Pride and Joy - It's done and won
Like a child that you grow increasingly proud of with each life-changing experience, our 40th Anniversary Toyota Tacoma Sweepstakes truck has been bringing us pride and joy throughout its evolution from stocker to slick custom ride. We've modified the truck over our last three issues with the help of a whole bunch of good partners.
We began our buildup by first adding power and torque with a TRD Sportsparts package. The kit included a supercharger, a stainless steel header and exhaust system and a high-flow air system. Then we took our Taco up a few notches with a Pro Comp 4-inch lift, new RaceRunner coilover shocks up front and Monotube MX-6 shocks at the rear. Plus, we set up some Pro Comp rear traction bars and a stainless steel front skidplate. Then we added paint and graphics from Molly design, tires from BFGoodrich and wheels from Colorado Custom.
In this, our final installment, we finalized our improvements to the Tacoma's comfort level and 'wheelability. We dropped the truck off at Downey Off Road, where founder Jim Sickles custom-fabricated a brand-new front bumper for the Toy. Its pre-runner look goes great with the Tacoma, giving it that sought after intimidating profile. To complete the look, we added a Duffco spare-tire mount to the Toyota's bed, and we then had the guys at Line-X coat the raw steel skin of the bumper and spare-tire mount.
Once our bumper was taken care of, we turned to Beard seats for special custom buckets. Owner Tim Sousamian delivered with a striking two-color design and engineer Al Hinkle created special mounting brackets for the seats in the front and rear. Easy to install, they look and feel great.
The last step in completing our sweepstakes truck was adding a set of PIAA off-road lights and a proper race-style spare-tire carrier. Now complete, this Toyota never looked or felt so good.
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Installing the KC SlimLights was also an easy process. As an added cool factor, we used shrink-wrap to cover the external wires and connectors. Lucky for us, Toyota left a nice plugged hole in the firewall. Just make a knife slit in the grommet that's in that hole and feed your wires through. We mounted the relay out of harm's way on the inner firewall.
This is another easy bolt-on that you'll thank yourself for. Mount a set a floodlights (we chose KC #517) to the frame underneath the rear of the truck. With the emergency brake on, turn the ignition key forward without starting the truck and put the shifter in reverse. Make sure the taillights and brake lights are off. Locate the wire loom heading up to the taillight assembly (or to the reverse lights) and unfold it to expose the wires. Poke around with a continuity tester until you find the hot wire for the back-up bulbs. Using a simple wire-splice connector, connect your newly mounted light-power wire. Ground out the other wire that came with your light, and you're set.
Spare Tire Carrier
The Duffco spare-tire mount is a trick bolt-in with a cool factor of 10-plus. The mounting holes line up right on the raised slats in the bed. The only difficult step is holding the nuts between the frame and bed when you thread the bolt in from the top. We used duct tape to hold the nut in the end of a wrench, but you may wish to make use of a second set of hands.
We coated the entire spare-tire carrier in Line-X to match the bed. If you elect to do the same, make sure you mask off the large threaded holes, or you'll be shopping for a very large thread tap to clean them. If you choose to coat the hold-down disc, use a large washer on top when mounting the wheel. The washer will keep the tie-bar from damaging the coating when you crank it down.
Editor Jon Thompson hands 40th Anniversary Sweepstakes winner Kevin Grass (left) the keys to the Four Wheeler Tacoma project truck.