Hello to everybody here.
As you may have guess from my handle, Hunt4Steve, my name is Steve Hunt. I currently live in Santa Fe, NM and work in Los Alamos, NM. The commute from my door to the office door is 40 miles. I used to have a '92 Corolla that would get 41 to the gallon, but I gave it to somebody else who really needed it. So, I commuted in my truck for a week to measure the gas mileage......that's the last time I commute in my truck for an extended period. My wife gets up with me now at 5AM and gets me to the bus stop at 5:20AM. The bus is soooo much cheaper. The money I save can go towards other mods or toys, such as a Lapstick guitar I'm getting. But I digress, I'm here to talk about Toyotas.
I've been wheeling for many, many years. Heck, when I was a kid I drew a picture of a four wheel drive cresting a small hill, suspension flexed out, narly tires, etc. It was pretty cool. In fact, this shot is very similar to what I drew.
to see more photos and videos of this rig, click on the picture to be taken to my site.
Well, I've since moved on. I'm now into the dirt bike scene and I'm really enjoying it, besides, its much, much cheaper. So, I was in need of a truck to haul my bike around, and pull my pop-up trailer. After selling the 4Runner, I cam across a very nice 05 Taco on the Denver Craigslist. I also saw it posted in the TTORA forum. I contacted the guy, we emailed, we haggled and we settled on a price we both could live with. I flew up to Denver, handed the money over and drove the truck home.
I'm somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to mechanics. Since I've lived in the computer/electronics world so long, to me, the result is either on or off, its right or wrong, very rarely is there a middle ground. If so, I guess it could be called Fuzzy Logic, or just static in the line. When I got the truck, of course I noticed there were some issues that were not communicated to me before I flew up. For one, the speedo was off a bit, about 12%. Now I don't know how long its been off, but suffice it to say, it was off. I brought my GPS to assist me on the way home in just how fast I was going. the BFG/MT tires were cupped and way out of balance. So, those had to go. The alignment was out, which I guess you could expect these things on a 4x4.....I guess. So, I set about fixing the small things.
I now have a set of Yokohama 315/70R17 A/T-S tires mounted on the Moto Metal wheels. I ordered a spare wheel and so now I have a full set of 5 tires.
I fixed the speedo problem with a Digital Dakota (which I just realized, I still have posted my info yet.....gotta get busy).
I noticed that the LCD display is very hard to see when wearing Polarized sunglasses. Here in the Southwest, having sunglasses is a necessity. So, I ditched the factory stereo for a nice Pioneer with a hookup into the factory steering wheel, and a Ipod, and my XM radio. So far, everything is working very well.
Body Mount clearance:
I notice that the previous owners were trying to clearance the fenders with the tires. Instead of doing things the rough way, I chose to cut into the body mounts and make room for the tires. you can see that glue-gun job on my site as well.
Then, I found that the cleats in the bed rails were just not up to par when it came to securing down a motorcycle. So, trailer D-rings were ordered up and fabricated into the side wall of the truck bed. So far, no issues.
The previous owner saw to it that 4Wheel Parts in Denver put in a set of 4.88:1 gears for the 35" tires. This certainly has made a difference in the acceleration and power off the line.
Wheel Stud upgrade:
I've noticed that the stock wheel studs are great for the factory wheels, but when it comes to after market wheels that have a thick center mount, they are not so good. So, I did some research and found that the REAR studs on a 2003 Toyota Matrix are a perfect upgrade. They are the same dimensions as the Tacoma, just 1/2" longer.
ARB Bull Bar w/winch:
The previous owners had the Bull Bar installed, probably by 4Wheel Parts, based on the paint markings on the bolts. I didn't get any paperwork on the winch, but I'm guessing its at least an 8K or 9K. The winch had 120' of Amsteel Blue synthetic line wrapped around the drum, which is much better then steel. So, I was happy about that little token.
There is a K & N Cold air intake with the large cone filter that helps in getting more air to the engine. Again, it appears to be professionally installed.
When I got the truck, the Fabtech 6" lift was installed, and the front coils were cranked to get the front end higher. Again, 4Wheel Parts did the work. Of course the previous owner didn't realize that cranking the front so high would cause premature failure of the CV boots, due to the boot fins rubbing on each other. I lowered the front coils back to a sensible height, and the ride is so much nicer. Of course, when the coils were lowered, this amplified the issue of the tires and the Body mounts. But, as noted above, the angle grinder with a cut off blade quickly remedied that. The lift kit came with standard shocks in the rear, which the previous owner switched out for Rancho 9k adjustable shocks. Very nice setup for the rear.
I'm planning on making a tire mount for the spare tire, and mounting it into the bed of the truck. The 35" tire won't fit under the truck, so I will make a locking mount that keeps the spare locked up, and prevents thieves from making off with the tire.
So, as of right now, thats my story, and I'm sticking to it. I hope to contribute to this forum with thought provoking dialog and technical information.