Vertical Improvements

Who would have ever thought that my 4runner would end up with these components? I say this boldly because I enjoy doing all types of offroading. Not only do I enjoy the ability to drive fast on the whoops in the dunes or out in the desert, I also enjoy rock crawling. Yes both are complete opposite ends of the spectrum but I do not engage in the extreme ends so the suspension setup that I have suits my needs. I'm sure people will give me the strange eye but I feel confident in my choices and it definitely works out nicely on the roads.


Front Suspension...

I enlisted the help of Total Chaos Fabrications in the spring of 2004 to work on an extensive project that helped pursue my dreams for the ultimate expedition vehicle. This meant that I wanted the plush driving characteristics and yet handle superbly on the dunes as well as on the rock trails. I could have easily gotten a simple 3" lift and some upper control arms but I wanted more. Getting a solid axle underneath my engine was not an option right off the bat because the new 8" front diff with its beefier axles were much stronger than any of the previous Toyota line. Initial calculations put the tolerances equivalent to a Dana 44 and I felt that these figures were adequate enough for me to keep the stock components. Since I wanted to do the prerunning speed runs as well, getting a quality long travel kit was a must.

After the grueling 6 months research and developement performed by Total Chaos Fabrications, the long travel was done in the spring of 2005. As you can see from the photo on the right, it's a rather unique design new to the Total Chaos Fabrications team. This long travel kit incorporates an uniball upper control arm and maintains a 100% bolt on application. It features a pre-tabbed lower control arm to include dual 2.5 shocks. The dual 2.5 shocks option offers maximum tune-ability to customize the ride for your specific application. Installing the primary coilover is necessary but the addition of the secondary smooth body or bypass shock can achieve maximum performance.

The changes made to the spindle and steering system on this 4th generation 4runner allowed for the development of a lower uniball conversion previously not featured on the older generations. Total Chaos Fabrications dedicated much of their time on developing the right setup to allow for the design of the lower uniball without dropping the spindle which effectively decreases the ground clearance on the vehicle. By maintaining the maximum ground clearance and wheel travel provided the best overall performance for both offroad and daily driving. The long travel kit provdes a true 13" of useable wheel travel while retaining the 4wd system. Total Chaos Fabrications provided the custom machined 300M extended axles to retain my 4wd system. Due to the changes in the spindle and steering, a boxed lower control arm was designed and incorporated a billet CNC lower control arm adapter. This piece was critical in ensuring that the spindle did not have to be lowered.

Optional skid plates were included in my kit as I wanted to protect the boxed lower arms when I navigate through the rough terrains that I encounter. The skid plates are crucial as the weakest links are now the welds unlike the tubular lower arms. A slight disadvantage but with the skid plates my fears are conquered! The kit includes all mounting hardware, urethane bushings and inner sleeves along with zirk fittings on the upper arms to lubricate the pivots on the vehicle. Limiting straps, adjustable limit strap clevis, upper shock mounts, upper and lower uniballs, tie rods extensions are also included.






List of equipment:
Total Chaos Long Travel Front Suspension - Featuring 13" Travel with Upper and Lower Uniballs
Fox Racing 2.5 x 7/8 Remote Reservoir Coilover
King Shocks 600lb coils


Rear Suspension version 1.0...

Since the front suspension features 13" of travel, the need for an equivalent performing rear was required. Using the factory points were out of the question as the stock featured only 8" of travel. This was 5" of less travel compared to my front setup so with the help of Bruce, we developed a custom rear suspension geared for future upgrades. First off, finding the right rear shock proved to be difficult. The limited real estate available meant that we had to figure out the best way to fit a shock that will compliment the front suspension. Finding the correct shock that will fit in the limited confines of the rear suspension was more than a chore. Luckily I was able to find a short body shock by Bilstein. Initially the design was geared for a Fox Shock for the rear to compliment the front since they do not market any short body shocks that went out the window rather quickly.

The image on the right shows the upper mount for the shock. The mounts are custom designed to fit in the small confines between the frame and body. All materials are 1/4" thick to ensure strength and rigidity as well as incorporating a boxed and triangulated design to ensure that the mount will hold up to the abuse that the 4runner will go through exploring the trails. The shock tabs are courtesy of Kartek.

The image below shows the boxed lower mount for the shock. We designed the bottom shock to sit close to the rear tire and wheel to avoid any rocks


from taking the lower mounts. The bottom mount is also developed out of 1/4" thick plates that is boxed as well. The double sheer design also ensures that the mounts will hold up and not fall apart on the trail. The mount itself was moved approximately 1.75-2" to accomodate better for the short body shock. All angles were measured and verified to ensure that no contacts are made on the shock or the mount itself.

The last image shows the final application for the rear shock. Not show in any of these shocks are the OME rear heavy duty coil (Part Number 896) and a rear brake extension bracket. The reason for going with the heavy duty coil over the medium duty coil was because of the planned rear bumper development. Since I was developing a rear bumper and a tire carrier, the 4runner would be very heavy compared to stock thus the heavy duty coil. This was not the only reason for the heavy duty coil but also because when on long trips, the rear will be packed with supplies and equipment that the heavy duty coil would come in handy. I would say on an empty load, the ride is very harsh and not as pleasant but ok for short drives. The rear brake extension bracket initially came with the Downey Offroad rear suspension kit. Since I've slowly upgraded all of my parts, this is the only piece that has survived.














List of equipment:

Bilstein 7100 Remote Resevoir Shock - Featuring 14" Travel on a 12" Body - Part Number AK7114SB04
Custom Rear shock Mounts (Upper and Lower)
Custom Brake Extension
OME Heavy Duty Rear Coil - 40mm Lift @ 150kg To 400KG Addition - Part Numnber: OME896

Rear Lower Links version 1.0...

This was a must do upgrade after bending both rear lower links. The stock links are durable but not stout for extreme adventures. I custom developed my own links to my specification to ensure that they are bomb proof. The end result, an 1.5" steel tubing featuring 3/4" heim joints. The heim joints are a 3 piece, high strength alloy where the ball features a machined misalignment shoulders. The specification on the heim joints are:

Ball - 52100 Steel, Hard Chrome Plated
Body - 4340 Chromoly Steel, Heat Treated, Zinc Plated
Race - 4130 Chromoly Steel Alloy, Heat Treated, Zinc Plated

This ensures that the links will not bend or get destroyed on the trails. The threading on the tubing are both clockwise. This is done to prevent the lower links from unwinding themselves off completely. Professional desert runner arms are made to narrow or widen on the fly by rotating the tubing but opted out of this as I wanted to ensure that once in place, it will not move. The only last bit that needs to be worked out are the mounts as the stock mounts are not holding up to take the additional abuse. Hopefully I'll have time to replate these mounts to strengthen them.



Top Left - Comparison of sample stock link to new lower control link.
Top Right - Lower link upper mount.
Left - Full view of lower link.




List of equipment:

3/4" x 7/8" Heim Joints
1.5" steel tubing




Rear 4-Link Version 2.0...

This is definitely not for the faint of heart. After tinkering with version 1.0 on the rear I decided that this setup was not going to be able to compliment the front as I originally anticipated. After researching for almost 2 years (off and on), I decided that it was time to do a true 4-link rear. This required the removal of the factory fuel tank as well as rerouting all fuel lines and any and all smog components to ensure the vehicle would comply with all local, state and federal regulations. For a complete write up please visit here!

Body Lift...

This is probably the easiest basic vertical improving modification available. It's not favored by many due to it's design as it separates the body from the frame but it is a modification that is necessary for some. This modification was a must as I needed the body and frame separation to accomodate for the rear upper shock mount. Not only this, the upgrade to 35" tires meant that I needed to move the body as far away from the tires as the traditional 3" lift was not going to support the 35" tires that I needed. The body lift are Courtesy of Roger Brown. Roger Brown's body lift comes in a variety of different configuration. They range from 1" - 1.5". He also offers optional heavy duty hardware which I highly recommend. Keep in mind that you are physically separating the body from the frame so making sure to use the highest quality hardware is essential. Safety is always key when building your rig so this should be a must purchase item with the body lift parts.

I chose to go with the 1.5" of body lift as I knew that I was going to be upgrading from the stock 265/70/16 (30.6" tires) to a 315/75/16 (34.6" tires). This meant that I was effectively going to need 4" of gain between the suspension lift and body lift. Since I knew that I my front suspension was dialed in between the 2.5" and 3" of lift I needed an additional 1 - 1.5" of lift. Since the front was going to vary over time I decided to go with the 1.5" setup as if I left my front dialed in at 2.5", the 1.5" body lift would give me the 4" that I need to fit the 35" tires.

Installation of the body lift is easy with the use of a hi-lift and the stock bottle jack. Roger Brown's instruction is clear and easy to understand. Just a rule of thumb, work from one side to the other. Lastly, make sure to use the radiator kit that is supplied to make the adjustments to the radiator height. Please make sure to loosen the steering link while doing the body lift and once completed, make sure to tighten the link. Double check all bolts and make sure to secure everything.

My impressions on the body lift are that they are a solid piece of product that has held up well to the abuse that I have given it. If you are not interested in a suspension lift and want to do a basic body lift, this is the way to go. I would not recommend this as a first means of lifting your vehicle but if this is to supplement your existing suspension lift then by all means get this lift. With the body lift, you should be able to safely add larger tires w/o any worries of rubbing as much as w/o the body lift.

For those that are interesting in this kit, please be aware that the stock bumpers may need modifications. From what I can remember the rear did not need any adjustments with the 1.5" lift. The bumper is attached to the body and will get raised the amount of the body lift so the bottom bolts/tabs will become useless but that should not become a safety issue. If you want, you can easily make a bracket to secure it but I don't really see a need. The front on the other hand may require some modications. Since when I did my body lift I didn't keep my stock bumpers, I'm basing this on what I can recall. Since the front bumper will get raised the same amount as the body lift, the cross member that is attached to the bumper may not align properly. I have read that some have disconnected the cross member and raised it by one notch (bolt) but I highly don't recommend this as now your front cross member is only secured by one bolt on each side. I would recommend either trimming the front bumper to accomodate for the change of the cross member location or suggest looking for an alternative solutions such as an aftermarket bumper.

< add image here if possible >

List of equipment:

Roger Brown 1.5" Body Lift




Future Modifications:


Bypass shock or Hydro Bumps
True 4 link rear suspension - This will utilize the same shock as well as the same mounts. Coils will be custom to accomodate for the longer travelling setup as well as the complete removal of the panhard bracket. Top control arms will match the lower control arms that will feature uniballs on both ends. Calculations are pending and this project will be next on the growing list of must do's.

 

Trail Armor

Taking your 4runner out on the trails can be exciting but it does come at a cost when you venture out on some of the more difficult trails. Even though the factory armor is sufficient for the easy to moderate trails, it is not built to handle the more difficult trails. Since I have a strong appetite for a great challenge removing the stock armor and getting strong and beefier armor was a must.

Sliders....

Sliders are the most basic armor available that is a must do for anyone that wants to hit the trails. It is versatile in that it can even double as a step (running board). All slider designs are build to protect the rocket panel (along with the door panels) - Basically all bady panels.

I enlisted the help of This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it at Demello Offroad in Santa Ana, California. We both discussed options on how we can improve every aspect of the 4runner can came up with some wonderful products.

Featured below are the one courtesy of Demello Offroad. They feature a hybrid design wich comes with a 2" x 2" square tubing for the base and a 1.75" round tube angled up for higher clearance. Close inspection of the photos below will show that the foundation of the sliders themselves are all built by the 2" x 2" square tubing. Demello put a lot of time into this design and the final product gives you the best off-road protection possible. Plenty of bracket support along with a stout plating for welding directly to the frame. Just looking at the design, it's meant for abuse!



Front Bumper....

Creating a custom front bumper was cruicial as the stock bumper just did not hold up to par with the trails I encountered. With the heavy modifications to the front suspension by Total Chaos Fabrications, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it had to come up with a slick design that complimented the front suspension as well increase approach angle and accomodate for a winch. With that in mind This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it developed a 2" round tube bumper utilizing a 2" x 2" square tubing dimple dyed subframe. This tube bumper is bolted on in several key areas to strengthen the bumper as well as support the Warn M8000 winch. Tabs for additional auxiliary lighting are also available. This front bumper comes available with and without the winch mounting plate. The front aluminum plate is used to cover the winch as well as lighten the bumper's total weight.



Rear Bumper....

Building a rear bumper was a whole different animal. After researching various vendors and even personal sites on the different types of rear bumpers, I went in and asked Bruce if he was interested in developing a custom rear bumper for my 4runner. Based on his skills and design of his bumper on his 4runner, I knew that this was the best all around design available. The simplicity of the design that made the bumper look stock yet abuseable for the trails sold me. Click here for his write up on his bumper.

Building my bumper was pretty much the same as the one he developed for his except for one key difference. The 3rd generation 4runner does not have a last cross member integrated into the rear bumper whereas the 4th generation 4runner does. This meant that I either had to work around this design or completely cut off the last cross member. Since the departure angle on the 4th generation was terrible and I knew that this was going to be an issue on the trail, an executive decision was made to chop off the rear section. In the end a good 6-8" of the rear frame was removed thus improving the departure angle significantly.

< insert photo of cut frame here >

Aside from this irreversible modification, the build up process is similar to the 3rd generation 4runner build. The only difference is that the 4th generation 4runner is slightly larger than the 3rd generation 4runner which meant that I had to build a cardboard mock up from scratch. Regardless, building with a cardboard mock up is a good idea to give you a physical representation of what the final product will look like.













List of materials used:
2" x 4" rectangular tube 3/16" thick
24" x 24" x 3/16" steel plates for the base bumper mount + integrated skid plate
4" x 12" x 3.16" steel plates for the support frame
10/11ga steel for the side and top
2" x 2" receiver bar with a forged collar and chain hoop (item number #80908,80851) from etrailer.com
2 - shackle hangers
Misc weather stripping


Skid Plate....

I once had a Downey Offroad skid plate but unfortunately this was only a directly stock replacement skid plate. It will suit for most users but for the trails I conquer, but a more sophisticated skid plate was needed. Mike (AZrain) built 2 prototype skid plates and I was one of the lucky souls to get a hold of this. It features a complete skid that covers everything all the way back to the center of the rig. This meant that I would have a complete belly skid which would be ideal for rock crawling. Check out the comparison and you'll get an idea. Keep in mind that this skid covered not only what Toyota's factory skid covered but also the transmission.





   

Drivetrain

Driveshaft...

After denting my stock rear driveshaft on one of my weekender trips, the need for a stronger driveshaft was required. I enlisted the help of JE Reel Driveshaft to help rebuild my rear driveshaft. The process took a few hours and after they finished the rebuild, I had one tough puppy. This driveshaft has been completely rebuilt and double sleeved to ensure that I would not dent it or candy cane it as easily as I would have with my stock driveshaft.

Rear Differential Extended Breather...

I'd like to say that I've successfully done the rear diff breather mod on the new 4th gen 4runner. The existing parts worked as I expected.

Expected time: 1 hr or so including trying to take pix.

Parts required:
90404-51319 Union
90930-03136 Plug, breather

Tools required:
13mm and 14mm Box/Open wrenches
Screwdriver
Wire Cutter
hot water

Image of the stock rear diff (looks the same like any toyota!)


Use a 14mm wrench to remove the stock breather. Before removing the breather completely make sure to clean around the breather so you don't get anything side.


Should look like this when you remove the breather..


Add the union into the differential housing. Should tighten down but will have a thread or two shown. (Use 13mm wrench)


Attach the hose. Make sure you have enough slack so when the diff is at it's lowest point you still have enough hose for it to move.


Run the hose along any route to a higher point in the vehicle. I chose to run it into the gas cap area which is pretty darn high. If the water goes that high I'm already in trouble anyway!




Dip the other end of the hose in hot water to let the rubber hose expand. Then insert the new breather and clamp it down. Find a place to secure it and you're done!
   

Accessories

The 2003 Toyota 4runner comes with a highly sophisticated traction control system (ATRAC). The beauty of this system is that it really works. It's been trail tested and it is much more capable than any older version available. Toyota's engineer really fine tuned this system for the average owner that the need for a locker has become extinct. Unfortunately, if you are an extreme offroader and love to hit the more difficult trails, aftermarket lockers are a must.

Rear air locker....

After looking at the raw data on the rear diferential of the 2003 Toyota 4runner, I quickly learned that this rear differential was the same as the 8" differetial found in the previous generation 4runner. This meant that the rear locker available from ARB would fit the 2003 4runner. With this in mind, I enlisted the help of T and J Performance of Orange, CA to help with the installation of the rear locker. The installation of the ARB Rear locker (part number RD23) proved to be a snap.



ARB supplies all of the switching components with the locker. Therefore I used the ARB supplied air compressor switch to give that "authentic ARB" look. Naturally, this switch controls the ExtremeAire Compressor. Instead of using the ARB rear locker switch I decided to go with the 80 series Landcruiser switch. It is the dial switch located on the other two images. The reason why I went with this look and feel instead of using the ARB switch is because I wanted to preserve and maintain the same stock Toyota look. The only downside on using this switch is that it is not back lit so you will not be able to find the switch in the dark.



List of equipment:
84725-60020 (80 series LC Locker Switch)
ARB RD23 Rear Locker













Air Compressor....

Additionally to power the air locker, the need for a quality compressor was needed. After searching online for the best solution, I felt that the ExtremeAire Compressor was the best product available for my needs. The 100% duty cycle is what was drawn to me and I just went with it. This compressor can air up a 33" tire from 15psi to 36psi in less than 90 seconds!



The compressor fits perfectly as shown and looks as if it was meant to fit in that spot!

















Power Steering Cooler....

Upgrading to 35" tires meant that the stock components will be tested to it's upper limits. With this in mind, the need to add a power steering cooler was a must. Simply picked up a simple power steering cooler from Summit Racing (approximately $30-$50) and installed it on the same day. The cooler itself is located in front of the radiator and next to the transmission cooler. The power steering resevoir also has been relocated to the front of the radiator as well to free up room for the additional battery.
   

Recovery Gear

As you venture deeper into the unknown, it's good to have a good set of recovery gear as you never know what you will encounter. Properly building your rig is one thing but also being prepared and having the proper recover gear is also critical.

Here is a small list of items that I have collected as part of my recovery gear:

Warn M8000 Winch
Amsteel Blue Synthetic Rope 3/8" x 100 yds
Warn Receiver Shackle Bracket - Part Number: 63063
Warn Shackle 3/4" - Part Number: 13047
Assorted Recover Straps: 2x30, 3x30, 2x20
Tree Saver Strap

   

Electrical

Support Lighting...



After my first night run, the need for additional lighting was crucial. Finding the right lighting for my rig meant researching the various vendors and making the right decision on which product best fit my needs. I was able to narrow down my decisions between the Hella 4000 Rally vs the Lightforce 240 XGT. After much nail biting research, I decided that the Lightforce 240 XGT best fit my needs. One of the key deciding factors for me was the fact that these lights had literally no vibrations based on user reviews. Not only was it vibration free, it featured a shatterproof lense which meant that I didn't have to worry about any rocks damaging the lights! Light, strong and even bright as heck! It's a must have for any night time offroader!

The image to left shows the sample light pattern of the Lightforce 240 XGT. This lamp is focused beam that is strictly geared for long range vision. The Lightforce 240's proves to be an excellent source for bright lights but the need for additional lighting is always welcomed. I hope to acquire some Lightforce 170's to complete my set up in the front of the vehicle. The addition of the 170's should fill the void between the Lightforce 240's and the HID lights. Stay tuned...

Installation of the Lightforce 240 XGT was very easy using their optional wiring harness. I highly recommend picking up the harness as this takes the guess work out of the picture. Their supplied installation diagram makes it easy for the novice installer. The harness came with their own switch but opted for the more factory look at installing a factory Toyota switch found on the 2005+ Toyota Tacoma. The parts are not cheap as it's from the "stealer" but it does give the button console a more factory look and feel. As shown in the image #1 is the ground followed by connecting both #2 and #3 to the relay found on the wiring harness. #4 will be the power. Depending on how you configured the relay, it can be directly attached to the main power source or your factory headlights as an alternative. I opted to connect it directly to my secondary circuit which is hot giving me the ability to light the night up w/o the headlight being on. This is purely optional.



List of equipment:
Lightforce 240 XGT (quantity - 2)
Lightforce Wiring Harness
Toyota Factory Foglight Switch (found on the 2005+ Toyota Tacoma) - Part # 84160-04010
Toyota Factory Foglight Connector Clip - Part # 90980-11090
Toyota Factory Termianl - Part # 82998-12340


Dual Battery...

With the addition of the Warn winch and Lightforce lights, upgrading the stock power supply was a must. I searched around for the best all around dual battery configuration and based on my research the Roger Brown dual battery configuration best suits my needs.

Folloing Roger Brown's setup, here's the list of items needed for this dual battery setup:

Optima YellowTop Batteries - Part Number: D34/78
Painless Wiring 250A Dual Battery Current Control Systems (Weatherproof) - Part Number: 40103
1/0 Terminals (Part #32-902-1)
1/0 Welding Cable
Cable lugs (Part #32-6410-38)


Auxiliary Fuse Block...

Instead of routing all of the accessories to the stock wiring harness, I decided to build a separate circuit to power all fo the toys. I used the Painless Wiring 7 Circuit Weather Resisitant Auxiliary Fuse Block (Part #70207) to supply all of the central power signal for my CB, Ham Radio and all of my accessory lights.


2006 Headlamp conversion...

After upgrading my bumper with the stout Demello front bumper, I lost the ability to use my turn signals. Since I did not want to mount the turn signal application on the bumper itself (makes it easier to install/reinstall bumper w/o additional wires), I had to find an alternative solution. Some ideas that I tossed around were adding a custom LED system into the stock headlamps but this proved to be more work than I wanted to do. After looking at what was available I noticed that the 2006 Toyota 4runner changed their headlight assembly to include the turn signals. After a close inspection at the local Toyota dealership I called This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it over at Northridge Toyota parts and ordered a complete headlight assembly. Nickols informed me that there were two different head lamps available and he felt that the chrome interior best complimented my Lightforce 240 XGT's. I quicked ordered the following items:

#81130-35440 Head lamp
#81170-35420 Head lamp
#81125-35440 Wiring harness for turn signal / city light

The other head lamp items are 81130-35470 and 81170-35450.


HID conversion...

After installing the 2006 head lamps, I decided that adding a HID kit would improve my visibility on the trails during the night runs. With this in mind, I contacted This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it at Xenon Depot to get more details on their HID conversion kit as they came highly recommended by many users in the automotive community. Their kits comes "plug and play" which really makes installation easy. They use only the highest quality OEM brand components. Based on reviews by many other users of the Xenon Depot product, I went ahead with the 6000K color kit.

The image to the left slows the complete kit from Xenon Depot. As shown the kit I received includes:

Philips 6000K bulbs (2) - H11 Bulb sockets (the 2006 head lamps use H11 bulbs vs the 2003-2005's 9006 bulbs.)
Philips XLD 145 Gen 4 slim Ballast (2)
9006 Wiring Harness (plug and play)









The 6000K bulbs will have a slightly bluish output during the initial break-in period but after that the output should have a nice clear white beam. Xenon Depot includes a separate wiring harness to ensures proper power settings for the HID kit. This is critical as the factory harness will damage the bulbs without a separate harness to power them. The harness is complete and does not need any cutting or splicing. All you need to do is connect the positive end to the battery which has a 20A fuse (7 - 8 inches from the battery connector) and the negative end to the frame. The wiring harness is of OEM quality and is completely sealed. This is truly a plug and play product which makes it superior to the other HID kits avilable on the market.

Installing the Xenon Depot HID bulbs are simple. Simple remove your old bulb and replace it with the HID bulb. Connect the wires to the supplied wiring harness and you are done. The only difficult part for the installation is finding a clean spot for the ballast and zip tying the wiring harness around the stock wiring loom. Average time for the installation was 30 minutes.

The images below shows a good comparison of the output of the two types. The bottom left shows the stock 2003 4runner halogen headlamp. The bottom right shows the Xenon Depot HID 6000K conversion kit. The images should speak for itself.



The next two images are just a sample of the 2006 4runner projector headlamp with the Xenon Depot HID 6000K conversion kit.



The bottom left image shows the output of the Xenon Depot HID 6000K conversion kit. The bottom right image shows the combination of the low beam and the high beam.



The bottom image shows the out of the low beam, high beam and the Lightforce 240 XGT's.

   

Engine

Internal Snorkel System...

I have never been fond of the external snorkel system because it just looks fugly so devising an internal snorkel system was a must. Luckily many individuals have done this mod using off the shelf items that doing this was going to be trivial. Since Bruce did this exact modification on his 3rd generation 4runner I enlisted his assistance in getting this modification done.



Internal Snorkel System
   

Raffle Fundraising

Raffle Prize Fundraising
We are proud to have many vendors sponsor the Annual Pismo Jamboree. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase at the event booth during the event leading up to the raffle. The raffle tickets will be $5 each, 3 for $10, 10 for $25. Net proceeds will go to the Friends of Oceano Dunes (http://www.oceanodunes.org/) organization to help keep Oceano Dunes SVRA open to the public.

Raffle 50/50 Fundraising

The 50/50 raffle fund-raising simply involves the sale of raffle tickets with the proceeds being split evenly (50/50) between the winner and the Friends of Oceano Dunes organization to help keep Oceano Dunes SVRA open to the public. This will be another way to support them to keep the dunes open to the public. The raffle tickets will be $1 each, 6 for $5, 15 for $10.
   

Communications

Citizen Band...

Being able to communicate with others on the trails is always a rewarding experience. There are many different technologies out there from cellular, citizen band, family radio service, ham radio and satellite. The most commonly used techonlogy on the trails are citizen band.

After investing in many different radios I finalled went back to the simple and easy to use Uniden Pro 520XL. The size alone makes it great for installing it anywhere. My cb is installed right under the Pioneer radio which fits in the double din unit. The image to the right shows how small the unit is. I chose this unit for it's size and the feature it had. The ability to add an auxiliary PA speaker in the engine bay helps when I am outside of the rig. This gives me the ability to listen to others while tending to the rig. The Uniden Pro 520XL also comes with an external speaker source. I have the Uniden ESP5 external speaker sitting on the driver grab handle so that I can hear all conversations without using the handset.

I went with the 3ft and 5ft Wilsone Fiberglass Antenna to supply the signal for the CB. The shorter 3ft antenna is used primarily for the city to ease drop on the truckers communicating on the current traffic congestion and the 5ft antenna is the workhorse for the trails. A quick disconnect and a heavy duty spring is also equipped to make it easy to swap between the two antennaes.





Ham Radio...

The addition of the ham radio is strictly for the trail runs with the desert offroading group as they use this technology for the Baja races. Since I will be travelling with the Total Chaos Fabrication group on their desert runs, adding the ham radio was a must. Not only this, the ability to have an additional source of communicating is also a great perk. After researching many different sites, I went with the Yaesu FT-7800R (VHF/UHF Mobile Tranceiver). The beauty of this unit is that the body can be mounted anywhere while the face can be mobile. I elected to install the body under the driver seat along with my auxiliary circuit while the face is located by the transmission shift gate. Two different Larson antennaes supply the signal for the ham radio. Just like the CB, the shorter antenna works for the city while the longer antenna works for the trails.

   

Wheels and Tires

With the evolution of my 4runner, the desire to have the ability to run lower psi tires on the trails meant that I would need beadlocked wheels. Since I did not find any beadlocked wheels that fit my taste, I went in search for a factory Toyota tire that I could beadlock. I knew that OMF Performance has the skills to beadlock virtually any wheels, I researched into the best factory wheel that fit my 4runner. I found a set of 2005 Toyota Tundra 16" wheels that I really liked and went forward with the headlocking process. The finished result was spectacular. Testing it on the trails also proved that the beadlock wheels were a hit. The optional "rock domes" also help to protect the mounting hardware as well as provide additional traction under certain conditions. I've personally tested it on the rocks and they work flawlessly.



The 2005 Toyota Tundra factory tires feature a 16x7 specification but I had OMF make the wheels 16x8 to better accomodate for the Goodyear Wranger MT/R 315/75/16 tires that would be mounted in place.

A separate set of 285/75/16 tires are mounted to my American Racing AR-23 Wheels (16x8 0 Offset 4.5 Backspacing).
   

Body

Front fiberglass fender....

Getting the Total Chaos Fabrication long travel kit meant that I had to get some wider fiberglass. Since there are no fiberglass available for the 2003 Toyota 4runner, I had to go with the next closest fiberglass available. The Glassworks Unlimited 2005+ Toyota Tacoma Front Fiberglass was used as the base design and was modified to fit the 4runner lines. This fiberglass is one of a kind and only one available at the current time (January 2006).

Rear fiberglass quarterpanel...

When I committed myself in building the rear bumper I also had to commit myself in building a custom rear quarterpanel. Since I've never worked with any automotive body parts, this was a great learning experience. I started with some free surfboard foam that I acquired at a local surf shop. Molding the foam was easy as all I did was sand down until the shape I desired fit the profile of the rear panel. Once the panel was completed, I started coating the foam with fiberglass. Keep in mind that I've never worked with fiberglass before so it was such a pain in the rear. This project took me nearly 2 months to finish as it proved to be more difficult than originally estimated. After a grueling 2 months, the completed fiberglass looked rather professional. I give props to the body shop to clean the edges and smooth out the finish for the paint.

Here's the completed quarter panel. The panel also includes the flare to compliment the stock fender flare. The color is two tone as well to match the stock look and feel.