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A non-enthusiast's Tacoma build

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Builds (2005-2015)' started by ardrummer292, May 21, 2020.

  1. Aug 6, 2020 at 2:51 AM
    #21
    ardrummer292

    ardrummer292 [OP] Aggregating anecdotal evidence

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    Work in progress
    Dear diary,

    My truck gave me a scare last night. Details to follow.

    943F91D9-7342-4C2F-87F5-0CB7505D99F3.jpg

    I met up with @EatSleepTacos again yesterday to get an ECGS bushing and Offroad Solutions high-angle inner CV boots installed, as well as providing some adult supervision while I performed my long-overdue 30k mile maintenance. The following regular maintenance tasks were completed:

    Rear diff oil change
    Transfer case oil change
    Front diff oil change
    MAF sensor cleaning
    Throttle body cleaning
    Spark plug change

    I was pleasantly surprised by the oil changes, which were easy enough that even I would've struggled to screw them up. Cleaning the throttle body was similarly simple. Cleaning the MAF sensor, while a little nerve-wracking due to the reported sensitivity of the sensor itself, wasn't overly difficult either. Changing out the spark plugs was probably the most difficult and time-consuming task, but that's largely because I started on the driver's side, where my fat sausage fingers and 1/2" ratchet really struggled to fit in some of the tighter spots.

    Interesting things to note for the uninitiated...

    - My ultra-OCD maintenance binder full of DIY maintenance printouts (thanks again @BlackBeerd et. al.) was extremely useful. You may want to consider printing out instructions instead of looking them up on your phone, to keep oil and grime off your screen if nothing else.
    - Differential oil smells strongly of sulfur (rotten eggs). Cracking the drain plug on the rear diff was like a punch in the nose.
    - If you're getting the ECGS bushing installed, you may as well change your front diff oil while you're at it. It seems keeping the oil in the differential while installing this part can be kind of a pain.
    - The Offroad Solutions high angle inner CV boots I ordered came with a couple large orange o-rings. The directions on their website hardly say anything about them:
    https://www.offroadsolutions.com/tech-info/high-angle-cv-boot-kit/
    Randy and I agreed that they're likely meant to be mounted between the 2 largest ribs on the boot itself, forcing the ribs apart to prevent rubbing and wear. I'll snap a picture once the sun comes up to illustrate what I'm talking about.
    - My truck had the factory mix of spark plugs, with NGK on the driver's side and Denso on the passenger's side. The removed NGK plugs gapped at 0.050, while the Denso plugs gapped at 0.044-0.045. I'm not sure if this difference can be attributed to how they were gapped prior to install, or if it speaks to the relative longevity/quality of NGK and Denso. Whatever the cause, I replaced them with a full battery of 6 Denso spark plugs gapped to 0.040.
    - I'd wager that a ratchet extension with a swivel end is mandatory for changing your spark plugs. Not all of them, just the front and rear plugs on the driver's side. There are enough hoses and various other items in the way to make proper socket alignment effectively impossible otherwise.
    - Upon completion of maintenance, don't be surprised if your truck doesn't start the first time you try to fire it up. Give it a couple seconds, then try again. Also, if you had any work done to your CV axles or front suspension, pump the brakes a few times to repressurize the system.

    After 5 hours of diligent wrenching, we were all wrapped up. I got the truck fired up on the second attempt (as is expected) and gave it some juice. Nothing like the sound of a clean, happy engine to vindicate an afternoon of work. With that done, I bid Randy adieu and headed home.

    About 10 minutes into my drive, the VSC light illuminated. A couple minutes after that, the ABS light did the same. Then my tachometer and engine temp gauges went dead. I took a peek down at my UltraGauge to figure out why it wasn't yelling at me... dammit, also dead. The engine was purring along, smooth as ever. Deep breaths, no need to panic.

    I contacted Randy for help, whose unparalleled search-fu rapidly produced this little gem:
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads...emperature-gauge-quits-problem-solved.401119/
    TL;DR today I learned that UltraGauges can cause electrical problems. Temporary and easily fixed electrical problems, so it seems, but disconcerting problems nonetheless. I will be sure to unplug my UG before doing any work on the electrical system in the future.

    *EDIT*
    Here’s a picture of the Offroad Solutions CV boots with the aforementioned rubber ring installed.

    2558B206-A3EB-41E6-A308-FFAC2AD931AE.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
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  2. Aug 8, 2020 at 3:24 AM
    #22
    ardrummer292

    ardrummer292 [OP] Aggregating anecdotal evidence

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    2015 DCLB V6 AT 4x4 1D6
    Work in progress
    77B50A1E-708C-43AA-BA2F-578C31333596.jpg

    I got up with @EatSleepTacos for a third time this week to knock out some more tasks. Unfortunately, not all these went according to plan.

    First off was LCA disassembly. Now that the dealership had broken my one seized LCA alignment cam free, I wanted to remove all the hardware and coat it in anti-seize to prevent the issue from ever happening again. It seems that, whether due to miscommunication or laziness, the dealership did not un-seize my LCA hardware as directed. They gave me a "toe 'n go" alignment and nothing more, leaving me right where I started. Not a great start to the day. I have since gotten the fee refunded by the dealer and submitted a warranty claim to Toyota to fix the issue. We'll see if that pans out.

    With that disappointment out of the way, it was on to slider install. My poor lonely Avid Offroad bolt-on sliders had been sitting in my living room for nearly 3 months, stubbing toes and collecting dust. Randy and I got the passenger side installed easily enough. The driver's side required a bit of work, re-configuring brake line brackets, making protective sleeves (out of clear tubing and zipties) for the brake lines themselves, and suffering through the absurdly heavy coating of Fluid Film I applied to the frame prior to slider install. Mmmmm truck butter.

    Last but not least was a bit of electrical work. I'm not comfortable with electronics - at all - so I thought it wise to seek out a bit of expert assistance. Randy is familiar with this sort of thing, so he graciously helped me out. The first task was removing some cheap add-on LED strips and a seemingly vestigial fog light switch installed by the previous owner.
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/2015-sport-has-an-extra-button.675718/
    What he discovered behind the dash can only be described as a rat's nest of unlabeled/non-color coded wiring, with a permanently-hot relay and bare sections of OEM wiring harness. Horrifying stuff. He traced the wires and cut out all sections that could be confidently identified as non-essential, making everything a helluva lot more manageable. I'm glad I didn't attempt this solo, because I probably would have accidentally started a fire. In addition, he identified a variety of switched power sources (ACC, WSH, WIP, IGN) and a permanently-on power source (DR LCK) in the cab fuse panel. This is important for getting my Blackvue dashcam hooked up to the Power Magic Pro hardwire kit.

    I have hassled Randy quite enough for one week, so I moved on to accomplishing some independent work. I managed to get the Blackvue Power Magic Pro installed in about 4 hours yesterday, being sure to keep all excess wiring neatly bundled and labeled so I don't create a wiring rat's nest of my own. Once the sun comes up, I'm going to finish installing my dashcam and knock out a couple more tasks.

    The most important task today is replacing the cheap-o LED headlights installed by the previous owner with Philips X-treme Ultinon LED headlights. Generally speaking, you should never run LED headlights in a halogen reflector setup, as documented here by @crashnburn80:
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/why-leds-should-not-be-run-in-halogen-reflectors.454371/
    The Philips H4 LEDs, while lacking in performance compared to the aforementioned author's Ultimate Headlight Upgrade, should last a long time. This is important, because I'll need awhile to save up for the optimal solution: a $1000+ Lexus RX350 HID retrofit.

    Of secondary concern is installing USB outlets for the back row. I'm not sure that I'll have time to get this done, but we'll see how it goes.
    https://youtu.be/dVwWxehurtY

    My installer had to postpone setting up my lift kit due to losing power from the tropical storm earlier this week. I don't get to take time off very frequently, so I tried to make the most of my "stay-cation" and get a bunch of corrective measures installed in advance. It turns out that I am effectively getting my lift installed in reverse, going through the bulk of the post-lift troubleshooting process before ever getting new suspension parts installed. Here's to hoping that this effort pays off.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020
  3. Aug 9, 2020 at 9:30 AM
    #23
    ardrummer292

    ardrummer292 [OP] Aggregating anecdotal evidence

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    Work in progress
    I managed to knock out a few more tasks just as my week off work comes to a close.

    -

    85A8B5DB-68AB-4075-AF15-6BC3064A6D66.jpg
    433E5DB4-41E4-4C73-B26D-5F538B04F928.jpg
    2C6D8BB0-177D-4725-A91E-3BAE88DE62D7.jpg
    Completed dashcam and Power Magic Pro control box install. I made a rectangular slot in the bottom of the pictured cubby to run the hardwire kit connector through, then secured the control box itself with double-sided tape.

    -

    3636AC4F-C047-4CC5-893A-E9BC6924CB73.jpg
    DCAE0F71-635E-4A6D-9ADD-C01251C30B6B.jpg
    Troubleshooting and fixing Power Magic Pro hardwire kit installation. Thanks to @EatSleepTacos for the technical assistance identifying a new constant-on circuit. My original plan was ACC for switched power and TAIL for constant power. Turns out that the TAIL circuit is only energized when the headlights are on. Due to space constraints, I changed my switched power source to IGN and constant power source to DR LCK. Ground wire location is behind the lower left panel on the driver's side, circled in red.

    -

    0C041CE6-F00B-492F-AE5E-FFADCB6BE5BC.jpg
    Yanked out these garbage Auxbeam LED headlights and installed the aforementioned Philips X-treme Ultinon LED headlights in their place. I drove out to a strip mall at oh-dark-hundred this morning to aim them, using the 8mm bolts circled in blue mentioned here:
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/adjust-headlights-on-2015-tacoma.468461/
    Aimed using this methodology:
    https://itstillruns.com/adjust-headlights-toyota-tacoma-5031844.html
    The above link lists the wrong tools needed for the task. An 8mm socket is the only tool required, unless you want to move your washer fluid tank (which is held in with 2x 10mm bolts).

    -

    2E881062-61BA-4F44-93F6-30EB08CC0086.jpg
    Installed a Blue Sea Systems dual USB outlet (P/N 1016-BSS) in the rear of the center console. This would not have happened if I didn't already have a 1 1/8" spade bit (for drilling wood) on hand. For some reason, I do.

    -

    69DCAECB-89BA-4476-AE0D-55B132FBCD1D.jpg
    86A7D2B5-3572-421A-BD65-0D487A9F3AA4.jpg
    Due to space constraints, I had to install the USB outlet lower than I would have liked. This meant that the outlet would be covered by my back row trash bag, a DRIVE Bin XL. I added a small u-bolt to the front of the center console to run the trash bag's mounting strap through, which forces the top of the bag to remain just barely below the USB outlets. Due to an oversight on my part, I neglected to consider how this u-bolt would affect reassembly of the center console. It went together, but some pretty forceful (and nerve wracking) whacks were required to get everything lined up.

    -

    04A96A4A-9FF9-4500-BD38-F91B0FE67466.jpg
    My vehicle didn't come with a middle headrest for the back row. I probably wouldn't use it anyway, since no one I know wants that particular seat for a trip of any duration. I instead decided to make it a mounting point for securing my medical kit. A pair of M12 eyebolts, 3 inches long, drop perfectly into the headrest's mounting holes. I added an old MTVR (7 ton) towing carabiner as a through-the-window cargo tiedown point... and because I have no other use for the damn thing.

    -

    63D9B061-A9E3-4791-9698-572E82F6B82A.jpg
    B9EAC9E6-F3EB-4A07-847F-77EC0E160C07.jpg
    Nature abhors a vacuum, MOLLE doubly so. I outfitted my Victory 4x4 center console panels with some convenience items (small GP storage, CCW holster, gas mask pouch as collapsible front row trash bag) as well as some stuff I hope I never need (tourniquets, trauma supplies).
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2020
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  4. Aug 9, 2020 at 11:33 PM
    #24
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 Vehicle Design Engineer

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    Drop in replacement LEDs are not recommended, even the Philips H4. See the Philips 1st and 2nd Generation H4 LEDs in comparison to stock in post 2029 here.
     
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  5. Aug 10, 2020 at 4:25 AM
    #25
    ardrummer292

    ardrummer292 [OP] Aggregating anecdotal evidence

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    I concur with the poor pattern saturation mentioned in the link. The Philips LEDs, while not the best solution, will function suitably as a placeholder while I save up for the RX350 retrofit. Once I get the HID setup I’m after, I plan on selling the LEDs and recouping some of their cost.
     
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  6. Aug 14, 2020 at 8:20 PM
    #26
    ardrummer292

    ardrummer292 [OP] Aggregating anecdotal evidence

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    Work in progress
    Just finished getting my Dobinsons lift kit installed. I'm dead ass tired, so I'll post pictures and measurements tomorrow. Initial impressions are favorable. The truck feels stiffer, which is to be expected with 730 lb spring rate front coils, heavy duty rear leafs, and little added weight; this will change when I add the ARB bumper up front and Mobtown HC bumper in the rear. The ride quality isn't jarring or unpleasant, just less cushy/bouncy than the stock setup. I am experiencing some sort of intermittent clanking sound, which the installer will be troubleshooting with me tomorrow.
     
  7. Aug 15, 2020 at 5:35 AM
    #27
    ardrummer292

    ardrummer292 [OP] Aggregating anecdotal evidence

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    Work in progress
    Managed to get hub-to-fender measurements this morning. I'm sitting at +3 13/16" in the front and +2 1/4" in the rear, with the driver's side 1/8" lower than the passengers side for both front and rear. This is a good bit more lift than I bargained for, so I'm hoping the suspension components settle down soon. @Crikeymike, any idea what kind of final numbers I can expect?

    959D3DB4-8AAC-4042-8793-AF36208DAED5.jpg
    8D5A4D6F-B5FA-4F06-9C67-57885F072586.jpg

    A fair portion of my evening was spent taking driveline angle measurements to determine what corrective measures would need to be installed. This was surprisingly simple. For those of you interested in attempting the same process, I'll try to walk you through it.

    Tools needed -
    - Angle finder: preferably high quality, since cheap ones will sometimes give you weird values
    - Small flat piece of metal: used to lay flat against the transfer case flange and rear diff flange to ensure the angle finder is mated up properly
    - Pen and paper: I recommend sketching everything up as a quick visual aid, and taking additional notes as you go

    First off, determine your stock driveline angles. This will allow you to calculate baseline u-joint working angle values, which will tell you what numbers are okay and what numbers are not. Pay special attention to whether the driveline angles you measure are positive or negative (angled up or down towards the front of the truck). It doesn't matter which one you call positive or negative, so long as you stay consistent. I strongly advise taking all measurements at least 3 times so you can average out the numbers you get. Crazy-looking measurements can be due to operator or equipment error; see if they are repeatable before discarding them. Use the formulas listed below to calculate your u-joint working angles. Don't sweat the math, it's just subtraction.
    36EFB921-FD42-4851-B2F7-199E55845637.jpg

    From there, get your lift installed. Once you have everything torqued down and sitting pretty, measure your driveline angles again. Use the same process as you did in the previous step. The more measurements you take, the better.
    2C245BE0-2782-4D2C-A0F8-C6D9B622DA80.jpg

    Did your lift change your driveline geometry? Of course it changed the angles, but did it change the direction of the angles? This will affect what corrective measures you use, if any.
    27204F8A-A4B7-4A17-AE75-8FC6B08C2F1A.jpg

    Now, compare your post-lift u-joint operating angles to your stock u-joint operating angles:
    Are any of them over 3 degrees when they weren't before? According to Spicer, that's not good.
    Is your transfer case u-joint working angle over 0.5 degrees? It probably is, and it probably was before you installed the lift. So long as it isn't too far off from stock, you should be fine.
    Are your center u-joint and rear diff u-joint working angles about the same? Not exactly the same, just within a half degree of each other or so. If not, you'll probably need to take corrective measures to prevent driveline vibrations.
    50693754-2AE7-4830-9C06-42DA01B30A32.jpg

    No matter what the angles say, take it for a test drive before installing corrective measures. Drive it slow, drive it fast, brake hard, accelerate hard, do everything you can to induce a problem. Don't just drive around the block and call it good. Bring a friend if you can so you can get another butt dyno in the mix.

    From here, you have your choice of corrective measures:
    - Need to reduce the transfer case u-joint angle? Flip the carrier bearing upside down. This will also affect your center u-joint angle (could reduce, invert, or increase, depending on driveline geometry) and increase your rear diff u-joint angle.
    - Need to reduce the rear diff u-joint angle? Install a carrier bearing drop. This will also increase your transfer case u-joint angle and affect your center u-joint angle (could reduce, invert, or increase, depending on driveline geometry)
    - Need to reduce the rear diff u-joint angle without messing with the other angles too much? Install an axle shim.
    - Can't quite get the center u-joint angle and rear diff u-joint angle to match? You can get a custom single-piece driveshaft from Tom Woods, which deletes the center u-joint entirely; this is not an option for DCLB and some re-geared trucks. You can also get a two-piece double cardan driveshaft from a variety of shops, some of which may be local to you; this type of driveshaft will theoretically allow your center u-joint angle to be double the rear diff u-joint angle, which means you'll still likely need axle shims. Below is the price quote I received from a highly-regarded local driveline shop for retrofitting my OEM two-piece driveshaft with a double cardan joint and replacing all other u-joints plus the carrier bearing.
    FB03649C-8E1F-4565-A5EC-5D4F8B0848F7.jpg

    From my measurements and driving a half hour on the highway last night, it seems that I don't need any corrective measures at all. My transfer case u-joint angle didn't change much, which is no surprise. My center u-joint angle inverted and ended up nearly matching my rear diff u-joint angle (closer than stock), which is great. All angles are less than the maximum 3 degrees specified by Spicer. I'm going to hold on to my CB drop kit and 2 degree axle shims until the suspension settles down, just in case weird issues manifest later on.

    @Crom, let me know if any of this is bad advice.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2020
  8. Aug 16, 2020 at 8:01 AM
    #28
    ardrummer292

    ardrummer292 [OP] Aggregating anecdotal evidence

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    Got my truck aligned yesterday. This was desperately needed, since getting SPC UCAs dialed in is damn near impossible without professional assistance. JBA UCAs (as recommended by @EatSleepTacos and many others) would've been a better choice for a straightforward install. I'm hoping the extra adjustability offered by the SPCs (and the significant extra cost associated) is put to good use when I increase my tire size and want to retain mud flaps.

    40C886F8-715A-4597-B9BA-647B4CA5B02E.jpg

    The following pictures are of my CV angles, passenger and driver side. I'm not entirely sure that the high-angle inner boots were a necessary addition. I certainly don't regret it, especially considering how high the front-end lift came out. You say overkill, I say factor of safety.

    48B8A35A-5043-4E15-A9A8-044DD836EA2E.jpg 8506E9D7-59C9-4625-BC46-C95F113E1C63.jpg

    I also replaced the cut-up headlight boots with new OEM replacements, P/N 90075-65002. The existing boots were cut to accommodate the previously-installed trashy Amazon LED headlights. My new Philips LED headlights require no such modification.

    E7FC31E3-AC00-4049-B5C5-BB74954A5E14.jpg

    So, with all the routine stuff out of the way, how does the truck drive now? In the 100 miles I've put on it since lift installation, I'd say it isn't bad compared to stock. The bounciness present after installing my sliders on the stock suspension has unsurprisingly vanished. Nose dive while braking is all but gone, as is body roll when taking tight turns. The VSC hasn't activated while taking exit ramps, which is a huge relief. I have very little down-travel available due to the way over-specced front coils, so I have to be extra careful to avoid potholes until I get my ARB front bumper installed. All in all, I'm fairly pleased.
     
  9. Aug 17, 2020 at 6:10 AM
    #29
    Crikeymike

    Crikeymike Well-Known Member Vendor

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    That's why your front is sitting higher, because you don't have all the weight on it yet.
     
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  10. Aug 17, 2020 at 6:19 AM
    #30
    ardrummer292

    ardrummer292 [OP] Aggregating anecdotal evidence

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    I figured that would be the case, but will the ARB alone (no winch) eat up 3/4"? I don't want to exceed 3" front end lift when all is said and done, since that's when the boogeyman shows up.
     
  11. Aug 20, 2020 at 6:39 AM
    #31
    JMcFly

    JMcFly Well-Known Member

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    This build has high quality documentation I enjoy.
     
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  12. Aug 20, 2020 at 6:53 AM
    #32
    ardrummer292

    ardrummer292 [OP] Aggregating anecdotal evidence

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    This is partially so others can understand the processes used to get my end result, partially for my own reference because my memory sucks. I'm glad you appreciate it.
     
  13. Aug 22, 2020 at 3:47 PM
    #33
    ardrummer292

    ardrummer292 [OP] Aggregating anecdotal evidence

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    Got a minor mod done today in the form of adding storage for my jack stands and wheel chocks. Simple enough to execute: drill through toolbox, bolt on d-rings, rig 1/4" bungee cord.

    8D4FDAB6-FB57-4874-A32D-B0C789F21DFF.jpg
    CEDCA279-5C41-42E8-A68D-AC2292717E90.jpg

    Jack stands are Torin Big Red, 6 ton variant. No Harbor Freight for this guy.

    Chocks are 2 pairs of solid urethane Vestil URWC-2, which are technically a touch small for my upcoming 32" tires. Per industry standards, chock height should be a minimum of 25% of tire diameter. These chocks are only 6" tall, a bit shy of the 8" they should be. I think I may be the only person who considers this sort of thing, so I imagine I'll be fine.

    Once I get my order of side rail mounts x2 pairs from First World Problems Fabrication, I'll be able to get the collapsible sledge and halligan tool stored on the bed rails and out of the way.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2020
  14. Aug 30, 2020 at 12:13 PM
    #34
    ardrummer292

    ardrummer292 [OP] Aggregating anecdotal evidence

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    My First World Problems Fab order showed up: 2 pairs of universal bed rail tool mounts. I opted for these (mostly) un-drilled mounts instead of completed mounts because of my relocated bed rails. BakFlip tonneau covers require the side rails to be lowered a couple inches, making all currently available “plug-and-play“ solutions incompatible. After a few hours of measuring, cutting, bending, drilling, and test-fitting, I got everything installed and tidied up. The QuickFist tool clamps hold everything quite securely.

    0BE8AFFF-0F36-47E9-9430-14AA5DE979B5.jpg
    7F20F7A4-B19B-4137-A495-4AEEAFB21379.jpg
    E6D821D5-B82A-479F-949F-B622B7426876.jpg
     
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  15. Aug 30, 2020 at 12:48 PM
    #35
    EatSleepTacos

    EatSleepTacos Well-Known Member

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    Randy
    Hampton Roads, VA
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    4x4 2005 SR5 AC 6MT
    That is a hell of a hammer
     
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  16. Aug 30, 2020 at 1:15 PM
    #36
    ardrummer292

    ardrummer292 [OP] Aggregating anecdotal evidence

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    Austin
    Virginia Beach, VA
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    Work in progress
    Collapsible MOE sledge bro. My handy dandy portable door deleter, for when I forget my house keys.
     
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  17. Sep 11, 2020 at 7:20 AM
    #37
    ardrummer292

    ardrummer292 [OP] Aggregating anecdotal evidence

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    Austin
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    Work in progress
    Got some work done on the truck last night. Or, to be more accurate, @EatSleepTacos got work done while I paced around like a worried mother.

    119236911_781709815963380_7134374858626054249_n.jpg

    Rear diff breather debacle

    First, I'd like to share my experience with the Low Range Offroad Toyota Axle Housing Breather Kit (P/N TAX-AHBK), used to execute the "rear diff breather mod." If you aren't familiar with this mod, it basically ensures that your hot differential doesn't ingest water when suddenly submerged in cool water while fording flooded areas. Further reading here:
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/rear-diff-vent-behind-the-tail-light-mod.286097/

    The Low Range Offroad kit appeared to be a tidy pre-packaged alternative to sourcing each component individually. Since I already had so many parts listed on my build spreadsheet (442 rows and counting), any logistical simplification I could exploit would be convenient. The price for the kit is about what I would pay for each individual component anyway, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

    This turned out to be a mistake.

    I was snugging up the union fitting in place of the stock rear diff breather, when it broke off with the threads stuck inside the diff. At the time of breakage, the union had just passed finger tight, so maybe 5 ft-lbs of torque. As you can see, the 6" handle 1/4" ratchet I was using isn't exactly a breaker bar.

    Broken union and ratchet.jpg

    Commence freakout. I have entered Fuck City, population me. Minor stroke o'clock. Etc.

    Randy, in all his Randyness, had a simple solution that had escaped my lizard brain. Hop in his car, go to the hardware store, and buy a spiral screw extractor. Use that to remove the broken threads, then reinstall the stock breather and try again on a later date with a non-Chinesium union fitting.

    Broken union and extractor.jpg

    This solution worked perfectly, smoothly removing the broken union threads and allowing reinstallation of the stock breather. Crisis averted.

    I called Low Range Offroad immediately after the breakage, where I was connected to Jesus. Jesus told me that the breakage was due to installer error and the company would probably not take any action to make it right. There was no mention of possible quality issues with the union itself, and my questions regarding this topic were dismissed out of hand. I will follow up on this message if they make an effort to rectify the situation; as it stands now, I cannot recommend doing business with this company.

    Snorkel selection

    So, with that bit of unpleasant business out of the way, let's talk about snorkels and why I chose the one I did for my truck.

    Getting a snorkel was a no-brainer for me. I hydrolocked my old F150's engine while driving on pavement with zero standing water. The wind was so strong during Hurricane Matthew that it literally fired rain-saturated air into the air intake, located in the driver's side wheel well behind a liner. Seeing as how the Tacoma's air intake is in a much more vulnerable location (passenger's side, where standing water on the road is the deepest), a snorkel was an absolute necessity.

    I went for the much more expensive ARB snorkel (~$550) over the cheaper Dobinsons (~$350), Airflow (~$440), and generic Hilux (~$100) snorkels for a variety of reasons. These are the primary two:

    - Quality template: You're drilling holes in your truck. Shit is scary. I don't know about you, but I want to make damn sure they're getting drilled in the right spot. Dobinsons snorkels have notoriously inaccurate templates, and Hilux snorkels (unsurprisingly) don't come with one that works for a Tacoma. ARB's template is spot on.

    - Larger diameter: ARB's snorkel has a 4" outer diameter, which is significantly larger than the ~3.5" diameter of the other options. This isn't important in and of itself, but does allow for a reasonable deduction: if the outer diameter is larger, and the material thickness is about the same, then the inner diameter is larger as well. That means a 4" snorkel has ~30% more cross-sectional flow area than a 3.5" snorkel. The result is, for any given cfm (air flow rate), the velocity of the airflow will be lower with the ARB snorkel than with any of the other snorkels. The importance of this is discussed in the next section.

    There are a couple less critical considerations that came into play:

    - Extensive R&D/engineering: ARB didn't become dominant in the market on accident. Their products are well thought-out, with copious amounts of math (ew) to back up every design choice. Certainly a confidence-inspiring design approach.

    - Reported to fit closer to the A-pillar: I have no experience with other snorkels, so I can't provide a comparison here. Anecdotal evidence suggests that ARB's snorkel fits closer to the A-pillar, obstructing less of your field of view. Shown below is a fairly accurate representation of my field of view from the driver's seat. Minor obstruction, but not enough to be annoying.
    119205990_320807375870881_6308228867087036424_n.jpg

    Pre-filter selection

    I decided to get a pre-filter due to concerns about the water-shedding ability of the stock "ram air" snorkel head. Some of the storms we get on the east coast are pretty hardcore, so it's not a stretch to think that driving at highway speed in a torrential downpour might overwhelm the stock snorkel head's drain holes and lead to hydrolock. A side benefit is keeping my air filter a bit more clean; it's not terribly dusty in coastal VA, but bugs are thick in the air for a significant part of the year.

    Choosing a pre-filter was actually the most difficult part of this process. If you're in a similar situation, maybe my methodology will help. The most important step is determining your airflow requirements. That means doing some math (ew). Airflow required for a 1GR-FE is calculated as follows:

    Airflow (in cfm) = [ RPMs x Engine displacement (in ci) x Volumetric efficiency ] / 3456
    where
    Engine displacement = 241.4 ci
    Volumetric efficiency for a NA engine (not supercharged) = 0.80 for RPMs < 2500, 0.75 for 2500-3000 RPMs, 0.70 for 3000-4000 RPMs, and an assumed 0.60 for RPMs > 4000

    This gave me the following airflow values:
    500 RPM - Idle (warm) - 28 cfm
    1000 RPM - Idle (cold) - 56 cfm
    1500 RPM - City speed - 84 cfm
    2000 RPM - Highway speed - 112 cfm
    2500 RPM - Highway passing - 131-140 cfm (depending on V.E. value used)
    3000 RPM - Emergency acceleration - 157 cfm
    4000 RPM - Revving to jump start another car - 196 cfm
    5500 RPM - Red line - 231-269 cfm (depending on V.E. value used)

    With the preliminary calculations done, I started searching for a pre-filter that would fit my needs. After hours and hours of searching, I couldn't find a single one that encompassed the entire range of airflow values I needed. While there are lots of pre-filters that meet or exceed my upper airflow limit requirements, most pre-filters out there either have an excessively high lower cfm limit or they don't have one specified at all. I eventually narrowed down my search to 4 options:

    - Donaldson ClearView H001249: bottom-fed, cyclonic manually-cleaned design, rated for ???-170 cfm. Probably the most common pre-filter choice.
    - Turbo III Model 50: top-fed, cyclonic self-cleaning design, rated for 50-250 cfm
    - Enginaire 61513: bottom-fed, cyclonic self-cleaning design, rated for 75-250 cfm
    - Sy-Klone 9001: bottom-fed, cyclonic self-cleaning design, rated for 100-275 cfm

    I'm all about minimum maintenance, so I dismissed the Donaldson ClearView due to its required manual cleaning. Since I'm trying to protect against water ingestion, a top-fed design doesn't make much sense; the Turbo III was also dismissed. This left me with the Enginaire and Sy-Klone.

    In the end, the Sy-Klone 9001 edged out the Enginaire 61513. The Sy-Klone drops right onto the ARB snorkel without any adapters needed, whereas the Enginaire would require a 3" to 4" expansion adapter. The Sy-Klone also comes with a screen, preventing bugs from getting sucked in and gumming up the cyclone turbine blades.

    119176521_356139722229289_3066319362970161056_n.jpg

    There is one glaring inconsistency in my decision-making process: the Sy-Klone's lower cfm limit is higher than the Enginaire, at 100 cfm (correlates to ~1800 RPM) vs 75 cfm (correlates to ~1350 RPM). This discrepancy is of little concern due to the physics of how rain (my most frequently-encountered air contaminant) would likely interact with the airflow around the pre-filter. The larger 4" diameter of the Sy-Klone's mounting interface maintains the benefits of lower airflow velocity gained by use of the larger ARB snorkel. Lower flow velocity means less likelihood of rain fighting gravity, doing a u-turn, and getting sucked upwards into the pre-filter. The Enginaire pre-filter requires an expansion adapter, effectively reducing the diameter, losing the benefits of the ARB's larger diameter body and increasing flow velocity. You know, momentum stream calculations (more math, ew).

    I hope this is a coherent explanation of my course of action. If not, enjoy some pretty pictures.

    Very slight gap between the fender and snorkel. I doubt anyone has installed a snorkel with no gap at all.
    119114846_3273849629402992_3348363919940920821_n.jpg

    A-pillar bracket, riveted into place. Way to go @EatSleepTacos, it seriously looks awesome. You can also see a smidge of RTV sealant squeezing out from underneath; we used a lot.
    119122565_746282472820855_3333095841681845056_n.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2020
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  18. Sep 12, 2020 at 2:03 AM
    #38
    ardrummer292

    ardrummer292 [OP] Aggregating anecdotal evidence

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    Work in progress
    Follow-up on my experience with Low Range Offroad. I did not receive any confirmation that Jesus had passed my concerns up his chain of command, so I sent an email documenting my experience to Low Range's general contact email. Yesterday evening, I received an email indicating that I will be getting a full refund.

    I rescind my previous recommendation to avoid Low Range Offroad. Maybe Jesus was having a bad or especially busy day; we've all been there. In the end, they are making it right, so I have no complaints. The quality of the parts included in their rear diff breather kit is still suspect, so I'd certainly avoid that particular product.
     
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  19. Sep 12, 2020 at 4:39 AM
    #39
    oakcity

    oakcity Well-Known Member

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    Jesse
    Raleigh, North Carolina
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    2009 Grey Tacoma Extended Cab
    285 70/17 Wildpeak AT3W TRD Sport Wheels Ironman 4x4 Stage 2 Nitro Kit, BAMF Hybrid Front Bumper, Tom Woods Driveshaft, Cowl Air Mod
    Praise Jesus lol
     
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  20. Sep 12, 2020 at 5:11 AM
    #40
    ardrummer292

    ardrummer292 [OP] Aggregating anecdotal evidence

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    Work in progress
    How could I get a refund if Jesus isn’t real? Checkmate athetits.
     
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