Builds mcgaskins' 2016 build thread - Ruby (2 Viewers)

mcgaskins

SILVER Star
Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
4,057
Location
Denver, CO
As some of you may know, I had a 2014 that was built in the past, but I really liked the 2016 refresh and wanted to give the 8 speed a try to see if it worked better off road. Some pics of the 14:

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I found a decent deal on a 2016 in brandywine/terra in Minnesota and had it shipped to Colorado and was pleased to find brand new Blizzaks on it with a decent set of OEM tires in the back along with the original mats and Weathertechs!

I edited this post to help be more succinct for those searching in the future. Here are pics from when it was stock and just arrived in Denver, the midpoint of the build (suspension, sliders, tires, drawers) and the endpoint of the build (bumpers, winch, snorkel, etc.). Read on for more details and the thought process behind it.

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Last edited:

mcgaskins

SILVER Star
Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
4,057
Location
Denver, CO
I decided to build up Ruby in a fairly minimalist way and only go with mods I was confident would be heavily utilized, and I used my experience with the 14 LC to prioritize what components to add first. The 200 is extremely capable in stock form, but the biggest thing it needs help with for wheeling out West is clearance and rocker protection. As we all know, the only way to get clearance is with bigger tires, and I'm a big fan of going with the biggest possible tires without major compromise. I am a big of fan of Nitto Ridge Grapplers after running them on the 14, so it was logical to go with them on this truck. My bro in law has a Tundra with 295/70/18 RGs, so we swapped one of his onto my truck to see if it would work. It wasn't even close - WAY too big and would require a ton of work to get it to function, and I know from personal experience the compromises wouldn't be worth the marginal gains - I tried 3 different tire sizes on the 14 including a full 35x12.50x17 before going with a 285/75/17.

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I wanted to keep the stock 16 wheel for a few reasons - I like the way they look, they're likely to be fairly easy to replace for cheap in the event of damage, and it keeps it looking stock to the uninitiated. I narrowed down the tire size options to 285/70/18 which is essentially a 34x11x18, but the down side is the size isn't all that popular which means the available tires are expensive. I figured it was cheaper to spend a little more on the tires than to buy all new wheels, so it was worth it. Here is the truck totally stock with 285/70/18 RGs, ARB tow points, and running boards removed, and I think the simple changes transformed the look pretty dramatically. If I wasn't planning to wheel, this would be enough of an improvement to stop right there and is likely all 90% of the trucks out there "need".

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The next step was something I've done to my 100 and 200 before and something I can't imagine going without - storage drawers. There are a few options on the market which have been discussed at length here, but I'll just say for me the ARB drawers are hard to beat. They function well, they look great, and they are cost effective and pretty light. I went with a roller top and a fixed top (RDRF 1045 and RD1045) along with the fit kit from Slee Off Road, and my bro in law with the Tundra and I tackled the job. He helped me install the drawers in my 100 and is one of those kind of guys who can figure anything out and make it look simple. He's also a big strong hockey player and can easily lift the completed assembly by himself which is pretty awesome if you've ever seen how awkward they are assembled!

Having installed them in the past, I knew if I wanted to do any sort of electrical in the back, this was the time to add it. I wanted to run power from the battery to a fuse block in the back to run the fridge, charging points, voltmeter, hatch lighting, and provide room to easily add accessories in the future. I wanted to do it right, so I ordered only Blue Sea and Anchor Marine stuff which I highly recommend. In general, anything marine rated will be high quality and corrosion resistant and more than sufficient for my needs. This was also the ideal time to add Slee's group 31 battery tray and the Interstate 31P-AGM7 battery. I don't believe my needs require a dual battery setup, but if that changes in the future it can easily be added. I also thought this was a good time to add the third row exit kit from Cruiser Outfitters as well as a National Luna hatch light from Equipt.

Here's a list of the equipment added at the same time as the drawers:

- Slee group 31 tray / Interstate AGM battery
- Blue Sea 285 series 100 amp circuit breaker
- Ancor Marine 6 gauge duplex wire (2 insulated wires within one thick rubber sheath)
- Blue Sea 5025 6 circuit fuse block with negative bus
- Blue Sea fuse kit
- Blue Sea 4356 Below Deck outlet with USB and 12v charging ports along with voltmeter
- Ancor marine lugs, heat shrink insulated ring terminals, tubing, wire loom and braided sleeving
- National Luna touch light white/amber (Touch Light)
- Cruiser Outfitters third row exit kit (Cruiser Outfitters)
- LED license plate lights

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After wrapping up the drawers and electrical, I dropped it off at Slee for some big upgrades. I had the standard OME kit on the 14, and it was good, even great especially for the money. For this truck, I wanted something a bit more robust, and the Icons on the Tacoma had spoiled me. Slee installed BP51s along with SPC UCAs and aligned it to help clear the new tires. I suggest when building a truck to get the tires you want on it before you get the lift and alignment done so the shop (if they know what they're doing) can make adjustments to clear the tires. Of course Slee is a world class shop and did a perfect job getting it right, and they also installed sliders at the same time.

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I picked up the truck and headed to Moab the next morning to test it out. Slept in the back of the truck on the drawers (my preferred camp set up when solo) and wheeled several trails - Metal Masher, Dome Plateau and Wipe Out Hill. Everything worked flawlessly, and the only issue I noticed was the departure angle left something to be desired which wasn't shocking. A rear bumper was always going to be part of the build plan, so I didn't mind a couple scratches. It was pretty funny to see people's reaction to a 200 with temp tags wheeling with 3 triple locked 80s and a built mini truck with tube doors and Super Swampers. People are funny - they criticize you for buying a pretty 200 because it's too nice to wheel, then they criticize you for wheeling a 200 because...it's too nice to wheel :D If they spent any time on this forum, they'd see these trucks are no joke and can hold their own. It's just a nice ancillary benefit to have all the luxury and convenience features, but the 200 is an incredible platform as we already know.

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Last edited:

mcgaskins

SILVER Star
Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
4,057
Location
Denver, CO
The only real complaint I had about the 2016 vs prior year 200s was the new throttle mapping which was remedied with a Pedal Commander and discussed here: Pedal Commander or other throttle controller thoughts?. Overall I've been incredibly pleased with the 16 and think it is worth the extra money over the prior versions of the 200, but after owning 3 of differing "generations" I don't think there are any bad 200s. I don't think you can go wrong with these trucks as long as you get one that's been decently taken care of. My 08 LX now with 166k miles drives basically just as well as my 16 with a little over 50k miles. They've both been maintained well and both ride on 34" tires, and I like them both tremendously. Of course the value award goes to the LX, but I have no regrets whatsoever spending more on the 2016 and would do it all over again.
Since the initial push to get a baseline build, I've mostly just been enjoying the truck and doing various trips like Cruise Moab and LCDC in Telluride. I've done small things here and there like adding the CB radio, pair of Maxtrax, H3R Halgard fire extinguisher x2, Blue Ridge Overland Gear seat back Molle panel with 5.11 pouches, BROG attic, K9 brackets to attach my Foxwing awning, and likely a bunch of other stuff I'm forgetting.

The only big thing I've added recently is the ARB non-swingout rear bumper, which I think is one of the best looking bumpers on the market. It flows nicely with the lines of the truck, and ARB quality is excellent as usual. I haven't wheeled with it yet, but I had the same bumper on my 14 so I know it will give a better departure angle while also providing a good step to get stuff off the roof.

Here are some various pics of trips and the ARB rear bumper. I'm trying to get one more good trip in this fall before it gets too cold and snowy, and I'm already planning trips for next year like Cruise Moab and LCDC.

In regards to the Tacoma, I ended up absolutely loving it and used it for several camping/wheeling trips. I thought about keeping it, but considering the hassle and expense of storing it for half of the year I ended up selling it. I sold it to a local guy I've become friends with, and he is now using it as a business tool and is renting it out! I may end up using it again in the future by renting it from him, so it's worked out quite well for everyone. The Lexus is still the daily driver for now, but I enjoy the 16 so much (after adding the Pedal Commander - can't overstate it's significance) I've been driving the 16 a lot more lately.

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Yes, this is as sketchy as it looks :D

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Last edited:
Joined
Jul 24, 2016
Messages
1,245
Location
Bend, Oregon
This is a good thread, Matt. It has been interesting (and useful) to follow your comments on the '16 and even your Lexus. Now that I'm retired and have completed my 12K, 10 week, PNW visit I have lots of free time maybe we could connect for coffee or beer some time. I'm hoping to connect with other Denver area folks like Kevin as well.
 

mcgaskins

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Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
4,057
Location
Denver, CO
This is a good thread, Matt. It has been interesting (and useful) to follow your comments on the '16 and even your Lexus. Now that I'm retired and have completed my 12K, 10 week, PNW visit I have lots of free time maybe we could connect for coffee or beer some time. I'm hoping to connect with other Denver area folks like Kevin as well.

Thanks Dan! I get a lot of PMs about the decisions I've made with the different trucks, tires, lift, etc., so I figured it might be useful to some to jot my thoughts down. That sounds like a great plan - let's plan a little together!
 
Joined
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Messages
722
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Boise, ID
Nice build thread Matt, love the new cruiser! Any plans for drivetrain mods (lockers, regear) or are you happy with the capability?
 

mcgaskins

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Messages
4,057
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Nice build thread Matt, love the new cruiser! Any plans for drivetrain mods (lockers, regear) or are you happy with the capability?

Thanks Ryan! I don't have any mods planned for the drivetrain. The first three gears in the 8 speed transmission are super low, and I don't feel like it struggles whatsoever with the big tires on it. The Pedal Commander made a massive difference as well, and it drives incredibly well in its current state. I have also noticed the Crawl control seems to be much better calibrated than on the earlier models and it seriously hooks up for traction in all conditions I've had it in. There's a tight squeeze called the waterfall on Metal Masher (crappy pic of it below - different truck behind me in our group) that I had to turn on front/rear lockers on my JKUR on 37s to get up, but the Land Cruiser crawled up the same section with less drama. I noticed in the earlier generations of Crawl the system needed to sense quite a bit of slip before it would act, then it would cut power right as you needed it most. This system, especially in rock mode, acts much more aggressively and allows for much less slip combined with more momentum. I'll admit being used to true lockers front/rear in other trucks I do like having that 10/10 capability, but I just don't see the incremental gains being worth the cost (and added complexity) on the 2016+ trucks.

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Markuson

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Thanks Ryan! I don't have any mods planned for the drivetrain. The first three gears in the 8 speed transmission are super low, and I don't feel like it struggles whatsoever with the big tires on it. The Pedal Commander made a massive difference as well, and it drives incredibly well in its current state. I have also noticed the Crawl control seems to be much better calibrated than on the earlier models and it seriously hooks up for traction in all conditions I've had it in. There's a tight squeeze called the waterfall on Metal Masher (crappy pic of it below - different truck behind me in our group) that I had to turn on front/rear lockers on my JKUR on 37s to get up, but the Land Cruiser crawled up the same section with less drama. I noticed in the earlier generations of Crawl the system needed to sense quite a bit of slip before it would act, then it would cut power right as you needed it most. This system, especially in rock mode, acts much more aggressively and allows for much less slip combined with more momentum. I'll admit being used to true lockers front/rear in other trucks I do like having that 10/10 capability, but I just don't see the incremental gains being worth the cost (and added complexity) on the 2016+ trucks.

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Ooo... The V on Metal Masher. :)
That is a super fun trail.

Ken Romer, Ken’s Daughter, TonyP and I did that trail together at Cruise Moab along with a 40 among others. Great angle/perspective on that obstacle.

It really does look crazy when the big LC climbs up and out o that spot...and probably looks downright nutsville when a shiny new one with temp plates does it! :hillbilly::steer:
 
Last edited:

mcgaskins

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Messages
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Denver, CO
Ooo... The V on Metal Masher. :)
That is a super fun trail.

Ken Romer, Ken’s Daughter, TonyP and I did that trail together at Cruise Moab along with a 40 among others. Great angle/perspective on that obstacle.

It really does look crazy when the big LC climbs up and out o that spot...and probably looks downright nutsville when a shiny new one with temp plates does it! :hillbilly::steer:

Sounds like you know it as well! I was leading that trail that day, and the 200 made it up the easiest of the bunch which really surprised the group. All day long I took hard lines instead of bypasses (we were scouting the trails in April for Rising Sun just prior to Cruise Moab), and I'm confident a few people who previously thought the 200 was a mall crawler were converts afterwards!
 

Markuson

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Messages
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San Diego via all over-
Sounds like you know it as well! I was leading that trail that day, and the 200 made it up the easiest of the bunch which really surprised the group. All day long I took hard lines instead of bypasses (we were scouting the trails in April for Rising Sun just prior to Cruise Moab), and I'm confident a few people who previously thought the 200 was a mall crawler were converts afterwards!

Same experience in my groups at Cruise Moab. TonyP, Romer and I were taking all of the toughest obstacles, and several 80 drivers came up at various times and told me they were newly convinced the 200 is the real deal.

Amazing what a demonstration does for debunking myths. ;) Fun stuff!
 

tbisaacs

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
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Dec 22, 2015
Messages
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Renton, WA
Any pics of the LX on 34s? Did you perform the AHC lift? How has the AHC been holding up?

I really dig that color on the LC and the new wheels are some of Toyota’s best....!

@grinchy’s AHC is pushing 200k, I think.
 

TonyP

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Joined
May 5, 2014
Messages
5,438
Location
South Korea
Thanks Ryan! I don't have any mods planned for the drivetrain. The first three gears in the 8 speed transmission are super low, and I don't feel like it struggles whatsoever with the big tires on it. The Pedal Commander made a massive difference as well, and it drives incredibly well in its current state. I have also noticed the Crawl control seems to be much better calibrated than on the earlier models and it seriously hooks up for traction in all conditions I've had it in. There's a tight squeeze called the waterfall on Metal Masher (crappy pic of it below - different truck behind me in our group) that I had to turn on front/rear lockers on my JKUR on 37s to get up, but the Land Cruiser crawled up the same section with less drama. I noticed in the earlier generations of Crawl the system needed to sense quite a bit of slip before it would act, then it would cut power right as you needed it most. This system, especially in rock mode, acts much more aggressively and allows for much less slip combined with more momentum. I'll admit being used to true lockers front/rear in other trucks I do like having that 10/10 capability, but I just don't see the incremental gains being worth the cost (and added complexity) on the 2016+ trucks.

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Ooo... The V on Metal Masher. :)
That is a super fun trail.

Ken Romer, Ken’s Daughter, TonyP and I did that trail together at Cruise Moab along with a 40 among others. Great angle/perspective on that obstacle.

It really does look crazy when the big LC climbs up and out o that spot...and probably looks downright nutsville when a shiny new one with temp plates does it! :hillbilly::steer:

Yup, that was a fun obstacle. It rained a bit earlier before we got to the V so it was a fairly slick. Nothing a little right foot action and a Moab-bump couldn't fix. :cool:

Nice pics. Probably my favorite color of the newer rigs.
 
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Thanks Ryan! I don't have any mods planned for the drivetrain. The first three gears in the 8 speed transmission are super low, and I don't feel like it struggles whatsoever with the big tires on it. The Pedal Commander made a massive difference as well, and it drives incredibly well in its current state. I have also noticed the Crawl control seems to be much better calibrated than on the earlier models and it seriously hooks up for traction in all conditions I've had it in. There's a tight squeeze called the waterfall on Metal Masher (crappy pic of it below - different truck behind me in our group) that I had to turn on front/rear lockers on my JKUR on 37s to get up, but the Land Cruiser crawled up the same section with less drama. I noticed in the earlier generations of Crawl the system needed to sense quite a bit of slip before it would act, then it would cut power right as you needed it most. This system, especially in rock mode, acts much more aggressively and allows for much less slip combined with more momentum. I'll admit being used to true lockers front/rear in other trucks I do like having that 10/10 capability, but I just don't see the incremental gains being worth the cost (and added complexity) on the 2016+ trucks.

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Nice!! That was one of the obstacles I was really looking forward to trying in the 200 and was likewise amazed at what quick work it made of it. Great feedback on CRAWL for the newer models. I have abandoned using it all together on my 08, more can be accomplished with a little left foot braking and liberal application of the skinny pedal.

Not Matt's, but inspired by his LX after he graciously let me take it for a spin:
44723097532_b8ef460268_k.jpg


34x11R20 Falken AT3Ws
 

mcgaskins

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Any pics of the LX on 34s? Did you perform the AHC lift? How has the AHC been holding up?

I really dig that color on the LC and the new wheels are some of Toyota’s best....!

AHC is awesome. It was maintained with 2 fluid flushes prior to my ownership and does great on and off road. It is not lifted or modded in any way, and the only things I've done in my ownership are the KO2s and ARB tow points (besides normal maintenance of course). Tires are 275/65/20 KO2s which in real life are slightly slightly smaller than the same size @RyanR has in the Falkens. I removed the mud flaps up front and only get the very slightest rubbing in reverse while fully cranked, and it's rubbing on the small removable wind deflector in front of the front wheels. Not enough to bother me, but it would remedied by just removing those small benign plastic pieces.

99.9% of the miles on the LX have been pavement, but it did see a little action during LCDC and a couple short local 4x4 trips.

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mcgaskins

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@mcgaskins thanks brother! Tough choice each morning :)

No problem. I know you have been baselining your LX, and I think as long as fluid flushes are done the system is very robust. I cannot believe how well the suspension performs at this age/mileage on and off road. As I've mentioned on quite a few people's queries about which truck to buy, the LX is very hard to beat for value considering the additional luxury features and AHC for generally the same or less money than an LC. There are no bad buys in the whole run of the 200, but IMO I think the best buys are the early LXs for the value play and the 16+ LC for the best combination of modern features and styling.
 
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@mcgaskins - Awesome build thread, thanks for sharing! I'm one of the many that have PM'd you about the details of your build, you've definitely inspired my plans for my 2016. I know Slee installed your BP51 setup but any idea what the preload is on your front coilovers? Your truck has a perfect stance but I know there is a trade off between a higher preload setting and ride quality with the BP51's, especially without any extra weight up front, so I'm curious where yours is set.

You mentioned your Tacoma had Icons, I realize your 200 is a different application but what are your thoughts between the two setups? Also, is the BP51 setup really head and shoulders better than a simple OME lift?
 

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