A Toyota That Follows The Evolution Of Off-RoadingPosted in Features on February 16, 2017
The Toyota Tundra is a result of many years of dedicated work on Toyota’s part to make their trucks truly off road worthy. We remember when the first Toyota 4-wheel drive pickups came out in the late 70’s. They were fun, capable little wonders that everyone wanted to own, and when Ivan Stewart and the other team Toyota guys started winning both Baja and short course races, Toyota was on top.
Then as now, manufactures were busy building them up. There were many parts for the SR5 series trucks then and from the looks of this Tundra, both Toyota and a multitude of manufactures have taken Toyota trucks into the 21st century well.
Rick DeWeese, who bills himself as a “stay at home soon to be father, retired offshore welder, fabricator and a guys that works at PRP Seats,” built this truck (apparently in his spare time!) and when asked, he also had a lot to say about his truck. “I bought this truck basically already built with a very nice long-travel kit on it and ready to go. It went to SEMA in 2015 with the previous owner and it was white. I had no intention of redoing the truck but after a few months I wanted a truck that fit my style, so basically I changed everything.”
“In the process I made new friends in the industry and had the opportunity to do some traveling in other countries,” DeWeese continued. “I think I am one of those guys that truly love the build and the design process. I enjoy meeting people with the same passion I have in the industry and bringing new products to market with companies. During this Tundra build I had the pleasure of working with Jason, the owner of Innov8racing wheels and got the first set of Tundra wheels. I also had the pleasure of working with LSK and Cal West Manufacturing who do 3d scanning, tube and plate laser cutting. I also became friends with everyone at SMP fab who built my truck.”
The frame is stock, but SMP Fabrication of Sun Valley, CA. did the majority of work on the truck, including installing the suspension systems. The front suspension is a product of LSK Suspension and provides 16-inches of travel up front. In addition, the wheelbase was extended 1-inch per side and is 1.5-inches further forward than stock. The upper arms (and lower) are all laser cut and laser bent all in house at LSK, feature 1-inch upper while the lower Uniball pivot is 1.5. They’re mounted to double sheer mounts by SMP Fab.
The LSK Suspension-built spindles are laser cut and bent as well as being internally gusseted and boxed. It retains the factory hub, and speed sensor so no check engine lights or codes are thrown. Another great feature of this kit is the fact that it uses double sheer capturing the steering instead of a single sheer set up.
The shocks are 2.5 King coilover shocks are equipped with 800lb springs and have finned remote reservoirs. The King 3.0, 3-tube bypass shocks also have the finned piggy-back reservoir. A pair of 2.0 King bump stops provide that last bit of soft.
DeWeese went with some flash for the wheels as the 17-inch Innov8racing 1-piece forged bead-locks are a striking gold while the 37-inch BFG Baja Projects non DOT may not be flashy, they sure are a solid choice for any off-roading.
The rearend features race series 16-inch, 3.5 6-tube King Bypasses with finned reservoir along with a pair of King 2.0 bump stops and an Atlas Suspension underslung leaf pack. The shocks pass through the bed floor and connect to an SMP-built bed cage.
With that much suspension travel fenders and bedsides were a must, so a set of Fiberwerx front fenders and hood, along with Fiberwerx rear bedsides now adorn the crew cab. John at SRS Coachworks in Irwindale CA matched the factory paint and did the work. The bed was Line-X’ed as well as front inner fenders.
DeWeese always uses KC HI-LITES and this Tundra got the full treatment. The eight roof-mounted Pro6 LED comes with spot and wide-40 beam patterns and SMP fabricated the custom bracket and also did the install. Again the crew at SMP Fab built a custom front bumper to house seven KC HI-LITES G34 Led street legal lights and managed to hide the factory frame horns. Every wheel well received KC HI-LITES cyclones All in all there are 15 forward facing LED lights.
The Toyota V8 has been upgraded with a TRD supercharger. Installed at Thousand Oaks Toyota to retain factory warranty, the engine now produces a healthy 500hp. An SMP custom engine crossover brace tie’s in all shock mounts and SMP also relocated a few stock pumps that were in the wheel wells and mounted them in the engine bay to avoid damage.
While the rearend housing is stock, it has been modified with 4:88 Nitro Gears and an Auburn limited slip differential, all of which was purchased through Sean at Rouge-Offroad.com out of Vegas NV.
Being associated with PRP, the Tundra features four PRP Podium series seats that were custom made with a Rolex stitch. DeWeese wanted a very comfortable seat since this was to be his daily driver and pre-runner. The Podium series comes standard with an extra layer of memory foam for comfort and then equipped with black suede inset for a luxury feel. Harnesses are also PRP as silver 4.3 latch and link units keep everyone in place.
Communications/Stereo system (brand/type): I love loud music so he had the guys at CaftervW Technologies design and build a custom center console that tied into the front console and ran all the way to the rear. A Rockford Fosgate T1 sub was installed along with 2 marine grade stainless cup holders. Twin Rockford Fosgate amps were also used and every door received Rockford Fosgate speakers as well. CW Technologies wired everything, and used a S-Pod switching system to wire all of the KC HI-LITES Cyclone LED’s found under and even inside the truck.
DeWeese recently sold the Tundra to Amit Rondel. The two met while they were doing a Baja run with a group called Expedition Offroad. In an amazing coincidence, Rondel had been following the build on the Tundra on SNP Fabrications Instragram, and fell hard for the blue beauty. It was on the Baja run that he was chatting with DeWeese and discovered DeWeese now owned the truck but was thinking of selling it. Rondel couldn’t believe his luck, but leapt at the chance and was soon behind the wheel of his dream truck. Rondel was at the wheel during this shoot, and it was clear that he had not an ounce of buyer’s remorse and had gotten his money’s worth.
DeWeese still has his Baja bug, but is working on another truck. We’re hoping to get a look at it soon as if it’s half as nice as this Toyota is, we’re thinking that a run with him, Rondel and the Expedition Offroad guys, are in order