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A non-enthusiast's Tacoma build

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

  1. Sep 12, 2020 at 5:19 AM
    #41
    oakcity

    oakcity Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2020
    Member:
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    229
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    First Name:
    Jesse
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Vehicle:
    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
    :rofl::rofl:
     
  2. Sep 14, 2020 at 5:30 AM
    #42
    ardrummer292

    ardrummer292 [OP] Aggregating anecdotal evidence

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2020
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    #320484
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    610
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    First Name:
    Austin
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Vehicle:
    2015 DCLB V6 AT 4x4 1D6
    Work in progress
    ARB bumper installed. The M1 Main Battle Tacoma is starting to take shape.

    119521044_3554955894528302_1644555635050180812_n.jpg

    Why did I buy an overhyped, overweight ARB bumper for a daily driver that rarely leaves pavement? To put it simply: because it allows me to have my cake and eat it, too.

    The OEM bumper does 2 things remarkably well: it protects passengers, and it weighs very little. You will not find an aftermarket bumper that does both of these things better than the stock part. In exchange for these qualities, you have to deal with a relatively fragile part that is designed as a very expensive single-use item.

    Most aftermarket bumpers do one thing (fairly) well: they protect the truck during collisions. In exchange for this protection, you increase the vehicle's weight and compromise passenger safety. Altering or deleting your designated front crumple zone changes the way your onboard safety systems work, although the extent of these changes has not been tested.

    ARB is the only company that makes a Tacoma-compatible bumper that is certified to maintain stock airbag functionality. This is accomplished by replicating the crush rate of the stock bumper via an integrated crumple zone built into the bumper mounting bracket. In addition to accurate triggering of the airbags, this crumple zone also offers a modicum of frame protection during a collision. Take a look through this thread and count how many owners are left with a bent frame thanks to their aftermarket bumper:
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/plate-bumpers-after-impact-with-pics.379600/

    Choosing the ARB over all the other options meant I had to compromise the least on the things that matter most: occupant protection and vehicle protection. In exchange, I had to significantly upgrade my suspension to handle the net +131 lbs of new weight on the front end. Maybe ARB will consider making an aluminum bumper one day; I consider this to be the ideal solution.

    On to the install itself!

    There was a significant amount of prep work that I accomplished before this install, which was done the weekend prior. Organizing, inventorying, and labeling hardware took a couple hours by itself. Be advised: if you don't organize your hardware in advance, you have a looong day ahead of you.

    Drilling mounting holes for the Slee Offroad LED inserts (P/N SOK0049) took another couple painstaking hours, including deburring and painting. This was well worth it, since ARB's optional "fog lights" are actually driving lights, renown for their inappropriate beam pattern and poor performance. I opted for Diode Dynamics SS3 Pro LED fog pods, as reviewed by @crashnburn80 in his thread here:
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads...og-light-review.554813/page-137#post-22622437

    The fog pods weren't quite centered in the Slee inserts, so I had to lop off the top of the LED pod u-bracket to get the lights to sit lower in their square cutout. Pictures below:

    119469431_1660026927493830_2141463800047792525_n.jpg
    Cut u-bracket (left) vs. stock u-bracket (right). Larger washers will be required for the LED pod side bolts.


    LED pods are now vertically centered (more or less) in the Slee insert cutout.

    With the bulk of the pre-install tasks complete, all I had to do was wait for my time slot in the #randyfab garage.

    Fast forward to install day. @ImpulseDan met up with @EatSleepTacos and myself, where I swapped my intact color-matched bumper for his black cut bumper section. This saved Randy the hassle of cutting my OEM bumper, and Dan got hooked up with a complete OEM bumper assembly. Win-win.

    The ARB install itself isn't terribly complicated. The instructions (full color pdf attached), while vague in spots, are generally accurate. There are a few extra things you can do to make the process easier:

    - Pack a pair of AA batteries and masking tape. These will be used to set the gap between your bumper and fender flares. It can be difficult to get this gap even on both sides, so taping an appropriately-sized spacer in place will simplify the process.

    - Have a 90 degree drill adapter on hand. Per the instructions, you are supposed to drill 4 additional holes in the bumper mounting bracket once you get your bumper centered and sitting pretty. These 4 holes and bolts fully lock the bumper into position, removing any possibility of adjustment slippage. The 2 upper holes are fairly easy to access for drilling. The 2 lower holes cannot be reached without a 90 degree adapter. Since Randy didn't have a 90 degree drill adapter on hand (who does?), I currently only have the upper 2 bolts installed.

    - You have a giant, expensive rust magnet strapped to the front of your truck now. Fluid Film the hell out of the inside of the bumper and the entirety of everything else. Embrace the truck butter. 1 can should be fine, unless you're like me and blow through 2.

    - There are threads on various forums discussing ARB bumper issues, post-install. The one recurring complaint I found has to do with the outboard "wings" of the bumper slapping the fender flares, causing a worrying banging sound. I had some adhesive-backed weatherstripping sitting around, so I cut some to length and installed it on top of the aforementioned "wings." For reference, this is the exact spot the AA batteries were taped for setting the bumper-to-flare gap.

    119577811_1236032400082080_119208967110365935_n.jpg

    Once you've made it this far, check the function of your fog lights and turn indicators. Aim your fog lights, tighten the mounting bolts (if using LED fog pods), and you're done!

    Note: the Diode Dynamics SS3 Pro fog pods are so bright it's absurd. With them on, I can't even tell that my Philips LED headlights are on. I'm hoping that my planned Lexus HID retrofit will correct this issue.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
    ImpulseDan and crashnburn80 like this.
  3. Sep 19, 2020 at 4:08 AM
    #43
    ardrummer292

    ardrummer292 [OP] Aggregating anecdotal evidence

    Joined:
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    First Name:
    Austin
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Vehicle:
    2015 DCLB V6 AT 4x4 1D6
    Work in progress
    If you want to avoid getting stressed out, you might not want to read this post.

    I'm finally getting my LCAs replaced under warranty. Be warned: if you try to pull this off, the process for getting these replaced via warranty claim is probably going to be a colossal pain in the ass. Here's a rough play-by-play of how it went down for me.

    -

    August 3, 2020
    I get up with @EatSleepTacos for a pre-lift LCA inspection and anti-seize application. The forwardmost adjustment cam on the passenger's side LCA is seized. Disappointing, but not unexpected.

    -

    August 4, 2020
    I head to my local dealership and tell them what's going on. I ask them if they can break the LCA adjustment cam free. They say yes.

    I pick my truck up that afternoon, assured that the problem has been resolved. I ask for a demonstration to prove the issue has been fixed. They say that the alignment has been dialed in perfectly, so they don't want to have to re-do it. I say fine, I believe you, and drive home.

    -

    August 7, 2020
    Meet up with @EatSleepTacos again to reattempt LCA anti-seize application. It turns out that the dealership didn't fix my problem, despite repeated assurances that they did. I got a $135 toe-and-go alignment, and still have a stuck LCA cam. I get real pissed off. I call Toyota and open a case against the dealership.

    Later that day, I go into the dealership and speak with the customer relations manager, where I am issued a refund. We start over. I explain the issue in painstaking detail, including the relevant OEM part numbers. Notes are taken. I am told that the Toyota Certified Warranty people will be contacted to get a warranty claim started.

    -

    August 10, 2020
    I get a call back from the dealership. The Toyota Certified 12 month/12k mile limited comprehensive warranty, which is still applicable to my vehicle, will not cover this issue. It falls under the broad umbrella of corrosion, which is considered normal wear and tear and is therefore not covered. Oh HELL no, $765 worth of replacement parts is not "normal wear and tear."

    I call Toyota customer service. I would like someone to explain why I'm expected to dump the better part of a grand into a vehicle covered by a "comprehensive" warranty in order to regain factory functionality of essential systems. My concerns are elevated up the chain until someone finally tells me that I should be speaking with Toyota Financial Services, who administer the certified warranty. The regular Toyota customer service line doesn't handle stuff like this. That would've been good to know.

    I call Toyota Financial Services (TFS), where I have a 5 minute conversation with somebody at their headquarters in Cedar Rapids, IA, before a tornado siren cuts our conversation short.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/08/14/cedar-rapids-iowa-derecho/

    -

    Meanwhile... August 10 through 19, 2020
    I call TFS back ~20 times over this range of dates, hoping that the phone system is diverting calls to others working remotely and out of the affected area. No such luck.

    -

    August 13, 2020
    My lift is getting installed the next day, so I need to be sure that this issue has been adequately documented before I void my warranty. I schedule an appointment with the dealership master tech. Once the vehicle is up on the lift, I demonstrate the issue for the master tech. He's quite familiar with this sort of problem, as you might expect.

    -

    August 14, 2020
    I get a call back from the dealership. Warranty claim denied. Since I can't get through to TFS, I contact the Toyota customer service line and ask for advice. They recommend going back to the dealership to get the issue documented on video.

    -

    August 17, 2020
    I meet up with the dealership's master tech. He takes a video of the issue, being very careful not to show any of the aftermarket suspension components that were installed for my lift. I watch the video to make sure it demonstrates the issue adequately. He says this will be submitted as part of my warranty claim.

    -

    August 19, 2020
    Warranty claim denied. Toyota says that sway bar bushings are not covered under warranty.

    ... uh, what?

    I finally get through to TFS. I inform them that the sway bar bushings are not, and have never been, the problem. I tell them that the LCAs are the problem. I ask them if they have seen the video demonstrating the issue. They have no idea what I'm talking about.

    I call TFS again later that day. The rep I'm connected with, the first helpful rep I've encountered, coaches me through the keywords needed to get the issue handled. The failure needs to be attributed to a seizure of the LCA bushings, not the alignment hardware. This isn't a lie, since one part is seized to the other.

    -

    August 20, 2020
    The dealership isn't returning my calls, which is making passing this new information along pretty difficult. Thankfully, they're on my way home from work. I'm not quitting, not yet.

    I show up and wait in the customer relations manager's office. I hand her a printed script, which contains all the keywords needed to get my LCAs replaced under warranty. I ask her to read this when calling in the warranty claim.

    -

    August 25, 2020
    Warranty claim denied. Again. TFS says my only recourse is requesting financial assistance from Toyota customer service.

    I call Toyota customer service and explain the issue, in detail. I ask if they can help. I am told that they need a repair cost estimate from the dealership. I inform the dealership customer relations manager to expect a call from Toyota.

    -

    August 28, 2020
    My Toyota case manager and the dealership finally make contact. Toyota decides to do a goodwill repair and cover the costs 100%. I am provided with a new case number, which has the details of the repair. It's finally over... or so I think.

    -

    September 4, 2020
    I didn't realize that the dealership quoted Toyota for replacement of the LCA bushings, not the entire LCA. Well, they are a dealership, so I'm sure they can pull that sort of thing off.

    Repair parts have arrived. I'm scheduled to have them installed early the following week.

    -

    September 8, 2020
    I'm informed that the dealership master tech is off all this week. I opt to delay my repair appointment until he's back, since he's intimately familiar with my situation.

    -

    September 14, 2020
    I drop off my truck and get a rental for the day. My truck should be ready by tomorrow, at the latest.

    -

    September 15, 2020
    The dealership received the wrong alignment hardware and LCA bushings. I should be all sorted out by tomorrow.

    -

    September 16, 2020
    The dealership informs me that there's an issue with the the LCAs. Everything is seized and will not come out. The dealership doesn't have the Special Service Tool (SST) required to press the rusted mess out without damaging the LCA itself. As it stands right now, the truck cannot be driven.

    New LCAs are required. Since this is all done as a goodwill repair, the dealership customer relations manager has to call Toyota for authorization.

    -

    September 17, 2020
    The dealership master tech has located the relevant SST and reattempted LCA bushing removal, without luck. New LCAs are the only way my truck will be operable.

    The dealership customer relations manager gets in contact with my Toyota case manager about receiving authorization for expanding the scope of the goodwill repair. Toyota denies this request. I now have an inoperable vehicle stuck on a dealership's lift.

    The customer relations manager has a stroke of genius. She calls TFS and informs them that the LCAs on my truck are shot, and then submits a warranty claim to that effect. This warranty claim is instantly approved. New LCAs are ordered, with overnight shipping to expedite the repair process.

    -

    September 18, 2020
    I am told that the LCAs received by the dealership were already earmarked for another Tacoma, which is undergoing frame replacement. The customer relations manager hijacks them, and they are set aside for installation on my truck. Not my idea, for the record.

    -

    Today, September 19, 2020
    Rental returned, and my truck is back in my possession. Will examine the work performed tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
  4. Sep 19, 2020 at 5:33 AM
    #44
    EatSleepTacos

    EatSleepTacos Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Randy
    Hampton Roads, VA
    Vehicle:
    4x4 2005 SR5 AC 6MT
    I’ll believe I when I see it. This has been such a roller coaster of emotions.
     
  5. Sep 20, 2020 at 11:51 AM
    #45
    ardrummer292

    ardrummer292 [OP] Aggregating anecdotal evidence

    Joined:
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    Austin
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Vehicle:
    2015 DCLB V6 AT 4x4 1D6
    Work in progress
    Met up with @EatSleepTacos so he could work on his other, less cool build... a.k.a. my truck.

    The main effort today was originally going to be applying anti-seize to the adjustment hardware in my shiny new LCAs, which I finally got replaced under my CPO warranty. The original LCA bushings and ball joints themselves were fine, but one of the adjustment cams was seized. Details on that ordeal in my previous post.

    As it turns out, the dealership gave my LCA hardware a hearty coat of reddish grease prior to installation. Wiping this grease off and applying anti-seize in its place isn't really an intelligent use of time. Instead of working on my LCAs, Randy and I worked on some minor stuff that doesn't warrant a detailed writeup.

    - Properly aiming fog lights: done myself at oh-dark-hundred this morning in accordance with the instructions below.
    https://www.hardworkingtrucks.com/how-to-align-aftermarket-fog-lights/
    I got the vertical adjustment about right. Zeroing the lights left-to-right is significantly more difficult, since the SS3 fog pods don't really have a discernible "hot spot" to center.

    - Double-checking brake line length: not really necessary for mild (non-MT or LT) suspension mods like mine, but good for peace of mind. My brake lines have plenty of slack at full droop, so no worries.

    - Wheel bearing health check: this was done to put my mind at ease about a very slight grinding/grumbling sensation, which appeared after the lift was installed and seems to be coming from the front of the truck. Both front wheel bearings are a-ok. What I'm feeling can probably be chalked up to the super-stiff front coils transferring road surface imperfections into the frame or cab.

    - Modifying the spare tire bay to accommodate a full-size (32") spare: done using a modified version of the instructions below.
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/cheap-free-mods.4838/page-6#post-47335
    You don't really need to cut the tabs mentioned in the thread off. Get a hammer and whack them flat instead. Easy peasy.

    - Undercoating touch-up: the dealership performed the frame inspection for the K0D TSB while they had my truck last week. It looks like the techs wiped off a good bit of the Fluid Film I had applied in order to see the frame clearly. No wrenching session is complete without truck butter.

    - Beer fridge swag acquired:
    119980128_355291738947091_7749471773862192614_n.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
    EatSleepTacos likes this.
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