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Tag: electrical

Modifications to the truck’s electrical systems.

Adding a Third Band | GMRS for the Tacoma

One of the jokes we always make about the folks (ok, let's be honest, it's 99% guys) we hear talking on the 146.520 simplex ham radio frequency that we have tuned in the Tacoma most of the time, is that they are always talking about their radio setup. Whether they have just tuned a new antenna, are calling for CQ ("anyone out there") from the top of some mountain, or are reorganizing their "shack" to fit a newly acquired transceiver, every radio operator seems to be... a nerd. Guilty as charged. My first mode of communication in the Tacoma was…


Miles of Light (Diode Dynamics SS5 Pro)

Ever since I got into this whole adventure thing, I've always sort of turned my nose up at aftermarket lighting. Looking back on it, I think there are three reasons for my prejudice: I'm not a fan of the "Instalighters." We all know these folks - they are the ones that install several light bars - on the roof, behind the grill, maybe one in the rear, as well as pod lights, ditch lights, fog lights, and any other lights they can possibly fit on their vehicle. Then, whenever they take a photo - boom! - all the lights are…


My Alternator Failed

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.

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.

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My Bussmann Melted (Replaced)

TL;DR - I've replaced my Bussmann fuse/relay box because the old one melted around some of the connectors. This issue has been ongoing for a while, but initially I didn't understand what was going on. Initially, I thought that I was having a problem with my HID-modified Hellas (see previous rig reviews) and so I contacted the manufacturer to see about replacement ballasts, and verified that all the pins were properly seated in the back of the Bussmann. After reseating a couple pins, I tried replacing the relay that was powering the Hella's, and that seemed to solve the problem...…

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Finally Adding Fogs (Diode Dynamics SS3 Pro)

I never win anything. I think we all sort of feel that way when it comes to raffles and drawings. I must have entered hundreds of them when I was younger - never winning a single one. Eventually, I gave up even throwing my name into the hat at all - it just wasn't worth my time (or giving away my email address and other random personal information that they usually asked for). But the other day, I was browsing around the internet - as one does - and I stumbled on a giveaway of some Diode Dynamics SS3 Sport…


Out with the LEDs, Back to Halogen Headlights

If you've been following along for the last couple of months, you'll know that after 18 years of running my original halogen headlight bulbs, I finally had enough of running blind at night and replaced them with some LEDs - allowing me to see again! Now, after a mere 6 weeks - and really, within two weeks of the switch - I'm changing it up again. I knew as soon as I installed the BEAMTECH H4 LED Headlights that I had some reservations - mostly around the much-bluer-than-halogen light color that was emitted from the housings. It turns out, however,…


Adding Electrical to the 4Runner Storage Area

The plan with the 4Runner was always to keep it a little bit more tame than the Tacoma. After all, it's our family adventure vehicle - used mostly for home-base-style camping, and less for prolonged driving adventures. But, some systems need to work in both vehicles - and the fridge is a great example. The Backstory Up until this summer, when we ventured over to Washington's Olympic Peninsula, I'd always just nursed the fridge along - running it as we drove to camp, and then turning it off once we reached our destination. There were a few reasons for that…


*Fixing* My First Mod - Really Disabling the Daytime Running Lights

19 years, 1 month, 28 days. That's how long it's been since my first mod to the truck - when I disabled my daytime running lights (DRLs) - so that I wouldn't have to replace my headlights so often . OK, that, among other reasons. Anyway, I thought the DRL disable mod had been working just fine for the last 18 years - that is, until I went and made my Hella 700FF offroad lights turn on-and-off with my hi-beams. That mostly worked, except that - for some reason I didn't understand at the time - when the Hellas were set to…

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HIDs and LEDs - Finally, I Can See Again!

For years now, I've felt like the headlights on my 1st gen Tacoma left a little something to be desired. More than a little something, really. Some of it is my fault - the bulbs I have installed are over 20 years old, surely not as bright as they once were - but it seems to me that 1998-2000 Tacomas have always had the crappiest of the 1st gen headlights. Initially, I added Hella 500FFs to the front bumper to solve this problem. They were great until they got destroyed when I hit a deer for the first time. I…

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Infinite Free Power - Adding Solar to the Tacoma

I just got done camping in one spot for three days. Temps were in the high 80's, the ARB 50qt fridge was set to 35ºF, and the 175W inverter was running much of the time charging various electronic devices. The whole time, I didn't start the truck once. A couple weeks ago, my dual battery system would have been hosed by the end of this trip - probably wouldn't have even lasted the entire time - but when we pulled out of camp this time, the batteries were topped off and had power to spare. This my friends, is the…


Is There a Problem with My Second (House) Battery?

On our last trip to the Eastern Mojave, one of the things I noted early in the trip - actually, before the trip even started really - was that the battery in the cab seemed low. I chalked it up to an error on my side and figured that the long 20-hour drive from home to our first hike would be enough to get it back up and kicking. It sort of did, but the battery seemed weak the entire trip, dropping below 12V reasonably quickly - much more quickly than it has in the past. Initially I figured that…


Winter Weight Loss for the Tacoma

It's not natural. It's uncomfortable. It's hard. And, I know it's the right thing to do - I want to find a way to cut some weight off of the Tacoma. When I purchased the truck, Toyota listed the curb weight of a 4WD SR5 V6 Xtracab at something right around 3,500 lbs, and the gross weight (GVWR) at something near 5100 lbs. Or at least, that's what I can find on the internet in 2019, since I wasn't at all interested or concerned with those numbers at the time. Unfortunately for me - and the truck - when I…


Hella Hi-Beams

It's no secret that the the quickest way to massive numbers of broverlanding points is by adding more lights. Light bars, rock lights, ditch lights, reverse lights, amber lights, raptor lights, camp lights, interior LED lights - you name it, and you can drop a few hundreds or thousands of dollars to make your truck look lit - literally - in daytime photos. That's not what this mod is about. I mean, it's about auxiliary lights, but it's about how to make them more functional. Specifically, how to make it so that extra light can be switched by both your…

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MOAR Power, More Redundancy - Dual AGM Battery Install

Well, this post is a long time in the making. In fact, I assumed this was a project I'd get taken care of in the dead of winter, since much of it would be done in the wood shop, and none of it required the truck to be outside in the rain and cold. But like many well-laid plans, mine got comfortable and took a six-month nap. So let's start at the beginning... My Battery History To date, I've only had to replace the battery in the truck once. I did that back in 2011 after owning the truck for…


I've Delayed Long Enough - Changing the Spark Plugs

People often assume that everything is easy for me. That I just go about doing things, and usually doing them well. That's sort of the case, since I've had a lot of experience doing different things in my life and I tend to pick things up quickly, but I think it's important to recognize that even for people who seem "good at everything," not everything is easy. Getting in there and trying things can still be both hard and rewarding, no matter who you are... I don't know why, but I've been super nervous about changing my spark plugs and…

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