Builds empty80's Rolling Research Build (1 Viewer)

empty80

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Sep 18, 2016
Messages
510
Location
ABQ, NM
After some considerable time and lessons learned, I’ve decided to encapsulate my build here to share some of the “knowledge” I have obtained. *Spoilers* most of what I have applied to my truck, I have learned from others. I've highlighted a few major headings as they pertain to the systems that most of you are interested in. I hope you enjoy!

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Pictured with Ridge Grappler LT295/70r18

Mass
Parameters: 7/12/2020- Daily driving with an empty 24 gal aux tank.

Front Axle- 3440 lbs
Rear Axle-4040 lbs
Combined-7480 lbs

I immediately found 50 lbs worth useless and redundant object in the drawers, and removed it. Theoretically, I’m down to 3990 lbs in the rear, with a combined weight of 7430 lbs with an empty aux tank, 7575 ish (4135 lbs rear axle) with a full aux tank.

The Truck
Midnight Black with Terra interior- I purchased the truck from Toyota of Santa Fe in January 2019 after a fair amount of research. It had 26,000 miles, and was a recent trade in from a local couple. Based on the saved locations in the GPS history, I assume a lot of highway miles to and from Texas. Additionally, there was a trailer brake controller installed, so I assumed trailering to and from as well. In all, the chassis looked great, the interior was clean and the deal was right.

Suspension
I had the suspension done at Tactical Application Vehicles in Albuquerque. It consists of:

OME BP-51, OME 2724
King 2.5” Coilovers 600lb springs and compression adjustable reservoirs
King 2.5” shocks,
TAV Spec’d firmer valving, compression adjustable reservoirs, Revalved/Rebuilt by Filthy Motorsports
OME 2722, 2723,
Timbren SES Bumpstops

I had the same setup on a T4R, and absolutely loved it. However, it hasn’t directly translated to the 200-series. The first major issue I had, was the springs on the wrong side of the truck. Not a world ender, but it did contribute to a lean. Thanks to @Markuson, I got that ironed out.

3/20/20- I have made a ton of adjustments to my suspension setup. I have had what seems like a suspension imbalance that felt like a soft valving issue in the rear passenger corner of the truck. This has been prevalent since the suspension work was done. I have slowly worked through little issues one at a time, from balancing load, to reservoir pressures, spring location and KDSS resets. I assumed the Timbren SES was causing an uneven rebound, but I ran for a couple days without the Timbrens, and still it persisted. I reached out to Ben at Filthy Motorsports, to inquire about the viability of my setup. In addition, I also hit the books to educate myself of the intricacies of valving and pressurizing the system, essentially tuning. Ben had some novel wisdom to share, and FWIW, apparently the King 200-series OEM systems are spec'd for the international models, leading them to be undersprung for U.S. models. Ben recommended at least 650lb springs for the front. He also said he could do complete evaluation of the suspension components. Eureka!!! I started taking measurements. It turns out, the front passenger side coilover had an extra three turns of pre-load on the coil. Why? I don't know if there was logic behind it, or what that logic could have been other than leveling the truck. I reduced the preload on that coilover. It did nothing to hub-to-fender measurements on either side. I also conducted a KDSS reset at the same time. Additionally, I upgraded to the 2724 springs. The Timbren SES stops definitively interfered with the seating of the 2724 on the driver side, so off they went. I am putting the factory stops back on it, and hoping for the best. I am now in the process of dialing in my setup to satisfy the butt dyno. So far, so good.

7/10/20- So far, so good...or so I thought. I’m still not balanced or stable. Best I can figure, I am under-valved. \Since I’m not getting the support locally, I decided to go with a set-up that requires less attention. I’ve scheduled a date with Slee to replace the suspension set-up with BP-51.

8/2/20-:beer::beer::beer: Kings have been brilliantly revalved by Filthy Motorsports. I am beyond pleased with the feel of the truck. It took a year to get it straight. The “Firmer Valving” turned out to be a load of nonsense. Filthy Motorsports confirmed no adjustments to the valve pack at all. Filthy Motorsports knocked it out of the park! Now I can tear something else up on the truck since I’m not replacing the entire suspension!!!

12/1/20- Still not completely satisfied with the performance of the suspension as a system. Filthy Motorsports did an outstanding job revalving the rears, but fronts still leave a bit to be desired. At this point, I am once again strongly considering alternatives.

12/12/20- Switched to OME BP-51. I hope this is the end of my suspension criticisms.

Other issues I’ve had with this setup:
- Driver’s side coil over interference with LCA bump stop.
- Rear driver’s side spring rubbing on Timbren bump stops. I have removed these when I added the 2724 due to intereference. At full droop, there's a chance the spring could dislodge.
- King Shock reservoir pressures were mismatched from the factory. This is second hand information, but Kings ship with ~120psi. All four corners of my set were mismatched between 100-150psi. On TAV’s recommendation, the reservoirs are currently at 200psi.
- There was a pinched O-ring in the reservoir hose on one of the rear shocks.
- Imbalance in response between the passenger and driver side compression and rebound.


Wheels/Tires
Method Racing MR701- 18x9, +25mm/6”
Nitto Ridge Grappler LT285/70r18

I started with Method Racing MR701- 17 x 8.5, 0mm/4.75” and Toyo R/T LT285/70r17. I found this setup to be very harsh in daily driving conditions. Normal road imperfections seemed abnormally harsh. I ran tire pressures as low as 30psi, and softened up the compression dampers on the Kings. It still always come off as excessively jarring. The sensations manifested itself as a reverberation through the steering wheel, as if the tires and wheels were acting against the suspension. I ruled out shock settings, reservoir pressures, lug nut torque and tire pressures. The wild speculation I arrived at had to be the offset.

Around that time, Method Racing released the 18” version of the MR701 with 25mm offset. I paid my money, and took my chances. I wrapped them with Ridge Grapplers in LT295/70r18 as a gamble. Based on some extrapolation from the Wheels and Tires Database, I knew it was going to be close. I had rubbing on the KDSS at full lock to the right. I added ¼” plates to the front hubs, and it barely rubbed. The problem was, I started rubbing on the rocker panel on the passenger side. Already assuming I have suspension gremlins I’m working though, I opted to go down to the LT285/70r18. I did not remove the ¼” spacers, and everything is perfect. My truck finally feels like the front is working in concert with the suspension, and not against it. I am very pleased with this set up.

Other issues:
Slee’s rear bumper and tire carrier is legit, but word of the wise, a 0mm offset LT285 setup will leave you with a long lever problem. The mount is adjustable, but it will not collapse all the way to allow tension on the tire. I realized this was an issue the first time I started to get up to speed on a concrete section of interstate. The tire oscillating up and down was pretty bad, and the rotational interia the tire was gaining was alarming.

My solution was to cut about an inch and a half off, and weld it. Permanent solution for what ultimately was a temporary problem. With the wheel and tire combo changes, I have been using hub spacers for “adjustability.”


Overkill…I mean Armor
Slee Rear Bumper/Tire Carrier/Jerry Can Basket
BudBuilt Ultimate Rock Sliders
BudBuilt Stage 4 Rock Armor Skids- ¼” steel
Trail Tailor LCA Mount Guards
Trail Tailor Shock Guards
3M 1080 Vinyl in M261 Dark Matte Gray.

Yeah…overkill. During LCDC, I quipped with @Sac Cerevisiae, I should call the truck, “Buy once, cry once.” This is the only part of the build that has required no additional thought.

The vinyl was done by Revive Wraps in Albuquerque. Mike was very detail oriented, and his seams are clean. He did run a couple days over on his estimate, but I’m glad he didn’t cut corners to deliver on time. It has done a pretty good job of keeping trail scrub off the paint. In the Albuquerque sun, we'll see how well it holds up.

A word on lollipop nuts: vice grips and neodymium magnets are very helpful during slider installation. Be patient. If you drop a lollipop nut in the frame, gorilla tape a neodymium magnet to a screwdriver, and go fishing! This problem didn’t solicit any four-lettered words, much less the invention of new ones that I’ll get into later with the seat covers.


Electronics
sPOD Bantam w/ HD Panel
Icom 4100A
Blue Sea Systems ST Blade Fuse Block 6 Circuit
Blue Seas Systems Accessory Panel- 15A Circuit Breaker, 12V Socket, 2.1A Dual USB Charger, Mini Voltmeter
National Luna Dual Battery Kit
Slee Auxiliary Battery Tray
Odyssey 35-PC1400 Aux Battery
NOCO Genius 10 Battery Tender
HKB Electronics Diode

For the sPOD touch panel, I dropped the overhead console, and removed the sunglasses holder. The panel fits nicely in there, and doesn’t interfere with the rear-view mirror.

The Blue Seas System Fuse Block is hook and looped to my ARB drawers behind the 2nd row passenger seat, so I can have easy access to add/subtract as necessary. It is connected straight to battery power.

I have the accessory panel mounted on the surface of the ARB Passenger Side Fit Kit.

As for the Icom, the radio itself is hook and loop fastened next to the BSS fuse block. I have hook and looped the radio faceplate to the overhead console using the magnetic mounting plate. I do not keep the faceplate out when not in use, so I’m not terrible concerned about the lack of permanence with this solution.

The communications cabling for the mic and faceplate was routed in the passenger side door sill. The faceplate cable was ran up the B-pillar, and over the side curtain airbag so as not to interfere with deployment. Once you get over the airbag, the headliner opens up substantially. I routed the cable around the moon roof and under overhead c. The mic cable was run under dash, radio head, back under the center console next to the driver seat belt receiver. This was never meant to be a permanent solution, but it is 1) out of sight, 2) out of mind, and 3) it works.

After much deliberation, I decided the National Luna Dual Battery Kit, and a maintenance charger would fit current and anticipated use case for the next few years. I'm not looking to push the boundaries of what is possible/practical. I'm just looking to isolate all my gadgets from the starting battery. It is going to take a little more effort on my behalf to use the NOCO Maintenance Charger to keep the aux battery topped off, but I'm ok with it. It will also assist in getting the most of life out of the starting battery as well.

Issues:
-The sPOD appears to have failed. It was returned and replaced under warranty.
- HKB Diode caused an issue with the throttle body performance. Not sure why, but HKB's website does reflect that their diode isn't compatible with 2017+ US Model. :meh:


Storage
2ea- ARB RDRF 1045
200 Side Wing Fit Kit
Mac's VersaTie Anchor Plate Assemblies

I have one clean (clothes, blankets, snivel-gear), and one dirty drawer (tools). The tools are on the passenger side to counteract some of the weight from the spare on the passenger side. On the sides of the drawers, I keep my recovery soft materials (ropes, shackles, etc.). As for the tools I carry, every time I take on a project, I use what I have in my drawers. If I find something I need, and don’t have in that kit, I add it.


Misc.
ARB Twin Compressor mounted to a Slee bracket.
LRA 24 Gal Aux Tank
Wet Okole Seat Covers
Eezi-Awn Load Bars
Eezi-Awn K9 Platform 1.8M x 1250mm
Eezi-Awn Manta 270 Awning
Nuna Rava
Stop-Tech Truck Axle Packs
Dometic CFX35W
Oztent RV-4
Oztent Rivergum Mattress
Oztent Gecko Stretcher Cot
Tembo Tusk Skottle


The brakes on truck were toast by 38K miles. The dealership claimed they were unable to turn the rotors, because the heat damage and bluing was too severe. I assume most of that was contributed to the trailering I assumed with the previous owner. I went all in for Terrain Tamers, but my situation was getting pretty uncomfortable while I was waiting for the next shipment to land in the U.S. I went with Stop-Tech, and it made a huge difference. I'm closely monitoring the wear status because there seemed to be a huge imbalance between the interior and anterior pads. If this trend continues, I may replace the calipers to see if that is an underlying issue.

The seat covers were the most frustrating part of the entire build. They are tight and stiff. Also, the fit and finish of the LC itself doesn’t afford much extra room to stuff extra materials. The instructions were loose and generic at best, skinned fingers, bent finger nails led to one rough installation. I invented some new four-lettered words in that process. The wife, with all her patience and poise, finished installing the seat covers for me.

I started with Load Bars based on @indycole's use of them. I ran them on both, 65mm feet and 40mm feet. They seemed like a simple solution to mounting an awning and other miscellaneous items. Then I started wandering down a rabbit hole of finding more cargo space. Bringing the family to LCDC 2019 highlighted the fact that I needed somewhere to put cargo. I was looking at adapting Alu-Cab load bars and the Alu-Cab Cargo tray to the Eezi-Awn roof rails. All the hardware seemed interchangeable, but I decided to go with the sure thing. I have the K9 mounted on 40mm feet. I’m limited in adjustability, but it’s just right for the length of the rack. It's the only time I have wimped out on the learning process. :meh:

This build is an ongoing learning project, so maybe one day it this will be a concrete build sheet.

Cheers! :beer:

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Photo Credit @ethernectar

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Angelo1

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Jul 29, 2013
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Knoxville, TN
I’m surprised the 295/70/17 didn’t fit well. Did you mean size 18” wheel as mentioned under picture you provided? I have ko2 35/12.5/18 with a slight rub at full turn. I am considering on going to 295/70/18 at some point, would prefer a true 34” with a 11.8 width. You have to do a little metal cutting behind front tires near rockers.
 
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empty80

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 18, 2016
Messages
510
Location
ABQ, NM
I’m surprised the 295/70/17 didn’t fit well. Did you mean size 18” wheel as mentioned under picture you provided? I have ko2 35/12.5/18 with a slight rub at full turn. I am considering on going to 295/70/18 at some point, would prefer a true 34” with a 11.8 width. You have to do a little metal cutting behind front tires near rockers.

That was a typo. I ran LT295/70r18 for a little over a month. One number makes a big difference! I’m sure with the KDSS relocation bracket, it would not have been an issue. Since I was still hunting for a suspension gremlin, I didn’t want to add another factor to the equation when switching set-ups.
 
Last edited:

Angelo1

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Jul 29, 2013
Messages
1,431
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Knoxville, TN
That is was a typo. I ran LT295/70r18 for a little over a month. One number makes a big difference! I’m sure with the KDSS relocation bracket, it would not have been an issue. Since I was still hunting for a suspension gremlin, I didn’t want to add another factor to the equation when switching set-ups.
You have a great looking rig and excellent choice on the wrap color. Please feel free to add more pics of your 200 😊
 

empty80

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Joined
Sep 18, 2016
Messages
510
Location
ABQ, NM
Nice setup. Which fridge do you have? Like it?
I have the Dometic CFX35W. It is a pretty efficient unit, and the thermal blanket helps a lot. I'm a fan. If we plan and prepare well, we can fit about four days of food in there for the three of us.
 

empty80

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Joined
Sep 18, 2016
Messages
510
Location
ABQ, NM
Awesome write up and great photos! Thank you.
Makes we want to spend more money my wife doesn't know about.
Luckily, my wife doesn't question too much. She knows, and generally accepts, it's only a matter of time before I pull the trigger on the next boondoggle. Time spent in the garage...that's a different story.
 
Joined
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Messages
343
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Birmingham, AL
@empty80 - Fantastic build thread! I noticed in your camping picture, you have an Oz-Tent. Do you like it? Which model did you get?... and most importantly, where do you store it for travel? I've read the Oz-Tents have a very long storage length due to the installed tent frame.
 

empty80

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Joined
Sep 18, 2016
Messages
510
Location
ABQ, NM
@empty80 - Fantastic build thread! I noticed in your camping picture, you have an Oz-Tent. Do you like it? Which model did you get?... and most importantly, where do you store it for travel? I've read the Oz-Tents have a very long storage length due to the installed tent frame.
I went with the RV-4. Rooftops are not an option for us, and I've slept on the ground enough in a past life to know I don't like it. I'm a big fan of the Oztent gear. The wife and I have the Gecko stretcher cots, and I use a Rivergum sleeping mat. The RV-4 is just big enough to fit the two cots and a pack-n-play, and hardly anything else. It works for us will little to spare.

I throw it on top of the platform during transport. I just strap them down using a pair of trimmed down ratchet straps and eyelets for M8 bolts. You just have to be cautious in how much tension you put on the straps.
 

empty80

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Joined
Sep 18, 2016
Messages
510
Location
ABQ, NM
I now have an electrical gremlin. I needed an air compressor, and upon discovering my garage unit is not well, I tried to use my ARB. Turns out, it isn’t well either.

I have been procrastinating on finalizing the electrical wiring in the engine bay until I made up my mind whether or not I want to add a dual battery setup. A quick look at the battery showed my voltage at 11.6V, and after a quick run around town 11.9V. I’m a little concerned about current leak, so I think I’ll be upgrading to a dual setup, cleaning up the wiring, and adding a fuse block under the hood as a preseason project. This also has me considering adding a Power Tank to my setup.

:worms:
 

empty80

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Sep 18, 2016
Messages
510
Location
ABQ, NM
Might want to make sure you don't have a parasitic drain somewhere.
Yeah, that’s the “current leak” I was referring to. It’s probably just a tired battery. I keep everything off/interrupted/disconnected while not in use, so if it is a drain, it is to chassis. I’ll be inspecting all my lines and terminals in the coming days for sure.
 

empty80

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Joined
Sep 18, 2016
Messages
510
Location
ABQ, NM
I now have an electrical gremlin. I needed an air compressor, and upon discovering my garage unit is not well, I tried to use my ARB. Turns out, it isn’t well either.

I have been procrastinating on finalizing the electrical wiring in the engine bay until I made up my mind whether or not I want to add a dual battery setup. A quick look at the battery showed my voltage at 11.6V, and after a quick run around town 11.9V. I’m a little concerned about current leak, so I think I’ll be upgrading to a dual setup, cleaning up the wiring, and adding a fuse block under the hood as a preseason project. This also has me considering adding a Power Tank to my setup.

:worms:
Brief update: It appears to be the sPOD. After a quick troubleshoot and a chat with tech support, it is not working the way is should be. It'll be shipped back to sPOD for evaluation. This is the second time I have called sPOD for support over the years, and they are a very responsive and supportive. Good customer service makes a huge difference!
 
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Vernon, BC

empty80

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Joined
Sep 18, 2016
Messages
510
Location
ABQ, NM
Depicted below is how I’ve mounted my sPOD controller in the overhead console. It was a fairly straightforward process once I made my mind in on where to put it.
FAA6023A-BF30-418C-87F2-2D71CC536274.jpeg


image.jpg
 

empty80

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Joined
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Messages
510
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ABQ, NM
I've owned two OZ Tent RV4 tents. Awesome tents all around. Lots of details shared here: Ground tent vs. RTT: a full-circle evolution of lessons learned. – Overland Tested

I always appreciate the actual user experience and feedback. That is excellent! There's so many factors that it is hard to take plan it all straight away. We have a 17 month old, and decided that up and down a ladder in the middle of the night is not the best idea. To take things further, with an RTT, if he were to have a diaper blowout or wet the bed, everyone's bed is soiled. At least with ground camping, we can shuffle some equipment and bedding, and everyone is still in a comfortable place.
 

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