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Toyota builds one tough truck - a tale & pics

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by TJ Asher, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. Dec 11, 2010 at 5:38 PM
    #1
    TJ Asher

    TJ Asher [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Hello fellow Tacoma owners.

    Tacomas are tough and I have the story and pictures to prove it.

    Here goes…

    It started on the day before Thanksgiving. My wife and I were on our way to northern MN by the Canadian border to spend the weekend at a remote cabin we stay at occasionally. It's a 6 1/2 hour drive to get there.

    The forecast was for snow that evening and I had hoped to beat the weather.

    Most of the trip there was uneventful. No weather at all.

    The tonneau cover I had installed the night before looked like it was helping my gas mileage a bit even. Things were looking good.

    About 40 miles from our destination we encountered some snow. There was a couple inches of fresh snow and more coming down pretty good. The road was not well plowed and was a bit slippery so I was taking my time and not being crazy like I normally am. It was night by now and you never know when you are going to encounter a moose on the road in northern MN.

    We got to the turnoff to the gravel road that leads to the cabin. Only 3 miles and it looked to have been plowed not too long ago. Still lots of snow but nothing needing 4 wheel drive so I kept it in 2HI. I would live to regret that decision.

    About 3 miles down the road we came to the last turn off and as I made the turn I downshifted into 3rd gear. Don't ask why, I'm not sure. It was a bit slippery and I guess I did not want to spin too fast or something. I don't know.

    Anyway, a bit further down the road was the last hill. As we went down the hill I hit the brakes to slow down for the curve at the bottom.

    Nothing.

    No brakes whatsoever. No anti-lock, no nothing.

    I hit the brakes again. And again. Nothing each time. We were gaining speed and it was quickly becoming a critical situation. I was probably not going to make the turn.

    I tried to turn the wheel. No response. The hill was icy and there was no turning to be had. I had no control at that point. The road was in the middle of the forest and it was thick with trees.

    I yelled at my wife to hang on. I knew we were bound for the trees.

    Living in Minnesota I've slid off the road in winter a time or two and know to instinctively square up my wheels when I am going to hit a curb or go off road. I did just that as we left the road and started plunging down the hill through the trees, my hands gripping the wheel soundly.

    Have you ever seen rally car racing when they show the in-car footage when the driver goes off road and crashes? That's what this was like.

    I could clearly see the trees as we were smashing through them and could clearly hear them breaking. Snap. Snap. Snap. Snap. Snap. Some of them were 6 inches in diameter.

    We came to rest about 20 feet into the woods and I looked over at my wife and asked if she was OK. She said "Yes, the seat belt hardly did anything."

    It *was* a surprisingly gentle impact. I turned off the truck to prevent any catastrophic engine damage. I figured I had busted a radiator at the very least and probably tore my oil pan up. Surprisingly, the air bags did not deploy.

    I looked out my left window and noticed two trees against the side of the truck, just behind my door. If I was a couple inches back I would not have been able to open my door.

    I climbed out and just as I did so a bunch of people who were staying at another cabin in the area and who were out for an evening stroll came running down the hill asking if we were alright.

    We were. The only thing hurt was my truck. And my pride. I could not see much of the truck for all the lumber and snow on it. I figured it was toast.

    We assured the folks we were fine and started walking to the cabin. We were literally 250 yards from our destination.

    I stopped at the cabin owner's place and I asked how he felt about trying to get me unstuck.

    He fired up his truck and we went to try and pull it out.

    We cut away some of the busted off tree stumps, including two right behind the rear bumper. Not quite sure how I managed that one.

    He was pulling uphill and my truck was at a 45 degree angle down the hill and we could not get a good angle so I kept getting dragged more sideways than up the hill. I ended up against another tree. We decided to wait until it was light and we could come up with a better plan.

    Some neighbors drove by and helped me unload all our crap and take it to the cabin.

    It occurred to me later that night that had I been about 2 minutes later I would have probably taken out the folks who were out for a stroll. That gave me some pause and little sleep that night.

    Next day we had a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat and I was thankful that we were not hurt. Inspecting the truck in the daylight also lead me to believe the damage was not as bad as I originally thought. It looked like the truck might actually be drivable as astonishing as that seems. The driver side mirror had been ripped off but the rest of it seemed mostly intact.

    Fast forward a couple days and Greg, the cabin owner, had a plan to rig up a pulley and cable and pull downhill so he had gravity on his side.

    Greg got the pulley rigged up and we tried to figure out where to attach to the truck. Turns out that there is no good place on the rear of Tacomas to attach a tow strap. We ended up using a hitch without a ball and putting a clevis through it. The first night we had hooked to the chain hangers off the hitch. Not a solid place to hook up and I won't do that again. I see why folks weld on those rings to the rear of their trucks.

    Of course, by this time word of the idiot in the truck had made it around the area and a small crowd had gathered to watch the attempted extraction.

    So, we got everything hooked up and were ready to go. The actual extraction took about 10 seconds. It seemed to run fine once back on the road.

    Two days later I loaded up the truck and drove it back home.

    I heard the phrase "Toyota builds a tough truck" more than a few times that weekend.

    I have to agree.

    A couple weeks later and now the truck is at the body shop being repaired. Of course we are getting dumped on with snow now that the truck is in the shop.

    OK, if you made it this far you deserve to see some pictures.

    Here is the truck the day before showing the new tonneau cover. That installation saga is another story.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the truck just after the incident. Note the two snapped off stumps behind the truck. Still can't figure out how I managed that one.
    [​IMG]

    The hood piled with lumber.
    [​IMG]

    You can see how close I came to crashing into a really big tree. I was literally 3 inches from this one.
    [​IMG]

    The driver's side and the two trees the truck was resting against.
    [​IMG]

    Here is the morning after. This is looking down the hill. You can see where we pulled the truck up to.
    [​IMG]

    Here's some of the trees I took out.
    [​IMG]

    Here are a couple stumps showing the size of some of the trees.
    [​IMG]

    Here is the aftermath of the trees. I stopped 3 inches from the large tree on the right.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the truck after we pulled it out. Surprisingly little damage considering how many trees were broken.
    [​IMG]

    Here are some of the folks that came to watch and the truck back on the road.
    [​IMG]

    And here is the truck as it is today in the body shop.
    [​IMG]

    Here is a closeup of the rear wheel. I did not think to check the rear wheel and ended up driving home on this. It is still holding air.
    [​IMG]

    The damage included front bumper, both headlight assemblies, hood, driver side fender, driver doors, both mirrors, bed side and rear wheel. Some $8500 in damages.

    None of the suspension is damaged and the skid plate is hardly dented. Not sure I'll replace that or not yet.

    Anyway, that's my tale. I bought a Toyota because of their reputation for toughness. I now have first-hand knowledge of that toughness.

    I have a video of the extraction that I will post when I can get it uploaded.

    Thanks for reading.

    TJ
     
  2. Dec 11, 2010 at 5:45 PM
    #2
    Hunter500ky

    Hunter500ky Well-Known Member

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    Holy shit glad your ok so did you find out why no brakes and no steering or where you just sliding?
     
  3. Dec 11, 2010 at 5:48 PM
    #3
    memario1214

    memario1214 Vivid Illumination Vendor

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    Yeah, I gots boost
    Okay, I give... You went into the timber how? Glad you are all okay as well.
     
  4. Dec 11, 2010 at 5:53 PM
    #4
    David S

    David S Well-Known Member

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    Dang....those are some big trees.

    I'm sure you've had an earful of advice on this so far, but the first thing you need to do is get rid of the stock rugged trail tires. They are HORRIBLE on ice and snow. Glad everyone and the truck are still (mostly) in one piece.
     
  5. Dec 11, 2010 at 5:54 PM
    #5
    HuntnTruk

    HuntnTruk Tacohead

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    Damn, thanks for posting that. Terrible situation but could have been a lot worse. Good to see everyone ok
     
  6. Dec 11, 2010 at 5:57 PM
    #6
    Trap

    Trap Well-Known Member

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    In the obvious department , worth repeating. Don't be a hero, if the road looks like it's going to get worse shift to 4wheel drive right there and then.

    Oh I could tell you a few stories of why that is the correct thing to do. Lets just say I'll never myself make that mistake. It may not have helped here cause of the ice but you will never know now. You might have been able to steer around the corner.
     
  7. Dec 11, 2010 at 6:04 PM
    #7
    TJ Asher

    TJ Asher [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Slid down the icy hill. No steering on ice in 2WD.
     
  8. Dec 11, 2010 at 6:29 PM
    #8
    Krazie Sj

    Krazie Sj Resident Jackass

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    Buy an ARB. Your truck will be a bulldozer if anything like that happens again. :D
     
  9. Dec 11, 2010 at 6:29 PM
    #9
    06TXED

    06TXED Well-Known Member

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    X2 for the BF rugged trails get them off asap those can hardly handle damp pavement with out problems. The right tires make all the difference. Need to get some General Grabber AT2's or Goodyear duratracs
     
  10. Dec 11, 2010 at 6:39 PM
    #10
    Rhino8541

    Rhino8541 I like ze best!

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    Wow, glad everyone is ok! I've seen pictures from quite a few crashes in tacoma's they hold up very well!
     
  11. Dec 11, 2010 at 6:49 PM
    #11
    cntstan

    cntstan Well-Known Member

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    Glad you and the wife are OK. You told that story very well by the way.
     
  12. Dec 11, 2010 at 6:53 PM
    #12
    navysealboy93

    navysealboy93 Well-Known Member

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    X2 I was thinking that the entire time reading this lol
     
  13. Dec 11, 2010 at 7:04 PM
    #13
    allrsdup

    allrsdup Well-Known Member

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    all i can say is wow.. thats an amazing story. i would have absolutely shit myself, glad your ok!
     
  14. Dec 11, 2010 at 7:09 PM
    #14
    Incognito

    Incognito μολὼν λαβέ

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    X2! Glad nobody was hurt!
     
  15. Dec 11, 2010 at 7:20 PM
    #15
    Jason'sLawnCare

    Jason'sLawnCare Prepared for Bambi

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    Those are some decent sized trees to just snap off like that. Glad that you and your wife came out without a scratch and got to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal. You had much to be thankful for.
     
  16. Dec 11, 2010 at 7:57 PM
    #16
    TXBulldawg

    TXBulldawg Well-Known Member

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    Great story. Looks like a helluva ride! :D
     
  17. Dec 11, 2010 at 8:03 PM
    #17
    ktmrider

    ktmrider Senior Member

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    wait im slow, why were the brakes not working?
     
  18. Dec 11, 2010 at 8:06 PM
    #18
    Jason'sLawnCare

    Jason'sLawnCare Prepared for Bambi

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  19. Dec 11, 2010 at 8:30 PM
    #19
    kessler89

    kessler89 Well-Known Member

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    funny how similar your headlight and fender "bent" compaired to my recent deer hit

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Dec 11, 2010 at 8:36 PM
    #20
    TJ Asher

    TJ Asher [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, since the truck is so new I have not wanted to do any major mods. Now that the new has been rubbed off a bit I may start saving up for some things like the ARB bumper. Badass and will hold a winch and some driving lights pretty easily as I understand it.

    Oh, the kicker on this whole story. The truck has less than 3500 miles on it.
     
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