Barlowrs Expedition Tacoma Build



OK, well I figure it is time to start my build thread as I have started getting the first pieces of this everlasting puzzle. This thread will have many dwells throughout it to allow for my funds to replenish, but I will try to keep up to date with it as much as possible.

Having been a noob who spent countless hours searching forums for information, I have found that build threads contain endless information, however they are a hard place to get retrieve it because they get so cluttered with comments. To try to alleviate this and make searching information easier for people, I would like to try a different approach to this thread:

Each aspect of my build will have a separate dedicated thread which will be a place for people to comment on. I will then link each of those specific threads to this main build thread, thereby creating a thread that acts almost like a table of contents to each individual aspect of the build. To make this work…PLEASE DO NOT COMMENT IN THIS THREAD. At the beginning of each post in this thread you will see a link to the build specific thread. THAT is where comments should go.

I apologize if this is confusing, but I am just trying to clean it up for people to get the most out of any information I may be able to offer (though most I have stolen from all of you guys).

MOST IMPORTANT NOTE: PLEASE FEEL FREEE TO ASK QUESTIONS AND GIVE ME ANY ADVICE YOU CAN. If I am doing something @$$ backwards, please feel free to tell me as I am learning as I go here.

So here it goes, wish me luck on my endeavor :smiley_drive::


Base Vehicle

OK, my canvas of choice is a 2006 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport Access Cab 4x4 in Silver.

Like this one:

My plan was to run her stock until my original tires wore out, then if I had no problems with her at that point, it would be time to start building her…well the time has come! So here are my plans:

Phase 1

Wheels/tires and suspension:
- 255/85/16 BFG Mud Terrain KM2 (Complete - Click Here)
- 16” FJ SE Anthracite wheels (including spare) (Complete - Click Here)
- Full OME suspension all around. Looking at the 886 Coils as I intend to run winch, etc. (Complete - Click Here adn Here)

- Sliders (Complete - Click Here and Here)
- Allpro Plate Bumper (would like to add custom headlight protection like the ARB) (Complete - Click Here and Here)
- Possible limb risers

- Custom Roof Rack (Planning on building my own, wish me luck..anyone with 1" bender willing to let me use it?)
- Bestop Softop (Complete - Click Here and Here)

- 2x PIAA fogs in the bumper (Complete - Click Here)
- 2x PIAA driving on top of bumper (Complete - Click Here)
- 4x PIAA Driving Lights on rack
- 4x PIAA rectangle lights (2 rear and 2 side facing) on rack
- Yaesu 8900r (Complete - Click Here and Here and Here)
- Onboard Air (Complete - Click Here)
- Winch Probably M8000 (Complete - Click Here and Here and Here)
- Cobra 75 WX ST CB (Complete - Click Here)
- Aux Fuse Block (Complete - Click Here and Here and Here)
- GPS (Complete - Click Here)

Phase 2:

ARB Air Lockers Front and Rear (also regear for the larger tires)

- Custom rear bumper with Tire Gate (Complete - Click Here and Here)
- Bud Build Skids (Complete - Click Here)
- Safari Snorkel (Complete - Click Here)

- Dual Battery System (Complete - Click Here)
- 50" LED Light Bar(Complete - Click Here)

- Hood Blackout (Complete - Click Here)
- Relay Bank (Complete - Click Here)
- Magnetic Comm Handset Mounts(Complete - Click Here)

FLIPPAC!!!!!! (On-going - Click Here)

Current State:

This is not necessarily the order I will be doing everything. For example, the dual battery will come sooner if I do get all these lights going. I will also be doing lots of small things like sway bar removal, breather extensions, etc. These will all be contained in the write-up, just not outlined above.
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Wheels and Tires

Specific Thread (Comment Here):

Well, my stock wheels finally died, so we all know what this means…TIME TO START MY BUILD!

After MUCH research, I finally settled on a set of 255/85 16 BFG Mud Terrains KM2. I really love the pizza cutter look, as well as the benefits this gives me.

I cannot STAND the TRD sport wheels, so I was planning on trading someone for the stock off-road wheels, however, I got VERY lucky (as these are HARD to get) and was able to get a full set (including spare) of the Limited Edition FJ Anthracite wheels. I love the look of these wheels.

So, without further ado, here is my tire/wheel combo :wings:.

Now to convince my truck to allow these to fit on her! Haha OME susp, here I come!


Bed Topper Solution

Specific Thread (Comment Here):

Ok, this write-up is a little different; I have actually had the bestop on my truck for several years now, so this is more of a “review/what I have done to modify it over the years” write-up than an install write-up. Hope this is useful to people running into the problems I had, or thinking about installing this. (Note: pay no attention to the chorme offorad wheels in the pics, they are placeholders for now until I can get my new wheels fitted)

Overall, I HIGHLY recommend the top. As it has been great, there were just a few obstacles to get over after several years of use.

The History:

Well when attacking the bed, I had some constraints I had to work around.

First, I needed something removable, as I use my truck to haul my motorcycle to the track, which stands higher than the top of most campers. While most camper tops are removable, my next constraint really limited me. I live in an apt with a single parking spot, so leaving a fiberglass shell in my spot was pretty much out of the question. This left me with two options, the Bestop Softtop, or the Softopper. Both of which collapse and remain on the truck. I decided to go with the bestop as I like having the windows while I am sleeping in the back.

The bestop is nice because it has 3 basic modes:

UP (Acting like a typical camper shell):

This is great for protecting things, and also sleeping inside. I have actually camped inside of it while ice climbing in Lee Vining, and I must admit, it actually stays pretty darn warm inside; the canvas is pretty thick.

As you can see in this picture, it can support quite a bit of snow on top without collapsing..haha

I cannot say she is COMPLETELY sealed, as a SMALL amount of water CAN leak in the front corners at the bed rails, however, it is a very small amount and only if the rain hits it right. To alleviate this, I have gotten the rubber bed mad. This allows for a nice rubber mat to sleep on, while also giving the bed a “false floor”. Any water that does creep in finds its way UNDER the rubber mat, keeping me nice and dry on top of the mat.


I have found this mode to be quite useful on hot days on Joshua tree climbing when you need shade. I have even had my truck at the base of a climb and belayed out of it..haha. this mode works great if you just want shade, almost like an awning.


It takes approximately 5 EASY minutes to collapse her fully, and this allows a fully open bed to haul my bike or any large things. As all of us with a truck knows, we always get called upon when friends need to move, and this allows for full loads.



Now for the modifications that I have had to make after several years of use.


First off, the rivets that are used as the pivot points and to hold the upright bars are NOT stainless, and they WILL rust out. After about a years and a half, I finally got around to drilling them out. I installed some nice stainless hardware with lock washers and locktite to make sure the opening and closing does not back them off.

The side windows actually rest up and rub against the heads of the upper hardware, so to keep from wearing a nasty hole in the sides, I put these screw caps on. This also makes it look cleaner when the windows are out.

After 2 years, the paint started to wear in several places after repeated “up and downs”. This allowed for a TINY bit of surface rust on some parts. Luckily the whole thing is VERY easy to take apart so I just simply took her apart, gave a slight scotch brite rubbing and rustoliumed the rusted parts. Flat Black worked great and blended well so I didn’t have to paint everything.

While I had her apart I also painted the aluminum clamps with rustolium, as they were starting to show small signs of corrosion as well. I think it actually makes everything blend better having them black too. (You can see the two clamps up front are not painted below so you can see the contrast between painted and not)


While discussing the clamps, another issue I discovered was that at high speeds, the Velcro that is supplied to hold the front (under the window) down to the bed rails was not sufficient and would pull up due to the wind force. This made an annoying flapping noise form the bed. TO alleviate this, I was able to get 2 spare clamps from bestop and use them on the front flap. Have never had a problem since I did that.

Another random noise issue was front the clasps. When the top is installed upright, the claps hangs down between the cab and the bed. Whiled driving, the plastic clasp would hit the bed and make an annoying ticking noise. This may not bother most ppl, but it annoyed the heck out of me, so to alleviate this, I wrapped the clasp in foam and wrapped some electrical tape around it. Noise gone.

That is all the mods I have had to do, and overall this top has stood up VERY well to a lot of punishment and I HIGHLY recommend it!


New member
Man seems like you have invested for some toyota tacoma parts and mods but it is all worth it. I had the rust too and it really irritating to look at.
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OME Lift Install on 05+ Tacoma

Specific Thread (Comment Here):

After much research, the lift I chose was a OME lift. All in all, the parts I used were as follows:

Thanks to Wil from Sierra Expedition:victory::

OME front coils (886 due to winch and bumper)
OME 90000 Nitrocharger Shocks
OME 182 Rear Shocks
OME Dakar Spring set (CSO47R no extra leaf set)
OME Driveshaft Packer Kit (FK29)
New U-bolts (supplied by Sierra Expedition)

Toyota Bushings
Toyotec 3 degree axel shims

10mm lift enhancer kit from wheelers (

I opted to not go for a diff drop as I have heard they are pretty useless on the 05+ Tacomas.

As you can see below, the OME components are CONSIDERABLY larger and more robust than the stock bilsteins.

Lessons Learned/Advice from Install
I will not get into the details of how to install the lift, its is pretty strait forward, a few bolts come out, new parts go in, and the bolts go back in. I think instead, I will discuss some unforeseen issues/lessons learned for people that are planning on doing the lift themselves. Hopefully you find this useful:

First thing is first, there is no way you are going to be able to do this alone, this is at least a 2 person job. My friend has an auto shop so I was able to use a FULL lift, and it still took two people. I would HATE to have tried this with a small jack and some jack stands! So, besides the obvious tools, you will need a friend and of course a pack of your favorite beverage:

As far as the install goes, I HIGHLY recommend you get access to a press, you will need it for the bushings for sure. If you are like me and you purchased the 10mm lift enhancer, you will also use it for that, as you must press the stock bolts out of the spline and install longer ones:

As far as actually installing the front, the sway bar must be removed (I left mine off…review of this further down) and I also found it easier to remove the tie rod as the OME shocks are considerable longer than the OEM ones and they are hard to jockey into position.

Once they are in position and you get the top loosely bolted into place, you must use a LOT of brute force (2 people with pry bars in my case) to force the lower A-arm down enough to seat the shock.



Lift Install Part 2

As for the rear, with the exception of the DAKAR springs being quite hefty, the install is very strait forward, remember though, on the rear of the springs, you must take the whole shackle off, as you will not be able to get an impact in to get just the leaf pack out.

One thing I did discover though, that you will need to remember, is when reassembling, the center pin on the leaf pack sticks up higher than the original. This causes a clearance issue when you go to put the bump stop back on. It is very easy to drill the bumpstop hole deeper though.

And here she is standing VERY tall with her new shoes (255/85) :wings:…. (It should settle a bit, but it defiantly seems a LOT more than the advertised lift height..haha).

Post Lift Findings:

After having the lift on for a few days, here are my findings, and thoughts on it.

With the sway bar removed, there is not much body roll at all (maybe due to the stiff 886), though the susp does feel “squishy”. I am not sure how to describe it. If you have ever driven a jeep wrangler, you know how the susp just seems to squish, that’s how she feels, though she handles well, even at So Cal highway speeds.

At highway speeds, my speedo now reads about 10 mph off (I am going 70 mph when I see 60mph on the speed). Just something for people to keep in mind after this install.

As far as vibrations go, I know a lot of ppl complain about “post lift vibrations” however for me, it seems to be opposite. Prior to lifting her, I had some vibrations as I just started taking off, however, after the lift, the vibrations have seemed to stop..haha (Remember I did install axel shims)

I have not been able to check gas mileage, and I am sure its gone down, however, one thing I do notice, is that at cruising speeds, my RPM are MUCH lower now (result of the larger diameter tire).

The only significant change I feel I MUST mention is the BRAKING. PLEASE NOTE that with the 255/85 I have added a LOT of rolling mass, and the braking ability of the stock brakes HAS decreased. Not saying she wont stop, but it does take a bit more, so if you are installing this please keep that in mind, no tailgating!

Haven’t had a chance to take her wheeling yet, will report on that at a later date.


Allpro Plate Bumper Install on 05+ Tacoma

Specific Thread (Comment Here):

I chose the allpro mainly because I liked the look of it, though the modular design seemed like a good idea, if one part gets messed up, I can just replace that rather than a whole bumper.

I live pretty close to allpro, so I picked it up myself. Upon opening the two boxes (the modular design makes it pretty easy to ship, two smaller boxes) the first thing I noticed was the packing, had I shipped this, I could not imagine it would get hurt, they packaging was very well done.

Once I pulled the parts out, the assembly was very strait forward, and the directions were quite clear, though it would be easy to figure out even without the directions.

As I got to building it, I discovered the quality of the bumper was second to none. All the holes for every bolt lined up perfectly. I never once had to try to “force” things together. Considering you are dealing with steel that has been welded (warped, etc) I was very impressed. As you can see here, everything lines up beautifully.

The XRC winch fit VERY easily too, especially since I had relocated the solenoid box.

I decided to go with the PIAA 510 fogs inside (they will be wired to the stock wiring harness). I really like the look of the rock guards so I set out trying to figure out how to fit them into the allpro bumper. I quickly learned that if you simply sand (I used a dremel) some material off the two sides (not that much) they are quite easy to slide (with a bit of force) into the slots prior to mounting the lights:

And here she is assembled and ready to go on the truck:

Once it was time to install it onto the truck, I quickly realized that I was VERY grateful to have friends to help out. The bumper and winch combination are defiantly NOT easy to handle alone. Once again the holes lined up perfectly on my truck, and it was pretty easy to mount. The hardest part was just lifting the thing.
A lesson learned for anyone in the future: We discovered that it is easiest to set it on a hydraulic jack that has wheels, then you can jack it to the height you want and wheel it back into the bolts. Worked very well.

And here she is all mounted :wings::

As far as the winch wiring, you can see I simply routed them in front of the radiator support and zip tied them in place.

I plan to add tubular light protection like the ARB. This will have light tabs, antenna tabs for HAM and CB as well as limb riser mounting places (if I ever feel like adding those).


XRC8 Winch Installation - Solenoid Relocation

Specific Thread (Comment Here):

Mechanically, the winch installation is very strait forward; just mount the thing on the bumper. The end..haha
Now electrically, I decided to do some customization and make it a bit more complicated (especially for me, I am a mechanical Engineer, electricity scares me! Haha)

I decided to do two things:
- Relocate Solenoid to Under the hood
- Install In-Cab Winch Controls

To relocate the solenoid I had to first find a place to put it. I was already making a bracket to mount my auxiliary fuse block (See for fuse block installation) so I decided I would try to add the solenoid.

First order of business was to protect it somehow, after searching the isles of the local home depot for a good half an hour, my wonderful girlfriend points to a shelf and says “what about that, will that work?” Low and behold there was a PERFECT vessel to mount my solenoid. A 4” x 4” x 4” junction box.

First I drilled all necessary holes to mount the solenoid.

Then cut a notch to run the plug for the remote out the back side.

I then cut a big notch on the front to allow for the large cables to run out to the battery and winch.

Next order of business was to get some cables that would reach all the way to the winch from its new location. After a faily expensive trip to west marine for some marine grade 2 gage wire, I had enough cable to reach my winch.

All that was left was to install the aux fuse block/solenoid braket in the engine bay. Here you can see the final result, the solenoid box is under the bracket. You can kind of see the cables running out from under it.

Now onto the in cab controls…


XRC8 In-Cab Controls

I decided I wanted to run in-cab winch controls, while also retaining my original “remote” plug. This gives me the ability to run the winch from in the cab, or, if need be, I can connect the original controller and relocate myself to a position where I can watch the winch.

I also decided I wanted everything to look as stock as possible, which threw in its own challenges.

The first order of business was to relocate the original remote plug from the solenoid. This was pretty strait forward. I made a longer harness that forked off so that I could route one set of wires to the original plug, and the second up to the in-cab controls.

I then drilled a hole in the lower dash area above my pedals and ran the wires out.

All that was left was to connect and install the original plug.

This allows me to plug the original remote in and be able to walk out and see the winch if I am winching alone.

Next was to install the in-cab controls. As I mentioned before, I wanted to make it as stock as possible. For this reason I decided to use a stock 05+ Tacoma double cab rear window switch for the in and out of the switch.

I also wanted to run stock “fog light” style power switch, however the stock switches turned out to be too deep for the location I wanted to install them, so I went with some Blue Sea conutra switches.

I used a laser inscriber at work to “etch” the labels of each switch (winch power, in, out, etc). I am planning on painted the etching with white paint to make it stand out, but that will be later, for now, you can still read them.

The location I decided was on the overhead console. I thought this would make it look somewhat stock as apposed to having random switches scattered around my dash. I used milling machine to cut the slots (more accurate than my dremel) and got everything lined up.

Here are all the switches in place:

I then routed the “fork” that I had soldered into the original harness up the a-pillar and behind the headliner so that it would reach the switches, all that was left was to plug them in, and here is the final product.

Hard to see, but this is the LED for the winch power lit up:

Note that I also installed my 4 switches that will run my roof top lights (once I finish that project)


Aux Fuse Block Install on 05+ Tacoma

Specific Thread (Comment Here):

First off, I want to give credit to tooblutacoma06 and his install thread:

I had the fuse block, but his thread gave me inspiration to install it finally. It was done much like his.

Tools and parts needed:
About 13” x 11” 16 gage stainless steel
Metal Brake

Blue Sea 12 circuit fuse block (
Blue Sea 300 Amp Fuse Block (
100A Fuse


I first made a cardboard template:

Then found some scrap 16 gage stainless steel lying around. After some cutting, drilling and bending, I had a mount made up. A quick can of rusolium (I know, its stainless, I don’t need it, but I wanted it black, and had some laying around) here she is:

Unlike tooblutacoma06, I opted for a cheaper solution to my 100 amp breaker, as I could not justify spending $80 on a breaker that is made to protect the $50 fuse block. Though if I had the money, I would have! Haha.

As you can see in the picture, the bracket houses my Blue Sea 12 circuit fuse block as well as a Blue Sea 100 amp fuse to protect it. I have also added a section to hold up to 8 relays. On the bottom side of the bracket is a 4”x4”x4” junction box that is now the new home to my winch solenoid. (See for winch installation and wiring).

In order to make room for my winch solenoid box, I had to move the secondary small fuse box attachment thingy from my truck, so I made a cutout that will hold it stationary (tight fit to pin it in place) you can see it pinned against the fender now.

And here she is all mounted. This now gives me relay mounting location for lights (once I get my roof rack project going) as well as an aux fuse block for CB, HAM, lights, and anything else my heart desires.



Black Trim Install

This is another very quick one so I will not do an in-depth write-up. If you have questions about anything, feel free to ask and I can get more detailed with more pics if need be. Please PM me with questions

Before I had my 06 TRD sport, I had an 05 base model:

I fell in love with the black trim on that truck, both for aesthetics as well as function (branches cannot scratch paint off of black plastic), so I decided I wanted the black trim on my sport.

Luckily it is not hard to find off-road guys that want color matched stuff, so a trade was easy to find for my mirrors and handles (still looking to trade my fenders an grille surround, hint hint)

For both the mirrors and the handles you must remove the door panels. This is very easy, two screws (behind handle and behind door opener handle thing). There is also one “pop” clip towards the front of the panel. Once those are out, just pull the bottom of the panel out (there are lots of clips) and lift it out.

For the mirrors, you must also pull the triangular trim off right above the door panel. This is just three clips…just pull.

The mirrors are VERY easy, just 3 bolts and your good to go.

The door handles are pretty simple as well. There is a black plug on the inside of the door jam, behind this is a screw.

Remove the screw and the lock portion of the handle will come out. Then (from the inside of the door panel) you will see one more screw on the remaining handle, remove this and simply slide the handle back (away from the engine) and out she comes. To install new ones, just reverse the procedure.

And here is the outcome on my 06 SPORT model: