The Adventures of Jane – ‘15 4R TP

Discussion in '150-Series Toyotas' started by CreeperSleeper, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. CreeperSleeper

    CreeperSleeper SILVER Star

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    This thread is to share the adventures of my 2015 4Runner Trail Premium named Jane. Jane came into our lives two years ago when my then GF decided that she wanted an SUV. I had recently sold my 2000 LX470 and she didn’t feel her TL was up to dog duty any longer! I have owned a plethora of Toyota 4x4s in various degrees of modified, so I was naturally pushing her towards a GX or a 4Runner. She ended up finding a great deal on Jane, so that was that. To be honest, it was just a fluke that we ended up with a Trail. This vehicle was supposed to be doomed to grocery getter status as I had a built 4Runner already. After owning Jane for about a year, my now wife and I had a long discussion about our hobbies and goals. We decided that adventuring was a priority and Jane was ready for the challenge!


    The first modification we did was a LabRak roof rack and a Freespirit Recreation Medium RTT. We decided on LabRak for the build quality and the lack of noise. I swear that this rack is quieter than the stock roof rack! LabRak gets a lot of bad publicity due to the cost, but I honestly believe it is worth every cent.


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    As for the tent, we decided on FSR for a couple reasons. First, they are located in Bend, Oregon, which is only a few hours from our home. Secondly, we liked the tent better than CVT. It is true that all the tents are made by the same manufacture, but FSR is just a better value than CVT. I have owned three CVT’s in the past and I would just rather give my money to someone else. FSR has bent over backwards for me and I would really urge people to consider them before CVT.


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    The next order of business was to get some constant power to the cargo area. Jane has the built-in inverter, but you need to have the engine running for it (or any power ports) to work. That wasn’t going to cut it with our fridge! I ended up removing the factory tool kit and installing an auxiliary fuse block. Then I installed a power port for the fridge, two USB ports, and a switched digital volt meter so I could check the voltage at the block.


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  2. CreeperSleeper

    CreeperSleeper SILVER Star

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    Now it was time to start doing some small adventures to see what other modifications we wanted to do. I would strongly encourage anyone who is thinking of building a rig to use it before modifying! There were a few camping trips here and there, but our first big trip was taking our quads out to Hepner, Oregon, for a week to ride around and watch the eclipse!


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    Here is another pic from some winter exploring in the Clatsop State Forest.


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  3. CreeperSleeper

    CreeperSleeper SILVER Star

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    It took about a year of multiple trips, but we finally had an idea on how we wanted the modifications to look. The first thing we wanted to do was lift Jane. To be honest, I didn’t mind the ride height, but the super soft stock springs and shock valving sucked! After weighing the options, I decided that the suspension was not a thing I wanted to skimp on. I decided on Icon Vehicle Dynamics stage 2 system and was lucky enough to find a lightly used version for a good deal. I pulled Jane in the garage and learned the frustration of lifting a KDSS equipped rig first hand.


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    The next order of business was tires. The stock Bridgestone street tires just were not cutting it! After some research I knew that I wanted a 285/70r17 tire. I have run Duratrac’s before and I really liked the tire but was a little concerned about the sidewall strength. I ended up finding them at Discount Tire for a good deal, so I pulled the trigger. I ended up getting E rated tires (hoping for a stronger sidewall) and I bought the warranty just in case.


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    And we were able to test them right away at my club’s annual Christmas Tree Run.


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  4. CreeperSleeper

    CreeperSleeper SILVER Star

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    I couldn’t have been happier with the way Jane was performing. The suspension is just flat incredible! We knew that we needed to get Jane armored up, but the bank account needed to recoup. It was around that time that Mark at MetalTech asked if he could use Jane to test fit some new products. Mark and I have been personal friends for quite a while and we were happy to help him out. Well, one fitting turned into two, which turned into… If you don’t know how much work and effort is put into the R&D of new products to manufacture, let me tell you it rarely goes smoothly. There is a lot that goes into it. Bottom line was Mark and I made an agreement for him to use Jane exclusively for R&D and marketing instead of MetalTech buying a vehicle that they would need to sell in a year or two. It ended up being a win/win for both of us and the partnership works since we trust each other. Jane was dropped off and the transformation began. She got a MetalTech Fortress stage 3 front bumper with an Engo winch. The rear bumper is MetalTech’s new Valkyrie stage 3 swing out. MetalTech’s bumpers are a bit unique because they are a true one piece, no-cut system. We also got a set of MetalTech’s awesome sliders. I can’t say enough about MetalTech and their attention to detail. They truly make works of art and I would highly recommend them to anyone in the market for some armor.


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    And of course, we needed to try it out! We ended up heading to LaGrande, Oregon and navigating USFS roads all the way to Ukiah, Oregon. From there we headed to the Painted Hills. This gave us some feedback for MetalTech and got us out of town.


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    Part of the deal with MetalTech is they would use Jane for marketing. We decided that new wheels would be in order, mainly to complete the look, but also to widen the track a bit. We also wanted a matching spare for the tire carrier.


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  5. CreeperSleeper

    CreeperSleeper SILVER Star

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    Shortly after the wheels were installed, Jane got to accompany MetalTech for a photo shoot out in Christmas Valley, Oregon. Unfortunately, my wife and I couldn’t join, but we got some great pictures out if the deal.


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  6. CreeperSleeper

    CreeperSleeper SILVER Star

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    I have another trip to post about, but I need to get off my butt and edit some photos...

    Meanwhile, Jane was dropped off yesterday to MetalTech. She will be getting the updated rear bumper, which will be the production bumper, and her vinyl. Then she leaves on Friday with the MetalTech crew to Arizona for Overland Expo West! So she will be on display even before I get to see it "finished". LOL. Here is a link to more info on Overland Expo West, just in case you don't know what it is: Ways to Attend WEST I am excited to hear the feedback and see the pics.
     
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  7. CreeperSleeper

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    MetalTech posted a pic of camping on the way to Expo. Jane sure looks good!
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  8. xplorr

    xplorr

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    Was there constant power already available in the cargo area that you tapped into, or did you have to run wire all the way forward to the engine compartment?
     
  9. CreeperSleeper

    CreeperSleeper SILVER Star

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    I ran a dedicated 4 ga wire directly from the battery.

    Man, I really need to update this thread! LOL
     
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