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Rig Review: What worked and what didn't on Utah, Re-Ruined?

April 14, 2021

When I started Rig Reviews several years ago, I quickly found that after addressing a few significant items, most trips seemed to go smoothly, with relatively few notable issues - good or bad - cropping up along the way. But, on my last trip to Utah, that was far from the case. In fact, though most were minor, there were so many this time that I feel it worth listing them here, just to drive the point home:

  • Passenger rear indicator lamp has burned out
  • Driver front marker lamp has burned out
  • Hella HIDs fail to turn on, sometimes
  • Two rear bolts of the front skid plate sheared off
  • Bushings for both lower control arms (LCA) are squeaking
  • Bushings for the front diff are disintegrating
  • The alignment is out
  • The garage door opener installed in the headliner needs fixing
  • The pole bag for the CVT RTT has a hole in it

Whew. Let's get to it.

Burned out Lamps (new, resolved)

TL;DR - Bulbs burn out. Replace them and move on.

I noticed on this trip that my passenger rear indicator wasn't working when I got out of the Tacoma to take a photo of it in the middle of the highway as I descended into the Valley of Gods. I'd already known that my driver front marker wasn't working. Since it's good practice to replace bulbs in pairs, I've ordered and installed new bulbs for both rear indicators and both front markers, and installed them.

Hella HIDs fail to turn on, sometimes (new)

TL;DR - I need to figure out why my Hella's don't come on all the time. Low priority though for me right now.

I noticed on this last trip (or at least recently) that the Hella's - into which I installed HIDs - don't always come on when power is supplied to them. I don't know if this is the result of cold weather or failing ballasts or what, but I'll eventually need to get to the bottom of it. My guess is that it's something to do with the ballasts, which are part of the DDMTuning Ultra HID Kit (55W) and have a lifetime warranty, so I'm not that worried.

Two rear bolts of the front skid plate sheared off (new, resolved)

TL;DR - I replaced the bolts with grade 8 versions, hopefully solving the problem for good.

I was not happy to discover that two bolts were "missing" from the rear holes of the front skid plate halfway through my first trail in Utah. I was even less happy when I attempted replacement and discovered that the heads of both bolts had sheared off, making a trail fix much more difficult. I can only assume that the bolts I had installed were "standard grade" bolts, and some reasonably bash of the skid plate, or constant vibration, caused them to shear. After extracting the remaining bolt from each mounting point, I've replaced them with Grade 8 bolts, and suspect that they won't be an issue any longer.

LCA and front diff bushings are in need of replacement; plus I need an alignment (new)

TL;DR - Like lights, bushings wear out, and I'll be replacing several on the front of the truck. The LCA bushings are likely the cause of my misalignment as well, so I'll get that addressed after I replace the bushings.

Over the last few trips, the bushings in my lower control arms have been getting louder and louder. This is understandable - they are after-all, original and 21 years old. Additionally, when I removed the front skid plate to extract and replace the bolts in the rear mounts, I noticed that the front diff bushings are also completely worn, so those will need to be replaced as well.

I'll be replacing the LCA bushings with Strongflex Lower Control Arm Bushings (Tacoma, 4Runner), and the front diff bushings with Durobump Front Diff Bushings.

The garage door opener installed in the headliner needs fixing (new)

TL;DR - The trim piece for the garage door opener fell off on a bumpy trail. I need to secure it...more securely.

When I installed the garage door opener in the headliner - still one of my favorite mods from a convenience perspective - it was difficult to get the trim piece to clip into the control module due to the thickness of the headliner. Over time, it's worked its way out, and it finally fell out on a bumpy trail in the Owyhee Outback. I'm thinking that either a bit of glue, or some other simple trick will get it to seat more permanently and I can go back to enjoying the convenience of opening garage doors without exiting the Tacoma!

My Horn/Hazard Fuse has Blown Twice (resolved)

TL;DR - Everything is working again.

I replaced one of my Fiaam Freeway Blasters - that wasn't working at all - with the original horn, which I'd saved for some reason when I replaced it. Everything seems to be working again - albeit not quite so loudly - and no more blown fuses. I'm pretty sure that non-working horn was shorting out and blowing the fuse.

The Windshield Has Seen Better Days (resolved)

TL;DR - I'm loving a new, clear windshield. I should (but won't) make this an annual maintenance item.

After getting the windshield fixed, it's amazing how much more pleasant it is to drive - especially when driving into the sun. I can't recommend fixing your windshield enough if you can find somewhere that will do it for a reasonable price, and without leaks.

The pole bag for the CVT RTT has a hole in it (new, resolved)

TL;DR - Dropping poles into the RTT pole bag is asking for trouble. Nothing a little sewing can't fix, though.

Not much to say here except that through normal use, the pole bag will wear out (or holes will be worn into the bottom of the bag as poles are dropped in). Pick up a needle and thread and fix it yourself; there's really no reason to put up with the inconvenience of poles falling through, or buying a new bag.

Seemingly solved from previous Rig Reviews

  1. My Horn/Hazard Fuse has Blown Twice (resolved) - as noted above.
  2. The Windshield Has Seen Better Days (resolved) - as noted above.

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. Oil Leaking from Transfer Case - I haven't done anything about this yet, though I seem to be getting less leakage.
  2. Relentless Skid Plate Attachment - I haven't addressed this at all, yet, because I haven't needed the mid-skid in a while.
  3. The Drawer in the In-Cab Battery Cabinet Rattles - unaddressed. Still rattles.
  4. Front ADS Coilover Spherical Bearings - I'm giving the new FK stainless steel bearings several thousand miles to see if they perform better.
  5. The Zipper on the CVT Tent is Shit - I don't know how I'll ever address this, short of getting a GFC.



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  1. Blair
    Blair May 11, 2021

    Get some tapered bolt head protector domes for your skid plate bolts.

    • turbodb
      turbodb May 11, 2021

      Oh nice, I'd never heard of those, but some semi-deft internetting pulled them right up. I'll have to figure out if they'll work for me, since my skids have a recess for the bolt heads, but it'd be great if I can make them work. Thanks Blair! ?

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