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Need help defining the wheeling I'll be doing.

Discussion in 'Off-Roading & Trails' started by 2011.TRD.Off-Road, Jun 8, 2020.

  1. Jun 8, 2020 at 4:02 PM
    #1
    2011.TRD.Off-Road

    2011.TRD.Off-Road [OP] New Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm new to Tacomaworld and I'm just getting started down the path to modify my truck. I think the first thing I need to answer is, "What are you going to do with it?" I've done a lot of reading on the site so far as to different kinds of problems you can run into with Tacomas and how much money and time you have to spend to fix them, all of them of course based on what kind of driving you'll be doing. My truck is my name (real creative) and I'd like to do some overlanding, be able to DD with it, and the hardest thing to define, some trail running. I don't want to take whoops at 100mph, but I also don't want to go 2mph through technical sections the whole time, I want a little speed in there. Here are two videos that are the closest examples of what I'd like to be able to do.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThYuY17nWRs

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SknRC0ApU-E

    This is basically what I'd like to do, without the jumping so much (But I understand that happens by accident sometimes)

    Will Mid-travel work for these tasks?
    Should a truck doing these things have a cage? (I've read a few posts about the radiator supports cracking over time)
    Are there any places I should consider reinforcing?

    I've done as much searching as I can think of but I don't know what "Light trails" or "Wheeling hard" really mean. So I apologize if I have missed something. Thank you!
     
  2. Jun 8, 2020 at 4:07 PM
    #2
    JaCado

    JaCado I make bad choices

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    Welcome to TW Mitch and (truck)Mitch
     
  3. Jun 8, 2020 at 4:47 PM
    #3
    SR-71A

    SR-71A Define "Well-Known Member"

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    Zack
    Southern Maine
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    Mobtown sliders, ARB bar, Icon RXT leafs, extended & adjustable Kings, JBA UCAs, Tepui Ayer 2, dual batteries, Gen2 xrc9.5 winch, CB, GMRS, S1 ditch lights...
    What you are describing sounds a lot like riding around on old logging roads, which is the majority of what I do.

    To try and answer your questions directly (based on my experience):
    -Yes mid travel is fine
    -Cages are for high speed rollovers and crashes, I'm hoping you don't need that lol
    -Bed stiffeners are a good place to start. Easy and cheap.

    So first and foremost I would say this: get out there and do it. Whatever it is, get out and do it. Take it easy at first, learn what the truck can do. Have some proper recovery gear with you (an extra truck with a winch is always great to pull you out), some water, some food, maps, consideration for where you are (cell service or not..) etc etc.

    From there you can make better decisions and direct your hard earned fun stamps into the truck as needed.

    As I said earlier I typically run old (and new) logging roads up north. I push the limits of what I feel comfortable with, so if road conditions are ok and visibility is good I can easily roll 50 mph across ok roads, sometimes a lot higher. I've had my truck in the air before, and I've also done some slow rock crawling in NH and VT. Nothing crazy by the standards of some guys on here, but still made me buy skid plates and made me super thankful I had good sliders on at the time.

    I think another thing worth considering is where are you going to be wheeling? Here in the NE we have a lot of very small trails. LT and 35's would be great for the rougher roads and big holes, but thats a lot of extra width to be fitting down the trail. Also its a huge investment haha.

    As far as weaknesses, yeah the core support sheet metal is kind of weak. A lot of guys do aftermarket polyurethane bushings as a fix. Personally my feelings on that are still mixed at best. Being smart about where you add a second battery (if you do) can help a ton by spreading that weight out. The CV axles on these trucks are known to be a weak point in the drivetrain. If you think you'll ever be into the rock crawling type of stuff and if you have a heavy right foot, Id probably carry a spare one of those as well as the tools needed to change it.

    What else... Bed stiffeners as I mentioned. Lifting is known to cause drivetain vibrations. Getting the u-joint angles all matched up on the rear drive shaft with a digital angle gauge and shims will help that. Maybe a new carrier bearing too. Look into the ECGS bushing for the front driver side CV. If you do a lift that will probably be the first thing to let go on the front end. A CV laso and big ass prybar will help a ton removing the CVs from the diff. Oh and tires. If you have E range tires airing down to 22-25psi at moderate speeds will be better than $2k worth of shocks alone

    Edit: sorry for the long ass barely coherent post lol :drunk:
     
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  4. Jun 9, 2020 at 3:22 PM
    #4
    2011.TRD.Off-Road

    2011.TRD.Off-Road [OP] New Member

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    Wow thanks SR-71 (My dad's favorite jet btw). I'll be driving fire roads/forest roads in upper Michigan, also just to be overly detailed, how would you describe "Ok roads" just so I can get a feel? I assume it's not just a normal flat dirt road. Those speeds sound like all the fun I'd want to have safely being that faster is probably dangerous just based on visibility. So you're not concerned with any radiator support upgrade for what I'm going to be doing? And about the front driver side CV, when you say the first thing to let go, you mean the factory part will be the first thing to break correct?
     
  5. Jun 10, 2020 at 6:27 AM
    #5
    SR-71A

    SR-71A Define "Well-Known Member"

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    Mobtown sliders, ARB bar, Icon RXT leafs, extended & adjustable Kings, JBA UCAs, Tepui Ayer 2, dual batteries, Gen2 xrc9.5 winch, CB, GMRS, S1 ditch lights...
    Guess its kind of hard to describe really. I mean it can vary a ton within just a few miles. Basically just what you're comfortable with haha

    I wouldn't worry about the core supports right off the bat. I ran the factory rubber bushings for ~3 years. That being said I do think its good preventative maintenance and I'm in the process of doing mine. I did the generic 9.4101G kit about a month ago and Im not at all impressed. Didnt fit well and I started to get creaking noises after install. The full 8.4109G kit just arrived in the mail yesterday. So Ill have to swap that at some point. This is just my experience, you can read more below.
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/polyurethane-radiator-support-mounts-cab-also.361346/

    Sorry maybe I didnt explain the CV thing well. On the drivers side of the front diff there is a needle bearing that supports the end of the CV. This is a well known failure point after a lift. It gets a lot of play in it, allowing the CV shaft to move around in the diff more than it should. This leads to grinding/crunching/whirring type noises.
    That is removed and replaced with the ECGS bushing which tightens the tolerances back up. The passenger side is a regular old ball bearing, so that almost never fails.

    This is fair to poor if you look close
    20190504_153733_HDR.jpg

    This is pretty damn good
    20200524_114657.jpg
     
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  6. Jun 11, 2020 at 3:48 PM
    #6
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Made you look

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    First, I commend you on your prior research, and actually starting out with the proper questions! You're off to a good start.

    However, it sounds like you still haven't really done what I would recommend that you do before going knee deep in mods. Which is to drive it off road in its current form.

    Honestly, a stock truck is a great "all arounder". So I'd start with taking your stock truck to all the places you've thought about going. Maybe consider some new tires with a more aggressive tread, but your basic all terrain (vs. those street slicks these trucks come with) is a great start. No need to slap 33" mud terrains and $4k+ in suspension on the thing just yet...

    I didn't see anything in those videos that stock suspension couldn't really handle. I've jumped my truck back when it had stock suspension, and the thing didn't explode. I'm obviously not hucking it off dunes, but the stuff in those videos is pretty tame, especially for long travel, lol...

    "Overlanding" is simply camping with a 4x4 (doesn't even really need to be a truck, or even a 4x4, lol). If you've been car camping before, "overlanding" is exactly the same as that, but just maybe not in a developed camp sight. Bring all that same stuff. Tent, sleeping bag, food, cooking equipment, etc... Worry about all that "overlander" stuff (roof top tents, skottles, and all that other stuff you see in the #gram) later. AN RTT is simply a convenience, a rather expensive convenience.

    Sometime down the road, you may find you want to upgrade your suspension to handle the bumps a little better, and maybe get some larger tires with a more aggressive tread to help clear larger obsticles. At that point, do you need to spend $4000 on shocks? A lot of us do, but mostly because we "can". The vast majority of us don't really even push the stock suspension *that* hard. A decent set of bilstiens and a mild lift with new coils and leaf springs is all most people "need".
     
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  7. Jun 11, 2020 at 4:44 PM
    #7
    2011.TRD.Off-Road

    2011.TRD.Off-Road [OP] New Member

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    Thanks for the compliment jbrandt. I love everything you said. I have plans to slap new tires on and playing for a while with the truck before deciding on anything. But my dream for a long time has been to make the most capable off-road truck that isn't insanely expensive that I can still DD. And by most capable, for me that's speed off-road, not rock climbing or anything. I live in MI where it's all trails and mud, and some sand. My ultimate goals as of now, totally subject to change go as follows. Mid-travel front and rear, probably AT or semi-mud 265/75R16, Front alum bumper (I like the full hoop Moab 2.0), rear alum bumper, a couple big LED headlights in the center bumper hoop (love the prerunner look), and aside from bed stiffeners and maybe skid plates, that's about it (If the 4wd electric switch gets funny I might go for the FJ T-case swap, but I'm not sure). No bed rails, no rooftop tent, no awning. The truck needs to be much more paired down than the average overland rig, I still need it for truck stuff. Definitely nothing on the roof. I don't know if a front bumper will hurt aerodynamics but I know things on the roof will.
     
  8. Jun 11, 2020 at 5:51 PM
    #8
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Made you look

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    Pretty much anything you do to the front will affect aerodynamics. If you are concerned about that, there are some "hidden" winch plates that you can look into. Or get a front hitch, then mount a winch to a hitch receiver adapter. Then you can leave the winch at home when commuting, and when you're off road have the option for a front OR rear winch.

    I have mid travel Kings on my 1st gen and I absolutely love them. The rear I haven't done much with, but the plan is matching Kings with Deaver J59s and shackles. Maybe I'll do a shock relocation, I dunno...
     
  9. Jun 12, 2020 at 9:05 PM
    #9
    Ferball

    Ferball Well-Known Member

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    Get some basic recovery gear and get off road. Aside from my tires I run my truck stock. I have a few upgrades I would like to do, but other priorities keep coming up. In stock form the truck is more than capable for basic off road adventures. The more you get off road the better idea you will have of what you need.
     
  10. Jun 16, 2020 at 7:45 AM
    #10
    SubCultureNM

    SubCultureNM Well-Known Member

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    No better advice can be given. My approach to vehicle mods, when it comes to our off-road rigs, has always been use--evaluate--fix--upgrade. Jumping into a build without any real seat time pretty much ensures you'll either build too big right away (spend too much money and never use it to its full potential) or you'll end-up spending money twice (or more) to fix issues with the original build. The single most valuable "mod" you can make, if you will, is seat time. Learn what the truck can do stock. Learn what you can do (and will do) as a driver. Then upgrade based on your own experience. This may show my age, but the entire off-road scene these days is dominated by people who want attention on social media, rather than by people who truly USE their rigs.
     
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  11. Jun 16, 2020 at 9:27 AM
    #11
    SR-71A

    SR-71A Define "Well-Known Member"

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    That last part is especially true..
     
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  12. Jun 16, 2020 at 10:15 AM
    #12
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Made you look

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    I guess 40 is considered old now...:anonymous:

    Back in my day (goddamnit, I AM old...), "overlanding" was just tossing a tent and a couple cases of beer in your truck and heading up the hill for a weekend. Now everyone has these fully outfitted expedition vehicles with $300 axes and $2500 tents, so they can drive 20 minutes out some dirt road and #getoutside.
     
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  13. Jun 16, 2020 at 10:26 AM
    #13
    SR-71A

    SR-71A Define "Well-Known Member"

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    Dont forget the skottle :D
     
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  14. Jun 16, 2020 at 10:27 AM
    #14
    SubCultureNM

    SubCultureNM Well-Known Member

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    46 here. Grew up doing just what you describe, too. It was one of the many joys of growing up in the Mountain West. I used to scoff at "building up" a 4x4 because many of them are so capable stock. But then my wife and I started getting out and spending weekends exploring, and we quickly got ourselves into situations where I was afraid we might not be able to get back out. We had a '97 Jeep Wrangler at the time, and that was the start of my change of heart when it comes to 4x4 mods. Nevertheless, I spent lots and lots of time in stock rigs, including keeping our current Jeep and Tacoma stock for awhile, before beginning any modification.

    In the modern social media influenced Jeep scene, it's $20,000-worth of axles, 40"+ tires, and ungodly stretched wheelbase to run trails we've run on 35s. It's great for the vendors and manufacturers, I reckon.
     
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  15. Jun 16, 2020 at 10:47 AM
    #15
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Made you look

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    Yay capitalism!! lol

    Yeah, even the Toyota scene, you buy a $50k TRD Pro, then throw another $20k+ in tents, color matched armor, and slide out kitchens, it gets pretty ridiculous.

    Definitely not saying no one needs mods, but I'd argue you certainly don't "need" them for the kind of stuff 90% of people are doing. Just something for people to spend money. But hey, at least they're spending their money to go outside, rather than sitting at a blackjack table in Vegas...

    I always enjoy seeing some built up 4x4 rig "overlanding" next to a Subaru or a Westi.
     
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  16. Jun 16, 2020 at 10:52 AM
    #16
    EatSleepTacos

    EatSleepTacos Well-Known Member

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    OP, here is my suspension set up that works well for me and allows me to rock crawl, and also go a little fast like those videos. I'm not saying this as a shopping list for you, but just wanted to share it.

    Man that looks like a lot when I type it all out.

    Front:

    King extended travel coilovers
    Wheelers offroad bump stops
    JBA upper control arms
    Stock lower control arms (I reinforced them and added polyurethane bushings)
    Gusseted spindles
    Gusseted alignment tabs
    Poly performance solid mounted alignment bolts, so I don't knock my truck out of alignment

    Rear:

    Old man emu dakars
    Archive Garage hammer hangers
    Archive garage u bolt flip kit with their brand bump stops
    bamf shock relocate
    King 12"x2.0 shocks
    Limit straps

    I don't have any video of my spirited driving, but here's a little slow speed articulation. I'm very happy with all aspects of this set up.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/CBbG34kAT1v/
     

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