06 Tacoma with ATC camper mod.

Hi All,
Have not introduce myself since I join in the forum. So here it goes. We bought a 86 Vanagon Westy in April 06, spend 2 months upgrading/fixing the van. Finally we got the van to the level we are comfortable with and we start taking it out on trips.

The van is great, we drove it for 6000miles in 3 months. There are limits with the van, it weights 4200lbs with 90 hps so when ever the road goes upwards we slow down to 45mph. It's a 20yo van so we are not 100% confident it'll get us to the destination (it's called Westy syndrome). The the van is tall and boxy I change the shocks, add wider tires and air bags it's much more stable but still gives me white knuckles when the wind picks up or in the twisty mountain road. So we decided to sell it.
After the short time owning the Vanagon we are sold on the idea of having a camper. We want our next camper to be reliable, flexible, capable, small in size and with enough creature comfort. There are not many choices on the market Roadtrek 4x4, Pleasureway these are nice but $$$ and very limited on where they can go. Sportsmobile is very nice and capable but a 4x4 version is close to $85k :yikes: so that's out. Then we saw KC's FWC on T100. Hmmmm, that's it. We got a 06 Taco with year end deal and special financing. :D and here we are.

The first mod went in over the weekend. An AirLift air bag. It went on without much issue.

Truck rides better after the bag went in, currently it's set at 13psi. The bag is needed for the coming ATC camper which should be here in March. :D
The next two thing going on the truck are TorkLift tie downs and Osram 85/80 light bulbs. I might get the adjust shocks later but I need to find one first. Sent mail to Rancho but did not hear anything back yet.
I'll update the thread as mod is done to the truck. I need to let everyone know all the mod will be "For the safy of the family" ;)

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ExPo Original
Looking good Alex! :clapsmile

I'm sure the VDub purists would recoil in horror at trading a Westy for a Tacoma, but I think you're on your way to a more versatile solution for roaming. Hopefully you'll find the Tacoma/camper combo more stable in high winds and no doubt you'll appreciate the horsepower & torque of the Taco over the Westy.

So you did order the ATC from Ben? That's awesome! Makes you a pioneer and it means we'll have another brand of slide-in to get a review on. I'm looking forward to hearing more about it and your impressions.

Yep, I have confirm with Ben that I'm going to order the camper from them. Ben has been very helpful and accommodating with all my weird concerns. ;) I'm very excited about the camper!
A side note on the Taco, it rides so nice on the freeway. My wife actually prefer to ride in it than her own IS300!! The 4 hrs trip to Yosemit feels like nothing.

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TorkLift tie down bracket for the front tie down came last Friday. So it's time to get it on the truck. There has been very little people install this bracket on the 05+ Tacos so I'm a genie pig again. Open the package all looks fine. TorkLift use the front leave spring mount as the attach point for the bracket, it's a very cleaver and solid design. No drilling is required direct bolt on. They use a J shape backet slip into the existing opening on the spring mount and use it as a mount.

Here is the first challenge, the bracket won't slid in, it only goes half way in. After wiggle and hitting it with rubber hamer I decided to call them before I do any damage. This is where I learn this kit is availiable for only 3-4 month and not many people order it so there might be kinks in the hardware. After the call I know I need to grind the bracket to make it fit. Take out my trusted Dremel, not a heavy duty tool but that's all I got. So grind away, passenger side went in after some grinding, the driver side took me 45mins to get it done. This is how it should go in.

Cool, now just need to mount the bracket should be easy. Here is the second issue shows up. There is a bolt welded on the J bracket in the instruction it said I should put the nut on it and have the nut 1 1/8" away from the face on the plate. Makes sense, use the nut as a stop. But there are only 4 nuts in the box 2 short if I use 2 for the stop nuts. On the phone again, tech told me I don't need to use the nuts as stop. Hmm OK, let's try that. All nuts are installed time to torque down to 70 ft-lb per instruction. Ooops, the bolt on the plate on the drive side start to pull off from the weld...... :littlefriend: Back on the phone with TorkLife again, this time tech said there should be 2 more nuts in the kit and use as stops. She is going to send me new J plates and nuts and correct the instruction on their manual. Oh well stuff happens, it took me half day to put in what I thought only going to take my an hour.
Here is the bracket installed. The upper right bolt is the one the gets pull from the weld there shold be a nut behind the plate act as the stop.

With tie down install in the receiver.

Time to go put in my new Hella 80/85 bulb.

Grim Reaper

Expedition Leader
slooowr6 said:
Time to go put in my new Hella 80/85 bulb.
You might want to look at upgrading the wiring before installing these. On my Toyota it looks like 16 gage wiring to the headlights...that’s pretty anemic. You are going to be pulling 8 amps through that. I haven’t traced it back to the column but I hope it jumps to a larger gage. If that 16 gage is all that is run up to the switch...its not enough for higher watt lights.

I just added a set of lights to my truck and did a volt drop test. I get a full half volt drop at the headlights over the new lights I put in.

http://www.4crawler.com/4x4/CheapTricks/Headlights.shtml#OnLineOrdering is a decent little set up on the cheap.
Full write up.
Did a quick measurement this morning:
At the battery post: 14.41V
At the H4 plug on low beam: 13.83V
0.58V drop. I agree the wire does look thin, looks like they keep the 16AWG wire. Need to keep a close eye on these wires.
An update on the Hella 80/85 bulbs. The bulbs are bright! I was consider bi-xenon after driving with the Hella bulbs I can't see a reason of doing it anymore. I might add a set of driving light in the middle to extend the randge in the future.


Expedition Leader
I upgraded my bulbs to the Hella 55/100s from Rallylights a few months ago. http://www.rallylights.com/hella/H4.asp. I ran the same bulbs in Hella Vision plus lamps in my old Taco with no problems but figured I upgrade the wiring harness in the 05; well I installed the lights and hooked them up and they work fine. I finally got around to installing the wiring harness, but haven't bother to hook it up yet. So far no issues.

On a side note, the higher wattage bulbs have a shorter life expectancy so you might keep your old bulbs in the truck as spares just in case.
Finally got the light bar and driving light installed. They have been sitting in the garage for month.

New bug shield.

Camper is on time, it should be here first week of March.:jumping:

I still need to install the back up light.:costumed-smiley-007
An update on the AirLift air spring.
The air spring hold up pretty nicely. It did not loose any air pressure at 10psi (minimum pressure) for 2 month. Looks like is not "walking" at all. Still at where it is suppose to be. The 05+ Taco has a very weak rear suspension without anything in the bed the leaf spring is about 2.5" from bump stop. When I pump the air spring I can actually see the truck bed raise a good 3/4" and this is just 10PSI.
The ultimat test for the spring will come March when I load 800+ lbs on to the bed. :ylsmoke: