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DoorDing's 2012 Tacoma Build

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Old 09-18-2012, 11:07 AM   #21
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DoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Tube forming is definitely an art. Even with the right tools, it's not easy to form the right shapes without a lot of mistakes. Looks like your shop had at least one artist on staff, or a lot of pipe for mistakes.
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:56 PM   #22
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DoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Just ordered a Softopper with boot. I'm done shopping for awhile.
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:34 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoorDing View Post
Tube forming is definitely an art. Even with the right tools, it's not easy to form the right shapes without a lot of mistakes. Looks like your shop had at least one artist on staff, or a lot of pipe for mistakes.
Hhaha actually they have an artist because the whole thing was done in less than 2 hours!!

I was there making some phone calls, checking my email, tw, and some stuff while waiting hahaha... One of my most productive "waiting time" ever...
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:25 AM   #24
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DoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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The Softopper arrived! So far, I'm impressed with the construction. Very heavy fabric, solid tubing, and reasonably understandable instructions.

Time for a nap, then it's seam sealing time.
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:18 PM   #25
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I was going to install the topper today, but I decided to do it right and seam seal it first. Softopper includes a brush bottle of McNett Gear Aid Seam Sure water based seam sealer in the hardware box:


I've used this sealant before on a tent and I wasn't impressed with its durability. Maybe it's been improved, but I decided to skip it and used a more robust solution:

http://www.caulkyourhome.com/ge-silicone-II-window-and-door.php



A smaller, 2.8 oz tube was $4 at Lowes, and it was just enough to do all of the top and side seams. The included brush bottle would be much easier to use if the top was installed, but since it's new, clean, and already laying on my living room floor, I went with the heavier stuff.
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Old 09-29-2012, 01:09 PM   #26
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Softopper bed cover

Softopper bed cover installed. Weight: 35 lbs

I haven't tried folding it into the boot yet. I'm really going to like the utility of it, and I think it looks great.




Some of the installations I've seen end up with a lot of excess fabric over the tailgate, but mine is perfect.






I noticed that the rail clamps fit very tight both to the Softopper rail and the truck's cargo rail. Due to the tight fit and the angles involved, it'd be easy to tighten the clamps without having them firmly seated in the rail. I used a deadblow hammer to lightly tap the lower part of the clamp into the top of the rail. I also blew the thread cutting chips out of the clamps and added a dab of thick grease to make them function better.


I added Velcro to the top of the tailgate end cap. I'd prefer a single strip, but Softopper sent multiple 1" wide strips, and the only other Velcro I had was 2" (too wide) and 1" white (too ugly). I used aluminum rivets made for 3/16" thick material, and spaced them to avoid the internal bracing of the end cap, while still fastening the Velcro ends securely. I don't believe the adhesive alone would've been strong enough.



Softopper recommends putting the Velcro on the paint, below the end cap, but I really think this is the way to go. I haven't driven in hard rain yet, but I don't think water will make it past the fabric and Velcro. This is also a much more secure way to fasten the flap; it won't come loose unless the Velcro hooks fail.



I also completed the installation at the front of the bed by using several Velcro strips on the raised portion of the bed. I've driven at 75 mph without any significant movement of the front panel, so I think it's secure enough as is.







I'll try some black paint on the rivets, but I don't have much hope for it sticking to aluminum. It'd look nicer, though.
========================================

Took a trip to Utah with two friends and loaded the Softopper to maximum capacity. No problems with wind, and I was surprised at how well it kept dust out of the bed while spending a week bouncing around Hole in the Rock Road. I ran the truck through a automatic spray wash and although there was some minor leaking, the bed remained nearly dry, so I'm not very concerned about driving in the rain with it.

The only problem was some minor scuffs to the windows caused by cargo being shoved against them. I temporarily dealt with that by putting a bath towel over the cargo, but I plan to add a removeable fabric flap inside both windows. If cargo is stacked high enough to rub the windows, visibility really isn't affected by covering the windows. The front and rear frame spars are perfectly positioned for privacy curtains / covers. I'm surprised Softopper doesn't offer window covers for this purpose.

I don't see myself needing the topper often enough to leave any of it installed full time, so I'm cleaning it up and hanging it on the garage wall. The side rails are easy enough to install that I'll strip them off, too.

Compared to a traditional hard shell topper, the Softopper loses on security and durability, but not by much. Realistically, it's not much more difficult to break into a hard shell than a soft topper, and if you whack a tree limb with either type it'll probably cause damage, but a hard shell does have the edge in those categories. The Softopper wins on weight, ease of installation, and ease of storage. Even with more space to store a hard topper on a stand or with pulleys, it's still harder to deal with than releasing two pins + snaps and popping off a Softopper. After using it on a trip, I'm very pleased with the purchase.
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Old 10-07-2012, 05:22 PM   #27
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DoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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BudBuilt 1/4" aluminum, 5 piece skid combo

Installed most of the BudBuilt 1/4" aluminum skid combo today. I'm still waiting on the tank skid, but that should be an easy install.

Weight: 100 lbs (1/2 the weight of 3/16" steel set)

Everything fit well. I had to give a few taps with a deadblow hammer to seat the crossmember and a few carriage bolts, but otherwise, Bud did a good job of keeping to his specs. The only disappointment was that all of the washers were plated steel instead of stainless steel. I paid extra for stainless steel hardware and expected that to mean that everything would be stainless; guess not. Bud shipped stainless steel nyloc nuts instead of lock washers, and I appreciated that improvement.

I'm not terribly concerned with appearances, but I do prefer things not look like ass. Bud did a good job of deburring and cleaning the parts, but raw aluminum plate has a fairly shiny finish, and all of the fabrication marks made it look a little rough. Being aluminum, I didn't feel like painting the plate only to have it scratched and flaking off. I don't have access to a sand blaster, and I didn't want to wait a week to have it done.

The IFS skid is the only one that shows, so I experiemented until I came up with a suitable finish. I used 220 grit paper on a random orbital sander to remove most of the fab marks, and finished it off by wet sanding the part using Greased Lightning. Water may have worked fine, but I know that Greased Lightning is a strong enough alkali to dull aluminum, which is what I was after. The end result was exactly what I wanted, and it only took a few minutes to do.













There are still a few marks from the brake here and there, but I didn't feel like working on it long enough to buff all of that away. I know the skid will get marked up, but as you can see from the mid and transfer case skids next to the IFS skid, the original finish doesn't look all the great. The edges of the plate were all dressed appropriately, but I smoothed them a little more with the sander. I would've used a right angle grinder with a flap wheel for that, but I didn't have any wheels fine enough for use with aluminum. This isn't a complaint with BudBuilt at all; it's just the nature of the material. I certainly wouldn't want to pay someone else to complete that level of finish work!

For the mall crawlers, it wouldn't take more than a few hours to go the other way and buff an aluminum IFS skid to a good shine with a polisher. That'd look much better to me than the goofy tin crap I've seen used as skid bling.

Update: I finally installed the gas tank skid. I ran the tank near empty and used a floor jack to gently push the skid up, forcing the tank and support straps into a flatter shape.


OEM "skid"





The attachment points are the studs from the OEM tank straps. They tend to splay out from the shape of the tank, so they aren't squared up with each other or perpendicular. That's why I had to use a jack to coax the tank, straps, and new skid into position. The studs are just long enough; the nuts are bottomed out. In addition to the four studs, BudBuilt includes two carriage bolts, nuts, and washers to attach the front of the skid to a small OEM crossmember.
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:40 PM   #28
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DoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Fluid Film undercoating kit and some e-trailer.com stuff arrived today. Still trying to track down the FF sliders (shipped two weeks ago) and BedRug bed mat (should've shipped with the rest of the e-trailer order). I'm holding off on applying the Fluid Film until the sliders arrive. I like the looks of the spray gun and extensions. They should work well for snaking FF into confined spaces, like the rocker panels.

Toyota made plugging into the OEM brake controller connector needlessly difficult. As much as the Towing Package costs, a few more inches of wire should've been used to locate the plug away from the rest of the harness. I'll finish mounting the controller later. I think it's going on the fuse box cover just above the e-brake pedal. That location worked well in my Subaru, and I'd rather put two holes in that cover than on another trim piece.

The new scraper is well made and should make quick work of cleaning snow off the truck and out of the bed. At $15, it's a bargain.
Hopkins Ice Scraper Snow Broom Combo with Extendable Handle - Extra Long Reach



===============================================

I confirmed that a 1500 rpm rattle is coming from the execrable crossover exhaust pipe rubbing against the transfer case skid. I tried spacing the plate away from the pipe, but that only made it worse, so I cranked all of the skid bolts down a little more to hold it more firmly against the pipe. I still can hear and feel a tiny amount of vibration, but it's better. If it bothers me enough, I'll pull the skid, heat up the pipe, and compress it just enough to gain the needed clearance. In the end, it'll be relocated, but for now, it stays.
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:06 PM   #29
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BedRug bed & tailgate mats

BedRug bed & tailgate mats

There are two Velcro strips running front-rear in the center 30" of the bed mat. The loop side is securely sewn to the mat, with the hook side attached by adhesive to the bed. The back of it is cut to fit the contours of the bed. The mat is much lighter than I thought it'd be, but it still provides a fairly comfortable surface for knees and backs.



The mat is pre-cut for the stock bed D-rings. I added a pair of Black Diamond wire gate carabiners to help hold the mat in place, and to provide an easy anchor point. If there's enough load on the carabiners for them to fail, the D-rings would probably already be unhappy.



The tailgate mat mounts with Velcro along the bottom edge similar to the bed mat, with the top held in place under the tailgate end cap. The mat came with spacers for the guard's mounting screws. I used them along all but the outer corners, since the spacers left the corners loose. The Velcro on the top of the cap is for the Softopper.

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Old 10-14-2012, 01:06 PM   #30
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Xpel headlight protection film

Installed an Xpel head & foglight kit. What a PITA that turned out to be.

The front, flat, main headlight area was easy enough, but evenly wrapping the heavy film around the sides was impossible for me. I ended up making a cut at the upper, outside corner to absorb the extra material. I used a heat gun to soften the film some, but I don't think I distorted it enough to account for the poor fit. I think it's sealed up to the point where it'll last a long time, but it'd be better without the cut. If it looks like the sides are going to be a problem, I'll just cut them free. My main concern was keeping the headlight area free from damage, and the film laid down well over that section.

Next time, I may have someone else take a crack at it. This was my first attempt at working with this type of product, and maybe I missed something. I think part of the issue is that the film is so thick, it's very difficult to wrap it around the tight contours found at the side of the headlight/turn signal housing.
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:30 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoorDing View Post
I confirmed that a 1500 rpm rattle is coming from the execrable crossover exhaust pipe rubbing against the transfer case skid. I tried spacing the plate away from the pipe, but that only made it worse, so I cranked all of the skid bolts down a little more to hold it more firmly against the pipe. I still can hear and feel a tiny amount of vibration, but it's better. If it bothers me enough, I'll pull the skid, heat up the pipe, and compress it just enough to gain the needed clearance. In the end, it'll be relocated, but for now, it stays.
Silenced!

After taking a close look at the pipe, I decided it wasn't going to be very easy to flatten in place, so I used some washers to rotate the skid plate down enough to gain around 1/4" of clearance between the pipe and the plate. I romped around a little to see if the pipe would move into the plate, but it didn't, so I'm calling this solved.

I've already got an idea for a heat shield for the future crossover pipe re-route, and I don't think it'll be hard to suck up the gained clearance with the skid plates. I was already happy with the BudBuilt skids, but this makes it even better. Now if I could just get my hands on that tank skid ...
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Old 10-18-2012, 01:02 AM   #32
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DoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Famous Fabrication Rock Sliders

They're on. Weight: 110 lbs




The problem area on the driver's side. If I'd installed the sliders before the skid plates, that crossmember wouldn't have been in the way, and getting to the front slider bolt would've been easier.



The brake lines originally run parallel, but the slider nuts require some minor re-routing to prevent abrasion. The lines have a hard, black, protective plenum (probably PVC) in this area, but it still pays to prevent rubbing in the first place.



I pulled all of the plugs out of the rocker panels and sprayed Fluid Film inside before mounting the sliders. I used Rustoleum Self-Etching Primer and Rustoleum Spray-on Bedliner - two cans each, available at Harbor Freight. I like the bedliner finish, but I'm not sure how well it'll hold up to foot traffic. I may add some friction tape to the top of the outer tube.

Derek has been very cool to deal with from the start to finish. Quick to respond to PMs or posts, with helpful information along the way. I'll post more photos later.
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Old 10-19-2012, 12:33 AM   #33
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Fluid Film undercoating treatment

Using Kellsport's "Pro" gun and flexible extension wand, it went on very well. There's still a few spots I'd like to hit in the engine area, but for the most part, I sprayed the truck using a little less than 1 L of FF. Nothing dripped off, but there is some very light overspray that misted to the floor. Very slippery stuff that will need to be cleaned up.

I wore latex gloves so I could quickly have clean hands, but it really wasn't very messy. Other than a little overspray, I didn't get any on me. It'd be easier to apply with the vehicle on a lift, but the flexible wand made the process pretty easy. I had the truck on four Rhino Ramps, and I rolled around on a creeper. With the extension wand on the gun, it's easy to fog any size hole pretty much anywhere. I pulled all of the rocker panel plugs as well as a few others. Even small drain holes in the body are easy to fog by covering the hole with the extension tip and fogging for a few seconds.

Time will tell if Fluid Film is effective, but I have no reason to doubt that it's as good as they say. Since I own the spray gun, reapplications will cost me around $10 annually, which isn't bad at all.

Update: I applied a heavy coat of FF a year ago using an undercoating gun. After 10,000 miles, including a few weeks in Colorado and Utah, this was the worst dust accumulation I could find.



That's the rear side of the crossmember in front of the rear axle. Any more dust than that has easily washed off. Not that I expect to see much rust on a new vehicle, but other than the exhaust, I found none. Before I re-apply this fall, I'll drop all of the skids, put it on some ramps, and clean it up a little with a brush and Simple Green.

Update 1 - 2nd application
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:44 PM   #34
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Just stumbled onto your build thread, very nicely done ! How's that soft topper holding up ?

Edit: where you had to bend out your brake lines for the slider nuts...I had to do the same but i also put some 5/16" fuel line around the line...probably over kill but just an idea for anyone else checking out your thread.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:06 PM   #35
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DoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronArf View Post
Just stumbled onto your build thread, very nicely done ! How's that soft topper holding up ?

Edit: where you had to bend out your brake lines for the slider nuts...I had to do the same but i also put some 5/16" fuel line around the line...probably over kill but just an idea for anyone else checking out your thread.
Softopper is still installed and working fine. I'd planned on taking some people to a Christmas light display area with the sides rolled up, but that didn't happen. I'll take it off for the winter soon. I added a $3 Harbor Freight headlamp to the rear spar, and it lights up the bed surprisingly well. The only change I'll make is adding interior flaps to protect the windows from gear. I wasn't happy to find a trekking pole pushing hard against the rear window on a trip, and I don't want a tear because of something like that.

Good idea about protecting the brake lines with hose. I'm doing some work on the truck right now, and if I have the hose on hand, I'll add it tonight.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:14 PM   #36
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DoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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It's been a busy year so far.

First oil change
Tire rotation
Plasticolor mud flaps x 4
SuperBumps front
Timbren SES rear
Fluid Film here and there

It feels good to get some of that knocked out, especially the mud flaps. I still have to adjust them a little, but they're on, they work, and they're flexible. The stock ones didn't even make very good templates.
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:13 PM   #37
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Highland Logan is one of the sharper tools in the shedHighland Logan is one of the sharper tools in the shedHighland Logan is one of the sharper tools in the shedHighland Logan is one of the sharper tools in the shedHighland Logan is one of the sharper tools in the shedHighland Logan is one of the sharper tools in the shedHighland Logan is one of the sharper tools in the shedHighland Logan is one of the sharper tools in the shedHighland Logan is one of the sharper tools in the shedHighland Logan is one of the sharper tools in the shedHighland Logan is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Canadian Army: Royal Canadian Artillery (Sgt, Ret.)
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Nice build thread.

Frank
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:04 PM   #38
DoorDing [OP] DoorDing is offline
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DoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highland Logan View Post
Nice build thread.

Frank
Thanks! I've been busy putting up Christmas lights today and getting all of that out of my garage, but my mind's been on the truck.

I remember seeing someone out the Timbren mounting plate under the rear spring U-bolts as designed, but they mounted the actual rubber springs to the frame side. I was surprised that there's no drainage for the Timbrens, and with the top open, all kinds of muck, rock, and water can get in there. With the rubber spring inverted, that can't happen. Even though I'll have to undo the installation, I think I'll separate the Timbren base from the spring and do the same.

I'm also going to remount my new mud flaps soon. There's just too much swarf running down the backside, and it looks bad.

I really need to replace the OEM antenna, too ...
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:38 PM   #40
DoorDing [OP] DoorDing is offline
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DoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shedDoorDing is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Thanks. It's getting there. I'll do a better job when I have more time. A lot of it was done in a hurry getting ready for a trip.

I ordered a flexible antenna from AntennaX.com yesterday. I managed to bend mine while bombing down a cattle trail in Utah, and while I like the sporty rake, I need to replace it before it breaks.
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