AdventureTaco - turbodb's build and adventures

Here's hoping those cracks don't come back! What I've seen other people do is drill out each point/end of the crack, grind out the length of it, and then fill weld it, but I don't know how well that would work on sheet metal (if at all.) Drilling out the ends helps to stop the crack itself as that's always where the highest pressure sits, letting the crack spread.

Todd n Natalie

Just curious as to why you use the drop in bed liner as opposed to a spray on? Wouldn't a spray on prevent stuff from building up underneath the liner?

Is it possible that an over the rail liner could help prevent some of the cracking?


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Just curious as to why you use the drop in bed liner as opposed to a spray on? Wouldn't a spray on prevent stuff from building up underneath the liner?

Is it possible that an over the rail liner could help prevent some of the cracking?
Well, when I bought the truck back in '99, it came with the under-the-rail liner - something I wanted at the time because (a) I didn't know about spray-on, and (b) I knew I'd be using the truck for home reno, etc and I didn't want all that just hitting the metal of the bed.

Fast forward 20 years :). I now use the grooves in the plastic liner for the runner on my "bed slide" ( and I don't find that much stuff builds up under the liner at all, so I've kept it (and the few hundred $$$ that a good spray-in liner would cost).

As far as cracking goes, I think just about any liner would "behave" about the same. I think it *does* actually help prevent cracking from stuff *in* the bed moving from side to side, but I think the thing that contributes to cracking the most is actually the bed rack (and the weight of the tent on that rack). But really, with the new rack, things seem to be quite a bit better, so hopefully I've got that solved as well!


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...As we ticked away the miles, there were two things going through our minds: first - how beautiful it was down here at bottom of the canyon. A bit further north, the sun was now out again, the temperatures were in the 80°F's, and the many-greens-of-spring were all around us. Second - where was this horrible road that we'd been warned - and become so excited - about?!...



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...It was at that point that we were waylaid by the fishery folks who were back at the tent we'd investigated the night before - there to count how many fish they'd caught in their Archimedes-screw trap during the night. We chatted each other up for a few minutes - us curious about their operation; they curious how we even found this place - before setting off downstream....


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...After paralleling the road for about 12 miles, Eagle Creek drains into the Salmon River - and we found ourselves at this point after passing several ATVs, UTVs, and dirt bikes, but without running into the rest of our group. Had we gone the wrong way? We were sure we hadn't - we were after-all, on the track....

Keep reading the rest here
Craig Mountain Part 1 - Lost!

Keep reading the rest here
Craig Mountain Part 1 - Lost!


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...It wasn't long - as is typical for us - before we stopped to take in the views. Running along a ridge, we'd already forked off of Corral Creek road - which was gated and locked - and were now following another road that might connect, if only there wasn't a locked gate somewhere along the way. Regardless, the views were some of the best we'd seen from Craig Mountain, a recent wildfire having cleared any tress that would have blocked the horizon....

Keep reading the rest here
Craig Mountain Part 2 - Groundhog Day

Keep reading the rest here
Craig Mountain Part 2 - Groundhog Day


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17 Years for the First 60K Miles, 2 for the Next
May 27, 2019.

That sure didn't take long. It's been two years that we've been upping our adventure quotient, and the odometer is a stark reminder of what living in the northwest corner of the country can do. Still, it's a nice gig if you can get it!

And while we're reminiscing - let's take a look at the truck a mere 3 years ago and today. Definitely a different beast!

As always, stay tuned for more 😉.


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Wheel Makeover - Extreme Labor for a Totally Non-Functional Mod
June 12, 2019. (and really, the preceding two weeks)

It's no secret that over the last few years, I've been through quite a few sets of wheels. I started with my stock 15" aluminum alloys, which "had to go" as part of the most expensive brake upgrade ever and resulted in the Tacoma wearing a set of steel wheels for a couple of months. I knew these were temporary - and the long-term solution was yet to come.

I knew when I bought them that the SCS Steath6s were the last wheel I'd ever purchase for the Tacoma. I mean, what more could I ask for - they looked great on the truck, fit the bigger brakes, and even rolled along the ground from time to time!

Alas, proving me wrong about being my last set of wheels, they were great in all ways but one - with only 3.5" backspace, they stuck out from under the fender flares and got mud all over everything. Always favoring form over function, I knew the Stealth6s had to go - no matter how much I liked the look, dealing with all that mud was a non-starter for me, not to mention @mrs.turbodb (who luckily never had to experience it).

And so, when I found and installed the 4Runner wheels, I knew - some would say "again" - that they were the last wheels I'd ever purchase for the Tacoma.

But one thing about them bugged me - the color. The 4Runner wheels are, of course, silver. Like all Toyota wheels of the late 1990's, these aluminum alloy's would look great on the truck in it's stock configuration. In fact, with the same wheels on the 4Runner, I know that to be the case. But once you remove all the chrome - bumpers - from the truck, having silver wheels just looks...meh.

So, I knew something had to change. And that something was the color of the wheels - because I don't want to be wrong twice about these being my last set. 🤣

I got started - as one does - by procrastinating. I wasn't looking forward to figuring out how to change the wheel color because I knew that the wheels were very dirty. It seems that these stock wheels have a tendency to corrode - especially on the inside - and I had no idea how to clean that up. I knew I could take the easy way out and send the wheels to get powder coated - but the cost of that operation would likely be as (or more) expensive than just buying some new SCS F5s.

So I procrastinated some more by removing the 4Runner wheels - which I dubbed "procrastination progress" - and temporarily reinstalling the Stealth6s.

Boy, do those look snazy.

I then proceeded to watch a dozen or so YouTube videos on refinishing wheels, and one thing became abundantly clear: pretty much everyone who does this uses the same paint: Dupli-Color Wheel Paint. I don't know if it's the best, or if they just have good name recognition and marketing, but the Internet had convinced me - this was the direction I was headed.

I gathered everything that the Internet had told me I would need:
  • Adam's Wheel Cleaner and a Brush. This magical mix was supposed to remove even the toughest grit and grime from my wheels, getting them ready for paint.
  • 1 can of Dupli-Color Grease & Wax Remover. Seemed similar to the Wheel Cleaner to me, but I figured this was cheap insurance given that I'd be using Dupli-Color paint products.
  • 5 cans of Dupli-Color Professional Self-Etching Primer. I chose the Professional version of the primer after calling Dupli-Color and confirming that it actually has a stronger etching acid than the non-Pro version.
  • 10 cans of Dupli-Color Bronze Wheel Coating. Because I really did like the color of the Stealth6s. So purdy.
  • 5 cans of Dupli-Color Matte Clearcoat. I wasn't sure I was going to get this - the Internet was unclear on it's necessity. But a call to Dupli-Color suggested that the clear was recommended, and so I figured I'd go all out.
  • A package of 600-grit wet-dry sandpaper. To scuff up the fronts of the wheels, where the original paint was still in pretty good shape.
You'll note that I didn't list skill or luck - the Internet had promised that I needed neither of these things; apparently painting wheels is easy. I was ready to get going!

Oh, and I should mention - I chose a time to do this when I knew I wouldn't need the wheels for a 2-week period. I figured I'd give myself a week to prep and paint, and a week for the paint to fully cure (though, apparently you can re-install them after 5 hours).

The first step of course was cleaning the wheels. This was in fact - as I noted above - the part of the project I was least looking forward to, and least confident in my ability. But, being the good Interneter that I am, I got out the Adam's Wheel Cleaner, brush, and a hose and set to work.

The cleaner definitely did something, but just as I'd worried, it was no match for 20 years of grit and grime on these wheels. It would turn a dark red/purple - a sure sign it was eating up all the bad bits - but then when I rinsed it off, all the bad bits seemed just as bad as they'd been a few minutes earlier. Three applications and I knew this wasn't going to be my solution to cleaning.

Hoping - but knowing it wasn't going to work - I gave the pressure washer a try. And by try, I mean I used the "don't ever use this because you'll destroy whatever you point it at" tip to see if it could blast away the build up. Not a chance. I knew there was only one solution. It was the solution that would have come with powder coating - sand blasting.

Luckily, I had a sandblaster already, having used it when I reinforced the rear frame last year. So out it came, along with my 6-gallon pancake compressor - and I got to work.

Hmm, it seemed to be working, but at the pace my compressor was going - blast for 20 seconds and then wait a minute to recover pressure - I was going to need the entire two weeks just to sand blast these five wheels. Something had to be done.

My initial thought was that I could rent a compressor for a day. With enough juice (~7 cfm @ 90 psi) I knew I could do each wheel in under an hour - but the thought of renting a tool always makes me cringe. I've found that it usually only takes 3-5 rentals to actually pay the cost of purchasing the tool, and so I set off to Craigslist to see what I could find.

And find something I did. A vintage 1994, 5-hp, 60-gallon, 10.4 cfm @ 90 psi bohemiath. And, it was only a 5-hour round trip away.

The next morning I loaded it up, brought it home, and promptly spent all day cleaning it up - it's previous owner clearly neglecting it a bit, with a couple gallons of sludge stored in the bottom of the tank.

And that meant that by the day after that, I was ready to start sand blasting! The result was spectacular and I knew that everything - with the exception of my finger getting out of the way of the shutter - was going to be OK in the world.

- - - - -

Don't miss the rest of the story, and all the remaining photos that don't fit here (due to max post size). Hopefully that can change in the future, but until then...



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MOAR Power, More Redundancy - Dual AGM Battery Install
June 18, 2019.

Well, this post is a long time in the making. In fact, I assumed this was a project I'd get taken care of in the dead of winter, since much of it would be done in the wood shop, and none of it required the truck to be outside in the rain and cold.

But like many well-laid plans, mine got comfortable and took a six-month nap. So let's start at the beginning...

My Battery History

To date, I've only had to replace the battery in the truck once. I did that back in 2011 after owning the truck for 11+ years, but I've known since I got the fridge that I was always sort-of pushing my luck. I mean sure, the 50qt ARB fridge will shut off when the battery gets below a certain voltage, and sure, I had a DBPOWER Lithium Ion battery pack that could (theoretically) jumpstart the truck, but still. So, when my Toyota Truestart battery started going out on The Re-Tour in the fall of 2018, I knew the time had come to upgrade the battery system.

My first step - of course - was to jump on a TacomaWorld group by for two, Northstar AGM 24F batteries. This was in November - the perfect time to start a winter truck project. Or - as it turned out - to exercise the UPS delivery driver. See, the first two batteries that were delivered were not size 24F, but were instead size 35 batteries. The seller was great about it however, and within a couple days the UPS driver was back to drop off two more 70 lbs batteries, and take the original ones with him.

Unfortunately, upon opening the second batteries, I found that the posts on one of them had been crushed during shipping. Well, that was no good, but a quick set of emails to the seller and I was left impressed. While a replacement 24F was going to take a few weeks due to being on back order, everything was taken care of as quickly and professionally as I could have asked.

Finally - in the middle of January - I had my new power packs.

Since at that point I was running a spare battery from Mike @Digiratus in the truck, I promptly replaced that with one of the Northstar batteries and assured myself that the second wasn't far behind. And then I started contemplating where to put the second battery.

Where to Put the New Battery

My contemplation took months - and brings us to the present day. Nearly. See, there were a few places I could put the battery:
  1. Under the bed, where the spare tire was originally mounted. This was where I thought I wanted the battery - in a custom fabricated steel box - but I didn't love the idea of putting that weight behind the axle or having the battery in what seemed like a reasonably vulnerable - and hard to seal from the elements - location.
  2. My next attempt was above the frame just in front of the rear wheels. This was suggested to me by a couple of folks and would keep the battery further forward and be less vulnerable. It would however still have the "exposed to the elements" problem, and of course when I finally measured, it wouldn't fit.
  3. In the cab, behind the passenger seat. I originally shied away from this since I wanted to keep the inside as spacious as possible, but it would solve the problem of the elements, and keep the battery further forward. My final admittance that the truck is no longer a daily driver and is really just an adventure vehicle sealed the deal. This is where the battery would go.

Parts - More Than Just Batteries

At that point, I also had to gather all the other parts that go into a dual battery setup and account for just as much cost as the batteries themselves. I'll list what I used here, since it's likely to be similar for just about anyone planning to add a second battery to their Tacoma.
I purchased everything over time - a sure way to make the cost less noticeable - and by June I was finally ready to get started with the install.

Building a Cabinet

I knew I needed to secure the battery well within the passenger compartment - I didn't want to have it flopping around on the trail, much less if I ever got in an accident. And, I figured that this was a good time to build a bit more than just a battery box - I could also build a place for the fuse block, and some other odds-and-ends that were previously just floating around behind the front seats on our trips.

The problem of course was that there are essentially no 90° angles in the extended cab portion of a 1st gen Tacoma, so building a cabinet would be a bit of cut-a-piece-at-a-time affair. So, I found a scrap piece of ¾" plywood and got started.

Of course, I also needed somewhere to attach the cabinet, and my goal was to be as nondestructive as possible. As such, I hoped I could use the two captured M8 nuts that secured the small fold-open shelf, and one of the rear M10 seat belt anchors - three points that I thought would likely be enough to secure everything well.

Eventually, I had the minimum number of prototype pieces cut and assembled to have confidence in the design and knowledge of the various angles I was working with, and I moved on to a more precise plan in Sketchup - really, just as a way to learn the 3D modelling tool that I'd never used before.

And then, it was time to get started on the actual cabinet. I happened to have a nice piece of ¾" prefinished A1 grade maple plywood hanging around from some previous projects, so I broke out the Makita track saw and started breaking down the pieces.

Don't miss the rest of the story, and all the remaining photos that don't fit here (due to max post size). Hopefully that can change in the future, but until then...