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As of now my truck has not received a large amount of modifications. However, I have added quite a few small details to improve the look and the experience my truck provides. Improvements have been made to the areas of instrumentation, music, and mild modifications to the performance and handling.

I started out with simple things. My senior year of highschool, I bought a 10 CD changer and installed that with the help of my friend David. Later on, thanks to the crappy construction job done by the lunatics they hire to do roads here in Miami, my trucks shocks blew. I drove it that way for a while and thanks to all the excess vibration caused by that, my truck developed a few rattles. I eventually grew tired and went to Toyota where I bought 4 new shocks and installed them, literally the first time I had done any serious work on my truck.(All I had done before was changing brake pads or oil).

After that, I thought the catalytic converter had clogged. In actuality, I had washed the engine and threw a code that made it run bad and my friend David's diagnostic computer only mentioned an error with the catalytic. I would later find out the O2 sensors were blown. In the meantime, we spent the day gutting the cat only to discover that it still ran crappy and to remember I had a similar (though not as severe) situation before after washing the engine. We cleaned the plugs and then erased the code the next morning. That was how I spent my last day of spring break on my first year at the University, lucky me.:mad: I later bought the O2 sensors and had those installed by a nearby mechanic who is originally from the Dominican Republic like myself.

I now had a catless Tacoma, I lost low end torque in exchange for a little more top end, and I now had more noise and smell which took some getting used to- it doesn't even bother me now after over three years of driving it like that. Thank God for the fact that Florida has no emissions testing. On my second year at the University, my friend Ricarfens got me into the idea of adding a grounding kit so I ordered one and installed it. It noticeably smoothed the idle and improved how loud I could turn up the music without distortion. My friend Javier later bought a TRD intake which was not meant for his Corolla. It was too long, so we cut it and part went on his car and the remainder was used to replace the corrugated plastic part of my intake. Before long, the spark plug wires went bad so I ordered up a set of MSD wires and these also smoothed the idle, even more so than the grounding kit. My friend Javier, who helped me install both even noticed which he didn't after the grounding kit. Soon after, I bought the projector headlights and destroyed all but one of the clips holding on the grill because the stupid Hanes manual said I could remove the grill without taking off the bumper- WRONG! Luckily, the bumper holds the grill on and so do the corner lights. I gained better lights, the ability to change just the bulbs, and angel eyes as well.




Later on, my trans started acting up. It became impossible to shift gears in many cases, and in first the truck would drive forward without my pushing the accelerator and with the clutch pressed completely down! This was caused by the master and slave cylinders failing.(Yet I was still able to whoop a couple ricers with that problem and the O2 sensors blown-read my racing stories thread) So off to Toyota I went to obtain the originals and I had my mechanic install them. The starter later gave out and I had him install a new one as well. Also, the key cylinder for the ignition somehow got locked so I had to go off to Toyota and buy a new one to replace it. This I did myself in a matter of minutes. I also took off my old plastic bedliner, prepped the bed, and did a roll on liner.

Summer of my second year, the tires wore out and I bought new ones. The Futura GLS tires were pretty good except that they have some inflation issue and wear out in the middle first no matter what you do (short of under inflating them). I stuck to the usual things for a while, oil, spark plugs and brake pads. I also did a 100,000 mile service which was way overpriced and I could have done myself. At one point I got shocks for the hood and made custom brackets to hold them on. Unfortunately, the shocks were too thick and alot of underhood brackets would have to be modified so that they would not hit anything when I closed the hood so I scratched that project.

On the summer of my third year, I painted the edges of the bed with a rubberized undercoat, it looked great but eventually lost color from the sun. The metal frame around my four pane rear window was fading so I masked all that area off and painted it all.



My Cd changer stopped working for no apparent reason-prompting me to realize Sony Xplode equipment is garbage, so I removed it and never bought Sony Xplode stuff again.
 

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During this summer, I started my new job and began saving up for mods. Some idiots vandalized my truck by breaking the back window. I rode with it that way for awhile until I found a place that replaced it with a single pane for $130. I watched ebay like a hawk for awhile until I found a set of Lancer Evolution VIII wheels for sale at a good price. I sniped the bid and won the set. When I got them I left them in the garage for a few weeks. I later realized two of them were warped and oval instead of round. So I painted the two good ones and my friend Javier hooked me up with free tires, he works at Pep Boys. He also mounted my tires, balanced them, mounted the wheels in the back, and moved my rear wheels to the front and balanced those as well (they had more tread). All of this was absolutely free! It really pays to have friends!

My rims are painted in Black Sand Pearl, a stock Toyota color. It looks flat when sprayed, the pearlescence only shows after the clearcoat. I actually did the basecoat under an awning as it rained and I did the clear this past weekend. I used my smaller paint gun in order to get the best spray pattern and I went around the rims in a specific way in order to get the best coverage.As for the results, the pictures speak for themselves.









 

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My fourth year at the University was when the good stuff started getting done. I removed my front door speakers and added in Pioneers with built in tweeters. I also custom mounted some PB tweeters onto my sail panels, this came out good enough that it looks almost stock. I grew tired of having no tachometer, so I ordered one and started coming up with ways to make a gauge pod. I eventually made one out of pvc pipe and after alot of hassle managed to find the signal for the tach and install it. The pod was painted in a satin black to match the color and texture of my center console. After an oil change at the dealer, I was informed that my valve cover gasket needed replacing. I changed it myself and took advantage of the opportunity to paint the cover with high temp engine primer and wrinkle finish black. I then got a hookup from a friend that works at the dealer and I scored a TRD oil cap and new brake pads all for the price of just the pads- employee discounts come in handy.









 

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Discussion Starter #4
I painted the two front rims some time before the holidays, however there had been no sun for a few days so when I took them to get the tires mounted, the lips got the paint stripped right off of them by the machine. I taped them off and then went on vacation. Once I came back I painted them and then left them in the garage for a good week before mounting them, I did not want any more mistakes!
 

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I took advantage and used the excess paint in the gun for painting my front Toyota emblem along with the Tacoma emblems on the side. I made sure to sand the emblems then hit them with the same process as the rims- self etching primer, filler primer, then base and clear.I plan to leave the side ones off for awhile though, I'm liking the smooth look.



 

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I added the blacked out emblems to the truck today. I used 3M emblem and trim adhesive and just smeared it lightly on the back of the emblems. It is much like pvc cement and it does the job pretty quickly- you just need to take an Xacto knife and clean the little bits of goop off the edges once it dries.

 

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I scored a Lund Backdraft spoiler on ebay for 20 dollars and 12.99 shipping. Not bad for an item that usually costs $85. I decided I wanted to mold it on and take advantage of the opportunity to fix a rusting dent I had in the top right part of the tailgate.


Tailgate ready for fiberglass​


no good foam tape​

 

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Discussion Starter #10
I did the elbow mod. I didn't take any pictures but basically the stock air box connects to the inner fender and you would assume the air comes from there. However, it is connected to a 90 degree elbow that in turn connects to a plastic tube between the inner and outer fender. This tub runs all the way back to the door area and breathes through there. If you decide to add a snorkel to you truck just drill a hole in the fender and add a pipe to that end and your done! I simply took out the airbox and the piece bolted to the wall out. This piece is the one with the elbow and I cut the bend off on a bandsaw. I then replaced everything.I found it helpful to remove bolts on the outer side of the wheel well lining and pull the lining out such that I could access the gap between the inner and outer fender from below. From here I was able to see that the truck can now breathe air from the gap between the front bumper and the body as well as the whole area in front of the wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
What the elbow mod basically does is that it allows your truck to breathe unrestricted as you rise in the power band. It does not turn your truck into a rocket, it is not a substitute for turbocharging and serious power mods, but it is a good way to let loose the potential of the stock setup. One thing alot of people don't understand about going fast is that you need to know the vehicles power band and how to make best use of it. The stock 2RZ-FE Tacoma's power band is between 3 and 5 thousand rpm. The truck starts pulling hard at 3k, it makes it's maximum torque at 4k, and it makes it's maximum horsepower at 5k. It is fastest if you make use of the power band in 2nd and 3rd gears. I did a pull after doing this mod and discovered that it basically opened up the "stuffed nose" if you will. When I would run to 5k rpm in 2nd and then pop in 3rd before, the truck would choke in 3rd and the nice acceleration you felt in 2nd would not continue. With the elbow mod, the fun continues all the way through 4th gear. I still have to try a few more runs before I can say definitively what the main differences are but this is the most immediate and obvious result.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I finally took the leap and ordered a set of QA1 coilovers from Paradise Racing. I went with single adjustables with 8 inch long, 565 lb rate springs. I'll have pictures up soon. I'm currently waiting on a set of Beefed QA1 mounting plates and some 3.5" blocks. Once I get those ordered and they arrive, I'll be sure to do a thorough write up of the installation process. I'll also get into detail with my ride height and dampening adjustment so others who come after me will have a better idea of how to tune these properly.
 

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Just a few updates on the tailgate. I decided to shave my tailgate handle and invert the handle so that it is on the other side. Here are a few pictures of the progress


Here is the hole taped off for fiberglassing from the inside.


After fiberglass.


Everything JB welded, I like it so much better than bondo!


Primered and almost ready for paint.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I swung by the paint supply and bought the paint to do my tailgate and possibly my front and rear bumpers and grill. The paint on my truck is called pewter pearl and is paint code 196 in case anyone needs it. I did more priming and sanding on the tailgate today and I'm hoping to get basecoat/clearcoat done tomorrow. God willing it will be a hot sunny day so that I can get it all done. I'll be sure to post pictures of my progress. I haven't been able to lower the truck yet because I'm still waiting on the blocks and plates. I'm so pissed with myself for not ordering them at the same time I ordered my QA1s, I would have probably had the parts by now. Oh well, looks like I'll only be able to enjoy a lowered truck for a week before I have to go off to Washington state on my internship. It's all good, I'd rather wait on quality parts than get it slammed quickly on some crappy auto parts blocks that are bound to fail.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Dropped the back yesterday, pictures coming soon. I already bottomed out today and let me tell you it sucks, time for stiffer rear shocks lol! I may just install the QA1s, leave them high and remove the blocks in the back because my brother will be driving it over the summer. Funniest thing is when I was taking the truck off the jackstands; I had one out but the tire on that side still wasn't touching the floor, funny and scary all at once.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I took the first Monday back from my internship to get the truck back into drivable conditions. My friend Javier came over and we very quickly installed the new rear shocks- (KYB Monomax I got from Beefed at a very good price). I also sprayed rust reformer over the U bolts which I had forgotten to do before I left. After that we called around for alignment shops and found a little place that does lowered cars and they aligned the truck for a mere $64.14 (that's including tax!). I should have pictures up soon. Besides this, I am planning a little makeover for the truck. I don't know what the birds around here are eating but their crap has burned right through the paint on parts of my hood, roof, and fenders. I'm planning to throw on a set of 01-04 fenders, a carbon fiber hood,and paint the roof- either black or the stock pewter pearl. Besides that, I'd like to get a set of new tires, get my rims powdercoated, and bring the front down another inch.
 

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I ordered a set of black Acura RSX seats from ebay. They were $175 which is a good deal in my opinion. I'll have pictures and install information up soon. In the meantime, enjoy these gratuitous photos of my truck.



 

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