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Overlander? Prerunner? Rockcrawler? Orie Harman’s Tacoma Is All Three

Posted in Features on October 10, 2018
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Building a single-purpose rockcrawler or daily driver is relatively easy, but it’s tough to build one vehicle that can do it all. Every modification takes some sort of compromise, whether it’s decreased mileage or increased squeaks and rattles. Rockcrawlers often have unbalanced drivelines, negative caster, and a host of other issues that make them perform poorly on the street. But as we demonstrate each year on our Ultimate Adventure, building something that does everything well is not impossible.

Orie Harman has the best example we have seen in a long time with his do-it-all Double Cab Tacoma. Rockcrawling isn’t an issue thanks to the locked 1-ton axles, 40-inch Toyos, and deep gearing from a four-speed Atlas transfer case. Going fast through the rough is made possible with King coilover and bypass shocks at each corner. The rear of the frame was even cut off and replaced with tubing to maximize wheel travel from the trailing arms.

Sounds like a King of the Hammers race car, right? Except this truck has a full enclosed cab with four PRP suspension seats in it and even has a Tepui rooftop tent mounted on the bed. Orie and his wife Muriel even drove the truck on a multiweek road trip across the country this summer, camping along the way. If that isn’t perfect, it sure is close.

Power comes from the factory 4.0L V-6 engine that is surrounded by custom tube work holding the shock reservoirs and Glassworks fiberglass fenders. Orie Harman gets every last horsepower out of the engine with the six-speed manual transmission behind it, but he still would like more power to turn the 40-inch Toyos. He is currently torn between supercharging the factory engine or replacing it with an LS engine.
The front suspension consists of a triangulated three-link with lower links constructed from 2x0.250-wall DOM tubing and fitted with 1 1/4-inch FK rod ends. The track bar was bent to clear the oil pan at full bump, but is still parallel to the drag link to eliminate bumpsteer. Bumps are smoothed out by 12-inch-travel King coilovers fitted with 250-over-300 lb/in coil springs coupled with 12-inch-travel, three-tube King bypass shocks.
The front axle is a Ford high-pinion Dana 60 with Reid kingpin knuckles and inner Cs. Behind the WFO Concepts diff cover, 5.38 G2 gears are bolted to an ARB Air Locker and route power to 35-spline Yukon chromoly axleshafts and Hardcore locking hubs. The axle has been trussed and reinforced to keep it straight, even with extensive airtime and pounding through whoops.
The trailing arms have been well used in the rocks, as is evident by the rock rash. They were constructed from 2x0.250-wall tubing and TIG-welded plate and cycle 21 inches of wheel travel from the 14-inch-travel King coilovers and 16-inch-travel, three-tube bypass shocks. A 1-inch PAC sway bar and Pro Comp air bumps are also used in the rear to fine-tune the suspension.
The rear axle is a shaved 14-bolt filled with 5.38 G2 gears and an ARB Air Locker behind the WFO Concepts aluminum diff cover. The disc brake conversion sheds a ton of weight from the axle, which has been heavily trussed to resist bending. Orie trussed the top of the axle to retain ground clearance, and by cutting off the back of the frame and building his own tubular structure he was able to maximize uptravel.
The tube work on this truck is flawless, maximizing space while providing strength and rigidity. Orie built a full interior cage out of 1 3/4-inch DOM tubing that mounts under the headliner and ties into the four PRP Daily Driver suspension seats. A quartet of shifters sits between the seats to row the manual transmission and four-speed Atlas transfer case.
The partial exo cage above the cab ties into the interior cage with plates that stiffen the chassis and provide a place to store gear. The tube was rolled to match the lines of the body and keep the gap consistent. Fabricators realize that this is a ton of work, but the end result is worth it.
It isn’t uncommon to see Double Cab Tacomas set up for overlanding with rooftop tents. Few of them have four-speed Atlas transfer cases or 1-ton axles and 40-inch tires though. Orie and his wife, Muriel, just took this truck on a three-week road trip across the country, camping in places like Colorado and Utah along the way.

Tech Specs

2005 Toyota Tacoma
Engine: 4.0L V-6
Transmission: RA60F 6-speed manual
Transfer Case: 4-speed Advance Adapters Atlas II
Front Axle: Dana 60 with 5.38 G2 gears, ARB Air Locker, and Yukon chromoly axleshafts
Rear Axle: 14-bolt with 5.38 G2 gears and ARB Air Locker
Springs & Such: 3-link with 12-inch King coilovers and bypass shocks (front); triangulated 4-link with trailing arms, 14-inch King coilovers, 16-inch King bypass shocks, Pro Comp air bumps, and PAC sway bar (rear)
Tires & Wheels: 40x13.5R17 Toyo Open Country M/T mounted on 17x9 Method 101 beadlock
Steering: Toyota IFS steering box, PSC hydraulic assist ram, pump, and reservoir
Lighting: ARB Intensity LED lights
Other Stuff: K&N intake, Doug Thorley header and custom exhaust, Optima YellowTop battery, Ron Davis aluminum radiator, Warn VR8000 winch, ARB Intensity LED lights, Glassworks fiberglass fenders, Tepui rooftop tent, PRP Daily Driver suspension seats, WFO Concepts 40-gallon fuel cell

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