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Uncle Al's 2020 Apocalypse Taco

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Builds (2005-2015)' started by MrNineAndAHalf, Oct 18, 2020.

  1. Oct 18, 2020 at 2:33 PM
    #1
    MrNineAndAHalf

    MrNineAndAHalf [OP] Apocolypse Taco

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2020
    Member:
    #341055
    Messages:
    53
    Texas
    Vehicle:
    2013 ACLB TRD Sport Taco 4x4
    Bilstein 6112's & 5160's with OME MD Dakars
    2020 Apocalypse Taco
    The story of a 2013 TRD Sport 4x4 AC Toyota Tacoma bought during a pandemic...


    Ouachita National Forest, AR. Jan 2021

    Howdy und Hallo meine Freunde,

    Growing up in Texas I always laughed at the ridiculous lifted & modded-to-hell trucks driving around Houston. I'm half German & my mom & her brothers always made jokes about Texans & their over-the-top diesel trucks. You see, a few months before I bought this truck I found myself in a moral dilemma. I spent 4 weeks in South Germany helping my Uncle & Aunt build their new house. My Uncle is a professor & electrical engineer that promotes sustainable & renewable energy solutions so we often talked about the new electric vehicle options. I honestly came home believing I would buy an EV.

    But, don't y'all forget... I'm also a Texan. I am a fabricator, engineer, & owner of a new (old) home built in 1938. I desperately need utility. I work with my hands everyday & I love it. This old house needs plenty of work; I was in the process of getting a permit from the city to build a garage; And I live for gardening & cultivating. I was always borrowing my roommates truck for building & gardening. One day I was talking to a friend about my dilemma & he simply said

    "If you need a truck, you need a truck."

    That simple statement sealed the deal right then & there. Unfortunately, there are literally no all-electric trucks on the market &, damnit, I need a truck bed...

    I think the Toyota seed was planted in high school. My friends & I always commented on how Tacomas were the best looking modern truck on the market. My best friend had a Tundra & never had issues with it, but I thought it was too big for my needs. All the other American trucks were huge & looked too bloated. Tacomas were clearly one of the last decent mid-sized trucks in existence. I never thought I would be a "Truck Guy", that is, until I bought this Tacoma... I finally got it. I understood why people jump happily & willingly down the truck rabbit hole.

    So I bought my 2013 Access Cab TRD Sport 4x4 Tacoma back in March 2020 just as the Covid-19 shutdowns were getting put in place & the West was on fire. Bad idea or great idea? Luckily, I'm fairly handy, my job is stable, & I'm getting increasingly anxious about climate change; so I'd rather have a truck than not... down the Taco rabbit hole I go!

    Hope y'all enjoy reading about my on-going build & adventures.

    - Uncle Al


    How it started:

    San Luis Valley, CO. June 2020

    How it's going:

    Ouachita National Forest, AR. Dec 2020
    Vehicle Specs
    - 2013 Magnetic Grey Access Cab V6 4x4 TRD Sport Toyota Tacoma
    - 4.0L DOHC 24V V6 VVT-i 236HP Engine 5-Speed ECT-i Automatic Transmission
    - ORIGINAL ODOMETER: 72,257 miles
    - SUSPENSION FRONT: Bilstein 6112s w/ 650lb spring, SPC UCAs, & Precision LCAs
    - SUSPENSION REAR: Bilstein 5160s w/ OME Medium Duty Dakar Leaf Pack
    - TIRES: LT265 / 65 R17 = Baja Champion BF Goodrich All-Terrain KO T/A
    - WHEELS: Replika R213
    - HEADLIGHTS: Akkon Black Bezel Dual LED DRL Projector Headlights.
    - LIGHT BAR: AAIWA Round LED Work Lights
    - CAMPER SHELL: Century Ultra Sport Truck Cap
    - RECOVERY BOARDS: X-Bull

    Quick Links:

    1. Day 1
    2. First Upgrade: SUSPENSION - Headstrong Offroad's PERFORMANCE BILSTEIN KIT WITH OME DAKAR LEAF PACK (HS05BK-3)
    3. No more chrome!
    4. Papp Capped!
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
    SojournOnEarth likes this.
  2. Oct 18, 2020 at 2:48 PM
    #2
    MrNineAndAHalf

    MrNineAndAHalf [OP] Apocolypse Taco

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2020
    Member:
    #341055
    Messages:
    53
    Texas
    Vehicle:
    2013 ACLB TRD Sport Taco 4x4
    Bilstein 6112's & 5160's with OME MD Dakars
    Day 1: March 25, 2020

    Farewell sweet, sweet CRV. Thank you for all the adventures.


    The Taco was my first vehicle in my name. I put 100k+ miles on a 1999 Honda CR-V from high school thru college until I decided I wanted more utility for home projects & for my new job at a local design & fabrication company in Houston, TX. It ended up being the best decision I've made in years. I got so lucky with this truck as the previous owners took great care of it.

    First-things-first: Adventure time.

    I took a solo roadtrip to Colorado to go see about a girl plus I wanted to actually try out 4x4 & get some dirt on these tires. Boy it ended up being a perfect roadtrip with so many great memories with the truck. I chose the long bed because I am 6'0" & I dreamed of sleeping in the open air under the stars. I fit perfectly laying down with the tailgate closed & that dream became a reality on this roadtrip.









    Trujillo Meadows Campground in Conejos County, CO. June 2020
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
    JKU3000 likes this.
  3. Oct 18, 2020 at 3:16 PM
    #3
    MrNineAndAHalf

    MrNineAndAHalf [OP] Apocolypse Taco

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2020
    Member:
    #341055
    Messages:
    53
    Texas
    Vehicle:
    2013 ACLB TRD Sport Taco 4x4
    Bilstein 6112's & 5160's with OME MD Dakars
    First Upgrade

    SUSPENSION

    Headstrong Offroad's
    PERFORMANCE BILSTEIN KIT WITH OME DAKAR LEAF PACK (HS05BK-3)


    FRONT: Bilstein 6112s at 3rd Notch with 650-lb Spring, SPC UCAs, & Precision LCAs
    REAR: Bilstein 5160s with OME's Medium Duty Dakar Leaf Pack

    BEFORE & AFTER



    Stock Lift: Front 34", Rear 36 1/2"
    Bilstein Lift: Front 36 3/4", Rear 39 1/4"

    Now, story time.

    The truck came with so much already (all terrain tires, fog lights, LED headlights, & Tonno Pro Lo-Roll Vinyl Bed Cover) so I didn't feel like I needed to upgrade anything for a bit until... after the first few months of driving I went to get an oil change & general check-up. Mechanic recommended I replace my front suspension as the bushings were worn & the shocks already had 75k miles on them. I got a quote from them to install new OEM suspension but then I quickly decided I wanted to learn to do it myself & upgrade both the front & rear suspension to a decent performance kit & especially beef up the rear suspension to ride at GVWR safely.

    I started hauling stuff often. Tools, construction materials, soil, & mulch. Really was putting the truck to good use. One day I hauled 1.5 yards of mulch (~1500lbs) across town & felt every bump in the road as I was riding on my bump stops...











    After many hours late in the evening combing through TW suspension threads & talking with Marie @HeadStrong Off-Road (SHOUT OUT: she is so amazing & patient) I decided on Bilstein 6112's w/ a 650lb coil (first notch), SPC UCA's & 5160's w/ OME's Medium Duty Dakar Leaf Pack. I chose Bilstein because they come as OEM in Tacomas & a my fellow Taco-bro co-worker recommended them based on quality & price point. I ended up spending way more than I intended but I realize that's just how it goes 'round these parts, don't it?

    The front & rear suspension installs were broken up into two days. I have to give a shoutout to my good friend & fellow Taco enthusiast, Matt, because he gave me 10 hours of hard work with mostly his tools. This man is a legend. First, we did the rear, thinking this would be the simpler of the two.
    Boy, were we naive. Started around 630pm & didn't finished until 1:30am on a Thursday...



    OEM shock & leaf pack uninstalled!



    Now, here comes the trouble... In my research I never read or heard anyone mention the metal sleeve the original bushings come in.
    For the longest time we were trying to force the new bushings into this old sleeve which of course did not work. It cost us 1.5-2 hours of our time.





    Finally figured out the flanges & sleeve were something we needed to remove so we cut out the metal sleeve using a dremel & die grinder (thankful to work at a full custom fabrication shop).
    This photo was taken at 11pm, we had only removed the OEM parts, hadn't even started installing the leaf packs yet.



    First OME medium duty Dakar leaf pack in right at midnight!


    Bilstein 5160s w/ reservoir going in.


    DONE! This photo was taken at 1:13am...




    A ridiculous rake, I know! I only drove it like this for a week...

    A week later, we tackled the front. This time on a Friday where we both had the day off. Installing the UCA's were much easier than I expected. Started around 11am, finished around 3pm. My man Matt coming in clutch again. God damn legend I tell ya.




    Deleted the sway bar.




    Had to cut one of the sway bar end-link bolts out because it had seized & too much grime was in the small allen key nut.


    OEM vs Bilstein 6112 Size Comparison


    DONE!
    BUT, the install continues... I went to get an alignment at 4 Wheel Parts & left with a new LCAs, an extra 1" of lift in the front, & a 4" drop hitch. Oh, and a $900 bill...
    Apparently my OEM LCAs were completely seized so the mechanics couldn't perform a proper alignment on my truck. I knew I could install LCAs myself but then I would have to go back to get another alignment & it would cost me so much extra time. I decided to just get the new LCAs installed by the mechanic so I could drive away without worrying about extra work I had to do to the suspension. Now I'm set for 50k-100k miles!


    I also asked them to bring the 6112s up to the 2nd notch but they made a mistake & put it on the 3rd notch. I was frustrated at the moment because I was worried about ride quality but the final lift looks perfect & now I won't have to worry about too much sag when I add weight in the front. Also, I have the factory rake of ~2 1/2" again which I need for hauling.

    Below are photos of all 4 phases of my suspension upgrade. Stock, Rear, Initial Front, & Final Front.


    Stock


    Rear


    6112s 1st Notch Front


    6112s 3rd Notch Final


    Houston, TX. Oct 2020
    All in all, I'm super happy with the lift I got. The ride quality is slightly stiffer & it makes it feel a little more sporty. No more bouncing around after big bumps, now it dampens immediately. I didn't want to preload the 650lb spring too much & I still wanted a rake for hauling so with the Bilstein 6112's on the third notch with ~2 3/4" of lift in the front & the Bilstein 5160's & MD Dakar Leaf Pack with ~3" of lift in the rear the truck looks and drives really nice!
    Now what's next? Slimline bumper & winch? Headache & bed rack? CNC-cut HDPE tailgate replacement? New headers? Decisions, decisions. But first I need to save some money!

    Stay tuned...

    - Uncle Al
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
    terminus and SojournOnEarth like this.
  4. Oct 18, 2020 at 8:33 PM
    #4
    DruncanIdaho

    DruncanIdaho Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2020
    Member:
    #334992
    Messages:
    34
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Andy
    Vehicle:
    2020 TRD Off-Road
    Congrats, looks terrific!!

    Following for interest, upgrade ideas, and because #Houstonstrong
     
    MrNineAndAHalf [OP] likes this.
  5. Oct 25, 2020 at 7:07 PM
    #5
    MrNineAndAHalf

    MrNineAndAHalf [OP] Apocolypse Taco

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2020
    Member:
    #341055
    Messages:
    53
    Texas
    Vehicle:
    2013 ACLB TRD Sport Taco 4x4
    Bilstein 6112's & 5160's with OME MD Dakars
    No more chrome!
    Cheap mods & upgrades will be happening for the foreseeable future as I need to payoff my suspension... So, I plasti-dipped my emblem & badges today. Cheap, easy, zen, cosmetic mod.

    Did 8 coats total so it took ~4 hours. Washed the truck & cleaned the emblems with alcohol right before.





    Masked off a rectangular area with tape & newspaper. Don't worry about the overspray, this stuff peels right up after it's dry. Make sure your coats are light or else the overspray layer will dry attached to the chrome layer & it will be harder to peel over cleanly; which is what I did wrong. You can also run a toothpick around the border of the letters to break the paint bridge between the two layers & keep them separate.







    Waited 15-30min after each coat. My coats were heavy, they should have been lighter.







    Peel the tape & overspray layer carefully off the truck using a toothpick to grab the small pieces of overspray inside the o's & a's.

    Nice finish for such an easy application!










    Small blemishes if you look closely but otherwise the finish came out nice!








    Really happy with how easy this was. Came out nice. Only improvement for next time: Lighter coats.

    Total cost was around $12.

    - Uncle Al
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2020
  6. Oct 26, 2020 at 10:52 AM
    #6
    ARoman83

    ARoman83 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2017
    Member:
    #221193
    Messages:
    336
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Alex
    Wisco
    Vehicle:
    '15 TRD OR DCSB PreRunner
    Fox 2.5 EXT Res C/O, JBA UCA, Fox 2.0 Res Ext Rear, Ride-Rite bags, Icon AAL, HP Tune by @justDSM & @nd4spdbh
    What auxiliary lights are those?
     
  7. Oct 26, 2020 at 11:23 AM
    #7
    MrNineAndAHalf

    MrNineAndAHalf [OP] Apocolypse Taco

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2020
    Member:
    #341055
    Messages:
    53
    Texas
    Vehicle:
    2013 ACLB TRD Sport Taco 4x4
    Bilstein 6112's & 5160's with OME MD Dakars
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
  8. Jan 6, 2021 at 7:56 PM
    #8
    MrNineAndAHalf

    MrNineAndAHalf [OP] Apocolypse Taco

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2020
    Member:
    #341055
    Messages:
    53
    Texas
    Vehicle:
    2013 ACLB TRD Sport Taco 4x4
    Bilstein 6112's & 5160's with OME MD Dakars
    Papp Capped!


    Soooo I worked overtime, got some extra cash, & immediately caved when a color-matched, long-bed Century Truck Cap showed up on Craigslist! I took the last week of 2020 off and my girlfriend, her puppy, Patch, & I did a New Year's overlanding trip through the Ouachita & Ozark National Forests & Buffalo National River!

    Luckily to prep for this trip, I had Santa & my family help me obtain a few things including:

    1. a 3-in x 4-ft x 6-ft, 1.8-lb sheet of memory foam, cut around the wheel wells, threw on a full-size sheet, & tossed it in the truck bed, for comfort
    2. a pair of X-Bull Recovery Boards, for self-reliance
    3. a used Pelican Storm Case, for a waterproof camp kitchen box
    4. a 5-gal, Canadian-made, Scepter plastic water jug, for drinking, washing, & cleaning
    5. a 800-amp emergency battery jump starter, just in case...
    but to be frank my 7 year Tacoma battery had no issues during the entire cold & wet week because TOYOTA.
    6. And I borrowed my (once again) good friend Matt's tools & Viair 80p compressor.







    The camper shell was a steal, honestly. Owner had it for 5 years & was driving up to Montana IN DECEMBER to pick up a Go Fast Camper with a rooftop tent! I hope they are safe, having fun, & enjoying that awesome purchase & the paralyzing Montana winter... jk I'm super jealous because I've wanted to go to Montana for years & I love that Go Fast Campers are all made in the USA.


    Anyways, ARKANSAS.





    What a beautiful hidden gem Northwest Arkansas is, even during the winter...

    First we drove to southern Ouachita National Forest and camped on Sugar Creek near the Buckeye Trailhead.








    We made vegan tortilla soup that evening & cozied up with 6-7 blankets in our new truck bed home. The next morning we hiked 6+ miles on the Buckeye Trail through dense but dormant forests. The ground was blanketed with a sea of fallen leaves & many different species of bright green moss. All but the evergreens had barren tree limbs. The Ouachitas are dense and mainly dominated by Pine, Pine-hardwood, & mixed-Oak.





    After the hike we drove just over an hour to Fourche Mountain Recreation Area & camped for the night. That night we made veggie pasta with chickpeas, broccoli, lemon, & other garnishes. We shared the entire area with one person who we thought was likely a hunter because he was solo & gone before sunrise.


    We awoke to a foggy, wet morning. Perfect for a spooky photo shoot...




    We planned to stay in a cabin in southern Ozark National Forest with some friends for December 30th & New Year's Eve so we decided to make the 3+ hour drive up North to Buffalo National River for one night & experience that area while we had time. As we approached the southern Ozarks & began driving up steep, crooked roads the visibility became no greater than maybe 50-yards. This was definitely the thickest fog I'd ever driven through but I was careful & we felt very safe in the Tacoma. Patch was asleep the whole time dreaming about chasing Elk...


    We didn't get much time at the campsite but we hiked ~3 miles in the afternoon along the Buffalo River. I've never seen water with such a vibrant, deep blue-teal color before. After the hike, we made some veggie tostadas & tacos with some of the leftover tortilla soup. That night we heard a pack of coyotes howling & yipping nearby but we felt safe, high, & dry in our camper shell. Patch was on the lookout but stayed quiet surprisingly. Maybe she thought she was dreaming!

    In the morning we headed south on the scenic Pig Trail byway to Turner Bend General Store & Cabins and met up with my brother, his wife, our brother-in-law & his girlfriend. Oh, and I guess it might make sense to mention they ALSO have Tacos!










    2013 - 2015 - 2019

    The cabin was in the corner of this HUGE field backed up against the Mulberry River. The field was so big, we ended up busting out the bow & arrow and literally shooting arrows into the sky Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones style. It's way more satisfying than it sounds.

    We had a great time cozying up in the cabin during some pretty harsh weather those two days. The night before the other two couples camped & got soaked from the early morning rain showers! It rained so much on New Year's Eve the cabin owners worried we would have to move our trucks to higher ground since the field has flash-flooded in the past. We lucked out & there was no flooding! The first night the girls made an amazing chicken soup with dumplings.


    On New Year's Eve we hiked 8+ miles near Redding Recreation Area up to Spy Rock and that night we cooked steaks & asparagus over wood coals and the girls made roasted potatoes & caramelized onions. We got the chance to use our axes which was satisfying! After eating we drank beers & mezcal into the night and enjoyed some deep conversations & big-bellied laughter around a warm fire.




    On New Year's Day the other two couples decided to stay at the cabin one more night, but Patch, S, & I were itching to get back out into the wilderness & get dirt on the tires one more time. We headed south back to the Ouachitas & stumbled upon this amazing clear cut area that was clearly an established campsite.










    That morning we made a quick breakfast & hit the road back to Houston.




    We will be back when things are greener, Arkansas. Hold us to it! What a perfect trip & a beautiful way to ring in the new year.

    After such a strange, anxious year, I can only hope to spend more quality time with close & distant friends, preferably out in the deafening silence & overwhelming stillness of the natural world.

    Here's to the simple & important things in life that were sorely missed by all of us this past year: family, friends, community, & the expansive wilderness.

    Let us use our hands to help & hold. Let us pour love into the Mighty Soul.

    Happy New Year, y'all.

    - Uncle Al
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2021

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