AdventureTaco - turbodb's build and adventures

turbodb

Active member
Greasing the Drive Shaft Fixed My Rattle
February 21, 2018.


I've had a rattle for a little over four months. I first heard it (I think), when returning from The De-Tour at the beginning of October, or else maybe a week or so after that.

It sounded like a loose heat shield, or other piece of sheet metal, rattling away under the back half of the truck. But I knew it wasn't a heat shield - it only happened at speeds above about 15-20mph, and changed when under load (vs. coasting) and there were certain throttle/speed/terrain combinations where I could almost get it to go away. Of course, I'd been under the truck several times to push and pull on everything I could, to see if anything was loose.

Nothing was.

And I was sure it wasn't the drive shaft - I mean, I greased that back in September - the first time I'd done it in 18 years. There's no way it could need a greasing again, so soon.

And the drive shaft itself seemed to be in good condition - the u-joints were tight, the play in the carrier bearing seemed normal, it wasn't dented from hitting a rock, and none of the balancing weights had fallen off.

Hmm.

As luck would have it, I was going to be taking off the skid plates for a few other bits of work, and so I decided - what the heck - I'll grease the drive shaft and see if that makes a difference. So, I cleaned off all the zerks, got out the Red-N-Tacky and grease gun, and set about pumping in grease until it oozed and popped out of the various crevices around the u-joints.

And then I gave it a test drive.

Silence. Sweet silence.

The rattle was gone. Guess I'll be greasing the drive shaft more often. Apparently, unless you leave it completely alone for 20 years, it's a regular maintenance item.
 

Dmski

Adventurer
I’ve just read through your entire write up and am thoroughly impressed. I’m sure you felt some nostalgia posting some of the first photos of the truck. Very cool to see the progress. Purposeful and functional and looks sweet! Keep up the posts
 

turbodb

Active member
I’ve just read through your entire write up and am thoroughly impressed. I’m sure you felt some nostalgia posting some of the first photos of the truck. Very cool to see the progress. Purposeful and functional and looks sweet! Keep up the posts
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. Has been a fun process writing everything up, and nostalgic for sure!
 

turbodb

Active member
Replacing the Speedo Gear
February 21, 2018.

How many miles do you have on your truck? If you're anything like me, you'll answer this by looking at your odometer, reading a number, and concluding that you have that many miles - 83,078 miles in my case.

Like me, you're wrong.

Your odometer is lying to you. And so is your speedometer. I covered why that is here - go read it. I'll wait. Speedometers, Odometers, and Gas Mileage – All Lies!

OK, welcome back. Or not if you're like me and just skipped over that last link. Let me try to recap:

turbodb said:
The reading from your speedometer and odometer are affected by lots of things - like tire size, differential gear ratio, and more. Because of this, car manufacturers make a "best effort" to get the speedometer to be "close" (usually a little bit fast) in a stock configuration. Unfortunately, I'm no longer running a stock truck and the 33" tires and 4.88 differential gears have resulted in my speedometer reading 80 mph when I'm actually doing 69 mph.
All that means that I don't actually have 83,078 miles on my truck. I've actually got about 75,000 miles on it. Not that I'm planning to sell it any time soon ever. But as much as I want to hit the 500,000 mile club, I would rather that my odometer be correct - or at least as close as possible.

To that end, I ordered the largest speedometer gear they make for a 2000 Toyota Tacoma - the 33-tooth model - to replace the 30-tooth model that was installed in the factory.


It arrived, along with a new gasket and clip and I promptly set it aside while @mrs.turbodb and I drove several thousand miles down, through, and back from Death Valley.

It was an epic trip. Don't miss reading about it here: Death Valley (Jan 2018).

Now, several weeks later, it's time to install that gear, and hope that my speedometer reads slower than I'm actually going, and my odometer logs fewer miles than I've actually gone. You know, so the resale value of the truck is higher.

The first step was to remove the skid plates, since the speedometer gear housing is attached to the transfer case, which is well-protected by the @RelentlessFab mid-skid. Six bolts and a floor jack, and I lowered the skid to find about 5 lbs of Montana, Wyoming, and a bit of Utah dirt that had hitched a ride back from The De-Tour (another epic adventure you shouldn't miss).





The speedometer gear housing is secured to the transfer case with a single 10mm hex bolt, which was easily removed after I disconnected the plug for the sensor.




With the bolt removed, the housing can be pulled out of the transfer case easily (if the o-ring hasn't degraded) and mine came out with a rewarding sucking sound, along with a few teaspoons of oil.




Fingers crossed that losing a bit of oil isn't the end of the world here. At this point, pop out the spring clamp, and pull the old gear out of the housing. Again, you'll get a nice sucking sound as it comes out. It was rewarding enough that I did it a couple times .


In order to fit more teeth (thus rotating more slowly to bring the mph and odometer readings down), the new 33-tooth gear has to have a larger diameter than the old 30-tooth gear - which it clearly does.

As a bonus, it's also painted bright pink. And we all know, most ladies like pink. So if you install one of these, it's more reason for them to like your truck.


The new gear slides right into the housing and is secured with the newly supplied clip. I also replaced the o-ring, though my original still seemed just fine, and was ready to re-install the housing assembly.


Installation is simply the reverse of removal, and I found that the machining tolerances of the hole in the transfer case, and the speedometer gear housing were so close that it helped to wipe a bit of oil on the housing in order to get it to slide in (with a few gentle taps).

I then re-attached the bolt ("tight") and plugged in the sensor.

And then it was the moment of truth. Would my speedometer (and odometer) be accurate? There was only one way to find out - I started up the truck and headed out to I-5 to compare my GPS speed with my speedometer.


Alas, it wasn't correct - but it was a lot closer. It now reads about 6% high (instead of 14%), which matches what the truck originally shipped with from the factory.

So - at least on my truck, the following configurations result in nearly identical speedometer/odometer margins of error (~6%):
And, other configs I've run:
  • ~0% error
    • 255/85 R16 BFG KM2 tires + 4.10 gear ratio + 30-tooth speedometer gear
  • ~14% error
    • 255/85 R16 BFG KM2 tires + 4.88 gear ratio + 30-tooth speedometer gear
    • 255/85 R16 Cooper ST Maxx tires + 4.88 gear ratio + 30-tooth speedometer gear


So yeah, my odometer still lies, but I don't really care. Because it just makes the adventure "longer." 🤣👍
 

owyheerat

Adventurer
Replacing the Speedo Gear
February 21, 2018.

How many miles do you have on your truck? If you're anything like me, you'll answer this by looking at your odometer, reading a number, and concluding that you have that many miles - 83,078 miles in my case.

Like me, you're wrong.

Your odometer is lying to you. And so is your speedometer. I covered why that is here - go read it. I'll wait. Speedometers, Odometers, and Gas Mileage – All Lies!

OK, welcome back. Or not if you're like me and just skipped over that last link. Let me try to recap:



All that means that I don't actually have 83,078 miles on my truck. I've actually got about 75,000 miles on it. Not that I'm planning to sell it any time soon ever. But as much as I want to hit the 500,000 mile club, I would rather that my odometer be correct - or at least as close as possible.

To that end, I ordered the largest speedometer gear they make for a 2000 Toyota Tacoma - the 33-tooth model - to replace the 30-tooth model that was installed in the factory.


It arrived, along with a new gasket and clip and I promptly set it aside while @mrs.turbodb and I drove several thousand miles down, through, and back from Death Valley.

It was an epic trip. Don't miss reading about it here: Death Valley (Jan 2018).

Now, several weeks later, it's time to install that gear, and hope that my speedometer reads slower than I'm actually going, and my odometer logs fewer miles than I've actually gone. You know, so the resale value of the truck is higher.

The first step was to remove the skid plates, since the speedometer gear housing is attached to the transfer case, which is well-protected by the @RelentlessFab mid-skid. Six bolts and a floor jack, and I lowered the skid to find about 5 lbs of Montana, Wyoming, and a bit of Utah dirt that had hitched a ride back from The De-Tour (another epic adventure you shouldn't miss).





The speedometer gear housing is secured to the transfer case with a single 10mm hex bolt, which was easily removed after I disconnected the plug for the sensor.




With the bolt removed, the housing can be pulled out of the transfer case easily (if the o-ring hasn't degraded) and mine came out with a rewarding sucking sound, along with a few teaspoons of oil.




Fingers crossed that losing a bit of oil isn't the end of the world here. At this point, pop out the spring clamp, and pull the old gear out of the housing. Again, you'll get a nice sucking sound as it comes out. It was rewarding enough that I did it a couple times .


In order to fit more teeth (thus rotating more slowly to bring the mph and odometer readings down), the new 33-tooth gear has to have a larger diameter than the old 30-tooth gear - which it clearly does.

As a bonus, it's also painted bright pink. And we all know, most ladies like pink. So if you install one of these, it's more reason for them to like your truck.


The new gear slides right into the housing and is secured with the newly supplied clip. I also replaced the o-ring, though my original still seemed just fine, and was ready to re-install the housing assembly.


Installation is simply the reverse of removal, and I found that the machining tolerances of the hole in the transfer case, and the speedometer gear housing were so close that it helped to wipe a bit of oil on the housing in order to get it to slide in (with a few gentle taps).

I then re-attached the bolt ("tight") and plugged in the sensor.

And then it was the moment of truth. Would my speedometer (and odometer) be accurate? There was only one way to find out - I started up the truck and headed out to I-5 to compare my GPS speed with my speedometer.


Alas, it wasn't correct - but it was a lot closer. It now reads about 6% high (instead of 14%), which matches what the truck originally shipped with from the factory.

So - at least on my truck, the following configurations result in nearly identical speedometer/odometer margins of error (~6%):
And, other configs I've run:
  • ~0% error
    • 255/85 R16 BFG KM2 tires + 4.10 gear ratio + 30-tooth speedometer gear
  • ~14% error
    • 255/85 R16 BFG KM2 tires + 4.88 gear ratio + 30-tooth speedometer gear
    • 255/85 R16 Cooper ST Maxx tires + 4.88 gear ratio + 30-tooth speedometer gear

So yeah, my odometer still lies, but I don't really care. Because it just makes the adventure "longer." 🤣👍
Turbo, as always I enjoyed your write up on the 'lying' speedo:)

I took a different approach to the same problem. Like you, I'm a bit of numbers geek, and I didn't like that my speedo was so far off, and more importantly that I was 'racking up' more miles than actually driven. I also like to keep record of my fuel economy, so getting my speedo to read accurately was important (to me).

While mine is a 4runner, it is similar generation (1999, base model, 4cyl, 5spd tranny) and my speed sensor and speed gear are located in the t-case, just like yours. Also, like you, I have re-geared (5.29's) and have larger tires (35's). So my speedo / odo were WAY OFF! I did some research and decided to give this company's product (http://www.yellr.com/yb_home.htm ) a try. I purchased the 'plug and play' version, and have to say, the install was so easy. It literally plugs into the OEM speed sensor, and then plug OEM plug into an adapter 'plug' on the yellow box. Then you just have to calibrate it to the correct (exact) speed using the provided instructions. I can highly recommend this product, in case the new gear you installed isn't close enough for your liking ;).

I just wanted to throw this out there as another option, in case you weren't already aware of it.

Keep the excellent write ups coming. I really enjoy this thread.

Best regards,

Durwin
 

turbodb

Active member
Turbo, as always I enjoyed your write up on the 'lying' speedo:)

I took a different approach to the same problem. Like you, I'm a bit of numbers geek, and I didn't like that my speedo was so far off, and more importantly that I was 'racking up' more miles than actually driven. I also like to keep record of my fuel economy, so getting my speedo to read accurately was important (to me).

While mine is a 4runner, it is similar generation (1999, base model, 4cyl, 5spd tranny) and my speed sensor and speed gear are located in the t-case, just like yours. Also, like you, I have re-geared (5.29's) and have larger tires (35's). So my speedo / odo were WAY OFF! I did some research and decided to give this company's product (http://www.yellr.com/yb_home.htm ) a try. I purchased the 'plug and play' version, and have to say, the install was so easy. It literally plugs into the OEM speed sensor, and then plug OEM plug into an adapter 'plug' on the yellow box. Then you just have to calibrate it to the correct (exact) speed using the provided instructions. I can highly recommend this product, in case the new gear you installed isn't close enough for your liking ;).

I just wanted to throw this out there as another option, in case you weren't already aware of it.

Keep the excellent write ups coming. I really enjoy this thread.

Best regards,

Durwin
Thanks! I found out about some of these calibrator thingies after I did the speedo gear and I've gotta say, they sound great. Plus, they let you recalibrate whenever something changes in the future. Honestly, I probably would have gone the same route as you if I'd learned about them earlier. (y)
 

turbodb

Active member
Front Diff Oil Change - Not an Ideal Situation
February 21, 2018.

Not all that long ago, the truck got a gear change - from the 4.10 factory gears to 4.88's - meaning that it's now easier on the engine to turn the bigger tires as it climbs up hills, over rocks, and generally towards adventure.

Within a couple weeks of the gear change, I'd driven far enough to get 500 miles of break-in complete on the rear diff and changed the oil - and everything there seemed A-OK, which was nice. And then on our trip to Death Valley, we ran as much as we could in 4WD to give the front diff a workout and complete its break-in. That turned out to be great - since most of the roads were easy - so the diff could break-in without getting overworked.

And now, it was time to change the oil. I was hoping it'd go as well as the back.

But of course, it wouldn't. In fact, it wasn't an ideal situation at all.

I got started by removing the skids. They had to come off anyway to change out the speedo gear, and were easy enough to remove, though heavy.


Unlike the rear diff, the front diff fill and drain plugs aren't a standard bolt head, but are instead Allen head bolts - where the hex key/bit goes into the bolt. I have no idea why this is, but with the necessary 10mm Allen key in hand, I wasn't worried.

(Note: Both the fill and drain plugs on 98-04 are 10mm, but on pre-98 models the drain is 12mm.)

The plan was to remove the fill bolt first (you always want to be sure you'll be able to refill anything you take out, plus it allows air in when you remove the drain plug) and then the drain.


So I inserted the wrench and...that's weird, the bolt wasn't tight at all. As in, even though it was screwed what looked like "all the way," it turned freely.

Definitely not ideal. I wondered if a bunch of gear oil had leaked out. Were my gears toast? I'd put over 4000 miles on the truck with these gears, and several hundred in 4WD. It would suck for them to be wrecked already.

I paused to evaluate. Slower is always faster in these situations.

There was no indication of oil spilling down the diff from the fill hole. There was no oil "puddle" on the skid plate. I'd tested the air locker on the front diff a couple times and it'd held pressure for the short time it'd been on, so I decided that everything was probably OK. Not ideal, but probably OK.

So out came the drain plug. And then the oil.


There wasn't a ton of oil that came out. I expected a bit over a quart, and got a bit less than a quart out - OK, I decided, given the locker and the fact that there was no way to get all the old oil out.

Then I checked the drain plug for debris. There was definitely some sludge on the magnet, but after spreading the sludge out on an aluminum plate there were no chunks. Seemed normal.



So it was time to re-assemble and fill. I put some new crush washers on the bolts and started with the drain, getting it tightened so I could refill the oil.



Once again, I chose to go with Lucas 80W-90 non-synthetic gear oil at the recommendation of JT's Parts and Accessories, but this time I couldn't just squeeze it out of the bottle and into the diff (like I could on the rear). The front is much tighter, and while I might have been able to do something in a pinch, it would have made quite the mess, I'm sure.

Luckily, I'd planned ahead and had a pump in-hand. This guy was only a few bucks and worth every penny. One tube into the oil and one into the diff and I pumped away.



I ended up putting in about the same amount of oil as came out - a good sign that I hadn't lost a bunch of oil - and I was sure to overfill the diff a bit (plugging the fill hole quickly as oil was seeping out), given the diff drop I have installed, which changes the tilt of the diff slightly, thus the "fullness" level of the fill hole.

And then, I buttoned everything back up.

I was not happy to have found the fill bolt loose, but I was happy that everything seemed OK, that I was done with the break-in and oil change, and that the truck was ready for more adventure.

So that's 3-1 in favor of happy; a definite win in my book!
 

Tex68w

Beach Bum
I remember changing out the speedo gears on my old Jeep TJ's back in college for $6, now we have to use electronic everything and none of it is cheap. Love seeing the progress, these older Tacos are the best.
 

turbodb

Active member
I Dread Cleaning the Bed
February 26, 2018.

I always dread cleaning the bed of the truck.

I don't mean sweeping or washing out the bed liner - I mean, I don't like that either - but the part I really dread is removing the bed liner and cleaning underneath it. There are a couple reasons for this: first, it's hard to get the liner out; it's really wedged in there (which is good the rest of the time). Second, I always worry (rightly, I think) that when I take out the bed liner, I'm going to see how it's destroyed my bed - rubbing off paint, etc.

Given that, one might suggest that I just dump the liner and go with a rubberized spray-on coating. I've considered that, but on the whole, I like the plastic liner. I think it does a reasonably good job keeping the bed from getting all dented with the types of loads I carry, it provides a "track" for my bed slide to run in, and it doesn't really cause all that much damage to the actual bed...so far.

Of course, my perpetual dread of finding catastrophic damage means that I've only ever done this once before - that was after hauling several tons (in several loads) of old bricks and mortar to the dump - when I wanted to make sure that any course grit that had gotten under the liner was removed before it could do even more damage than the liner itself!

But, after The De-Tour, I knew I had to remove the bed liner, and I'd been putting it off. See, I'd "lost" a nut and two washers (that held on the bed rack) behind/under the bed liner early in the trip. I'd replaced them immediately with a spare that Mike (@Digiratus) had handy, but I didn't want the old ones rattling around in there forever (rusting out my bed). I figured that a mere six months later was probably about long enough to wait, and so I got down to the task.

The first step was getting the bed liner out of the bed. There was only one part that was really stuck, and I used my handy heat gun to make that part of the liner a bit more...amenable to removal.


Then, it was time to inspect the bed. Overall and to my relief, it still looked relatively good. There were definitely some wear spots from the liner, but there was no sign of rust, at all. Likely this is because the liner keeps the bed relatively dry - another benefit. I briefly considered spray painting the exposed metal in the bed, but ultimately decided against it - after all, the liner was just going to rub in those same spots again.


There also wasn't all that much "stuff" under the liner, which was great. Of course, there was that nut I'd lost; and a single washer. No idea where the second washer went.


At any rate, I swept out the debris and made sure that the weep holes were clean. And then, I loaded the bed liner back in. So I can procrastinate and worry once again.

 

turbodb

Active member
Skids Saved My Truck - Refreshing the Skid Plates
March 1, 2018.

With summer fast approaching, I decided that it'd be a good time to take a look at the skids - so I could clean up any rust, and repaint them for the season. I'm not sure how necessary that is - I mean, at 3/16" thick, these @RelentlessFab plates would take quite a while for rust to destroy - but it's an easy process, so why not.

Removal was straight forward though a bit unwieldy, and I was happy to find that my re-welded anchors were holding up well.



I was also happy to see that my skids had saved my truck - apparently on more than one occasion. Not surprising, given that I was running 31" tires and essentially no lift until recently. Both skids had several scratches and surface rust on them, but the front skid had clearly taken the brunt of the hits.



None of the rust was all that bad (and the rest of the paint was holding up well), so a wire wheel to remove the bulk of the rust, some rust-inhibiting primer, and a few coats of Rustoleum spray paint were all that was required to service the skids. I left the dent-removal for another time (if ever).



 

turbodb

Active member
Replacing the Stabilizer Link Bushings
March 1, 2018.

I've never been a car guy. I can tell you all about the details of construction and woodworking - how the various bits of a house work, how to precision tune a saw or plane. But when I looked down and saw two flaking, worn bushings that were connected to "some bar" and my lower control arms, I wondered, "What the heck is that, and how screwed am I?"

As it turns out, that was my stabilizer bar, and I wasn't really all that screwed at all.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.


See, the first thing I did was consult my parts list and find out that those bushings are part number 90948-01002 (oem, aftermarket); that there are two per side on 6-lug Tacoma's (and surprisingly to me, four per side on 5-lug); and that they are relatively cheap at a couple bucks each. So I ordered them, they arrived, and I promptly set them aside.


See, even though I'm not a car guy, I'm learning (I hope), and at some point between looking at the parts list and reading a billion posts on TacomaWorld, I realized that what I was looking at was probably my sway bar.

And when I realized that, I was in no big rush to replace the bushings. I'd seen many (literally dozens of) folks who'd removed their sway bar entirely, so I figured that even if the bushings complete disintegrated, I'd probably be OK.

But after a few months, I figured I might as well install the bushings - afterall, I'd paid for them - so when I already had the SCS Stealth6 wheels off to do some more pinch weld bashing to accommodate the 3.5" backspacing, there was no better time. I got started by removing the top nut.


That went smoothly and it was onto the bottom nut that holds the stabilizer link to the lower control arm. This nut had a setup I'd never seen before - the bolt actually has a hex socket in it, to keep the bolt from spinning as the nut is removed. Very cool. With that nut removed, I was able to pivot the link out and access the bushings.




The old bushings were definitely worn compared to the new ones. Understandable I guess - they are original and 18+ years old at this point.


From this point it was obviously just a reverse procedure of removal. Slide on the new bushings, re-insert the link between the LCA and sway bar, and tighten everything to spec (22 ft-lbs for the top nut, and 51 ft-lbs for the bottom).

Easy peasy.


Of course, it's highly likely that sometime in the near future, I'll be removing the sway bar and links completely - about the time I realize that I don't have the same travel as guys with a similar setup - but that's not the point. The point is that I learned something, and some day I might even be able to fix something important. 🤣
 

Kpack

Adventurer
I had to cut my sway bar links off because the nuts were seized. I ran with some quick-disconnects for a while, then I just removed them and never put them back on. I've had my sway bar disconnected for a couple years now and don't miss it. The truck handles fine without them. It's not a race car and I don't do quick movements so I'm not too worried.

The difference off-road is easy to tell. With no limits on the arms moving independently, I can make it through some decently uneven terrain without issues.
 

turbodb

Active member
Installing a Dual Swingout CBI Outback Rear Bumper
March 14-15, 2018.

There is perhaps nothing that changes the look of a truck more than adding a swing-out rear bumper. Sure, you can argue for bigger tires or lift or a front bumper, but in my mind, none of those things compare to the entirely new footprint that a rear-swing-out brings, what with the spare tire and jerry can mounts that add two additional feet to the length of your truck.

But as usual, I'm jumping into the middle of the story. Let's back up a bit.

Since starting to really build out the truck for adventuring, I've known that there were somethings that were required - sliders, skids, better suspension - just to make the truck capable of taking us to the places we wanted to go. Then, there were things that I knew were valuable - the Relentless front bumper (with Warn M8000 winch), bigger tires, and ARB air compressor - to make trips easier and safer. And then of course, there are creature comforts - things like the CVT tent, and the ARB 50qt Fridge that is a life-changer.

Naturally, a lot of these things also fall into the "cool factor" category as well. You can get a lot of mall-crawler-expo-points for this stuff, even if you never hit the trail.

But you'll be missing the best part - the adventure!


As our adventures have gotten longer and more remote, I wasn't really sure where a rear bumper fit in. Expo points and creature comfort for sure - it'd look bad-ass, and be nice to have some fold down tables in camp; but it wasn't really necessary - I mean, we've gotten along fine without it until now... And then, last November, I finally convinced myself that while it'd never really be necessary, it was something that would be valuable. Two reasons: first, it allows easier access to the spare tire (imagine trying to get the one under the bed when you're in the middle of an obstacle, on a shelf road), and even the option to carry two spares when on the trail. Second, it will give us a good place to carry more spare fuel, something that will allow us to run trips that we've not done to this point.

So, with Black Friday 2017 approaching, I made a list of requirements and researched my options (explained in a future post) and ultimately decided that a CBI Outback 1.0 with dual-swingout was the direction I was going to go. And then I patiently waited for what I hoped would be the awesomest deal ever from @CBI OFFROAD FAB. The deal turned out to be more meh than mind-blowing (it was ~7% off; still nothing to complain about) and I placed the order for my bumper.


And then I waited. Naturally there was some waiting because CBI had to build the bumper, but I also figured that if I picked up the bumper from CBI in Idaho Falls, I could also get a cool trip out of the situation as well. And that meant waiting for some better weather than middle-of-winter, which is when CBI let me know that the bumper was ready for pickup.

And then, opportunity knocked. Actually, Ben @m3bassman posted that he was heading to Utah for a long weekend, and asked if we could make it. Turned out we could, and the timing was perfect to head down to CBI the day before (only a few hours out of the way) to grab the bumper.

With a couple weeks to get ready, the first order of business was to remove the stock bumper and tow hitch, since I'd have nowhere to put them once I installed the new bumper (the bed would be full of our adventure gear for the trip, and I didn't want them bouncing around back there anyway, getting all scratched up).

So, I got my last look at the stock bumper and then pulled it off - a relatively easy process that involves (normally) removing the license plate lighting (which twists out, no need to unclip), unbolting 4 bolts (two on each side of the frame), and pulling off the bumper and tow receiver.





The lights and bolts came out easily enough (I've been lucky with a complete lack of seizing of any bolts so far), and the bumper slid right off. But as I'd removed the bolts, I'd noticed that when the dealer installed the tow receiver, they'd kindly welded the receiver to the frame. Not what I'd have expected, but the welds looked good, and they actually made everything easier, since I didn't need to worry about juggling removal of both the bumper and receiver at the same time.



A bit of grinding and the receiver came right off. Then, clean-up with a file and some spray paint, and the truck was looking ... different. Meaner, perhaps; definitely ready for a new rear end.



 

turbodb

Active member
So, on the morning of March 14, we got @mini.turbodb off to school and @mrs.turbodb and I headed out across Washington, Oregon, and Idaho - intent on camping about 30 minutes from CBI, so we could show up when they opened the next morning to pick up and install the Outback 1.0 rear bumper.


As we made our way east, there were of course sights to see and conversations to be had. In Oregon, we saw a Toyota from Mexico, an unusual sighting (first ever) for us, even though we see Canadian plates all the time.



We also discussed fast food chains. See, @mrs.turbodb has always resisted Jack-in-the-Box, that is at least, officially. However, I've caught her going there on more than one occasion, and so finally got her to admit that it is - in fact - her favorite fast food. Well, she certainly wasn't happy to admit that!

We passed through Boise around 5pm and (perhaps expectedly) the Ham radio (which we'd been using to beacon on APRS) lit up with "Hey Dan - you got your ears on?" It was Ben, heading home from work - and apparently we'd just driven right under the overpass he was on. I radioed back, but Ben was unable to hear us. Turns out it helps to have the mic actually plugged in - a problem I remedied a few minutes later at a fuel station, allowing us a quick conversation - basically just a "looking forward to meeting up tomorrow!"

With that, we headed east again, taking the scenic route up and through the snow-covered mountains as the sun set behind us. We drove into the darkness as snow stared to fall - past Craters of the Moon National Monument (which we unfortunately saw none of) and the town of Arco, Idaho - apparently the first town powered by atomic energy.



Finally, around 9:30pm we arrived in Idaho Falls. It was snowing, hard. I could tell @mrs.turbodb wasn't too happy about that - what with the plan to camp before heading to CBI, but we pushed on - it was another half an hour through the snow to our proposed camp location just east of town.

When we arrived at the Kelly Island camp site just after 10:00pm, the gate was closed (apparently it was closed each evening at 10pm) and the snow was still coming down hard. @mrs.turbodb had found another location to camp "closer to CBI" so we headed back towards town. Then, into town. And then, to the intersection of two highways - apparently, Pinecrest Golf Course - where the internet promised a free night of camping, but signs in the parking lot clearly stated "Absolutely No Camping."

Hmm.

It was also at this time that I realized I was fighting a losing battle. See, since it'd started snowing, @mrs.turbodb had been dropping hints about, maybe, perhaps, not camping. She'd been telling me prices of the various motels in the area, and a smarter man probably would have just skipped the campground search in the first place. Defeated, we headed over to a Motel 6 and got a room.


On the plus side, it was warm, we wouldn't have to put the tent away wet in the morning, and @mrs.turbodb was happier. On the other hand, I absolutely hate parking a fully loaded truck in a Motel 6 parking lot overnight while I'm sleeping. During the night, I probably got up between 4 and 7 times during the night to look out the window and check on the truck (whenever I was awoken by a sound), but everything ended up OK and we got a nice shower out of the deal the next morning.
 

turbodb

Active member
The next morning (March 15) we were up around 7:00am to eat a quick bowl of cereal and head over to CBI when they opened at 8:00am. It was still cold (about 30°F) but the snow had stopped and I'd we were both excited.


We headed in and took a look around as the good folks at CBI pulled the bumper out of the warehouse. I always love looking at fab shops, and CBI was a great example. Clean and well-organized, they had lots of the more commonly ordered bumpers, sliders, and other goodies ready-to-go.


When I'd arrived and mentioned that I was here to pick up my bumper, they'd asked, "Do you have a truck or trailer to carry it?" Of course, the assumption being that we'd load it in there with the forklift and take off. "Yep, I've got my truck. We came from Seattle and are headed to Utah right after this," I said, "Do you want me to install the bumper out front or along the side of the building?"

Caught a bit off-guard (I think CBI generally prefers you not install stuff in their parking lot), I got a hesitant, "Why don't you pull around the side." answer, to which I smiled and said, "Sounds great!" and within a couple minutes they brought the bumper out on a pallet, along with the swing-arms, jerry can holder, and a whole mess of hardware.


Now, I'd assumed that the bumper would have been at least partially assembled and that I'd be bolting it on to the same four bolt locations as the stock bumper, and we'd quickly be out of the CBI guys hair. But that wasn't the case, at all. The base of the Outback bumper bolted right on with a bit of help from (forgot his name, sorry dude!) who was awesome, helping to hold it in position while I slid in the bolts and then got them tightened up. Turns out there are 6 bolts that hold on the CBI bumper - the four stock locations, and two additional for which they also provide reinforcing plates - a nice touch!



[TODO: kids name] seemed like he'd have stuck around and helped with the full install; unfortunately he was quickly called back inside (again, because I think parking lot installs are generally frowned upon), but not before he had a chance to point out his own first gen, and we chatted a bit about some of the mods he wanted to do to it. Gotta say, working at CBI has to be pretty sweet that way - I sure hope he gets a good discount! :D

Faced with a dozen parts and maybe 100 pieces of hardware on a pallet, I figured my next step should be to get some instructions. I'd tried to print some out before heading east, but as an older product (I'd guess there aren't a lot of first gen bumpers sold these days), the link on the web site was no longer working. So I headed inside.

Unfortunately, Mike couldn't find any instructions either (a bit surprising to me) but he did introduce me to Kenny. And Kenny was great. He not only came out and gave me an overview of what I needed to do to put the bumper together, but as I progressed through the install, he was happy to answer questions along the way (and in one case, even provide me with a hammer, which I'd neglected to bring with me).

I was also glad to have Kenny there as a resource for the three times that I found parts missing from my pallet! Made me extra glad I was installing the bumper at CBI, so I had easy access to those missing parts.

The first order of business was to press three bearings into each swing-arms - two in the bottom and one in the top, install the arms on the spindles, fit a grease seal over the top bearing, and finally install the top cap and keeper pins. The secrets here are to use a socket and mallet to fully seat the bearings, then a mallet and scrap of wood to seat the arms onto the spindles, and an SAE hex key to tighten the top caps.






The next step was to install the latch, which secures the swing-arms, and which is itself secured with four hex head screws. The latch mechanism is pretty ingenious - it secures the two arms together, under tension - which keeps them closed without actually securing them directly to the base of the bumper. And at this point, the bumper is starting to look pretty bad-ass.

Like it should.




Now, it's time for the accessories - in my case, the spare tire carrier and the jerry can holder - and then finally the license plate. I started by dumping out the several pounds of hardware so I could determine where it all went, and then I got started on the tire carrier, which is secured by no fewer than 10, 7/16" grade 8 bolts. I installed this as low as I could and still have access to the latch, keeping the tire out of the wind as much as possible. The jerry can was next - four hex head screws, and finally the license plate - which hinges up to reveal the hidden hitch receiver, a very nice touch!






All that was left was to install the spare tire on the carrier, clean up after myself, head in to thank the guys at CBI for the help and understanding. While they may not have loved my local install, in the end it saved everyone time and frustration, a good thing in my book.

And yeah, the bumper looks bad-ass.

Oh, and I'm sure it'll be valuable for all those reasons I convinced myself earlier. ;-)



With that, we immediately headed south to meet up with Ben and Zane (@Speedytech7) for a great adventure into The Maze District of Canyonlands National Park, but that's another story.
 
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