In 2016, Toyota finally revamped the Tacoma platform. While we wouldn’t call it a radical departure from the previous platform, it did come to the table with updated styling and a fresh powertrain. To the delight of many Tacoma enthusiasts, the TRD Off-Road model was still the rugged trail-ready pickup that fans have grown to love. For Rodney Redmon, the Tacoma’s proven reliability and roomy Double Cab configuration made an excellent fit for his build vision and growing family.
Understanding that his wheeling adventures would be more camping and expedition based, he moved forward with a build plan that could help him achieve his goals. Starting with a ’17 TRD Off-Road model, Rodney spent a year getting his Tacoma to the overland build you see here. With thousands of miles and adventures already under his belt, he continues to improve upon and fine-tune the build for his needs.
We caught up with Rodney on the shores of North Carolina to get a closer look at the well-executed machine, which you can read all about in the feature breakdown.
Rodney was active in the sports car world prior to joining the wheeling community, so he’s considering adding a bit of forced induction to the 3.5L V-6. For now, the engine remains mostly stock, but does get a taste of cleaner air thanks to a Safari snorkel. To ensure his rig has some extra juice off-grid, a National Luna dual battery system was installed along with an X2 Power AGM Group 31 battery.
Since the TRD Off-Road package came with a selectable rear locker, Rodney left the 8.75-inch third member as is. To help support the added weight, a set of Emu Dakar leaf springs from Old Man Emu was added. These are damped by 2.0 King remote-reservoir shocks.
Adding a bit of lift and performance up front are King 2.5 Performance Series coilovers, which are paired with a set of upper control arms from ICON Vehicle Dynamics. The front sway bar has been removed to increase the overall ride quality and articulation of the truck.
For those savvy to the Tacoma model line, you may notice the grille and headlights are from the TRD Pro model. The front bumper is a Summit from ARB, which houses a Smittybilt X20 10,000-pound winch. Adding nighttime vision are two bumper-mounted Lightforce LED lights, two Rigid A-pillar–mounted LED lights, and a Morimoto 40-inch lightbar on the roof.
Protecting the rear of the truck is a CBI T3 rear bumper with the tire carrier option. In addition to hauling the fullsize spare, the rack totes Rodney’s 45-inch-long MaxTrax MKII recovery boards, Hi-Lift jack, and dual five-gallon Wavian NATO jerrycans.
Secured atop the A.R.E. CX Series truck cap is a PrinSu Design Studio Toprac. It provides a landing pad for a Freespirit Recreation Adventure Series rooftop tent. This automatic tent allows Rodney to set up camp in a little over a minute. Forward of the Toprac is PrinSu’s Cabrac, which opens up more gear hauling options. For times when Rodney needs a little shade, there’s a Highland Expedition Outfitters awning on the driver side.
In the Tacoma’s cargo bed, you’ll find an electric-powered fridge from Dometic, along with a host of camping supplies and an ARB recovery kit. There’s also a VIAIR 450P onboard air system and ARB tire kit for taking care of pressures and punctures.
Keeping the truck moving are 285/75R16 General Grabber X3 tires. These are paired with 16x8 MR301 wheels from Method Race Wheels.
Toyota did a pretty good job of updating the interior with the third-gen trucks, but Rodney added some comfort via Katzkin leather seat covers. The Switch-Pros Power Panel system allows him to easily fire up his lighting upgrades, while the Uniden CB radio keeps him in contact with others on the trail.
At a Glance
Vehicle: ’17 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road
Owner: Rodney Redmon
Stomping grounds: Dallas, North Carolina
Build time: 1 year
Engine: 3.5L V-6
Transmission: Aisin AC60F
Transfer case: Aisin VF2CM
Low range ratio: 2.57:1
Crawl ratio: 36.2:1
Front axle/differential: Hino 8-in/open
Rear axle/differential: BD22AN 8.75-in/electric locking differential
Front: King 2.5 Performance coilovers, ICON Vehicle Dynamics upper control arms
Rear: Emu Dakar springs w/King 2.0 remote-reservoir shocks
Tires: 285/75R16 General Grabber X3
Wheels: 16x8 Method Race Wheels Standard
Armor: ARB Summit front bumper, All-Pro Off-Road sliders, CBI T3 rear bumper w/tire carrier
Cool stuff: Safari Snorkel, ARB diff breathers, National Luna dual battery kit, 5-gal Wavian jerrycans, Morimoto 2Stroke LED headlights and lightbar, Rigid LED lights, Lightforce LED floodlights, A.R.E CX top, Dometic fridge, PrinSu Design Studio Toprac and Cabrac, Freespirit Recreation Adventure Series rooftop tent, MaxTrax MKII boards