Principles of Overlanding :: The Toyota Tundra for Overlanding
For this episode, Richard Giordano and Scott Brady discuss preparing the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation Tundra for overland travel.
Richard Giordano completed a 48,800-kilometer overland journey from Vancouver, Canada to Ushuaia, Argentina with his wife Ashley in their well-loved but antiquated 1990 Toyota Pickup. On the zig-zag route south they hiked craggy peaks in the Andes, discovered diverse cultures in 15 different countries, and filled their tummies with spicy ceviche, Baja fish tacos and Argentinian Malbec. That trip catapulted Richard into a career as a freelance video producer, photographer, and writer. He has created commercials for Toyota Canada, was the lead photographer for Expedition Overland, and is always itching to hit the road and share his own adventures. If you see Richard out in the wild, he’ll most likely have a coffee in one hand and a camera in the other. @desktoglory
To follow Richards adventures check this links:
Scott is the publisher and co-founder of Expedition Portal and Overland Journal and is often credited with popularizing overlanding in North America. His travels by 4WD and adventure motorcycle span all seven continents and includes three circumnavigations of the globe. His polar expeditions include two vehicle crossings of Antarctica and the first long-axis crossing of Greenland. @scott.a.brady
This episode sponsored in part by
Tundra for Overlanding
Scott Brady:[00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to the Overland Journal podcast. I’m your host, Scott Brady and I am here with my Toyota pickup truck series co-host. We’ve actually been talking about a lot of stuff recently. I’ve got Richard Giordano with me, and we are going to talk about Tundras today. So we’re going to talk about gen one, gen two, and the most current gen three Tundras for overland travel. How you prepare those vehicles for it, what are the strengths and weaknesses that you’d need to be mindful for, and how they are kind of best prepared for that kind of travel. Fortunately, Tundras are not new to Overland International. In fact, uh, within our team right now, we’ve got at least three Tundras that I’m aware of our Chief Financial Officer, Andre Racine drives a gen two Tundra, which is just right behind Richard right now. It’s a white, uh, extended cab, six and a half foot bed truck, our Operations [00:01:00] Manager Garrett Mead, he drives a gen one Tundra. So it’s a crew cab six and a half foot bed, so it’s one of the longer early additions of the, of the Tundra. He drives that.
Richard Giordano: His wife has a second gen as well.
Scott Brady: That’s right. And then his wife, Heather, she drives a second gen as well. So actually there’s probably four of them that are coming to mind already. And they have actually become very popular in recent years. I mean, if you look at like what Paul May from Equipt has done with his gen one and his gen two, he’s really kind of fallen in love with those trucks. And he’s currently pulling an Airstream around with a gen two. So we have seen a growth of interest in the Tundra. And I think the reason for that is there has been this big growth in full.
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There are options to the Dodge Ram, which is certainly the darling of the full-sized segment. And that’s because of the powertrain and the payload capabilities of that truck. The Tundra has come along with it because there are people who are going to prioritize either a brand that they love, which may be Toyota. Oftentimes that love for a Tundra comes from its durability and reliability. What do you think about what have you seen around interests with Tundra?
Richard Giordano: I think as the Toyota pickups like we have get older, uh, even the beloved Tacoma’s, the first gens and second gens get older, but also very, very expensive, the love for the second gen Tundras and even the first gen Tundras really blossoms because a they’re available b they’re usually less expensive than to, than they’re a Tacoma brothers and payload goes up, power goes up, you get all this capability in a less expensive truck.
Scott Brady: Yeah.
Richard Giordano: Lots of, lots of benefits.
Scott Brady: And we’re seeing kind of across the board that travelers are recognizing that a little bit larger vehicle with a little bit more payload, it starts to be better suited [00:04:00] for long-term travel on the road. If you’re going to be going out for short trips or you’re really comfortable, just kind of camping out most nights, the smaller vehicles are great for that. You can drive around the world in the Suzuki Jimny if you wanted to. I didn’t have the, I didn’t have the best night sleep when I did that, but it was certainly possible to do that. But I think that a lot of folks are looking at how do we travel comfortably or how do we travel long-term and that starts to really point towards the full-sized truck. And the Tundra is no exception for that. What do you think about the first gen? Like what’s well, maybe we should even go back a little further. So there was this Toyota called the T 100 that even came before that.
Richard Giordano: Another unicorn.
Scott Brady: It was and came into prominence. It became the race truck platform for Ivan Stewart. It was a very cool truck. They were available with a manual transmission. They were available with eva, I think the 3.4 liter at the very end, at the very end of production, you could get like a 3.4 liter five speed [00:05:00] manual T 100, which was like this, call it like a seven tenths scale full-sized truck.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. Very similar to that, a new Tacoma I think.
Scott Brady: You’re probably right. And that’s interesting how everything is grown, but the T 100s are out there. They’re just super difficult to find it in any kind of good condition. They’re kind of unobtainium cause they really didn’t sell a whole lot of them.
Richard Giordano: No, but a lot of the parts interchanged with other vehicles, I think the CVS, the axles are different sides because they’re very similar to a pickup or Tacoma, but they’re a little wider and that’s actually, what’s in our, in our Toyota pickup with long live at three and a half inch long travel is a T 100 axle.
Scott Brady: Oh, interesting.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. So it’s still factory axle.
Scott Brady: Okay. That’s cool.
Richard Giordano: But they are getting hard to find the spare parts.
Scott Brady: Yeah. They’re really difficult to find. And then what came after that is the gen one Tundra. And there are some in my mind, there are a bunch of really wonderful things about that truck. But what, from your perspective, what do you see when you look at a gen one Tundra?
Richard Giordano: I love the drive train, smooth, powerful, again, you’re in a truck that is the same size as [00:06:00] a modern Tacoma, but it comes with a V8 power and reliability. All the things that you love about a V8 are there, but in the platform that has the same size as a Tacoma, it’s kind of hard to beat.
Scott Brady: And a lot of people don’t realize it that that is the same 4.7 liter V8 that was delivered in the 100 series Land Cruiser. So it met all of the reliability and longevity durability requirements of Toyota for a J series Land Cruiser. And anytime that you can get a, any parts that come at our shared out of a J series, which has been reflected in all of the Tundras that have been launched, but you’ve got a 4.7 liter V8 later models ended with, ended up with the VVTI I think is what they call it. It’s a variable valve train. So you get up to about 275 horsepower. Um, they were never particularly fuel efficient. The five speed automatic was never particularly inspiring, but it was super reliable.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. I spent a lot of time in a good friend of mine Harry Wagner, he had a 2000 I believe for years with under the thousands of miles on it. I [00:07:00] think just myself, I spent three, four trips in Mexico for chasing the Sonora Rally or Baja 1000, anything in that truck. Yeah. It never, never hesitated to hop in and turn the key and drive to Mexico.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Yeah. They just keep driving and driving and driving and driving, which is really amazing. Where it’s similarities with a Land Cruiser drivetrain, it’s a full-time transfer case, it was never available in all wheel drive, you could not select a center differential lock. So it was two wheel drive, or it was 4 high with the center locked, or it was 4 low, which also had the center was mechanically locked, it wasn’t an open differential that you could lock. So that was where a lot of the similarities and the rear differentials, a little different, the front suspension components are different also from the 100 series in several ways, but it did share a lot of those drive train components with the 100 series.
Richard Giordano: It kind of improved upon the 100 series, I would say getting rid of the torsion bar.
Scott Brady: That’s right.
Richard Giordano: And to a coil over. So it’s very easy after market parts everywhere, you can really tune them to however, what kind of travel you’re doing.
Scott Brady: And they also sold quite a few of them too. I think that that’s, what’s [00:08:00] interesting about the generation one Tundra is that they were super popular. They sold, you know, approaching a hundred thousand units. So they got a lot of volume out there. So they’re, they’re actually pretty available. You can find those trucks out there.
Richard Giordano: And once you, once you’re looking for one, you see them everywhere on the road.
Scott Brady: That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. In fact, I am going to look it up, but when you look at, uh, uh, gen one Toyota, Toyota Tundra, what have you seen around like clever modifications or like maybe first order modifications that people are doing to those trucks?
Richard Giordano: Uh, my favorite thing with those is to keep them nice and simple, but good suspension under them, decent wheel entire package,. An example, Harry’s truck. He just did ADS shocks, a Total Chaos upper control arm, sometimes a SPC upper control arm, depending on how he was feeling. Uh, Tonneau cover on the back and jammed all the camping gear in the back between, like I said, between Sonora Rally, Baja 1000, Rebelle Rally, there are many nights camp beside that thing. And it was just kept very, very simple and worked really well.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Yeah. And I’m looking at the sales numbers right now, but fairly consistently over a hundred thousand units, uh, in [00:09:00] 2005, they sold 126,000 units, uh, their most, the highest volume year was in 2007, uh, which was right before the financial crisis and they sold 196,000.
Richard Giordano: Wow.
Scott Brady: Gen one Tundras. So that’s big volume, which means that they’re going to be out there. You can find these trucks and they do have a lot of longevity built into them. So if you find one with just over a hundred thousand miles, you still have a lot of service life left, in my opinion, especially if it’s been well taken care of.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. And I think right now, based on what I’ve been seeing a nice double cab with a hundred, 150,000 miles around 20 grand, it may seem expensive compared to what they used to cost, but it’s still much cheaper than a new truck.
Scott Brady: Totally. Yeah. Well, and much less expensive than even a used Tacoma of the same year. It’s amazing what Tacomas are selling for. And then when it switched over to generation two, the numbers stayed in the low hundred thousands all the way up until 2021, which is fairly common. Once the announced a new model is coming out, you start to see [00:10:00] some switch over in production. And also they were probably running into some of the chip shortages and stuff, but they sold the lowest year of the gen two was 2021 where they hit 81,000 units, but that’s still a lot of trucks.
Richard Giordano: They sold everyone they made and just kept on pumping out.
Scott Brady: What I’ve seen on the gen one, they have fair, it was still when Toyota made fairly tall trucks. So they had fairly good ground clearance. So I don’t actually think that there’s a lot of advantage in lifting them a whole lot. I do think that that one and a half inch, somewhere around that 50 millimeter range, and one of the reasons why we don’t want to go with too much lift on an ifs is that you’re kind of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Because there’s a fixed amount of suspension travel, or it’s relatively fixed amount of suspension travel within an ifs where you haven’t gone to long travel like you’ve done, um.
Richard Giordano: Or even extended travel, mid travel shock, but..
Scott Brady: Correct and that’s because there’s an operating range for the CVs. So even if you do upper control arms that allow another three quarters of an inch or whatever, they still are trying to [00:11:00] keep that operating range of the CV within the specifications, because what happens is when you’re at full droop and you’re at full lock, the CV axle has a fraction of the strength that it does in the straight line. With independent front suspension we have to be really mindful around how much lift we put on them. But it seems like the first gen Tundra really tolerates and it does well with that around 50 millimeters. So we’re talking, you know, inch and three quarter to two inches of lift.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. The way you’re explaining it is that yeah, the more lift you have less down travel, you’re gonna end up having.
Scott Brady: That’s correct. So you start topping out a lot. I don’t recall, but I don’t think that that vehicle has a jounce on extension. It does on compression. Um, a lot of newer vehicles do have jounces on extension. The gen one Tundra, as I recall does not. It’s probably inside a coil over the strut in a stock configuration, but you really can get into a lot of topping it decreases ride quality, you don’t really want to over lift these things.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. Just keep it relatively low. Like you said, 50 mils is, is plenty.
Scott Brady: It’s [00:12:00] perfect. And then you can fit a 33 inch tall tire on there, which means you usually don’t have to regear.
Richard Giordano: You can leave, have the spare and the spare tire location. All at, that’s always my limit. I feel on most of my projects is if I can fit a 33 underneath the truck, a 33, go on the truck, or if I can fit a 35 under the truck. Yeah, cause then it’s just one less thing to worry about.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Because if you think of the leverage effect of a full-size swing out tire carrier, you know, on the back, especially on a half ton truck, a Dodge Ram, like does not seem to care if you stick a thousand pounds off of them. I mean, if you look at the tongue weight of a large trailer, it could easily be a thousand pounds. So they’re designed to have a lot of weight off the rear end of them, but I have ton truck is not designed to have that kind of weight. So you do want to tuck that tire up under there.
Richard Giordano: Yeah, a $3,000 bumper or $3,000 bumper with swing outs that weighs 250, 300 pounds and then the bumper up high and it starts adding up real fast.
Scott Brady: It really does. It really does. In fact, I remember when I did that to my Tacoma, I put a swing out tire carrier on the back. Cause I thought that would be clever.
Richard Giordano:[00:13:00] It looks the part.
Scott Brady: Yeah, it was a terrible idea in hindsight, because I ended up needing to strengthen the frame then to take that. So I’m now I’m welding on the frame of my brand new truck and I’m having to put all these plates on and reinforcement. I don’t think either of us are recommending that program. If you’ve got a one ton truck or a three quarter ton truck, that’s got the payload and it’s designed to do it, that’s a different thing. Tundras don’t tend to do well with that kind of weight. Now AFT since it is a, a coil over MacPherson strut configuration in the front, you can go to coil overs, there are options out there from a bunch of different companies. I think that it’s really worthwhile looking at improving the dampers. You have limited suspension travel in the front so by improving the dampers, even improving your jounces as well, you can really improve the ride quality of the vehicle.
Richard Giordano: For sure. On the truck I was talking about, Harry used Timbrens for a long time, kind of set it, forget it. And then he went to a light racing, jump shock bump, front and rear. And that just transformed how the truck performed.
Scott Brady: Totally.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. It was more of a fabricated situation to [00:14:00] get, get those on.
Scott Brady: Well, and they both have their place. I like the Timbrens a lot for if you’re dealing with heavy loads. Whereas I think a hydraulic jounce is going to be best when you’re dealing with high speeds. So high loads go with some kind of a progressive rubber jounce from Timbren or, or a similar manufacturer. And if you’re going to go for high speed, then you want to have some kind of hydraulic damping so that you don’t get the rebound effect of the rubber jounce.
Richard Giordano: Exactly.
Scott Brady: At speed so, and Harry’s a great driver and he really does pay attention to those attributes of his truck. He cares about how it performs. So it’s cool that now what did he do with, with shocks up front? What was his coil over?
Richard Giordano: He did a ADS coil over upfront and extended travel with a upper control arm. So was a one inch, I believe, a one inch extended travel shock, and then outback was Deaver leaf springs.
Scott Brady: Deaver’s a good choice.
Richard Giordano: Yeah, and it was very custom in particular to the way he wanted the truck to be in, right? Mostly a Wolf in sheep’s clothing. From the outside you couldn’t see anything, anything different, but underneath it where [00:15:00] all the magic was.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Well, and that’s where you want it. Yeah. So it’s like a total sleeper. So for when you do in 60, down a Baja back road. Cool. Now what about for the front differential? I don’t know enough about the first-generation Tundra, but I know the rear, you can add an air locker to it is the front differential is still the same as like that eight inch ring gear Tacoma? I think it is. So you could probably add, uh, an ARB air locker to the front of that.
Richard Giordano: And any of those trucks I’ve been in, whether they’ve been an air locker or like an Eaton Truetrac, I feel like most of the time that’s, that’s all you need unless you’re getting really technical.
Scott Brady: Yeah. The trucks really benefit from a locker in the rear because in so much the case with overland travel, but oftentimes these trucks are very light in the rear. They can really spin a lot and they just don’t have as much traction. So if you can lock up the rear differential on a truck, on a pickup, it usually improves things quite a bit.
Richard Giordano: Even if that’s just driving around a snowy ski town.
Scott Brady: Correct.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. It makes a big difference.
Scott Brady: And any kind of traction control that you’ll see on the later generations of Tundras were really, it [00:16:00] was really rudimentary. So it wasn’t particularly effective. It allowed for a lot of wheels spin before you’d get any kind of great traction control.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. And I feel like in like our second gen, our 2008, it’s really just trying to make sure you don’t die. It’s not really trying to get you any traction.
Scott Brady: Yeah. We typically would use the second gen Tundra break traction control the early versions of it as an example of some of the poorest performing brake traction control.
Richard Giordano: That’s fair.
Scott Brady: Yeah. We actually have videos that we would show our editors of like, this is what you don’t want to have happen. And then if you did any left foot braking, it would cancel it, so was like the worst. Break tracks control can be very beneficial when you do have some kind of a gear-driven limited slip because any break tracks control that comes on gets amplified by the gear-driven limited slip. I’m not sure what they’ve got in the rear on the gen two for mechanical limited slips.
Richard Giordano: Yeah, nothing. It’s open diff in mine at least.
Scott Brady: Yeah. What is available for gen two for locking differentials?
Richard Giordano: So we are going to put an ARB air locker in ours, but you can also, again, Eaton Truetrac, Nitro makes [00:17:00] a limited slip as well. And I think if you’re looking for something that’s mainly different on the street, and you know, you happened to go through snowy patches or wet patches or icy patches, whatever it is on your drives, limited slip is a really good option. Tire size isn’t too big and your weight isn’t too heavy.
Scott Brady: That’s the key is that a gear-driven limited slips tend to have limitations around tire diameter because you get so much rotating mass that when those gears start to press out against the case, and they’re not really designed to take like a 37 or something, but if you’re 33, 34 inch tall tire, maybe even a 35 with the right driver, I think you can get away with those Truetracs in the back.
Richard Giordano: There’s something very nice about the simplicity.
Scott Brady: Yeah. And they w, they really work nice. A lot of people don’t realize how nice a Truetrac works, especially with even a little bit of brake traction control. It just starts to all be like magic.
Richard Giordano: Yep. A hundred percent.
Scott Brady: Yeah. And very fluid and smooth.
Richard Giordano: And predictable.
Scott Brady: Yeah, for sure. And you don’t get the same oversteer or you don’t slide off your line as much as you would with an air locker.
Richard Giordano: Yeah, it’s a little bit of [00:18:00] forgiveness, which is nice.
Scott Brady: Now on those gen ones, another upside is they tend to have pretty good payload. So there were some two wheel drive models over 2000 pounds, and it wasn’t uncommon to find four wheel drives in the 17 1800 pound, payload capacity range. You tend to still have pretty good payload in the gen one Tundras. And that can be really useful if you want to install a Four Wheel Camper. And in fact, one of the longer trips that I did in a gen one Tundra was I drove the Mojave road in a four wheel drive, gen one Tundra with a Four Wheel Camper on the back of it. It just really gave me a sense of the overall size and dimensions. And it was the, probably the first time I thought, you know, maybe there’s something to this full size truck thing that I hadn’t really considered before. So it started to challenge my perceptions around, like, everything’s gotta be small. In North America it’s not as much of an advantage.
Richard Giordano: No, and Ashley and I started playing this game. We started in Mexico when we were there this winter, and then we played it as well in Saudi Arabia and it was called would our Tundra fit?
Scott Brady: Oh, I like that.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. So we were running around a little rental Toyota [00:19:00] Fortuner when we were in Saudi and we were in our Toyota pickup in Mexico. Every time we’re doing something technical or fun, or just a little excursion or driving through a small town, trying to drive through a narrow congested gas station, we always ask, could the Tundra do this? 99% of the time, the answer was yes. We did the same thing in, we went on our South America trip, looking back on that we started asking, okay, if there were other towns, we couldn’t have made it through or there are different trails we couldn’t have done, and most of the time the Tundra would have been just fine.
Scott Brady: Yeah. I can think of so few true overland journeys that I’ve done where a full-size or even a seven eights size, like a gen one Tundra wouldn’t fit. Maybe the jungle tracks that we did in Guatemala, because they were very much like the width of an 80 series Land Cruiser, because that was the people who cut that trail. (Inaudible) no, no, cause it’s a lot of effort. So there would certainly be cases where that would be an issue, but not many because most, even most remote towns still need to get service and infrastructure brought to them. And that’s normally going to be in some kind of a medium duty truck, like a Fuso [00:20:00] or Canter or something like that, where you’ve got, you know, you’ve got to get supplies back to these villages.
Richard Giordano: Exactly. And even if it’s in a Sprinter, that Sprinter looks narrow, but it’s just tall.
Scott Brady: It’s tall.
Richard Giordano: The Tundra I believe is still narrower than a Sprinter is.
Scott Brady: Oh, interesting.
Richard Giordano: In the second gen, yeah.
Scott Brady: Oh, interesting.
Richard Giordano: Yeah.
Scott Brady: That I would not expect.
Richard Giordano: No, cause the Tundra looks so wide. This was based on internet research and not actual measure tape in my hand. So I’ll have to double-check, but I’m uh, I’m 99% sure that’s the case.
Scott Brady: So the gen one Tundra I think is very much still worth looking at. I think that there are a lot of great examples out there and there is a lot of them that are still being built. Uh, take a look at Paul May’s build of a gen one Tundra it’s should be on equipt1.com. That’s just a really neat truck that he put together. I think he’s supercharged it, because like, if Paul can get a supercharger for something, he will get it, we’ll find it. But I think he’s supercharged it, didn’t he?
Richard Giordano: I think he, I think he, so, um, I feel like every time I drive with Paul, the foot’s to the floorboards, so that would make sense. [00:21:00] They don’t make a supercharger for that anymore. I think those rods are fragile, like glass.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Yeah, they did. For awhile. You could definitely get a TRD supercharger for the 4.7 for a period of time. I don’t know that that’s still the case, but I think Paul ended up with one of the last ones.
Richard Giordano: Makes for a fun truck, I’m sure.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Oh, geez. I can just imagine. Yeah. Cause the 4.7s already scoot. No doubt. And then when it comes to campers and other things for the back of it, sometimes people will go with a tacoma Four Wheel Camper in the back of it, which really pulls it in nicely against the bed rails. So it’s surprising how well, like a Tacoma campers work on the gen one Tundras as they, you know, they pull everything in just a little bit tighter, but they don’t fit a full-size camper. So that’s just something to be aware of is that they don’t, the gen two does. And I think that that’s probably a good place to transition towards talking about the gen two Tundra, because those are going to be the most common that people are going to use now. What made you decide to go from 1990 Toyota pickup to [00:22:00] gen two Tundra? Like what was the process that made you decide that that’s what you wanted to take on your next global journey?
Richard Giordano: The purchase of the Tundra was after driving our 1990 Toyota pickup out 60, 70,000 kilometers down from Vancouver to Ushuaia back across Canada. And then I started using it to commute for work and stop and go traffic, and I was like, I think they need something else other than this at some point, um, just anything more modern. So we started looking at double cab Tacomas, just thinking, okay, we like the platform. We like the size. And maybe at some point we can do some sort of camper on the back without thinking about payload or anything else. Just thought Tacoma. That’s the way to go, but I could not find anything that was at all in our price range of about $20,000. And then I thought, well, let’s look at a first gen Tundra, but I had a fixed in my mind that I really wanted a double cab cause we have an extended cab pickup. And I’m just like just that extra space, haul a couple extra bodies, you know, a little bit more luxury of the cab would be, would be nice, except they were all at that point about $20,000 for trucks that had 300,000 kilometers on them.
Scott Brady: Wow!
Richard Giordano: At that point we were living on Vancouver Island so it [00:23:00] wasn’t a lot of options for us. I just happened to be walking past a Mazda dealer and there was a second gen Tundra sitting in the back that looked like it was mint. And I kind of like walked over and put my head in at very few kilometers on it had 115,000k on it. And I walked into the dealer and asked about it and they said it was a trade in. I offered them 20 grand and picked it up, so.
Scott Brady: Wow, what a deal.
Richard Giordano: So they didn’t have to do any, do anything to it. It was nice easy sale for them. And we got a truck that the original owner had been maybe put seven or 8,000 kilometers on per year. He’d take it out in the summer, tow his like 20 foot trailer, put it back away in the garage.
Scott Brady: And what color is that one?
Richard Giordano: It’s white. So white double cab, six and a half foot bed. Exactly proper color.
Scott Brady: Does it have a snorkel?
Richard Giordano: Not yet.
Scott Brady: Not yet. Mic drop.
Richard Giordano: Yeah, exactly. We have, we’ve got a pile of stuff that is yet to be installed.
Scott Brady: So you went from a red, 1990 pickup without a snorkel to a white Tundra with a snorkel.
Richard Giordano: (inaudible) heart.
Scott Brady: He’s all grown up.
Richard Giordano: Kinda like I got my snorkel badge now.
Scott Brady: It’s the it’s the overlander’s wave. [00:24:00] Like it’s just like, everybody’s all waving to each other. It’s perfect for it. (inaudible) a little button that makes it go back and forth. That’s perfect. All right. So you decided upon a gen two Tundra.
Richard Giordano: We’re forced to buy a gen two Tundra because nothing else, everything else is way too expensive for us.
Scott Brady: But it seems like you’re happy with the results. Seems like you’ve enjoyed the truck, the motor’s great, other than you can’t pass a gas station, but everything else about it’s great.
Richard Giordano: And this is the thing is every Tacoma that has any weight in it..
Scott Brady: That’s true.
Richard Giordano: Gets 13 miles per gallon. And every Tundra that I’ve been in that has weight in it gets 11 miles per gallon. It’s not a big difference.
Scott Brady: It’s not a big difference. And sometimes they’ll get even a little bit better than that if you keep your foot out of it, it’s just not working that hard.
Richard Giordano: No, exactly. Our stock truck got 17, 18 miles per gallon with like heavy 35s and skid plates and stuff on it now, which will get changed. It gets like 15 miles per gallon. So it could be a lot worse. I’ve been in, you know, if you look [00:25:00] at the big diesel Rams, if it has a camper on it, it gets 11 miles per gallon as well. So it’s got the payload, it’s got the power, but you know, the range, the range is only there because the field, because it can haul a fuel.
Scott Brady: Right. Because it has the capacity for it, the payload for it. So what have you found in your research that are some things that people need to look out for on the gen two Tundra? Like, are there any weak points that you’re finding are not, we talked a little bit about the effectiveness of the break traction control, which is one of the few things that I found problematic around that truck.
Richard Giordano: They were never available with a locker or limited slip of any type.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Which is a definitely a downside. So if you see TRD or TRD Pro on your gen two Tundra, that doesn’t really mean anything other than it has a stamping in the bed and a slightly prettier shock.
Richard Giordano: Yeah, exactly. They all work differently, equally well, in different terrain.
Scott Brady: Didn’t gain like an off-road mode or anything like that. It is give some, you know, usually comes with different tires and it’s got, you know, a little bit better shocks on it and stuff.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. And I know there’s [00:26:00] a, there’s a recall on the front clamshell bearing at some point and our truck had it. So you can either get it fixed by Toyota through a service bulletin. I know East Coast Gear Supply has a, uh, bushing they, that you can install as well as an option, but..
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Richard Giordano: Beyond that a pretty like, like you said, there, they share so many parts of the 200 series Land Cruiser, pretty bulletproof.
Scott Brady: Yeah. So the engine, 5.7 liter V8, is the same motor that’s available in the 200 series Land Cruiser. Did it also get the performance upgrade that the Land Cruiser did in 2016 or so?
Richard Giordano: I’m not sure cause that in 2016, the Land Cruisers also got an 8 speed manual transmission, I don’t think the Tundra ever.
Scott Brady: I don’t know if that ever happened with that. That might be worth, worth looking into at some point. 5.7 liter V8, it has heavy duty five speed transmission, six now? Okay, six speed transmission. Yeah. It was the gen one that had the five. So six speed transmission, a lot of shared suspension components with the 200 series.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. It’s a little bit of a wider track width. So the control arms a little bit wider. And I think that the axles are different, but I believe like I believe the differential’s very similar and I believe that the (inaudible) is the same.
Scott Brady: The coil overs are the same. Don’t they swap back and forth essentially?
Richard Giordano: You can, I think that, I believe that the Land Cruiser’s ones are a little bit shorter, but if you, but you [00:28:00] can also, you can swap control arms so you can do like a Tundra swap onto a 200 series and make it a little bit wider. And then you can also put in a longer shock from a Tundra, I believe. That’s a Kurt Williams question, but..
Scott Brady: Ha, totally.
Richard Giordano: I belive we’re not lying. And I do know that the brake package is, it’s very similar because when we were down in Baja with (inaudible) back in 2017, we like when there, when they needed a break in a hub, we scavenge one off of, one of the second gen Tundras that was a chase truck and threw that on a trailer.
Scott Brady: It does look like that in 2016, though, you could get a much bigger fuel tank option. There’s a 38 gallon fuel tank option.
Richard Giordano: They put a 26.4 gallon tank in, well, I used to have a 26.4 gallon tank in my truck. Um, and then you can swap in the 38 gallon, I ended up going with a Transfer Flow 46 gallon tank.
Scott Brady: Yeah, and you just have to check or the EPA to see if you can do that. It depends on the country and other things, of course your, your vehicle is going to be leaving. So it’s just important to know if you’re, if the tank is [00:29:00] compliant with those things.
Richard Giordano: And it’s nice for the Transfer Flow one, because it comes with a second charcoal canister (inaudible) series. So it paid attention to a lot of emissions control systems.
Scott Brady: Oh, that’s great. And that takes it to how many gallons?
Richard Giordano: 46.
Scott Brady: Oh wow, that’s great.
Richard Giordano: So that almost doubles the range, which is great because the Tundra’s just so good at soaking up either long dirt roads or highway miles. I remember the first time I drove that truck in Montana. So speed limits, 80 doing slightly more than 80, maybe closed course and all of a sudden, like two hours later, it fuel tank’s dry. But it’s just like, so quick, it’s so smooth.
Scott Brady: Sure.
Richard Giordano: And, uh, the tank really is quite small.
Scott Brady: Yeah. From what I’m seeing here, it does not look like that the 2016 model got the eight speed that the, Land Cruiser did.
Richard Giordano: It is a nice upgrade.
Scott Brady: Yeah. People definitely look for that 2016 model. Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. I mean, geez. A 200 series Land Cruiser right now. It is, it’s like unobtainium, and if you can find them, they’re so expensive, but that’s why we’re talking about Tundras because..
Richard Giordano: Yeah, it’s [00:30:00] like a Land Cruiser. Second gen Tundras right now are selling, like a good one you can get for 15 grand.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Yeah, you can’t even buy like a replacement wheel package for a 200 series Land Cruiser for that, it feels like. And then there was also a TRD supercharger available for the 5.7 as well, for a period of time.
Richard Giordano: I’ve been in, I spent quite a bit of time with one truck that had had that supercharger it’s, uh, made my ma Magnusson. Magnusson still makes it, um, but puts out 550 horsepower.
Scott Brady: Unbelievable.
Richard Giordano: Especially the truck that I was driving was stock truck, stock tires, nice and nice and light, but with the supercharger.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Chris Cor, Chris Cornett, actually the guy who bought my, I bought my house from, he had a TRD supercharge 5.7 Tundra, which would had to just been wicked.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. That premium fuel is also we to pay for, but..
Scott Brady: I don’t think you’d ever want it for global travel, but geez.
Richard Giordano: It feels like it’s an appropriate amount of power for the truck. It doesn’t feel like it’s too much. You can hand your keys to anybody, they’ll go drive it. It has more, you put your foot into it, more power you got, it is very linear.
Scott Brady: Yes. You stop looking at miles per gallon. You start going to smiles per gallon.
Richard Giordano: Exactly. [00:31:00] Unlimited.
Scott Brady: I’m somebody that smiles per gallon.. What do you guys have planned for your Tundra?
Richard Giordano: When we got our Tundra we put the very first Go Fast Camper that they ever made for a full-sized truck on it. It, uh, the 34 inch tires and an Old Man EMU, nitro charger.
Scott Brady: What tires did you put on?
Richard Giordano: Uh, we had BFG 37, nope.
Scott Brady: They have a 34×10.50, which is really clever.
Richard Giordano: I’m trying to remember what size it was. I think it was like 34×10 or 11.50. It was on an 18 inch wheel.
Scott Brady: Okay, sure.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. The Old Man Emu basic nitro charger shocks and medium duty springs out back. And it was a killer little combination. Pretty light, still fast. I can use it for camping, or we left the bed empty just for around, around the house like duties. Eventually camper went off and we had Fox 2.0, 2.5 with (inaudible) underneath it and Total Chaos upper control arms, just to increase the performance of it and put some 35s. At that time we had BFG KO2s on 17 inch Method Wheels and beat grip wheels. Again, that was just like nice little daily driver that got us out to [00:32:00] the ski hill or the trails or whatever, very easily, nice and comfortably. Now things are changing again because we’ve decided that as we get older, we need a little bit more comfort in our lives.
Scott Brady: You’re not old yet.
Richard Giordano: I’m old compared to Matt Scott, always somebody younger than I am.
Scott Brady: Somehow. It’s like every year he’s younger than me.
Richard Giordano: Exactly. He must have some sort of special elixir. Oh man. We’ve decided we want a little bit more comfort. And we struggled with what kind of vehicle to go with for a little while because the Land Cruiser Troopy route is just such a dialed combination, fairly small capable, reliable, parts availability everywhere. You can make it nice, easy, livable camper on the back, but also fairly expensive and hard to find one that’s in really, really good shape depending on where you’re getting it from. And eventually we just looked at the Overland Journal and found an old article, um, uh, Gary and Monica Westcott and their one of their turtles. Well, if there’ve been driving around Siberia, They’ve been everywhere in a full-size truck. What are we doing? We’re idiots, because for so long, we’re just focused on small [00:33:00] vehicle that we can get us anywhere. Small towns, small trails, just in case, even though the just in case almost never happens.
Scott Brady: Sure.
Richard Giordano: We decided that the Tundra was a good fit. It was already in our proverbial driveway. We owned it, doesn’t owe us anything. We don’t owe anything on it. Right now it’s got 192,000 kilometers. So whatever that 110, 120,000 miles on it, the next thing was that we were in Saudi Arabia and there are 200 series Land Cruisers everywhere there. It was very surprising amount of Tundras that we saw a second gen, first gen that we saw. And then Sequoias is everywhere, which is also a surprise to me.
Scott Brady: Sure. Like this, where all the Sequoias went.
Richard Giordano: Exactly.
Scott Brady: Can’t sell them here.
Richard Giordano: No, and I saw like parts availability because they share so many pieces with the Land Cruiser is worldwide and these trucks are everywhere. 5.7s are everywhere. We’re like, let’s just take this truck that we have.
Scott Brady: Totally.
Richard Giordano: It’s got power, comfort, air conditioning, heated seats, and enough of a payload that we can work with to put a comfortable camper on the back.
Scott Brady: Yeah. There is nothing that drives better than a vehicle you have paid off. It’s the truth. Your goal is to travel the world, [00:34:00] not to signal that you have some fancy new vehicle.
Richard Giordano: Exactly. I guess one of the other things too, is that we’re working full-time from the road and that means that we need a place to work from the road out of a cramped, wedge camper it’s just big enough for two of us that sit side by side with our arms beside us. It’s just a little bit too small. So we figured if not now, then when decided to make a move and start making some changes.
Scott Brady: You’re thinking about putting a camper on the back. I know that you have some that you’re looking at, you want to talk about some of the different options that you’ve considered?
Richard Giordano: Yeah, so it it’s an ’08 Tundra, double cab, six and a half foot box. So the payload is around 1600 pounds. It’s not a lot. We can definitely work within it. I’d rather like keep the truck nice and light as possible where we can um, to improve living space and camping. Uh, we don’t need a whole bunch of armor. We don’t need a whole bunch of extra accessories and we already have like, all of our camping gear is lightweight camping gear anyway. So we like our Helinox chairs that weigh nothing. If we’re bringing camping, like trekking gear with us, it’s lightweight MSR pieces and all these things. So we will try to keep weight as low as possible where we can and then just utilize it where we want it [00:35:00] the most. So we have a MITS Alloy tray flatbed coming for it.
Scott Brady: What does that a swap as far as weight, does it weigh about the same?
Richard Giordano: It’s about the same.
Scott Brady: That’s impressive.
Richard Giordano: Yeah, so it was the lightest tray that we could find that was going to be here this year. We talked to the guys down at MITS and they are sending up 80 inch by 80 inch footprint on a flatbed. I think it’ll end up weighing slightly more than the bed of the truck, but, uh, on paper it doesn’t.
Scott Brady: Does it have boxes?
Richard Giordano: It does. So it comes with boxes on the side. It’s got the trundled drawer out back also a water tank that you can use. We’ll see where the weight comes in. Like once it’s actually here and installed because sidebox is a really nice rear drawer. If you know, if we need to save the weight to get and re get rid of the rear drawer, we definitely will.
Scott Brady: Yeah, that would probably save 30, 40, 50 pounds or so wouldn’t it?
Richard Giordano: Yeah, it adds up very fast.
Scott Brady: And then you can remove the tailgate and it’s surprising how much tailgates weigh. Like I did that with the AT4 to get under a payload with a Scout camper, you know, the tailgate weighs almost 90 pounds, very, very heavy. Now this one flips and opens and transforms and everything else, which is why it weighs so [00:36:00] much in a bunch of electric actuators and everything in it. But you take it out and it makes a big difference.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. The other way we’re saving weight is we’re going to remove some, well, it doesn’t gain us any payload, but so we have some CBI off-road skid plates, front and mid, and those are 175 pounds. The truck isn’t really used for technical off-roading and those are really just for emergencies or..
Scott Brady: Sure.
Richard Giordano: Like a whoops situation. We’re going to remove those. And I’ve got a TRD Pro aluminum front skid plate 25 and a half pounds or 27 pounds.
Scott Brady: Yeah. You really just want to protect the radiator and all of those lower components in the front.
Richard Giordano: Exactly. So, and it doesn’t have to be durable because it’s there just in case. So it doesn’t have to withstand a whole bunch of abuse from rocks over and over again. So we’re going to pull weight off the truck.
Scott Brady: How about rear seat?
Richard Giordano: Rear seat also. So what we’re going to pull out again, like the 60% rear seat gains us a ton, more storage back there.
Scott Brady: And they are heavy.
Richard Giordano: And they’re heavy. We’re going to leave one open again for guides. Um, just in case we need one, definitely pulling out that, that one rear seat. I’ve definitely, I’ve also considered swapping out the front seat cause they’re full power doing like a fancy..
Scott Brady: Scheel-Mann or something?
Richard Giordano: I would, I would do a [00:37:00] Schulman and especially a mechanical one lighter and the comfortable.
Scott Brady: Super comfy.
Richard Giordano: And they’re so much smaller than the factory seats that are so big and so wide it’s like sitting on a couch.
Scott Brady: It’s shocking how much lighter they are. If you weigh a factory GX470 seat, then compare it to a Scheel-Mann I mean, it feels like it’s half the weight.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. So I’m, I’m definitely not against saving weight that way I’ve looked at, um, doing the MagnaFlow exhaust, trying to keep it as quiet as possible. Cause I don’t like any drone whatsoever, but you know, if I can save 10, 15 pounds here and there.
Scott Brady: Yeah.
Richard Giordano: We’ll definitely do it.
Scott Brady: Yeah. It makes sense. And then you’ve been looking at a couple different kinds of campers and what are some things that you’re looking at?
Richard Giordano: In the driveway or the parking lot behind us were, were taking out one of Mario from AT Overland’s Aterra camper for the next couple of nights, get a feel for that and see if that fits us. I love that it’s 1200 pounds or so.
Scott Brady: Yeah.
Richard Giordano: It’s a hard sided camper. No need to set up anything you just park and you walk inside and you go to sleep or you make your food or do just the simplicity. So well thought out. You can tell it that Mario spent [00:38:00] countless nights out in the wilderness and different types of campers to be able to design something that’s well laid out, well thought out, well-designed like on the engineering side of things all while keeping the weight down. So it’s been a, you can see like the twinkle in his eye when he talks about it. It’s, uh, he’s pretty passionate about the project. Yeah. We’re going to take a look at that and actually get a feel for it over the next couple of nights.
Scott Brady: I think the camper itself was designed by..
Richard Giordano: Dave Soza.
Scott Brady: Dave Soza from Arctic Tern and, and he’s also spent so many nights camping and has built his own. So I think that collaboration between Mario and David was just really awesome.
Richard Giordano: Yeah, it’s really paid off. It’s uh, it’s a pretty cool camper. We’re looking forward to just actually spend some time in it and see if it suits us. Um, and then we also spend a lot of time at, uh, Overland Explorer Vehicles up in Red Deer, Alberta. It’s a nice hour and a half drive from where we’re staying right now in Calgary. And same thing, Mark and Arnold has spent a lot of time in the oil industry, designing trucks, and then they moved into, uh, eventually into more of a recreational vehicle build series [00:39:00] for a long time. And now they’re just really focusing on truck campers. They, again, talking about passionate about engineering..
Scott Brady: You can see it.
Richard Giordano: Drilling right down into the construction methods for their campers to make sure that they withstand abuse and vibrations and all the things that an overlander puts through..
Scott Brady: For sure. Yeah. And it looks like it’s, you know, with the composite sides and then you end up with a lower overall height, you might even be able to still fit it in a high boy container.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. Because those ones are pop-up.
Scott Brady: Correct, sure.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. That composite build means that it’s the R value is quite high, so it works a lot better as a three plus season camper.
Scott Brady: For sure.
Richard Giordano: And for us, we’ve spent plenty of winter nights in a Go Fast Camper with our diesel heater cranked. So it feels like that’s, it OEV ones are good four season and camper for us as well.
Scott Brady: Yeah, totally. And then of course there’s the classic Four Wheel Camper available and you see those very common on, on the Tundras cause they’re fairly light. And you can just do it as a standard slide in without having to remove the bed. That’s certainly an option. And it sounds like that there’s a Go [00:40:00] Fast that they, people can now sign up for, to get on a Tundra. There are other options. And then of course you could talk with AT Overland about their Habitat, or their Summit, or their Atlas. And there’s a bunch of different configurations.
Richard Giordano: Uh, Scout Campers, or a couple, a couple of Scout models that will work perfectly fine for a Tundra as well.
Scott Brady: Yeah. I’ve seen quite a few, actually quite a few Scouts on Tundras. I think it’s a pretty good pairing, especially if you go with a little bit shorter unit, then the weight’s even less.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. I think the Olympic is the mid-size and then the Yoho I’ve seen as well. Um, but yeah, it’s kind of hard to beat that for something they get to use a handful of times a year.
Scott Brady: Yeah. And they’re very reasonably priced. They just, they don’t have a lot of amenities they’re just designed to be super simple, which is why I use one, because I just wanted a really comfortable, quiet place to sleep, so.
Richard Giordano: You don’t want to be fixing your camper or troubleshooting components.
Scott Brady: And when you test campers for a living, you pick the one that you don’t have to work on. That’s been, my that’s been, my [00:41:00] conclusion is like I never, I never, I’ve never had to even turn a screw on that thing, it’s just been flawless. Cause there’s nothing, nothing really to go wrong. When you look at your suspension going forward, what are you thinking? How are you going to manage that weight?
Richard Giordano: We had, yeah, the Fox 2.5 Factory Race Series with DSC. So really nice performance shock, but just the amount of maintenance, maintenance that was required, especially up in..
Scott Brady: Race suspension.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. And they were designed and developed down, down here in the Southwest, Baja, nice and dry, there’s no snow, there’s no winter. After a couple of Alberta winters with like, you know, salt and all the other corrosive of things and throwing on the road for traction, all the spherical bearings get eaten up pretty quickly. You know, uniballs you need to be replaced, um, that’s in the upper control arm. At least I had a lot of problems. Is that like the rear shocks with the shock shafts originally not putting on a shield shield or a, or boots on the back, you know, after 30, 40,000 kilometers of bad roads, those shafts just got eaten up. So I rebuilt the rear shocks. The front shocks needed a little bit of nitrogen here and there. I thought that it was uncommon until I actually read the [00:42:00] instructions and you see in the Fox service interval matrix, it’s like, okay, check your nitrogen every 10,000 kilometers.
Scott Brady: Sure.
Richard Giordano: Okay. Good to know. On a long-term long travel build and that we’re going to be traveling, who knows how many countries hopefully, we decided that something that required a lot less maintenance would be the smarter move. We just installed some Old Man Emu bp51s front and rear. In the back we are, we currently have the Old Man Emu medium duty springs, but on the shelf and in storage, we’ve got some Deavers that were custom made for, so when we max out the payload and I, and that’s what I, that was the explanation I had with them, with Scott down there was, there’s no way we’re not maxing out this GVW. Assume that this is the weight that we’re going to be going with. We assume we’re going to have an added 15 to 1600 pounds in the truck. So we’ll have that to cover, cover that. I also included has some Timbren ses bump stops front and rear. So if the spring settle in the future, or if there’s a point when we are like fully topped up with water and fuel and we’d like slightly going over GVW that those are there to help control sway and bump stop and [00:43:00] compression.
Scott Brady: What I really noticed is that they help to decelerate the vehicle on a big event. So when you come into a big event, they just do a really good job of slowing things down. So you don’t get such a hard bottom.
Richard Giordano: Exactly. The factory rubber bump stops are so harsh on bottom ends. The first time I kind of gone, I went over a few (inaudible) it’s with that, we had the active off-road bump stops originally on that truck, you go over a couple of big (inaudible) and it just soaks it up nicely. I was sold.
Scott Brady: Yeah, they work really great. And then another thing that I really like about the bp51s that’s unusual, so they not only have compression and rebound adjustment also internally bypassed, which..
Richard Giordano: Is like a Raptor shock.
Scott Brady: There’s not anything else out there from the aftermarket that I’ve seen. That’s just like that. So to get the improved durability of, you know, they address the durability concerns around coil over suspension, high-performance coil over suspension, but then I really like to be able to adjust for rebound. And I really like the fact that as it moves through the shock travel, that it does have the internal bypasses, so that way it can be a lot more [00:44:00] comfortable in smaller events or you know, during the first inch or so of travel, it can start to change those journals as you go through the shock travel to really help control the vehicle, which I think it makes a big difference.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. And especially when we’re increasing the spring rate so much in the rear, at least to the truck, that being able to control that rebound when that spring on loads is very, very important.
Scott Brady: You want to be able to control all of that weight, not only the weight of the camper and all these accessories that you’re adding the weight of the larger diameter tire and heavier wheel, all of that suspension rebound that’s being baked into the spring rate.
Richard Giordano: Yep.
Scott Brady: That certainly makes a lot of sense to have that kind of controllability. I have found on the bp51s that it’s good to exercise those rings regularly.
Richard Giordano: Keep them clean as well.
Scott Brady: Correct. So they can get a little gummed up. Um, I know that they’ve done some things to improve that quite a bit, but it’s just, it’s important to remember that, like you don’t kind of want to set it and forget it. You want to set it and then with some regularity. Put it into your inspection sequence that you use for your vehicle when you’re traveling, that every time you do an oil [00:45:00] change you’re going to do, you know, three clicks to the right and three clicks back to the left. So that way those things stay freed up to be adjustable when you want to adjust them.
Richard Giordano: Exactly. The other thing I’ve done for suspension is we’ve gone from the factory front sway bar to a TRD sway bar up front, a little bit larger diameter, and then installing a Helwig sway bar out back.
Scott Brady: Oh, interesting.
Richard Giordano: Just to help manage the sway so that shock doesn’t have to, shocks and springs don’t have to do that work.
Scott Brady: Especially if you have long travel days, there’s, you’re moving back and forth between drivers. I think that a bigger sway bar does make a lot of sense. I prefer to not have them. There’s some consequences.
Richard Giordano: Yeah.
Scott Brady: If you’re not able to bring all the drivers that might drive the truck up to speed on how to handle that.
Richard Giordano: Exactly. We have no sway bars in there in our pickup and it, uh, it moves around a lot. So for somebody who hopping into that truck, who is not aware of what’s going on, when you take that first corner, it’s a..
Scott Brady: That’s my that’s my thought is you get the vehicle in for service somewhere in the world and they go to take it out for a test drive and sway bars aren’t on there and hello.
Richard Giordano: Yeah, yeah, exactly. My thinking too, was that, or that front and rear sway bar and see where the [00:46:00] weight ends up with the camper and go with, and then in the end, if we don’t need that rear sway bar, probably that’d be the first one to go and go from there.
Scott Brady: One thing that I like to do is to make the vehicle a little more neutral because the heavier we go with the front sway bar, anti I sway bar, the more of the vehicle will push and understeer, which I don’t tend to like. So I like to make them a little more neutral by actually lightening the front sway bar and then stiffening the rear anti sway bar. And in fact, on my Tacoma, I remove the front anti-sway bar completely and put on a fairly heavy rear sway bar. Then I got a lot of articulation out of the front and it kind of drove like a mid engine sports car.
Richard Giordano: For better or for worse.
Scott Brady: It was, yeah, I mean, which meant when it did step out, it was thrilling, but it would hold the line impressively up to that.
Richard Giordano: Exactly. And I think that it can definitely see why the factory does it one way, because understeers are very predictable.
Scott Brady: Oh yeah. They would rather, oh totally. They would rather the operator end up in the ditch then rotate, rotate, roll, or end up on the other side of the road or off the [00:47:00] cliff or whatever. Yeah. They want you just to push through, push through the corner, which is much safer. Cause then you got crumple zones, airbags and whatever you hit when you drive into it more so than rolling.
Richard Giordano: Yep.
Scott Brady: For sure. Yeah. So it’s much safer to have understeer than oversteer or a mixed bag of drivers for sure. Well, that’s an exciting build. That’ll be really fun to see, come together and talk to us a little bit about how you plan to tell the story of that project.
Richard Giordano: I have filmed and I’ve written, I think the first three articles for Expedition Portal and for the Exhibition Portal’s YouTube channel. So we’ll have an intro to the truck. The next one will be there, a bp51 install or, um, the long range fuel tank from Transfer Flow. All those three are filmed and photographed and ready to go. After that we’re going to have to see, but I, my assumption is going to be, uh, that MITS Alloy flatbed. Um, I’ve got a different wheel and tire combination going on a Traverse HD from Fifteen52 going on the truck and a Toyo AT3 and the 35×12.50r17, because I’ve got mud terrains on it now. And just lightening up the weight a little bit is key. [00:48:00] Plus with the tire that’s on the truck year round, having an all-terrain that’s..
Scott Brady: Totally.
Richard Giordano: That has that I can drive in the snow and the ice and then have some semblance of control is key.
Scott Brady: Yeah. There’s no doubt that a mud train looks great, but for any scenario I’ve ever encountered, all terrains are king.
Richard Giordano: Of course I don’t have any wood to knock on over here, but like I’ve had really, really good luck with all terrains. And I know the ones on that, like the ones on the pickup, we abused pretty badly and in Baja and the AT3s is they just keep going.
Scott Brady: Yeah. If you’re not in mud, don’t, you’re not mudding in mud a lot with the mud terrain. Exactly. Well, that’s going to be really fun to watch. The gen two Tundras, they were built in huge numbers and they’re all over, out there in great condition that that motor is designed to run for a half a million miles and people will get that out of them. It’s just unbelievable to see their several million mile Tundras on the road that have been covered in editorial. In fact, Tim Esterdahl did a nice video on that. It just like here’s a nut, like he’s found several million mile Tundras that have been you know, [00:49:00] used for delivery vehicles and stuff like that. Which brings us to the fact that we just had to change with the Tundra. So we’ve gotten from gen two, gen three. Gen three Tundra they’re just now getting out there. Some of you listening may even own one and have started to drive one. I was fortunate to have been able to drive both the i-FORCE and the, i-FORCE MAX powertrains in all the different configurations, including the TRD Pro variant. There are some really important updates with this newest vehicle, significant improvement in fuel economy, significant improvement in high speed handling and predictability, and then a significant improvement in off-road performance with the addition of the rear locking differential. And in the case of the TRD Pro you actually have another inch, inch and a half of lift in the front so, and a larger diameter tire. We do know about the new generation Tundras that they are incorporating what they call their 300 series or their G chassis, which is this chassis that’s being used in the LX 600 it’s being used in the [00:50:00] new Land Cruiser 300 series, it’s being used in the Tundra, and it’s also being used in the Sequoia. And rumors are that it’s going to be used in something other that’s very interesting, that’s going to be coming out soon. This new platform is designed around a solid axle, five link versus suspension configuration, which I’m so excited to see because the Rams have just been awesome with that five link in the rear. To have a coil spring suspension I mean, just the way that it handles is such a departure from the previous generation and the chassis is much stiffer as well. One of the early complaints with the gen two Tundra was there was a lot of beaming effect, particularly in the longer variance. So if you ended up with a four-door with a six and a half foot bed, there was a ton of beaming effect in that Tundra that you really noticed in a lot of, a lot of movement in the frame could even result in some bed, body contact.
Richard Giordano: Yeah, there’s a good, a good video online about that. I can’t remember what it’s called, but it was fun to watch.
Scott Brady: Well, what do you think of the new gen three Tundra when you see it and look at the specs?[00:51:00]
Richard Giordano: It’s very exciting. Uh, they look great in person. I’ve never driven one. I’ve only ever been in a 300 series Land Cruiser so that’s like my only comparison. I’m excited to get behind the wheel. I love the, i-FORCE MAX hybrid option. Because that’s, uh, that’s essentially the same power output as a, like a 5.7 liter of the supercharger.
Scott Brady: It’s fast.
Richard Giordano: And you’re getting better fuel economy because of it.
Scott Brady: It’s crazy too, like going around in a parking lot and cause it’s a hybrid, like it’s just like this super ninja stealthy Tundra, it makes no noise going around. I mean, I miss, I miss some of that growl of the V8. So this is funny cause I got totally punked by Toyota because I’m driving this thing, the TRD Pro and I’m like, well, this really sounds good. Like it, this thing sounds healthy. I mean, it’s like the V6 and it’s twin turbo and it’s 3.5 liter twin turbo. They’ve got this exhaust on there and everything I’m like, this thing sounds really, really good. And then I start talking to one of the engineers and I won’t name them, but just in case, but actually pipe in the sound through the stereo system since I was totally bummed, I’m like, [00:52:00] wait a second. This thing sounds so, sounds so good, but it’s actually like artificial V8 ish.
Richard Giordano: And all of a sudden it didn’t sound so good.
Scott Brady: No, it sounded, sounded like disappointment. It’s like, it’s like eating kale. It’s like, I didn’t sign up for eating kale.
Richard Giordano: I could, I have want to know, who’s trying to feed you kale, but also I get the point.
Scott Brady: Yes. Yeah. It’s like, well, kale tastes like sadness and that’s what that fake V8 sounded like it was sadness.
Richard Giordano: It’s like a kale Caesar salad, Caesar salad.
Scott Brady: Exactly. Exactly. I didn’t sign up for that. But no that the truck overall is excellent. You have to look for something to complain about on that vehicle because it’s really good. And all of the off-road tuning for, so it’s got crawl control, it’s got the modern aversion of A-Trac, which is when you go into crawl control. And if you’re in rock mode on the multi terrain select, the brake traction control is exceptional. I mean, most of the time you’re not going to need a locker, but if you want it, it’s got the magic button and you can find it on all of the variants. So if you wanted to get an [00:53:00] SR5 TRD package truck to maximize payload, you can get close to 2000 pounds of payload in that variant. So it’s a pretty minimalist truck. It doesn’t have the i-FORCE MAX and it doesn’t have all that other stuff, but you can get a rear locker out of it. And then you can put your own suspension on there and you put your own tires and wheels and everything else, but at least you got the magic button in the back.
Richard Giordano: Save your money up front.
Scott Brady: Totally that is not to take anything away from just the i-FORCE engine itself. I mean, fantastic fuel economy given the size of the vehicle, but that I force max to be able to push you know, up well into the twenties miles per gallon in the city is really impressive.
Richard Giordano: It’s huge. It’s a big change.
Scott Brady: It is and it’s fast. I mean it scoots.
Richard Giordano: And what kind of payload capacity does, that is a well-equipped i-FORCE MAX..
Scott Brady: That that’s the problem is you start with the TRD Pro. Now they’ve since revised some numbers where they call it a 1600 pound payload now, but some of the earlier ones that I saw were in the 1350s or so. But they do have a revised payload number for the TRD Pro at 1600 pounds. So..
Richard Giordano: That’s great.
Scott Brady: Huge [00:54:00] gratitude to Toyota for paying attention to that because people are going to want to modify them. They’re going to want to put stuff in them. So 1600 pounds is a good starting point. It gets closer to that number. Like our expectation around half ton trucks is right at that 1800 pound mark, anything less than that, we think it’s a compromise, uh, but 1600 pounds is close and there are variants that you can get into that 1800 pound range. So SR5 for example, 4 wheel drive. But if you get into like a 1794, or you get into a Platinum, you start seeing that 1200 pound 1300 pound payload number. Part of the reason why it’s so concerning in a full-sized truck is that this thing is designed to tow 12,000 pounds. So if you tow a 12,000 pound trailer, you’re going to have 5, 6, 700 pound tongue weight. So if you have a 1300 pound payload and you’ve now put a 700 pound tongue weight on it, you’ve got less than 700 pounds.
Richard Giordano: You’ve gotta have small friends.
Scott Brady: You got gotta have really small friends and not bring you can’t bring the cooler. You can’t put anything in the bed, you know, like everybody’s got to go on a diet.
Richard Giordano: Everything is going in the trailer.
Scott Brady: That’s right. Yeah.
Richard Giordano: Dog.
Scott Brady: Yeah.
Richard Giordano: Dont put your dog in the trailer. [00:55:00]
Scott Brady: So that’s where you really start to run into the limitations of payload is once you, once you’ve got this awesome towing capability, which it has it’s really great, and it tows so nice. Once you add a, you know, that 5, 6, 700 pound tongue weight, you just you’ve, that comes right against payload. So it’s an impact to that. But the gen three Tundra is, is really exciting. They don’t take a lot, they don’t need a lot of modification, uh, to do a great job. Um, we’re going to see a lot of aftermarket support come out from that because it’s a shared platform across so many different models. So we’re going to see some awesome suspension stuff. No doubt. We’re going to see things that are going to address, you know, like progressive rate coils in the rear. You can in certain configurations get an airbag suspension in the back, which is also very clever.
Richard Giordano: Yeah.
Scott Brady: You just can’t get it on the TRD Pro.
Richard Giordano: Makes sense I guess they’re, they’re really focusing on the performance shock and what’s, do you know what the shock packages for the tier two?
Scott Brady: It was a Fox, Fox shock. It’s great. It’s, it’s very, very good. Um, they, they did a really nice job. That additional compression travel makes a big difference as [00:56:00] well. We have to bring it up, um, and it’s not intended to like, just pick at Tundra, but the lack of front tow hooks, I think, is something that people need to be aware of. Um, there is not a provision there’s not only not tow hooks, but there’s not a way to connect tow hooks in their current configuration. So you’re going to need to look for something like a fully integrated bumper system. Like when ARB comes out with their’s, you’re going to be, you’re going to be looking at something that has a cross-member and has a bunch of additional structure. That’s going to be able to afford you with a recovery point. Cause right now, the only way you can conduct a Toyota communication on a recovery from the front, you have to use a transit luster or a J hook into the cross member of the a-arms.
Richard Giordano: Interesting and not interesting in a good way.
Scott Brady: I mean, if anybody’s ever gotten stuck in mud, trying to get..
Richard Giordano: Yes.
Scott Brady: Like that is, they’re not going to be super happy about your purchase, if that’s what you got to do. So there’s just no other way to hook it up.
Richard Giordano: Interesting. Okay. Well, hopefully they’ll address that sooner rather than later.
Scott Brady: Yeah and I’m sure that they will, there were reasons for it around pedestrian safety and all kinds of the things that Toyota cares [00:57:00] about, and that makes a lot of sense. It’ll be important for the aftermarket or TRD as an aftermarket entity to offer some solutions for front recovery points. Cause even Tundras get stuck. So it’s happened, sometime in history.
Richard Giordano: We don’t get to talk about..
Scott Brady: Oh man, the number of times I’ve been stuck.
Richard Giordano: Learning experiences.
Scott Brady: I love it. It’s all part of the adventure. So we’re going to see a lot coming out on gen three, which is really exciting. So we would encourage you all to take a look at, if you’re looking at moving to a full-size truck and you just love the Toyota brand and you want to see what’s available, go drive them all, go drive all three and kind of see which one best fits your needs and your budget because they really are a great solution. You do need to keep them light cause they are half ton trucks. So I know it’s, it’s like when we get our first Toyota, we always kind of throw away the payload card, but it’d be good for us to be mindful of what the vehicles intended for. So, uh, Tundras are half ton vehicles, so you need to be mindful of what you put in them.
Richard Giordano: Yeah. But if you’re looking for a small truck that still has the payload and [00:58:00] you’re originally looking at it, Tacoma first gen Tundra is a really good option.
Scott Brady: Totally.
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Richard Giordano: And a few [00:59:00] hundred extra pounds of payload, more power, more smiles.
Scott Brady: And for those that are listening, if you’ve got a Tundra project of your own, or you’ve got some additional thoughts that you’d like to share, or you’d like to correct me on one of my foibles throughout, throughout the specification efforts, please reach out to me on Instagram. You can find me at scott.a.brady on Instagram. If you’d like to send me some photos of your project, it might be something that we can share through our own channels. We’d love to get your feedback on things that have worked for you. And again, any corrections that we need to make to the podcast or additional insights that you’d like to share.
Richard Giordano: And I would say actually, when you’re out adventuring and taking photos of your Tundra, make sure to tag Overland Journal #overlandjournal because, uh, every once in a while, those get selected for a, like a little feature in the Journal.
Scott Brady: That’s right, we do put it in the first couple of pages of the magazine.
Some folks that have tagged tagged Overland Journal. So you tag @overlandjournal or #overlandjournal we can find you that way. And Richard, how do people find out more about what you and Ashley are up to with your new [01:00:00] gen two Tundra?
Richard Giordano: Right now you won’t find anything because nothing has been announced or published.
Scott Brady: You’ve heard it first here.
Richard Giordano: Exactly. I’ve been too busy. It like covered in grease and I actually (inaudible) the frame recently.
Scott Brady: It’s a big job.
Richard Giordano: I still am tattooed a little bit from it, weeks later. Most likely you’ll see it on Instagram @desktoglory. And then it will slowly over time show up on Expiration Portal through articles and the Expedition Portal YouTube channel.
Scott Brady: Well Richard, thanks so much for your time and sharing this exciting news about your gen two Tundra. I cannot wait to see where you’re going to take this truck. I know that you’ve got some really exciting ideas about where you want to take it in the world and believe me, when we tell you guys this is going to be someplace awesome that they’re going to go.
Richard Giordano: We don’t know yet, but it’ll be fun.
Scott Brady: Where you’ve taught, where you’ve talked about sounds absolutely wonderful. And we can’t wait to see the content you’re going to put on on that. And we appreciate you all listening to the Overland Journal podcast and supporting the publication. And we will talk to you next time.[01:01:00]