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Rig Review - What worked and what didn't in Death Valley?

December 15, 2021.

It's been three months since the last rig review, and in that time I've put another 10,000 miles on the Tacoma. With a nearly catastrophic failure, as well as a few great successes, it's time to dive into the good and the bad from the last several trips:

200,000 Miles!

I added 40,444 miles to the odometer in 2021 alone!

The Axle Housing Reinforcement is Working Well

It's amazing what a little metal glue can accomplish. This fix was a huge success.

TL;DR - I've put 10K miles on my reinforced axle housing and it's working great. I'm really in no rush for my new one to arrive.

Transfer Case Input Shaft Bearing is Imploding

I've already picked up the replacement transfer case I'll be swapping in.

TL;DR - I need a new transfer case.

Third Jerry Can

Nearly a full tank of gas.

TL;DR - I recently added a third jerry can to my pack-out for certain trips, and it's been great.

Broken Leaf Spring

You've served me well, but I'm still a little disappointed in you.

TL;DR - The top, military wrap half-leaf on the driver side broke in two places. I'm not sure what I'm going to do as far as replacement goes, but I have two options.

Avocado Storage

An avocado a better than an apple a day.

TL;DR - if you're a fan of avocados, a little care can keep them safe and unbruised for up to 10 days.

1lb Propane Bottle Extension Hose (update)

Cheap and convenient.

TL;DR - I love this simple modification and it's made cooking with the propane stove much more enjoyable.

Breakfast the Easy Way

Adding blueberries to breakfast is a huge win. They aren't cheap, but they are worth it.

TL;DR - we're always looking for ways to speed up meal time. Storing spoons, bowls, cereal, and paper towels separate from the rest of the kitchen stuff - and within easy reach - makes breakfast a snap.

Toyota Tundra OEM Brake Pads

I highly recommend Toyota Tundra OEM Brake Pads.

TL;DR - I couldn't be happier with the performance, longevity, and low dust of the Toyota Tundra OEM brake pads.

Scepter MFC Wrench

A few items I recently added to my kit that I should have added years ago.

TL;DR - I should have gotten one of these long ago; it makes opening the Scepter Jerry Cans so much easier.

Garmin inReach Mini is Great

The inReach Mini is now part of what I take on every hike.

TL;DR - After a couple solo trips where I had limited cell coverage, and some thinking I should have done long ago, I now have an inReach Mini.

Seemingly solved from previous Rig Reviews

  1. The Axle Housing is Cracked
  2. Oil Leaking from Transfer Case - I guess it's a good thing I never did anything about this, now that the transfer case is getting swapped out.
  3. My Steering Rack is Leaking

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 Drawer in the In-Cab Battery Cabinet Rattles
  2. Front ADS Coilover Spherical Bearings
  3. The Zipper on the CVT Tent is Shit
  4. I Need New Seats
  5. My Suspension Squeaks


Check out older Rig Reviews



  1. Wells Shoemaker MD
    Wells Shoemaker MD January 30, 2022

    I'm now a follower. Thanks for the first experience on the "receiver end" of rescue tow rope from the Moon Dust in the dug up playa southeast of the Eureka Dunes.

    • turbodb
      turbodb February 1, 2022

      Hi Wells! Welcome to the web site, glad you made it over here. I hope that you have a chance - eventually, no rush since I know you're busy fighting the good fight in real life - to read through some of the trips/stories. From our impromptu meeting, I have a feeling you'll enjoy at least some of them.

      In fact, I'd like to point you at this one to start: Through Dunes, Arches and Canyons - Panamints 1. It's got a place in it that you recommended to me ?.

      • Wells Shoemaker MD
        Wells Shoemaker MD February 1, 2022

        Fantastic places before you arrived, and now so much more genuinely appreciated. That campsite among the limber pines you discovered on the way to Telescope? George and I spent 2 nights there in late May...and got snow-blown out. Telephone you found that. What a joy you can find these places, hike them with healthy spirits and fabulous photo skills...and share it. You two are rockin!

        Only concern about mines and cabins out there and Utah--hantavirus. Nearly claimed the life of one of the healthiest young mountaineer/naturalists I know. I sorta stay outside where the deer mice are less likely to spread their cooties.

        I'll read them all with time.

  2. Sean M.
    Sean M. February 1, 2022

    Question. Where have you found the best price and least hassle for scepter can purchase?

    • turbodb
      turbodb February 1, 2022

      The sad answer to this in the USA is that eBay or Craigslist are your best bet. Sometimes, you can find military surplus, but it's rare. The reason - I think, but don't know for sure - is due to EPA/CARB regulations - the military cans are definitely not that, since they don't have safety spouts, etc.

      I'm lucky enough to have visited Canada a few times of there last several years and they are relatively easy to find up there, so I've purchased a few for myself and friends. Unfortunately, they can't ship to the USA, I think for the same reasons you can't find them new here.

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