Budget Bug Out Vehicle Project pt 1
For my followers, this series of posts is intended to take a common 4×4 truck, and turn it into a reasonably improved off road vehicle for use hunting, off roading, trips cross country, and other hobby based uses.
The big question as always, why do I need this? Am I going to be racing down the road in a post apocalyptic Mad Max scenario? That would be a NO.
And neither are you , get over it.
I wanted a vehicle I could drive daily, but one which would be suited for my off pavement activities. And it had to be within a reasonable budget limit so the average working guy could do the same.
I’m doing this with a 5 year old truck because its time for regular maintenance on suspension and exterior anyway.
Pulling perfectly good Bilsteins off a new truck and getting nothing from the old parts makes no sense to me at all. Better to do swaps when the normal swap gets done.
Good life is gotten from the OEM parts, and if it’s apart anyway for new shocks, that’s when you do the upgrades.
How did I choose the vehicle?
Well, there wasn’t a conspiracy to build a mad max truck when I bought it. I bought a new, 2011 Toyota Tacoma 4×4 pickup 5 years ago. I needed a truck with a back seat my kids could sit in and ride comfortably on road trips. I had previously an extended cab Tacoma, which is unsuited for a teen football player son to ride in.
I’ve owned trucks from every major automaker , the “big 3” mostly and I’ve been less than satisfied. I’m reminded of the 70’s when large American made vehicles were mostly just pretty junk.
Engines, transmissions, suspension, drive lines etc. An endless repair bill in my personal experience, and I got tired of repairs, shop time for warranty work, and the expense in time.
I need my truck, I don’t need it in the shop a week at a time.
And another reason
The Tacoma, in its Hilux moniker is the pick in third world countries for a light weight, general use truck. Sorry for the guys wanting a 1 Ton, most roads on the planet suck, bridges suck and streets in the mud huts are narrow.
Also opposed to a dedicated military vehicle, a Toyota runs forever. Good gas, oil changes regularly, good filters and keep the rest of fluids up and it runs with boring efficiency.
If it was a perfect world, Id have started with a Hilux diesel, which in most countries imported and driven to death as a farm/stock hauler, with 17 kids and 3 goats.
Or 17 goats and 3 kids…
I’ve been looking for a 20 year old Toyota pick up or 4 runner for my daughter. There are a lot of them out there, but no one is selling in southern Arizona.
Because Toyota owners, like Jeep owners, are dedicated to their vehicles and don’t like fixing them, they like driving them.
It’s a 2011 Sport Model Toyota Tacoma. It starts at a really pretty blue, it a 4×4 with the short bed. I bought the bed extender which folds up on the tailgate for larger loads and a tool box to ride behind the cab. A V6, has plenty of power for towing light trailers and has the inverter with a 120 volt outlet in the bed.
Nothing about this is special, I paid for it as it came off the dealers lot.
And no one is giving me anything for reviews, this is my baby.
After 5 years the paint is still pretty, but the scratches from daily use and especially the local grocery store parking lot are starting to get to me. No matter how close touch up paints say they match, they show. Anyone else might not notice, but I do.
So a new outside coating is first
I did a ton of research on paints and nothing I found was attractive and durable. Until I saw what was being done with products which for the average joe means bed liner. I researched water based as well as solvent based products. I looked at pictures and drove to see trucks and jeeps that had been done by various painters. I looked at rough verses smooth textures. I thought about it and drove people crazy talking about it.
So, off to the shop yesterday for a coating of dark green bed liner over every painted surface of my truck. I’m going with a dark green, with an orange peel texture instead of the large chunks seen on some. I like the chunky look on some vehicles, but I wanted something looking nice but was still durable for use in the bush.
It comes with a 5 year warranty on fading, scratches, dings, flakes and other assorted damage. Get that from a regular auto paint will you?
And because its my truck and dammit I’ll do what I like. Girl friends be damned.
And I sit waiting for my phone to ring, hopefully the painter will be kind and by tomorrow it will be ready.
I hate the wait, but it will be worth it.
Budget Bug Out Vehicle Project pt 1