Builds Back In Business: Ferg's Tacoma Build

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Dec 22, 2002
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Dude had added allpro sliders with custom fender bars, a cbi rear bumper and swing-out, boxed the rear frame in, swapped out the OME and put in an Icon suspension, went through with converting it to 5-speed manual (I had collected almost everything necessary for the swap and sold it all to him as part of our original deal), and then he drove it 50k miles.

The suspension and rear swing out are making a few clunks that I'll be tracking down, but overall, I'm pretty happy with the additional mods he did to it.

The bad news is, it threw a check engine code the second he rolled into my driveway. (Of course!) It was late and they were trying to get to a camping spot so he said to just let him know what it was and we'd work it out. They left, I hopped in and took it for a spin. I got it out to the highway a half-mile from my house and tried to let 'er rip and I immediately lost power/throttle and stalled the motor. Rolled to the side of the road, restarted the motor and the skinny pedal was acting super strange... wouldn't get any response from it until it was about half-way down, then it would give a little, then I'd try letting the clutch out and feather the gas a bit and it would just kinda stutter and buck a bit. Took a bit, but I was able to limp back home and get it back up the driveway. Felt quite defeated and super bummed. It was late so I said screw it and went to bed and would deal with it the next morning.

Came out the next morning, immediately hooked up the Bluetooth scanner and checked for codes. It showed a p2112 -- "throttle actuator control system - stuck closed". Reset the code and hopped in to try taking another spin. Got halfway around the block and got the same thing to happen again the second I tried to give it any significant amount of skinny pedal. Reset the code and tried again. Code again. Reset again. Played that sh*tty game back and forth a few times, limping my way back around the block and into the driveway. If you've never experienced the limp mode on these 03-04s ETCS-i, its an absolute bitch with a manual, let me tell you. Once back, I started googling. Found all the 700 threads on TTORA and customtacos and tacomaworld on the APPS and TPS throttle body issues that seems to plague the 03-04 ETCS-i system--especially with trucks that are supercharged, which this one has been for the past ~65k miles or so. Took me like 3 days to read through all the long threads, but I finally finished them, only to find nobody freaking knows how to fix it, only speculation. Seems the folks having the best luck with that issue are ones that get a new throttle body assembly and do the coolant bypass mod. However, mine throwing the 'stuck valve' code though might not be that /exact/ "mystery" issue cause a lot of those wouldn't get any codes, just limp mode.

So I talked to the dude I bought it back from about what was happening. He assured me he had no idea. Said he drove it the whole way from LA to here in Southern Utah without skipping a beat. Said he even had the truck checked over by a mechanic the week before to make sure all was well (I'll get to it later, but I found a few more things that a mechanic should have easily found, so i told him he should find a new mechanic.) But he offered to pay for whatever the fix is or even buy the truck right back. I told him I'd pull the TB and try cleaning it up and see if that does the trick at all and go from there. But, I had hand-wrist-elbow surgery just barely 2 months ago and I'm just barely getting to where I can kinda use that lefthand now a bit for some simple tasks. But still in a lot of pain and limited movement. I think I can get to where I can get the TB off--or at least remove the intake tube and check the TB function a bit.. Gonna give it go tomorrow. If not, I'll tow it over to my favorite local independent Toyota/Lexus experts here in Southern Utah--Pro Auto Care. Stay tuned for the next episode I guess. Haha.
 
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Something special about that gen Tacoma. The power and smaller size work very well together. I miss driving mine still after 10 years.
Good luck on fixing your issue. I look forward to seeing an update from you with it sorted out.

Just reading some of the posts reminded me of when I had mine. Good times
I remember taking mine to an experienced Lexus shop for a clutch. I explained my concern over the correct installation of the throw out bearing to prevent the squealing from what I had read on ttora. About a month later it showed up. I was bummed.
 
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Pulled the throttle body off and cleaned it best i could with TB cleaner. Used pretty much an entire can on it. Blew it off with compressed air, let it sit in the sun for a few hours, and then threw it all back together on the truck. Started the truck up and instantly goes into limp mode again. Ordered up a new TB from McGeorge (killer price at like $429 vs my local dealer at $655) and just gotta wait till it gets here in a week.

Talked to the dude again and he is still saying he'll pay for whatever the truck needs to get it going. I feel pretty confident he's good for it. I think once the new TB is in and the truck can at least drive, I'll take it over to the local shop and have them figure out where the brake fluid is leaking from. I dont have time to waste at the moment trying to track it down. Gonna have them do a once-over and see if anything else is jumping out at them on it also.
 
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Received these rear seat jackers on Christmas Eve and got them installed today. Got them from Desert Does It - Toyota Tacoma Seat Lift Blocks

The truck is currently immobilized thanks to the dead throttle body, so I can't take it on a test drive yet, but I can tell a big difference already and I think I'm going to be quite happy with the added height in the rear. I have it set at the 0.75" added rear height for now (they come with hardware to add another 0.50" for up to 1.25" total added rear height) and will go from there. For reference, I am 6ft tall with an inseam of 32" and I have long lanky arms and prefer to sit more upright (rather than slouched and/or leaning back) when driving. I found the stock Tacoma seat angles to be rather uncomfortable and will sometimes give me a bit of back pain on longer drives. These should help.

Really looking forward to driving it with these seat jackers in the rear. I did similar to a 2G Tacoma I had for a bit and it really made a big difference for me. (But there was so much more that I hated about that 2nd Gen.... lol! I had to come back to the 1st Gen.)

Here's a few pics of the rear seat jackers installed:

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Whelp, TB was supposed to arrive today but USPS says its been delayed. :( Two weeks now since I ordered it from Georgia on 12/23 and it still hasn't arrived. In hindsight, I woulda just paid the extra $200 to my local dealer and had it the next day from their warehouse. :-/ Thats what I get for trying to save a few bucks I guess. :sadpanda:
 
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Whelp, TB was supposed to arrive today but USPS says its been delayed. :( Two weeks now since I ordered it from Georgia on 12/23 and it still hasn't arrived. In hindsight, I woulda just paid the extra $200 to my local dealer and had it the next day from their warehouse. :-/ Thats what I get for trying to save a few bucks I guess. :sadpanda:

All shipping has suffered lately. Ordered a bicycle for my 11yo 20 days before Christmas. It has literally been to both coasts and as close as 70 miles away. Gone from our closest distribution center to GA twice. Now the tracking number doesn't work anymore.
 
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New throttle body did it. The thing is driving now. Actually, had a local buddy hit me up cause he heard I needed the tb and he had one at his shop so I ran over a week ago and borrowed his and it got the truck running fine. I finally got the new one and threw it on today and I'll give my buddy his back for a spare on the shelf. Also got the dude i bought the truck back from to cover the new throttle body and a couple of other items. I feel the deal is square now and he's a man of his word.

Still have a sh*t ton of maint stuff this truck needs though so I'll be working my way through that list for the next couple months. :-/
 
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Been driving the truck a bit more while also been mulling over the idea of sending this truck down the road again as it isn't quite giving me that loving feeling like it used to. LOL.

So I put it for sale. See what happens.

But in the mean time, I need to get working on all the maintenance it needs. First up is CV reboot as there is huge tears in the inner boots on both sides. I had these suckers rebooted just a month or so before I sold it. So they've been on the truck for ~3 years and ~50k miles. I used the ORS "high angle" boots for the inners. I kinda feel like those boots are maybe not quite as tough as they're made out to be.... I mean, 50k would be a decent run I guess--but, remember this truck is manual hubs... so those CVs wouldn't have been turning all that whole time... but also, the front coilovers were also super cranked up putting the CVs at a tight angle... but remember "high angle" boots... I dunno. I'm gonna go a different route this time and just go back to OEM boots.

So I backed the truck in the garage and started tearing into it. I'm also pulling the Icon suspension stuff off and getting rid of it. It's not tuned well for this truck and I don't care to mess with it. Swapping in the good old tried and true Old Man Emu stuff.

Also discovered both the SPC upper balljoints have some play in them so grabbed two new ones to throw on. The lower ball joints seem pretty good still. No movement in them that I can feel/see. I did them when I originally bought the truck (OEM LBJs done 2/16/17 ~55k miles ago) so they should be good for another 50k ish before I'd pull them.

And also up front the engine splash guards are shredded so I picked up some Rad Rubbers to throw on as well.

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Oh and also, in a fun round-about way, I bought some nearlyl new 255-85-16 KM2s on Tacoma steelies from a dude that bought them from @cruiseroutfit who had recently purchase them and put them on the 16" Tacoma spare steelies that were on the BJ74 that I sold him, which were the steelies I had on my old silver Tacoma before I sold it. LOL. So I now have my original silver Tacoma steel wheels back and gonna throw them on. 😁 The tires that are on now are 285-75-17 on FJ Cruiser steelies and the tires are too big and rub everywhere and they're running with spacers too, which I don't care for. And I prefer the good old Tacoma spare steelies and 255s. So yay!

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Took a short cut and left the inner boot on cause it looked pretty good still so only did the outer boot on this one. Then I actually had another Napa re-man one sitting here so threw it in the other side. By the shape of the inner bell, it appears to be an OEM that's re-man'd. I may kick myself later (if it turns out to be a POS), but I'm tired of working on the truck right now and just want to drive it.

Also did new SPC UBJs, swapped to OME suspension, put in some nice Rad Rubbers, and put on the new shoes.

Still gotta do the rear shocks and tires swap.

It's prob about 2.5 inches less total track-width, but I'm good with it.

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Wow. Truck drives like a dream now. New SPC UBJs (no more clunk), new CV boots, pulled out sh*t config'd ICON stuff and put in OME, and nice new BFG KM2s. Such a difference. Almost feels like the truck I used to have. I'd almost think about driving it somewhere fun now. 😁

I guess to be fair, I have no idea how old this icon s*** is, nor where it came from, nor if it is tuned for this truck. But I don't really care. The fact that it rides like sh*t and the coils are not even close to long enough, tells me I don't even wanna screw with it for two seconds. Rip it out, put in "tried and true". Done.

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yotadude520

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I swear this thread was a literal roller coaster of emotions!

Nice write up on the 4x4 Swap - my 2004 Tacoma is about to go under the knife as I'm almost ready to be doing my conversion (just bought a J shift transfer case!). I too am going manual hubs on mine. I was able to track down the manual hubs diff tube as well as new wheel bearings and hubs for the manual hubs. I'll be reusing my original spindles and will just press the new stuff in.
 
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Had had enough with the stock front seats in this truck. The seat jackers seemed to help a bit, but still not enough. Could never find a comfortable spot. So I started looking around for something else.

I'm not big on putting in random any old seats into a nice stock, matching gray interior, and I'm also not big on large over-bearing, after market racing seats. But I am big on stock -ish Toyota solutions. Heh. So I'd seen where others had swapped 3G T4R seats into their 1G Tacomas, and having had a 2002 3G T4R, I remember being quite comfortable driving that on longer drives. So I started looking into it a bit.

Theres a couple different types of seats that went into the 3G T4R, the base model being basically the same as the Tacoma ones, but then there is Sport and Limited seats which got more options on them--including bottom seat cushion height adjustability and back cushion lumbar support adjustability. They also have more side bolstering. And they came in a similar color gray that could match my Tacoma gray interior. I decided this was the avenue I was going to try.

The only real "issue" with them is that they are not quite 100% "bolt in". For each front seat, only two of the 4 seat bracket bolts holes line up to the Tacoma holes. The ones that line up are the ones on the inner (center console) side of the seats. Then the outer front bracket needs to be bent backwards a bit and then it will line right up to the bolt hole and mount locations. Then the last one, on the outside rear, you either have to drill a new hole into thr floor, or use a mount relocation bracket, or re-do the bracket/mount.

And it doesn't seem to get mentioned often, but the 4Runner seat belt receiver does not accept the Tacoma seat belt clip. However, it's easy enough to just swap the Tacoma seat belt receivers over to the 4Runner seats. Make sure and keep the seatbelt connector wiring intact with the Tacoma seat belt receiver if you need/want your seatbelt light to work on the dash.

So I'd been keeping my eye out for some seats for a few months. Gray ones seemed to be quite elusive, but I finally found a set on ebay and bought them.

For the 4th mount hole, I found a guy on TacomaWorld that makes a nice little relocation bracket. 4Runner Seat Adapters - https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/4runner-seat-adapters.622390/

Took me about an hour to get them fully swapped in and done (didn't realize the seatbelt receiver part until after I had them in, so had to pull them back out and swap the seat belt receivers).

Havent driven it yet, but initial sitting in the seat in the truck feels soooooooo much better. I am super stoked.

Oh, and I also installed a black steering wheel, airbag, and column cover from a 1998+ 3G 4R as well. The only thing that didn't directly swap with that was the cruise control connector. But that was easy to swap the Tacoma one onto the 4R wheel. I'm really happy with it.

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Needed to do something about the sleeping situation for camping for when some of the fam comes along. I've slept in the bed of the truck with the tailgate down and it was tolerable, but not ideal. And is a real PITA if anyone else comes with me (cause we gotta keep unloading and reloading all the gear each night and day).

So I bought an AllPro tent rack again and picked up a cheapy roof tent on fb market place. I went with the cab height version of the rack cause the old one I had was lower and I always found myself wanting more room under there. Got it all welded together and threw it on. The other reason I went with the cab height rack is I could run the "medium" sized 63" wide rtt on the 60" shortbed without it hanging over like crazy at the rear or hitting into the cab. Haven't used it just yet, but it'll def work a lot better than the bed of the truck or the ground.

Also got a buddy to help and we pulled off the giant swing out off the bumper. That thing is so damn heavy. Only problem now is that the guy who last owned the truck had the rear frame all boxed in and they ditched the underbed spare tire mount. So for now, I've got the spare lashed to the bed rack. It's pretty solid, but I need to figure something more permanent. I actually really like where it's at though so might just tie into the rack and the floor with a mount right there.

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Changing headlight bulbs snowballed a bit on me... 😀

(ifgnore all the boxes and crap piled everywhere... I'm in the middle of building some shelving in the attic)
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So a while back, I found the truck's hi-beams weren't working. It has some crummy LED conversion crap on it and for some reason, no hi-beams. So figured I'd pull that crap and do an upgraded headlight harness and some nice halogens (like I've done before on my old silver Taco and silver 4Runner). So ordered the harness and bulbs. But then the headlights themselves are super fogged up. So bought new headlights too. But have to take the grille off to take the headlights out. And have to remove the bullbar to get the grille off. And damn it's dirty behind there, need to clean it up. And may as well put the winch in while the bullbar is off. And may as well paint the bullbar while it's off too cause it looks like sh*t. And then I also have all new belts and a new HD/towing fan clutch I need to put in. And a 170 thermostat for the SC. And the SC is also due for a nose cone rebuild. Good times!

Oh and the driveshaft carrier bearing is completely ripped away from the rubber and is squealing like crazy so gotta change that sucker out too! (And damn that bearing is a PRICEY bugger!!!)
 

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