Ah geez, it's time to go on the big trip, and the truck isn't exactly dialed in. You would think that big-time magazine guys would have plenty of time to get their junk done, but as usual we kept pushing the buildup of our Ultimate Tacoma further and further so that even with extra time we had even more extra work. Funny how that works. We keep promising ourselves that we'll start a project and build it really simple to keep it on time, but you know how that goes.
So this month we'll give you a quick recap, show you some of the final touches, and then next month fill you in on all the extra bits and pieces that we brought along for fun. Also next month we'll give you an overview of how the truck did on the trip, what we would change, and where you can see it in person. So dig in.
As you may recall, we started with an '01 Toyota Tacoma, and went straight to Marlin Crawler to get some dual transfer cases. Then we headed for 4-Wheeler's Supply in Phoenix, where we did a dual axle swap and put a high-pinion Dynatrac Pro-Rock 60 in the rear and Dana 44 in the front. Both axles are stuffed with Detroit Lockers, gears, and shafts from Drivetrain Direct, and are attached to the frame with a four-link suspension with a Panhard bar and Bilstein's Rockcrawler shocks.The truck was also given a complete rollcage and bed bobbing while there, and then outfitted with Teflon-coated wheels from American Racing and 37-inch Krawlers from BFGoodrich. Meanwhile, the front of the Taco got a Poison Spyder Custom's bumper and a Warn 9500XP winch.
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Next we built a framework out of some tubing to support the fenders and attached them with some buttonhead cap screws. At the axle we welded a piece of 1 1/2-inch tubing to the link tower, and then the fender's framework of 1 1/4-inch tubing would slide in. By using another angle-cut piece of 1 1/2-inch as a sleeve, the fenders would line up perfectly. Then to keep them in place on the highway we used some removable pins. This allowed us to remove the fenders once we were at the trail, and store them in the bed of the truck, or at camp. Thus we were legal for the trip, and since a few of our friends got warnings along the road portions of UA, we felt like smart guys for having our "ugly" fenders.