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Hammerhead - the 4x4 DCLB tow and trail rig

Discussion in '3rd Gen. Builds (2016+)' started by synaps3, Jun 11, 2020.

  1. Jun 11, 2020 at 1:47 PM
    #1
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
    Member:
    #211822
    Messages:
    932
    First Name:
    Dave
    Los Alamos, NM
    Vehicle:
    2017 White SR5 4x4 DCLB
    SOS armor, ARE MX walk-in, Fox coils, Dakar leafs, etc
    It's big, white, and a bit ugly - just like the shark of the same name. It's built to tow / haul, hit mild trails, and be the family base camp for adventures. It's heavy, but capable, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

    Hope you enjoy the build and adventures.

    Most recent picture:

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    [​IMG]

    Current Specifications:
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Base:
    2017 Toyota Tacoma SR5 4x4, purchased new Tuesday, March 21 2017.

    Currently 62k miles (May 2021).

    The truck currently tips the scales at around 6k lbs loaded, so it's over GVWR. She's a big girl.

    Camper - ARE MX:
    ARE MX camper top
    -Walk-in option
    -Driver’s side toolbox
    -Windoors
    -Lots of tools / kits / recovery gear
    -Adventure supplies - dog stuff, baby stuff, toiletries​
    T-Slot bed platform with storage vault up front
    -Storage bins under both sides, lots of camping gear
    -Full mess kit, butane stove, etc​
    Dometic cc-40 refrigerator on slider integrated with platform
    Wall cabinet with molle storage for gear and storage nets for clothes
    Interior lighting, switching, bluseas panel, voltmeter
    12v inverter
    Bajarack (camper) - BR-MEGAMULE-LP-0, flipped and front fairing chopped off
    2.5m Square Foxwing Awning with Annex

    Armor - SOS Offroad Concepts:
    SOS Offroad Concepts Streamline Bumper
    -Superwinch LP10000 Winch, roller lead, recovery shackles
    -Quickdisconnect, cab-integrated controls​
    SOS Offroad Concepts Sliders, flat / kickout
    SOS Offroad Concepts IFS Skid
    SOS Offroad Concepts Mid Skid
    SOS Offroad Concepts Tcase Skid
    SOS Offroad Concepts HC Rear bumper w/ swingout
    -Jerry can holder w/ Harbor Freight jerry can (loaded w gas), upgraded spout
    -plate bracket relocated to swingout, leds added
    -rear camera on jerry can holder
    -hi-lift jack mount, hilift jack
    -dropdown table made out of food-grade HDPE
    -hitch step (broke, need to replace), ball, BOLT pin​
    RCI Metalworks Fuel Tank Skid

    Suspension - Fox and OME from Headstrong Offroad:
    Fox 2.5 Coilovers
    -Eibach 700lb springs (EIB-14003000700S)​
    Old Man Emu Dakar HD Leaf Pack
    -Sumosprings SSR-610-40​
    Fox 2.0 extended length shocks
    Stock SR5 wheels
    -Factory tires failed catastrophically at ~10k miles: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/stock-tire-sidewall-failure.521487/
    -skinny 31” BFG KO2s (235/80r16) failed after ~15k miles: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/ga-tacoma-owners-bs-thread.17642/page-916#post-20992016
    -33" 285/75r16 Pathfinder ATs​
    1.25” wheel spacers (front and rear)

    Interior/Exterior - Too much to summarize, expand:

    Bajarack (cab) - BR-TYTCM-UT-SFA-0
    BluSeas panel and relay bank under hood, breaker cutoff
    Cab Mount Chop
    Front Bumper Clearance Chop
    Clazzio Black Leather Seats with added seat warmers
    Comms
    -CB Radio - Unidan Bearcat 990SSB
    -ASTATIC mic
    -3’ Firestik, mounted to roof rack
    -PA Amp
    -PA speaker
    -Radio mounted to Yo_Hec Molle Panel (passenger side)​
    -HAM Radio - BTECH UV25x4
    -Nagoya-771, mounted to roof rack
    -Radio mounted to Yo_Hec Molle Panel (passenger side)​
    -Kyocera Duraforce 2
    -Mounted to Dash MultiMount (DMM) on RAM mount
    -Integrated USB (dual 3A) power added to DMM panel
    -GAIA GPS/hotspot​
    GW1-B dashcam, hardwire kit to mirror, mirror mount kit
    Integrated winch controls, camera controls / camera switcher (front / rear camera)
    Lighting
    -"Raptor" grill LEDs
    -Amber LED fogs
    -Rigid D-SS knock-offs - flood beam on roof rack
    -Rear floodlights
    -Side floodlights
    -VisionX Light Cannon knock-offs - spot beam on front bumper​
    Onboard Air - Viair 450C-IG, cab controls, rear chuck on HC bumper, flex hose, deflators, etc
    Passenger Storage Net
    Mesojdm interior lights - maps and dome
    Mesojdm CP8 switch panel - Driver Left w/ CH4x4 switches
    Mesojdm LSP5.1 panel - Center w/ CH4x4 switches, upgrade USB charger, voltmeter
    Rally Armor mudflaps up front
    Redline hood struts
    Ultragauge, windshield-mounted by mirror
    Tuffy Console Vault
    VSC / rear lighting controls moved to center console
    Lots of misc - AVS in-channel window visors, All-weather floormats, Debadged, Door sill protectors, kick mats behind front seats, LED bulbs everywhere, passenger grab handles etc...

    Engine and drivetrain
    Auxiliary trans cooler
    Exhaust chop (at rear axle for HC rear)
    Fumoto valve
    Metal filter housing upgrade
    ARB 170112 Differential Breather Kit (front and rear diff)

    Otherwise stock. Planned mods:
    Will add lockers if ever needed; haven't gotten that stuck yet. :D

    The Build Log:
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Early 2017

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    My initial parameters were dual cab with 4x4. I ordered an SR with the convenience package in DCSB from Marietta Toyota. I don't want bells and whistles, and the added features on the OR can be replaced for less than the cost of the difference in trim. Plus I really dislike vehicles without a keyed ignition.

    I put down a deposit... And waited. And waited. The dealer gave me the runaround, and weeks went by. I cancelled the order and ended up having to dispute the charge for the deposit because Marietta Toyota wouldn't refund it. My search continued...


    During this time, SOS Offroad Concepts - http://sosoffroadconcepts.com/toyota-armor/ / https://www.tacomaworld.com/forums/sos-offroad-concepts.162/ was running their yearly Tax Time sale. I ordered an IFS skid, sliders, and a streamline bumper... Before I even owned a truck :eek:

    Capture.jpg


    SOS was, and still is, awesome. They're great. More on them later.


    March 21 2017
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I kept looking, and realized how constrained I'd be with a short bed. The extra foot of space makes a huge difference in functional space - plus I can camp in the back of a 6' bed.

    I started looking for a DCLB 4x4, which meant without custom ordering, I was stuck with the SR5 trim. I happened to find a new one from Toyota of McDonough in Atlanta, GA. I negotiated over the internet via email, and agreed to buy for $34k OTD, including tax, tag, title, and all dealer fees. I put my helmet on and rode my scooter (aka Scooty Puff Jr, a Honda PCX) to the dealership:




    Toyota of McDonough was great. They honored the online negotiations with no in-person surprises, and we were able to seal the deal in a couple of hours. I backed the truck up to the loading docks, got Scooty Puff in there, and snapped a pic before heading back home:




    Here's the sticker sheet. $38k MSRP. o_O Again, $34k OTD, so the truck base price ended up coming down to just under $32k.




    Back at home the next day:

    KIMG0284.jpg


    It was love at first sight. The truck ran beautifully. No 3rd gen gripes; it drove great, shifted fine, didn't leak rear diff fluid, etc. Eddy and SOS were busy building my armor, and I was stoked.

    March 21 2017
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I started shopping around for a camper top to use; we had a few family trips coming up and I needed covered cargo space. I found a top nearby for cheap. It wasn't color-matched, but I didn't really care, it was temporary until I could buy a better one.

    KIMG0290.jpg
    I needed the roof bars for lumber and it came with them. :cool:

    Over the next while I'd put the top on or take the top off depending on whether or not I needed it. I have two hooks in the roof of my garage, and just use a heavy duty ratchet strap to crank it up to the ceiling.

    June 17 2017
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I got a ping from SOS that my armor was ready, so I took a break from dadding (our 2nd son was born 6 June 2017) and drove up to South Carolina to pick it up.

    My usual copilots, Noah and Maddie, joined me.

    KIMG0325.jpg

    I put the sliders on the roof rack, and bumper and IFS skid in the back.

    KIMG0329.jpg

    Somewhere in there I added Rallyarmor mud flaps (https://www.autoanything.com/mud-flaps/77A9434A4072482.aspx) and the AVS in-channel window visors (https://www.autoanything.com/deflectors/avs-ventvisor-low-profile-rain-guards). The window visors are awesome - they're a necessity in Georgia to prevent the interior from heating up to 100+ degrees in the summer, because you can leave the windows cracked and not worry about rain or theft.

    I also jumped on the $215 Superwinch deal and got it: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/superwinch-214.492309/ - they had to ship me two though because the first one showed up destroyed from shipping. :eek:

    With the SOS armor in, I sold the factory "Stealth Stainless Steel" running boards. They're purely cosmetic, and the new sliders were way better.

    I prepped, primed, and painted the sliders, skid, and streamline bumper. 6 hours of grinding, prepping, and painting later:

    [​IMG]

    It took 5 cans of self-etching primer, 4 big cans of bedliner, and 4 cans of black spraypaint. I primed first, then did black spray on the top side of the skid and inside of the bumper. Bedliner then went on all the outer areas.

    I hit a slight snag installing the SOS streamline bumper, but Eddy helped me figure it all out. They've updated the design a bit more since. Original post on that here: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/streamline-winch-bumper.502864/#post-15687285 and of course a few pics:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    November 6 2017
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    SOS had a Black Friday sale, so I ordered a mid and tcase skid. :spending:

    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/2016-mid-skid-t-case-skid.502971/#post-16413623

    [​IMG]


    The SR5 is missing some holes for the tcase skid, so be ready to drill if you have an SR5:

    [​IMG]

    ...And then promptly ordered a HC rear with swingout to complete the collection. :anonymous:

    November 25 2017
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I had a catastrophic blowout on the highway. https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/stock-tire-sidewall-failure.521487/#post-16543718

    This wasn't the first blowout I've ever had, but the first on basically new tires. I was pissed. The dealership was no help.

    I purchased a set of 235/85/16 tall and skinny BFG KO2s.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I asked the tire shop their opinion on the blowout -- the extremely polite but possibly not too bright guy at the tire shop's professional opinion was "Welp, somethin happened to em! Betcha can't bust them KO2s though." This was foreshadowing for later. I don't recommend KO2s, more on that later.

    I also installed a set of Clazzio seats direct from Clazzio.com at around this time. I went with perforated black leather. I installed them with a heated seat kit - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FVXAC7Q - both installed easily and work great.

    December 23 2017
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    We had a big ice storm with a lot of downed branches. Tacos at work. I got a vinyl printer and made some letters for the tailgate in orange too.

    KIMG0252.jpg

    I always put wreaths on the front of our cars over the holidays:

    KIMG0253.jpg

    Over the holidays, I also installed a Yo_Hec center molle panel - https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/molle-center-console-panel-for-ccw-etc.510575/ on the passenger side for my comms. I got the CB wired in too.

    KIMG0318.jpg

    April 1 2018
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I finally picked up my HC rear from Eddy with SOS. I had a lot planned for the swingout, so I just installed the bumper for now. I used a grinding wheel to shine it up, then painted it just like the other armor.

    KIMG0384.jpg

    Take off bumper, mark, chop

    KIMG0408.jpg

    KIMG0415.jpg
    I lifted half and put it on a jackstand, then used a hilift to secure the other side, then went to the other side and hefted it up, put a bolt in, and repeated the other side. It is definitely a good upper body workout to install. :benchpress:

    Lookin good.

    KIMG0419.jpg

    Oh she's pretty. Looks like I added the lighting at around this time too. I have VisionX Light Cannon knock-offs on the dash, and Rigid flood knock-offs on the hood brackets. I didn't like the hood brackets, they made lots of noise.

    KIMG0452.jpg

    Random picture of the truck's butt:

    KIMG0432.jpg


    May 9 2018
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I finally ordered my ARE MX. Options:
    ARE MX ($1700)
    Walk-in option, carpeted ($1200)
    Outdoorsman windoors ($600)
    Toolbox #2, Driver side ($250)
    Tilt-down front slider ($100)
    Roof rack tracks ($175)
    Carpet ($120)

    [​IMG]

    I had no issue selling the old camper top, I sold it for the same amount I paid for it. :cheers:

    I ordered a foxwing awning around this time: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/foxwing-awning-annex-gb-interest-gauge-round-3.542008/

    Finally, I jumped on the GB for Bajarack and ordered both a cabrack AND a megamule that I figured I'd hack onto the top of the MX somehow: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/bajarack-group-buy.540192/#post-17578341
    My wife wasn't too happy with my spending habits that month. :spending:

    With all my armor, I started taking it offroad finally. It also helped that the truck was paid off in full at this point. :rofl: This is off of a trail up near Vogel State Park in North Georgia.

    KIMG0482.jpg


    May 30 2018
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mod day! Bajaracks are in. I also finally had time to install my suspension.

    The suspension was ordered back in 2017 from Headstrong Offroad. Marie was a great help selecting the parts and getting it all ordered without fuss. I ended up getting the FOX Level 2 Kit w/ OME Dakar Leaf Packs - more on that in this thread: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/fox-level-2-kit-with-or-without-ome-dakar-pack.480258/

    I also bought Sumosprings for towing and hauling - less sag that way. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O4GD38M

    KIMG0498.jpg

    And there's a full-size spare in there. I finally got around to doing the swing-out - you can see that on the left side of the pic.

    I think this is the cleanest my truck ever was. Complement me on my LARGE RACKS:

    KIMG0513.jpg

    It would be a few weeks before I got around to the suspension and swingout / full size spare...

    June 23 2018
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Up at the top for my navigation, I added a Dash MultiMount - I got on the first batch here: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads...t-anything-to-your-dash.553442/#post-18019582 I was impressed with the build quality. I also added a dedicated USB charger at the top next to the DMM. DMM:





    July 28 2018
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Housewolf getting her sniffs on:

    KIMG0578.jpg


    August 2018

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I welded up new license brackets on the SOS swingout for my bumper and tacked on some bolts to use for mounting the HC rear, then painted and mounted it. The swingout went on easy, no big deal. My welds are garbage, but nothing a grinder didn't make look good.

    A few folks had asked what the inside of the camper looked like, so I took some pics of that for another thread. I'll post them here too. The MX walk-in option is really cool, because it turns the entire rear of the truck into a giant waterproof storage area with a lift up door like an SUV. I work in IT, so it makes hauling equipment between sites a breeze.

    You can also see what the windoor with toolbox looks like in the last pic. It's used all the time, I can't imagine the truck without it. All my commonly-used tools and consumables for work / play are right there. It's almost empty in this pic, when I get to pictures from this year you'll see how full it is.





    KIMG0581.jpg

    I started drafting my camping platform design too...



    Bonus pic of the pupper big chilling in the shade while I reorganized the tool box:

    KIMG0514.jpg
    Sept 2 2018
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Time to finally install the suspension. I didn't take a lot of good pics of this unfortunately. I hit a bit of a snag with the wrong spacer size on the rear shock and had to use my press, and it was all a race to get it done, so not a lot was documented here. It's just a coilover swap, leaf swap, and shock swap, so there's not a lot interesting anyways.

    KIMG0645.jpg

    KIMG0647.jpg

    KIMG0649.jpg


    While I was at it, I also chopped the exhaust. My best buddy Freeman was over drinking beer with me and insisted of getting a pic of the sparks flying (he likes fire maybe a bit too much)





    The new stance of the truck is much better with a mild lift.

    KIMG0656.jpg

    I also installed a diff breather while I was down there anyways. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QBQYNF0/ came with enough tubing for front and rear diffs, so I did both.

    Dec 16 2018
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    With plans for the camper done, it was time to dig in and get all the various electrical wired up. Before this, wiring was just a couple of toggle switches with in-line fuses. It'd all get ripped out and replaced with a bluseas panel in the hood, a bluseas panel in the camper, and two breakers.
    -Under-hood panel: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000MMH1GC
    -Camper panel: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000THQ0CQ
    -Breakers: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00139FQSS

    Note I used a different one in the camper to have a common ground bus. That wasn't an issue under the hood, I just made a ground lug on the chassis and tied all ground to that.

    All the various mismatched switches would get replaced with mesojdm panels from here: https://mesocustoms.com/collections/printed-switch-panels

    With custom-matched switches from here: https://www.ch4x4.com/product/ch4x4-custom-laser-etched-toyota-small-push-switches/

    I didn't want to run everything at full amperage through the cab, so I spliced CAT6 cable to use as low-amperage wiring for the switches to a relay bank. The full amperage is through the bluseas panels, and the CH4x4 switches just trigger the switch on the relays at only a few milliamps. I picked these relays - they are great because the mounts click together, so it ends up as one large factory-looking relay bank. I ended up using 9 total:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008FRR6AM


    Switch panel 1. This one went on the left side of the steering wheel:



    Switch panel 2. This one replaces the center panel:



    To wire it all up right, the entire interior had to go:



    It all turned out great. Looks factory and functions perfectly:


    One last thing, I installed a Tekonsha P3 brake controller as part of all of this. The install isn't in any way noteworthy - it's a plug and play installation. The controller works perfectly with every trailer I've towed with brakes - that includes my camper, tandem cargo trailers, a car hauler, and a horse trailer. The boost feature works great for adapting to trailer size / weight, and the base brake setting allows easy adjustment to make sure you're not putting flat spots on the tires from overbraking.
    Tekonsha P3: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000P17NXQ
    Wiring harness: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0781KTCPT

    Getting it all back together took a couple of weeks.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 31, 2021
  2. Jun 11, 2020 at 1:48 PM
    #2
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
    Member:
    #211822
    Messages:
    932
    First Name:
    Dave
    Los Alamos, NM
    Vehicle:
    2017 White SR5 4x4 DCLB
    SOS armor, ARE MX walk-in, Fox coils, Dakar leafs, etc
    January 2019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I spent a lot of time over the holidays measuring, engineering, and sourcing 8020 / T-slot for a bed platform. After dozens of iterations, this was the finalized design for the bed platform:



    The top of the platform will have a flip-up storage area. The left will have a desk near the top, and a Dometic CC40 (which I ordered over the holidays) will go in the cutout at the bottom left. The right side will have a couple of storage bins and our portable toilet.

    Here's what the design looks like fully skinned:



    Note how the toolbox accessible through the windoor takes up some depth. There's some unused height inside the cap from the MX having a tall interior, so I'll put a shelf and interior storage for clothes when traveling there.

    I managed to get most of the tslot very cheap by buying some industrial frames made out of 2" tslot on Craigslist. They were going to recycle them, so I bought them instead for a fraction of new tslot. New tslot to do this project would be in the $500 range, so I saved nearly $400 by going with used materials. It's in the back of the truck and is going to get beat up and used, so pre-broken in tslot was perfect.

    Feb 20 2019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I wanted to add UCAs to get my alignment better on track. The ride was a bit twitchy with 2" lift on factory UCAs due to the caster being just out of range. I decided on JBA UCAs. They were very affordable and are well-built. I got the high caster version from here: https://jbaoffroad.com/jba-a-arms/toyota-tacoma-uca.html



    I also noticed with all the armor I was getting a bit of suspension dive, so I upgraded the coil spring rate from 600lbs to 700lbs. They were cheap too: https://www.summitracing.com/parts/EIB-14003000700S



    The UCAs were a royal pain in the ass to install because of the way Toyota built the SR5. On other trims you can push the metal wheel liner out the way and pull the UCA bolt out. The SR5 has a bracket on top of the wheel liner to support some components, so it's impossible to bend. If you have an SR5, expect to have to chop the bolts and reorder. Choppin UCA bolts:



    The new bolts install easily from the other side though, so it's no big deal to remove them later if needed. You just put them in backwards and switch where the nut is.

    700lb springs, new UCA installed:




    Feb 27 2019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    With all the tslot gathered, I bought a cheap metal chop saw and got out my drill press and started work on the platform.



    The tap and die set is barely visible in the above picture, that is an absolute necessity for threading the end of the rod on tslot. I ended up using two kits from Harbor Freight, because I broke the first one's handle after the ~20th tapped hole.

    It went together quickly.








    I finished up a few weeks later. I used thin plywood cut to size, and cut up an outdoor rug from Home Depot to cover the plywood. The carpet is just held on with staples, and the plywood is secured to the tslot.





    Storage vault all done...



    It's pretty spacious on the inside. I can sit up all the way comfortably, and have more than enough room to lay down to sleep (I'm 5'10").



    Mar 3 2019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Wheeling / camping trip off Cooper's Gap Road





    Camp set up



    It was muuuuuuuudy. The storm started to pick up overnight and my son / eldest barbarian (5 at that time) used to be terrified of storms, so we packed camp and wheeled back in the dark to get home.

    May 6 2019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Taking the youngest barbarian for walkies, he's quite the chungus, look at that tummy

    KIMG0956.jpg

    May 6 2019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    More walkies. Youngest barbarian may eat eldest barbarian, homeboy didn't get to be 40lbs at age 2 by not eating. Stopped at Red Eyed Mule on our way to Kennesaw Mountain. Good biscuits there.

    KIMG0973.jpg

    Housewolf has biscuit jealousy - dad can i haz? (don't worry, she got some biscuit)

    KIMG0981.jpg
    KIMG0990.jpg


    June 1 2019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Eldest barbarian: DAD STOP THERE IS A TRAIN

    *drive up sidewalk to good vantage point*

    KIMG0992.jpg
    The lad sat there for 20 minutes on the roof watching trains.

    June 1 2019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    My wife bought me a TRD PRO grill with Raptor LEDs for father's day. "All your friends have grills like this on their trucks!" Good call, it does look nicer than the factory grill.

    I just wired the LEDs in parallel with the fog lights. Easiest mod ever.





    Now I fit in with all the Taco Bros, does that make me cool now? Probably not, I still have mud flaps and a camper top instead of an RTT.

    July 1 2019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I noticed on the way back from a weekend hike that the tires seemed... buzzier than normal. I checked in the garage and noticed some bad cupping on the KO2s. I scheduled an appointment with Discount Tire, where I got the KO2s, and went in to check on them.

    After 18k miles, the tires were worn completely out unevenly. I had performed two rotations during that time and was due for a third rotation. The tires had cupped horrendously up front, and the left tire was completely bald on the inside.

    Discount Tire was great and warranty'd the tires, proportionally subtracting the value of the tires based on mileage. It was a fair way to handle it, and only took minimal arguing for the manager to agree that the tires were clearly defective.

    I put the warranty value towards a new set of tires, Pathfinder ATs in 285/75r16. This is a 33" tire.

    On the lift:

    KIMG0208.jpg

    On the truck:



    The front mud flaps had to go unfortunately, they hit tire at full lock. Any flex was a bad hit too with the SR5 backspacing, even with the 1.5" spacers on there.

    I kept the KO2 on the spare, no sense in throwing away a perfectly good 31" spare tire.

    After 2 days I was DONE with the rubbing going in and out of parking lots, and did a CMC. There weren't great pics of doing so on the 3rd gen forum, so I made this thread and documented the process:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Who needs fillplates?

    I also hammered that pinch weld flat.

    I still rub some at 3/4 turn and full tire flex, but whatever, it's fine enough.

    July 21 2019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I went on a ride with all the folks from the Georgia subforum for a ride at Charlie's Creek. Lots of pics here: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/ga-weekly-getting-outdoors.596215/page-19#post-21128790 and some more below.

    These barbarians are excited. You can see behind them the interior roof net I put up, it has two towels and a few maps. The net is just one of these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013W8LMFI secured to some metal hooks I secured using self-tapping screws. Towels are ALWAYS handy when you have barbarians. They're sticky. And gross. I love them anyways.







    Video of the main creek crossing:




    We went to the Hiwassee Brewery after. Good food, good beer. Lots of fun.



    July 29 2019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The fridge got sliders. I reused sliders from an industrial drawer, interfacing them to the side of the fridge where the handles bolted on using a custom bracket I 3d printed:

    KIMG0012.jpg

    August 16 2019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    We bought a Forest River Wolf Pup 16BHS. It tows like a dream behind the Taco. I don't use a WDH or sway control, it's a tiny trailer.

    KIMG0037.jpg
    More pics of camper here: https://www.tacomaworld.com/media/albums/camper-tour.57672/ - did lots of mods on that thing... Bunk rooms with ladders to contain the barbarians, bathroom cabinets, kitchen tile backsplash, spring over axle swap, replaced stabilizer jacks with decent ones, upgraded tires to SR5 rims and truck tires, bed curtains, housewolf hut under the barbarians' rooms, etc...


    August 30 2019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Beach Trip! We planned to go to Cumberland Island as a day trip, camping nearby at Crooked River State Park. One of the first mods I did on the camper was a SOA swap, so it actually sits level with the truck and won't ass-drag into campsites. Looks much better at this ride height:

    KIMG0053.jpg

    LOL WEENERS

    KIMG0055.jpg

    Cumberland island closed the day we got there because of an incoming hurricane, so we did what any reasonable family would do; said fuck it, and went to Fernandina Beach anyways. It was calm before the storm.

    KIMG0056.jpg

    KIMG0058.jpg

    Crooked River State Park was nice. It was almost completely empty because everyone had vacated from the hurricane. Seriously. We aren't bothered by a bit of rain, bring it on!!!

    KIMG0089.jpg

    KIMG0087.jpg

    The plan was to camp until it got real heavy and clear out... But the hurricane stalled, so we got another day! So we went to Jekyll island the next day. It was beautiful.

    KIMG0113.jpg

    Sandy barbarians!

    KIMG0142.jpg

    The youngest got tired, so he did his best impression of a backpack:

    KIMG0196.jpg

    We went back to camp and enjoyed the weekend. It started to storm hard overnight, so we battened down the hatches and left at sunrise in the midst of the storm. It cleared quickly and was BEAUTIFUL, so we took the long way home, taking lots of backroads.

    KIMG0090.jpg
    Just look at that sky...

    KIMG0203.jpg

    September 22 2019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Beach Trip! Again! We went to Myrtle Beach this time, staying at Ocean Lakes. It's a nice campsite. The truck performed perfectly as usual. Even at 6k lbs plus the trailer, she still rides just fine.

    KIMG0233.jpg
    October 25 2019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    We went camping at Cloudland Canyon. The pups love a trip, look at how happy she is. The windoors are 100% worth the extra cost:

    KIMG0262.jpg

    I set up camp in the dark and rain.

    KIMG0267.jpg

    Happy campers

    KIMG0270.jpg
    Especially these two, they are SHAMELESS BEGGARS:

    KIMG0271.jpg

    We drove up Lookout Mountain, so I did the logical thing and took a picture of the truck at the local Starbucks.

    KIMG0272.jpg

    October 25 2019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I met up with Jonny and a lot of the Alabama crew to hit Choccolocco. The ACC garage folks were there, but there were enough of us Tacos that we went our own way. https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/choccolocco-ride-video-11-9-19.637800/ has a video of the day, including me approaching Boat Ramp and deciding that was a bad idea. You'll want 35s, a short wheelbase, and some big fucking testicles to try to climb that. There's no way my big girl was making it without winching it halfway, I just don't have the breakover angle at the middle to do that extreme of wheeling.

    KIMG0302.jpg

    KIMG0303.jpg









    November 23 2019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I met up with the folks in the Georgia section of TW and we hit up Musterground Rd, Chestnut Mtn, Auger Hole Rd, and a few other trails inbetween https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/ga-weekly-getting-outdoors.596215/page-38#post-22089021

    It was rainy, muddy, and lots of fun.

    [​IMG]









    We got lost a couple of times and backtracked, but it was still a great ride. The leaves were beautiful.









    Cowboytaco got some great videos:


    This incline took me 3 tries. I needed more skinny pedal, but didn't want to send it:


    Unlike Sprocket1505, who just sent it:


    December 5 2019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I did some more work organizing the rear camper. I ended up finding some suitable bins (instead of building them) and put them in the storage vault and under the bench area.

    KIMG0422.jpg

    I also put the toilet under the bench, we just use an old 3 gallon paint bucket with one of these on top. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004KLY5CE

    I also finished the flip-down table on the swingout. It's made of marine-grade HDPE and is food-safe.

    KIMG0421.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2020
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  3. Jun 11, 2020 at 1:48 PM
    #3
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
    Member:
    #211822
    Messages:
    932
    First Name:
    Dave
    Los Alamos, NM
    Vehicle:
    2017 White SR5 4x4 DCLB
    SOS armor, ARE MX walk-in, Fox coils, Dakar leafs, etc
    February 2 2020
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Snow day!

    We drove the truck out and helped a few stuck motorists. I also used the winch to pull a tree off someone's driveway, and a strap to pull a tree off of a power line.

    IMG_2476.jpg

    As usual, the truck worked great. We didn't get stuck.

    February 14 2020
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I wanted to upgrade the trailer to 6-lug tires so I could carry less spares and have an easier time going up and down curbs or on gravel roads. The stock wheels with the spring over axle flip were ok, but I still didn't trust the tires, I've heard too many horror stories of cheap camper tires.

    So I upgraded the trailer to SR5 rims and some Cooper 30" tires. The factory spare under the truck fits the trailer too, so I have a spare onboard at all times.



    Comparison. That is a LOT more tire.

    KIMG0126.jpg

    February 16 2020
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We went to camp at Stone Mountain for the weekend.

    KIMG0129.jpg

    IMG_2511.jpg

    We hiked up the mountain. It was a fun hike. The eldest barbarian made it the entire way up without help, but the youngest barbarian made like a backpack and weighed me down for the whole hike.

    IMG_2520.jpg

    IMG_2538.jpg

    The next day I took the lads snow tubing. It was a great trip.

    IMG_2584.jpg

    During the camping trip, it rained hard. The rain washed away enough of the campsite under the pad that the camper shifted on the stabilizer jacks and one completely failed.

    When we got home I installed new leveling jacks to replace the scissor stabilizers it came with.



    March 27 2020
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We bought a new house!

    I ended up moving using a rented 24' cargo trailer. It was 8' wide, 7' tall, and weighted 3k lbs empty. The Taco worked great. I really should have gotten a pic of it towing that behemoth.

    I didn't want to mow the lawn, so we decided to convert the front yard into gardens. That meant LOTS of trips to and from the landscaping supply store.

    IMG_2882.jpg


    KIMG0333.jpg

    Look at this princess supervising. She's a bit muddy:

    IMG_2921.jpg

    So many rocks were hauled... This was a ~4k lb load.

    KIMG0384.jpg

    Unfortunately, my rack was too big to fit in the garage, so my truck went without a roof rack on the camper top for a bit.

    May 31 2020
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We took a day trip to run the midsection of the Georgia Traverse. Some folks put together a map here: https://www.georgiaoverland.com/map.html and I mirrored the tracks and waypoints as attachments to this post.

    We went from Cooper's Creek to Charlie's Creek. Charlies Creek was still frigid!

    IMG_2985.jpg

    OoG5luUC3qOfDPEVm-KP4SbBIk2QaxhD6V3IX_Kh_29df85b1711357286b0f29f2a4e8c1e1ec9443b5.jpg

    IMG_3005.jpg

    OoG5luUC3qOfDPEVm-KP4SbBIk2QaxhD6V3IX_Kh_29df85b1711357286b0f29f2a4e8c1e1ec9443b5.jpg










    June 13 2020
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I was tired of not having a roof rack over the camper. I use the one on the camper all the time for lumber, furniture, or anything else. I need it for an upcoming camping trip to tote a canoe too.

    The rack is a Bajarack Megamule - https://bajarack.com/products/the-megamule - The problem is, with the fairing and side rails, it sits about an inch too tall for my truck to fit in the garage. I decided I'd flip it to be upside down, that way the side rails are below the rack. To do so, I needed to remove the front fairing, so I took an angle grinder to it, chopping off the front fairing. I then mounted the rack back on the truck upside down. It works great and looks way lower profile now.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I also needed to replace the two rear LED pods, the Nilight ones failed after 2 years of use. They were used literally daily (at least during the week) at the old house when I'd drop the eldest barbarian off at the bus stop on the way to work. Nilight has warranty'd them and is sending replacements, but I ordered new ones anyways that had a spot beam - these specifically. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KB56QG7

    Finally, I remounted the awning and moved the shovel back to the passenger side. The awning cover has been leaking, and the awning is a bit gross. I need to redo the cover over the awning and clean up the awning. It got dark, so no pictures yet.

    June 21-24 2020
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I took the boys camping over Father's day. We went to Red Top Mountain. We camped a few days, and Noah went fishing for the first time.

    Canoe packed up.

    KIMG0395.jpg

    Camper loaded up.

    KIMG0398.jpg

    At the campsite:

    KIMG0454.jpg

    We reserved sites 69/70 and stayed with friends. It was an awesome trip. The boys had lots of fun camping...

    KIMG0452.jpg
    ...and canoing and fishing

    KIMG0432.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 24, 2020
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  4. Jun 28, 2020 at 9:39 AM
    #4
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
    Member:
    #211822
    Messages:
    932
    First Name:
    Dave
    Los Alamos, NM
    Vehicle:
    2017 White SR5 4x4 DCLB
    SOS armor, ARE MX walk-in, Fox coils, Dakar leafs, etc
    The thread up to this point has been all recap, future trips will get more detail like this post.

    June 28 2020 - Moss Hill
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We went on a quick day trip to explore the area around Bull Mountain to the NW of Dahlonega. My kiddos wanted to go swimming, so we planned on trying to find a route to the Etowah River from the forest service roads. This general area is great for mountain biking or hiking - there are tons of small walk / bike only trails all throughout the area off FS28-1, where our trip started.

    To get to the start of the gravel road, we plugged in Nimblewill Church Road into the GPS, and followed it until we saw the signage for Bull Mountain and FS28-1. FS28-1 is a gravel road and leads to a bunch of different gravel roads of varying difficulty.

    Trailhead:

    KIMG0462.jpg

    From there, we explored the following route... GPX files are attached.

    Untitled.jpg

    28-1 had lots of little offshoot trails for hiking. After following the gravel road for a while, there was a turnoff for 28B, also known as Moss Hill. This trail is considered Operational Maintenance Level: 2 - HIGH CLEARANCE VEHICLES by the USFS. That said, it wasn't too rough, just a bit tighter than 28-1. A stock Taco would be fine, but 4x4 was needed for a few parts.

    Moss Hill did have a lot of campsites off of it that I marked on the map above. A few were small like this one:

    KIMG0463.jpg
    But there were a few medium-sized ones:

    KIMG0472.jpg
    and one perfect campsite with a large turnaround at 34.58848, -84.10934

    20200627_1313315221276019500658071_large.jpg
    The trails were mostly gravel along the path we followed. The short trails up to the campsites were a bit more technical though.

    KIMG0466.jpg

    I got hung up on a stump on this downhill after leaving one of the trails off of Moss Hill:

    KIMG0468.jpg

    Further down the trail, there is a fairly steep and narrow uphill that was rutted out. The uphill lead to a huge field that was completely overgrown, which I neglected to get a picture of:

    KIMG0469.jpg

    The hill needed 4x4 to get up, the red clay was slick and packed. The field at the top was pretty and you could see that someone had tried to set up camp but thought better of it. There were TONS of biting flies in the field, which is why I didn't stick around long. Back down the hill.

    KIMG0471.jpg

    The Etowah River was supposed to be at the end of the trail down a hill... But it was blocked. So we turned around and retraced our steps off of 28B / Moss Hill and went back onto 28-1.

    28-1 ran into Hightower Church Road, another gravel road. We took a right there and found a small and narrow trail off the side of the gravel road that went off towards the river. Sadly, the start of the trail was full of trash and junk. Past the junk though, it was a great trail that was moderately technical. There were a couple large mud pits like this:

    KIMG0479.jpg

    And a tight off-camber section:

    KIMG0478.jpg

    In the end, the trail got very narrow and very steep. Not knowing what was at the end of it since it was unmarked, we parked the truck and walked. The GPS showed us as being only a couple thousand feet from the river, so we knew we were close!

    KIMG0474.jpg

    We found the river!!!

    KIMG0476.jpg

    The river was shallow and the boys had fun splashing. They wanted to swim though, so we walked back up the hill and figured we'd find a deeper river or lake.

    It was a good thing I didn't keep going down the trail. It was very steep and there was no way to turn around due to the trees and steepness. It was also really rutted out. We hiked back up to the truck.

    KIMG0477.jpg

    I managed to turn the truck around by gently driving over a few small trees and headed back to Hightower Church Rd, where we went back North. The road opened up into a wider gravel road.

    I wanted to stop at Black Falls, but it was closed off. Just past Black Falls is Camp Merrill, which is a US Army Ranger Camp. The pavement picked up there, so we headed Southeast towards Dahlonega, where we decided to stop for lunch.

    KIMG0483.jpg
    KIMG0484.jpg

    And then we hit up Lake Lanier to do some swimming.

    KIMG0492.jpg

    Until it started storming hard. We packed up and left, heading home for dinner.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
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  5. Jul 8, 2020 at 5:00 PM
    #5
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
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    #211822
    Messages:
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    First Name:
    Dave
    Los Alamos, NM
    Vehicle:
    2017 White SR5 4x4 DCLB
    SOS armor, ARE MX walk-in, Fox coils, Dakar leafs, etc
    July 7 2020 - Traverse Midsection (2)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    We spent the 4th up at a cabin near Helen, and took a quick trip over some trails on the way home, following the trail map for the middle of the traverse. The cabin was beautiful - it was nestled the horseshoe bend of a serene creek. The goal of the trip was to take Noah (oldest son, 6) fishing for trout on the creek. The creek was absolutely devoid of trout though, instead being full of... Nothing. We managed to find a single crawdad, which we spent hours harassing until we decided to leave it alone and feed it the rest of our bait. That was one happy crawdad.

    Being up near Helen, we had taken 285 to 400 to get up to the cabin. 285 is the main loop road circling Atlanta. Trucks are not allowed inside the "perimeter" - or past 285 - so 285 is chock full of semis and all the associated stupid that comes with people in cars around semis. Idiocy on the road is bad enough for normal car drivers, but adding a big scary semi means 285 is always a fucking dumpster fire. Wanting to avoid that taint at the end of our vacation, I decided we would span the midsection of the traverse from East to West, allowing us to take 575 to 75 home.


    We drove to the closest part of the traverse map from the cabin. This turned out to be Richard B Russell Scenic Highway. The highway is very popular with motorcyclists; I'd know, I've ridden it dozens of times, many of them with my copilot Maddie. Here's Maddie on a motorcycle:

    [​IMG]

    I aspire to be as cool as Maddie. Some more of her rides here. https://advrider.com/f/threads/scootering-the-southeast-with-maddiedog.989068/

    Anyways, back to this ride. The clouds loomed heavy overhead - rain was predicted all day and the sky looked threatening. Maybe things would get interesting..?

    IMG_3128.jpg

    The Taco is no motorcycle on Richard B Russell. I don't have swaybars, but still, we rode on over the asphalt at a good pace. The turnoff for Hatchet Creek finally came, and we took a left onto a gravel road. A couple of small creek crossings later, we reached Helton Creek falls. It was packed - so much so that we could barely drive through - so we kept moving until the gravel road ended onto pavement again. The road was 129, which turns into another famous motorcycling road - the Tail Of The Dragon - further North. My Taco wasn't destined for that though, so we pavement-princess cruised on past the entrance to Wolf Pen Gap Road (another awesome motorcycling road), past Vogel State Park and cut a left onto Wolf Creek Road.

    Wolf Creek Road was another disappointment. It was graded gravel. Yawn. We were tailgated by a white minivan literally the whole time. I slowed down to spite him. Asshole driver.

    Wolf Creek Road ended... back on Wolf Pen Gap. We road that until we hit Duncan Ridge Rd, and some fairly decent gravel roads finally started up. The gravel road on this section of the traverse is very scenic with lots of elevation change, but is completely passable by a stock Tacoma. It would make a great place for a first ride to simply test your equipment and gauge whether or not you're ready to try real trails.

    IMG_3129.jpg

    Plenty of large campsites open up along the way, with ample room to enjoy the outdoors. The trees were high overhead and there wasn't a lot of scrubby brush, so in the intermittent rain the forest was beautiful and dark.

    IMG_3131.jpg

    We didn't encounter anyone for over an hour of cruising along the roads.

    IMG_3134.jpg

    And on we went. Just gentle, scenic, gravel roads. It all blurred together after a couple of hours, and wasn't anything to report about. A stock Taco would have had no problems, so it was a fairly boring ride from a technical perspective - I did worse than this to my Civic in college. The ride was still enjoyable and the family had a good time.

    Capture.jpg

     

    Attached Files:

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  6. Jul 18, 2020 at 7:30 AM
    #6
    Tacman19

    Tacman19 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2020
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    #316444
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    First Name:
    Dave
    Mid Missouri
    Vehicle:
    19 Tacoma
    As many as my wallet will allow
    Awesome build and adventure. The topper is fitted almost how I'm doing mine. Crazy good ideas here and well done.
    Zim
     
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  7. Jul 18, 2020 at 7:28 PM
    #7
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
    Member:
    #211822
    Messages:
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    First Name:
    Dave
    Los Alamos, NM
    Vehicle:
    2017 White SR5 4x4 DCLB
    SOS armor, ARE MX walk-in, Fox coils, Dakar leafs, etc
    July 18 2020 - Choccolocco Round 2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I wanted to go riding this weekend from this thread: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/coppinger-cove-wheeling-trip.675712/ - but not a lot of folks were down. I had ridden with Jonny and all the good folks from Alabama back in December, so when Jonny suggested I ride Choccolocco with them this weekend, that sounded way more fun than my last few solo rides through various GA forest service roads.

    Chocco doesn't have a lot for Tacomas, it's a small park and most of the trails are way too tough for even a double-locked Taco. Despite that, the park has some great technical trails that test the limits of my Tacoma in ways I never get with my usual rides, so it's worthwhile in every way. Two stock Tacoma PROs on AT tires rolled with us for the first half of the ride - Tacos are really capable stock with better tires, and I was impressed what they could do.

    The map for Chocco was broken online and I had some trouble finding one, so here's a map in case anyone's looking for one:

    CHOCCO_MAP.jpg

    ...With that in mind, I think the ratings are hilarious. The "main road" is stock 4x4 type of stuff, and a LOT of the"Easy" trails are actually fairly tough. Nothing wrong with that, but Chocco is not a place for beginners.

    We left the house at 0730 to meet everyone there before 0900 (central time). After a while, everyone rolled in.

    KIMG0524.jpg

    The sky was beautiful, the day looked perfect for riding.

    KIMG0527.jpg

    We took the trail East out of the camping area, following Forney.

    KIMG0528.jpg

    We took Mud Hill onto Blue Ridge and Swamp. Things got a bit rough, way worse than a forest service road. The 2 stock tacos with us (Justin and I didn't catch the other guy's name) did great - I was impressed.

    [​IMG]

    1.jpg

    We made our way to Broadway, to Boundary, to the base of Boat Ramp. Last time, Boat Ramp looked more tame because the rocks were covered in leaves. It's not tame. Even the approach isn't tame.

    John made the approach to Boat Ramp, going the same way I did last time I was at Chocco (scroll up for that ride), and backed down after deciding it wasn't worth the attempt.

    [​IMG]

    We drove the rest of the easy trails to the end, taking Tombstone and looping back. We hung a right on Broadway and hit the other side of Tombstone to where the top of Boat Ramp is. The top is insane.

    3.jpg

    Youtube has some videos of the more crazy trails: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=choccolocco

    KIMG0530.jpg

    We rode Forney back to the campsite, and the stock Tacos split. Tyler, John, Jonny, Jeff, and I kept on going, taking Arsenal up to Fizzle.

    It was great. The trails were technical and fun, and the weather cooled off.

    KIMG0533.jpg

    At this point, I have no idea where we went. If I follow the map, there was a backhoe blocking the first entrance to Radio Flyer. We passed it both ways and somehow did a loop. I'm thinking we took Honey Bee to Radio Flyer. I don't know. Either way, those trails were rough and engaging. I was at the edge of my comfort level, so I was having a good time, and am a better driver for doing it.

    The trail came on a really steep off-camber, rutted area with a downed tree. We got out and spotted each other one at a time over it. I think someone got pics of my truck going through, but until then, here's everyone else. Tyler:

    KIMG0536.jpg

    John:

    KIMG0542.jpg

    Jonny:

    CDD6BF79-2CDE-4F4B-AA85-F1DB338A9C19.jpg

    Me:

    Screen Shot 2020-07-26 at 10.30.54 AM.jpg
    Screen Shot 2020-07-26 at 10.31.10 AM.jpg
    Screen Shot 2020-07-26 at 10.31.17 AM.jpg

    Jeff (made it look easy):

    KIMG0564.jpg

    While we were making our way through, it started raining, so we hustled and hauled ass back to the overlook before the trails got too slick.

    9524C77A-3C9B-44F7-9C69-F59D0AFD5070.jpg

    Wet Tacos:

    KIMG0567.jpg

    We waited for the rain to let up, and it just kept coming down. It was clear our riding day here was over - the trails are just too narrow to do when muddy without the expectation of body damage. We aired back up when the rain lifted and went separate ways.

    Here's a video from Jonny of the ride, the really tough part is at 12:12, but the whole video is good:



    I planned on being out all day with Noah and Oliver, so I decided to take the long way home. I definitely couldn't resist when I was presented with this sign:

    KIMG0572.jpg

    I loved the Cherohala Skyway back when I used to motorcycle all the time, and this sounded promising, so I took a major detour and hit the whole Talladega Scenic Drive. There were lots of nice overlooks worth viewing. The weather had just cleared from the passing rain, leaving the ground wet and the skies epic.

    KIMG0573.jpg

    I checked the GPS and noticed there were tons of forest service roads. Unfortunately, literally every single one we passed was closed, with the exception of one. We took it.

    KIMG0576.jpg

    The road was wide, but it was muddy. Alabama red clay is thicker and stickier than Georgia red clay. My truck was covered in thick sticky mud.

    There were a few downed trees. It was too muddy for me to want to remove them, so we just drove over them.

    KIMG0579.jpg

    The trail ended in a giant man-made clearing that hadn't been cleaned up yet. It was strange.

    KIMG0577.jpg

    Logs as far as the eye can see...

    KIMG0578.jpg

    ...But that was a dead end. So we turned back and continued down the scenic highway. We reached the highest point in Alabama:

    KIMG0587.jpg

    And stopped at a few more overlooks, following the scenic drive until it ended.

    KIMG0584.jpg

    We turned back and followed the road about half the way back, until it lead off the scenic drive. The rest of the ride was uneventful highway slab. We rolled into home at around 1930. The truck needs a bath. Maybe tomorrow - now it's beer time.

    KIMG0589.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
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  8. Jul 28, 2020 at 6:33 PM
    #8
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
    Member:
    #211822
    Messages:
    932
    First Name:
    Dave
    Los Alamos, NM
    Vehicle:
    2017 White SR5 4x4 DCLB
    SOS armor, ARE MX walk-in, Fox coils, Dakar leafs, etc
    After the Chocco ride, I took a load of logs to the dump and noticed some hesitation coming out of the driveway. For background, my driveway is steep. Very steep. It's worse than a boat ramp, and curves twice. The dump load was around 4500lbs including the trailer, so that's one hell of a load for these little trucks.

    The 3rd gen is well-known for running the transmission hot. Toyota considers the normal range for the transmission to be between 68F and 230F. Lots of research was done on the trans and cooling in this great thread: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/3rd-gen-transmission-cooler-upgrade.482280/

    The torque converter is coupled to the transmission and is immersed in transmission fluid on the Taco. It has to work really hard when the Taco's in 4lo offroading, as it's the equivalent to a manual transmission's clutch, so there is a lot of hard connects and disconnects under strain between the engine and transmission as obstacles are traversed. It also is under a lot of strain when towing for the same reason... And I tow more than anyone I know with a Taco.

    In any case, with hammerhead weighing around 3 tons, factory cooling is probably inadequate for my use case scenario, even with the tow package. I figured I should check the trans fluid and see if the off feeling was coming from that, and ordered this cooler based on my hunch as a preventative measure at the very least: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005XZXB1M/

    Checking the transmission fluid is a shitty task on a 3rd gen, since the sealed / positively-pressured transmission can't have a dipstick by design. Fortunately this thread makes things easy enough: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/3rd-gen-automatic-transmission-fluid-level-check-diy.547455/

    After the cooler came in, I set up the truck in the driveway, popped out the awning, and the kids started playing while I worked on the truck.

    KIMG0602.jpg

    Step 0 before even going through the check process is removal of the tcase and transmission skids on the truck. That's not a huge hassle, but Alabama mud was still all over them, so it was a dirty job for sure. I got them off, hosed them off, and touched them up.

    The transmission fluid was far darker than I would have liked. Transmission fluid should be RED - especially considering I changed it less than 10k ago. It was brownish. I did a full flush of the transmission, over a few drain and fill cycles until the transmission fluid came clean.

    I then installed the cooler. Here's what it looks like unboxed.

    KIMG0601.jpg

    It claims to be rated for 16k GVWR (total weight of vehicle, passengers, trailer) and I put it inline with the factory cooler, so I'm confident it is sufficient for the truck. This kit is awesome because it comes with literally everything - all brackets, hoses, clamps, etc to make this work.

    The install is actually pretty easy. I took off the front grill (2 screws, 2 clips) first to see what I could mount it to. I decided to reuse mounting points for the hood latch, horn, and factory trans cooler to mount the new cooler, and bent the brackets included with the kit by hand accordingly.

    KIMG0603.jpg

    I bolted the new cooler in place and plumbed it in-line with the factory cooler. There's two solid barbs to the right middle of the transmission that the factory cooler plugs into - I removed the factory hose from the top side of the factory cooler and connected that to the new cooler, then another hose from the new to the factory cooler, which in turn was connected to the barb going back to the transmission.

    I topped off my trans fluid and followed the auto transmission fluid check process again, then reinstalled the skid plates.

    Finally, I cleaned up the awning a bit. It had gotten a dirty. My cover has always leaked, so it has some mildew stains I cleaned up some. It's far from perfect, but at least didn't smell anymore after the cleanup.

    KIMG0600.jpg

    The hesitation I felt is completely and totally gone, so I'm guessing my transmission fluid was toast from all the towing and wheeling.

    I left the transmission thermostat pinned open. Since I live in the South, it won't do any harm in the winter, and will make sure my torque converter stays at a sane temperature.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2020
  9. Jul 29, 2020 at 7:36 AM
    #9
    Tacman19

    Tacman19 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Dave
    Mid Missouri
    Vehicle:
    19 Tacoma
    As many as my wallet will allow
    Great thread, as always.
    Zim
     
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  10. Sep 11, 2020 at 7:01 AM
    #10
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
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    #211822
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    First Name:
    Dave
    Los Alamos, NM
    Vehicle:
    2017 White SR5 4x4 DCLB
    SOS armor, ARE MX walk-in, Fox coils, Dakar leafs, etc
    September 5 2020 - RV AC Upgrades
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The factory AC unit on my camper trailer is hot garbage. It's a Dometic 12k BTU rooftop unit and is nearly as loud as a leafblower. It also somehow, even at 12k BTU, does not have the cooling capacity needed for our little trailer. I wanted to replace it with a ductless mini split, but needed a rack on the back of the RV to put the condenser for the split unit on it.

    I've had a welder for a while now (Harbor Freight 90A welder), but haven't used it for anything but repairing things. This was my first project with it. I put in a 20A service and a RV hookup on the side of the house at the end of August in preparation for this, and got to work on it the first weekend of September.

    The camper came with a cheap flip-down rack that would work as a base - but it needed modified to support more weight and protect the unit better. I hacked apart the factory rack, removed the weird flip down mount, and started putting together the rack from steel stock I bought from Metal Supermarket.

    KIMG0661.jpg

    With it all tacked in, I dropped it down and welded everything solid.

    KIMG0665.jpg
    And all done, including running the mini split into the RV below. The porta poo tank (blue square to the right of the camper) sits on the shelf on top of the AC and generator.

    14439.jpg

    I had less than a full tank on the EU2000, and it ran for about 6 hours before it ran out. Given it's a 1 gallon tank, I'm happy with the setup. The AC during this time got the interior of the trailer to 65 degrees with the ambient temp outside in the high 80s. It's basically silent too.

    The AC unit is this one - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083R2XNKD - it is a bit expensive, but about the same cost as a new rooftop AC unit with more capacity, less power consumption, and almost no noise.

    I still need to cage in the genset and add a roof. After that, I'll remove the factory rooftop unit and replace it with a skylight. I also need to recover from sunburn - I did the project in shorts and gave myself sunburn on my thighs so bad my skin is peeling now (a week later) :rofl:


    Obligatory Taco picture since this is a Tacoma forum:

    KIMG0616.jpg


    I've been asked a few times about my camper mods - https://www.tacomaworld.com/media/albums/camper-tour.57672/ has a quick tour of the inside.

    Camper mods:
    • Spring under axle flip (~6" lift)
    • Taco wheels (required 1.5" spacer adapter)
    • Scissor jacks replaced with stabilizer jacks
    • Rebuilt tongue, moved propane tank, new jack on front
    • Bunkrooms for the kiddos
    • Kennel under bunkroom
    • Tile backsplash with utensil holder
    • Medicine cabinet, larger shower curtainrod and curtain
    • Custom rear rack
    • Ductless mini split AC unit
    Camper ToDo:
    • Finish rear rack
    • Remove rooftop AC and put in skylight
    • Bathroom skylight
    • Rebuild cabinet around inside AC unit
    • Master bedroom wall
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2020
    Mrtacoman88 and Tacman19 like this.
  11. Sep 11, 2020 at 7:40 AM
    #11
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

    Joined:
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    Dave
    Los Alamos, NM
    Vehicle:
    2017 White SR5 4x4 DCLB
    SOS armor, ARE MX walk-in, Fox coils, Dakar leafs, etc
    September 7-11 2020 - Black Rock Mountain State Park
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We didn't go offroading this trip - it was just a camping trip, so there's not a lot of Taco pictures.

    With the AC done, we went on a quick 4-day trip to Black Rock Mountain State Park. This state park is the highest altitude state park in Georgia. The park is nice and cool year-round and has a few nice scenic overlooks.

    We stayed in site 48. It's a private site at the back of the park on a ridge. Most of the sites in the park are very small, so if you're camping here, I highly recommend staying in the back of the park all the way at the end.

    KIMG0668.jpg

    KIMG0703.jpg

    The first day we met up with my family and hiked the Tennessee Rock Trail. This trail went to the summit of Black Rock Mountain at an elevation of 3640 feet. The views were great and the hike was fun, with a lot of elevation change.

    I highly recommend this hike if you're in the area. The altitude means the weather is much more pleasant than most hikes in Georgia, and the elevation change means you get to experience a rich variety of nature. The valleys have swaths of ferns with a creek running through them, and the peaks have mountain laurels and beautiful orange flowers this time of year.

    14484.jpg


    WQLO9107.jpg

    Noah had online school all week from 0800 - 1430, so he was back in school Tuesday morning.

    KIMG0701.jpg

    We hiked the Black Rock Lake trail after school. The trail was nice, but nothing too interesting.

    KIMG0696.jpg

    KIMG0687.jpg


    KIMG0692.jpg
    The lads collected acorns in the evening.

    IMG_3340.jpg

    The next day, I did a trail run of the whole James Edmonds loop. It ended up being over 8 hours, and I ran it in 2 hours and 3 minutes - not bad considering the elevation changes thousands of feet up and down over the trail. The scenic overlook was underwhelming, but there was lots of pretty scenery.

    NPEI7573.jpg

    JSWZ1867.jpg

    I bumped into a momma black bear and 2 cubs on the hike, they were only about 20 feet off the trail. That was pretty cool. They had no idea what to make of me since I was running and just watched me go on by.

    I made a massive batch of stir fry for dinner. Food always tastes best when you're tired from working or exercise.

    KIMG0706.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2020
  12. Sep 28, 2020 at 4:00 PM
    #12
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

    Joined:
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    First Name:
    Dave
    Los Alamos, NM
    Vehicle:
    2017 White SR5 4x4 DCLB
    SOS armor, ARE MX walk-in, Fox coils, Dakar leafs, etc
    September 26 2020 - Coppinger Cove
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Chris put together a ride up at Coppinger Cove in TN. The thread is huge - pics start at the bottom of page 37. https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/coppinger-cove-wheeling-trip-september-25-27.675712/page-37

    The original plan was to ride up, camp Saturday, and come back Sunday AM, but I decided it would be easiest since both boys were with me to skip camping.

    We left the house at 0630.

    [​IMG]

    The meetup was at the Coppinger Cove Church, located here: https://goo.gl/maps/WbwqFLg92jag25ph8

    The group riding in for the morning met up with some other folks who had camped at the Trials Center nearby and another group who camped on the trail. Everyone had arrived by 0930. There were 7 Tacomas, 3 FJs, a 4Runner, and Jeff in his Suzuki Samurai.

    [​IMG]

    We headed North from the church and the road quickly turned into a trail.

    Coppinger Cove is a fairly technical trail for a Tacoma. A factory Tacoma is not welcome here - as evidenced by the first obstacle - a huge boulder with a foot of water all around it.

    Johnny has been on a few rides, and him and his wife always get good pictures and videos. Here's a few stills from the video of me going over, followed by lots of good video of everything afterwards.

    Going up:

    1.jpg

    Going down... On the sliders:

    2.jpg

    And back on up:

    3.jpg





    The boulder left a mark on every Taco's slider, and the wall nearby took out a headlight. This trail is the real deal.

    After the entry boulder, the water crossings start and just keep going. I still have water in my foglights. The water crossings were mostly shallow - and by that I mean a foot deep - but a couple of them were high enough that I would have certainly gotten water in the cab if I had stopped. Here's one of the smaller crossings:

    [​IMG]


    Notes from memory on the creek crossings for my reference later, or if you follow the GPX:
    - First crossing - go straightish across, then hug the shoreline on the opposite side. If you go left immediately and beeline to the exit area, it's way too deep. Same on the way back - on the way back stay left then cut right straight across at the end.
    - Second crossing - there's a bunch of ways to go. Go across, then stay left as long as you can and take every bypass you can. On the way back, make sure you stay right as long as you can until you're forced to cross. Go slow if you're unsure - on our way back in the dark we missed a bypass - Brian was leading and if he hadn't been being careful and going slow, he would have been floating downstream. We ended up reversing in the creek crossing and taking a bypass we didn't see first glance. A crossing in reverse is a first to me, and is definitely not worth repeating.
    - Third crossing - Easy straight shot, but on the way in, there's a left and right way up - the right way deeper at the end. It was about at the top of my 33s. On the way back, that right way is the one straight out of the campsite at the sandbars. The campsite after the third crossing is also where the best campsite is.

    This trail has by far the most water in general and the most deep crossings I've ever encountered. As a word of advice -- don't go if it's rained recently, and take every crossing bypass you can, even on the trail. They're there for a reason. I probably put a nautical mile on my truck over this trip from all the crossings.

    We stopped at the third campsite for a bit and I got the two barbarians in the backseat a snack.

    [​IMG]

    Preston, driving a prerunner, wanted to do a hill climb and FUCKING SENT IT. It was cool.



    With so many trucks, the going got slow after the creek. The 4runner was new and very out of his comfort zone, there was a factory height Taco who was pretty new, and despite Preston's ability to liberally apply the skinny pedal in the right direction, he still got stuck a few times. We had to stop many, many times.

    [​IMG]

    The stops didn't bother me though, the forest was beautiful. The trail overall just follows a large creek through a canyon, so there was no shortage of wildlife to look at or scenery to enjoy.

    [​IMG]

    Johnny or Jeanie took this:

    cylUSDd.jpg

    KIMG0784.jpg

    We started to come up to several huge mud pits. They all had bypasses for a reason - they were DEEP and long.

    [​IMG]

    Some of the bypasses though were very off-camber or involved shelves and drop offs. One had multiple routes, and Tyler sank his 3rd gen in one of the holes. We all got lucky we didn't take that line.



    We hit the most technical section of the trail yet - a rock garden with boulders that were huge - well over a foot in diameter. I went third through after watching the FJ stall several times. I literally used every skid, the sliders, and my HC rear getting through. I made it thanks to some good spotting from the guy in the blue FJ (Dustin?) and some skinny pedal. The 4runner smashed his rear quarterpanel on the way through.



    After the rock garden, there was a steep and wide shelf blocking the whole trail. I was able to approach, but high centered and had to drag across. When Chris went through before me, he fucked up his rear driveshaft on the rock. The trail was taking damage from everyone. Here's him checking on it - luckily it wasn't too bad:

    KIMG0785.jpg

    The cave finally came up - and we stopped for a late lunch and some exploration.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The area around the cave was all rocks with some trees popping through with zero underbrush. The reason there was no brush was because the whole area floods when it rains.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The cave was the low point, and it was clear a LOT of water flowed into it deep into the underground every time it rained. Since I had the boys with me, we explored the entrance and went no further. Jeff drove his Samurai into the cave though!

    [​IMG]

    Since we were social distancing, we just watched from afar.

    Noah found a huge spider:

    [​IMG]

    I climbed a tree and took a pic of all the trucks:

    [​IMG]

    We turned back and rode back to the campsite at the third crossing. A few stayed, but several left and kept on going.

    [​IMG]

    KIMG0810.jpg

    I didn't realize the group was going back, so we had split the ride back and me, Brian, Preston, and Brian navigated our way back using tips from Chris about the crossings and following my GPX tracks... in the dark.
    KIMG0813.jpg
    Brian and I swapped leading a few times. We accidentally made a wrong turn, almost sank in the creek, and ended up reversing a quarter mile up the creek. You can see me way to the right in this pic Preston took:

    [​IMG]


    Finally, here's the map of the route we took (in to the cave, then backtracked) and GPX. If you use the GPX and just see this part of the post, make sure you scroll up and read the creek crossing instructions - these are deep if you don't cross right.

    tracks.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Sep 28, 2020 at 4:18 PM
    #13
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
    Member:
    #211822
    Messages:
    932
    First Name:
    Dave
    Los Alamos, NM
    Vehicle:
    2017 White SR5 4x4 DCLB
    SOS armor, ARE MX walk-in, Fox coils, Dakar leafs, etc
    September 27 2020 - Cleanup, front bumper chop, MesoJDM stuff
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    The truck was covered in dirt from the ride, and I needed to assess the damage to my skids to see if it was just touch-up or something worse. It was immediately apparent I had completely demolished my hitch step. It's banana shaped.

    KIMG0816.jpg

    No big deal, I'll weld it back together when I get a chance.

    The skids actually look good. The only big dent I have is still the one from when I beached the truck in a crossing months and months ago. Literally all the thudding and scraping and dragging from the last trip... Which was a lot... only did superficial scratching on the skids and sliders, fucked up a bolt on the slider mount, and scraped the hell out of my passenger side rear axle shock mount. I seriously owe Eddy from SOS offroad concepts a beer - my truck has no damage. The armor performed flawlessly, and is still in great shape even after a lot of abuse. It was money very well spent.

    KIMG0819.jpg

    Body-wise, I did fine too. No body damage other than the inner wheel liner detaching up front. I was wondering what was making dragging noises when I was turning....

    KIMG0820.jpg

    It split off on both sides like the above pic. The inner wheel liner split like that from me approaching rocks slowly, pushing the bumper into them, then climbing up. It was ok since I went slow, but it's a glaring clearance issue that isn't present with full bumpers instead of streamline bumpers. Luckily the solution is just to chop the front bumper like you would for a full bumper, and use a heat gun to bend the inner wheel liner up and out of the way.

    Chop it!

    KIMG0826.jpg

    Done!

    KIMG0828.jpg

    I just used my angle grinder, it's just a standard Ryobi 4.5" grinder, with a cutoff wheel. The cut took 2 minutes to mask off and 5 minutes per side to get perfect. I used a deburring tool to clean the edges. I could put trim on the edges, but it looks good enough. The truck isn't that pretty anyways.

    My foglights were also full of water, which was easy to drain.

    I gave the full truck a good cleaning and the boys helped again. I love the age they're at, they always want to help. I'm going to keep encouraging that and hope they keep being so enthusiastic about helping. Having a consistently helpful and positive attitude is the main reasons I think I've been so successful in life so far, so I want to make sure I pass that on to them.

    The truck had no scratches somehow after washing, even after driving through lots of branches. I attribute literally all of that to Turtle Wax sealant. Someone casually posted it saying it was a game-changer - I agree. I expected tons of little scratches, but there were none. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NW9D8FG is the stuff I used after the last wash. I used it again after this wash and the finish looks new. It shouldn't look new with what this truck has been through, but I have no complaints about that! I'll be getting more when the bottle runs out.

    Lastly, MesoJDM came in stock with their map lights and dome lights. I ordered both. Both came in, and I installed them. I didn't bother to take pics, because this thread has literally 333 pages at the time of writing of info on them: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/custom-led-map-and-dome-lights.521923/

    Edit: here's a better pic of the bumper chop from later in the week:

    KIMG0842.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
  14. Sep 29, 2020 at 8:18 AM
    #14
    Tacman19

    Tacman19 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Dave
    Mid Missouri
    Vehicle:
    19 Tacoma
    As many as my wallet will allow
    Dude...you're killing it here. One of my favorite threads. It's one thing to modify, but another to hit the trail and actually use it. Add to that you're awesome "Dad Skills" and this get's to the top of all my list. Thank you for sharing this.
    Zim
     
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  15. Oct 9, 2020 at 6:41 AM
    #15
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
    Member:
    #211822
    Messages:
    932
    First Name:
    Dave
    Los Alamos, NM
    Vehicle:
    2017 White SR5 4x4 DCLB
    SOS armor, ARE MX walk-in, Fox coils, Dakar leafs, etc
    October 5 2020 - Skidaway Island
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Took the boys on a quick trip to Skidaway this week. The Taco worked great as always.

    KIMG0851.jpg

    I brought the canoe thinking we'd ride the tide out to Little Tybee island, then ride it back. But it was unseasonably cold and therefore would have been too much hassle / risk with the 3 year old. The islands aren't going anywhere, so we'll try again next year when it's warmer. :cool:

    KIMG0854.jpg
    I worked some from the campsite. I wish I could always work remote, it's very pleasant. The boys just ran around the camp and played with sticks while I worked, then we hit the beach (at Tybee Island) or went for hikes in the afternoon.

    Skidaway's a great state park. Well maintained and the sites are all big and fairly private. We stayed in Site 43, which is HUGE and has full hookups including sewer. With 2 boys and how dirty they get / how much they eat, full hookups saves me having to drain the grey water tank daily. :rofl:

    KIMG0900.jpg

    Noah was a big fan of the nature hikes. He likes running, so they usually turn into a nature jog.

    We stopped at a boat ramp to look at crabs. The tide was going out hard. Nature's powerful around the barrier islands - I can't solo out-paddle the tide here with how big our canoe is.

    KIMG0895.jpg

    Until next time! :thumbsup:
     
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  16. Nov 1, 2020 at 4:18 PM
    #16
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
    Member:
    #211822
    Messages:
    932
    First Name:
    Dave
    Los Alamos, NM
    Vehicle:
    2017 White SR5 4x4 DCLB
    SOS armor, ARE MX walk-in, Fox coils, Dakar leafs, etc
    October 8 2020 - More progress on camper platform electrical
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I spent some time after unpacking from Skidaway working on the camper on the back of the truck. I've had a dedicated relay for it on the front switch panel of the truck for over a year. It's direct to the fuse panel and is not keyed, so it will work regardless of whether or not the key is in the ignition. Camper main switch on:

    KIMG1068.jpg

    I mounted a MOLLE panel over the driver side and hung a wipes pouch, a trash pouch, a net for clothes, and a bunch of pouches - I'm putting my first aid kit and some other general stuff in there to free up room in the drivers side tool area for tools and camping gear.

    KIMG1061.jpg

    I also put the switch panel and volt meter up top.

    There's a second BluSeas fuse panel behind the fridge, it's currently running a 10A circuit for the fridge and a 10A circuit for the switch panel. The switch panel has 4 lights on it - a pair in the tool area, two circuits for the two lights I mounted that weekend to the roof of the camper, and one last one on the door that is over the flip-down table on the tailgate.

    The onboard water will go in front of the fridge eventually with another cabinet for clothes.

    Closeup:

    KIMG1062.jpg

    I don't have a lot of pictures of what's actually in the camper... Under the right side are my boots and gloves, the doo doo bucket and toilet seat, then the cooking bin.

    KIMG1063.jpg

    Up front middle is food / water. To the left of it is an empty bin for clothes and to the right are backup clothes and jackets, including parkas and such. The bin close to the left has sleeping bags for everyone and blankets.

    KIMG1064.jpg

    Next is a newer pic of the tool area. It's getting pretty packed. I had to make a quick fix on the camper on the highway (light harness went out) so after that I added lighting, a high vis vest, and made my headlamp a lot easier to find.

    KIMG1065.jpg

    I've been using my recovery gear a lot too - both from clearing trails and from clearing roads from downed trees with the crazy storms we've had lately, so it all got moved to more accessible locations. I can grab the snatch block and tree strap in literally a second now.

    Here's another angle, the lights are awesome for finding stuff at night!!!

    KIMG1066.jpg


    I had someone ask how I use the mess kit with the walk-in camper and table. The walk-in option doesn't get used when I'm cooking, I just flip up the whole rear end like an SUV back hatch and flop out the mess kit drawer. It works really well.

    KIMG1067.jpg


    More to come soon... I have a family camp trip and an offroad / overland trip I need to post up still.
     
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  17. Nov 2, 2020 at 5:37 AM
    #17
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
    Member:
    #211822
    Messages:
    932
    First Name:
    Dave
    Los Alamos, NM
    Vehicle:
    2017 White SR5 4x4 DCLB
    SOS armor, ARE MX walk-in, Fox coils, Dakar leafs, etc
    October 18 2020 - Myrtle Beach
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We try to take a yearly trip to Myrtle Beach. Last year we went to Ocean Lakes - it's a huge RV resort with sites right next to the dunes. We always get a beachfront site so we can just open the trailer and see the dunes.

    KIMG1023.jpg

    We'll probably try somewhere else next year. The site was nice as always, but the people this year were crazy. Too many rednecks on golf carts with Trump flags zooming around. A family campground just isn't the time or place for that.

    We brought the hammock stand and hammock this time and spent a lot of time in that, just enjoying the sounds of the ocean. The pups loved it too. The hammock stand now lives in the camper.

    IMG_3617.jpg

    KIMG1034.jpg
    IMG_3671.jpg

    IMG_3599.jpg
    The Taco pulled our travel trailer no problem as always. It was around an 800 mile round trip, and the Taco got a bit under 10mpg.
     
    71tattooguy likes this.
  18. Nov 2, 2020 at 6:01 AM
    #18
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
    Member:
    #211822
    Messages:
    932
    First Name:
    Dave
    Los Alamos, NM
    Vehicle:
    2017 White SR5 4x4 DCLB
    SOS armor, ARE MX walk-in, Fox coils, Dakar leafs, etc
    October 29 2020 - Tropical Storm Aftermath
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We got ran over by the aftermath of Hurricane Zeta. Starting at around 0400 on the 29th, gusts up to 70mph were hitting our area.

    The result was tons of downed trees, no power, and blocked roads all over Atlanta.

    We were very fortunate - no trees fell on anything we cared about in our yard, and only small branches fell on our roof, doing no harm. There was so much debris you couldn't even see the driveway:

    KIMG1052.jpg

    After spending 4 hours clearing debris from the roof and driveway, I packed up the Taco to go help out the city by clearing roads. I started with this 4-tree pile up that was a few doors down.

    [​IMG]

    It took 4 hours, there's a lot of shit in that pile. It was two oaks that fell together, and whacked off half a poplar. An innocent peach tree was caught in it all and was reduced to a nub. As of the time of posting - 2 Nov - half the road is still blocked and the city's still not cleared the rest. They're totally overwhelmed with bigger and worse messes. Here's an after shot from the other direction.

    [​IMG]

    It was a pain in the ass to finish because my winch engage lever got stuck. I tried spooling in, out, and trying to set the winch back to engage again - no luck. At this point, the line was fully spooled out.

    I decided to use the winch line anyways and dragged tree branches. This worked literally once until the winch line popped off the spool.

    In the end I used a snatch strap secured to a shackle on the front of my SOS streamline bumper and just dragged branches with the truck since they were too large for me to carry by hand. I had the truck in 4x4 on pavement to put down the power and traction needed to drag the bigger trunks - the largest pieces were around 2' in diameter and 30' long.


    When I got back, I fixed the winch line and was able to resecure it to the spool. I still couldn't get the winch to engage though, so I asked for some advise in the GA Taco owners BS thread: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/ga-tacoma-owners-bs-thread.17642/page-1260 and got some great advice from MAG GRY TACO15:
    He was 100% right, it had a bind that just needed freed. I was able to gently whack the lever with a hammer and it went into engage and spooled in the line just fine. I plan on just leaving the winch on engage and manually spooling out when needed instead of free spooling.
     
  19. Nov 2, 2020 at 6:39 AM
    #19
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
    Member:
    #211822
    Messages:
    932
    First Name:
    Dave
    Los Alamos, NM
    Vehicle:
    2017 White SR5 4x4 DCLB
    SOS armor, ARE MX walk-in, Fox coils, Dakar leafs, etc
    October 31 2020 - Swinging Bridge Ride
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    COVID times mean weird holidays. We did a "monster egg hunt" on the 30 of October in lieu of trick or treating, then packed the truck, turned off everything at the house, and spent all day and evening of Halloween out on the trails.

    When we were out around Bull Mountain earlier in the year, there were a lot of trails we hadn't explored yet. The area is close to home and pretty mild. We started off Nimblewill Church Road and traveled North. I figured we'd wind through forest service roads until we hit the Benton Mackaye trail, and then go for a little hike.

    IMG_3703.jpg

    The leaves were beautiful shades of green, orange, brown, and yellow.

    We stopped at an overlook for a picnic lunch:

    IMG_3704.jpg

    IMG_3705.jpg


    IMG_3707(1).jpg
    And hit a few easy creek crossings:

    IMG_3708.jpg


    IMG_3709.jpg

    After a couple more hours, we got to where the forest service roads crossed the Benton Mackaye trail, parked, and went for a quick hike. There's a swinging bridge that crosses the Toccoa River here.

    IMG_3712.jpg

    IMG_3713.jpg

    And found the bridge!

    IMG_3715.jpg

    ...But it was really crowded. There were at least 20 people there.

    ro3y0ok8f5k41.jpg

    So we didn't stick around - we went back up.

    We kept driving down the trail until downed trees blocked our path.

    IMG_3723.jpg

    So we turned back and rode highway 60 back home. The off-road portion of the ride, all mapped out.

    Untitled.jpg

    The next 3 pictures are from 60 through Suches on the way back. If you're riding that way, I also highly recommend taking Wolf Pen Gap Rd - it's very scenic this time of year.

    IMG_3725.jpg

    IMG_3726.jpg

    IMG_3728.jpg

    GPX tracks attached below with waypoints.
     

    Attached Files:

    71tattooguy and Area51Runner like this.
  20. Nov 8, 2020 at 4:18 PM
    #20
    synaps3

    synaps3 [OP] Wag more bark less

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
    Member:
    #211822
    Messages:
    932
    First Name:
    Dave
    Los Alamos, NM
    Vehicle:
    2017 White SR5 4x4 DCLB
    SOS armor, ARE MX walk-in, Fox coils, Dakar leafs, etc
    November 5 2020 - Creekfire RV Resort
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We took a quick weekend trip to Creekfire RV Resort (https://www.creekfirerv.com/). The resort was nice, we'll be back if we're passing by on I95. The boys loved the pool, and it was very serene compared to the sites we usually stay at.

    The truck hit 55k during this trip. No major issues, all routine maintenance so far.

    IMG_3773.jpg


    IMG_3778.jpg

    We accidentally scheduled the trip the same week my wife's chickens came in, so they were packed with us and rode in the back.

    I took an old inverter I had in the garage and permanently wired up the inverter to the BlueSeas panel behind the refrigerator... I need to figure out where to mount it though. The inverter was necessary to keep the chicks warm since they were only 3 days old when we left.

    KIMG1070.jpg

    Here's the 3 chicks. I can now officially say I've been with 3 chicks at the same time :rofl:

    IMG_3769.jpg
    We don't have any more travel scheduled for a bit, but I do need to do some maintenance on the truck and get some more work done on the camper in the next couple of months. I'd really like to go offroading in the snow, so I'm hoping we get a good snowstorm this year. :fingerscrossed:
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2020

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