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2000 Toyota Tundra 4x4 - Mud Monsters Of Florida

Posted in Project Vehicles on April 1, 2002
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Mike Pavelka's Tundra
A Solid Axle And 20 Inches Of Lift Make This Toyota Unique
To some, Mike Pavelka's pickup typifies how one would build a truck in order to traverse the thick, bottomless, tire-swallowing mud that's inherent to the state of Florida. It has gobs of height, it sports large, aggressive tires, and is V-8-powered. The fact that it's a Toyota Tundra may be a surprise, but even more interesting is that it sits on a solid front axle and sports 42-inch tires.

That's a Dana 44 under the front of the Tundra you see here. It's suspended by Superlift 12-inch-lift Chevy springs. It benefits from a Ford track bar, Pro Comp shocks, and an AGR Rock Ram.

As you can imagine, fitting the Dana 44 front axle required a significant amount of planning and design time. After the installation details were formulated, the stock IFS suspension and stock driveline components were carefully removed. Four new frame crossmembers were installed in the front of the vehicle. The Dana 44 is suspended by Superlift 12-inch-lift leaf springs (normally designed for a full-size Chevy pickup), and features Pro Comp 9000 shocks, a Ford track bar, Chevy 4-piston disc brakes with braided-steel brake lines, custom traction bars, AGR hydraulic-assist steering, and loads of custom mounts and components. The rear of the Toyota was lifted with custom leaf-spring packs, and the stock rear axle also was fitted with Pro Comp shocks. Gearing was changed to 4.88:1 to help offset the big 42x15-15 Super Swamper tires, which are mounted on 15x12 Weld Sidewinder wheels. Gary's Driveline in Holly Hill, Florida, fabbed a pair of custom driveshafts, and they distribute the power coming from the 4.7L DOHC V-8 engine, flowing through the 4ECT four-speed automatic transmission and Aisinseiki transfer case. The engine has been modified with a few power-inducing goodies like a custom air intake, K&N air filter, Helix throttle body spacer, and a 2 1/2-inch dual exhaust with Magna Flow mufflers, while the tranny benefits from a Perma Cool transmission cooler.

Custom white-face gauges designed by Rage Gauges dress up the dash. Other dash mods include a brushed-aluminum dash kit by Florida Auto Trim.

The exterior of the Tundra was dressed up with a Trendz billet grille and a custom-fitted Westin Safari Bar (modified from its original Ford F-150 application). A Bed Rug keeps cargo from scratching up the bed. Lighting was enhanced with PIAA high-output replacement bulbs and Pro Comp driving and backup light kits.

Inside the Tundra we find a stunning number of mods, including custom white-face gauges by Rage Gauges, a brushed aluminum dash kit by Florida Auto Trim, and a massive amount of audio and video equipment (including a PlayStation 2), which was installed by Jeremy Carlson and Scott Palmieri at Evolution Audio and Design.

This one-of-a-kind Tundra stalks the swamps of Florida thanks to the help of Chris and Paul at Volusia 4x4s and More, in Holly Hill, Florida, the folks at, and Mike's girlfriend, Bridie Laing.


Owner Mike Pavelka, Ormond Beach, Florida
Vehicle model 2000 Toyota Tundra
Estimated value $48,000
Type Toyota DOHC V-8
Displacement (liter) 4.7
Aspiration Electronic fuel injection, air intake and throttle body spacer, dual exhaust, Magna Flow mufflers
Transmission 4ECT four-speed automatic
Transfer case Aisinseiki
Front Superlift 12-inch-lift leaf springs,Pro Comp 9000 shocks
Rear Custom 12-inch-lift leaf springs,Pro Comp 9000 shocks
Front Dana 44
Rear Toyota live axle
Ring-and-pinion 4.88:1
Wheels (in.) 15x12 Weld Sidewinders
Tires 42x15-15 Super Swampers

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