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gnob takes the wheel
This week’s episode brought to you by gnob…
I spent a few too many days on what was to have been a simple project. I got an opportunity to do some work on a very “custom” Tacoma. Which brings me back to the saying, “Just because you have tools, doesn’t mean you should be using them.” I often wish old cars could tell their tales of triumph, turmoil, and tragedy, because this one would have quite a tale. A couple of facts you should know: it’s an ’02 double cab Tacoma with a manual transmission.
Wait, you say, they didn’t offer a manual transmission. You’d be correct, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. In actuality, it’s a pretty clean swap. These kinds of rigs just make you wonder about the hodge-podge out there. A little bit of digging says the truck was a pre-runner (2wd) at some point in its life. Appears to have been frame swapped with an Xtra cab and then, and then, and then.
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A good portion of what I did was clean up of sloppy work, by both the current and previous owners. To be honest, I’m guilty of some of the same dumb shyt. That being said, always strive to be better and don’t hack jobs unless it’s an emergency. Doing it multiple times always sucks worse.
One of the owner’s complaints was the truck only had a two-door master window switch, so the rear windows worked, but only from their respective switches. The owner has small children and that didn’t really work for him. That was a fun little job that required ultimately tearing all door panels and a large portion of the interior panels and rear seat out.
It’s all about the little things.
I also reinstalled the under-car segment of the parking brake after it was removed for dual transfer cases. I kind of have a thing about working parking brakes where I live. As should you.
After some other mundane odds and ends, I also ended up doing a set of chromoly rear axle shafts since one of them was way outside spec and starting to cause a leak. Glad we found it before it turned into a gross brake mess as well.
For some reason, it turns out, Toyota decided to go away from a decades-old axle shaft design during this stage of the Tacoma. So swapping shafts should have been easy-peasy, except these are Tacoma and the new shafts fit everything but Tacoma. Thankfully, I do have a small graveyard of parts and had the bearing cups needed for the swap. They seemed high quality and didn’t fight with me during assembly.
The other fun part of this job was wiring up the truck’s factory electronic locker for anytime availability.
Toyota, from the factory, wires these lockers in a manner that only allows them to be used in 4WD low range. It also gives them a speed limitation. I made a quick video on the steps required for this “gray wire mod”, as it’s typically referred to. This modification tricks the locker computer into thinking that it’s in 4 low, so it’s okay to engage the locker. By also removing the Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS) signal, the locker can now be engaged while driving over 35mph.
While I can unfortunately see the engineer’s reasoning behind these “safety” features, grownups don’t need nanny features. Having access to the lock is super handy for times when you need a little extra traction but don’t need low or even 4wd. Navigating boat ramps, for example, or driving on wet pavement, especially when your pickup has a light rear end.
Another example while we’re on the subject of locker nannies is not having the ability to control both front and rear lockers independently. I’ve noticed ARB’s kits and typical 80 series locker setups do not allow the front without the rear. While that may not be a huge real-world concern, it’s just another example of someone making something “better” for you. I was able to wire around this problem in Yukon’s ARB clone setup. And while I’m not immediately familiar with the 80 series, I bet there’s a similar simple workaround.
That is about it for this week. I’m getting back to the Danny Bonaduce project. Recently found some donor parts locally. Some of these bits are getting pretty difficult to find any more. I really kick myself for not starting a Toyota truck wrecker back in the day. Would have been nice to save a few more of these things.
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Quote of the Week
That wraps up another week with Snale Racing! We’ll leave you with the quote that was most powerful for us this week. Peace!✌
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