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Rig Review - First One in a Long Time

December 28, 2023.

It's been quite a while - eight months to the day - since the last Rig Review, making this only the second review of 2023. That's just pure lazy on my part, but I'll plead "no way to work on the truck since it's been in Las Vegas" most of that time ...and move on with my fingers in my ears and a la-la-la escaping my lips, as though that were the real reason.

With that in mind, let's get down to it, because there is a lot to cover. This Rig Review is the result of living out of the Tacoma during the following trips. Just know that it's most of 2023.


The Clutch Spring is Worn Out

This little guy will solve all my problems.

TL;DR - For the last several months my clutch pedal hasn't been returning fully. Clearly, the plastic bushings on the torsion spring are wearing out (they're squeaky too), so I'll be replacing the torsion spring with a linear spring.

I'm Loving the Truck in Las Vegas (One Year Update)

"Seems ...Unsafe."

TL;DR - Having the Tacoma in Las Vegas is by far the best thing I've done for exploring, ever. The convenience of not having to drive forever at the start/end of a trip is worth it alone. Icing on the cake is that it's been even cheaper than I originally estimated (which itself was cheaper than driving).

I Need New Headlights (resolved)

Old (cloudy) housings (left). | New housings with OSRAM Super Bright Halogen lo-beams (right).

TL;DR - The new OEM headlight housings into the Tacoma are working great with high-powered halogen lamps. This is the way, LEDs are crap.

The Dometic Fridge Works Well So Far

So far, the Dometic is working out.

TL;DR - After switching over to a Dometic Fridge, things have been working "just fine." I think I still technically preferred the ARB overall, but the Dometic has a few nice features the ARB did not. And, most importantly, it's actually cooling.

The Floor of My Tent Has Holes in It (Fixed)

With a 2x2.5" pad of aluminum, there's plenty of surface area to spread out the force of the ladder standoffs.

TL;DR - the aluminum plates that I installed to address the holes forming where the ladder standoffs were wearing through the floor skin have worked great. Highly recommend.

Bed Spread (new)

TL;DR - I've not really had any noticeable bed spread over the last 5 years, despite every other Tacoma seeming to have the problem. However, I've noticed recently that the gap around the tailgate is not as even as it used to be. I'm not worried for now, but I'll likely address it with and update to the bed rack.

LutzAuto Speedo Correction Device Issues

The incremental calibration is really nice - so much easier than "hoping" with a speedo gear, and having to get a new gear if something between the transmission and ground changes in the future.

TL;DR - I've been happy with the device, though I had to replace it, and I discovered (because of the device) that getting the speedometer to be accurate is NOT what we should all be shooting for!

My "New" Leaf Springs Need Replacing

Currently, the Tacoma has a stinkbug stance. Too much rake, even for me.

TL;DR - I think Alcan makes great leaf springs, but I'm going to ditch them for Chevy 63s because my second set is too stiff and I want a better ride.

Leaking Transmission-Transfer Case (again)

Still dripping.

TL;DR - After replacing the transmission seal on the transfer case input shaft, my leak disappeared for about three months. But, it's back, so I need to replace the seal again.

DJI Air 3 Drone Three Month Review

The DJI Air has allowed for shots I would have never been able to capture previously!

TL;DR - I've enjoyed taking still photos with the drone, but I've not enjoyed trying to shoot videos as my piloting skills leave many things to be desired. I've also got several more things to add to my like/dislike list, which I'm sure will continue to grow.

I've Found My Favorite USB Charger

There are more powerful chargers out there, but at least for now, this one seems perfect.

TL;DR - I found a compact, 65W USB A/C charger that can be used for my laptop, camera, drone, flashlight, phone, and just about anything else, and it charges faster than the dedicated chargers for those devices. Fantasticly amazing.

Chicken Tender Wraps - A Great Dinner

I do miss my avocados, but these always hit the spot.

TL;DR - with trips to Las Vegas now taking place via plane, it's much harder to bring avocados (compared to packing them securely and driving them from home). Becuase I refuse to eat tacos or burritos without guacamole, I had to find an alternative. Chicken Tender wraps have fit the bill fantastically.

I'm (Eventually) Changing my Wheel/Tire Setup

These are 17x7.5" double five-spoke from an early 2000s Sequoia. With 4.5" backspacing, they are perfect for a 1st gen Tacoma.

TL;DR - I'm done with 16" wheels and the limited tire selection they offer. My next set of tires (and therefore wheels) will be 17".

My Tent Lighting Works Great, But I Want to Change It

TL;DR - currently I have 12V LED strip lighting in my tent and it works great. However, I want to update the lighting to use 5v, so I can power it from a (more versatile) USB port, rather than using a 12v receptacle.


Seemingly solved from previous Rig Reviews

  1. I'm Loving the Truck in Las Vegas
  2. I Need New Headlights
  3. The Floor of My Tent Has Holes in It
  4. LutzAuto Speedo Correction Device

Unchanged / Still an issue from previous Rig Reviews

There are some things that have been featured in Rig Reviews that are - as yet - unchanged from when I originally reviewed them. Rather than highlight those things again, I'll simply link to them here.

  1. The Transmission is Leaking
  2. The Rear Diff is Weeping
  3. My Suspension Squeaks
  4. Skid plate attachment could be better


More Rig Reviews


    JOHN D MORAN January 28, 2024

    A lot of good advice there. Yes, definitely 17" wheels. 2 days ago had a flat in one of mine & it reminded me of how heavy the wheel is with a wide tire! Also replaced my headlight/bulbs & taillight housings & so much better than the abused, fogged old ones. I like your USB charger & plan to get one (Amazon), the drone is great and adds a lot to your already excellent adventure stories. Good to know about the Dometic vs ARB fridge, I remember the trouble you had with ARB service. And finally, obviously a very good choice to store the truck in Las Vegas, that saves a lot of miles for you, and time on the highway. Thanks for all the enlightenment!

    • turbodb
      turbodb January 30, 2024

      Thanks John! Speaking of heavy wheels/tires... I was reminded of how heavy they are on the Tacoma a couple days ago when @mrs.turbodb's Audi got a flat while we were at one of @mini.turobdb's sports games... It was so small and light to swap it for the spare, I didn't even mind that I had to do it in the rain! 🤣

  2. Jon Talley
    Jon Talley January 29, 2024

    Good info as usual. One thing I bought to help on our camping and RV adventures is I am using USB C to micro usb adapters for all of the things that need charged up on a trip. Our phones are USB C and I just keep a couple adapters in a cup holder close to plug in headlamps and other things. It is really nice and has cut down on the mess of charging cables laying around. Thanks for all the great info and pictures of your adventures.

    • turbodb
      turbodb January 30, 2024

      I've thought about those USB adapters, but ultimately I realized that for me it was about the various chargers. From the cable perspective, I've got 3 that I use (though, only Lightning and USB-C regularly), and I hope that'll be even fewer in the future as it seems that more and more things are moving to USB-C. The best part about this charger was being able to get rid of a bunch of bulkier chargers that I was carrying for the laptop and drone.

      Glad you're enjoying the adventures - always nice to hear when folks are! 👍

  3. Wyatt
    Wyatt February 1, 2024

    Very Interesting to hear about the Alcan springs but makes total sense, I work very closely with Lew being at a 4wd shop on the Front Range of Colorado, and we do a lot of campers and flatbed conversions. most of which require leaf springs. Lew seems to be a lot more accurate on the weight rating that Bill was. As well as it seems sometimes slightly over shooting the lift mark to make sure at that X weight range the truck actual sits level.
    Another Shop near us found the same results with lift height being dead accurate or a touch high on 4wd Vans they build compared to there previous spring manufacturer.

    • turbodb
      turbodb February 1, 2024

      Yeah, I have to say, Lew is amazing and I'm really glad that Alcan survived (and is even better) after Bill retired. Quality has always been there, but Lew brings it to a new level. I think that if I'd gotten what I "wanted" (as opposed to what I ordered based on what I previously thought I received), I wouldn't even be considering the 63s.

      Seriously good place, and I won't stop recommending them. A bit jelly that you are nearby - both for access to Alcan, and for easy access to Colorado. Such a cool place to get out and explore!

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