March 2010 UPDATE!!! - There's now even more new mods posted in this thread by me on Page 3 of the the replies, so be sure to check them out too!
First of all, I want to express my thanks and gratitude to all the members of the TacomaWorld.com forum who made this thread possible, as most of the mods pictured below (and/or variations thereof) are already adequately described in other threads of this forum. However, some of the mods pictured below are indeed “original” and all of which I consider to be “Essential Mods” for every 2nd generation Tacoma. Hope you enjoy this thread and find it useful. It’s simply my way of “giving back” to the forum for all the great help and advice that I obtained by spend literally hours on end researching the tacomaworld.com forums and thus assembling a collection of “Essential Mods” into one convenient place. My goal is also to make this thread one of the most popular and highly visited threads on the TacomaWorld forum so I’ve also included references to Toyota (and other manufacturers) part numbers where applicable. SO BE SURE TO POST YOUR COMMENTS AND FEEL FREE TO ADD TO THIS THREAD TO MAKE IT EVEN BETTER! Ready? Here we go…
Here’s where it all began… With my brand new 2010 Barcelona Red #7161 4-Cylinder, 5-Speed Manual Transmission Toyota Tacoma SR-5 Pre-Runner Access Cab with standard 16” steel wheels.
First, let’s start with security. As most of you know, the tailgate on the newer Tacomas lifts off rather easily. So to keep your tailgate “your tailgate” and to help prevent it from being stolen, I used both the “hose clamp method” and the “cable strap method... A standard 1 ½” hose clamp with JB Weld smoothed over the tightening screw helps prevent it from being removed without a substantial amount of effort. As an extra added measure of tailgate security, I also fastened a piece of 1/8” plastic-coated steel clothesline around the tailgate and down through the small hole in the bed near the D-ring. The two ends of the cable are then secured with cable clamps under the bed (see picture).
And as for the two rear bed cargo area compartments, I added standard 1 ½” cabinet locks to the center of each compartment door. To make the locks even more secure, I also added JB Weld around the inside base of each lock (see picture). Now I can store things like jumper cables (and the like) inside the compartments without the worry of having the stored items and/or the compartment doors stolen.
The next mod is in my opinion the best and most practical mod of all. It involves incorporating a piece of “custom-cut” 5/8” exterior grade B/C plywood as the floor bed. Look closely and you will also see that the plywood is securely fastened to the bed frame itself using four of the existing “torx” bed bolds. As an additional enhancement, I also added four additional stock Toyota D-Rings (Toyota Part # PT278-35054) to each of the four bolts that fasten the plywood directly to the bed frame. They come two D-Rings per set, so I ordered two sets. Now I have six fully-functional D-Rings in the bed of my truck; each of which is fastened directly to the underlying metal frame of the truck for the greatest possible holding strength; not to mention the fact that with the four bed bolts securely holding the plywood in place, there isn’t any rattling or shifting of the plywood floor. Nor is it likely to get stolen, unlike the “drop-in” rubber bed mat option.
Note: Throughout this thread, several Tacoma owners have asked me why I chose plywood for the floor bed. My answer... I routinely use my Tacoma as a work truck and often transport heavy construction materials like concrete blocks, bags of cement, lumber, construction tools (like shovels, picks, a wheelbarrow, and the like), pressure cleaners, and all sorts of heavy metal things that literally have to be slid along the bed floor during loading. And as I found out early on with my last Tacoma of 12 years, plywood seems to hold up the best and can really handle the abrasion caused by raw metal scraping and sliding along the bed floor. In fact, plywood hardly shows any wear or scratching at all, even when subject to extreme use and abuse. So for me, plywood is simply the best choice. Granted, plywood may not be as appealing as other floor bed options, but it really holds up well when subject to the heavy wear and tear of transporting construction materials. And since I store my Tacoma in the garage and out of the weather, I won't be needing to relace the plywood any time soon. Indeed, my last piece of plywood floor bed (in my 1998 Tacoma) lasted 12 years and was sold along with the truck when I recently upgraded to a new 2010 Tacoma Pre-Runner. Hope this helps to clear things up as to why I chose to go with a plywood floor bed.
OK, I just had to do this too… I added four Mini Tie-Downs to the front bed rail (Toyota Part #PT278-35075) to hang those flimsy grocery bags off of. They work quite well for that application but they are kind of pricey… About $35 for a set of two, so again, I ordered two sets. To help protect the Mini Tie-Downs from being stolen, you can remove the torx bed-rail bolt from each end of the bed rail and insert a stack of washers (I used a threaded nut) and then reinstall the torx bolt to act as a “rail-stop” mechanism. This way, the Mini Tie-Downs can’t be slid off without first removing the torx end rail bolt.
And as for a trailer hitch (and in my opinion, every truck needs a trailer hitch), I installed the Curt Manufacturing Model # 13323 Class 3 hitch made exclusively for the 2005-2010 Tacoma. I bought it on eBay for $125 from eBay user “discounthitch.” They originally listed it for $139.99 but accepted my “Make Offer” bid of only $125 which included shipping. Delivery was fast and installing the hitch was easy. Basically “plug and play” and took only about 30 minutes to install. What I especially like about the Curt hitch is that with the receiver removed, the entire hitch fits neatly under the truck with no metal protruding past the rear bumper. This way, you don’t rip your leg off by a protruding hitch when walking behind the truck in close quarters (like when parked in my garage). It’s like the hitch is not even there. Great design. Great hitch.
And now on to safety… There’s been a lot mentioned in the TacomaWorld.com forums about the poor rear view mirror visibility on the newer Access Cab models with the rear headrests blocking the view. Indeed, I also found this to be a problem with my 2010 Access Cab so the rear headrests had to go. There’s a separate thread in the TacomWorld.com forums on how to properly remove the four 10mm bolts securing each rear headrest so no need to repeat it here... Just search on it and you too can benefit from a much-improved rear view mirror visibility without those rear headrests in the way and blocking your view. From my understanding, Toyota was required to include the rear headrests on the newer Access Cab models to comply with rear passenger safety standards. So if you do choose to remove your rear headrests, you do so at your own risk.
Another beef that many of us taller folks have about the newer Tacomas is how the rear view mirror partially blocks the field of view out the front window. While some people opt to change the mirror out entirely with a smaller after-market mirror, I chose not to go that route as I have the back-up camera monitor installed as part of the rear view mirror’s functionality. And as also mentioned elsewhere in the forums, if you closely examine the support mechanism of the rear view mirror, you will notice that you can really pivot the hell out of it (as you push the middle support arm upward toward the ceiling as far as it will go), and then adjust the front portion of the mirror downward to regain visibility. This alone can gain you a significant amount of additional lift and in my case, enough to where I can now safely see out the right side of the windshield without the rear view mirror blocking my front field of vision. Notice that in the picture below, my rear view mirror has been maxed out upward and now rests on the plastic support directly above the mirror. It’s simply won’t go up any further than that. But it’s enough for me and I’m 6’1”.
Like many people, I don’t smoke. So I don’t need a cigarette lighter in my truck. So I replaced it with something that’s both more attractive and practical… An additional “original equipment” 12V power outlet and cover, Toyota Part #’s 85560-06010 (power outlet) and 85535-0C010-B2 (grey cover). Not only does it look better, it actually works better too when used as a 12V accessory outlet. There are also several threads in the forums on how to remove the cigarette lighter so again, no need to repeat the instructions here. Just search on “cigarette lighter” and you can learn how to do this as I did.
To take the 12V power outlet issue one step further, I also added an additional OEM 12V power outlet (and grey cover) to the back of the center console so that passengers in the back seat could have access to a convenient power supply for a laptop, cell phone, or I-pod. Mounted below the 12V power outlet (see the picture below), you will also notice a USB port. It’s a Belkin Micro Auto Charger Model # F8Z446 (available on eBay for about $20) which is also permanently mounted in the rear panel of the center console. I used a bit of JB weld to secure both outlets to the rear console panel and both the 12V power outlet and the 5V Belkin USB port are fed from the same 12V power supply which comes directly from the fuse panel on the lower left side of the dash. Like many people who needed an additional 12V power supply, I used an “Add-A-Fuse” wire plugged into the 7.5A “Accessory” circuit of the fuse panel. This way, when I turn the key off, power to both rear power outlets is also turned off (for safety). Again, there are several threads on how to run an additional power supply using “Add-A-Fuse” so just seek (search on it) and you shall find…
And now, here’s a little enhancement that I personally think is one of the coolest (and stupidest) little mods ever… Go buy yourself a couple containers of Campbell’s Chunky Soup in the rigid microwaveable hard plastic container with the metal “pop-top” lid and red plastic cover. Eat the soup then wash out the container thoroughly. Next, peel the label off and perhaps even use a bit of mineral spirits to remove the residual adhesive label goo. Now, go put that little plastic container in your center console cup holder. Fits perfectly! Now you have easy and convenient access to coins, chapstick, or whatever. And whenever you need to use your cup holder for a drink, just store the little plastic cup in your center console compartment. How easy, convenient and cool! At least I think so. And if you want to add a small measure of security to your new console storage setup, just use the little red plastic lid that came with the soup as a cover. Also fits perfectly… Why wouldn’t it… it came with the soup! I’ve got one in each cup holder (see the picture below). I also splurged and purchased a factory Toyota OEM ashtray (Toyota part # 74102-02140). Since I don’t smoke, I use the ashtray to store bills (money) for easy access as they fit perfectly in the ashtray on edge as if Toyota designed the ashtray just for people who want to store their paper currency in the ashtray (again, see the picture below).
And finally, I installed a set of “Sun-Shade” vent visors made specifically for the 2010 Tacoma. They install inside the lip of the front windows and secure to the rubber trim. A ten-minute installation, but an important addition nonetheless.
So there you have it… My great little collection of “Essential Mods” for every new Tacoma owner. Hope you learned something, and hope you enjoyed the post…. And now, please take a moment to post a reply! If you particularly liked something about this thread, then tells us. If you would like to add some additional input and/or suggestions to make this thread even better, then by all means DO IT! Remember, I’m just the thread starter. It’s now up to you and the Tacoma community to keep this thread alive and turn it into “THE PREMIER SHOWCASE MOD THREAD” of the TacomaWorld.com forums. So get busy posting your replies and additions! And may all the happy Tacoma owners of the world benefit from your contributions to this thread!