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  • Expedition Overland's Central America Season 2
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    Expedition Overland's Central America Season 2

    Expedition Overland, our favorite group of explorers have released Season 2 of their series: Central America.

    New episodes come out every Wednesday, for a 12 episode season. You can subscribe & see all of their work on their YouTube Channel. We've also included published episodes below.

    Also new for this year: Exclusive video of the X Elles Race Team's 2015 Rallye Aiche des Gazelles bid.


    Written on Thursday, 03 September 2015 07:55 in Videos Read 11 times Read more...
  • 2015 AZFJ Monsoon Border Run
    Written by
    2015 AZFJ Monsoon Border Run

    I recently joined the AZFJ crew for their Monsoon Border Run. It was a 180 mile adventure south of Tucson, AZ. There were 35 FJs, 2 4Runners, 1 Tundra, 1 Toyota pickup, 1 Ford Raptor, 1 Xterra and 2 Wranglers.

    We journeyed to the US/Mexico border and would witness the beauty of rolling hills dotted with mesquite trees and lush green valleys. A storm brewed overhead as we made our way from the border which ended in a spectacular sunset at the Montezuma Pass Overlook.

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    Written on Friday, 28 August 2015 10:07 in Features Read 28 times
  • This Is Toyota Cruisers & Trucks | 2015 Edition
    Written by
    This Is Toyota Cruisers & Trucks | 2015 Edition

    A quick retrospective on the type of amazing Toyota coverage we've completed over the last 8+ years. It's a pleasure to serve our readers and supporters as the top free digital magazine for Toyota Land Cruisers, Trucks, FJ Cruisers, 4Runners, and Lexus SUVs. Here's to many more years of amazing content from TCT Magazine!

    Written on Thursday, 27 August 2015 13:12 in Videos Read 54 times Read more...
  • Prinsu Designs Accessrac
    Written by

    Prinsu Designs Accessrac

    Looking for a roof rack for your Toyota Tacoma, but limited on your options due to your Access Cab?  Look no further, Zach Scott with Prinsu Design Studio offers his AccessRac option to not only solve your roof rack deficiency, but also includes an option for a recessed light bar, adjustable crossbars all in a lightweight aluminum package.

    Prinsu is a small company in comparison to some of the other roof rack manufacturers, but what they lack in flashy packaging, they make up for in care and quality in designing and producing their products.  The hardware was nicely labeled and packaged in separate zip-lock bags for the different components of the rack system, and the powdercoated aluminum rails were well wrapped to minimize chances for damage during transportation.  

    Overall the installation process of the Prinsu AccessRac is very straight forward.  The most difficult part of the installation is modifying your access cab roof placing the inserts within the roof track that will allow you to mount a roof rack on your access cab Tacoma.  A downfall with Toyota’s access cab is the lack of mounting holes for a roof rack as the double cabs have.  So in order to install a roof rack on an access cab, mounting holes will need to be created in your roof to accept a roof rack. This step is the most time consuming part of this install and requires great care as you really don’t want your roof to randomly start leaking on you.  With care and ample sealant, this task can be completed with confidence in your roof. 

    We chose to install a 40” Heretic light bar with our Accessrac.  Prinsu offers a precut wind deflector allowing you to run a recessed light bar on the roof.  So our first task was to mock up the light bar while the rack was off the truck.  Prinsu provides slot nuts to run in the rails of the cross bar which is used to attach the deflector to the Accessrac.  

    With the light bar centered on one of the crossbars, mark your mounting holes to attach the light bar. 

    Use a hole punch or similar to make the drilling process easier, then drill out your two light bar mounting holes and attach the light bar.  With the deflector in place (we suggest installing one or more crossbars to keep the Accessrac rigid during mock up), loosely attach the light bar cross bar.  In our install, we kept the deflector as low as we could which reduced the space above the roof and also kept the light bar low relative to the rest of the rack.  

    You will need to drill one hole on each side for the light bar mount when you decided on a location.  

    It is important to run through all steps of the installation prior to digging in too deep.  Lay out all your parts, make sure you have all the hardware and tools needed to complete the task at hand.  

    With a handful of cross bars installed, take the roof rack and place it carefully on the roof for mock up.  

    This took me a little bit to find a location that appealed to me.  Where I sit now, I have a 1 ¾” overhang from the roof edge, which puts the front hole center approximately 7 3/8” from the roof edge.

    To make the install look more “factory” and help in the waterproofing, I decided to modify the rubber molding on the roof.  With the rack mocked up where desired, I marked the edges of the rack mounts.  Then using a Dremel, I cut out six sections of the molding where I gained access to the roof to drill for the inserts.  

    I took each of the sections I cut out and cut out areas that the spacer and mounting bolts could sit, allowing a water tight seal around the rack mounting locations. Take note that there is a metal strip running along the bottom of the rubber molding that you will be cutting through during these steps.  After completing this install, another method came into thought to simplify this process.  You can keep the molding intact and mark where the holes will be drilled.  This way you can only cut out the sections for the spacer and bolt to go through, leaving the molding in one long piece.  

    With your favorite RTV sealant, apply an ample amount on the recently drilled hole before inserting the rivnut.  Then using the supplied tool, tighten down, securing the rivnut in place.  

    Each rivnut is designed to clamp down on the sheet metal as you tighten down with the tool.  This gives you a threaded insert securely attached to your roof allowing you to now fasten the roof rack down.  

    With the rear most hole set, I did a final mockup of the rack and marked the remaining eleven holes to be drilled.  

    When all holes are drill and rivnuts inserted, it’s time to lay down the molding and place your spacers.  For the molding, I used black silicone as the sealant/adhesive, laying a bead on both sides and along the middle.  Additional sealant was used around the edge of the spacers completing the seal.  

    And finally on to the final installation!  Lay the assembled rack on the spacers and loosely tighten the mounting bolts allowing enough room for final adjustments.  

    When you’re happy with the alignment, tighten down all the mounting bolts (tight but not too tight), tighten down your light bar mounts as well as each cross bar and finish wiring your light bar.  

    Since we’ve had the Accessrac on the Tacoma, we’ve since added a pair of watertight storage cases as well as moved our MaxTrax to the rack for easier access.  I’ve stood on the rack numerous times with no worries and I constantly am using the rack to pull myself up to access the storage.  Besides additional storage, Maxtrax mounting and giving a 40” a home, the rack has helped deflect wind over my CVT Mt. Rainier that I have mounted over the bed.  As with most roof racks, the only downfall has been the occasional wind noise if the wind hits the holes just right on the sides.    

    In addition to the Accessrac, Prinsu also offers the Cabrac for the Double Cab Tacoma, the Toprac for those with a topper, and the Roofrac for an FJ Cruiser or an 80-series Land Cruiser. 

    Visit Prinsu Design Studios on Facebook (, Instagram ( and see their full lineup online

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Written on Tuesday, 25 August 2015 11:39 in July 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 3 Read 20 times
  • IBS DBS Dual Battery System Install
    Written by

    IBS DBS Dual Battery System Install

    There are many dual battery systems available on the market. Some of the more famous ones kits being National Luna, Dirty Parts and Painless Wiring. You can easily build your own system as well using solenoids and isolators. The IBS DBS system is a relatively new system available in the states for the past several years. It was created by Swiss, Beat Wyss after having suffered two dead batteries while traveling in Australia’s Great Victorian Desert with his 60 Series Land Cruiser. IBS has created and made Intelligent Battery Systems for over 15 years in Switzerland. We chose the IBS DBS system due to its proven solid state design and if the starter battery dies or discharges to 10v or below we can self jump from the auxiliary battery with the optional RBM module. Our kit came from, the US distributor for IBS Switzerland. 

    I replaced the factory battery about two years ago with a Die Hard Platinum 31m marine battery. All my accessories are connected to the Die Hard. I will be installing a new Odyssey 34-PCT1500T as my new secondary battery. I didn’t want to move all the accessory wiring to the secondary battery location so I decided to reroute the factory power and negative wires to the new battery and make it my starter battery and the Die Hard my auxiliary battery. I also rerouted my winch wires to the new battery location on the passenger side since the IBS DBS system wants the winch to be running off the starter battery + alternator.

    The FJ has a secondary reinforced battery shelf on the passenger side front corner. This is where right hand drive FJs mount their factory batteries and it’s also where we’ll be mounting an Odyssey 34-PCT1500T battery. I needed to source a battery tray that would relocate my power steering fluid reservoir and AC line. I also needed to replace my Expedition One windshield washer bottle with one that would fit on the passenger side fender near the firewall. About a year ago Shrockworks developed a built-like-a-tank windshield washer bottle for 2010+ FJs and soon followed up with a secondary battery tray that relocated the power steering and AC line. The washer bottled is a tig welded aluminum box and the battery tray is made of heavy gauge stainless steel. These would become the perfect compliments to a neat and clean dual battery install.

    The Shrockworks battery tray was a simple install. I’m not going to go into details, but clear instructions with photos are provided. You have to first remove the factory power steering reservoir mounting bracket, unclip the reservoir and unscrew the AC line. Now that those are free and loose, you mount the battery tray using the four bolts provided. Install the power steering reservoir into the new mount on the battery tray and install the AC line into the rubber clamp provided. Now the tray is ready for the new Odyssey battery and the factory items have been relocated. Like the battery tray, the Shrockworks windshield washer bottle is a straight forward install. It provides about a gallon of fluid and comes with a new wiring harness to extend the washer bottle to the rear of the engine bay.

    Now we’re ready to install the IBS (Intelligent Battery System) dual battery system with the optional RBM Relay Booster Module. The IBS system is a complete kit which includes the IBS-DBS monitor, 500-amp-capable/12-volt relay, 4 gauge cables, terminal lugs, 4-wire harness, and terminals for connecting the small gauge control wires to the batteries. We opted to upgrade the 4 gauge cables to heavier 2 gauge welding cable, because it’s recommended for better performance. The IBS control wires will be routed through the large factory grommet on the passenger side of the firewall, inside the engine bay. 

    You’ll see a small rubber nub on the top left of the grommet. Cut off the nub and fish your IBS control wires through it from inside the FJ. You could do this with fish tape or a metal coat hanger. Here's how we did it. We used a long piece of left over 10 gauge wire and fished it through the hole in the grommet from the engine bay and into the floor board of the FJ. Don't pull it all the way through. Back in the FJ, we wrapped the four wire ends to the 10 gauge wire with electrical tape and pulled the wire bundle through from the engine bay. We didn’t run our wires through the main factory grommet on the driver’s side because our RAM mount for the IBS battery monitor is near the passenger side of the dash. More on mounting the battery monitor when we finish the wiring.Note that throughout the wiring portion of this install I've used marine grade heat shrink tubing with adhesive on all crimped terminal and lug connections. All the wires are covered with split loom tubing with zip ties on each end to hold the tubing in place on the wire.

    To make for a clean install we made a custom L-shaped bracket out of sheet metal, painted it black then screwed the IBS relay and the RBM booster module to it. We drilled a hole in the bottom of the bracket, slid the j hook through the hole and the battery hold down, and tightened the nut to secure the bracket, hold down and the battery together. Since the IBS relay and the RBM booster are now next to each other and close to the battery we can make easy wire connections. 

    Since we are installing the optional RBM booster module we will be following the wiring diagram provided in the instructions. Note that the RBM booster module instructions/wiring diagram supersede the IBS DBS instructions/wiring diagram.There are four wires that you need to connect coming from the wires we fished through the firewall. The black ground wire is connected to the negative post on the starter battery and the red power wire is connected to the positive post on the starter battery. The green wire is connected to the IBS relay at terminal 86 and the blue wire is connected to the positive post on the auxiliary battery. 

    The RBM booster module has four wires that will need to be connected to the IBS relay. The red wire is connected to terminal 87 on the IBS relay. The yellow wire connects to terminal 85 on the IBS relay. The blue wire connects to terminal 30 on the IBS relay. The green wire connects to terminal 86 on the IBS relay. You can connect the remaining black ground wire to the sheet metal with a self tapping screw or connect it to the negative post on the starter battery.The final wire connections will be to take the 2 gauge welding cable and connect the positive post on the starter battery to the positive post of the auxiliary battery. Do the same by connecting a length of 2 gauge welding cable to the negative posts on each battery. Now all your wiring connections are complete.

    It’s time to connect the IBS battery monitor in the FJ to the wire bundle fished through the firewall via the Deutsche connector. We repurposed an extra RAM X-Grip to mount the IBS battery monitor inside the FJ. Our FJ has a seat bolt mounted RAM telescoping pole from which several accessories are mounted including the iPad, HAM radio control head and now the IBS battery monitor.The IBS system works as advertised. When you start the engine, the batteries are linked and the monitor will display the voltage for each battery and the charging volt (13.0, 13.5, 14.0 or 14.5). When the engine is off the batteries are unlinked and isolated. You can use the battery monitor to check the voltage for each battery at anytime by pressing the display button. When you need to link both batteries and use your winch, turn your engine on and manually link the batteries for 30 or 120 minute intervals by pressing 

    the link button once for 30 minutes or twice for 120 minutes. This allows the batteries to share the load and reduce the stress on your alternator. In addition to LED indicators on the battery monitor there are also audible alarms to indicate low battery voltage and link failure. If you want to use a solar panel to charge your batteries connect it to the auxiliary battery and the IBS will automatically link and charge both batteries.We field tested all the above mentioned features including charging the system with our 100 watt solar panel while attending Overland Expo 2015. The IBS system worked as advertised. Since its a solid state, smart system we have no qualms about its quality and can recommend it without hesitation.


    Sources: |


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    Written on Thursday, 20 August 2015 11:39 in July 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 3 Read 24 times
  • FJ Cruiser Hood Light Install
    Written by

    FJ Cruiser

    Ever been out on a trail in the dark with your hood open and can’t see a darn thing? Well, we have. It’s time to install a set of LED lights to help the situation. We just wish we would have done this mod a lot sooner than later.We’re going to do a simple install with a set of KC-Hilites Cyclone LEDs rated at 400 lumens each. For the switch we’ll be using a waterproof push button switch instead of a pressure switch. We don’t need the light coming on every time we open the hood. The brand is Trail Tech and it can be found on

    The FJ has several holes already available in the structure on the underside of the hood. We’ll be using two of these existing holes to mount the Cyclone LEDs. We don’t want to mount the LEDs too high or too low on the hood, because the angle at which the light will be mounted won’t illuminate the engine area as effectively. There’s a set of holes on the left and right of the hood, midpoint between top and bottom that will work the best. We found that generic, push type panel clips with barbs on the post fit the  holes in the hood. 

    The Cyclone lights have a hole in the center for various mounting applications. We cut a 1” piece of 3M VHB double sided tape, placed it on the back side of the light and cut two slits forming an X over the light’s hole for the panel clip post to poke through. The panel clips hold the lights tight and the VHB tape added another layer of mounting security to hold all of it tight against the hood.

    The next step is to wire the lights to the battery. Each light comes with a set of pigtails with bullet terminals attached. We’ll be extending the pigtails with 16 gauge silicone wire. As you can see by the photo the lights are connected in a T shaped harness.

    With the lights mounted to the hood we measured to see how much wire we needed to wire both lights together to form the top of the T. We then added a couple of inches to the measurement for some slack. We added butt connectors to the stripped ends of each set of pigtails, connected each butt connector with the measured length of 16 gauge wire and used shrink tubing on the connections. We found the center of the wires and cut them in half. Now we have four cut wires, two positive and two negative. We twisted both positive wires together and crimped on a butt connector. We did the same for the negative wires. Now we have two butt connectors, one positive wire and one negative wire to which we crimp on a length of 16 gauge wire to run to the battery. 

    We covered both butt connectors in shrink tubing. We routed the wires straight down, then turned them toward the driver’s side hood hinge leaving enough slack to allow for the hood to be opened and closed. At the battery we have a Blue Sea SafetyHub 150 installed on top of the factory fuse box 

    to which all our accessories are connected. We crimped a ring terminal to the end of the wire, covered it in shrink tube and screwed it to an available terminal on the SafetyHub. We installed a 15 amp ATC fuse. A 10 amp fuse would have been plenty but we didn’t have any. The simple on/off switch will be connected inline with the negative wire coming from the lights. We drilled about a 3/8” hole in the front reinforcement beam near the driver’s turn signal to mount the switch. The switch comes with two stripped wire pigtails. We butt connected and shrink tubed the negative wire from 

    the lights to one of the pigtails of the switch. The other pigtail we butt connected and shrink tubed and added 16 gauge wire to reach the SafetyHub. We crimped on a ring terminal, wrapped it in shrink tube and screwed it to an available negative terminal on the SafetyHub. 


    We pressed the switch and now have 800 lumens of light shining down into the dark engine bay. We tidied up all the wiring by covering it in split loom, zip ties and adhesive backed zip tie mounting tabs to secure the split loom on the hood. Enjoy your new hood lights!


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    Written on Tuesday, 18 August 2015 11:39 in July 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 3
    Tags: FJ Cruiser
    Read 16 times
  • Redesigned 2016 Land Cruiser Announced

    2016 Toyota Land Cruiser

    (All photos courtesy of Toyota USA)

    Today Toyota announced the redesigned 200 Series Land Cruiser for 2016. While much of the mechanical system carries over from 2015, there are plenty of new features to be excited about.

    2016 Toyota Land Cruiser

    To start with, the 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser features all-new styling from the a-pillar forward. The new bumper, grille, and projector-beam LED headlights frame a much more aggressive look on the luxury vehicle. The new tail lights and LED brake lights, along with plenty of chrome on the rear end finish up the muscular look.

    Written on Tuesday, 18 August 2015 09:52 in Latest News Read 165 times Read more...
  • 2016 Tacoma | First Test Drive
    Written by

    2016 Toyota Tacoma All new - Toyota Trucks Magazine

    Let us get a few things out of the way right off of the bat!  The Tacoma will be built in two assembly plants, San Antonio Texas and Tecate in Baja Mexico. Toyota is NOT going to be making a supercharger for any vehicle in the near future.  There is NOT going to be a TRD PRO Tacoma for the 2016 model year (but there will be a TRD Pro in 2017). 2016 Tacomas will be on a dealers lot near you on or around September 10, 2015.  There will NOT be a Regular Cab on any Tacoma made in this model year.  Tacoma models with Crawl Control do have a new braking system though still come with disc in the front and drums in the rear.  The in-bed outlet is now upgraded to 120V/400W.  

    Ok, for those enthusiasts that are still reading….

    Toyota invited a few of your favorite media outlets to put on about 80 miles on and 20-30 miles off-road in one day.  We were paired up in teams of two, my ride partner and I took off down the highway en-route to the off-road venue where we were able to experience both freeway and twisty backroads.  For what it’s worth, I do not drive automatics very often and Toyota only brought automatics to test drive (something about fairness, not really sure).  So, how did it stand up to the hype?

    After experiencing the 2016 Tacoma on and off-road for the day, it seemed to be very comfortable, easy to operate, and a blast to drive.  The handling is much improved with the body roll and understeer under control.  The ponies under the hood were a lot of fun when exiting curves and on the on-ramps.  The seats were quite comfortable and the controls were straight forward and easy to acclimate to.  This was my first time experiencing Crawl Control and I have to say that there are things I liked about it and some that I did not like.  It is very easy to use, but there is something wrong with being able to turn a knob to let the truck do it for you.  In the sand, buried to the frame, however, Crawl Control was a thing to behold.  This system moves the power around to all four of the tires and walked it right out a predicament that we all bring other equipment to help get us out of.  Driving with the new Atkinson engine, Toyota’s Marketing Staff challenged us to even be able to tell when it switched cycles and yes you can tell if you know what you are trying to feel for.  It was only slightly noticeable at best and the thinking behind this engine may just be a game changer for Toyota.  The suspension on this Tacoma may be interchangeable with the previous generation, but it is much improved for the everyday driving and I for one cannot wait to get one to drive here in Colorado.  

    2016 Toyota Tacoma All new - Toyota Trucks Magazine

    Exterior Stylings:
    Toyota is trying to brand and model their entire arsenal of Off-road Capable vehicles and tie them back to each other. Growing in popularity, the 4Runner and the Tundra both have their own hard-bodied stylings with fabulous on and off-road capabilities.  With that said the Tacoma is that piece that ties them all together.  The 3rd Gen Tacoma takes front end style notes from the 4Runner and bed styling from the Tundra.  Another styling note that caught my eye, air fins placed throughout the exterior of the truck.  Turns out that this is to help with MPG’s and reduce air noise.  A couple of new features in the tailgate are (finally) a locking tailgate (key use only), a built in strut for lowering the tailgate, and a backup camera.  I think one of the coolest optional features is a Power Tilt/Slide Moonroof! Yes, I will have gear stored up there but the ventilation will be nice and so will the view when not full of gear.

    2016 Toyota Tacoma All new - Toyota Trucks Magazine


    Interior Stylings:
    I have to admit, at first I was a little underwhelmed with the redesigned interior.  That is until I started to take a closer look and asked a few questions.  Yes, the dash is cleaned up a bit, the seats look nice, the instrument cluster is definitely updated, and the GoPro Mount on the windshield is a cool add-on.  The seats have been designed to be more comfortable, durable, and give more leg room for passengers.  The dash controls were cleaned up nicely and updated with an easy to use touch screen control center.  The instrument cluster was finally modernized and includes (on MOST packages) a Multi-information-Display that includes outside temp, odometer, trip meter, and average fuel economy.  On the TRD and Limited packages there are a few refinements that need to be noted; Qi-compatible wireless smart device charging, Front Dual Zone Climate Control, and Smart Key System for the drivers door with push button start (Automatic Only).  The GoPro mount, though in might be a little brand specific, is an interesting idea.   

    2016 Toyota Tacoma All new - Toyota Trucks Magazine

    Powered Up:
    The 2016 Tacoma will feature two new engine choices:

    A 2.7-liter DOHC four-cylinder with VVT-i that will produce 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm.  EPA estimated fuel economy for the 4x2 with the automatic transmission is 19/23/21, the 4x4 manual is 19/21/20, and the 4x4 automatic is 19/22/20.

    2016 Toyota Tacoma All new - Toyota Trucks Magazine

    For greater performance, Toyota offers a new V6 with a segment-first 3.5-liter Atkinson cycle with VVT-iW (Variable Valve Timing with Intelligent Wider Intake) equipped with Toyota’s D-4S technology that features both direct and port fuel injection.  With this new V6 the horsepower output is up to 278 (an increase of 42 hp over their 2015 4.0-liter) and 265 lb-ft of torque at 4600 RPM.  The EPA estimated fuel economy for the 4x2 automatic is 19/24/21, 4x4 manual is 17/21/19, and 4x4 automatic is 18/23/20.

    2016 Toyota Tacoma All new - Toyota Trucks Magazine

    Both engines will be matched up with a new six-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift.  The V6 will have a six-speed manual option, while the four-cylinder will have a five-speed manual option.

    Both of these options will make the new Tacoma more powerful that previous models.  When you add the V6 Tow Package, you can tow up to 6,800 lb. and 6,900 for the access cab (300 lb. more than the previous V6 model).

    2016 Toyota Tacoma All new - Toyota Trucks Magazine

    Tougher, more powerful, but lighter?:
    When designing the frame, the engineering team at the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan had their job cut out for them.  By using a high-strength steel, the team set out to lighten up the weight while strengthening key points and making it more rigid throughout the frame.

    The team utilized Ultra-high strength steel and a new technology called hot stamping that when integrated into the body shell reduced even more weight while making the shell more durable.

    With the development of the Atkinson Cycle Engine, Toyota has one-upped the competition and itself.  Never before have we seen the likes of an engine that runs on both direct and port injection systems.  The Atkinson Cycle Engine has been developed to run more efficient on the highway and still be able to give that kick in the shorts when more power is needed.

    Lighter? Not really, the Tacoma line up is just a touch heavier (roughly 300 lbs) than the 2nd Gen except for the base SR line, it’s lighter by about 300 lbs.  

    2016 Toyota Tacoma All new - Toyota Trucks Magazine

    Models & Pricing:    Starting At
    SR                           $23,300
    SR5                         $25,385
    TRD SPORT              $29,665
    TRD OFF-ROAD         $30,765
    LIMITED                   $34,745

    Keep in mind that you still have options, these are all priced at 4x2 pricing, and the extras will add up quickly!  

    My first choice would be a TRD Off-Road, m/t, sun roof, and that would add up to over $34,000.  Still not a bad price tag for what you are getting.

    2016 Toyota Tacoma All new - Toyota Trucks Magazine

    Final Thoughts
    All things taken into consideration, the Colorado and the Canyon really have nothing to worry about.  They just won’t compete.  In my humble opinion the 2016 Tacoma is smartly redesigned, adequately powered up, and ready to be unleashed on the competition!  And YES, this truck, Test-Drive Event, and the people involved, all put a smile on my face that was very difficult to remove!  FYI, I loved it so much, mine will be here very soon. It’s is a Super White, TRD Off-Road, M/T, with a sunroof, and Double Cab.  The built product will be unveiled at SEMA this year, so watch for it here & in all of our social networks!

    Written on Monday, 17 August 2015 01:00 in Latest News Read 195 times
  • 1983 Aussie Spec HJ47 Land Cruiser
    Written by

    Toyota HJ47 

    Texas resident Carter Beckworth rolled into Truth or Consequences, NM in a vehicle that looked ready to go on safari on another continent. He arrived to join the Ghost Divide Expedition entourage headed to Overland Expo. His Land Cruiser immediately attracted attention due to its rarity:  a1983 Aussie spec HJ47 powered by a 4.0 naturally aspirated 2H diesel. 

    Beckworth acquired the HJ from Australia via the import services provided by He attempted to locate an internationally-sourced Cruiser on his own, but ran into numerous hurdles. It was on that he learned about Phil of Phil helped Beckworth evaluate multiple trucks before finding the right one. The importer handled everything and had it shipped to Texas in late 2013.

    When the truck arrived, Beckworth had parts waiting. AUStoUSA had supplied numerous photos, giving Beckworth a good idea of what he was dealing with. He ordered parts from CCOT, e.g. door panels and body repair panels (both rear corners were rotten). He turned to Specter to obtain upholstery and non-US parts. 

    Next up was repacking and resealing the axles, pulling differentials and installing an Aussie rear locker. Beyond that, everything was in great shape. The engine looked like it had a lot of new parts, which was the result of some work done by the previous owner. The refreshed engine had only 15,000 KM.

    For suspension, Beckworth added HFS shocks from CCOT and OME Springs (heavy rear and medium in front). He converted to a 100 amp Isuzu NPR alternator for more juice, thus allowing the truck to run a T-Max dual battery system.

    The HJ is outfitted with a homemade swing out tire carrier and rear bumper, which includes a telescoping floodlight. Also homemade are the rock sliders, roof rack, back-up light bracket, and a mount to haul the Hi-Lift jack he has been using since his teens. While the roof rack is sturdy, it is also quite heavy and thus is usually not on the truck. The plan is to replace it with a lighter and lower rack. For the back-up light bracket, he figured out a way to attach a single Nordic LED spotlight to a bracket that fits perfect on the factory license plate holder between the little lights for the plate.

    He added an auxiliary FJ40 fuel tank from Marks Off-road, and wired it in to transfer fuel to the main tank, providing more than 500 miles of range when combined with the main tank. Beckworth’s favorite homegrown gadget is his lantern hanger made from an old hinge and some all thread. Attaches anywhere on the roof, and with the lantern filled with citronella oil, it provides pleasant light and keeps mosquitos away.

    His first big trip with the HJ was in the summer of 2014:  “I traveled from El Paso to Socorro, NM following the Camino Real route, finding important Parajes (camps) and locations and traces of the route of America’s early overlanders. I then cut west, exploring the Sawtooth range and areas around Magdalena and Pie Town, returning through the San Mateos and Black Range. In all, about 400 off-road miles. It was a neat solo trip and I would like to revisit it with friends. This is when the factory alternator gave up and the Isuzu alt and dual battery system came on the scene.”

     The HJ performed well on the 500 mile Ghost Divide trip, which comprised of a 5-day expedition over 300 miles of off-road trails. The HJ is used monthly for camping and will be used in the future on more long-distance expeditions.

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    Written on Thursday, 13 August 2015 11:39 in July 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 3
    Tags: Land Cruiser
    Read 50 times
  • The Toytec SEMA 4Runner
    Written by


    You probably saw a few photos of this very nicely built 5th Gen 4Runner from our SEMA 2014 coverage last year. Toyota was kind enough to place this truck in their outdoor featured vehicles area and it was very well covered.

    Early this year, about the same time we were planning our TCT Explorer Tundra Build, Angie & I started talking about our Family Hauler, the 2007 GX 470. With its V8 engine and plenty of room, the GX served us well for the two years we had her. However every time we took her into the dirt we just weren’t sure she was a good fit. That feeling, combined with our fond memories of the TRD FJC, had us both thinking of something a little more suitable for exploration needs.

    I remembered Doug (owner of Toytec Lifts) mentioning that he may sell the SEMA 4Runner in order to make room for a 2016 Tacoma when they become available in a couple of months. I told Angie I may know of a well-built 5th Gen 4Runner for sale and showed her some of our SEMA photos. The conversation lasted about 5 minutes:

    Shane: Here’s Dougs 4Runner, not sure what the details are but it’s a great truck with several custom features.

    Angie: I want it.

    Shane: Ok, let me get in touch with Doug & see if it’s still for sale.

    Angie: Great, tell him we’ll come get it next week.

    Shane: I heard back from Doug, he does want to sell it, and is willing to keep the price reasonable since he knows she’ll be very well taken care of.

    Angie: Can we go get it now?

    Shane: No, we need to figure out financing and make arrangements.

    Angie: Excellent, let me know when I can go get it.

    If you haven’t met my better half yet, she’s very much as passionate about great trucks (and fast cars) as I am, so when she’s excited about a new vehicle, there’s no stopping her. That’s reason number 89 why I married her =)

    Not less than 10 days later, the 4Runner joined our CrewMax Tundra in the garage. Our stable is now full and ready for the next round of adventure.

    This truck has already been out & about exploring Colorado this year, as you may have seen via our social networks: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Last weekend we headed to the hills just north of 

    Colorado Springs to get a few shots near the red rocks. We even found a little mud :)

    In a few weeks we’ll attend our 9th FJ Summit, but it will be the first without an FJ Cruiser. The truth is that the last 2 years we didn’t really use the FJ while at the Summit, so while it will be a major change, the 4Runner really is a perfect fit. We’re very excited to get her on the trails this summer!

    For those wondering, here’s a rundown of how Doug & the Toytec Lifts team built this amazing truck:

    Suspension, Wheels, Tires:

    Toytec Boss suspension

    Signature series rear full link package

    Procomp 17x8 wheels with 285/70/17 Procomp Xtreme MT-2 tires


    Custom color matched aluminum front and rear bumpers by Insain Fab

    Bolt on rock sliders by Insain Fab


    30” rigid single row light bar. 

    Rigid Dually Hyper spot cubes 

    Rigid Dually Flood cubes 

    HID high and low beam upgrade


    Borla cat back exhaust

    Weathertech floor liners

    Custom carbon fiber accents on roof rack rails, mirrors, and door pillars


    Aluminum skid plates

    Roof rack upgrades


    Yaesu FTM-400DR APRS Dual Band Ham Radio

  • To get your copy of the

    July 2015 issue:

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    read online


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    Written on Thursday, 13 August 2015 01:00 in July 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 3
    Tags: 4Runner
    Read 138 times
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