I traded in my Tacoma in September 2011, therefore I'm no longer actively monitoring or updating this thread.
I've gotten a lot of advice and ideas for mods from Tacoma World, so I finally decided to join and contribute. I have a 2006 Black Access Cab SR5 4x4 with the 2.7L 4-cyl, 5-speed manual. I would have prefered the V6, but I couldn't afford it right out of college, so my first mods were to get the most out of the engine. Also, since I'm an electrical engineer, I'm done some DIY electrical mods too. My goal is to be different but keep it clean and practical...
1) K&N Intake
Before & After:
Before & After:
My opinion: adds an aggressive growl and air flow sound at full-throttle. Really opened up the throttle response and slightly improved gas mileage.
2) Magnaflow Cat-Back Exhaust
Before & After:
Before & After:
My opinion: Aggressive sound at full throttle, opened up the top end of RPM's, now I don't feel any airflow restriction before red-line. Slightly improved gas mileage. Since this kit was made for the V6, I had to cut a piece out of the straight section near the catalytic converter (note: flowmaster's kit accounts for this) and needed a friend to weld the stainless back together. The muffler does drone at highway speeds, but that might be because it is tuned for the V6...my windows and music typically drowned it out though I like the tip but don't think the full cat-back is necessary. Now that I'm more experienced, I'd probably try a dual exhaust or just try a new muffler using pipe clamps.
3) Extang Trifecta Tonneau Cover, Euro Tail Lights, and Pop&Lock Tailgate Lock
My Opinion: Tonneau: awesome! I've never had to fully remove it to haul anything, keeps everything dry and out of sight and folds up fast. Pop&Lock: protects my belongings and prevents tailgate theft, cheap insurance and quick install. However, the latch doesn't work quite as smoothly as it did before. Lights: bought them off craig's list...cheap asthetic improvement.
4) PIAA Foglights with stock switch
I mounted the relay to the bolt that holds the fuse box to the fender. The wires were run through the available hole in the firewall grommet (it is underneath the main harness...you have to cut the cap off of the available pass-through, then it provides a direct route to the cab near the clutch pedal). I can provide more build pics if requested...
My Opinion: quality materials and all-inclusive install kit. The stock holes make aiming the lights difficult. Bought the stock switch for a clean interior look, but isn't necessary.
5) DrawTite Hitch
Leaving the Air Force...total load (trailer + bed) was ~3,700 lbs...my little 4-cyl pulled it like a champ 500 miles from OH to NY
My Opinion: The install should be simple, but it fit so tight that I had to remove the bumper and slide it on from the rear, with a little help from a rubber mallet. The wiring kit was extremely easy too.
5) Handmade Step-bars/sliders/running boards
A friend owed me a favor for designing the electrical system for his kit-car...what better than to learn some welding/tube bending? The tube size was dictated by my friend's tube bender, so we took ideas from rock slider designs. They are not designed to support the weight of the vehicle like a true slider, but they will certainly provide some protection during wheeling and urban hazards (car doors and shopping carts). This was much more fun and cheaper than buying expensive westin or n-fab bars. I can include more build pics if there's more demand...
Since they aren't tucked up against the body like a slider, but need to be far enough from the body to provide a sufficient step, we decided to put it some diamond plate to keep your foot from slipping through and breaking a leg or something. I think it fills the empty space quite nicely without looking like it was hacked together
Here they are all painted up, the slight discoloration in spots is due to the recent rain when I took the pic. We also added some angle iron to the backside of the diamond plating for more support and to prevent your foot from slipping through.
My Opinion: A fun project for ~$120 in materials. If I had more time, we might have built a true rock slider with parallel tubes instead. I painted them with a metallic rustoleum (a cost-effective solution), but if it doesn't hold up to the weather and road grime, I may consider a bed liner.
6) Bug Deflector, Vent Visors, OBX Shift Knob
(Can be seen in previous pictures).
My Opinion: Deflector: I installed it more to protect the hood from salt in the winter, and it has done that very well. Vent Visors: I like them, they do what was advertised. Shift Knob: it's quasi-carbon fiber; a nice accent for the interior.
7) DIY Bed Lights
(Original Thread - My Notes)
Instead of trying to run the wire near moving parts, gas lines, suspension parts, etc, I chose to run the wire through the cab. This is where the wire will be run from the pass-through under the seat to the firewall.
This is the pass-through rubber grommet in the floor board located under the driver's seat.
Here's the underside of the floor pass-through. I decided it was easiest to just cut a little hole in the grommet and pass the wire through. You could use a little RTV (silocone sealant) to ensure a seal and strong hold.
Here's the wire secured in some conduit. As previously mentioned, run this wire along the stock harness all the way back to the tail lights. Secure it so that it doesn't move and stays away from the gas lines.
I ran the wire through a small piece of conduit and ran it along the stock wires.
This is where the stock harness passes through the firewall near the clutch pedal. The top "wire" is the hood pop cable and there is an unused pass-through on the bottom that can be used. Simply cut the rubber cover off to open the tube on the engine compartment side...in this pic you can see where I previously ran my foglight switch wires through this hole.
This is the other side of the firewall.
Here's where the expansion fuse block:
This is where I drilled a hole for the switch. It's facing forward so that it won't be easily noticed or be a terrible eye sore if I ever trade the truck in.
This is the backside of the switch hole. The metal support will provide some safety for the switch and wires and prevents rubbing that may accidentally cause a short.
Here's the switch all wired up. I wanted to use a toggle switch with a protective cover to prevent it from accidentally being turned on. Instead of getting one at an car parts store for $10, Harbor Freight had one for $5. I suggest protecting each lug with heat shrink wrap. This is a simple single-pole-single-throw on/off switch...the middle lug is power, the right lug goes to the lights and the left lug goes to ground for the internal inidcator LED.
Here's the completed wiring routing at the driver's side tail light. The switch is tucked up behind the support piece and you can see where the one conduit runs through the fender to the driver's side light and the other conduit runs down and underneath the bumper to the passenger side tail light where it is run to the passenger side light. The third conduit also runs down under the bumper and is the battery wire.
Here's the switch installed (in the on position). The cover protects the switch of unintentionally turning on.
What they look like in the dark.
These ideas can extend to power supplies in the bed or running board lights. I left enough slack in the wire in the cab because I plan to install a "consent" switch. This will act as a master switch to override the switch found in the bed. I'll probably also add an indicator LED in the cab.
8) DIY Running Board Lights / Ground Lights
I take no responsibility if you hurt yourself or your truck, this is a reference only!
After installing my step bars, I decided to wire up some running board lights that operate when the doors are open or unlocked (i.e. when the dome light is on). Thanks to Borderbrat for some reference material in this thread: http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/tec...tml#post297835
There are numerous lighting options, but I chose some cheap Harbor Freight LEDs.
According to the stock wiring diagrams (available elsewhere on TW) and the Haynes manual, the power wire is a constantly powered 7.5A fused and is white, while the ground wire acts as the control line and is blue. The easiest place to locate them is the driver's side pillar.
Here you can see the tapped white power wire and the blue control wire. Be sure to tuck the wires back into the conduit and zip ties for strain relief.
After running the wires down to the left kick panel, I ran a quick test to make sure I tapped the correct wires.
I chose to run the passenger side wire through the cab instead of underneath the truck in order to avoid the exhaust and road hazards. The connection will be made near the left kick panel where I plan to insert an override switch and a 1A fuse to specifically protect against the LEDs and wires...the dome light 7.5A fuse will not blow if the LEDs or wires short out, so I want to protect the truck in the event my added circuit has a problem.
I continued to run the wires underneath the door sill trim....
then underneath the seat... (note: I just cut a small slit with an Xacto knife and run the wire through the grommet. You can also see the black wire I previously ran for my bed lights). The grey wire is a quality double insulation bundle, so it protects enough against scraping/shorting without conduit.
Here is the completed driver side wiring. Be sure to properly connect the wires (solder is best) and protect them using plenty of heat shrink, conduit, and electrical tape.
I didn't want to drill mounting holes into the truck, so I opted to use strong double sided trim tape (the stuff that holds your emblems on the truck). Be certain to clean the areas well with alcohol to promote a strong connection. Also, you'll need to wrap the conduit with electrical tape or else the double sided tape won't hold sufficiently. Note: in this pic you can see the grey wire running down from the grommet as well as both the front and rear lights. The unnecessary loop in the wire is because I didn't measure well enough and had to mount the excess somewhere.
Next, the wire needs to be run from the driver's side to the passenger side. Here's a pic where it is run through a bracket and up out of the way of the steering and pedals. Be sure it is secured out of the way to prevent an accident.
The wire is secured to an existing line (likely Air Conditioning wires or something), tucked underneath the rug, and sent underneath the center console.
Here's the wire coming out the other side of the center console, passed over the right kick panel and under the door sill trim.
Pull the wire taut and secure it...
Then replace the rug and hide the wires...
I poked a hole in the rubber blank on the passenger side and ran the wire through it. I then secured it and waterproofed the hole with silicone (black RTV).
The passenger side lights are then wired and mounted the same as the driver's side.
Here they are in the dark...
Materials cost less than $30 and they work exactly as expected. They light up both the step bars and the ground quite nicely.
9) Sony Head Unit
10) Aftermarket Switches in Stock Dash Blanks
I didn't want to spend the money on the oznium switches, so I took the specs from the oznium website and looked on digikey for rockers that fit the hole. There are various switch types and backlight options, but they are typically $4-$7 each, instead of the $12 that oznium and the dealer wants.
Go to www.digikey.com and search for "rocker switch 36.6 21.2" then click "view page". www.mouser.com also has options, but digikey was cheaper.
I planned to replace the 3 top blanks
I always see questions about how to remove them...just insert an Xacto knife (or other thin device) to unclip the blank. Take your time so you don't scar the dashboard, you'll just have to wiggle it out of there, but it will come out.
Once the first one is out, just push the other two out from the back. Unclip any unused connectors.
Just like all the other switches in the original thread, you'll have to trim away some of the material in the mounting hole to get the switch to fit. Don't trim too much to ensure a tight fit, and to ensure the blanks fit again if you ever decide to remove the switches.
Here they are installed. I did all three so they look uniform.
Here's what they would look like in the bottom holes. The bezel looks nicer down there, but I didn't want to move the stock switches to the top area.
The left on/off switch is a "kill" switch that kills power for the bed lights and electrical control box in the bed. The middle switch is for the running board/ground lights...they are either off, on, or on when the doors are open. The right switch will power internal lights that will operate like the ground lights (off, on, or on with the map light).
11) Tailgating/Camping Bed Mounted Electrical Control Box
I had a couple cheap electrical gauges from Harbor Freight but no good place in the cab to put them. So I decided to build an electrical control box for the bed while adding an auxiliary 12V socket. It's good for tailgating, camping, or any other need like a small compressor, vacuum, small inverter, etc. Hopefully this inspires similar ideas and additions.
Note: this is a reference and I take no responsibility if you hurt yourself or your truck.
Here's what it looks like all done.
The switch w/ cover on the right is available at car parts stores (~$10) or radio shack (~$5). The switch is wired to be the master control for the box...when the switch is off, the box is dead and receives no power for the socket or dials. The voltage dial lets me monitor the battery status for tailgating (when using the 12V socket and/or bed lights) and the current dial tells me how much the socket is drawing. The 12V socket is a water proof type and is ~$12 from walmart or auto/marine supply stores. The enclosure is from radio shack for about $5. The fuse on the bottom left is not for the box, but rather from some ground lights under the bed, the box just provided a good place to mount it.
Here's what the guts look like.
Basically, a 15A fused wire comes from the battery (See my bed light post for how to safely run wires from the battery to the bed) and goes to the switch. The other side of the switch supplies this power to the dial backlights, voltage dial and the "battery" side of the current dial. The "load" side of the current guage goes to the positive side of the 12V socket. The ground for the socket and gauges are tied to the ground post behind the left tail light. As previously mentioned, the fuse is only meant for the rear ground lights and realy has no bearing on the box wiring.
This just shows the measures I took to ensure everything was insolated safely. This is the switch with heat shrink over every post, which I then put inside a small piece of wire loom (a.k.a. split tube conduit) to further protect the wires from scraping against the socket's mounting screws.
I plan to mount it in the storage bin. There was already a drain hole, so I just reamed it out to make it large enough for the wire bundle (don't forget to use wire loom!!). The bin is simply held in by 6 torx bolts.
After the wiring is connected up behind the left tail light, the bin is reattached. In this pic you can see the secondary box I had to attach to the back to clear the back of the gauges. Truly I needed 3" of clearance, but I used material I already had. I also left enough slack in the wire so i could remove the box for maintenance, mods, etc.
I didn't want to permanently mount it in case I had to remove it. That hardcore velcro stuff was too tough, so I just used double sided tape. You can see it sits far enough back to still close the storage bin lid, and there's still room on the right for bungee cords.
And in the dark in all its glory...
12) Rancho RS5000 Shocks and Struts
(Original How-to post)
Although there are mixed reviews of Rancho's, I took a shot on RS5000's. I can't afford Billstein's and I don't offroad enough to need a lift. Besides, I didn't want to compromise my mpg and ride quality as well as wear out my ball joints and U joints faster. However, I did want a slight upgrade and there is a rebate on Tenneco products.
Rear shocks only took about 1.5 hours:
Front struts (before):
And after: I had a little trouble with the tie rod end and ended up taking it to Midas for them to finish up. See the original thread for more info (see link at top of this section)
I think the Rancho's get a bad name, but I trust my custom car parts dealer and he swears by them. If nothing else, I'll be the guinne pig and let you know how they are. So far, after about a week's worth of driving, they are great. I'll be going on a road trip next week, so that'll be a good highway test. The next step is the test of time....
13) Illuminated 4x4 Switch
(Original How-to post)
(My notes of build)
After installing the LED PC board inside the switch housing, this pic shows where I ran the wires to the AC panel:
I chose splices since I don't like to cut into the factory wires: Here's everything all zip tied and secured for strain relief:
All done, looks great! It's a simple modification but makes a world of difference when searching for 4-wheel in the dark.
------------ Some light off-roading -----------------
Near white-out at WPAFB...those trees are less than 1/4 mile away.
Snow trail at WPAFB
Some light two-tracking at WPAFB - at the trail head
a little overgrown from last time...
steep hill overgrown
cresting the hill
hitting some rougher terrain, the video is much better!
hitting some water holes (again, the video is better)
a little less overgrown this time...
Some light two-tracking at WPAFB - the same hill but not-so-overgrown