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New Colorado Tacoma Owner

Discussion in 'New Members' started by Passion4Outdoors, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. Dec 27, 2013 at 10:43 PM
    #1
    Passion4Outdoors

    Passion4Outdoors [OP] Active Member

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    Anthony
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2014 Tacoma Adventure Rig
    Leer 180 Topper Baja Rack Body Armor Trail Steps All-Pro Off Road Skids Toyota Bed Mat Thule T2 916XTR Rack Salex Console Organizer Add A Leaf Husky Mud Flaps TrailSeal Tailgate Gasket WeatherGuard Floor Mats TSB Steering Shaft Rag Joint Adjustment Mod Tow Wiring Relocate Mod Tailgate Screw Mod
    Hi, guys!

    I've learned a lot from reading these forums over the past few months as I researched for and completed my build, so I thought I'd share some of what I learned along the way. I was actually planning on waiting until March to buy. I've had my eye on a Tacoma for years now, and since my 1999 Ranger was approaching 15 years and 220,000 miles, and I needed a truck to take the family on adventures, I decided to stop in to Mountain States Toyota the day before Thanksgiving to see what inventory looked like and get a feel for the dealership. Well, after working with salesman Kenny Manny, I returned two days later on Black Friday to seal the deal. I left with a 2014 Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4X4 with navigation and JBL premium audio. I considered a full-size truck, but mileage, off-road capability, looks, and maneuverability/parking kept bringing me back to the Tacoma. I sold my Ranger for a good price exactly seven days after taking delivery of the Tacoma, and then it was off to buy aftermarket parts to customize the truck and truly make it ready for the adventures I wanted to take it on.

    I like to do some mild to moderate four-wheeling in the mountains of Colorado and the deserts of Utah, plus we needed a rig capable of carrying the family and gear to some off-the-beaten-path campsites, so I began to outfit the truck appropriately. First, I didn't want to mess with the drive-train, including wheels/tires/lift, etc. I wanted to leave the truck as it was engineered for safety, durability/wear, and mileage, but I also knew the Tacoma's vulnerable spot was under the transfer case where the exhaust comes across. The All-Pro Off Road Transfer Case Skid was the answer. It is heavy duty! And I mean HEAVY. I weighs about 50 pounds, and I had to muscle it up underneath the truck three different times. Yes, three because I needed to drill the middle two holes larger--basically making them extend down another 1/8-1/4 inch to accommodate the bolts. This was even after jacking the crossmember back up 1/4 inch or so to return it to its original position after it sagged slightly when I loosened the nuts to install the skid. Bear in mind this is holding the transfer case and one end of the transmission right above it. I surmised that these all flex slightly while driving anyway, so moving them up and down 1/4 inch should not be a huge problem. The bolts in the crossmember would not let them move any further than that. Finally, I got the thing mounted, and it turned out very cleanly.

    [​IMG]

    Now, I knew I wanted some serious cargo capacity, so a Baja Rack and then a Leer 180 topper from Steve over at Rocky Toppers and Rhino Linings here in Grand Junction would set me up pretty well. The topper is awesome and makes for a huge cargo bay, and the rack should work well for carrying light, bulky items in rafting dry bags.

    [​IMG]

    The rack installation went okay. I did have some trouble drilling the holes through the plastic/rubber strips after I had pulled them off. There is a metal strip running inside of these and the drill bit kept slipping off to one side or the other even though I preferred the hole to be close to the center, so I used the cone shaped grinding bit on my rotary tool and ground out a hole in each one with relative precision. I had to adjust these a little by enlargening them, but once I threw silicone in there and the mounting brackets went over the strips, it came out very nicely. My first trip to work the next day with the rack was a big surprise. Man was it loud! There was a hum resonating through the whole truck from 40-60 M.P.H. even though everything was tight. It was almost like the sound of blowing across the open top of a beer bottle. Now, imagine someone doing that continuously while you are driving in that speed range. Four days later, I had the troubleshooting narrowed down to the bottom air deflector, I had to pull the rack off to do it, but I flipped the air deflector over, and, voila, the problem was fixed! Even though it doesn't tuck up underneath anymore and extends down an inch or so, it seems to make for a much smoother airflow over the rack. The two deflectors together now form a wedge across the front of the rack, and it is quiet at all speeds. Only a slight whistle can be detected over 60 M.P.H. I don’t know if other Tacoma owners (or Baja Rack owners with other vehicles) have experienced this noise, but I swear by the fix I came up with. It is very clean, and eliminates the lip that appeared when the deflector was positioned the other way. It was almost like an upside down bug deflector, and I'm almost positive that forcing the air down towards the roof of the truck over that lip caused it to hum. My only other complaints with the rack are that it came with one of the steel crossbars bent from shipping (which I was able to bend back), and after I had it finally installed with the modification, I found a little dent under one of the main steel tubes on the driver's side. This is not a huge deal, but for $705 shipped, I had hoped it would be close to perfect out of the box. It’s funny how you can inspect something so thoroughly and then find a flaw with it later on that would have seemed so obvious to discover earlier.

    Next, I needed some low-profile heavy duty steps to protect my rocker panels from light off road stuff like sticks and small rocks, and to allow easy use of the rack. I decided on the Trail Steps (a.k.a. Rock Steps) from Body Armor. These are also some heavy duty pieces of hardware!

    [​IMG]

    They went on pretty easily after I deviated from the instructions and mounted the brackets to the steps first and then lifted them into position to bolt on to the body of the truck. Two of the holes in the steps were stripped out right from the start, so I had to go down to the hardware store and get a 10 mm tap to re-tap the 8 mm holes for larger bolts. Well, they barely fit side-by-side. Next, I realized that the Tacoma design had changed since the front brackets were designed and that they allowed for only one bolt on that bracket-to-body connection rather than two. After receiving confirmation from the BA factory that this was correct, I proceeded to use some fender washers to space this bracket out correctly. I am pleased with the steps overall. They are solid and strong, I am just hoping that the one-bolt-bracket up from doesn't flex and make any noise off-road.

    I also ordered the polyurethane step pads to screw on to the steps, and that was a whole other story. The folks at Body Armor sent pan head screws even though the holes on the pads are clearly shaped to receive counter-sink screws. I had to go down to the hardware store yet again and after lots of experimentation, I found that 10/32 X 5/8 socket cap counter-sink alloy screws were what I needed. I put blue thread lock in each hole and tightened them just right. After a little rust started to appear, I used some Rust-Oleum soaked cotton swabs to carefully apply a little paint to the head of each one.

    A bed mat and a Thule hitch rack for the bikes has finished off my build. I will say that I had researched each of these products quite a bit before purchasing each one, and some of the challenges I experienced along the way were unexpected. I learned that bolt-on aftermarket products do not always bolt on so easily. It is awesome, however, to experience to finished product. I just hope it holds up well. After adding 400 pounds of stuff, I am really waiting to see what the highway mileage turns out to be. Well, for those interested in my build or in any of these products, there it is.

    I am looking forward to hearing from others. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015
    iancaz likes this.
  2. Dec 28, 2013 at 7:44 AM
    #2
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    Welcome!
     
  3. Dec 28, 2013 at 7:52 AM
    #3
    RVA

    RVA Well-Known Member

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    one new guy to another,
    welcome.

    clean ride. enjoy
     
  4. Dec 28, 2013 at 8:04 AM
    #4
    ramonortiz55

    ramonortiz55 Not A Well-Known Member

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    stock
    Dude. Wow, those steps! Could you post pictures under better lighting for those steps?

    The website says they have LEDS on them, could you demonstrate?
     
  5. Dec 28, 2013 at 8:38 AM
    #5
    erok97

    erok97 Member

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    Southern NH
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    05' Base 4x4 6sp manual
    3" lift, ARB front bump
    Welcome, I just recently joined myself.
     
  6. Dec 28, 2013 at 9:00 AM
    #6
    snowtank

    snowtank Where the fuck did my beer go!

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    Some stuff here and there....
    Welcome from az. Nice truck.
     
  7. Dec 28, 2013 at 3:21 PM
    #7
    Passion4Outdoors

    Passion4Outdoors [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
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    Anthony
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2014 Tacoma Adventure Rig
    Leer 180 Topper Baja Rack Body Armor Trail Steps All-Pro Off Road Skids Toyota Bed Mat Thule T2 916XTR Rack Salex Console Organizer Add A Leaf Husky Mud Flaps TrailSeal Tailgate Gasket WeatherGuard Floor Mats TSB Steering Shaft Rag Joint Adjustment Mod Tow Wiring Relocate Mod Tailgate Screw Mod
    Thanks for welcoming me to Tacoma World. It's great to share in the fun! Here are some more shots of the Body Armor steps. They are solid if you're willing to put up with a little potential hassle on installation.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Dec 29, 2013 at 8:35 PM
    #8
    Passion4Outdoors

    Passion4Outdoors [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
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    Male
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    Anthony
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2014 Tacoma Adventure Rig
    Leer 180 Topper Baja Rack Body Armor Trail Steps All-Pro Off Road Skids Toyota Bed Mat Thule T2 916XTR Rack Salex Console Organizer Add A Leaf Husky Mud Flaps TrailSeal Tailgate Gasket WeatherGuard Floor Mats TSB Steering Shaft Rag Joint Adjustment Mod Tow Wiring Relocate Mod Tailgate Screw Mod
    There has been some question out there on the web as to whether or not the Thule T2 916XTR is a good fit for the Tacoma. Well, I can assure you it is! The tailgate (and cargo) can be accessed with the bikes on the rack when the rack is tilted down. As long as the inside bike has the inside pedal turned all of the way up on the crank, the tailgate will clear it when down. I cannot open the back window on the topper unless I tilt the rack down, but I have one side windoor for quick access to gear, if necessary, plus it is not a big deal to tilt the rack down if filling the cooler with ice at the grocery store or filling water containers on the road. If you are contemplating this rack, hopefully this information will help you with your purchase. Overall, I am very pleased with the quality and fit of the rack.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Dec 30, 2013 at 1:53 AM
    #9
    RLDTACO

    RLDTACO Well-Known Member

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    Bob
    Houston Tx.
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    2010 DCLB PreRunner SR5
    Debadged,Tailgate theft mod,Extra D-rings,OEM bed mat,TRD exhaust, 5100 Billys@ 4 corners set@ 0 with Eibach springs, rear TSB springs.N-Fab tube Steps. TRD FJ SE wheels and Michelin LTX A/T 2's
    Welcome!
     
  10. Dec 30, 2013 at 8:16 AM
    #10
    ramonortiz55

    ramonortiz55 Not A Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the pictures!
     
  11. Jan 3, 2014 at 10:27 PM
    #11
    Passion4Outdoors

    Passion4Outdoors [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
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    Anthony
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2014 Tacoma Adventure Rig
    Leer 180 Topper Baja Rack Body Armor Trail Steps All-Pro Off Road Skids Toyota Bed Mat Thule T2 916XTR Rack Salex Console Organizer Add A Leaf Husky Mud Flaps TrailSeal Tailgate Gasket WeatherGuard Floor Mats TSB Steering Shaft Rag Joint Adjustment Mod Tow Wiring Relocate Mod Tailgate Screw Mod
    Hello again, folks.

    After 2000 miles in five weeks and lots of exploration of the forums here, I thought I'd share my observations about my new Tacoma. First, I have to say that I love the truck! It has worked perfectly so far for my family as a great adventure rig. It gives us the seating of a two-row SUV but with a big enclosed, easily-washed cargo bay in back and room for more storage up top. The relatively short wheelbase should still do well off road, and the GPS in 3D mode at a 700' scale is just awesome for looking ahead of the vehicle's path. I was a Ford Ranger guy before this truck, and after getting a few initial bugs worked out with it, I proceeded to put on 219,900 miles over the course of nearly 15 years. The interior still looked almost new the day I sold it, it never required oil between changes, and other than two clutches, it never needed any new major drive line parts. It was great off road and carried my gear in style, but it just did not have room for the family, so I have moved on to the Tacoma hoping for another wonderful ownership experience.

    In the first few days with my new Tacoma, I realized after driving on some side streets with icy/snowy bumps that I was getting the infamous steering clunk. I wasn't sure what to do because I had a hard time duplicating the problem unless the road was rough and the speed was slow, plus I just didn't want the dealership tearing into the steering right away on a new truck, so I discovered the zip tie fix here at Tacoma World.

    http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/2nd-gen-tacomas/88077-steering-column-fix.html

    Along with many others, I was very skeptical about this--and a little frustrated that, by now, Toyota had not figured this out, even after an "upgraded" intermediate steering shaft TSB. After feeling play with the shaft under the hood, I looked at the rag joint in the cab right at the firewall and recognized the source of the problem--just too much play in the bushing. I have a feeling that Toyota wants to let this joint absorb as much road shock from normal highway driving as possible. They want the truck to ride like a car on the road, so the rag joint just sort of floats in the bushing. Once a little grease gets pushed out, then a noticeable clunk appears on rougher surfaces.

    I used a small black zip tie and looped it around so it won't fall out, and if it does wear through, it will be large enough to find and remove. I hope it stays in there though. I have heard of others' zip ties lasting 3-4 years, so I am wishing for the best here, but it is a ten-minute fix if I need to replace it. I tested it on a VERY rough road after the mod, and it took away 90% of the clunk that was there. What remains is in line with other new cars as far as I'm concerned, and I'm just glad that this is more of an annoyance rather than a mechanical problem that results in safety risks or adverse wear.

    I have also noticed that all four tires came aired up at 32 PSI despite the recommended pressures listed in the doorjamb at 32 for the rear and 28 for the front. I know a softer front end will absorb more road shock, but since it came that way, I figured I'd leave it that way to maintain my mediocre mileage. I am curious what everyone else is running and how long the stock BFG's are lasting.

    For the next issue, I have been frustrated that the cruise control likes to downshift on little hills on the interstate. It doesn't do it if my foot is buried in the gas trying to hold the same speed, but with cruise on, it just loves to annoy me and wrap the engine up. I decided to only use cruise on downhills and completely flat stretches, but I did notice more recently that if I did not shut the cruise off and just pushed on the gas to pick up a little more speed before hills, it seemed I could override this tendency. More time will tell if this anticipation can still make the cruise something I can just leave on for longer stretches.

    After reading other forums here, I have been worried about my rear springs sagging over time, so with the topper and all of my accessories on (400 pounds) plus a full tank of fuel, I measured my rear mud flap clearances off the ground. They came in at 7" on the driver's side and 7 1/2" on the passenger side when measuring the outside edge of the flap to the ground. I am assuming that the 155+ pounds of fuel over the rear wheel on the driver's side accounts for the difference. I measured from the bumper to the ground, too, just to be sure, and there was still a 1/2" difference. It is just easier to be more consistent measuring the flaps. I am going to compare these numbers every oil change/tire rotation to see how the factory springs are holding up.

    Frame rust has been another worry for me after poring over these posts, so I have taken the opportunity to look under a few pre-2005 Tacomas here in Colorado and am happy to report seeing very little rust in this climate on trucks that are 10+ years old.

    With the Baja Rack and all of the accessories on, I am getting 17.5-18.5 M.P.G. highway mileage driving in the mountains and 15-16 around town. I am hoping these numbers improve as the truck breaks in. I am trying to match the 19.4 M.P.G. on the 250-mile trip home from the dealership.

    I ordered the Salex center console organizer http://www.salexorganizers.com/Console_Organizer.php and am pleased with its utility. After putting little stuff in there, I stowed all of my emergency gear in the storage bins under/behind the back seat and in the bed. These items used to be in a box in the back of my Ranger so even though I am losing 1' of bed space, I no longer have this obstacle to fully utilizing the cargo area.

    I am pleased to note no drive line vibration or any other major quality issues (knock on wood). I just have to get used to driving an automatic after having a standard as my primary vehicle the rest of my life. I have driven plenty of other automatics through the years, though, and I like the automatic for easier off road driving, gas mileage, and towing capacity, but now I just have to figure out how to make the transmission read my mind a little better in the mountains. The tranny in our 2008 Honda Accord is the best auto I have ever driven in this regard.

    Finally, I wanted to post this quick reference card (as an attachment) that I made to keep track of all of my truck's traction options. If you print it on card stock, cut it out, and laminate it, it will fit perfectly in the little pouch on the driver's side sun visor. It begins by listing three options for L4 driving. The first one adds back some automation, while the other two deal with locking the differential and Downhill Assist Control. The remaining four options are the different modes for the VSC OFF switch. I used the info from the owners's manual to create this and keep it handy for when I am in a bind and need answers regarding the truck's capability. I hope that it may help others with the TRD Off Road package and automatic transmissions in experimenting with the options without holding a book in their hands.

    Well, I'm not sure how many will want to wade through all of my thoughts here, but if you have experienced any problems with similar equipment or are just thinking about buying a Tacoma, hopefully some of this might be of use.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  12. Jan 3, 2014 at 10:33 PM
    #12
    csuviper

    csuviper Moderator Moderator

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    Come join us in the "Colorado BS" thread.
     
  13. Jan 4, 2014 at 1:56 PM
    #13
    Passion4Outdoors

    Passion4Outdoors [OP] Active Member

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    Anthony
    Colorado
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    2014 Tacoma Adventure Rig
    Leer 180 Topper Baja Rack Body Armor Trail Steps All-Pro Off Road Skids Toyota Bed Mat Thule T2 916XTR Rack Salex Console Organizer Add A Leaf Husky Mud Flaps TrailSeal Tailgate Gasket WeatherGuard Floor Mats TSB Steering Shaft Rag Joint Adjustment Mod Tow Wiring Relocate Mod Tailgate Screw Mod
    I have received some requests for more detailed photos of the bottom wind deflector I flipped over on my Baja Rack. I did buy new nyloc nuts to ensure tightness over the long haul, and I dabbed a little flat black paint back into the screw heads when I was finished to give a factory finish. I also reused the foam strips, but they each only needed to be ½ as long as they were before. Some outdoor double sided tape was applied to the sticky side to give even more vibration damping and a solid, durable hold. From a distance, you cannot tell the difference in the look of the rack, but closer inspection reveals more of a wedge shape that better deflects the wind over the crossbars.
    [​IMG]

    The wind deflector fits cleanly once the screws are tightened. The side screws pulled the deflector tight while slightly bending it to reshape it and make it fit. Just tightening the screws accomplishes this.
    [​IMG]

    Another side view reveals the wedge shape. Notice how the upward-facing lip has been removed with this orientation. I am almost positive that this was the cause of the hum. It is now quiet at all speeds.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Jan 9, 2014 at 11:42 AM
    #14
    XJfella95

    XJfella95 Product Developer

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    From one new guy to another, welcome. Nice truck too. I just got a 2008 DCSB in December. Your review on the Baja Rack is nice and I plan on getting one as well but putting it on the Leer cap instead.

    Hopefully we'll meet on the trails someday.
     
  15. Jan 11, 2014 at 9:35 PM
    #15
    Passion4Outdoors

    Passion4Outdoors [OP] Active Member

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    Anthony
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2014 Tacoma Adventure Rig
    Leer 180 Topper Baja Rack Body Armor Trail Steps All-Pro Off Road Skids Toyota Bed Mat Thule T2 916XTR Rack Salex Console Organizer Add A Leaf Husky Mud Flaps TrailSeal Tailgate Gasket WeatherGuard Floor Mats TSB Steering Shaft Rag Joint Adjustment Mod Tow Wiring Relocate Mod Tailgate Screw Mod
    I like your rig, too. Our trucks definitely look like siblings! I think the Baja Rack will work well on your topper as long as you have the rack option for extra strength built into it. With the cab-high topper, it should look pretty clean, and you'll be keeping the extra noise at the rear of the truck. Maybe we will someday meet out on the trails. I rode my mountain bike on the Switzerland Trail over 20 years ago when I used to live on the Front Range! I still get over there to see family, but my true playground areas are the local mesas, the San Juan Mountains to the south, and the canyons of Western Colorado/Southeastern Utah--the stuff close to my "new" home over here. Good luck on your build.
     
  16. Jan 12, 2014 at 4:07 AM
    #16
    Delmarva

    Delmarva Mayor of TW

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    Tucson, AZ
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    It's the wife's T4R so it's stock
    Nice update OP

    Welcome to TW :wave:
     
  17. Jan 13, 2014 at 2:22 PM
    #17
    Pacos13Taco

    Pacos13Taco Member

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    K&N air intake i think a lift it, can't tell :( husky floor liners ARIES 3 inch black bull bar with silver skid plate debadged and blacked out grill
    welcome, i like the baja rack on your truck.
     
  18. Jan 25, 2014 at 12:01 PM
    #18
    voodoojk

    voodoojk Well-Known Member

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    Truck looks great! We pretty much have the same mindset when it comes to a build. Great write up!

    I am up the road in glenwood. Just picked up a DCSB in trade of my DCLB and looking forward to starting the build!
     
  19. Jan 25, 2014 at 3:05 PM
    #19
    Faryota

    Faryota Well-Known Member

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    13, 4x4, long bed, Sport, Debad
    6" BDS lift in front, warn winch, AFE cold air intake & exhaust, Body Armor Rear bumper, Tuffy in bed storage box, DZ bed mat, ARB front bumper & Warn winch w/light kit, Husky floor mats, dash mat,
    Nice write up and pictures!!! I also have the All Pro Transfer case skid...I thought it would be just what I needed!! Welcome from Washington State!!!
     
  20. Feb 2, 2014 at 5:08 PM
    #20
    BBell

    BBell Well-Known Member

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    Northwest
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    13 Tacoma TX
    2013 Tacoma TX 4.0 6 Speed Manual Volant CAI and air scoop Volant throttle body spacer DigiFit Weathertech Kevlar Seat Covers - Grey Interior LEDs Fab Fours PreRunner Bumper Body Armor Rock Sliders Painted radiator Rigid Industries 3x3 D2's DTL lighting kit Rigid Grill and 20" SLR2 light bar Plasti- badges Plasti- front grille surround Plasti- rear bumper MATT black rear taillights Night Raider rear LED light bar :D

    I love your roof rack man. Putting it on my list.
     

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