BudgetEverything’s Tundra Overland....thing.... build.

BudgetEverything

New member
Well hi there. So, I’m Isaac, and I guess today, I’m gonna write a build thread. Never done one, and this is my 30th vehicle (I like a lot of different cars and trucks, so while I’d like to have kept most of them, I think we all know that isn’t possible for most people). As of now I’m just kind of building my tundra little by little, but I’d like to start documenting it, maybe start a YouTube channel about overlanding on a budget as well as other cheap sh..... stuff. Anyway. That’s for a later date, for now let’s begin the story of my 2006 Toyota Tundra SR5 Double Cab. 4WD, of course. Feel free to scroll past my jabber and go straight to the buildy stuff. Make no mistake, my pockets are weightless so don’t expect an Xpedition Overland-level build, and most of my ability to build usually ends with “uh, yeah that should work” as I polish off a Voodoo Ranger. Really I should shut up and just say “here’s my truck and this is what’s done,” but hey. I like telling stories.

So, back in February of this horrendously historical year, before we all were blindsided by whatever it is that’s happening today, I had made the decision that it was time to let go of my 2004 Land Cruiser 100. I loved that thing like it was my kid, in fact it had a special place in my heart as less than a year prior, as it brought my wife and I home from the hospital with our first child. Though it felt dependable, and for the most part it was, it started to show its scars, mostly from living its early life smack in the middle of the rust belt, so electrical gremlins and body rust were setting in hard. So the search was on for a replacement.
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I have a deep rooted love for Toyota, so there was no question the 100 would be replaced with another. But which one? I loved my previous Tacoma, so that was in the running, I liked the room of an SUV, so the 4Runner was an option. I wanted to keep a 2UZ drivetrain as sometimes I buy dumb idiot drift cars and needed the extra towing ability, so the Tacoma was immediately out, and the 4Runner narrowed to a 4th gen with the Sequoia in a close second . But then, I realized I absolutely wanted to have a bed again. My choice became obvious, a Tundra, but not just any tundra, it had to be a first gen double cab. You know, the one with the roll down rear window. After weeks of searching with either a poor example, or a price tag I wasn’t comfortable paying, my buddy calls me as I’m about to walk into carmax and sell them my land cruiser for way less than its worth, and tells me he found a double cab tundra that just popped up for sale. I messaged the guy, and he actually happened to be about 800 feet from the carmax I just walked out of with a pride-shattering quote. After meeting up with him, we talked money a little bit and I said ”I might need a week or two to come up with your price tag” when suddenly he asked me if I’d want to trade. So with a couple bills on top, we swapped keys, and I drove away in this well maintained 2006 Double Cab Tundra.

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With the back window that goes down, I drove off heart-broken yet excited, as I saw my land cruiser pass me, then fade away on an exit ramp never to be seen again until tomorrow when it popped up on Facebook marketplace (the guy was a dealer and had picked it up from the Carmax auction a few hours prior). So finally I had my new platform in its pure grandpa spec. Obviously, first step was to throw the running boards directly into the trash.99C31084-5486-41C6-888C-CA1898AB45E8.jpeg 68959379-2ED5-484D-816D-F86189237B8A.jpeg1EA11FE6-05CD-496C-ACD1-5C9BF98A8CB0.jpeg
And in the trash the went. Next, grill paint, because Toyota engineers went heavy on the chrome with this one. I wanted to wait until state inspection was completed before I started putting any real work into it, so cosmetic stuff was first.
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And that was pretty much it until inspection. During inspection, the worst answer I could have received was given. It could have failed for any other reason, but it failed for a tire, rear drum shoes, and....... this.0878F0CA-AE37-4717-9D11-FD4A96977946.jpeg
This is a middle crossmember, the last one under the cab just before the bed starts. I had looked under the truck from this side and the frame looked really good! But this was directly under my head and I couldn’t see it. That was probably the heaviest thing I could have heard. The shop owner was an old friend of mine, and he, his inspector, and myself stood around discussing how this could be fixed. This was the same fate my tacoma had met, except this was in a much better spot and had not been previously patched, so my first move was to call Toyota to see if I could claim a frame recall. I think we all know how that conversation went. So, feeling helpless, I contacted a buddy who works at Wits End Fabrication in Hanover, MD, and he told me to swing by and he and the shop owner would take a look at it. Pulled up with my tail between my legs as I brought them yet another Toyota truck in for frame repair, and the owner was skeptical at first, but in the end felt confident they could rebuild the rotted section, as well as a new set of tires, shoes, and a front level (because if I’m gonna buy a set of new tires, I’m only doing it once). So I made a down payment and drove home. Once home, I placed an order for some 33x10.5 Kenda Klever RTs after a lot of debate and beer. They had a price point I loved and I had heard only positive things, I was only hoping they would be as good as the Falken Wildpeak AT3Ws I had on my land cruiser. And then into the shop it went days later.

With the truck back in my possession, I was happier than a pig in.... a place that pigs are happy. The truck looked much more aggressive with its new stance and more aggressive Kendas, it felt taller which was a feeling I missed, and most importantly the inspector was happy with the work. So now the fun begins. It’s overland time.

I decided that I wanted an RTT again. My previous RTT was sold when I decided to switch to an ARB awning/room combo, however that proved to be more of a hassle as I’m pretty sure I had the worlds oldest ARB awning and couldn’t figure out what size it was (probably should have measured but I was sure it was the “big” one). Now, the 1st generation tundra does NOT have the same aftermarket support that the 2nd gens have. They will likely become the new underdog after the GX market finishes skyrocketing, in my opinion, and some companies are starting development already. That said, I had like 3 options for a bed setup: bed cage, camper shell, or something like a Flippac. Third option, immediately out because I couldn’t find one to save my own life. 2nd option was out, because the rear window would become useless and that was a huuuuuge factor in my purchase of the truck. 1st option was just more than I felt like paying at the moment as I wanted to save funds for other things as well. So, the idea came to mind, what about a ladder rack with a softtopper over it? And then I found my inspiration in this truck:
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And then I hit the image cap.
 

BudgetEverything

New member
Oh wait, I forgot pictures post shop. Can you tell that I’m new at this?
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If you’ve read this far, then I commend you. This is a lot of word vomit. Gross. So anyway.

I bought a ladder rack. This was a terrible idea that I wish I would have thought further into, and you will see exactly where I gave myself the L and had to rethink my plans, which is pretty much present time, I promise my rambling is almost over and then it will just be updates as I do whatever it is this truck is destined for. I’m in need of a trip soon. So, bought ladder rack, begun modifying it for my accessories while I looked for a tent secondhand. They don’t call me BudgetEverything for nothing. They also don’t call me that, it’s just me calling me that.B37F5B45-8414-456E-B180-9F5D02C57EEC.jpeg FA933DDB-D8A6-4215-8BA9-1EA17EE14363.jpegCF117422-9007-422F-BF0F-5AEA0004CB83.jpeg
This was great and felt like I was making progress, so my wife and I celebrated with a trip to Assateague Island.
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And as I enjoyed a fresh burger with a side of the ocean breeze, it hit me. I wouldn’t be able to do a softtopper with this setup. In my eager search for deals, and hours of scouring through endless ladder racks for The Big Three, I jumped on the first rack I found that fit. What I didn’t take into account was that I specifically needed one designed to fit over a camper shell. I took some measurements when I got home, got some measurements for the Softtopper, and confirmed, this wouldn’t work. So. Now what? Well, I had to go to Lafayette, NY the next day to pick up an RTT, so let’s not worry about that now.
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And some new to make me happy because by friggin golly, I HAD A MIGHTY BIG SAD.

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So since I had it already, I decided to play around with some metal and see what was what. I had the idea for some additional load bars over the bed and some expanded metal over the roof for a rack platform, but in the mean time I needed a camping solution. This is what happened:

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Id like to say that this is a terrible idea. I felt all kinds of sway when I sat up there for the first time, but I could deal with that. It wasn’t until I got on the highway the next day that it became a hard no. The weight being that high over the center of the truck felt hellaciously unstable, so the inevitable happened: I ordered an AllPro Offroad Pack Rack. While I waited for that I figured I could benefit from some high-stress shock therapy because obviously I’m a masochist....
 

BudgetEverything

New member
...so I cut a 4 1/2” hole in my fender. Oh, this is a good time to revisit the small aftermarket for a 1st gen Tundra. They don’t make a snorkel for one. However the 100 series land cruiser is a close donor for a snorkel, so I decided yeah why not. I’m never buying another snorkel unless it’s made for the vehicle it’s being installed on.
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And since mutilating a fender wasn’t enough to scratch the itch in the deepest part of my soul, I cut the front bumper. Also removed the tent and rack in preparation for the APOR rack. 20537440-5D8C-49F0-A951-570B497C08C8.jpeg

And now we’re here. This is how the truck looks until I can get over to a friends house and weld up the rack, and redo all the progress I just undid. Next up will be lighting, a winch cradle, sliders, and most importantly suspension, but as I mentioned before, I’m not Jeff Bezos, so I gotta save up for things, but damn I hate driving a boring rig. As it sits, it’s effective for the trails I have access to in Maryland (and by in Maryland I mean in Virginia because we have nothing here), and will be ready for camping by the time our bipolar weather decides to turn down the heat for a little while. Could be tomorrow, could be in November, who knows, right now it’s like baby Florida here. So now that we are caught up, my posts will be a lot shorter. I’ve never documented a build before so I apologize for my blatant rambling, but I look forward to presenting real progress and reporting how it does under my ownership, and look forward to being an active part of the ExPo forum!
 

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ZMagic97

Explorer
I really like where this is going.

I remember my first build thread: it feels weird explaining a lot and at times you think, "who cares?" But you keep writing and some fun people and ideas start popping up.

Keep up the good work and updates!
 

BudgetEverything

New member
Thanks! Honestly I should have started this sooner, I’ve been unemployed for the past few months so I’ve had nothing but time thus far, but I start my new job in about a week so I’ll just be doing weekend projects at that point. Hopefully I’ll finish the bed cage and start mounting accessories this week, then start on the winch cradle as I make my final decisions on suspension.


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jbohar47

New member
Hey bud, cool build. I'm looking for an '05-06 Tundra myself.

I'm confused about the front bumper but I really like its appearance. Can you explain that process more? Where did the fog lights go?

Cheers,

-John
 

BudgetEverything

New member
Hey bud, cool build. I'm looking for an '05-06 Tundra myself.

I'm confused about the front bumper but I really like its appearance. Can you explain that process more? Where did the fog lights go?

Cheers,

-John
So the bumper I mostly cut just for clearance and appearance purposes, I’m a huge fan of the high-clearance bumpers and one isn’t made for this truck, so I’m going to have one built revolving around a winch cradle. The bumper cover was already damaged, and I cut just above the lower mesh grill straight across.

As for the fog lights, they will be replaced with LED pods as soon as they get here, and bracketed to the crash bar until the bumper is completed. Similar to this truck. F3D9D268-FCAD-4F2D-896A-EB9A52E06B61-6628-000003D337B51952.jpg


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BudgetEverything

New member
Nice build. Any pics of the repaired cross member?
I keep forgetting to grab one, I’ll try to remember get one after work.

So, over the past week I received some ditch light brackets from Rago Fabrication, and some pods off amazon. Also finally got my bed rack put together, so I guess this is it for a while as I start work again tomorrow. The guy that assembled the cage does fabrication work out of his garage, and I’ll be going back to him for a custom winch cradle, a high clearance rear, and maybe a set of sliders. Overall pretty happy with the setup. I’ll eventually modify the rack to hold some accessories, but that’s for another day.





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Kpack

Adventurer
I keep forgetting to grab one, I’ll try to remember get one after work.

So, over the past week I received some ditch light brackets from Rago Fabrication, and some pods off amazon. Also finally got my bed rack put together, so I guess this is it for a while as I start work again tomorrow. The guy that assembled the cage does fabrication work out of his garage, and I’ll be going back to him for a custom winch cradle, a high clearance rear, and maybe a set of sliders. Overall pretty happy with the setup. I’ll eventually modify the rack to hold some accessories, but that’s for another day.





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There's no "maybe" on the sliders. Absolutely do those, and do them before a high-clearance rear. With how long our trucks are, the sliders really come in handy. Have them made with rear kick-outs and you will save the rear of the truck from body damage around tight corners. Again, the length of our trucks means it's far easier to hit the mid frame/bottom of the doors when going over tougher obstacles.

I've nailed my sliders many, many times. Much of those were before my high clearance rear. I've rubbed on the high clearance rear one time. The sliders are a must for protection IMO.
 

BudgetEverything

New member
There's no "maybe" on the sliders. Absolutely do those, and do them before a high-clearance rear. With how long our trucks are, the sliders really come in handy. Have them made with rear kick-outs and you will save the rear of the truck from body damage around tight corners. Again, the length of our trucks means it's far easier to hit the mid frame/bottom of the doors when going over tougher obstacles.

I've nailed my sliders many, many times. Much of those were before my high clearance rear. I've rubbed on the high clearance rear one time. The sliders are a must for protection IMO.
Those are good points, I thought of the trails I’ve hit with my 100 series and the time I wished I had sliders, and I think you’re 100% right. Sliders are going to the top of the priority list.


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BudgetEverything

New member

Well, finally got around to a few projects I wanted to tackle, the big one being a frame coating. Went to my local auto parts store and picked up some POR-15 to hit the frame with. Luckily I remembered that I have a brand new spray gun that has taken up space in my tool box for the last 5 years, I’m pretty sure I bought it to paint a drift car I had before I ever really even got into the whole “overlanding” thing. But one thing was for sure, this frame needed to be coated before the truck sees a trail. Which was hard for me, since that’s usually day 3 or 4 of ownership.

Additionally, I got my side bars from AllPro Offroad, though it’s just one side. I got the ones with a high-lift and rotopax mount, then realized my hi-lift was on the land cruiser when I sold it and my knockoff rotopax doesn’t match the mount locations. The other side will be bare and I’ll figure out what to do from there. Besides that, I wired up my ditch lights with some waterproof deutsch connectors, and finally hit some dirt. Well, mud. Nothing exciting but it was nice to see the truck dirty for a little bit. It was beginning to look like a mall crawler.




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