you want the two bumpstops to make contact when fully stuffed, you should buy slightly taller bumpstops for the top of the spring, I think a 2-inch tall stop would do it, but you'd better do some measuring on your rig before you buy. I used a 1 3/8" stop because I calculated that it would be plenty long enough to keep the spring from falling out at full droop, and the 2 1/2" diameter O.D. of the stop was perfect to match the I.D. of the coils I bought, which are 2 5/8".

Also, note that my truck already had a 2-inch longer (one inch lift) rear spring shackle prior to doing this mod. So my total rear lift on the truck is now 3 3/8" unloaded. Should be just about perfect with a full load of gear in the bed. I'll update this thread after we load up the truck and see how it rides loaded.

For reference... Sitting on worn 265 75R 16's on flat concrete the distance (measuring through the center of the wheel) from the ground to the top of the fender flare/wheel well opening is 38 inches. Exactly the same on both sides. The way my IVD Coilovers on the front are adjusted (1 3/4-inches of thread showing), this measurement is 37.5 inches on the front wheel wells.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Update

Update:

We just got back from a run into town and ended up loading the bed of the truck and partly loading the backseats. That 38-inch measurement on the rear drops to 36 1/2-inches with a load (bed just about full to the top with bags of compost from Home Depot for the garden, tires bulging a little).

New Ride Height (Loaded)


With that load it rides like a dream on the highway and still has lots of travel left for the trails. I think it is going to be perfect with a full load of gear for the overland trips. We live a ways out on dirt roads and the house is up on a hill with a steep rutted driveway. Our washboard dirt roads and "jeep trail" driveway that nobody can get a car up felt the smoothest it's ever been in this truck with a load.

Yeah, the wife keeps telling me we need to fix the driveway so her mom can make it up in the car, but I sort of like that the only people that can make it up to the house are our friends with lifted trucks -- keeps out the riff-raff. :xsmokin1:

Seriously, I am really surprised at how well it rides with a load, and even more surprised that it isn't super bouncy without a load on. Our leaf springs were pretty shot, and most of the weight of the rear end now rides on the coils until it flexes out some and the leaves come into play. Based on this mod, I think coils are certainly a better ride than the AAL's I've tried, (but admittedly, I've only tried Ranchos, which are the stiff shorties not the longer ones like Toytec sells or the 3-leaf variety from Wheeler's). But I can see why people put coil springs on their crawlers.

I forgot to post up a list of parts for those rear add-a-coils. But you can see them all in this thread. Costs for these rear-end mods are:

Axle Relocation Plates (2) from 4Crawler = $40

And for the add-a-coils:
3.75-inch coil spring retainer plates (2) from Foothill = $7.90
1-3/8" tall, 2-1/2" dia Daystar Bumpstops (2) from Rocky Mtn. Susp. = $10
10-inch 125lb racing coils from Southwest Speed $46 ea = $92 (or $80 for two on e-bay)

Total cost with shipping of parts was about $160. Could have gotten it all for under $150 if I'd ordered the coils off e-bay. And if you are only doing the add-a-coils and not relocating the axle you can get into a complete set for about $110. Just FYI.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update 2

OK, so despite my careful measuring, I failed to factor in the additional droop involved with a hard flex while rolling. Duh, the suspension fexes more when the weight of the truck is coming down hard while rolling than if it is just flexed out with tire off the ground in a static position. I realized I should have either given myself a little more margin for error on spring length (gone with the 12"), on the snubber height, and/or fashioned up some retaining brackets for the coil when I had one pop out on me on the Anza-Borrego run. :eek:

Pretty funny, and a few guys got a good laugh at our expense when just off the hwy a spring goes rolling across the trail behind my truck. :D So I'll mention it here.

After a very slow start to the day involving a late group leader and a LONG drive from camp to the trailhead, we finally get the tires in some dirt just before lunch, and there is a little pothole to drop into maybe ten feet off the hwy. Well, I took it too fast and flexed out the rear axle pretty hard, and out pops the driver's side rear coil spring.

No big deal, no damage. Ran it on one spring just fine through some easy stuff and then farther up the trail where I found a good slope to climb with the driver's side front tire I flexed out the rear end until the tire on the rear d-side (where the spring came out) was off the ground. Then by compressing the spring about a half inch by hand (it took a little weight, but I muscled it on) it popped back on over the snubber, and stayed in for the rest of the run over some fairly flexy sections.

So note to anyone adding a coil to the rear of a taco, the ride is nice, but that whole "it should stay in on its own" idea it turns out was a little weak. A hard flex (tire off the ground on the left, bottomed on the right) popped it right out.

So it's either fashion a retainer of some sort at the top of the coil to keep it in, or shit-can the idea and go with an add-a-leaf or add-a-pack for the rear end. Still deciding on that, but for now I'm leaving them in. They did great for the whole rest of the day of wheeling.

I'll leave the info up here so others can learn from my oversight on the add-a-coil idea. They ride great on the road, add 2 inches of lift, and add a lot of load carrying capacity. But unless you modify what I've shown above, on a rig setup like mine, off-roading in fexy stuff can leave you with your coil in the dirt. D'oh!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
New Cooking Platform

One problem we've had when camping with the truck tent setup is that when the tent is up we lose the space to cook on the tailgate because the tent covers it.

We built this new clip-on "cooking counter" for the AB trip so we'd have some additional cooking space. It slides into the bed inside the cap when not in use, and just clips onto the eyebolts on the sides of the platform for use(can be mounted on either side). Rubber stoppers on the back edge of the counter rest against the bedside so it doesn't damage the paint.

Like this


Closer Look - chains rated to 70lbs for each strand (x 4 strands), so plenty of capacity for cooking. Quick release clips operate like carabiners, so they are easy to install/remove.


Here's a look with the tent and platform up together and some hot soup on the stove for dinner, with hot tea.


This was a cheap easy fix and solved the space problem of where to set up the camp stove, chop the veggies, etc. Worked really well, and I wish we'd had it for the long trips in the past.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Rear Suspension Update and Swaybar Removal

I stopped in at AllPro in Hemet when we were out there for a job and had a look around the warehouse with one of the employees to see what leaf packs they had for the rear to replace the coils I tried. The guy showed me a pair of 3-inch lift leaf packs that had been shipped to a guy named Don Fay in NC (still had the shipping labels on them) and were returned (reportedly because the guy decided he wanted 5-inch lift packs instead of the 3's he got). So they were missing a little paint from the shipping back and forth, but were otherwise fine to look at. We set them up next to each other and they had the same arch, length, pin location, etc. I got a deal on them, so I went ahead and made the plunge.

Installation when I got home was pretty straightforward. Well the truck was sitting super ass-high so I pulled the ToyTec rear shackles off and now it sits nice. If/when the springs sag on me, I can put the shackles back on to get back an inch if I like. ***Update I've done that now and love it***Now with my new lift in the rear my Billie 5100's are limiting my droop (axle hangs from the shock) by 2.25 inches drivers 1.5 inches pass. So I am getting longer shocks. Ten-inch travel Billie 5150's. The new Timbren bumpstops I installed on the rear only compress one inch (out of their 5 1/4-inch total height) when stuffed so far that the opposite rear tire is off the ground. So I have effectively raised my bumpstops 2 1/4 inches, though I realize they will compress more under a hard hit.

So that is the setup I am going to run in the rear now, and time will tell how it performs. I also left off the swaybar while I had it off to install new steering rack bushings anyway. And that really did increase the articulation in the front noticeably. It handles fine on the hwy since my stiffer than stock ICON c/o's are on there. And the ride off-road is dramatically improved. I notice that it doesn't throw the truck side-to-side as much pulling into parking lots and stuff too. That added articulation up front means I can go farther up the ramp before the rear tire leaves the asphalt as well. So the rubber should stay on the trail better now in the flexy parts. If you're considering pulling your swaybar, I say do it. Especially if you have added stiffer suspension up front.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Spare Tire Carrier Mod

I've seen a few posts where guys cut the bends on the bars that hold the spare in position under the bed then weld on extensions so they can fit an oversized spare in the factory spare tire position. Well, since I'm going to be running BFG MT KM2's in 255 85R 16, I needed to figure out some way to modify those bars to fit the oversize spare under there. But I'm not a welder. I dropped the spare, unbolted the bars (2, 12mm bolts on each) and then I just laid them down on the concrete and went at them with an 8lb sledge hammer and straightened those bends right out. Easy as pie, no welding required, and no sharp edges to grind down or anything. Then I hit the ends with some rattlecan black and remounted them under the bed. It took about 15 minutes, and did not require that I find someone who can cut/weld for me. If you find yourself in the same situation as me, this is a cheap and easy fix. Alternately, you can just remove the guide bars entirely, but the tire will move around a little more that way.

Some shots...

 

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Discussion Starter #12
To update this last modification, the tires came in before we left for Minnesota and I now have the spare 255 85 KM2 up in there in the factory location - and it fits pretty well. Snug, but it fits. And the narrow 255 does not stick down as far as I thought it might, so its not hurting the departure angle any more than the tow hitch. Having the tow hitch back there makes it a tight fit, but it works. While you are raising the tire up into position on the cable you need to push down on the back of the tire to lift the front edge up over the rear diff to get it into position, or else it binds on the diff on the way up.

Here are a few snaps of it in place.




The camera was almost resting on the ground for these shots, so its a low angle to give a better view. From the standing position you can barely see it up under there if you step back.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Here's what it looks like with the new 255 85's, which perform like champs...





And the new tube bumper and body panel damage from Terminator...

 

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Discussion Starter #14
After wheeling this thing for a while now with the factory front bumper and proceeding to scrape and rip it up, I finally ordered a custom front tube bumper from CBI. I am not in the market for a winch at the moment, but since I might want one some day, I went ahead and ordered one with a winch mount built into it - that way I only have to buy a front bumper once. Also picked up some rear frame reinforcement plates, since the rear of the frame is starting to bend at the weak point near the bumpstop strike plate. CBI ships these with turn signals to replace your factory signals, and with new front frame end caps to be welded on so the frame can handle the tug of a heavy winch pull. Here's a few shots of the bumper Steve at CBI sent me.





Its definitely "more" than what I had in mind when I ordered it; but whatever... it's protection and solid front recovery points, plus a place to mount some lights, maybe a winch one day, etc. I sort of see bumpers as armor and recovery over aesthetics. So function over form - which is why I went with a bit of a "stinger" for radiator protection in the event of a rollover, and those light protector bars coming up to the stinger around the headlights (my least favorite part of the design). Even though I'm not entirely on board with having so much front bumper just yet, there's no doubt I'll have more protection and strong recovery points up front. I'll post up some pics of it once I get it rattlecanned black and mounted on the truck.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Since my rear frame on both sides is starting to bend from all of the wheelin', I decided to go with a set of frame reinforcement plates. Steve at CBI had a great deal on them, so it made sense to go for it. Rick at Bovads welded these CBI frame reinforement plates on the truck this weekend. Not sure why the plates come in 2 pieces for each side with a separation right at the weak point where the frame bends on these trucks.



But with it all buttered up together it is basically one long piece welded on to each side now.



I wasn't so sure whether I'd notice any difference in handling after getting these welded on, but I have to say it is noticeable on the road. On the pavement the truck seems to track better, more solidly. What I mean is that before, when I turned at speed the ass-end seemed to lag behind a little -- like the front end was initiating the turn, and the frame flexed and swam around a little in the back before the rear end came in line with the front end and made the turn. Now, it all seems to go together into the turn at the same time, without that swimmy ass-end feeling. That's my only real first impression. But so far, I'm liking it. ***Edit - I took it out on the trails and I really do like the way it feels more solid back in the rear section of the frame when the back tires come up over obstacles. Toyota should have boxed the rear frame sections of these trucks from the factory.***
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Here are some pics of the new front bumper mounted on the truck.

Here's what the new bumper looked like on its maiden voyage to Raw Deal, Lower and Upper Terminator trails at Table Mesa, AZ. You can see that the silver painted cross member and exposed areas left visible after removal of the factory front bumper look kinda goofy/unfinished.



So I cleaned it up, taped it off and hit those spots with some rattlecan semi-flat black, now it looks a little better IMO...




In this profile shot you can see the approach angle is improved over the stock bumper, particularly at the corners in front of each tire...


And from the driver's seat here's what you can see of the stinger and light guards...


And a poser shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
The Latest - Additional Armor

I had Symon at 4WD Headquarters here in PHX build me a custom gas tank skid out of 3/16" steel, like my BudBuilts. And while I was at it, I had him reinforce the BudBuilt belly plate skid. He decided to try two long pieces of some 3/16" thick 1.5" angle iron butted together to make a 3/8" thick rib down the center of the long axis of the belly plate in the hopes that it will help keep that plate a little straighter and off of my transfer case. After getting onto the belly plate a few times on some trails, it had bent up to where it was rubbing the t-case pretty good. Now it's got a little clearance, but not much (3/8" at the most). I sort of expect that plate to bend again, but am hoping the reinforcement will help prevent it from hitting the t-case.

Some pics...

Custom Gas Tank Skid










Installed...




BudBuilt Belly Plate Reinforcements...




I'll keep tabs on that belly plate and gas tank skid and how they hold up after I hit them on the rocks a few more times. If anything interesting develops, I'll post an update here.

***Update, I have been on the tank skid and belly plate several times now, and so far they are both holding up nicely.***
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
E-Locker Actuator Guard

I finally broke down and got a nice stout bit of protection/piece of mind in the form of an e-locker actuator guard (basically a little mini skid constructed out of 3/8" steel plate). I actually hope I don't hit it on any rocks to test how strong it is, not because the guard itself isn't strong enough, but because I think it'd probably shear off the mounting bolts if it took a big hit. Here's what it looks like...



***Edit. I got onto it pretty hard in Big Bear, and it held up just fine!***
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
4.88 Gears, ARB Air Locker

The Stealth 4x4 just got new 4.88 gears and an ARB front air locker installed by Symon here in PHX at 4WDHeadquarters. FWIW if you have or are considering 255 85's (33.5-inch dia tire) as a tire size for a 95.5-04 Taco...

Here are some specs I recorded before and after my new gear swap from factory 4.10's to 4.88's on these same tires. I used the GPS for MPH readings for each set of info...

On 4.10's (W/ 255 85R 16 KM2s)
Speedometer read 8 mph slow (67mph) at actual speed of 75 mph
55 MPH = 1550 RPM
65 MPH = 1850 RPM
75 MPH = 2150 RPM

On 4.88's (W/ 255 85R 16 KM2s)
Speedometer reads 8 mph fast (83 mph) at actual speed of 75 mph
55 MPH = 1900 RPM
65 MPH = 2200 RPM
75 MPH = 2550 RPM

So as much undergeared as it was on 4.10's, now it is equally overgeared on 4.88's with these tires, which is what I wanted. Since I am carrying a lot more weight in bumpers, skids, parts, tools, etc, and turning a much heavier set of tires, I wanted more than the factory gearing to help compensate for those factors. I just drove the truck back from the shop, so I have not broken in the gears to be able to wheel it yet, but so far so good.

I'll post up my impressions after the gears are broken in and I have had a chance to take it wheeling.

***Edit - I popped it onto 4lo on a flat dirt road with the hubs unlocked to see how much different the gearing would be for slow-speed crawling. And wow, what a difference! Not only will I be able to crawl slower, but the RPM's at slow speed are higher, which brings it up into the powerband so I have a lot more torque at my disposal at slow speed in addition to more controlled top speed with better hold-back from the gearing to keep the speed in check coming down off of obstacles. Now its like my granny gear actually IS granny gear, whereas before it was always too high a gear that allowed the rig to pic up speed on the way over/off an obstacle too easily.

So it looks like regearing took me from a situation where I was underpowered(undergeared) trying to get going over an obstacle and then riding the brake to try and keep my speed down coming off of it, to where I will have more power available at slower speed to pop me up onto the obstacle, and then enjoying the hold-back of the lower gearing to help keep the speed in check a bit coming down the back side of it. I may not even want a crawler now that these lower gears are installed. Tough to say for sure until I get it into some big rocks, but first impressions are WOW!... What an improvement! I had it on some creekbed crawling and the 4.88's definitely do help, but of course, its not a crawl box. These gears slowed me down and allowed me to wheel with mroe finesse, but its still not as low as I'd ultimately like for the technical stuff in the big rocks.

P.S. Took it camping this week to the Penaleno Mtns here in AZ... and the first three tanks of gas averaged 19.55 mpg. Not bad considering how weighed-down the truck is.***

Some Pics:
Switches mounted on center cover near shifter.


Switches not lit-up


Switches lit-up.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Quick-Release Mud Flaps

I finally got sick of bending the factory metal brackets that hold the rear mud flaps up flat to the body every time I wheel. So I had Symon at 4WD Headquarters here in PHX fab up some quick release flaps that I can leave on the truck to keep it street-legal on the way to the trail, and pull off easily while I wheel. The side support braces on my Demello rear tube bumper sat in the perfect place to mount the new flaps. So that's where they are. And Symon moved them outboard so they are centered to the tire better while he was at it. He just reused my factory flaps, so this was a pretty cheap mod and I love it.

Some pics...



Passenger Side flap off


Passenger Side flap on


Lined up to the tire nicely...
 
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