Hey guys. I'm a new owner of a 2014 manual 4x4 (SR5) Tacoma. I made a monetary descision buying the non-OR version in manual. The price tag without A-TRAC, Alloy wheels, Rear locker and auto transmision saved me over $6000 (including tax). I spent around $31,000 to fit my budget. In my New Memeber introduction I mentioned I mostly needed a truck for work. Carrying supplies to and from work sites is going to be 90% of what the truck for the forseeable future. But lets face it, I went 4x4 because I want to get out into the rugged terrain around Las Vegas. I've been out into the hills with a buddy who has an off-road ready Jeep Wrangler. Massive tires, huge lift, front and rear winches, air compressor etc. The trails were pretty hairy looking to a beginner (me) but the locations we got to were beyond belief. I knew I'd return to the desert on my own some day. And that is the plan. I have the standard cheap Dunlops that came with the vehicle and plan on upgrading those first. Besides a laundry list of modifications that I will do once the $$$ becomes available my main concern is manual transmission off-roading. Mods will come but my main concern is the DRIVING.
There are two main threads that have caught my interest. The first is the Death Valley off-roading trips. DV is really close and omg the views and camping look amazing. However, I also realize a lot of what is posted in that thread are highly technical drives. I won't be running out to the desert with a bottle of water and some sun screen and think my truck or my current skills are up to snuff. DV is just a future goal to aim for.
The other thread I read crushed my balls a little. It was the Manual vs. Auto which ones stronger thread. The 95%+ votes for automatic transmissions was a little more than humbling. I got a little red in the face feeling a little foolish about my purchase. But about 4 seconds later I snapped out of it. It's still a Tacoma. And people have been off-roading in manual transmissions for a lot longer with a lot less truck than what is parked outside my door right now. (If any of you have not watched "Horatio's Drive" about the first guy to drive across the antire country (early 1900's) watch it. You won't be dissapointed) What I gleened from the thread was that manual is not so much inferior to auto (tho it may be???) but more specifically requiring more concentration and skill by the user. Burning your cluth to death hundreds of miles from civilization is not only embaressing and expensive but quite possible deadly.
So here's a little bit about my background. I was born and raised on manual transmissions. When I was 16 and learning to drive my parents owned two manuals. It was a pain in the ass learning and I often thought my folks just didn't love me while I stalled the car at green lights and rolled the Honda Accord into angry drivers behind me on inclines. (only happened once... the guy was cool and there wasn't any damage). But once I got it down and burned out one clutch I was hooked. I've loved driving manuals ever since. My skill level off roading is beginner. I used to own a 2007 FJ Cruiser in auto when I lived in Chicago (we got auto because my wife has never driven a manual and were a one car family). My 4x4 experience was all about the snow. Two days after we bought her it snowed 16". I used to carry a steel shovel around in our old Toyota Avalon. It was a necesity. After we bought the FJ I always carried the shovel around out of habit. I ended up using it about 5 times that winter. Always to help some Civic or other 2x4 out of there parking spot. The FJ taught me the merits of 4x4 and I can't imagine owning a truck or SUV without it. This is where my OR experience ends (at least on the drivers side of the vehicle).
So I'm concerned about driving my manual in 4lo. I've not been on roads yet (tires mostly) that this would be a good idea. I wanted to know about the Do's and Don't from experienced manual drivers out there on the forum. I don't want to kill my truck or myself as I move into the world of off-road, which is honestly why I NEEDED a Tacoma as a work truck. Any advice, links to posts, stories with happy endings or worse would be much appreciated.
Thanks for reading this if you got this far.