Press "Enter" to skip to content

Rig Review - What worked and what didn't Winter 2022?

March 15, 2022.

Time flies when you're having fun, and the last several trips have been exactly that. A regular reader may recall that my last rig review was just as the transfer case blew up on my Back for More trip to Death Valley. Since then, the truck has been out four more times (which obviously indicates that at least something has gone right! .

Another Broken Leaf Spring (new, ongoing, and resolved)

TL;DR - I had to cut my trip short when another leaf - this time the main leaf - broke on the first day of a 4 day adventure. I've now replaced the leaf springs, solving the problem.

For the second time in six months, a leaf spring broke. In fact, a second leaf - this time the main leaf, and the only one that spans from the front hanger to the rear shackle - broke from the same leaf pack, and in the same location as the first leaf that'd broken.

Obviously there must have been some sort of irregular stress in this location, since two leafs broke in exactly the same place.

The situation this time was a bit more dire, but we were lucky that a jerry-rigged-ratchet-strap-bush-fix was able to keep the rear axle from sliding out from under the truck, eventually making it all the way home before I quickly replaced the leaf springs with another brand new leaf pack from Alcan Spring.

I'd planned to do this at the same time that I replaced the rear axle housing with a new fabricated Diamond Axle housing, but apparently that was the wrong call. At any rate, problem solved.

Hopefully this set doesn't break (the previous set were Alcan's as well), and provides support for years to come.

I'll also be adding a couple plates and some grade 10.9 bolts to the OSK (Oh Shit Kit) so that should something like this happen in the future, I can apply a bit more robust repair. I really like this solution because it's not heavy - especially compared to carrying a full leaf, for instance - but is quite effective.

A clever solution to a broken leaf spring.



My Alternator Failed

TL;DR - the alternator failed as I was about 90 minutes from home, and it was because the brushes had worn out. Luckily, I was carrying a spare set and swapped them in about an hour, completely fixing the issue.

Unlike many of the topics in a rig review, where I go into a little detail in the original post, but most of it in the review, I covered the alternator failure pretty well when I told the story. In the end, I'm not really all that surprised that the brushes wore out - they'd been rubbing in there for more than 200K miles - but it's a good reminder that wear parts need to be replaced on a regular basis so you aren't left stranded by something that would have been easy to fix back home.

Worn out brushes in an alternator. A $15 part, and a 45 minute service - in the comfort of your garage - can mean the difference between completing a trip and being completely stranded.


The Core Support is Cracking Where the Battery is Secured (new, resolved)

TL;DR - The battery tie down that bolts to the core support has cracked core support as a result of all the rattling around. I've reinforced it, and will monitor it going forward.

As I was pulling my battery to make a bit more room to remove the alternator and service the worn alternator brushes, I was greeted with a rude surprise. Upon loosening the 12mm bolt that secures the battery tie-down, the nut underneath just started spinning. At first, I thought the tack welds that secured the nut to the core support had broken. If only I'd been right!

A cracked core support. Not good.

Unfortunately, the entire core support had cracked around the nut. For the remainder of my paved trip home, I simply snugged everything back together as best I could, but I knew that I needed to do something better before hitting dirt again. My solution - since it's hard to weld something to the underside of the core support in that area - was to fabricate a reinforcement plate - with nuts welded to the bottom - that is secured in three locations on the core support. Hopefully this spreads the load and solves my problem.

My reinforcement plate, fabricated with a cardboard template, an angle grinder, and the metal glue gun.

Hopefully this spreads out the stress points a bit and lasts me for many years to come.


I Got New Seats

TL;DR - the new scheel-mann Vario R seats are good, but they aren't for everyone due to cost.

I'm adding this entry just to be able to remove the item from my list of "unchanged / still an issue" below. For all the details on my new seats, you can read my post here: Replacing My Seats with scheel-mann Vario R. At the bottom of the post are my first, second, and third impressions after several thousand miles of use. I plan to do a "one year later" review as well... in about a year.

There's no question that scheel-mann seats look good. And so far, the comfort is better as well. Time will tell if they are really worth the hefty price.


Seemingly solved from previous Rig Reviews

  1. I Need New Seats
  2. The Drawer in the In-Cab Battery Cabinet Rattles
  3. Transfer Case Input Shaft Bearing is Imploding
  4. Hella HIDs fail to turn on
  5. Broken Leaf Spring

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. Front ADS Coilover Spherical Bearings
  2. The Zipper on the CVT Tent is Shit
  3. My Suspension Squeaks


Check out older Rig Reviews



  1. Ralph Turner
    Ralph Turner April 13, 2022

    Your riser solution is genius, could be a cottage industry for someone with a 3D printer.

    • turbodb
      turbodb April 13, 2022

      Thanks Ralph! I was thinking that it'd be really useful to know how to use a CAD program and to have a 3D printer as I made the riser, hahaha! Oh well, the old school way of using a tape measure and some woodworking tools came through in the end, even if it's a one-off! I really can't believe that Toyota overlooked this bit of their design. Seems so obvious to me...

    JOHN MORAN April 13, 2022

    Always interested is upgrades and "fix-its" that people come up with even though my truck is very different. I do need to do something with my front seat but it will certainly be a rebuild by a local auto upholstery fellow since new seats too expensive plus have air bags all around among other things. I'm not concerned about suspension since it's strong and have overloads on the leaf springs. Still, enjoy the good read on your experiences and looking forward to your next trips.

  3. Thomas R
    Thomas R April 15, 2022

    Another great write-up! Thank you for sharing and continuing to inspire us.

  4. Jonathan
    Jonathan April 24, 2022

    Where did you get the new built bussman? I didn't think sandman was making them anymore?

    • turbodb
      turbodb April 24, 2022

      Hey Jonathan, I thought I mentioned it in the little blurb - I put it together myself (after a few taps on the keyboard and clicks of the mouse, ordering parts). ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *