Tundra Offroad Mods and Tech

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Thread: Tundra Offroad Mods and Tech

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    Lightbulb Tundra Offroad Mods and Tech

    The information in this thread pertains to the first generation Tundras, model years 2000-2006. Much of the information can be extrapolated to the second generation with a little effort.

    This thread began as "The Tundra Offroad FAQ", and is slowly turning in to a how-to for getting the most out of the truck offroad rather than a FAQ on lifting or tire choice. It is intended as a starting point for anyone interested in taking their truck one mile further, not necessarily one inch higher...even though at first, the latter often leads to the former. It is also intended as a starting point for searching the Offroad, Handling/Suspension/Axle, and Tire/Wheel forums for more information on a particular topic, or help with component selection or installation.

    This is the combined experience knowledge and wisdom of many TS members since the site's creation, from owners to competitors and manufacturers. While I may be writing or posting much of the information, I would prefer to attribute the contributions to the proper sources...unfortunately that's almost impossible without a thorough scouring of the general forums. Suffice to say that everyone has contributed something, and I'm just the messenger for a lot of it.

    Please send me a PM if you have something to add, would like to see something added, or if I have incorrectly described a product in the thread.
    Last edited by DevinSixtySeven; 12-14-2007 at 03:32 PM.

    GFX by FreedomEagle50
    1-Gen Tundra Offroad Technical FAQ Index
    Armor - Lift vs. Travel - Traction - Tire Fitment - Recovery - Lift Kits - Driving - Tires & Gears - CV Boot Mod
    Manual Hubs
    OB's cup size: 36DD

    "some people will call you stupid but its worth a try because i know i also want one more inch."--SouthernTundraSC


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    Default Trail Armor

    Toyota makes great looking trucks. Keeping the sheetmetal healthy might be the most visible concern, but powertrain components are most critical. Skid plates and rock sliders will protect the soft underbelly and smooth skin of the rig, while a heavy-duty set of bumpers can provide improved approach and departure angles while protecting the ends from trail damage.

    Skid Plates

    The crossmember and C-channel frame design on the Tundra allows for very easy installation of skid plates from the tip of the front bumper to the rear of the transfer case. This can be accomplished by anyone with access to a break and a drill, using 3/16" mild steel plate, but it's much, much easier to just buy them from Skid Row. Their plates are bombproof and have been abused by plenty of Tundra owners on the forums here, with great success--they were actually designed in part from input by one of the TS forum members. The pieces are very reasonably priced--the price largely reflects the cost of the raw material (3/16" mild steel). The front skid plate uses existing threaded holes in the frame (8.00mmx1.25mm), which are easily damaged during oil changes or a salty winter. The holes can be drilled (5/16", cobalt bit) and tapped to accept a 3/8" Grade 8 coarse thread bolt, install with washer and lock washer to prevent backout. Fine thread works better but fine thread is also harder to source.

    Behind the transfer case, the exhaust and forward section of the driveshaft are the only parts to be damaged. While it's not necessary, a belly skid will protect the pipes and shaft, and allow the truck to be skidded across an obstacle without hanging on anything you'll need to drive home. A belly skid can be made with a sheet of 3/16" plate, 4' wide and extended from the rear lip of the Skid Row t-case skid to just behind the driveshaft carrier bearing (DCB). The bolts securing the DCB crossmember can be used to secure the tail of the plate, while nuts must be tack-welded to the inside of the C-channel frame rail to secure the rest of the plate. With two breaks and careful measurement, a belly skid will fit over the rear lip of the S/R t-case skid and can be notched for the rear section of the driveshaft to provide clearance and maximum protection. A belly skid designed this way will protect the entire exhaust system forward of the muffler, and the forward third of the gas tank. The belly skid should be reinforced from side to side with vertical supports to prevent deformation if the entire weight of the truck rests on the belly, and holes should be drilled in the plate to provide drainage as appropriate. Again, use 3/8" Grade 8 coarse thread with washer and lock washer to secure the skid.

    Anything that says "baja look", "rock crawler look", "offroad look", or is made of formed aluminum sheet, or sticks out like an underbite so everyone can see that you have a skidplate, is probably a dress-up toy not a skid plate and will not protect the truck from anything in the field.

    Rock Sliders

    Rock sliders (aka rock rails, sliderz, etc) are a sort of outrigger to the frame, hard-mounted either via bolts or welding, that look like a step or nerf bar but can support the entire weight of the truck from the outermost point on the slider, and can be used as a pivot to turn the truck around an obstacle without damaging the body. They are made from tube, either square or round, with several supports linking the main rail (stringer) to the frame. The stringer is usually positioned just below the pinch weld, in order to protect the weld and provide support to the body if the sliders flex upward during use. Most sliders have a ladder construction, where a second bar (spreader) is attached to the stringer with several supports to either provide more protection for the body, a place to stand, safer use as a pivot in a turn, a kickout to move the tire away from the obstacle the slider is riding, or all of the above. Sliders can be made of any type of steel, the design is much more important than the material. Material provides a way to save weight--higher cost but lighter tube can be substituted in areas which will not take a direct impact, for example supports to the frame and supports between stringer and spreader. A great deal of weight can be shaved off by switching alloys if you're willing to pay the higher material cost (as much as 8$/ft), but consider if youre willing to risk significant damage to a thin-walled tube from either poor design or simply the intended use of the slider. For a truck which will rarely use the sliders but still needs protection, light weight/high cost material may work, but for most trucks standard 0.120 wall mild steel structural tube (square or round) or 1-1/4" sch40 pipe (O.D. @ 1.66") works great.

    Many manufacturers now make sliders for Tundras. Search the forums or ask your local 4x4 shop. If you want to make your own (not terribly difficult to do a decent job), there are plenty of good ideas here, at 4x4wire.

    Bumpers

    Bull Bars
    Bull bars (ARB Sahara Bar, TJM's similar offering, other "ranch hand" type bumpers) offer a great deal of forward protection, and if designed and built properly will operate in conjunction with the vehicle's air bags and crumple zones. ARB tests and guarantees their bumpers with the OEM safety equipment, other manufacturers may as well, but NEVER ASSUME when it comes to your safety...always ask if it's not directly advertised. Overbuilt bumpers won't crumple the way Toyota intended for the OEM bumper, and will transfer the shock of impact to the occupants rather than absorbing the impact through deformation. Also keep in mind that "overbuilt" isn't necessarily obvious--a large, imposing bumper may have a mounting system which works in conjunction with the OEM crumple zones at the front of the frame, and a simple "roo bar" may be mounted directly to the frame without any impact protection at all. The best old, original, massive chromed bumpers were mounted on springs or had a deformable rubber chunk between the bumper and the frame. A bull bar may also provide a place to stand on the front of the truck, a reference point for the front end and corners when driving, a push bar, or protection from roos, deer, moose, and the odd bull. A good bull bar will have a place to mount a winch and some lights, provides more clearance for larger tires and a better approach angle, works in concert with the OEM safety features when it needs to, and allows the driver to fend off rocks, trees, animals, bad drivers and wandering shopping carts. A bad bull bar is unreasonably heavy, doesn't work with the OEM safety features, sticks out too far, is too wide, doesn't provide additional tire clearance, can't be stood upon, doesn't clearly indicate the front or corners of the vehicle, can't mount a winch, doesn't protect the headlights, and cannot be easily modified. There are several manufacturers of (imho) bad bull bars for Tundras, and no manufacturer of (imho) a good bull bar. There are decent bull bars, including ARB and a new offering from Road Armor, which can mount a winch and lights, can be stood upon, work with the safety features and provide more access to the front of the tire. Last communication with Road Armor suggests that they are very willing to modify their design to suit a particular owner's needs for clearance, width, mounting hardware or other features. Though the ARB part is powdercoated, it can be modified very easily and a spray-on bedliner makes a great sealant, protectant and accent to the powdercoat. Decent bull bars can be transformed in to good bull bars either from a willing manufacturer or by a determined owner, and shopping carts can be pushed to around 30mph before they become completely unstable and result in a skid plate check. Shrockworks and a couple other quality fabricators may be offering Tundra bumpers in the near future as well.

    Prerunner Bumpers
    Prerunner bumpers (so named because they're found on long travel desert race trucks and prerunners) are generally tube constructions intended to minimize weight and maximize functionality, and completely replace the stock bumper. Since a prerunner bumper is almost always a custom creation, winch mounts, light tabs, antenna tabs, stingers, hitches and other features can be easily added. The approach angle possible with a prerunner bumper far outstrips that of the stock and bull bar bumpers, and the tube frame can be skinned with aluminum, steel, or even plastic to provide forward and corner protection, depending on the intended use (rocks, racing, both). The minimal bar construction allows the most access to the front of the tire, but also tends to provide the least protection in a collision. Decent prerunner bars are easy to design and build. Bad prerunner bars offer no protection whatsoever to the radiator and other critical forward OEM components. Since these are usually custom built, good is completely subjective. Almost any shop can build a good prerunner bumper if you have a general design in mind and they have a tubing bender. Some manufacturers even offer bolt-on bumpers which feature the clearance, light weight and custom options of a prerunner bumper combined with the protection and forward structural design of a bull bar. Ask your local 4x4 fabrication shop about a prerunner bumper. Prerunner bars (tube constructions which mount over the stock bumper but do not replace it, and look like a prerunner bumper without having to actually buy a real one) are a nice looking way to mount enough lights to impress the mall valet but are otherwise completely useless as they are just another form of bolt-on brush guard and often do more extensive damage to the truck in a front impact than a stock front end. Prerunner bumpers aren't just mounted on prerunners, they perform extremely well on trail rigs--note the front of many buggies are essentially prerunner bumpers with stingers.

    Rear Bumpers
    Rear bumpers also come in two general varieties, replacements for the OEM part which offer more protection or features, and high-clearance pieces which integrate quarterpanel protection with the bumper and usually require significant trimming of the rear quarterpanel. The former are offered by a variety of manufacturers (usually 4x4 shops) as completely bolt-on pieces and can be anything from a thinner, sturdier version of the OEM bumper to elaborate, lightweight tube constructions. The latter are almost exclusively custom designs but share features such as integrated receivers, quarterpanel protection under and around the sheetmetal and tied to the frame, swingout tire or fluid carriers, light or antenna tabs, tow hooks or loops, shackle mounts, and over half a foot of improved vertical clearance all the way to the rear tire. Cost for a custom rear bumper is highly dependent on where material is sourced (recycler or new) and who does the work (you, somebody else, or both). Bring pictures or drawings to your local 4x4 shop and find out what they can work up.

    Water & Dust

    Differential Breathers
    One of the quickest, easiest and cheapest mods to the truck is extending the rear differential breather. When the gears are turned, the differential heats up, and the air expands. The breather allows the pressure to equalize through a planned route, preventing gear oil from being forced through the axle seals. This applies to every geared system on the truck; front differential, transmission, transfer case and rear differential. In a water crossing, the gear cases will cool down, and a submerged breather will allow water, mud or other debris to enter the differential. On a Tundra, the front differential and transfer case have breathers extended from the gear case to the rear left wall of the engine compartment, down next to the engine. Look for two silver caps on the end of black hoses. On the rear axle, the rear differential breather is located on the top of the housing, left of center. Again, look for a silver cap. The breather assembly can either be removed and replaced with a threaded hose barb, or the cap can be pulled and a larger hose attached over the breather flange. The hose (fuel line from the hardware store works great) can be routed up the brake line and then run to any high point on the vehicle. The engine compartment and the rear taillight are two good spots to end the breather. The end of the hose can either be turned down, take a stock breather cap, or even a small filter with a hose barb attachment.

    Snorkels
    Nobody makes a snorkel for a Tundra, yet. The intake is in the passenger side wheel well and is fairly well shielded, similar to the new FJ Cruiser. The bottom of that intake tube is the maximum fording depth, better to measure your own vehicle since lifts, bumpers and other modifications will change the depth. For a slightly different type of snorkel setup, there is enough room to fit a tube down the engine compartment next to the frame rail and up through the bed; the STS turbo systems mount this way as well. Aluminum tube and gels can secure this type of snorkel with a cut to the left rear of the airbox, and the OEM intake tube/hole would need to be sealed.
    Last edited by DevinSixtySeven; 12-14-2007 at 03:25 PM.

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    Default Offroad Performance: Lifting vs. Suspension Travel

    One of the first things people ask around here is how much lift is required to run a certain size tire, followed by which lift performs best offroad.

    The proper answers are depends on the type of lift, and lifts don't improve offroad performance. Large tires and increased suspension travel improve offroad performance. For example, look at the Hawaiian Tundras and Tacomas--very large tires for running in bottomless sand, and Suzuki Samurai owners with 31" tires and three feet of suspension travel. The best offroad rigs combine these two attributes--moon buggies with no 'lift' but 44" tires and several feet of suspension travel at both ends.

    As this excellent writeup at Trails Less Traveled states, "The right size tire for any truck is the one that fits at FULL COMPRESSION." Basically, that means if the lower control arms are resting against the bumpstops, the biggest tire you can run is the one you can still turn lock to lock without rubbing anything.

    The most common type of lift raises the truck via a modification to the coilover assembly, and at rest a larger tire will fit and turn without rubbing. Since the tire can still travel the full distance upward, it will rub the front of the cab when the wheel is turned and the tire is compressed. Sure, the truck is lifted and has bigger tires, but bigger tires are useless if you can't twist up the truck and then turn the steering wheel without eviscerating the wheel well. This is why a simple spacer lift still rubs for many people, and why it will always rub unless you continue to run no larger than a 265/75/16 or equivalent tire. A coilover lift allows you to "get away with" a larger tire, until you actually need to flex the truck. All it really does is improve the breakover angle. In order to really make use of a larger tire, the wheel well must be trimmed to make room for the tire when the suspension is compressed and the wheels are turned. Since tire size is ultimately limited by the body mount at the rear of the front wheel well, a 35" tire can be fitted without lifting the truck. Body lifts allow these tires to be fitted without trimming the wheel well, but offer no other direct benefit than removing cab/tire interference at the rear outer corner of the front wheel well. Drop bracket lifts will allow the tire to clear the body mount only because they move the maximum compression point of the tire lower on the frame, and again offer no other direct benefit than making your truck the tallest on the lot. If you never need to flex the suspension, a drop bracket may be sufficient--a beach truck can get away with this setup, whereas on the trail the same truck would be hampered by the combination of high CG and limited articulation and will be outperformed by an unlifted rig (low CG) running longer shocks and uniballs (increased suspension travel) and properly trimmed for the same larger tires.

    So basically, if you want to improve your truck's offroad performance by running a larger tire, ensure that your truck is capable of turning that tire lock to lock in the conditions you'll experience offroad. If you're only ever on the beach, that may only require a bolt-on drop bracket (or a wad of hockey pucks ), but on the trail that requires fully cycling the suspension while the wheels are turned to full lock on each side. The cab may not be the only point of interference, the stock bumper will interfere with anything larger than a 265/75/16 or equivalent tire and most aftermarket bumpers will interfere with anything larger than a 285/75/16 or equivalent.

    Search the Handling, Suspension and Axle forum for posts on uniballs, longer coilovers and replacement spring packs. Also search for trimming and pinch weld modifications, that topic is generally in the Offroad Forum. In general, avoid blocks, body lifts, spacers and drop brackets unless you need a quick fix to complete a setup, cannot/will not trim the cab, or have a leased vehicle that must return to stock in the future.

    Trimming the pinch weld back to the cab will allow a Tundra to flex and turn a 285/75/16 or equivalent. The bumper needs to be trimmed.

    Trimming the p/w and tubbing the cab will allow a Tundra to flex and turn a 315/75/16 or equivalent. With longer arms (LT length), significant trimming and cagework, a 37x12.5 tire can be made to fit. Without the longer arms, a 37" tire will hit the frame before full lock.

    If you don't ever intend to flex and just need to get a few inches for the on-road offroad look, 2" of lift will generally clear a 285/75/16 or equivalent tire. 2" of spacer and 3" of body lift, or 2" of spacer and 4" of cradle lift, will generally clear a 35" tire.

    (I suppose that means that if you're on the beach, the RCD 6" kit and a good trim+tub job might allow you to run a 40" tire, but that's just a guess...it will probably hit the frame when you turn)

    IF YOU TRIM THE PINCH WELD be sure to resecure and seal the cut, particularly if you're on the beach or drive in salty winters. Herculiner is a great sealing material, just follow the instructions. The best way to resecure the pinch weld is by welding over the cut (remove everything flammable from the cab near the weld, and cover with a wet towel).
    Last edited by DevinSixtySeven; 12-14-2007 at 05:19 PM.

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    Default Improving Suspension Travel

    This is definately an area where the performance gain from a modification is directly related to the price.

    More suspension travel means the truck is more likely to stay planted with four wheels on the ground, keeping traction and decreasing the likelihood of getting stuck, lifting wheels, or flopping.

    Front

    Low-Profile Bump Stops
    This is the cheapest, easiest way to get almost an inch of useable compression. An inch might not sound like much, but for an IFS rig, almost an inch is a lot. They're about twenty dollars, about half an inch thinner than the stock stops, polyurethane, and they're even bling bling red. Installation requires only a large adjustable wrench to remove the stock stops if they're stuck, the new stops can be threaded in by hand (use grease if you ever want them out again).

    Longer Shocks
    A longer shock allows more extension. Some spacer kits include a small spacer which fits on top of the coilover assembly, effectively making the shock longer. Some coilover replacement kits include a shock with a longer shaft. Either way, be absolutely sure that the shock cannot extend the suspension beyond the maximum angle of the upper ball joint. The UBJ is extremely small, particularly at the neck where the stud meets the ball (hidden by the grease cover, pull it up for a look). Certainty can come from a properly sized shock or a limit strap. The upper ball joint is not capable of much more angle than the stock shocks allow. Solutions cost between a couple hundred bucks for a spacer or a simple, non-rebuildable shock with a longer shaft, to roughly a thousand dollars for complete rebuildable coilover assemblies. Bilstein currently offers a version of the 5100 shock, intended to replace the stock shock and use the stock spring, but with a slightly longer shaft to take advantage of the entire range of motion of the stock upper ball joint.

    Uniball Upper Control Arms
    Replacing the stock upper ball joint results in the greatest potential increase in front suspension travel for a Stock-class Tundra, with a vertically mounted, single shear uniball providing roughly 4" useable droop over the stock UCA. In order to capitalize on the additional travel available, the truck must also be equipped with a longer shock. Depending on the suspension configuration used, limit straps may be necessary to prevent the uniball from becoming the extension limiter, as the friction between the ball and socket from the force of the coil spring will prevent the wheels from turning and can damage the uniball assembly, as well as bend the single-shear main assembly bolt. The proper limiting component is either a strap or the shock, if the shock is equipped with an internal limiter. On ABS-equipped trucks, the sensor wire needs to be secured in such a way that it neither rubs nor interferes with movement of the arm. In addition to the increase in articulation range, the pivot point is raised from the top of the spindle to the side of the UUCA, and the side of the UUCA is narrower than the stock UCA. When the suspension droops, the tire is pulled toward the stock UCA and may rub the arm. The raised pivot point and lower profile of the UUCA results in a near-constant distance between the tire and side of the upper control arm, and more clearance to the arm than the stock UCA (not accounting for tire flex).

    Rear

    Longer Springs
    A longer leaf spring will allow the rear axle to droop further (a softer spring will also allow more droop, but the reduction in payload is usually a critical downside). This requires a complete new spring pack, generally running around five hundred dollars from a good manufacturer. Since length is measured along the arch, a lifted spring is a longer spring, so the stock spring and shackle mounting points do not need to be changed. A longer brake line is required for longer springs, and the ABS sensor wire(s) will need to be adjusted to provide slack at maximum droop on trucks so equipped. The emergency brake cable hanger at the aft end of the frame may also require modification to prevent the housing from becoming a travel limiter. Note that a longer spring also requires a longer shock to be able to use the additional travel from the new spring.

    Uniballs (Again)
    A normal leaf spring has a rubber or polyurethane bushing at each end to allow some degree of twist when the axle moves. These bushings wear every time the rear axle twists, and the spring pack wears as well as it's being twisted between the frame and axle when the rear articulates. Replacing the bushing with a ball and socket assembly allows the spring pack to remain nearly perpendicular to the axle during articulation, removing the need to force the pack to twist as well as extend or compress. This requires a wider spring perch and shackle, the spring and ball/socket assembly are sold through Alcan Spring as "Orbit Eyes".

    Some Notes Regarding Spring Rate
    One of the two most important considerations for your suspension is the rated weight of the springs (the other is the valving in the shocks). This is the recommended load that must be applied to the spring in order to achieve the most flex--too much, and the spring is overcompressed; too little, and the spring won't flex. A common complaint used to be that the tundra rides "too soft". This is the mark of a well-engineered spring, matched to the weight of the stock, unloaded truck. Bouncing results from a lack of adequate damping by the shocks, not an incorrect spring rate. Larger trucks ride rough when empty because the leaf springs are built to carry a heavy load, at which point they will ride as smooth as an unloaded Tundra. Read this FAQ from Alcan Spring, specifically the section entitled "Do Alcan springs ride soft?", as the explanation is general and applies to any spring whether coil or leaf. When considering an upgrade to the springs, keep in mind the weight the truck will carry. While a stiffer spring may make the Tundra ride "more like a truck", keep in mind those other trucks ride like they do because of their intended ride quality at their intended payload weight. A car doesn't have the intended working payload of a truck, allowing the suspension to be tuned to the weight of only a few people (~200#-800#), not a few people and a half ton of whatever in the back (~200#-1800#). A stiffer spring will allow the truck to carry a heavier load (ie winch bumper & winch, recovery & camping gear, etc.), but the truck will ride rough until you add the weight--articulation is reduced, ride comfort suffers, and the truck is subject to more shock loads more often, meaning more squeaks and rattles. Evaluate your needs carefully before purchasing new springs.
    Last edited by DevinSixtySeven; 12-14-2007 at 05:21 PM.

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    Default Improving Traction

    Tires
    Tires are definately the easiest way to improve offroad performance. Even a set of basic all-terrains will take the truck from stuck in the mud to the end of the trail; realistically, tire size is not as important as tread pattern and siping.

    For everything other than mud, clay or rock crawling, a simple all-terrain with heavy factory siping, deep lugs and a sturdy sidewall will do very well, particularly for daily driver (DD) rigs, or expedition rigs that must drive long distances on paved roads to reach a trailhead.

    Mud tires perform well on any surface except wet or icy pavement or rock. Siping and/or grooving can overcome this limitation and significantly improve both dry and wet traction on any large-lugged tire. In general, mud tires are a poor choice for a rig that sees 90%+ pavement mileage due to the decrease in mileage and inclement weather traction, unless the owner is willing to void the manufacturer's warranty by modifying the tread blocks for better adhesion. A siped, grooved mud tire performs extremely well offroad due to self-cleaning lugs, mechanical keying (not including keying due to deformation at low pressure), and improved lug surface deformation.

    When choosing tire size, shift preference to height, not width, since contact patch size is much more dependent on height than width.

    Airing Down
    Reducing the air pressure in the tire improves traction by lengthening the contact patch, improving mechanical keying, and reducing the likelihood of breaking traction on a loose or slick surface. In bottomless sand or snow, lower pressure allows the vehicle to float rather than sink. Excellent examples of flotation can be found at Arctic Trucks, and trucks specifically built for the beaches of Hawaii. Airing down is best done with a small rim and a large tire--while a 31R20 can be aired down (anything can be aired down), the increase in traction is offset by the likelihood of pinching the tire against the rim, and the wider rim generally required for a lower profile tire also increases the possibility of unseating the bead of the tire from the rim at offroad pressure. To maximize the ability to air down offroad, run the smallest rim that will fit the truck, and a rim width at the narrower end of the manufacturer's recommendation for the planned tire size--this also requires careful planning to allow sufficient clearance between the sidewall and upper control arm to prevent rubbing when the carcass flexes under normal driving.

    To decrease air down time, several manufacturers offer adjustable check valves which thread to the stem, marked so they can be preset to a particular pressure in advance, deflating the tire to a known pressure automatically. For the drive home, dedicated air compressors and CO2 tanks are easy to install and/or carry, and can be extremely efficient and easy to use. CO2 tanks are by far the quickest, most convenient, simplest and least expensive solution for refilling tires, but are far larger than an air compressor and generally require space in the bed. Compressors capable of the flow rate of CO2 tanks generally cost twice as much, and in addition to mounting points require wiring and plumbing. The benefit to a compressor is mounting location (engine compartment, inner bedside airspace, frame rails, etc.), and a supply that won't run out as long as there's a power source. The best solution is to carry a small CO2 tank for refilling tires (speed, simplicity) and a small compressor (endless supply, redundancy) for operating lockers, and plumbing the system so either can supply tires or lockers. When choosing a compressor, be aware that the majority of "roadside emergency" kits are intended for emergencies involving small tires near civilization and will not have a duty cycle appropriate for refilling four 33" tires in a reasonable time. Here's an informative article with all the gory details.

    Lockers
    Your 4WD with open differentials is actually a 2WD. Take a look at this article for an explanation, or put a truck with open differentials in an off-camber situation where opposite tires are in the air, or the more common situation where two wheels are on ice. As soon as one wheel on an axle loses traction, the entire axle becomes dead weight, a common offroad situation with the limited articulation available on even a modified IFS vehicle. Read up on Eaton's website about the differences between limited slip, mechanical lockers and selectable lockers. Eaton is also the parent company for Detroit lockers, here is the entire product line and intended applications. For a daily-driven rig that sees difficult trails, the best solution is a selectable locker. At the moment, the only selectable locker available for the stock Toyota Tundra rear differential is the ARB air locker.

    Traction Ladders, 2x4s, Rock Stacking and Other Quick Fixes
    Occasionally, despite improved articulation, better tires and locked differentials, the truck gets bogged down in sand, snow, mud, loose dirt or doesn't have the stability required for a locked ascent of an obstacle that leaves a tire or two in the air. Traction mats, bridging sections or traction ladders usually solve any of these problems. Though floor mats or even the bed mat can be used in desperation, a few 2x4s or 2x6s don't take up much space, have multiple uses, and can be used to extract the truck from deep sand. If an obstacle is too tall or a hole is too deep, rocks can be stacked to create a ramp or a bridge, as long as there are rocks available. In loose, wet or icy conditions, wood and rocks are either too slick or hard to find. The best overall solution is a traction ladder--a combination of the traction available from a dedicated mat (but not flexible), and the strength of a bridging section but hopefully without the weight. Fiberglass makes a great traction ladder, since the material is able to elastically deform, it's lighter and requires less storage volume than a steel bridging piece or the old air force metal runway strips, it's easy to spray with bedliner to keep the edges from splintering and to provide even better traction, the grid pattern provides flotation as well as traction to both tires and on the ground, and they're even useful in camp. A 5x1.5 foot section fits across the bed and below the rails, and a 2"x2" grid with two inch depth provides enough strength to support a Tundra. Call around or search the web for suppliers, ask about scrap sections. A pair of traction ladders are much more effective in sand, snow, mud and loose terrain than wood or rocks, and provide a self-recovery option if winching isn't possible and a strap isn't available. In sand, mud, snow or loose soil, put the ladders under the front wheels for a good ten feet of traction as well as momentum. A piece of rope attached to the ladder at one end makes it easier to find after a recovery.
    Last edited by DevinSixtySeven; 12-14-2007 at 03:26 PM.

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    Default Fitting Larger Tires

    Since the rear wheel well can hold a 35" tire without any modification, this discussion pertains solely to the front end.

    Before all else, there are some caveats to running a larger tire. Also, any modifications YOU make to YOUR truck are solely YOUR responsibility, not mine, tundrasolutions, or anyone else but YOU. That in mind, here are some important notes from DJ:
    Quote Originally Posted by DJ
    With bigger diameter tires, it takes greater torque at the wheels to generate the same acceleration. Unless you drive more gently with a lifted truck than with a stock truck, you will have more stress on the axles, CV joints, differential, u-joints, transmission, torque converter, and engine. If you change the axle gear ratio, you can end up with no change in the stress on the u-joints, transmission, torque converter, and engine, but this won't have any effect on the axles and CV joints.

    With bigger diameter tires, it takes greater torque at the wheels to generate the same deceleration. The brakes have to absorb the same amount of energy, but they have to use higher hydraulic pressure and greater force of the pads against the disks and shoes against the drums to do so. This means the maximum braking force possible is reduced.

    With bigger diameter tires, the center of mass is higher off the ground. With a lift, it's higher still. This means that a greater percentage of the braking is performed by the front brakes as compared to the rear brakes, because the higher center of mass means a greater transfer of weight to the front wheels during braking. This reduces steering stability during braking and increases the tendency of the rear wheels to break loose.

    With bigger diameter tires, there is greater stress on the ball joints during cornering. The centrifugal force of cornering causes the tires to exert a bending moment on the ball joints. That bending moment is higher if the diameter of the tires is higher. The same is true for the pivot joints of the upper and lower control arm.

    There are good reasons why race cars are low to the ground. Everyone obeys the laws of physics. The point is that the price of lifting a truck and putting on big tires is greater than the money that comes out of your wallet.
    There are some very good reasons for running a larger tire, and they all pertain to offroad travel. A larger tire allows a longer footprint when aired down, increases clearance, improves approach and departure angles, and enables the truck to easier mount larger obstacles. The taller sidewall keeps the rim farther from the ground and decreases the likelihood of a pinch flat from an unseen obstacle.

    It's much better to think in terms of fitting a larger tire (the result) rather than think in terms of lifting (a process). This relates directly to DJ's remark about racecars and their low center of gravity, since in order to maximize capability and minimize unwanted side effects, the largest tire should be run with the smallest possible lift (for a reasonably modified Tundra, that is roughly a 35x12.5R16). While lifting is the easiest way to run a larger tire, it isn't the only way, larger tires aren't always the goal, and even the additional height isn't necessarily a goal, it may only be a by-product of a certain setup. For some good examples of unlifted rigs with large tires, look at the moon buggies on Pirate. These vehicles were built with the intent of running a very large tire, and use suspension, axles, brakes and axle placement commensurate with their designed tire size. Since the suspension can be fully compressed and the tires turned lock to lock, vehicle height is based on a desired uptravel/downtravel ratio, not clearance to the frame or body.

    The largest tire that can be run on a stock Tundra is a 265/75/16 or equivalent--that is the tallest tire on the smallest rim. The plastic fender liner, mud flaps, fender flares, bumper and even the cab are not sized to accomodate anything larger. In order to run a larger tire, all those pieces (maybe more) need to be adjusted, somehow. The greatest obstacle to running a larger tire offroad is the rear outside corner of the front wheel well. There are two options for adjustment, cutting and lifting.

    Cutting

    33" Tires
    This requires at the least a large hammer, and at most a small welding setup, sawzall or air saw, grinder, replacement sheetmetal, body filler, paint and undercoat. The minimal approach is to remove the plastic in the wheel well and then pound, cut or grind the pinch weld flat. Since it is a pinch weld, re-weld any section completely removed (pull the carpet up first and throw a wet towel over the welding area on the inside of the cab). Pull the plastic liner aft and reattach using the same bolt that secures the bottom of the fender. Trim the mud flap and the back of the fender flare, or use a heat gun to heat and deform the plastic. Check for interference with the front bumper as well and trim as necessary. This will allow a 285/75/16 tire to be compressed and turned lock to lock.

    35" Tires
    This is a much more extensive modification and requires sheetmetal skill with a MIG or TIG welder, as well as trimming either the stock sheetmetal fender or a fiberglass replacement. Follow the guide on Trails Less Traveled (link elsewhere in this thread) to find the areas in need of a trim. When cutting, pull the upholstery and use a wet towel to catch sparks. Keep a fire extinguisher, a bucket of water, and some wet shop rags nearby when grinding or welding on the cab. Use an air saw or sawzall when possible, try to avoid using a cutting wheel, particularly on the structural channel where it's impossible at first to catch any sparks. Be extremely careful working on the lower structural channel in general, be certain to re-pinch and weld the channel, and replace any removed metal with at least an equivalent thickness in an equivalent position to provide strength. It's very important to remove as much paint and undercoat around the planned weld areas as possible. 3M makes an excellent gap filler and undercoat base layer to apply on the inside and outside of any joints. The fender can be reattached at the bottom using a vertical self-tapping bolt into the bottom of the structural channel, with a nylon spacer between fender and cab. Depending on the wheel and tire, the tire may interfere at the body mount at the rear of the wheel well. If this is the case, a suspension lift or drop bracket will also be required.

    Lifting
    Lifting is a much more common solution since cutting isn't always an option (lease, new truck, nerves). Lifts are arguably easier to install. A lift may also be required in addition to trimming in order to fit a particularly large tire. A lift, regardless what type, is a spacer designed to distance the tire from the cab and frame. A lift does not increase the available suspension travel unless the extended length of the shock is also increased from stock. Coilover lifts (spacers, replacement coilovers) change the compression/extension ratio of the suspension, which is why a large tire on a coilover lift may be adequate on the road, but there is no more clearance during articulation than stock, and the tire will rub when stuffed and turned. Body lifts provide clearance between the tire and the cab at the rear outer corner of the front wheel well, making the limiting factor the cab mount at the back of the wheel well. As a result a 35" tire can be fitted to the truck with a coilover lift and body lift, with minimal modification to other components. Drop brackets (also known as cradle lifts, since the front differential is held in a new cradle below the frame) move the frame and body away from the tire, solving both interference at the cab and at the cab mount. Any lift, vs. trimming to fit a larger tire, raises the center of gravity but does not provide a performance improvement other than a minute increase in the breakover angle. Lifts can be combined to raise the truck higher, but in my opinion larger tires do not overcome the increased rollover risk from an unnecessarily high center of gravity--a drop bracket, body lift and coilover lift may allow an otherwise unmodified Tundra to run a 37" tire, but the truck will be nearly 12" taller than stock with less than 6" of additional track width per side--usually no more than 1.5" to 3"--resulting in a decreased roll angle and ultimately a truck that must stick to relatively flat runs offroad and is less safe on the road. The same tire could be run with fender and wheel well trimming and a long travel kit, with no increase in the center of gravity except as a result of the desired extension/compression ratio at static ride height, 3+" of additional track width, and a similar cost (LT 4WD ~4-5K, stacked lifts ~3-4K). For a beach truck, maximum roll angle isn't much of a concern, but for trails a large tire needs to be combined with a low center of gravity for the most capability--just like DJ's racecar example.

    Regearing
    Without regearing, a larger tire changes the speed (not the rpm) where the transmission shifts, requires more fuel to start rolling, more heat in the torque converter, greater shock load when a spinning wheel finds traction, and a higher (numerically lower) crawl ratio offroad, which translates to less control. While the up-front cost of regearing can be high, it's an eventual requirement for any tire larger than 33" on a Tundra due to the wear and potential damage to components on and off the road. In general, the stock 3.91 gear ratio is sufficient up to 33" tires, a 4.56 ratio can be used from 33" to 35" tires, and 4.88 is great with 35" tires and nearly perfect with 37" tires when compared to the stock tire size and gear ratio. This doesn't mean oversize tires can't be used with the stock gearing, but in that case the ring, pinion and axles will be at significant risk and the truck should be driven gently. Available ratios are 4.10, 4.30, 4.56, 4.88 and 5.29, some factory-only, some aftermarket. The 00-04 Tundra shares gearsets with the 95.5-04 Tacomas, and some 4Runners and Sequoias.

    Gear Ratio/Tire Size Equivalences
    In general, as rotating mass increases, it's better to use a numerically higher ratio (lower gearing) if the ideal ratio isn't available, or if the truck would be better suited to lower gearing for your general use. For the best compromise between mileage and performance, choose the ratio closest to the "ideal" ratio. Also due to the expense of regearing, it's best to plan your build in advance with regard to use, suspension needs, planned axle width, and GVW, as these factors may allow a larger tire or require a smaller tire. While 3.91 gears and 35" tires do not offer the same control offroad as the stock configuration, it does work well enough for moderately difficult trails--so if your build is progressing and you're not certain where it will end up, save regearing for last.

    CONSIDERATIONS FOR TUNDRA IFS (Independent Front Suspension)
    The Tundra uses a double-wishbone suspension supported by a coilover attached midway out on the lower control arm. There is a ball joint in the steering knuckle with the stud in the lower control arm, and a ball joint in the top of the spindle with a stud in the shorter upper control arm. As the front suspension droops, the shape of this trapezoid changes radically, limiting the amount the truck can realistically be lifted via coilover mods. Use a floor jack to pick up the truck by the crossmember at the rear of the engine. The spindle angles towards the centerline of the truck as the upper control arm drops--the change is readily apparent looking down the side of the truck front to back, using the rear tire as a vertical reference. If the stock upper ball joint and control arm are used in conjunction with a high coilover lift, the truck will be difficult to align (camber will be very negative and caster will be near zero), and the ball joints will be more prone to failure. In addition, the farther down the stock upper control arm droops, the closer the stock upper ball joint angles toward maximum deflection. The neck of the joint is very small, and will shear at the neck if the joint is subject to sufficient shock load off the vertical axis. Also, because the joint is in the spindle and the UCA extends past the stud, clearance is lost between the tire and the arm as the suspension droops. The stock coilover does not extend far enough to allow a shock load at the upper ball joint, but some spacer kits which install on top of the coilover may as they effectively increase the maximum extension of the coilover. Limit straps can help save the upper ball joint, but for offroad plans, it's better to just replace the stock UCA with a uniball arm. The suspension can be drooped slightly beyond the stock coilover extension limit before the upper ball joint is at risk, Bilstein offers a 5100-based kit that will provide slightly more downtravel with the stock spring and upper control arm, and adjustable ride height from 0" to +2" over stock.

    HOW DOES THIS AFFECT MY WARRANTY?
    The Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act protects vehicle owners from warranty cancellation on parts not related to or affected by a modification. For example, a new coilover kit will be covered by the manufacturer of the kit, and the remainder of the truck will continue to be covered by Toyota, as long as the coilover kit did not adversely affect anything else--if you turned the coilovers up too high and a CV or ball joint breaks, the joint will probably not be covered by the Toyota warranty. In general, any post-modification warranty claim will require inspection (by a Toyota representative) and explanation (from the owner) as to why the modification did not result in the warranty claim. Joint or drivetrain failure due to large tires or improperly cranked coilovers will probably not be covered.
    Last edited by DevinSixtySeven; 12-14-2007 at 06:45 PM.

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    Default Recovery Gear And Recovery Techniques

    The following are GUIDELINES and are not meant to be comprehensive, just some of my observations over the years. Off road vehicle recovery is an inherently dangerous activity. Be sure that all recovery equipment is in good working order. Proceed at your own risk and always remember- Drive fast and take chances


    So you have a 4x4 and you are just itching to go out and see what trouble you can get in to- and hopefully OUT of. There are many aspects to being able to successfully negotiate tough terrain, such as suspension, tires, etc. But one key component is to have the tools and knowledge needed to get you out of trouble. As with any type of adventure activity a few basic rules to live by can save your bacon if you do get in over your head.

    1) Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. A simple and effective way to give yourself some insurance if the drastic happens
    2) Go with another vehicle if possible or, at least with another person in your rig. Having someone else around to help you out can be invaluable as well as a huge time saver.
    3) Have some kind of communication device- a cell phone, cb, short wave, etc. Using the airwaves is much faster than a using a runner!
    4) Have the appropriate recovery gear AND know how to use it.

    The first 3 items are common sense and we should not have to discuss them beyond what we already have, so lets focus on # 4

    How much recovery gear do I really need?

    Well in my opinion you can never have too much, but the type and quantity of gear you should have should be a reflection of the type of terrain you are likely to encounter. An example of a very complete gear set can be found HERE. While this list is quite extensive, it illustrates the point of bringing what you think you may need. However, most of us are not setting out on a 14 day expedition, so what are the basics? Well if you get stuck to the point that you cannot extricate your rig with its own power you need to have a good understanding of what to do and what not to do.

    Know the proper recovery points for your vehicle and be able to identify some basic points for any type of vehicle that may come to your rescue.

    Some obvious spots are places like receiver hitches and tow hooks. The stock Tundra comes with only one tow hook, located on the front, under the bumper along the passenger side and 2 open hole attachment points on either side as well up front. On the rear of the vehicle there aren't any hooks, but there are open hole attachment points on the rear leaf hangers, but I would use these only as a last resort for reasons I will get into shortly. To effectively recover a stuck vehicle, the more option you have for attachments the better, so you may want to consider adding either a tow hitch to the rear, or an aftermarket hook attached to the frame with some Grade 5 or better yet, Grade 8 hardware. Perhaps the best types of recovery points involve the use of D shackles or D rings. When hunting for an attachment point, look for spots SECURELY attached immediately adjacent to the frame of the vehicle in question. If you are going to use a bumper, attach to a spot as close to the frame mounts as possible. A tow hitch is a great place to attach the strap to. You can put the loop in the receiver hitch and insert the pin thru the eye of the loop. If you have a 3" wide strap though, this wont work for you. You can also wrap the strap around the body of the hitch, if there is room (this depends upon what kind of hitch you have), and feed one loop thru the other in a kind of slipknot. Be aware that this kind of set up can move around on you if you are pulling at an angle

    Places that you NEVER want to use as an attachment are things such as ANY suspension or steering component (leaf springs, axels, control arms, sway bars, shocks, tie rods, etc.) or anything else that is not immediately attached to the frame. Getting bent or tweaked suspension is no fun. This is due to the enormous forces that are unleashed while extracting a vehicle. Remember, your rig weighs more than 4000lbs so a considerable amount of force will be needed to get it unstuck. You do not want to attach to anything that will get ripped off of your rig and possible hurt you or others in the area.

    This brings me to the concept of working load limits (WLL). Have you heard the saying "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link?" Well that is a very important thing to consider when using recovery equipment. Therefore, it is imperative that you know the limits of your equipment- each and every piece. While true WLL are based upon hoisting (overhead or verticle work) they still apply to towing or winching operations (later I'll give you a link to a site that talks about how much weight is actually getting moved around during a recovery operation). For instance, you have a nylon tow strap that says it is rated for 21,000 lbs. Tuff huh? Well what are you attaching that to? I bet it is not rated to 21,000 lbs! If you use your strap attached to a class III hitch, this setup is only rated for 5000 lbs, the rating for that type of hitch, despite the rating of the strap. For basic snatch extractions this may not be something to belabor or worry about excessively, but when it comes to winching type or deep stuck extractions it is crucially important. We'll talk about this more a bit later. OK, lets go through some of the gear and how to use it.

    Nylon Tow Straps

    AT A MINIMUM YOU NEED A TOW STRAP! Anybody who ventures off road without one is being foolish (I also advocate having a shovel - the camping/ army surplus kind is fine). Do not even think that a rope is a suitable substitute as you will be sorely disappointed with the results. A 2" wide, 30 foot strap will set you back about $40. DO NOT purchase a strap that has a hook pre-attached to the loop. This is a disaster waiting to happen. If that hook slips or breaks, it will become a projectile that can cause significant damage to your or your buddies rig, or worse maim or kill a bystander or driver. The only kind of strap you should consider is the double reinforced loop kind like you can see HERE. There is a down side to only having a tow strap in your recovery gear. You need another vehicle to use it!

    There are 3 basic ways to use the tow strap after it has been SECURELY attached to both vehicles. For all 3 methods you should use as straight of a line of pull with the stuck vehicle as possible. This will help minimize torsion forces on the attachment point of the stuck vehicle. If you do have to pull at an angle you should attach to a spot that is as close to the side of the truck that is near the pulling vehicle. For instance, if you have to pull at an angle on the passenger side of the vehicle, find an attachment spot on the passenger side. Angles greater that 30 degrees should be avoided if at all possible. Also, the type of "stuck" (mud sand, snow & how deeply buried the vehicle is) will determine how much force will be required to get unstuck. Remember safety first- be sure there are no bystanders in the immediate vicinity of the 2 vehicle. Now use the following techniques in order of most gentle to most forceful:

    1) Place both vehicles in 4 lo and slowly take up the slack in the strap. After the strap becomes fully extended gradually increase the throttle in both vehicles. If you are lucky you are out! If not your tires are spinning and slinging. This is generally effective for light & shallow stucks.
    2) If that did not work, next get a rolling start to try and tug. Note I said rolling start, like about 3-5 MPH. You want to use to least amount of force needed as the harder the yank, the potential for damage greatly increases. Be prepared for the jolt, but the strap will absob most of it. The beauty of the nylon straps is that they have elastic properties that you can use to your advantage. Make sure the strap does not get hung up on your vehicle. NEVER EVER EVER try the tug technique with anything other than a nylon tow strap. Try this with a chain or wire rope and you will be guaranteed some kind of damage and quite possibly physical injury or even death. This is generally effective for light-medium shallow stucks.
    3) If a rolling start did not work, first reassess the situation before proceeding with more speed. As I said, if you really yank hard you might tweak something so be sure that you are not overlooking something. Reassess your attachment points. Reassess your tugging angle and/or direction. Be sure both drivers are on the same page strategy wise. After doing a 2nd look over give #2 a try again, then move up to a higher speed. Use 2-3 MPH increments, but be very, very wary of anything above 15 MPH. At that point you may need to get more help before something disastrous happens. This is generally effective for medium-medium/heavy moderate deapth stucks. Beyond this you may want to consider using 2 vehicles or doing some digging or going to a winching operation or a combo of these.

    Some things to not do with a nylon tow strap.
    1) Tie a knot in it to shorten the length of the strap for a pull or to tie 2 straps together. You will make that knot permanent if you place a load on it. If you need to shorten it, wrap it around a bumper to get the desired length or double it up using a shackle or receiver hitch as a "hinge" for the mid point.
    2) Combine a strap with some other type of item like a chain or wire rope
    3) Poke or cut a hole in it. This will dramatically decrease the WLL of the strap
    4) Try and sew a new loop or anything else on it. Unless you are a master parachute rigger, leave this to the professionals.

    Basic Winching

    There are several ways to "winch" a vehicle in a recovery situation. This includes the use of an electric or hydraulic motor winch, such as Warn or a hand powered device such as a come-along or a Hi-Lift Jack. With either method the principles are the same, but who does the work is the difference! There are advantages and disadvantages with both, but the electric or hydraulic method is easiest, but can also get you in more trouble.

    Safety concerns are paramount in winch recoveries. The loads the system is exposed to can be severe and prolonged. Working load limits of EACH piece of gear in the setup need to be scrutinized and should be at the VERY least equal to the load it is going to be subjected to . Each piece of gear need to be checked for defects and used properly. An excellent source of information on WLL determination and other winching details can be found HERE This is a very comprehensive source and I highly recommend that you take the time to read all of the information provided there. The generally accepted mantra is that you should have a winch that is capable of a WLL that is 1.5 times the gross vehicle weight (GVW) of your rig IN ITS NORMAL CONFIGURATION. This means when you are fully loaded with gear. The plate on your door frame is the weight of your rig when it is empty. It can easily be 1000 lbs heavier than that with you and all of your gear in it. Knowing the GVW AND the loads that the winch will be exposed to for different types of recoveries will dictate the technique that will be required to SAFELY perform the recovery. Never exceed the WLL for your recovery gear- the price you pay for this will be very steep. This brings me to the discussion of receiver hitch mounted winches. While this is undoubtedly a very convenient setup (allows you to tow forward or backward provided you have the hitches installed), it is inherently limited in its WLL capacity. Light to medium duty jobs will be fine, but serious jobs should not be attempted. Any winch that has a rating above 5000 lbs is wasted on this type of set up and can lull you into a false sense of security - remember class III hitches are only rated to 5000 lbs. Similarly, you need to be aware of brush guard mounted setups for similar reasons.

    If you have a situation that looks like you are exceeding the WLL of your gear- no worries. Most likely there is a work around. The most common is the use a snatch block(s) to double the line. This effectively reduces the load on the components by a half or doubles your winching power (actually it just reduces the current draw so the winch does not work as hard). The down side to this is that the distance that you can winch will also be reduced by a half and it takes longer to move a given distance. Typically a winch has about 100ft of line. You need to keep at least 5 or 6 wraps of line on the winch drum, so that leaves you with about 90 feet. (Your winch has the highest capacity during the second layer wrap and will loose about 10% on each layer after that) So you can see that if you have to do a double line pull you have to be about 43 feet away (giving room for the blocks and shackles needed for this setup) from the vehicle to be recovered. Some situations may not let you be that close. This illustrates that every recovery situation is different and needs to be assessed independently with some sound judgment. In the best of possible worlds, you have someone with you who has done this several times and knows the principles. If not, go out and do some dry runs in controlled situations. Practice makes perfect.

    Winch Operation

    Remember- Safety First. Never try to use an electric motor winch if it submerged under water!! Play out as much line as possible. Check, double check, and triple check all connection BEFORE doing the pull. Be sure that the anchor point is SOLID and can handle the load. If you are not in reach of an anchor, you can use a mobile anchor like the Pull-Pal. Alternatively you can put your shovel to use and dig a hole (about 3-4 feet deep) and bury a log or even your spare tire (vertically placed). Leave a little trench that is at a 45-degree angle from the hole for the line to exit and put a small log under the line to keep it from burying. Another option is the use of T stakes hammered into the ground and secured together. No doubt a Pull Pal is way easier!! Make sure there are no bystanders in the area (a good rule of thumb is a diameter equal to that of the amount of line played out). If the vehicle is burried in mud up to the frame you may need to do some digging to help release the vacuum effect of the mud (if not done the force needed is GREATLY increased). Take up the slack in the line. Never stand on, stand over, or handle a line under tension. If you are the winching vehicle, feed the remote to the inside of your rig, and raise the hood to protect yourself in case of line or connector failure (if you have a synthetic line or are facing up a steep hill you can skip this!). Have the engine running at about 1800 rpm. If you don't you will drain your battery (you still can even with the engine running if it is a long pull or you have a weakened battery!!). If you are using the winch to extricate your own rig, put it in gear and give it a little gas at the same time you activate the winch. Keep going until you get some traction, or need to stop and check on the line wind. Don't over drive the line! Never stall out your winch (meaning the drum does not move eventhough you have your finger on the trigger!). This will burn out your winch quickly!!! Wind the line back on the drum under tension (like winching when in neutral rolling up to an anchor spot or just by using your hands). When handling the line, use a hand over hand and do not let it slide thru your hands. Be very careful at the end of the winding process and use a hand saver for the last few inches to avoid finger smunsh and off you go!!!

    Some other guidelines and safety practices

    Wire Rope

    If you are using wire rope, steps need to be taken to prevent to prevent the rope from becoming a projectile if there is a failure in the rigging. A sand bag, old piece of carpet, anything that puts some weight on the top of the rope. Floor mats or a heavy jacket will also work. Place this in the middle of the line (and over any connections with hardware such as at a tree saver) and periodically readjust it to the middle as the pull proceeds. DO NOT clip or tie anything to the line, as this can also become a projectile. Always handle wire rope with leather gloves. If you encounter a fray with bare hand, you will be the lucky recipient of a mega-splinter and most likely a few stitches.

    If you use a winch you may want to consider changing out you wire rope for a synthetic rope. There are basically 2 kinds of synthetic rope: Plasma rope (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Fiber) and X-Line. The major advantages to these lines are they are lighter, do not whiplash, and do not permanently kink or bend. Plasma rope floats, but is more susceptible to heat damage (winches can get very hot). X-Line is more heat stable, but costs more. Both lines should be used with specially designed fairleads to prolong line life. The increased safety factor is huge with these products.

    Spooling and winding the line, no matter what type you have, is also important. When spooling (rolling the line off of the winch drum) it generally is best to do a "free spool" meaning that you physically pull the line off of the drum. If you use the motor to spool the line, it will get hot and start to draw a lot of current from you electrical system, so a free spool is best. This can be a challenge if you have wire rope, as it gets heavy after a few feet, especially if you have to lug it uphill!! When winding the line in, whether under load or not, it is important that you check to see that it is wrapping neatly. If it starts to bunch on one side of the drum you will run into problems with space on the drum (while the line will fit with an even wind, if the wind is offset, the capacity of the drum will be reduced. Think about a garden hose reel. When winding that hose on if you do a nice wrap you get lots more hose on the reel). This happens if you do a pull off to an angle. If the pull is not real long and you have a fair amount of line out, you wont have to worry about it much. If it is a long offset angle pull, you may have to periodically stop, secure the vehicle being recovered, spool out the line and rewind it properly. Also, the line needs to be wound on the drum under tension. If you neglect to do a proper wind under tension, a top layer of line can bury into the bottom layers and cause line binding on the drum. This is a major headache to deal with, especially in the field, so lets get it right the first time.

    When using a tree as an anchor point use a tree strap and a D shackle. This not only saves your line from kinking and permanent damage it also saves the tree! Place the line hook so that it is facing upward so that if it slips it will head downward.

    D Shackles

    These are excellent attachment points when attached to a suitable location and properly used. A couple of quick points. Be sure the screw pin is tightened all the way, then back it off 1/2 a turn. Never load the shackle at an angle. The loads should be perpendicular the screw pin. The 3/4" or 1" shackles are probably the best to use (6.5 ton or 10 ton WLL).

    Hi Lift Jack

    Lets face it. The little hydraulic jack you get with your Tundra works fine, but if you put a lift on your truck, you better carry some lumber around to put under the jack to get it working, especially if you might need to use it in the dirt. Normally a mechanical jack such as the Hi-Lift would be a viable alternative, however, there are not many spots on the Tundra that will allow a good perch for the jack (on a stock Tundra the only spot is the rear bumper and you will dimple it if you are not careful!). Does that mean that the Hi-Lift is useless? Absolutely not! You can still find lots of uses for it and if you want to make your rig more trail ready by adding a new front bumper such as the ARB Sahara Bar, a custom rear bumper, and rock sliders, then you will have plenty of places from which to lift you rig. These jacks are rated at 4660 lbs.

    Lifting is only one use of the Hi-Lift. Used as a come-along, it is very useful. I have found myself in situations that I have had to use both my winch and my Hi-Lift for a recovery. If you have a front mounted winch, but need to be pulled from the rear of your rig, your winch is basically useless - Hi-Lift to the rescue! A Hi-Lift can be used as a clamp by the positioning of the upper clevis in the appropriate position. With other accessories it can even be used as a pipe straightener.

    So What do I lug around for recovery gear?

    Here is my list:
    Warn M12000 winch mounted on custom frame mounted tube bumper with 100 feet of X-line rope
    125" 3/8 wire rope (originally came w/ the winch)
    Five 3/4" D Shackles
    Two 29000lb snatch blocks
    Two 3"wide 6 foot tree straps
    One 2" wide 30 foot tug strap
    One 20 foot 3/8" Grade 80 choker chain
    Two sets Leather gloves
    60" all-cast Hi-Lift Jack with jackmate accesorries
    Full size Shovel
    A complete tool set
    And a digital camera to capture all the fun when I need to use it!!!!


    Hopefully you will have found this to be both informative and useful. I'm sure that I have left something out so if anyone has any suggestions or comments dont hesitate to give me a holler
    Last edited by TMS2U; 05-20-2008 at 12:17 PM.

  9. #8
    Leader of Group Evil DevinSixtySeven's Avatar
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    Default Lift Types--Coilovers, Body Lifts, Drop Brackets

    Stock Suspension
    In front, the Tundra uses a double wishbone independent suspension with a coilover fitted roughly halfway down the lower control arm. The rear uses a leaf spring over the rear axle, with the frame hanging from the shackle at the aft end of the spring as opposed to the weight sitting on the shackle. The front of an access or regular cab tundra is roughly 2" lower than the rear to provide load leveling--when the proper working load (half the max rated payload) is placed over the rear axle, the truck should ride level, at least that's the idea. If anyone knows the weight over the rear axle at which the stock truck sits level, please PM me.

    A shock absorber consists of two components, a spring and a damper ("shock"). The spring is what actually flexes over a bump, while the valving in the damper is set to prevent the spring from bouncing. In front, the damper ("shock") mounts in the center of the coil spring, hence the term "coilover". In the rear, the leaf pack is the spring, with one shock mounted in front and one to the rear of the axle to help control axle wrap.

    There are two main types of lift for IFS, each creates a lift in a different way and with different tradeoffs. Coilover lifts change the ride height by translating the position of the coil on the damper. Drop brackets are unique to independent suspension systems and provide a spacer to move the lower control arms, differential, spindles, coilovers, and steering components lower than their stock position on the frame. For the rear of the truck, the two general methods of lifting are changes or additions to the leaf spring pack, and blocks--shackle lifts cannot be applied without flipping the shackle, but this also means a longer shackle can be used to lower the rear of the truck (drop shackles are sold by SOS Performance and others). Body lifts change the distance between the frame and the body of the truck (cab and bed), and provide clearance between tires and body but do not affect suspension or drivetrain components.

    Coilover Lifts (and Spacers)
    A coilover lift changes the static ride height by translating the position of the coil. A coilover drop kit (again, see SOS Performance) does the same thing, but moves the spring in the opposite direction. Below, the "XXXX"s are the shock body, "SSSS" is spring, and the "===="s are the shock shaft. The "0"s are the mounting eyes. The spring is shown next to the shock for position, the "-"s next to the spring are just spacers so everything looks correct. The "C" is the spring seat on the coilover.

    This is full compression:
    0XCXXXX0
    ---SSSSS-

    This is full extension:
    0XCXXXX======0
    ---SSSSSSSSSSS-

    This is normal ride height:
    0XCXXXX===0
    ---SSSSSSSS-

    The spring will always be compressed the same amount when the static weight of the truck is on the spring (ie nothing is moving, truck/suspension is at rest), regardless of the ride height, within reason--this doesn't include ridiculously impossible lower control arm angles. When the "lift height" is changed, all that's changing is the compression/extension ratio on the damper...the piston is either moving in or out, but the spring is compressed the same amount. In other words, it is not a change in "preload"...there is no such thing as "preload" as the term is commonly used to describe spring seat adjustment. If the spring were actually "preloaded", it would not flex at all (!) on the truck until the static or dynamic load from the truck's weight increased to the point where it was equivalent to the force exerted by the "preloaded" spring.

    Normal:
    0XCXXXX===0
    ---SSSSSSSS-

    Higher Ride Height:
    0XXXCXX=====0
    ------SSSSSSSS-

    So the more the ride height is lifted with a coilover, the less extension the shock has remaining, which will affect ride quality and potentially shock life. In addition, as the ride height increases, the angle on the lower control arm increases, which results in a stiffer ride as the tire must move laterally in order for the suspension to compress. The increase in angle also decreases the volume within the CV boots on the front driveshafts, raising the internal pressure and often forcing CV grease out the ends of the boot, resulting in the spinning driveshaft flinging grease at surrounding components.

    The additional angle (above about 2") causes the CV joint to rub on the inside of the stock inner CV boot and eventually tear, and the CV joint itself is more likely to break as the running angle increases. Larger Porsche 930-style inner CV boots are available to address the rubbing issue (see elsewhere in this FAQ). The front drivetrain can be disengaged using a manual hub kit, enabling the suspension to be run day-to-day at a higher angle, but this does not solve the problem offroad. Always bear in mind that a CV joint is strongest when it is not flexed.

    When adjusting the ride height, the ratio of coilover adjustment to wheel height adjustment is roughly 1:1.6, also when the truck is set on its own weight post-adjustment, the steep lower control arm angle will be held by the tires--remember as the LCA angle increase, the tires need to move laterally for the suspension to compress. Measuring lift immediately post-install will result in a false number; scrubbing the wheels side to side (ie turning the steering wheel in place) will help but the best method is simply to roll the truck backwards, then forwards since the vehicle's alignment will help "track" the wheels to their proper location. Normal toe will encourage the suspension to rise slightly when moving forward, and settle slightly in reverse--this is also why people with suspension lifts, oversize tires and stock mud flaps & wheel wells may notice rubbing in reverse but not forward.

    Note this will not work if the toe has been significantly changed by the lift, ie going from stock to 4" lift, as the misaligment will cause the front of the truck to rise and settle significantly--in this case, scrubbing the tires on a loose surface (or a couple sheets of cardboard) will be the best method to estimate lift height. If possible, measure the lift height on the alignment rack, while the suspension is floating, and readjust if necessary, followed by realignment as the camber, caster and toe angles will have changed as a result of the new control arm angles.

    The ONLY real difference between one coilover lift method/brand/type and another is whether the shaft remains stock length or is extended, either to take advantage of the remaining travel in the upper ball joint, or to be used in conjunction with a uniball upper control arm (note this does not mean Bilstein = SAW = Fabtech = Donahoe = etc, only that their lift methods may be of the same type...their springs, dampers, build quality, materials etc may be completely different). The length of the coilover can be extended using a spacer on top of the coilover assembly, which must either be thin enough not to compromise the stock upper ball joint, or a uniball joint with a greater range of travel must be installed as well. Spacers which install within the coilover assembly do not carry this risk, but because they bias the travel ratio far towards compression the shocks are prone to extending hard and may damage the shock over time. Limit straps mitigate the hard extension, are inexpensive and easy to install. An adjustable coilover is really no different or better than a non-adjustable spacer as far as ride height is concerned. The only difference between kits is whether or not they allow additional travel, and if so, how much--enough to require a uniball upper ball joint, or not.

    Spacer kits should never be combined with aftermarket coilover kits. Most aftermarket coilover kits already account either for the additional travel available in the stock upper ball joint or are intentionally extended to leverage the additional angle available with a uniball upper ball joint. As a simple example, do not try to install an EZ-Lift puck on top of your Bilstein 5100 coilover kit, they were never meant to be installed together and the result will likely damage your upper ball joint--see this example of a damaged joint on Camburg's website.

    Drop Bracket aka Cradle Lift
    The point of a drop bracket is to increase lift height while maintaining near-stock suspension angles, allowing for more height than a spring seat adjustment alone (coilover or spacer kits). The main crossmember is cut and a subframe is bolted underneath. This subframe holds the lower control arms, steering rack and front differential several inches (usually 3-4") below the frame. RCD and Tuff Country manufacture this style lift for the Tundra. These kits are often combined with suspension adjustments to provide as much as 6" of ride height over stock. Custom drop brackets have been built as well and may be found by searching the forums and photo gallery.

    There are two types of designs for drop bracket kits. Since the lower control arms etc. are relocated, the spindles must be lengthened as well. The older style of kit uses a spacer on top of the spindle, which has broken on several trucks. The newer style uses a replacement spindle with length matching the drop bracket. Both RCD and Tuff Country offer a kit with a replacement spindle.

    Drop bracket kits offer no offroad capability over stock, they are only a means to fit a larger tire and gain height. They do not offer more articulation, center of gravity is increased more than a suspension/body lift combination, they do not contribute to the strength of the drivetrain, and height is increased without any increase in width, so sidehill stability is compromised compared to stock. Once a drop bracket is installed the truck cannot be returned to stock without a great deal of effort. Ground clearance under the differentials is only changed by an increase in tire size since the kit lowers the mounting point of the steering rack and lower control arms. While these kits are hardly the best solution offroad, they are certainly strong enough and the truck will remain perfectly capable of negotiating fire roads and moderately difficult trails, where sidehills are not steep and the need for articulation is no greater than stock. These kits generally allow a 35"x12.5" tire to be fitted to the truck, with the addition of a body lift a 37"x12.5" tire may fit in some circumstances.

    Body Lifts
    A body lift, like a drop bracket, is a brute force method for relocating the rear corner of the front wheel well. Body lifts use a polyurethane, plastic or metal puck to increase the space between the cab and the frame, generally 1" to 3" thick. Brackets and/or extensions are also required for the steering linkage and radiator mount. Like a drop bracket, a body lift does not increase offroad capability, but unlike a drop bracket a body lift allows fitment of a larger tire without irreversible modification to the vehicle. A body lift also does not raise the center of gravity as much as a drop bracket, comparing two trucks with equal tire size and equal measurements from the ground to the body pinch weld. Neoprene fabric can be used to cover the gap between body and frame, or search for a kit called "Lift Lips". It is possible to mount 35"x12.5" tires using a 3" body lift and a 2.5" suspension lift, this is a very functional setup offroad tho the tires may rub during compression turns to full lock. FYI the six stock bolts in the bed require a T-55 Torx bit.

    Long Travel
    Stock travel is 6". Long travel kits from Total Chaos and Camburg normally achieve 13" of travel, and with some modification can reach 15" with functional 4WD. This is achieved using a uniball to replace the stock upper ball joint, allowing more travel, and by lengthening the arms 3.5" each side. For a wealth of information on long travel tech, use and abuse, visit SoCal Tundras. The wheel mounting surface (wms) dimension for these kits is 74" (stock rear is 66", front is 67"). This might sound wide, but with a reasonable wheel and tire combination the total width can be well under 85", potentially as narrow as 79" depending on section width, rim width and backspacing. Note also that for wide and tall tires, track width may be as wide as 89", for example 17x10 rims on 4.5" backspacing with a 37" tire and 14" section width.

    Both the Chaos and Camburg kits are race-proven in the Southwest and on the Baja peninsula. Both kits are very high quality, and staff at both manufacturers are incredibly helpful. Either kit will work for 2WD and 4WD trucks, and builds with these kits should be at home in the open desert and on trails through the woods, if tires and rims are kept at reasonable widths. Tho expensive, these kits are excellent additions to an offroad-oriented build for a vehicle which will remain IFS.

    Solid Axle Swaps
    Please see Teddnet.com for information on Tundra solid axle swaps, and search the forums here for information on the handful of 1st-gen Tundras running solid front axles.

    A solid front axle is the least expensive route to the most durability and flexibility of the front suspension and drivetrain. Bear in mind "least expensive" is in comparison to bombproof 4WD independent front suspension builds, which can run similar in cost just for LT arms and 930 axles and cannot improve the strength of the differential without custom work. Swapping in a new front axle will also allow for narrower track width options than long travel IFS, and the wheelbase can be stretched to improve the front/rear weight distribution as well as clear the frame and firewall with a much larger tire.
    Last edited by DevinSixtySeven; 12-14-2007 at 06:48 PM.

  10. #9
    Joe
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    Default Driving Off-Road

    I’ve been requested to write an article on off-road driving with our Tundra’s so I’ll put a couple thoughts on paper and just say that one can learn a lot by reading but in order to appreciate the “written word” one has to actually physically experience the many thrills of the off-road. I’ll only touch on a few topics, mainly for beginning off-road drivers, as this could go on for more pages than one really wants to read at one sitting. Most of us have experience driving on trails, getting stuck in mud and snow, and negotiating rutted trails with a few obstacles that could puncture our oil pan or gas tank if we tried to drive over them as opposed to around them. You’ve learned how to drive off-road through experience and maybe from tips and tricks you’ve gleaned from your friends or off-road magazines.

    Think you’re ready to tackle the Golden Spike in Moab, Utah? Damn right you are if your Tundra is set up right. What’s right? That’s the $64,000 question. You have to take a couple of things into consideration with the Tundra, such as your wheelbase, it’s a little long so you need more ground clearance than say a Bronco. Our standard 3:90 gears are a little high for crawling, climbing or serious mudding. Our undercarriage has a few things sticking down, so you have to eliminate anything hanging down that can impede your travels and get snagged, banged-up, scrapped or ground off by the sheer number of slow moving rocks passing beneath your vehicle. BUT, when you make certain adjustments like lower gears ie: 4:56 or 4:88’s to lower your crawl ratio, the more heavy duty your drive train must be to compensate for the added torque on the components. It's all part of a nasty mechanical chain, so we are always trying to anticipate the weakest link for the activity we’re engaging in. What’s right for me is the following:
    1. Increase ground clearance by adding true 33-inch tires at a minimum.
    2. Selectable lockers front and rear. (ARB)
    3. 4:56 gears, this gives me a 33:1 crawl ratio. The optimum is considered to be 50:1.
    4. Armor – Sliders are a must to minimize body damage. A good after market front and rear bumper is also highly recommended. Make sure the bumpers improve your stock bumpers approach and departure angle, otherwise you “really” haven’t improved your off-road capabilities IMO. One important thing to remember is the after market bumpers are normally welded/bolted onto the frame, so any “head-to-head” matches with immovable objects results in one hell of a jar to all vehicle occupants, which greatly increases your chances of getting injured. Don’t even think about suing the bumper people for your decision to “build a go-anywhere” vehicle. Either take your lumps and move on in life or stick to Forest Service Roads with a slightly modified Tundra.
    5. Skid Plates are a must to prevent a lot of dings and undercarriage damage.
    6. Lug tires having at least a 3-ply sidewall rating.
    7. A winch in the class of 6,000#s and up. Remember, a big winch is a heavy winch and weight is one of our enemies.
    8. Recessed rear differential drain plug.

    I don’t want anyone to think they need lockers to crawl around obstacles or traverse really difficult terrain as very polished off-road drivers can do wonders with LSDs but lockers do make everything sooo much easier to accomplish and IMO with less wear and tear on the vehicle’s components. I also don't want anyone to think they can do any really serious/heavy/major climbing or crawling without front and rear lockers! So it all comes down to degree of difficulty as to whether or not you really have a need for lockers.

    Are you now ready to climb over rocks taller than most grade school kids, straddle ravines, work your way up rocky steps and ledges and negotiate narrow rocky spines up a 60+degree slope/hill/mountain? Probably not, but you have to start sometime right? So don’t let yourself be intimidated by all the BS off-road tales. Most only happened once, if at all, and if it did occur it was probably either a fluke or someone used real bad judgment. Take the “Lion’s Back” at Moab. One guy messed up several years ago and rolled down the damn thing and got all kind of news print and ultimately a reputation as a “dangerous” climb. It’s a walk in the park with a stock Tundra, so again, listen and learn but separate the BS from reality. If your Tundra is setup properly you can do most anything using good common sense, a sense of adventure and possessing a little luck. The Tundra has a long hood and it’s hard to judge “exact” tire placement so either a spotter or luck is very helpful on occasion. When on a difficult rated trail and using a spotter, make sure you react to the spotter's directions immediately, as the spotter is directing your wheels. If you don't react to his directions in a very timely manner this is what could happen. http://www.stu-offroad.com/images/vid/tracyroll.mpg Without a little luck, I always experience less success on the trails. Just remember two ole truism, “Luck beats skill every damn time” and Kiss, “Keep it simple Stupid”. I’ll give you a little insight on how to get through a good day of wheeling with “minimal damage”. Expect a little “excitement” and prepare for it as “ole Man Murphy” is always around such places as Moab, the Rubicon and your friendly back roads.

    Here’s the equipment you’ll probably need as a minimum. After each trip make a list of what you should have brought to make things easier and more enjoyable and add them to the list you currently possess.

    Hi-Lift Jack (preferably 60” as opposed to the standard 48” model)
    Bottle Jack
    Several wood blocks and timbers (2-8"X8"X8", 2-2"X4"X10", 2-4"X4"X8" and maybe a couple of 6-foot 4X4’s) These will come in handy when using the bottle jack or when you have to stack rocks to get up a ledge and there are no "small" rocks to be found. I'm sure you'll find other uses for the wood blocks also.
    Power Tank with tire accessories including a good tire pressure gauge, valve cores and a valve core remover.
    Couple of 16-foot lengths of Chain & 50 to 100 feet of nylon rope and/or winch with a couple of snatch blocks and shackles.
    Sufficient tools for trail repairs.
    At least one half axle if you’re climbing rocks.

    Here’s a typical wheeling day.
    1. Arrive at the trailhead and air down. I recommend the following for 33” MT tires on 16” rims:
    20-25#s for typical Forest Trails. (comfort)
    14 to16#s front – 12#s rear for rock climbing. You can go 12#s all around if you want to but you’ll probably increase your opportunities to blow beads coming off rock shelves in the process. 15#s is a lot studier in these conditions.
    10/12#s all around for sand/beach conditions. You can go 6#s to 8#s if you’re basically driving straight ahead and cornering at very low speeds.
    Just remember – you’ll lose a little ground clearance in an aired down condition and you can’t carry much of a load but your traction will be greatly enhanced.
    2. Adjust your outside mirrors so you can see your rear tires or at least the bottom of your rear quarter panels. Remember to tuck them in when you get into tight off-camber situations and in heavy brush.
    3. Clear your GPS and start a new track so you can find your way back to the trailhead.
    4. Head on out into the unknown. A couple of tips for the beginner. A. Keep your thumbs on the outside of the steering wheel. You’ll probably forget this little point until you learn your lesson the hard way but no worries mate, 99% of you will not break a thumb or your wrist in the lesson, although it might feel like you did. B. Go slow and enjoy the scenery, nature and the other joys on the trail. Your vehicle will also thank you. C. Momentum is always your vehicle’s friend as it causes less strain on the driveline components as opposed to stopping and starting on hills, rock gardens etc. and it is normally very helpful in climbing successive rock ledges and other climbing obstacles. D. While navigating big rock gardens, crevices or anything else you have to crawl over use both feet. One foot on the gas pedal and one foot on the brake. It will take a little practice, as when a person gets a little “excited” they have a tendency to press on both pedals at the same time, which usually causes a “hard landing”. Once you get use to it, you’ll be able to crawl with an automatic transmission just as smoothly as a seasoned crawler with a manual 5 speed. While crawling and climbing I highly recommend using 4L and as soon as you’re able, switch back into 2-wheel drive to continue to the next obstacle, as your CV joints, universals etc. will last a lot longer. (I wish you the best trying to disengage out of 4-wheel drive after you’ve completed your objective and still on rock or a hard surface.)
    5. Always look down the trail to the second, third or even forth obstacle in order to determine the proper line to take. With experience this gets easier but to begin with, following the leader works best. If the leader experiences problems, it probably means he misjudged the obstacle and its best you take a different line. You can learn a lot by watching other driver’s “mistakes”. Wherever possible, always keep your vehicle as level as possible and always avoid the temptation to “ride the rim” (meaning going completely around the very top of the hill in an off-camber attitude.). Of course this isn’t always possible and in some off-camber situations “baby-wipes” might be called for. When traversing across a fairly steep side-hill, it’s always better to be in regular 4-wheel drive as opposed to being locked. If locked, you’ll probably experience a little or maybe a lot of slippage to the downhill side.
    6. When you come to a sizable rock put a front wheel on it as opposed to trying to straddle it as if you misjudge the clearance, you will bugger up something underneath or even possibly get yourself high centered. Try to put your wheel squarely on the rock. Go slow and ease up onto the rock and come down gently as possible onto your sliders and proceed slowly until your rear tire climbs the rock and then comes off the rock. (A good departure angle here is necessary not to bugger up your rear bumper/quarter panels.) It’s when the trail has several “large” rocks in very close proximity that things get interesting. You’re going to get plenty of air time when you climb a couple of boulders and one tire starts to come down while the other continues in an upward direction. Direction of travel really doesn’t matter in these cases, as you can be climbing or going down a rather steep boulder infested hill or traveling on a relatively level path for that matter and when you feel a tire lift off, you had better slow to a crawl (measured in inches) until you feel your high tire coming down or your low wheel starting back up. I’ve never “flopped” on my side yet so I can’t tell you how the steering “feels like” just before that critical moment but you can get a lot of air before that occurs. I’ve had over 2-feet but under 3-foot of air under the left rear tire with no problems. You will encounter some instances where you just know it isn't a good idea to proceed and drop a tire in a deep hole while the other tire is going up a rock and in those instances you'll definitely want to stack a few rocks in that deep hole to give yourself that extra margin of safety.
    7. When you come to a climb, take it head-on if you’ve got the proper approach angle, otherwise you’ll have to take it at a slight angle to clear your bumper and then straighten out while making the climb. While in a steep climb with the Tundra, you can’t see a damn thing over the hood except “Sky”, so make sure you look the climb over real good prior to your start-up. If it isn’t a well-known climb then walk it first to know what’s on the top. Several climbs have a sharp turn to them at the very top and if you continue a couple of truck lengths past the crest of the hill you could end up in a roll-over situation or worse, so always walk a very steep unknown hill. The same is true for a “watery mud-hole” – several people every year drop their engines into a deep watery mud-hole because they were on an unfamiliar trail and were too lazy to get out and check the depth of the “brown water”. When you come down off that hill also take a straight line if possible. Use engine compression via lower gears to assist your brakes in keeping your speed under control when traveling downhill. If you ever have to back down a hill, back straight down if at all possible. (Here's what can happen if you backdown at a poor angle even on a mild hill.) http://www.wattora.com/rob_work/GeneFlop
    8. When crossing crevices or logs do so at an angle if possible, bringing one wheel at a time across the obstacle.
    9. If you come to an area that is really tough and you’ll need a lot of momentum (speed) to get you through, one should consider using the winch as opposed to “attacking” that area and getting partially into it and then grenade your CV joints or something worse! Just ease into the situation picking a good line and when the Tundra has met it's match just start winching. If you don't have a winch, then either take your chances with speed or else just turn around and live for another day.

    Enjoy yourself and the out of doors, as that’s what it’s all about. If you haven’t already learned, I’d suggest you learn to laugh at yourself because when you're crawling around rocks or running mud holes, you'll get yourself in some of the damnest situations that you'll just have to learn to laugh with the rest of the wheelers, which will make every wheeling day a terrific day. But when you're hopelessly stuck and working your ass off to get out just contemplate on a couple of ole time “Ranger” sayings “Pain is only weakness leaving the body” and “Every day is a good day to die” and you just might come to understand how those sayings came about.

  11. #10
    SAS'ed #5 dyogim's Avatar
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    Default Tire Math

    Metric To Standard: 285/75/16--width in millimeters, aspect ratio, rim diameter in inches

    25.4mm = 1"

    1. 285mm/25.4mm = 11.22"(width of tire)
    2. 75%(0.75) *11.22" = 8.42"(sidewall height)
    3. (8.42" x 2) +16" = 32.83" (overall height of tire)

    The closest size in inches would be 33x11R16.

    Standard to Metric: 35x12.5R16--height, width and rim diameter all in inches

    1. 12.5*25.4 = 317.5mm(width of tire)
    2. (35-16)/2 = 9.5 (sidewall height)
    3. 9.5/12.5 = 0.76 (76%) (aspect ratio)

    Which corresponds closest to a 315/75/16.

    How big of a difference does it make?
    Stock tires are 245/70/16. The circumference of this tire is 92.69" and it takes 683.57 revolutions to go 1 mile. I have 285/75/16's. So, we'll use this as an example. For a 285/75/16 the circumference is 103.14" and it takes 614.31 revolutions to go 1 mile. The stock tire is what the cpu is reading.

    1 mile = 63360"

    1. Multiply the numbers of the stock revoution with the circumference of the bigger tire. In my case,
    683.57 x 103.14" = 70503.4098"
    2. 70503.4098" / 63360" = 1.11 miles

    A difference of .11 miles from stock size tires to bigger tires over 1 mile means add 11% to the mileage read on the odometer and the speed on the speedometer.

    Quick Reference
    Assuming stock 3.91 gears and 265/70/16 (30.6") tires, add the following percentage to the gauges for a correct reading with larger tires and stock gears:

    265/70/16 (30.6") Normal speedometer reading if so equipped. Not sure on stock 245/70/16 trucks.
    265/75/16 (31.64") add 3%
    285/75/16 (32.83") add 7%
    315/75/16 (34.6") add 13%


    The quick route to the percentage gain is to divide the larger diameter by the smaller diameter, subtract 1 and multiple by 100 to get the percentage to add to the speedometer and odometer.

    Tire Size and Gear Ratios
    For the greatest all-around efficiency, use the gear ratio closest to the "ideal" ratio and on the high side numerically. For offroad oriented builds, climbing while towing or hauling, or primarily in-town driving, use the higher of two ratios if listed.

    265/70/16 Tire, 3.91 Gearset = Stock Reference
    (Tire Size, Ideal Ratio => Closest Available Ratio)
    285/75/16, 4.19 => 4.10 or 4.30 (Standard 33" tire)
    255/85/16, 4.22 => 4.30 (Narrow 33, slightly taller than the other two)
    305/70/16, 4.19 => 4.30 (Wide 33, most rotating mass of common 33s)
    315/75/16, 4.42 => 4.56 or 4.88 (Standard 35x12.5)
    315/80/17, 4.70 => 4.88 ("Standard" 37x12.5R17)
    365/75/17, 4.92 => 5.xx - various non-Toyota, or 5.29 (38.5x14.5, SAS prob. req!)
    Last edited by DevinSixtySeven; 12-14-2007 at 06:52 PM. Reason: Added gear ratios

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    Default Coilovers

    TBDW...out of date.
    Last edited by DevinSixtySeven; 11-25-2008 at 10:44 AM. Reason: Information out of date.

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    Last edited by DevinSixtySeven; 12-14-2007 at 03:30 PM.

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    Default Manual Hub Conversion

    Offroad Solutions Manual Hub Conversion
    ORS Technical Article - MUST READ!

    This modification can be done yourself if you have the press tools, otherwise the presswork can be done by anyone with the tools and knowledge and the remainder of the kit can be installed DIY with access to the necessary tools.

    Expect ~500$ for a drive-in installation, 150-250$ for presswork alone.

    The ORS kit is recommended over other available kits simply because everything necessary is already included in the kit. With the other kits, you'll have to provide bearings and other parts on your own, negating any up-front cost advantage.

    This kit provides the ability to use 2WD in low range, and to separate the hub from the drivetrain in case of equipment failure (CV, ring & pinion, halfshaft), tho the front driveshaft will need to be removed to completely isolate the front differential in order to use the factory-configured low range, which requires the transfer case be in 4WD mode.

    It does not provide any fuel mileage benefit. It does allow the truck to be driven on the street with the ADD system engaged, simply open the hubs and the transfer case and front differential can be properly, easily lubricated through use as per the owner's manual. This is even more important for vehicles equipped with an ARB RD-90 front air locker, to keep the seals lubricated on a regular basis (more often than 10 miles per month).

    Offroad, the kit allows for much easier tight turning on slickrock and other high traction surfaces. The hubs can be opened while the vehicle remains in low range, avoiding component wear, drivetrain loading and difficult turning.

    High angle inner and soft outer CV boots are not required with this kit, but may as well be installed concurrently since the kit includes new halfshafts and outer CV joints.

    The new kit also includes a stronger inner CV joint. The new joint should not be used on trucks with uniball upper control arms or long travel kits.

    Warn Lockout R&R
    The lockouts do get dirty inside despite paper seals and the o-ring. inspection is simple, cleaning and service is fairly easy as well.

    Remove the six socket head bolts and the locking dial.

    Inspect the accordion spring attached to the locking dial, and the paper seal between the dial assembly and lockout body. If the accordion spring shows any sign of rust, R&R the entire lockout. Replace the paper seal if it is torn or cracked, usually they are good for one assembly, but they are not expensive.

    Inspect the splines of the locking mechanism and the end of the rotating assembly inside the lockout. The locking mechanism should easily slide in and out of the lockout body. If any surface shows corrosion, undue wear or a dry surface, remove, clean, grease and replace as necessary.

    To remove the locking core, depress slightly in to the lockout body and remove the thin wire clip circling the inside of the body. Some grease may need to be removed, and the core must be depressed, to see and access the clip. With the clip removed, the core should be easy to remove. Inspect the splines, back of the core and spring for corrosion.

    To remove the lockout body and inspect the second paper seal and the o-ring, remove the six nuts, washers and lock washers on the outside of the hub. Pull the body straight out. Replace the o-ring on the back of the lockout if pinched or torn, and the paper seal between the lockout and hub.

    Inspect the front and back of the rotating bushing. If corrosion has built up on the ends of the bushing, a fiber brush on a hand drill is enough to clean the surface. To completely remove the bushing, remove the circlip on the back of the lockout and the piece should fall out the front of the lockout body.

    Thoroughly clean, inspect & replace as necessary, regrease thoroughly (do not pack too much grease in the lockout splines, a thin film is enough) and reassemble. Use any CV/bearing grease.

    One "rebuild kit" from Warn contains both paper gaskets for each hub, two o-rings, and new fasteners.
    Last edited by DevinSixtySeven; 12-15-2007 at 12:45 PM.
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    Default Tbdw

    ...etc...
    Last edited by DevinSixtySeven; 12-14-2007 at 03:31 PM.

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    Default CV Boot Modifications

    If you're considering a coilover or spacer lift, also consider performing this modification *before* lifting.

    This only applies to 4x4 vehicles equipped with front and/or rear independent suspension.

    The volume of the CV boot changes with respect to the angle of the CV joint, with maximum volume at 0*. When the truck is lifted using a coilover or spacer lift, the volume decreases, forcing out a portion of the grease which keeps the CV joint properly lubricated. Evidence of a leak is black grease on the lower control arms and near the bolts which mount the lower control arm to the frame, tangent to the edges of the CV boots (the leak can be from either end of the boot). Both inner and outer boots are susceptible to leaking, but the leak is more pronounced from the inner boot.
    Re-Greasing
    Easy, but potentially very messy. Get a pack of disposable shop gloves (the plastic or rubber kind, not leather or fabric) and CV grease from any auto shop. A tub is sufficient, but a grease gun with a needle would be easier. Using a pair of pliers, remove the old CV clamps at the compression binding...usually just squeezing it will release the clamp. If you have a grease gun, slide the needle in whichever end of the boot it'll fit best, inject grease until it comes out the other end of the boot. If using a tub, pull back the larger end of the boot to expose the joint, and cram as much grease as possible in both joint and boot. If you haven't dealt with CV grease before, be aware it's like boogers but slicker, it will stick to everything and prevent you from getting a good grip on anything.
    Clamps
    The fix requires a pair of hose clamps for each original CV boot clamp, unless you can find a hose clamp of sufficient diameter to enclose the boot but thin enough to fit in the groove on the boot, about 1/4" wide. These are located in the plumbing section of any hardware store, the kind which use a worm gear to draw the band tighter. Kartek (California) may be able to supply the correct hose clamps for the larger end of the inner CV boot. Make sure you assemble the clamps around the axles , also it's easier if the worm gears are diametrically opposed, as the band can be tightened with less deformation of the boot. Inspect a day or two later, tighten if necessary.
    FYI, you do not need to take anything apart if you are ONLY changing the clamps--this includes if you are replacing the oem clamps with another set of oem-style clamps, just be sure you have the proper compression tool to set the clamps in place if replacing with oem-style clamps.
    Boots
    The inner boot is likely to split above 2" of coilover/spacer lift, particularly if it's already leaked. The boot will be riding the driveshaft above about 2.5". There are several boots available, thus far the more durable option appears to be the Porsche 930 boots, available from Kartek (California) and some resellers (Offroad Solutions, if you're near Denver). Mecatech (sp) offers a boot which does not require disassembly of the CV joints, the boots are stretched over the joints via an adapter. A variety of boots are also available at any auto shop, this takes some hunting and some convincing of the guy at the counter that you don't want an oem-style replacement inner boot for a tundra, also some experimentation for fitment and durability, by which time you may well be wishing you'd bought the 930 boots in the first place. The member "teamwest" may be able to provide insight regarding the less expensive auto shop route.
    The OEM inner and outer boots are available together as a ~40$ kit from Toyota. The outer boot is more resilient than the inner, but if the outer boot is damaged, replacements are available from Downey for ~16$ each, outer boot only.
    To change the boots on a stock Tundra, remove the wheel and the center dust cover, then the stakenut at the end of the halfshaft. Remove the four bolts at the bottom of the spindle which connect the spindle to the steering knuckle, and pull the spindle away from the outer CV joint. To separate the inner joint and the halfshaft (since you're changing the boot anyway, this is the easy way), cut away the old inner CV boot and use expanding snap ring pliers to allow removal of the halfshaft. You may need to move some CV grease out of the way in order to see the snap ring retainer. With a manual hub conversion, the front is full-float, releasing the four bolts at the steering knuckle will allow the hub to pull away from the halfshaft, no snap rings involved. Refer to the Garage section of the forum for more detailed instructions and torque specifications; if any of this sounds complicated or you're uncertain how to accomplish any of the above, have someone install the boots for you.

    If the new clamps are too wide, don't worry about it, and don't overtighten. Also, rumor has it the OEM clamps on an '80s (?) vintage Volvo's intake hose are a perfect fit, find them at a junk yard as the parts sold new are standard width ie not the same as the factory installed clamps. It's probably easier to just spend 10 minutes in the plumbing section to find this, though.

    Picture in Garage section
    Last edited by DevinSixtySeven; 02-06-2008 at 07:40 PM.
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