Overland-ish Tacoma Flippac Build


Vagabond Outdoors
Yeah, another Tacoma Flippac build. The way in which my random assortment of parts were acquired is a little different than the others, although many of the parts were purchased in the same manner. All of the stock parts were sold to mitigate the cost of upgrades. Lots of time on Craigslist and the Tacomaworld "for sale" section.

As she sits now:

-Bilstein 5100's (bought for 4-Runner, sitting in my garage for a few years)
-OME 885's ($100, TW member)
-Toytech swaybar relocation kit
-Bilstein 5100's
-Ironman “B” springs ($300, Craigslist)

-TJM front bumper ($600, Expo member)
-Body Armor rear bumper ($350)

-Mile Marker 8000 lbs winch ($100, Craigslist)
-60” High lift jack
-Hi Lift accessory kit
-Smittybilt strap, tree saver, D-rings, & snatch block

-Blue Sea isolator
-Die Hard Platinum group 35, starting ($100, Craigslist- brand new)
-Die Hard Platinum Group 34 Marine, house battery
-Blue Sea 100 Amp circuit breaker
-Blue Sea 6- fuse panel

Tires and Wheels
-265/75/16 BFG AT's (from 4 Runner)
- Toyota 16” x 7” steelies ($90, Craigslist)

-Flippac with no side windows
-ARB 1250 Awning
-Home- built boxes
-Ikea storage trays
-Truckfridge 41 (Indel B)
-Thetford Porta-Potti (from the Scout camper)
-(2) – 7 gallon Reliance water containers

-Weathertech floormats ($40 front, $40 rear, TW member)
-Tech Deck with RAM X-mounts & Garmin GPS holder
-2 car seats

In late December of 2011, we traded in our 2005 4-runner for a 2009 doublecab Tacoma: my dream vehicle. At the time, I also had a 1972 Scout with a Fourwheel camper and a 1992 Montero that was going to be my pop-up camper prototype vehicle. We decided to simplify and get an airbag equipped vehicle that fit the needs of our growing family. The other two would have to go, but for a brief time I had a fairly capable fleet.

The mods started 10 minutes after getting home. We had newer BFG's on the 4-Runner. I found a cheap set of the same sized tires on CL with 25% tread (for $80) and put them on the Runner before trading it in. Loaded the newer tires in the truck right when I got home and had them mounted the same day. I sold the Rugged Terrains for $175 within a week. Mounting and balancing both sets of tires, and the cost of the used tires, totaled $240. So, I got to keep my newer BFG 265/75/16 AT's for $65.

Found a Snugtop shell on CL for $500 about one week after bringing home the truck. I later sold it for $750 within a week on picking up the Flippac.

We tried this camper shell tent that I bought on CL for $75. It took 7 tent poles to set this up and I had to empty the bed of the truck. This lasted one camping trip. Something needed to be done...

After scrolling through every page of Dave Bennett's build thread, I decided on the Flippac. We placed the order in August of 2012 and picked it up that December.

I first saw the Flippac in a 4wheeler magazine in the early 1990's and vowed to someday get one. It only took 20 years.

Our second daughter was born in February of 2013, so the camper saw no use that winter. In April, we decided that a local spot (Mt. Diablo) was appropriate for a 2 month old's first camping trip. The 4-month old torsion bar broke! My optimistic side knew that it was a fluke and we've had no issues since then.

I scheduled a torsion bar replacement with FRP and headed south two weeks later. They compensated me for gas money and were very accommodating. The replacement took 45 minutes. On the way there I picked up this TJM bumper from the late Jeff Lawrence (Jeff Wanamog). He was a very nice guy and we discussed a future meet up in SoCal. It's too bad we didn't do it sooner.

The long way home.

I picked up the Body Armor bumper for one reason: It was cheap.
It will make a nice platform to weld a swing- out tire carrier to or I'll just sell it if I decide to go with a high- clearance setup.


I had the rear springs replaced with the TSB units for free at a local dealer. It solved the load capacity issue, but the ride was even harsher than before. I gave it 6 months before starting the upgrade.
I bought some 5100's for the 4-runner and never installed them. I debated going the OME route, but these were essentially free. Picked up some used OME 885 springs for $100 from a Tacoma World member. Also grabbed some brand new Ironman "B" springs on CL for $300. The only new purchase was the rear 5100's- partially paid for by selling the rear TSB springs for $175. The total lift was about 2-1/2" and the ride was a huge improvement over the harsh Off-Road suspension.

The Camper

I'm not a carpenter or pretend to be one. What I do have is a table saw, jig saw, sander, and some strange ideas.

I really liked the way my Scout camper was set-up: bench on the right and high cabinets on the left. I wanted the fridge to be accessible from the tailgate, without having to climb into the truck, while still allowing access from the inside during cold- weather/ ski resort parking lot camping. It also had to be low enough for my shorter- legged family members to sit on without their legs dangling in the air. This is what I came up with.

The table is strong enough for a 2- burner stove and has been cooked on many times. I actually built this while waiting for the Flippac to be built.

Behind the fridge is the water storage area. It will soon have a quick- release hose system and electric pump. I thought about buying a custom- built tank for this area, but really liked the ability to easily remove the containers for filling on road trips. They're also good when the kitchen is set-up away from the truck at campgrounds.

In Progress

On the left side, I started with the lower cabinets in summer of 2013. The toilet is in a position where I can put our kids on the potty without climbing into the truck. Great for road trips. I still need to come-up with a slider system for easier access. When privacy is required, we turn the toilet around so it faces the front of the truck. Maybe I'll put that thing on a lazy Susan…

My high- lift is stored under the cabinets and accessible with a drawer system.
Tools and items I access less often are stored in the front left cabinet.

I added the upper cabinet last June before a road trip to Zion. These Ikea containers are $2 for the short ones and $4 for the tall ones. A very versatile system. I bring the containers in the house and it makes packing a little less stressful. I don't have a dado blade, so all of those channels were made the hard way on a table saw. My neighbors loved me that day.

I used simple roller catches for the doors. They stay closed off- road with the help of the $3 elbow catches. The lever is easily accessible through the hole.

This is where the removable inside/ outside chuck- box will reside.

Once I'm finished, all of the cabinets will be removed, sanded, and painted battleship gray.

More to come.


P.S. Please tell me how to insert line breaks so I can make this post more readable!
Last edited:

Overland Hadley

on a journey
Welcome to the overland-tacoma-and-pop-top-camper club. (would that be OTAPTC?) Good to have you.

Thanks for including the cost of parts that you bought used. Fun to see what you were able to come up with.

(Godspeed Jeff Lawrence)

Recommended books for Overlanding

Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World
by Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman
From $14.59
Vehicle-dependent Expedition Guide
by Tom Sheppard
From $133.97
Don't Go There. It's Not Safe. You'll Die.: And other mor...
by Jared McCaffree, Jessica Mans, Kobus Mans
From $19.99
Lone Rider
by speth Beard
From $27.64


Vagabond Outdoors
Great build, love the direction you're taking this!
Thanks Dave. As I mentioned in my post, your build thread sold me on the Flippac. Love the new Goose Gear cabinets.

Welcome to the overland-tacoma-and-pop-top-camper club. (would that be OTAPTC?) Good to have you.

Thanks for including the cost of parts that you bought used. Fun to see what you were able to come up with.

(Godspeed Jeff Lawrence)
Thanks. It's great to see people turn these capable vehicles into mini RV's. Lots of great space maximizing ideas with your build.

I could have talked all day with Jeff about vehicle mods. Although our interaction was brief, I was really saddened by his passing. There seems to be an immediate connection with people in this overlanding/ fancy car camping community.

Sweet build! It gets me amped to sleep in mine again.
Sorry to hear about the torsion bar. I know the feeling! I take some comfort in knowing the chances of getting struck by lighting twice is low. I actually slept in the camper with the broken torsion bar (highly unrecommended) on the way down to Riverside. Curled up in the fetal position near the hinge.


Very nice layout- came out awesome. Keep an eye out n CL for a router , you will use it for everything, and will make short work of dados


Vagabond Outdoors
Yesterday, 08:27 AMdman93
Inspiring! It's time for me to get to work. Thanks for some good ideas.
Thanks! It's been gratifying watching the truck get more organized with each camping trip.

Yesterday, 08:46 AMripperj
Very nice layout- came out awesome. Keep an eye out n CL for a router , you will use it for everything, and will make short work of dados
Thanks! I have a router and don't really know how to use it for anything other than rounding edges. Time to learn...


Vagabond Outdoors
The Batteries.

I mistakenly wrote that I had a group 34 starting battery and group 31 marine battery. That was the original plan and I was going off of my list created long ago...

I actually have a group 35 starting battery and group 34 marine house battery.

The group 31 was too high for my mounting location. I believe the automatic Tacomas have some dealie in the location where my battery is mounted.

I used the bolts that were sticking through the fender, and the factory riv-nut on the sidewall. The aluminum tubing is there to level- out the battery and it's bolted to the Napa Auto parts battery tray.

The hold- down is a piece of scrap metal that I bent on a bench vise.

The circuit breaker has the same manufacturer listed on it as the Blue Sea circuit breakers and was $20 -$25 cheaper. I couldn't tell the difference.

It's mounted with two SS screws that I countersunk under the holder.

The hold down is bolted to the side wall using the factory riv- nut.

I used a regular battery hold- down bolt that mounted to the tray.

Here is the system a few years ago when the group 35 served as the house battery. The starting battery was replaced with the group 35 when the group 34 was purchased. It's been installed since May of 2013 with no issues whatsoever.

And the starting battery.

I copied Robert Barlow and mounted the Blue Sea isolator on top of the fuse box lid.

The weight distribution is great and the mounting system was cheap. That grid under the battery was taken from a fluorescent light during the demo of the kitchen at my old house. It keeps the bolt heads/ nuts from piercing the bottom of the battery. I snuck this project in during a kitchen remodel (when the wife was away- of course). If fact, I'm sneaking this post in while making dinner as the wife is giving the kids a bath...

Last edited:


Thanks! It's been gratifying watching the truck get more organized with each camping trip.

Thanks! I have a router and don't really know how to use it for anything other than rounding edges. Time to learn...
Great job guy! I always try to horse trade for deals too. X2 on the router. For dados, get a straight bit for the correct width. Set your depth, clamp a straight edge to your piece ( I prefer angle iron) and go to town. You've definitely demonstrated you have the skills.

Recommended books for Overlanding


SAR guy
You truck is looking great, and I see the layout is pretty similar to how mine is going. Except that I'm a terrible carpenter and like work in steel as much as possible. Do you have any pictures of the new chuckbox? I like our current one, but it takes up a lot of space on the big shelf.

Also, I'm curious if you've weighed the truck since all of the upgrades? I finally got around to doing that on the T100. Since I added the Flippac, interior, fridge, skid plate, camping gear and 6 gallons of water, it now weighs 5,140lbs with a full gas tank.


Overland Hadley

on a journey
My ABS system is where you were able to put your second battery. :( Makes me sad when I see others being able to put their battery there.