2012 Molon Labe (come and get them) Build
Hello and thanks for checking out my build. All this information is also available in the proper forums but compiled here. So I have a 2012 DC TRD Off Road 4x4 Spruce Mica Toyota Tacoma.
I sold my 2007 Tundra Limited for the Tacoma. I got 20,500 for my Tundra and I paid ~27K for my Tacoma new with the following options included:
OEM Side Step Tubes
Leather Heated Seats
OEM Roof Rack
OEM Bed Tool Box
I think the sticker on the Tacoma was 35,500. So I paid way below sticker even with the added options.
Tacoma the day I got it. I had to bring it back to the dealership a week later to have the options added.
The first Mod I had done was window tint. I tented the two front side windows tinted at 10% and the rear sides and all the back windows tinted at 5%.
The next Mod was to add window vent visors.
The next Mod that I did was debadge/ rebadge. I hate chrome so I painted the badges black.
Here is a picture of all the mods up to this point
My next Mod was the roof rack fiasco.
I have now owned all three versions of the Baja Rack for the Tacoma and I had an issue with one version. I started a thread here to ask for assistance in dealing with the issue; however, Baja Racks being the excellent company that it is, fixed the problem and I promised to do a write up on the racks once I wrapped everything up. So here it is...
Ok so I got my Tacoma in May 2012 and one of the accessories I added to the purchase was the OEM roof rack. This is the two bars that run along the sides of the roof. I like the design because it stows nicely and is still functional. In any case, I knew I would want a proper roof rack/ roof basket in the future. Up to this point, my experiences with roof rack all needed and existing “luggage” rack with cross bars and then the roof rack would attach to the luggage rack. There several pros and cons for these types of racks. From my perspective you can always remove it when not in use to cut down on wind noise; however, adding lights to this type of rack would mean that the wiring would need to be temporary as well or have a detachable connector somewhere in the line. Another issue is the weight limit. I am sure most of us have seen a Disco with a roof tent, or a spare oversized tire on a rack along with hi-lift mounted on side, etc....
Anyway, how can you put something like 600 lbs on a roof rack? Well I found out that the answer was to have a bolt on roof rack.
But I degrees,
So I had a spanking new Taco and needed a Baja Rack, a member here had one for sale and I jumped on it. Once I got it, i learned that the accessory light bar offered from Baja Racks only fits the bolt on rack version and that the “Pre Runner” (one that attaches to the OEM roof rack) was actually a different width.
Here are the pics of the Pre Runner rack
But I decided I wanted the bolt on version so I sold the Pre Runner rack and the OEM roof rack here on TW to another member and I ordered the bolt on version from Baja Racks.
This rack arrived via UPS freight (tractor trailer) and was packaged very well. It was inside a large thick cardboard box, inside there was foam on all four sides, the rack was wrapped in a plastic bag and bubble wrap around the wind deflector. The mounting hardware was wrapped in foam sleeved and inside another box that was zip tied to the rack.
Mounting the hardware is straight forward:
Pull the rubber rain drip rails off the roof.
Remove the tape seals over the pre drilled mounting holes.
Insert the included threaded punch pins into the pre drilled holes.
Place the rubber rain drip rails over the punch pins and hit the drip rails with a mallet to force the pins through. This is done so that you know where to drill the holes in the drip rails.
Drill the holes in the drip rails.
Remount the drip rails.
Place the mounts on the roof and bolt through the drip rails.
Attach the roof rack.
This entire process took me about an hour to complete.
However, I ran in to an issue. I have a 2012 Tacoma with a shark fin XM antenna on the roof. The Baja Rack did not fit because the fin protruded up too high and the rack rest on the antenna with at least 1” of space between mounts and the rack.
So my dilemma was to either get a different XM antenna (like a 2011 Tacoma XM antenna) or cut the rack. This is when I started a thread to ask for help on how to remove the XM antenna. Well it would require separating the roof liner and a good amount of work. An “old” version of the XM antenna would cost 80.00 new and after spending just under 600.00 for the Baja Rack I was not happy. I called Baja Rack and explained to them the issue. Baja Racks was already working on the 2013 racks with a cut out for the XM antenna because all 2013s will have the shark fin. They shipped me a shark fin version and arranged to pick up the bolt on rack.
In this picture I placed the shark fin version in front of the bolt on version.
I also purchased the light bar and here are the pics
All and all I am extremely pleased with Baja Racks and their customer service. I found the quality of the racks to be first rate. The welds, finish, and design are excellent. The only thing that I think Baja Racks should change is the nuts and bolts used to mount the rack and light bar. They should be black rather than a stainless finish.
But the problems did not end there.
As requested, here are few pics of the mounting brackets:
And this is when we noticed the dents in the roof.
Also at this time, Sergio (Owner of Baja Racks) got on this forum and stated that Baja Racks would fix the problem.
I offered my suggestions on the mount rebuild:
Sergio, I notice the "denting" at all four mounts. It is most pronounced on the front mounts but is present at all the mounts.
I did tighten the mounts down tight. I do not think loosening them up will fix the issue as they would have to be very loose to not push on the roof. I do not know what Baja Racks is considering to address the issue but I think it would require a redesign of the mounts so that the portion of the mount that interfaces with the drip rail would sit lower. I am guessing that for the weight to be distributed to the roof frame the "legs" of the mounts would have to be at an angle or if they need to remain straight, the top bracket could be extended to meet the rack bolt holes. Either way the bottom of the mounts would need to be smaller or profiled on the inside as they are on the outside.
Here is what I am talking about.
I have no doubt that Sergio and Baja Racks will get this issue addressed. Their customer service has been first rate. Sergio, feel free to contact me if you need any additional information.
Ok, well as hatch017 has already discovered, the dents are still there after the rack is removed.
Here is a pic of the dent
Here is a closer picture. As you can see the dent is very pronounced. It looks like there is a slight deformation of the rain drip rail lip as well.
Here is a pic of the rear.
Not only is there a dent on the inside of the roof towards the center of the roof but there is also a very pronounced linear crease on the outer section of the roof closer to the door. I have an appointment with Painless Dent Removal for a quote on Saturday. I e-mailed them these pictures and they said it would be at least $300.00 but that they needed to see the damage to provide a proper quote. They also said they are not sure the outer linear creases can be fixed without a traditional paint repair. Once I have a quote I will let you guys know what I come up with. I am asking everyone who has the dents to send me a PM so that we can compare notes.
Hello everyone, well I had the dents removed by painless dent removal. They are not perfect but I guess it will have to do.
I am not happy about the dents on a 3 month old truck with only 1500 miles but it is what it is.
On a good note, Baja Racks has agreed to reimburse me the dent repair cost. I said it in the first post of this thread. Baja Racks is a customer service oriented company and their products are great. Also, the new brackets arrived this past week. So I am in the process of determining all the lighting for the rack and I will do a complete installation write up in the next week or two.
Ok, well I have now installed the rack with the new mounts. Here is a pic of the mounts
So what follows is the promised tutorial:
Keep in mind that Baja Racks offers three different racks for the Tacoma. The Pre-Runner rack bolts to the OEM roof rack. The other two racks are direct applications (bolts directly to the roof) every 2nd generation Tacoma has pre drilled and threaded holes under the rain drip rails (two rubber strips) on the roof. The rubber strips are snap in place strips that are partially held in place by small plastic replaceable clips. According to Toyota these clips are not reusable. The strips are also partially held in place by the rear window rubber seal and double sided tape.
Before you begin the installation you will need several things ( I have added some links to similar products). You can view the Baja Racks installation instructions here
2 part epoxy
Toyota part number 75561-02020 (You will need 4 of these)
Scotch indoor/ outdoor mounting double sided tape
You will need the following tools:
5/16” drill bit
Ratchet and extensions (3”, 6”)
Sockets and wrenches (12mm & 1/2”)
#2 flat head screwdriver (Wrap blade with electrical tape to prevent marring)
Black Sharpie (or contrasting color to you truck)
Step 1 mounting the mounts
Open all packages from Baja Racks and inspect all hardware.
With the flat head screwdriver pry up the front of one of the rain drip rails. Once started gently pull the drip rail past the first mounting holes. If you have never mounted anything to the roof before, the pre drilled holes will have a thin film covering the holes. Remove the film with a knife. In this picture you can see the unpainted rectangle around the pre drilled holes, this is where the thin film was prior to removal.
Once you have removed the film, use the sharpie to mark where the white plastic clip is located. In the picture above you can see one of the plastic clips. Next, remove the plastic clip with the flat head screwdriver. [So, here is where I divert from Toyota about these clips. Toyota says they are a onetime use item. The instruction sheet to replace them says to use a heat light? to mount them. I have no idea what a heat lamp is in auto motive terms. On the underside of the clips is a square of a white substance that feels like dried glue. I tried to see if there was a film of tape over the glue but all attempts to remove a film with a razor blade failed. I then tried a heat gun and that ended up melting the clip. So I came up with the epoxy mounting and if you are careful, reusing the clips is not an issue. Also keep in mind that the roof rack will be holding the drip rails on so the clips are not that important.] Mix up a small amount of the 2 part epoxy and mount the replacement clip.
Ok so inside the supplied hardware, there should be two threaded rods with pointed tips, these are about 1 1/2” long. You can see them in this picture on the left side under the mount.
Thread these into the two mounting holes with your fingers and the points facing up till there is about 1/2” protruding from the roof. Press the drip rail back into place and use the mallet to hit the drip rail to start the two pointed rods into the drip rail. (The purpose of this is to mark the drip rail where you will drill out so that the mounting bolts can pass through them.) After a few hard hits, lift up the drip rail using care to not damage the plastic clip. (It is not necessary to fully engage the plastic clips when putting the drip rail back on. You only need to engage them during the final application of the drip rail (when everything is mounted.)) If you can see where the two rods have perforated the underside of the drip rail them you can remove the rods, you are now ready to drill. If you cannot see the perforations then unscrew the rods until another 1/4” protrudes the roof and repeat the mallet hitting process.
Once you have to marks that you can use to determine where to drill on the underside of the rubber drip rails, hold the section of the drip rail in the air with one hand and drill the marked areas with the 5/6” drill bit. This should go without saying but.... Be careful to not damage your roof with the drill. Ok, so you have the holes drilled, clean them up with the knife so that the bolts will pass through them unimpeded.
Press the drip rail back in place. Locate the correct mount for the location you are working with (all four of the mounts are marked with a sticker stating where they go.).
Also locate two of the 10mm bolts and two washers. Place the washers on the bolts and apply the silicone sealant on the threads of the bolt. Thread the two bolts through the mount, drip rail and into the mounting holes. Tighten the bolts with the ratchet till they are fully tightened. Do not over tighten; the mount should compress the rubber drip rail a bit. This is a picture of one fully tightened.
Once you have the mount completely on and the drip rail back in place with the white clip engaged, repeat this step for all four mounts. The only difference is the two rear mounts. When you have finished drilling on the rear locations, you will need to use the Scotch indoor/ outdoor mounting double sided tape. Using the scissors cut a piece to fit like in this picture.
Keep in mind that you will want to clean the area on the roof and on the underside of the drip rail where the tape will mount. Once the mount is bolted down, lift up the drip rail and remove the top film of the tape. Starting at the mount and working your way to the rear window, press the drip rail back in place. Lastly tuck the drip rail inside the rubber rear window seal.
Step 2 mounting the rack
This is best accomplished with two people.
Lift the rack and place it on the mounts. Using the remaining hardware bolt the rack to the mounts. I found it best to hand tighten all the bolts then use the ratchet on each bolt. Crossing to the opposite corner with each bolt till the rack is fully tightened down.
That should be it for mounting the rack.
Things of Note:
If you plan on mounting lights, think out the method you will use to route cables and switches. You can pull the rack off the mounts to attach the lights later; however it is less work to mount the lights first. I have done this and will be running all the wiring in the next few weeks.
Consider getting the roof 3M clear film coated prior to mounting the rack. This will protect your roof from scratches that can be caused from bungee strap hooks. I did not do this but I considered it.
If you have read my first posting in this thread, you know that I have owned all three of the racks that Baja Racks makes for the Tacoma. With mounting and removing the mounting hardware three times now, I managed to strip out two of the roof mounting holes. This is not the end of the world..., on one of the holes i was able to re-tap it and it works fine. The other hole was too far gone. The bolt would thread into it but would not tighten down. I went to the local Ace hardware and got a nut and large flat washer for the 10mm bolt. I simply pulled back the headliner under the bolt in question and mounted the washer and nut on the bottom of the bolt and tightened it down. This is not a big issue to do.
I will do a write-up on how I did my lighting in the future and I will link it in this thread.
Thanks for the interest.
The next Mod was the sliders
Well I picked them up from Fastnel on the 6th (My birthday , cleaned, primed, sanded, and coated them 6-7. Installed them this afternoon. Very happy with the price, availability, communication, quality, look, and the exact fit!!!!
Ok, well after I posted some pics on the Baja Rack thread that I wrote, I received a PM requesting a write up on my Satoshi Grill. My grill is not that different form the many other ones that have already been written up so I will attempt to address some of the issues I ran into and hopefully keep this short.
So I cheated a bit in my build. I purchased an additional 2012 grill from a member here. Both the one I purchased and the one that came on my truck were chrome. I absolutely hate chrome, and I knew that I would want to color match my grill to my spruce mica Tacoma.
Additionally, this write up comes at an opportune time because I have noticed an error with my grill today. One of the biggest challenges with the 2012 grill is that the head lights protrude inside the grill opening. this prevents us from making the grill very deep like on the previous years. Further, the sides of the grill opening must be at an angle rather than straight towards the radiator.
I finished my grill Friday. Today was the first day that I took a hard look at it and noticed that there is a gap on the drivers side between the hood and the grill. There is a gap on the other side as well but the gap on the drivers side is about twice as big.
So I thought that the headlight was pushing on the grill side. I sanded some of the side of the grill away to fix the issue but the gap is still there?
So I think tomorrow I will put the chrome grill back on and see if the gap was there all along and I am only noticing it now. It looks like the Satoshi grill is fitting properly and I notice that the headlight on the drivers side has a larger gap as well so perhaps there is an issue with something else and not the grill. I will post whatever I find.
As for the lights and light bar, I used Hella 500s and I have not wired them yet. For the bar I used 2” x 2” angle steel from Home Depot.
Also I had to relocate the horns so I made a bracket from 1” steel again from Home Depot.
Ok, for the painting information. I wanted the chrome grill surround to be color matched to my truck and I did not trust a body shop to do it correctly. I took the grill to my local Toyota dealership and ask the body shop there to do it but they told me that they would not paint it because they could not guarantee that the paint would not peel from the chrome. So I went to the dealership that I purchased my truck from and they said they could do it. The painter came out and spoke with me and told me that he could add something to the paint to make it more flexible so that it would not chip and it would not peel from the chrome. It took a week for them to get it back to me and they only charged me 65.00 for the job. Well worth it in my opinion. I painted the inside walls myself with Toyota color match Dupi color from advanced auto parts and put on at least 6 layers of clear coat.
The mesh I used was steel wire mesh from metal mart. It came in a 4’ x 9’ sheet and cost about 19.00. The guy there told me that this mesh is mostly used as a vent in older homes above the door header from one room to the next. I painted the mesh with KG Metal Coatings 2400 series flat black. This is a military spec gun coating that is Teflon moly based and must be baked on. Once cured it makes a molecular bond with the metal and will prevent the steel mesh from rusting and is very durable. I gun smith a bit so I had everything to do this already.
Well I think that is about it. I will post once I figure out what is going on with the gap issue. Feel free to ask further questions and I hope this helps those who are considering this mod. Thanks for the interest.
The next Mod was to wire up the lighting
2012 Tacoma Aux Lighting Write-up
Hello everyone, after my write-up on the Baja Roof Rack I was asked how I did my lighting by several members, so here it is.
Ok, I am not an electrician nor am I an auto mechanic, so please excuse the lack of some of the technical terms.
I should also not that this would not have been possible without the direction and assistance of my close friend and fellow Soldier DAC.
So I have a 2012 DC Taco and I have a Baja Rack (BR-TYTCM-SFA-1-0) that bolts directly to the roof via pre-drilled holes (all tacos have them) and allows for the shark fin XM antenna. I also have the Baja Rack light bar accessory.
Included in this write-up is the behind the grill lighting, bed lighting, and tool box lighting I did as well.
Behind the grill:
2ea Hella 500 55w fog lights
On the roof rack:
Front 4ea Hella 500 55w fog lights
Sides 1ea (on each side) 5LED 15w spot lights
Rear 2ea 5LED 15w spot lights
NOTE: I purchased the LEDs for the roof rack from e-bay here is the link
In the bed:
2ea Optronics 12LED fog lights on the outside of the tool box to light the bed
2ea Optronics 12LED fog lights on the inside of the tool box to light inside of the tool box
NOTE: I got the optronics 12 LED lights from Northern tool here is the link
So with all this lighting I wanted a somewhat OEM look to the switches and their locations inside the cab. I chose to use switches from OTRATTW here is the link
The switches I used are the V1D1JCNB SPST
Additionally, I wanted a clean install as well as a safe install. So with that in mind I decided to add a fuse block, main fuse, almost all lighting on relays and I used 16 gauge wire.
I used this fuse block
I used 12v 20/30amp relays
I used this kit for the 4 gauge wires and 150 amp main fuse
I used these terminals
I also used the Baja Rack accessory wiring harness.
It should go without saying that there is a ton of other things I used such as connectors, electrical tape, shrink tubing; as well as a ton of tools, dremel, cordless drill, wire crimpers, etc...
So before I started I needed to develop a plan for the layout. My friend DAC created a wiring diagram Here it is
Ok well I cheated a bit and installed all the lights before I placed the roof rack on the taco.
So with the lights installed I turned the rack up side down and used the first half of the Baja Rack wiring harness to connect the 4 Hella 500s. I then wired the 2 side LEDs and ran the wires inside the conduit of the Baja Rack harness.
I mounted the side LEDs at an angle on the front Air dam and the rear LEDs at the Baja Rack rear mounts. However, due to the included LED mounts being too short and would have forced the rear LEDs to be angled down and the fact that I wanted them to sit lower, I fabricated my own mounts and drilled an additional hole in the rear rack mount.
Once the harness was secured with zip ties I then had to cut out pass through squares in the bottom air dam of the roof rack. I used some rubber door edge to finish the edges of the cutouts so that the wires do not get cut.
Next, I decided to use one of the Baja Rack mounting bolts as a common ground. It should be noted that the Baja Rack wiring harness brings all 4 Hella 500s to two red wires rather than one. I assume this is done due to the amps the lights require. The harness is not designed for specific lights and some lights may be HIDs or high amp lights. So if you look at the wiring diagram we maintained this layout and brought both red wires for the Hella 500s to one 20/30 amp relay.
So the total wires that were grounded was 4 wires (2 from the Hellas, 1 from the side LEDs, and 1 from the rear LEDs).
I then had to decide how to get the red wires off the roof and to the engine compartment. The Baja Rack wiring harness is designed to run down the rear window and under the cabe but I did not like the look of the harness hanging down in the back so I decided to go through the cab. I considered three options:
Drill hole under the water drip rail (rubber strips on roof) and run down the inside of the A pillar.
Drill hole in rear roof mounted brake light and run wires under the head liner and down the C pillar and along the drivers side under the door seals.
Drill hole through the shark fin XM antenna and run wires under the head liner along the drivers side then down the A pillar under the plastic molding and into the dash.
I decided on the XM antenna method for several reasons. The holes were already there and the additional hole would be covered by the rubber antenna seal. Additionally, my free subscription to XM has expired and I will not be buying a subscription so the antenna otherwise would not be used (however, this method would not affect the operation of the antenna). Lastly, the antenna is close to the rack than the break light.
So I removed the head liner then removed the antenna. I drilled a hole in the front of the fin and inserted a rubber grommet. I then cut out the hole in the rubber antenna seal. The metal antenna insert already had a hole so there was no need to drill it out.
I punched through the rubber boot near the parking break to get the wires into the engine compartment.
Next, I needed to build wire harnesses for the switches. I needed 4 wire harnesses and each harness would have 4 wires. You can see the wire diagram for details.
Next, I ran the wires to the switch locations and into the engine compartment through the same rubber boot. I used a dremel to cut out the switch holes on the center console and I had to modify the switch holes in the dash to fit the switches.
Next, I fabracated a mount for the fuse block and relays.
Once the fuse block was mounted and all the wiring run, I had to cut off the OEM battery terminals and wire up the new ones. Then I finished out the wiring to all the relays and switches.
Next, I needed to tap a fuse for the LED back light in the switches. I tapped the gauge fuse under the dash. This fuse is a 7.5 amp fuse and I used a 5 amp fuse for the switches.
With everything wired and hooked up and after several lighting tests throughout the process, I was done with the rack and grill, so I moved on to the tool box.
I located the LEDs on the outside and inside of the tool box but I wanted to have the ability to pull the tool box out of the bed if needed so I used a connector and wired the common ground to the drivers side frame and I tapped the hot wire to the drivers side rear light for the power. I wired a switch inside the tool box.
Here are the pictures of everything completed.
Well I hope this was helpful to some of you. Please let me know what you think or if you have questions.
The next Mod will be the rear bumper and I have pre-ordered an ARB bumper for the front.