Parts Used In This Episode

Dupli-Color
Paint, Self-Etching Primer, Flat, Green, 12 oz., Aerosol, Each
Loctite
Sealant, RTV 598, Silicone, Black, 80 ml, Each
Mickey Thompson
Tire, Baja Claw TTC, LT 315 /70R17, Radial, 3,195 lbs. Maximum Load, Blackwall, Each
Mickey Thompson
Wheel, Classic II, Aluminum, Matte Black, 17 in. x 9 in., 6-5.50 in. Bolt Circle, 4 3/8 in. Backspace, Each
The Industrial Depot
Industrial Depot - Fasteners, Hardware, and Shop Supplies
Trail Gear Inc.
Fully Built Rock Assault Rear Axle, 4.88 third member
Trail Gear Inc.
Tacoma Rear Lift Kit
Trail Gear Inc.
Tacoma SAS Kit C, w/ARB Locker, 96-04,
WD-40
WD-40 Big Blast Can

Episode Transcript

(ANNOUNCER)>> IF YOU'RE HOPPING INTO YOUR 4X4 TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL, THEN WHY DO YOU ALWAYS COME HOME SO SOON. WITH A LITTLE PLANNING AND THE RIGHT RIG YOU DON'T HAVE TO. TODAY ON XTREME 4X4 OUR TREKKING TACOMA PROJECT BEGINS WITH A COMPLETE SUSPENSION REBUILD FOR ANY TERRAIN.

(IAN)>> NOT TOO LONG AGO ON XTREME WE BUILT A PRETTY COOL TRUCK. WE TOOK A JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE AND PUT TOGETHER AN EXPEDITION

STYLE RIG THAT YOU COULD STILL DRIVE ON THE STREET EVERY SINGLE DAY. IT STARTED WITH A SUSPENSION LIFT, NEW WHEELS AND TIRES, AIR LOCKERS FRONT AND REAR, AND HEAVY DUTY BUMPERS. NOW THAT MADE OUR GRAND CHEROKEE A GREAT DUAL PURPOSE RIG. WHAT MADE IT AN EXPEDITION TRUCK WAS THE DEDICATED TRAILER THAT WE WERE TOWING BEHIND IT. NOW THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT EXPEDITION TRAVEL HAS BECOME INCREDIBLY POPULAR.

SO WE KNEW THAT IT WAS TIME TO BUILD ANOTHER EXPEDITION STYLE RIG. BUT INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON A DUAL PURPOSE TRUCK WITH AN EXPEDITION TRAILER, THIS TIME WE'RE GONNA BUILD A 100 PERCENT DEDICATED EXPEDITION TRUCK READY TO ROLL AT A MOMENT'S NOTICE WITH EVERYTHING THAT YOU'D NEED TO CONQUER A TRAIL OR GO FOR LONG DISTANCE BACK COUNTRY CAMPING ANY TIME YOU WANTED. NOW WE DID A LOT OF RESEARCH FOR THE BEST VEHICLE FOR THIS AND WE DECIDED THAT PROBABLY OUR BEST OPTION WAS A SMALL TOYOTA MINI TRUCK. NOW A LOT OF YOU PEOPLE ASK, WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE PROJECTS WHEN YOU'RE DONE WITH THEM? AND HONESTLY WE JUST LEAVE THEM LAYING AROUND THE WAREHOUSE FOR CASES JUST LIKE THIS. THIS IS A TOYOTA MINI TRUCK THAT TRUCKS BUILT A LITTLE WHILE AGO. IT'S BEEN SITTING HERE FOR A LITTLE WHILE AND THE

KEYS ARE IN THE IGNITION.

THIS TOYOTA TACOMA IS A 1999 MODEL. IFS SUSPENSION UP FRONT AND A SOLID AXLE IN THE BACK. IT'S BASICALLY STOCK, GREAT FOR DRIVING ON THE ROAD EVERY SINGLE DAY. ONE OF THE NICE THINGS ABOUT CHOOSING A TOYOTA AS THE BASE VEHICLE FOR OUR EXPEDITION RIG HAS TO DO WITH THE AVAILABILITY OF THE TRUCK.

THIS PARTICULAR MODEL OF PICK UP WAS SOLD ALL OVER THE WORLD. SO NO MATTER WHERE WE GO ON OUR EXPEDITION TRAVELS, FINDING PARTS FOR THIS RIG EASY AS PIE. NOW WHEN IT COMES TIME TO BUILD YOUR DEDICATED EXPEDITION RIG, THE BASE VEHICLE YOU CHOSE IS PRETTY IMPORTANT. BUT JUST AS IMPORTANT IS WHAT YOU DON'T DO TO IT. NOW TODAY WE'RE GONNA START MODIFYING THIS TRUCK AND WE'RE GONNA SWAP THE ENTIRE SUSPENSION OUT, BUT THERE'S SOME KEY THINGS ON THIS TRUCK THAT WE'RE NOT GONNA TOUCH AT ALL. THE DRIVETRAIN THAT CAME IN THE TOYOTA MINI TRUCK FROM THE FACTORY HAS ALWAYS BEEN CONSIDERED VERY STOUT FOR SOME HARDCORE WHEELING.

IN THE LATE '70'S, EARLY '80'S, THE TRUCK LEFT THE FACTORY WITH A SMALL FOUR CYLINDER ENGINE AND A SOLID FRONT AXLE AS WELL AS AN ALL GEAR TRANSFER CASE.

NOW FAST FORWARD A COUPLE OF YEARS AND THIS IS NOW THE NEW TOYOTA MINI TRUCK OPTION. THE FOUR CYLINDER'S BEEN REPLACED WITH A VSIX, IN THIS CASE A THREE POINT FOUR LITER TWIN OVERHEAD CAM. THE FRONT SUSPENSION IS NOW AN IFS, NO LONGER A SOLID AXLE.

THE TRANSFER CASE IS A CHAIN DRIVE CASE. NOW SURE, WE COULD PULL ALL OF THAT OUT, COMPLETELY CHANGE IT OVER TO THE OLD STRONGER STYLE TRANSFER CASE, BUT REALLY ON AN EXPEDITION RIG IT'S NOT THE RIGHT DECISION. THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS ENGINE. THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THE TRANSMISSION, AND THE TRANSFER CASE WILL SERVE OUR PURPOSES JUST FINE. THE IFS SUSPENSION UNDER THE FRONT, THAT'S

A DIFFERENT STORY.

WE'RE REMOVING THE IFS FROM THE FRONT OF THIS TRUCK FOR TWO REASONS. THE FIRST, STRENGTH. A SOLID AXLE CAN HANDLE A LARGER TIRE AND WHEEL AND THE ABUSE THIS TRUCK WILL SEE OFF ROAD. BUT ALSO REMEMBER THIS TRUCK IS AN EXPEDITION RIG. THERE WERE MORE SOLID AXLE TOYOTA MINI TRUCKS BUILT. SO FINDING REPLACEMENT PARTS WILL BE A LOT EASIER.

WHOO, THAT'S HEAVIER THAN IT LOOKS.

WHEN IT COMES TIME TO SWAP A SOLID AXLE UNDERNEATH THE FRONT OF A TOYOTA MINI TRUCK, ONE NAME ALWAYS COME TO MIND AND THAT IS TRAIL GEAR OFF ROAD PRODUCTS, AND FOR GOOD REASON.

THEY'VE GOT KITS TO PUT A SOLID AXLE UNDERNEATH ALL THE POPULAR MODELS OF TOYOTA MINI TRUCKS. NOW FOR THE TACOMA THEIR KITS ARE BROKEN DOWN INTO THREE STAGES. IF YOU WANT TO SAVE A LITTLE BIT OF MONEY AND PICK UP SOME

PARTS FROM THE JUNKYARD, WELL OPTION "A" IS FOR YOU. THE BARE BONES OF WHAT YOU'RE GONNA NEED TO GET THE AXLE UNDERNEATH THE FRONT OF YOUR TRUCK. NEW LEAF SPRINGS AND BUMP STOP MOUNTS, SHACKLES AND HANGERS, SOME SHOCK HOOPS AND SHOCKS, FRAME STIFFENING PLATES. AND A STEERING ROD THAT CONNECTS THE STEERING SHAFT UP

TO A STEERING BOX THAT YOU PICK UP AT THAT JUNKYARD. NOW OPTION "B" ALLOWS YOU TO UPGRADE THAT JUNKYARD HOUSING A LITTLE BIT. MAKE IT A LITTLE BIT STRONGER BY INSTALLING THESE SIX SHOOTER KNUCKLES, UPGRADE THE BRAKES WITH THESE VSIX CALIPERS AND NEW ROTORS. SWAP IN A NEW OIL PAN TO GIVE YOU A LITTLE BIT MORE

CLEARANCE FOR THAT AXLE, AND DITCH THE JUNKYARD STEERING BOX FOR A BRAND NEW STEERING GEAR. AND IT ALSO INCLUDES A HEAVY DUTY SKID PLATE THAT WILL

PROTECT THE TRANSMISSION AND THE TRANSFER CASE. NOW OPTION "C" IS BASICALLY 100 PERCENT BRAND NEW PARTS, NO TRIPS TO THE JUNKYARD AT ALL.

THE HEART OF IT IS THE TRAIL GEAR ROCK ASSAULT FRONT HOUSING. NOW NOT ONLY IS THIS STRONGER THAN A FACTORY HOUSING BUT IT GIVES YOU MORE GROUND CLEARANCE THANKS TO THE OFFSET KNUCKLE BALLS DOWN HERE AT THE AXLE TUBE. A SET OF CHROMOLY SHAFTS AND 30/30 BURRFIELD JOINTS AS WELL AS YOUR CHOICE OF GEAR RATIO AND LOCKER IN THIS BRAND NEW HIGH PINION NODULAR DROP OUT. NOW WE CHOSE A SET OF 4.88'S AND ARB AIR LOCKERS. NOW WE'RE GONNA BE PUTTING IN OPTION "C" IN OUR TRUCK. BASICALLY ALL BRAND NEW PARTS, CAUSE IN THE END FOR AN EXPEDITION RIG WE WANT THE ULTIMATE AXLE UNDER THE FRONT OF OUR RIG.

(ANNOUNCER)>> BEFORE OUR SOLID AXLE FINDS A NEW HOME UNDER THE TOYOTA, WE'LL NEED TO FORTIFY THE FRAME RAILS.

(IAN)>> WITH THE BUMPER REMOVED, WE'LL DRAIN THE COOLANT AND PULL OUT THE RADIATOR. [ saw cutting ] [ metal grinding ]

THE FIRST STEP IN THIS SUSPENSION UPGRADE IS TO

INSTALL THIS NEW HEAVY DUTY FRONT CROSS MEMBER THAT LOCKS THE FRAME RAILS TOGETHER. AND THE KIT COMES WITH THESE LITTLE INDEXING TEMPLATES THAT BOLT ON TO THE FACTORY BUMPER BOLTS TO MAKE SURE THAT IT IS IN THE CORRECT POSITION. NOW THE ENTIRE PACKAGE COMES WITH SOME VERY

DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS FOLLOW THEM STEP BY STEP. FOR US, THE NEXT THING, INSTALL A NEW OIL PAN.

THE OIL PAN IS A SIMPLE REPLACEMENT WITH A NEW REDIRECTED PICK UP TUBE FOR THE REAR SUMP PAN. THEN WE'LL MEASURE OFF THE NEW FRONT CROSS MEMBER THE LOCATION OF OUR SWING SHACKLE, USE THE TEMPLATE IN THE KIT TO CUT THE FRAME RAIL, AND MOUNT THEM IN PLACE.

THE FRAME STIFFENING PLATES DO EXACTLY WHAT THE NAME ENTAILS. BY SANDWICHING THE FRONT RAIL WITH THIS PIECE OF

THREESIXTEENTHS LASER CUT STEEL IT MAKES THE ENTIRE FRONT HALF OF THE TRUCK A LOT STRONGER. YOU HAVE TO REALIZE WE'RE ASKING A LOT MORE FROM THIS FRAME RAIL THAN IT WAS DESIGNED TO GIVE US FROM THE FACTORY. BY CONVERTING OVER TO A LEAF SPRING FRONT SUSPENSION THERE'S A LOT OF EXTRA TORSIONAL LOAD ON THAT FRAME RAIL. ADD TO THAT THE FACT THAT WE'RE GONNA BE MOUNTING A LOT OF ITEMS TO IT AND IT NEEDS TO BE STRONGER. THE HEAVIEST OF WHICH IS RIGHT UP HERE USING THESE THREE HOLES IN THE PLATE. IF YOU REMEMBER WHEN WE TOOK THIS TRUCK APART, THERE WAS A RACK AND PINION STEERING GEAR RIGHT BEHIND THE INDEPENDENT FRONT SUSPENSION AXLE. WE CAN'T USE THAT WITH A SOLID AXLE. WE NEED TO CONVERT IT OVER TO THE OLDER STEERING BOX AND TIE ROD END DRAG LINK SET UP. NOW OUR KIT COMES WITH A NEW BOX WHICH WE'VE ALREADY SHOWN

YOU, BUT IT ALSO COMES WITH NEW TIE RODS AND DRAG LINKS CUT TO THE PROPER LENGTH AND DRILLED AND TAPPED FOR HEAVY DUTY TIE ROD ENDS. WE ALSO HAVE A NEW COLLAPSIBLE STEERING SHAFT THAT'LL HOOK THE BOX UP TO THE COLUMN THAT'S IN THE TRUCK FROM THE FACTORY. AND ONCE WE HAVE THIS INSTALLED, WELL WE'RE READY FOR SOME SPRINGS AND THEN AN AXLE.

USING THE SWING SHACKLE MOUNT AS A GUIDE, WE'LL MEASURE THE LOCATION FOR OUR FRONT SPRING HANGER AND INSTALL THE LEAF SPRINGS.

(ANNOUNCER)>> WITH A HIGH CLEARANCE HIGH PERFORMANCE AXLE UP FRONT, IT ONLY MAKES SENSE TO UPGRADE OUT BACK!

(IAN)>> NOW ASSEMBLING THE TRAIL GEAR ROCK ASSAULT AXLE IS NO DIFFERENT THAN REBUILDING A FACTORY TOYOTA ONE. NOW SINCE WE SPECED OURS FOR OUR SOLID AXLE SWAP KIT, IT CAME WITH THE LEAF SPRINGS PERCHES ALREADY INSTALLED AND DRILLED WITH MULTIPLE LOCATING HOLES FOR THAT LEAF SPRING TO MOVE THE AXLE EITHER BACKWARDS OR FORWARDS ONE INCH FROM THE FACTORY LOCATION. JUST ALLOWS US TO FINE TUNE OUR WHEEL BASE AND KEEP THE TIRES AND WHEELS OUT OF THE CAB OF THE TRUCK AT FULL ARTICULATION.

NOW THE FIRST STEP IN THIS BUILD IS TO DROP THE THIRD MEMBER INTO THE HOUSING.

WITH THE THIRD MEMBER BOLTED IN PLACE, WE'LL GIVE OUR HOUSING A GOOD COAT OF PAINT, INSTALL THE AXLE SEALS, FOLLOWED BY THE NEW AXLE SHAFTS.

THEN THE TRUNION BEARINGS, THE SIX SHOOTER KNUCKLES, THE SPINDLE, AND NEW WIPERS AND FELTS. FINALLY THE NEW ROTOR AND FREE WHEELING HUB. NOW WITH THE FRONT AXLE COMPLETED, IT'S READY TO

GO UNDERNEATH THE FRONT OF OUR PICK UP TRUCK. BUT WE'RE NOT DONE THEIR. WE STILL NEED TO DEAL WITH THE BACK HALF OF THE TRUCK. YOU CAN'T JUST DO THE SOLID AXLE SWAP ON THE FRONT OF THE TACOMA AND LEAVE THE REAR ALONE. YOU NEED TO INSTALL A SET OF MATCHING LEAF SPRINGS TO GET THE RIDE HEIGHT CORRECT. MORE IMPORTANTLY WE'RE GONNA HAVE TO PULL THE REAR AXLE DOWN SO THE GEAR RATIOS MATCH BOTH FRONT AND REAR. AND IF WE'RE GONNA PULL THE REAR AXLE OUT, WELL WE THOUGHT

WE'D TREAT IT TO SOME UPGRADES AS WELL.

WHEN YOU TAKE ON A HUGE PROJECT LIKE THIS, YOU'RE

BOUND TO HAVE A LOT OF LEFTOVER PARTS. NOW EVERYTHING WE'VE TAKEN OFF THIS TRUCK SO FAR IS NOT GARBAGE. YOU CAN EASILY SELL THAT TO SOMEBODY WITH A STOCK VERSION OF OUR TOYOTA AND RECOUP SOME OF THE MONEY THAT YOU'VE

INVESTED IN YOUR SOLID AXLE SWAP. NOW THE SAME HOLDS TRUE FOR OUR REAR AXLE HOUSING. THERE'S ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH OUR FACTORY HOUSING. THE ONLY REASON WE'RE GONNA UPGRADE TO THE ROCK ASSAULT FROM TRAIL IS TO GET BETTER GROUND CLEARANCE BECAUSE OF THE REDESIGNED CENTER SECTION, AS WELL AS THE STEP DOWN BEARING CUP AT THE END OF EITHER AXLE TUBE. NOW THAT HOUSING IS SOUGHT AFTER BY GUYS WHO HAVE THE EARLIER MODEL OF TOYOTA BECAUSE IT'S ACTUALLY A LITTLE BIT WIDER, GIVES THE TRUCK WIDER TRACK AND MORE STABILITY. NOW ALL WE'RE CHANGING IN THE BACK IS JUST THE HOUSING. SO ALL I'VE GOT TO DO IS TAKE EVERYTHING OFF THE STOCK HOUSING, PUT IT ON THE TRAIL GEAR ONE.

WITH THE BACKING PLATES UNBOLTED, BOTH AXLE SHAFTS ARE REMOVED FROM THE HOUSING AND THE THIRD MEMBER IS PULLED. A NEW SET OF 4.88 GEARS ARE INSTALLED ONTO THE FACTORY ELOCKER TO MATCH THE GEAR RATIO IN OUR NEW FRONT AXLE.

THEN THE FACTORY THIRD MEMBER IS DROPPED INTO OUR NEW TRAIL GEAR HOUSING, FOLLOWED BY A SET OF TRAIL GEAR CHROMOLY AXLES AND THE STOCK BRAKE ASSEMBLIES.

THE REAR SUSPENSION IS SIMILAR TO THE FRONT. ALL THE FACTORY SPRING MOUNTS ARE REMOVED, THE FRAME IS GROUND SMOOTH, AND STIFFENING PLATES AND BOXING PLATES ARE WELDED IN. A NEW FRONT HANGER IS INSTALLED, FOLLOWED BY THE REAR SWING SHACKLE, AND WE'RE READY FOR SOME AXLES.

(ANNOUNCER)>> UP NEXT, EXPEDITION APPROVED RUBBER FOR OUR RIDE.

(IAN)>> YOU OFF ROADERS KNOW THE DRILL. WHATEVER YOU'RE WHEELING, WHETHER IT'S IN THE WOODS, ON THE TRAIL, OR AT THE TRACK, CHANCES ARE YOUR RIG'S GOING TO BE GOING THROUGH LOTS OF WATER AND MUD. THAT MAY BE FUN BUT ALL THAT MUD GETS PACKED INTO EVERYTHING, ADDING A LOT OF WEIGHT. AND WHEN IT DRIES, IT'S A BEAR TO GET OFF. YOU CAN PREVENT MUD FROM STICKING BEFORE YOU TAKE YOUR

RIG OUT BY SPRAYING SOME WD 40 MULTIUSE PRODUCT ON SURFACES LIKE SKID PLATES AND SUSPENSION. THE SAME APPLIES TO ATV'S AND FARM VEHICLES, EVEN DIRT BIKES. A FILM OF WD 40 FROM THEIR BIG BLAST CAN COVERS A LOT OF AREA AND FAST. AND SINCE IT'S A WATER DISPERSANT, SPRAY SOME ON YOUR WINCH ROPE TO HELP IT SHED WATER AND STAY LUBRICATED. IT'S AN EASY SOLUTION TO KEEP MUD FROM STICKING IN THE FIRST PLACE. WHEN OUR TOYOTA FIRST ROLLED INTO THE SHOP TODAY, IT WAS SITTING ON A SET OF MICKEY THOMPSON BAJA MTZ RADIALS. NOW THEY WERE PERFECT FOR OUR TRUCK, ONLY 31 INCHES TALL, AND A GOOD TREAD DESIGN FOR A GOOD DUAL PURPOSE TRUCK. BUT AN EXPEDITION TRUCK NEEDS SOMETHING THAT'S JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE AGGRESSIVE. AND THANKS TO OUR NEW FOUR INCH TALLER LEAF SPRINGS AND

BRAND NEW SOLID AXLE UP FRONT, WE CAN HANDLE THE ABUSE THAT A LARGER WHEEL AND TIRE PACKAGE IS GOING TO PUT ON THE DRIVETRAIN. NOW WE DECIDED TO GO WITH A 35 INCH TALL BAJA CLAW TTC. NOW IT'S RADIAL CONSTRUCTION, SO IT'LL WORK GREAT ON THE ROAD, BUT THE TREAD DESIGN IS VERY AGGRESSIVE WITH LARGE OPEN BLOCK AND LOTS OF SYPING TO PROVIDE EASY CLEAN UP.

THE OUTER TREADS EVEN HAVE SCALLOPS CUT INTO THEM TO HELP

DIG INTO THAT DEEP SLOPPY DIRT WHEN YOU'RE OUT ON THE TRAIL. NOW THE 35 INCH TALL TIRE IS THE PERFECT HEIGHT FOR OUR RIG

GIVING US LOTS OF GROUND CLEARANCE BUT NOT SO TALL THAT IT'LL BE HARD TO HANDLE HIGHWAY DRIVING. AND WE DECIDED TO WRAP THEM AROUND A SET OF MICKEY THOMPSON CLASSIC TWO WHEELS, 17 BY NINE, IN THEIR NEW MATTE BLACK POWDER COAT FINISH.

WITH ALL FOUR TIRES AND WHEELS BOLTED ON AND THE TRUCK

SITTING UNDER ITS OWN WEIGHT, OUR AXLE SWAP AND SUSPENSION UPGRADE IS COMPLETE. NOW NO, YOUR EYES ARE NOT DECEIVING YOU, THE TRUCK IS

ACTUALLY SITTING A LITTLE TALL RIGHT NOW, BUT WE PLANNED FOR THAT. REMEMBER, THIS IS AN EXPEDITION RIG. WE'VE GOT A WHOLE BUNCH MORE WEIGHT TO ADD TO THIS TRUCK. HEAVY DUTY BUMPER UP FRONT, WINCH, GEAR IN THE BACK, AND PROBABLY EVEN A ROOF RACK. WE'LL WAIT UNTIL ALL OF THAT IS ON BEFORE WE MAKE A DECISION TO PULL A LEAF OUT OF THAT LEAF PACK AND BRING THE TRUCK DOWN A LITTLE BIT MORE. BUT ALL IN ALL, DITCHING THAT IFS SUSPENSION UP FRONT FOR A SOLID AXLE WAS DEFINITELY A LOT OF WORK BUT WELL WORTH IT. THIS RIG IS NOW READY FOR ANY ADVENTURE WE CAN THROW AT IT.
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