AdventureTaco - turbodb's build and adventures


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If you're looking to kick your wheel wells out, look into some ptex sheets. Same base material that line snowboards etc. you can buy it in square meters and cut it to the shape you need. Much cheaper than new fender flares and they're flexible when you rub against something on the trails.
Thanks! One of the things I really want to try to keep (for as long as possible) is the "stock" look of the current flares. I dunno if I'll be able to hold out forever, but who knows. I've added the ptex to my list of "truck stuff" though, so I don't forget about it in the future.
Thanks! One of the things I really want to try to keep (for as long as possible) is the "stock" look of the current flares. I dunno if I'll be able to hold out forever, but who knows. I've added the ptex to my list of "truck stuff" though, so I don't forget about it in the future.
You're welcome. The stuff is also known as marine board and HDPE sheeting. We have it on a few of our shop trucks here in Alaska and looks and works great. I'll take a few pictures of it this coming week to show you and example. I recently removed the small non-TRD "flares" on my '01 Tundra and was looking to install the HDPE as the flares/ flaps. I've also considered using Semi Truck mud flaps. They are another cheap option and come in varying thicknesses and sizes that are easily trim-to-fit.


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......After catching our breaths and with our stomachs satisfied, it didn't take long for us to look for just the right place to try to capture Druid Arch. With the sun behind it, we weren't sure if we could even capture the grandeur, but we experimented with various exposures and settings and hoped for the best.

My guess is that when nature looks like this, it's hard to end up with something unusable....



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...As Brett pulled into line at the top of the hill, I jogged back down to my truck - excited as usual when the trail requires a bit of attention. And, like the first three guys, I made it up unscathed - though I did stall once, "A little too trusting of the low gears, like Frank." Laughed Monte.

The low gears definitely are nice!

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...Our last step before new ground was to head down the Silver Steps one more time. This is a fun section of trial that makes it's way over the slickrock and gets the trucks a little flexy-twisty. In fact, while I found this entire trail to be fun - and while there are definitely more challenging parts - I think this is the <em>most enjoyable </em>part. Plus, the views in front of you while you're there......



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......Having dozed off to sleep, I was awoken by an unusual sound about an hour later. It sounded like small grains of sand landing on the tent and rolling down the rain fly. Rain? No - it definitely didn't sound like rain, which lands with a single drop. A squirrel in a tree above, dropping pieces of pine cone on the tent? I didn't think I'd parked under a tree......

Keep reading the rest here
Ruining Around Utah 6 - Hite to Home

Keep reading the rest here
Ruining Around Utah 6 - Hite to Home


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......I don't know if anyone actually remembers the last time we visited, but one of the most remarkable things about the Playa is the surreal experience you get when driving on it at high speed. It's so flat, and so vast, that objects in the distance appear stationary while the ground around the truck is flying by. The only reaction I've ever seen to this phenomenon is a big-old-smile, and that's what happened this time as well, as dust kicked up behind us, hanging in the still air - a Taco contrail....



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...I started the engine. I was already in 4Lo, and I also engaged the front and rear lockers, hoping that the passenger tires which were on slightly firmer ground would be enough to pull the truck out.

Nope. More wheel spin. And more sinking. The front wheel was now up just above the center cap (which is still visible in the photos above) and the rear axle was just touching the water.

We were well past "********" at this point on the cuss-o-meter, and the camera was long forgotten....



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......The last few miles passed quickly at this point - we could taste victory. @mrs.turbodb even looked over and said, "Well, it was nice that one of the routes worked out!" And then we crested the last rise.

In front of us - we could clearly see - Flook Lake. And not just Flook Lake - we could also see our road disappear directly into the middle of the lake......



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Rig Review: Alvord Desert - What worked and what didn't?
April 29, 2019.

The trip to the Alvord Desert and Hart Mountain Antelope National Wildlife Refuge was one that we threw together relatively quickly and without much work on the truck after the previous trip. The only work really was maintenance - an oil change, tire rotation, and re-booting the passenger CV axle. That said, as the trip progressed, there were still several items worth noting.

ADS Coilovers - Pre-Load Removed
TL;DR - I recommend running front suspension with as little pre-load as possible. Having removed about a third of the pre-load from my ADS setup for this trip, the ride was much better and the suspension felt like it was able to work in situations where it was previously hitting full-droop.

On the Utah trip (as well as Anza-Borrego), I'd noticed that my new front suspension from ADS didn't seem quite right. When I'd go over the back side of a bump and the wheel had to travel down to meet the lower ground, I was frequently getting a "clunk" sound that I'd previously not heard (with the Toytec BOSS setup). On talking to Monte (who got the same setup a few months after I did), he mentioned that he too heard the clunk now sometimes - but not nearly as much as I was hearing it.

The only difference as far as I could tell was that he'd removed some pre-load from his springs.

Keen to stop the bump and get a bit smoother ride, I took the opportunity to use the Branick spring compressor to remove approximately one-third of the pre-load from my coilovers (about ¾" of front lift). Needless to say it was satisfying to be able to turn the collar on the shock body without any punch or pry bar, all of the spring tension held in check by the compressor.

And, removing that tension seems to have fixed most of the clunking I was hearing. Where previously I got on the order of 10-15 clunks/day even when I was being careful, on this trip I was less careful and still got no more than 1 clunk each day.

Re-booted CV Axles with OEM Boots (new)
The CVs performed flawlessly on this trip - something I was a little concerned abouts given my surprise when rebooting the passenger side. The boots - as expected from an OEM kit (04438-04021) - are holding up well, and the Moog Universal CV boot clamps that I got for the inner joint are holding just fine. I expect these boots to last for many years, especially since I've taken some of the pre-load out of the ADS coilovers.

Miscellaneous Great Stuff
I think I often overlook the little stuff that I take on trips that just does it's job, or that may not be used every trip, but is really handy when the time comes. A few of those things saved the day this time and I think it's worth highlighting their value:
  1. Full-Size Shovel - I think most folks recommend taking a shovel, but often it's of the folding variety, or a short shovel to save on space. The full-size shovel this time really saved our bacon when we got stuck in the mud, and that's the third time it's gotten us out of a "sticky" situation - it also happened on the OBDR and in Montana last year. Digging with a full-size shovel is so much more efficient, and you have so much more leverage, it really reinforces for me the value of this simple tool.
  2. Muck Boots - I've only had my Arctic Sport Muck Boots for a few trips now, but the peace of mind they allow when you're in a muddy, snowy, or wet situation is totally worth their reasonably-expensive price tag. In the past, I'd be hesitant to get out and walk a water crossing because it would mean getting my shoes wet or going barefoot (which means cold, drying off, and risky footing). Same for muddy situations - I wouldn't want to get my one pair of shoes all nasty just to scout a short length of trail. Muck boots change all that and they allowed me to spend half an hour digging out the truck in over a foot of mud without giving it a second thought. Big thumbs-up from me.

  3. Differential Lockers - This may seem strange, but I feel like lockers are something that people just don't like to talk about or acknowledge. Those that don't have them boast about how great they are because they don't need them; those that do have them hesitate to use them (or admit they used them) even though we all paid a pretty penny to get them. On this trip, my ability to lock both the front and rear axles is a big part of what allowed me to get the truck unstuck from the mud. Nearly all the traction was on the passenger side, and without lockers I would have simply dug myself further and further into the mud. I may not use them often, but like the Muck boots and shovel, even at several hundred bucks, the lockers paid for themselves (or paid for my mistake) by avoiding an expensive tow truck.

Recovery Tracks - Something to Consider in the Future (?)
I've avoiding getting any type of recovery traction device - like MaxTrax or TRED PRO - because they're super expensive and because I feel like any time I'd use them, they'd be so disgustingly dirty that I wouldn't know what to do with them.

Both of those things would have been true on this trip as well - using a traction board may have even resulted in the board being buried and unrecoverable due to mud suction - but I think they may have gone a long way to helping me get out of the situation I was in, more easily.

So then, the question becomes - are they worth it? For me, I think the answer is still "not yet," but I'm more on the fence than I've been in the past.

Unchanged / Still an issue from previous Rig Reviews
There are some things that have been featured in Rig Reviews that are - as yet - unchanged from when I originally reviewed them. Rather than highlight those things again, I'll simply link to them here.
  1. The Swing-Out Table - as expected, it was unusable on this trip.
  2. The Electrical System - continues to have the limitations of a single battery system.
  3. The Ham Radio Antenna - continues to have the shortcoming mentioned.
  4. The Bed is Cracking - the crack isn't worsening (that I can tell) but still needs to be addressed.
  5. Front ADS Reservoirs Too Close to Tires - I've still got rubbing in sharp turns each direction.
  6. 4Runner Wheels - still silver, which doesn't look as good as the Bronze SCS Stealth6s.


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Tacoma Bed Rack v2 - Stopping the Bed Cracks

When I originally built my bed rack back in 2016, I was sure that the rack was going to be something that was only installed when we were out on an adventure. The rest of the time, I'd remove it using the pulley system in the garage so that the Tacoma could be it's natural self.

Oh how naive I was.

Turns out, there's no reason to stop adventuring in the winter, and quite frankly, the rear suspension on the truck is much more comfortable with the couple hundred extra pounds from the tent. Plus, I don't really have any changes I'd like to the design, so I don't ever really remove it - or at least I try not to.

But over the winter I did remove it at one point - I forget why now, one of the freebies that comes with middle age - and you can imagine my surprise when I noticed that the bed had cracked under the rack.

Ahh, I remember now - I was removing the bed to fix my rear suspension.

Well, I wasn't happy about that and tried to puzzle out exactly what was happening - clearly, there were stresses on that part of the bed from the weight of the tent, and after chatting with a bunch of folks, the best we could come up with was that it was a combination of factors:
  1. Like any rack system, when you've got 200 lbs on the rack and you travel over bumpy terrain at high rates of speed, you get some flex. And that flex is transferred down to the bed rails.
  2. The holes I'd drilled to attach the bed rack were essentially the same size as the bolts that secured it. That mean that any time there was any flex, the bolt put stress on the sheet metal because it would push/pull on the edges of the hole, rather than slide around in the hole.
  3. To protect the paint on the bed rails, I'd used some HDPE rubber between the bed rack on both the top and inside of the bed rail. This rubber would compress and expand over each bump, exacerbating #2.
So, it was just a matter of fatigue of the metal. I ground off a bit of paint and rust around the crack, pulled out the welder, and put it on its "barely warm" setting to tack it up.

Let me tell you - welding body panels sucks! Kudos to the guys who do this for a living. :welder:

Anyway, I got it buttoned up and re-installed the rack without the HDPE on the inside edges, to reduce horizontal movement. But as I was re-installing it, I noticed another crack - this one in the front passenger corner.

Dang. It was time to change things up to keep the truck from falling apart into one billion pieces.

I started by removing the tent and bed liner so I could access the front corner of the bed for a bit more body-panel welding. The joy.

Really, it was good though, because getting under the bed liner to rinse off the bed and make sure that it's still in reasonably good condition is a good practice IMO. And luckily for me, everything under there still seems to be doing just fine.

Well, I mean except for this crack.

With the liner removed, I ground down the corner crack like I had the bed rail and got to work with the welder, again. And again, I hated it - though I seemed to mostly fix it before hitting it with a bit of paint.

But now, I had to figure out how to keep this from happening again. Since the rack design in general has been superb, I decided on three changes to the setup. First, I'd extend the feet of the rack to the front of the bed, and add another piece of steel angle to the front of the rack that would - hopefully - keep the corners of the bed from flexing so much.

I hoped this would stop any corner cracks.

I should note - modifying the bed rack in this way also required me to modify the bed liner. From the factory, the bed liner sits over the front rail of the bed, which would now have a piece of angle spanning the same place. So that part of the liner had to be relieved of duty.

Second, I'd forget about the HDPE between the rack and bed rails altogether. A bit of metal-on-metal rubbing is better than cracking in my opinion. Plus, I'd never seen anyone else use HDPE, and despite my urge to yell "you're all wrong," I figured I should try without first. 😉

Third, I fabbed up some beefy brackets to sit behind the bed rail - sandwiching the rail between the rack and the brackets - to distribute the stresses away from the holes as much as possible.

I hoped those three things would mean that the bed will be a bit happier now.

Time will tell - I suppose I could be back next year, looking for a new bed.

But let's hope not. :fingerscrossed:​