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This Built 2006 Toyota Tacoma Commands The Street and Trail

Posted in Features on June 26, 2015
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Here at 4-Wheel & Off-Road we've been taking a deeper liking to extreme daily drivers. We're talking about trucks capable of running hardcore trails and that can get you across town or go cross-country. Ray Taylor's second-generation Tacoma falls neatly into that category.

We're talking about trucks capable of running hardcore trails and that can get you across town or go cross-country

This Tacoma actually began life as a 2006 2WD Prerunner model. Ray took it to Wyatt Scott and Danilo Ramirez of RockSolidToys to turn it into a 4WD truck. The shop installed a customized transfer case and the stock IFS 4WD parts from a salvaged 2007 Tacoma. But just one year later Ray decided he wanted to make a big leap and go for a full solid-axle swap to take the performance of his rig to a much higher level.

Ray Taylor's Tacoma rolls on a set of 41x14.50R17LT Super Swamper Irok radials mounted to 17x9 Allied beadlocks. Up front is a reworked All Pro bumper with a Black Box LED light bar and Rigid LED floodlights. An 8,000-pound Smittybilt winch is also tucked in the bumper.

In a nutshell, these guys chopped and removed the front and rear suspensions. They fabricated all the frame mounts to support custom linked suspensions at both ends. Following that, a pair of Currie Rock Jock 60 axles was rolled under the truck and coilovers attached at all four corners. Steering was addressed with a hydraulic-assisted crossover system, and the truck was outfitted with steel armor to protect the body on the trail. The result is a solid truck that can cruise all day long on the highway in comfort, venture to remote camping locations, or hit substantial rock trails.

The debate will continue on whether you can have a hardcore trail rig and a highway driver in one. However, we'd have to say Ray and his buddies have put together a fine example of an all-around gnarly truck.

Toyota saw fit to send Tacomas out of the factory with independent front suspension. Ray converted his 2WD Prerunner to 4WD, but later had RockSolidToys torch the front end away. They then rolled a full-width Currie Rock Jock 60 with 1-ton knuckles under the truck and installed a custom three-link with Panhard. 14-inch-travel King coilovers with remote reservoirs plus compression adjusters support the front and provide impressive articulation.

With the factory rack-and-pinion steering removed, both front framerails were plated for strength. A ported Toyota IFS steering box was worked onto the driver-side framerail and crossover steering fabricated. Rod ends are used on the new steering arms, and a PSC hydro-assist ram helps Ray steer on the trail. A new steering shaft had to be fabricated to mate to the swapped box. A companion PSC power steering pump provides the pressure to ease his arm effort.

Not to be outgunned with a beefy front axle, the rear of the truck demanded a second Currie Rock Jock 60. Both axles use 5.38 gears, ARB air lockers, and 35-spline axle components. Front brakes are 13-inch Ford F-350 discs with Jeep JK calipers, and the rear brakes are Ford Explorer discs. The aft end was linked as well with an opposing Panhard for lateral location of the axle. A compact MagnaFlow muffler dumps exhaust just aft of the rear axle.

Radflo coilovers with 14 inches of shock stroke support the rear of the truck. With a flange-to-flange axle width of 70 inches, the coilovers fit alongside the framerails without having to cut into them. Shock towers were fabricated and welded onto the framerails. They were designed in such a way as to keep the bed functional, protruding only slightly above the wheelwells.

With big tires headed for rocks, it was time to address the low-range gearing in this Toyota. RockSolidToys used a modified FJ Cruiser twin-sticked transfer case and Marlin Crawler Ultimate Taco box (4.7:1) supported with a custom crossmember/skidplate built by Danilo Ramirez and Augostine Garcia. The versatile setup has a combined T-case low range of about 12:1.

Armor includes a CBI rear bumper with Nerf loops and Beefed Taco rock sliders. Final wheelbase of the extended cab truck sits at 131 inches.

Peak inside the cab and you'll see three levers in addition to the auto shifter. The front stick controls the crawl box, and the rear twin sticks control 2WD/4WD and Hi/Lo in the FJ Cruiser transfer case.

Control switches are neatly configured on the left-side dash. They provide control of the ARB compressor and lockers, along with the various auxiliary lights placed on and under the Tacoma.

Tech Specs
2006 Toyota Tacoma
Drivetrain
Engine: Stock 4.0L V-6
Transmission: Stock 5-speed automatic
Transfer Cases: Marlin Crawler crawl box, FJ Cruiser transfer case, twin sticks
Front Axle: Currie Rock Jock 60 with ARB air locker, 5.38 gears, 35-spline axleshafts, 1-ton knuckles, Warn Premium hubs, Ford F-350 rotors, Jeep JK calipers
Rear Axle: Currie Rock Jock 60 with ARB air locker, 5.38 gears, 35-spline axleshafts, Ford Explorer disc brakes

Suspension
Springs & Such: 2 1/2-inch-diameter King coilovers with 3-link (front); 2 1/2-inch diameter Radflo coilovers with 3-link (rear)
Tires & Wheels: 41x14.50R17LT Super Swamper Irok radials on 17x9 Allied beadlocks
Steering: RockSolidToys-ported Toyota IFS box, crossover steering, PSC hydraulic assist ram and pump
Other Stuff: Modified All Pro front bumper, Smittybilt 8,000-pound winch, Black Box LED light bar, Rigid flood LEDs, RockSolidToys transmission crossmember/skidplate, CBI rear bumper, Beefed Taco rock sliders, custom Toyota CV driveshafts mated to Dana 60 Toyota-style flanges

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