Jerry Zimmerman has always been a Toyota guy. It all started in 1999 when he bought a 1987 standard-cab truck out of a famer’s field. “I rebuilt and repainted it with my dad, Mike, when I was in high school,” Jerry recalls. “It was on 35-inch Boggers, and I wheeled it with my buddies every weekend.”
Since then Jerry has owned six different Toyotas, but the latest is definitely the greatest. He bought this 1998 Tacoma seven years ago, when it was a stock truck with a four-cylinder and automatic transmission. Jerry stacked three transfer cases together in order to multiply the torque out of the engine, but in 2013 he yanked out the Toyota drivetrain for its current 6.0L LS engine and TH400 transmission.
Even with the extra power he still appreciated the ability that low gears have to crawl without spinning a tire, so he backed the V-8 with a four-speed Atlas II transfer case. Two years later he linked the front end and went to a full-hydraulic steering system. The most recent addition is the black paint and distinctive gold wheels.
We must say that the end result wheels just as good as it looks. Despite the straight body and clean paint, Jerry has no issues with wheeling his truck hard. If he manages to dent it he knows he can always build another Toyota.
1998 Toyota Tacoma
Engine: Chevrolet 6.0L V-8
Transmission: TH400 3-speed automatic
Transfer Case: Advance Adapters 4-speed Atlas II
Front Axle: Dana 60 with 5.13 gears and Grizzly Locker
Rear Axle: Corporate 14-bolt with 5.13 gears and Grizzly Locker
Springs & Such: 3-link with Fox coilover shocks, FOA air bumps, and Currie sway bar (front); All-Pro 3-inch leaf springs and Bilstein shocks (rear)
Tires & Wheels: 43x14.50-17 Interco TSL SXs on 17x9 Raceline Monster beadlocks
Steering: Trail-Gear double-ended ram, Trail-Gear orbital valve, PSC pump, Chassis Unlimited steering arms
Lighting: Hella spot lights on front, A4OR rock lights
Other Stuff: Warn Zeon Platinum winch with synthetic rope, 19-gallon RCI fuel cell, Griffin radiator, Sanderson headers, Flowmaster dual exhaust, Derale oil and transmission coolers, Viair onboard air, Driveline Tech drivelines, custom bumpers and rock sliders by Kyle Falls, Mastercraft Rubicon seats, Mastercraft harnesses, New Vintage gauges, full interior rollcage
The fully hydraulic steering uses an orbital valve and an 8-inch-stroke double-ended ram from Trail-Gear in conjunction with a pump, cooler, and reservoir from PSC. Hardened ARP studs keep the Chassis Unlimited steering arms securely fastened to the kingpin knuckles.
The Tacoma uses a four-speed Atlas T-case with a passenger-side drop, so Jerry Zimmerman retubed the Ford high-pinion Dana 60 to match. The axle uses 5.13 Yukon gears, a Grizzly Locker, Yukon 35-spline chromoly axleshafts, Longfield 300m U-joints, Yukon hardcore locking hubs, Rydel Fab knuckle gussets, and a DIY4x heavy-duty cover.
The front suspension is a three-link that Jerry and Kyle Falls designed with 2-inch DOM links and 1 1/4-inch Ruff Stuff Specialties rod ends. The 2 1/2-inch-diameter, 14-inch-travel Fox coilover shocks were custom tuned by Accutune and use 150 over 250 lb-in PAC coil springs. FOA air bumps smooth out the landings, and a Currie AntiRock sway bar keeps the Tacoma stable.
The 14-bolt rear axle is filled with 5.13 gears and a Grizzly locker. The pinion guard, heavy-duty cover, and disc brake brackets are from DIY4x. Also visible is the dual Flowmaster exhaust and the tank for the Viair onboard air system.
The rear suspension consists of 3-inch All-Pro leaf springs that work in conjunction with 12-inch-travel Bilstein 5100 shocks and a RuffStuff Specialties traction bar that eliminates axlewrap. Jerry considered linking the rear of the truck, but it hasn’t been a priority because it works so well already.
Rolling stock consists of sticky 43-inch Super Swamper SXs that fit with a modest amount of lift thanks to heavily trimmed fenders. The Swampers are mounted on 17x9 Raceline Monster beadlocks that were powdercoated gold.
The V-8 engine doesn’t leave a lot of room under the hood, so the Griffin aluminum radiator was mounted in the bed of the truck. It sits in front of a 19-gallon RCI aluminum fuel cell and Swag Off Road Action Packer mounts that carry spare parts and tools. A Hi-Lift jack fits nicely on the side of the shortened bed, with no space wasted.
Kyle Falls and Jerry built custom tubular bumpers front and rear to maximize ground clearance. The bed and frame were shortened 6 inches to produce a 120-inch wheelbase. The rear of the bed was also shortened 15 inches and dovetailed 3 inches on each side to keep it away from the rocks.
Power comes from a 6.0L LQ4 engine that uses a BD Engines harness and tune. It breathes through Sanderson headers and Flowmaster mufflers. Power is then routed to a TH400 transmission with a reverse-manual valve body that is rowed by a Winters shifter. Derale coolers keep the engine oil and the transmission fluid cool when crawling.