Impulse bought a First Gen Taco- how should I set it up?

swhme

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Dec 19, 2020
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92
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New Mexico and Maine
Hey guys! I'm a Land Cruiser guy, but I came across a super clean '97 Taco for $7k and bought it on the spot. My mechanic has gone through it and says it's in great shape and should be good to go for a while. I'm thinking that I'll keep it at our house in New Mexico as an extra truck for when friends come from out of town and want to go into the mountains. My primary adventuring land cruiser has a winch and air compressor, so I don't feel like I need that stuff on the Taco.

How would you spend $5-10k to get this truck decked out to hit the trails? I'm thinking:
  • Bigger tires -- Can you get 34s on there without major mods? What are folks running?
  • Skid plates and sliders -- any recommendations?
  • A topper so my buddies can sleep inside-- what toppers do people like? Ideally, it'd be able to take a basket on the roof to hold the spare tire, jack, maxtrax, etc
Let me know what I should do!
 

yotadude520

Mini-Truck Enthusiast
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Jul 12, 2013
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Location
Tucson, Arizona
Hey guys! I'm a Land Cruiser guy, but I came across a super clean '97 Taco for $7k and bought it on the spot. My mechanic has gone through it and says it's in great shape and should be good to go for a while. I'm thinking that I'll keep it at our house in New Mexico as an extra truck for when friends come from out of town and want to go into the mountains. My primary adventuring land cruiser has a winch and air compressor, so I don't feel like I need that stuff on the Taco.

How would you spend $5-10k to get this truck decked out to hit the trails? I'm thinking:
  • Bigger tires -- Can you get 34s on there without major mods? What are folks running?
  • Skid plates and sliders -- any recommendations?
  • A topper so my buddies can sleep inside-- what toppers do people like? Ideally, it'd be able to take a basket on the roof to hold the spare tire, jack, maxtrax, etc
Let me know what I should do!

Congratulations on the new Taco!

Honestly, these things are extremely capable in stock form and don’t need a ton of mods to be competent trail rigs. I’d advise against 34’s – you’d need to chop and there are no good lifts that would let you fit them. 33’s are the max I’d go on a 1st gen Taco, but I honestly prefer the 32.5’s. They don’t kill drivability and have taken me everywhere I think a 33” or a 34” tire would.

I’d recommend a OME lift kit, an ARE camper shell (which you can buy new still) and an 265/75/16” tires. Get some Budbuilt skids and then whatever sliders you want, as long as you weld them on and you're rolling!

Here’s a pic of my old 1st gen with that exact setup + the ARB Bumper. I know, I know, boring pavement picture :flipoff2:

cm69B3.jpg
 

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