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ok terrific.
'95 STi RA rep, rhd yo!
Joined
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5,220 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The year was 1998 when, on my 12th birthday, my dad had his '86 Nissan Hardbody unceremoniously dragged out of our driveway with a blown engine, it's brakes frozen up. It was ironic how the truck seemed to scream as it was ripped from it's bed by its feet, off onto a truck where it would be dumped in a junkyard. Or maybe that was the tyres protesting. :shrug:

Anyways, the truck was quickly replaced with a brand-spanking-new 1998 Toyota Tacoma SR5 extended cab, graced with a 3.4L V6, a manual transmission, and a REAL MAN'S TRANSFER CASE LEVER. DAMN RIGHT!!! I swore one day I would own that truck. I just never expected it to take thirteen years. Nevertheless, with 295,000 drama-free miles on the clock, it's finally mine!

I received this truck for a few reasons. First and foremost, though it has been a very reliable truck, my dad was itching for a new truck and he knew it would be well taken care of in my hands. I needed a new truck for hauling our two golden-labs, a light-duty service truck for rallies, and a daily driver so I could finally begin swapping in the RA drivetrain into the Impreza.

That said, I already have a money pit so I only plan on a few well-researched modifications to the truck to fit my needs. The most important addition would be a Leer cap. I had my eyes on a Leer 100XL cap, with a flocked headliner and gusset-less side windows that fold out with a turn of a knob, but I couldn't justify spending almost $2000 for it. After a few weeks of searching on Craigslist, I settled for a 100R cap being sold locally. At 1/3 the cost of a new one, I had to make due with a bare fiberglass interior and sliding side windows, but at least the front window slides open to get some air in the back.








November, 2011

I left the truck alone at first, giving myself time to get used to the handling of the truck. While we were visiting family for Thanksgiving, my fiance and I decided to go Christmas tree shopping. Instead of walking in, finding the perfect tree, cutting it down and unceremoniously dragging it out, decided to test out the 4wd. Shortly after the following picture was taken, the truck in front of me got stuck. Really stuck. Like, "go bring the tractor down" stuck. After the wimpy Ford was pulled to the safety of dry pavement, I blasted through with the Tacoma with nary a rooster-tail of mud. I didn't even engage the rear locker!

 

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ok terrific.
'95 STi RA rep, rhd yo!
Joined
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5,220 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
December, 2011

December, 2011

When I returned to work after Thanksgiving, I gave the truck a once-over to get a good idea of what needs attention. With the truck service religiously every 7,500 miles as per Toyota's factory-recommended service intervals, the truck was in very good shape. I noticed a shimmy in the steering wheel above 55mph, so I balanced the tyres on the RoadForce machine. I inspected the front brakes, finding them OK. I did find it amusing that the truck has 4-pot calipers before the Impreza does...



I also suspect that the rear brake drums are out-of-round, as evident by the lugging feeling from the rear of the truck while coming to a stop. I will take care of this at the 300,000 mile service.

I performed a power steering flush, cleaned the throttle body, and noted that the valve cover gaskets were leaking. After mentioning this on the Tacoma forums, I was informed that the valve cover bolts have a habit of coming loose on the 3.4L engine. Sure enough, all of the lower bolts were 1-2 turns loose. Problem solved. I also noted that the battery was cranking slowly and it failed a load test. I replaced it with a Subaru Genuine Replacement battery. ;)

The front steering wheel shook a bit when hitting a few consecutive bumps, so I inspected the front suspension very closely. I replaced the dryrotted swaybar endlink bushings and noticed that the right front wheel bearing was loose. This was quickly replaced with a fresh OEM bearing.



I pulled the truck onto our new alignment rack, checked the specs and found front toe and caster were out. The caster might explain the poor steering feel...



I performed a front end alignment, which is a lot of fun now that the Toyota dealer undercoated the cam bolts. Adjust camber, then caster, then toe. Easy enough, right? Ha! The experience went a little like this:

Loosen up the bolts, and tweak it a bit. Ok, caster is good, let's do camber. Adjust camber, bring it in, and caster is out again. Terrific. Tweak caster a bit more, and toe is out. Damnit. Tug a bit on camber, and it's good to go, but caster is out. Squeak caster in and repeat on the other side.

Then do caster sweep, only to find that your caster is still out. Tweak that a bit, and camber is out. Wrestle with camber, and caster is out. Adjust caster back in and check toe. Toe is out. Adjust toe, throwing out caster and camber.

SOAB!!! Commence wrench throwing.
The front end seems to be a bit tweaked from a prior meet-and-greet with the side of someone's house, so I adjusted it as close as I could.




I replaced all of the dash and HVAC lights as some were blown. While I was in there, I replaced the dated cassette stereo with a kickass Kenwood unit with Bluetooth and iPod integration.



If you're going to take the time to do something, take a few extra moments and to the job right. Properly soldered wiring harness:

 

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ok terrific.
'95 STi RA rep, rhd yo!
Joined
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5,220 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Some people spend time with their family during Christmas. My future brother-in-law and I decided to escape the family function and go off-roading on the family's Xmas tree farm. I'll spare you the stories of the steep, slippery slopes and mud bogs, but I'll sum it up for you: With the truck in 4WL, the truck climbs steep grades like a mountain goat.




Not content with a life documented in a camera phone, it was time to break out the Rebel:





 

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ok terrific.
'95 STi RA rep, rhd yo!
Joined
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5,220 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
January, 2012

January, 2012

After Christmas, I made an appointment with IAG Performance to get the front windows tinted. While I'm not pleased with their customer service, their technician did a great job with the windows. I picked up a roll of tint to do the rear side windows when I have some free time.

Where's Waldo?



When you have a truck, suddenly everyone needs help moving or has some building project and need your help hauling building supplies. There was one unfortunate mishap while pulling a heavy piece of plywood out of the bed.

FATALITY.

 

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ok terrific.
'95 STi RA rep, rhd yo!
Joined
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5,220 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thus brings me up to the current day.

1998 Toyota Tacoma SR5
3.4L V6
5spd
4WD w/ manly-man transfer case lever
Locking rear differential
Cruise control and power windows? Even the suby doesn't have that!
OEM bedliner

Modifications thus far:
Leer 100R cap
Kenwood Excelon KDC-X995 stereo w/ Bluetooth
Sirius Starmate 5 satellite radio tuner
Rancho shocks/struts
20% front window tint by IAG Performance
DeeZee bed mat
eBay_air intake w/ SPT filter
Firestone_Ride-Rite airbag kit

Future plans:
ARB front bumper w/ winch & driving lamps
OEM fender flares
rear swaybar kit. 4Runner? Addco? Hellwig?
new speakers
300,000 mile service ;)
fix mild coolant/oil leak. _Waterpump?
fix sloppy shifter
perform differential/transfercase breather relocation
Hawk HPS front brake_pads
replace rear taillight lens I cracked back in 2002 when I closed the tailgate on a shovel. :run:
Bilstein shocks/struts
Motul 75w90 for transmission, transfer case, front differential and rear axle
replace clutch pedal spring bushings
brake fluid flush
RS25/Nasioc MAIC decals (ordered 1/15/12)
CB radio
 

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Registered
99 rustbox
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1,041 Posts
awesome tacoma! love them, i hope to buy one when my rs goes under the knife. you've got 2 sweet rides bud!
 

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Premium Baller
04 STI, '11 R6 Race
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5,732 Posts
sweet truck these are awesome and last forever.

A friend's dad has one of these, same year and everything. It has a bit over 400k miles and the thing still drives like it has 100.
 

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ok terrific.
'95 STi RA rep, rhd yo!
Joined
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5,220 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thanks guys. :sunny:

Nice! I'm going to be in the market for one soon. I'm thinking of going a bit older though. What are your impressions so far?
Well... both the shifter and clutch operation are vague, it rides like a boat, the clutch pedal squeals like a pig, it has no top-end, and it gets piss-poor gas mileage.

It does however sound awesome even with the stock exhaust, and has a crap-load of torque though so I'm content. The tyres were aired up to 30-32psi, and I dropped it down to 26 all around today and it took the edge off of the harshness in the rear suspension.

I also noticed that I get cut off a lot less than I do when I'm driving the Impreza. :naughty:
 

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ok terrific.
'95 STi RA rep, rhd yo!
Joined
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5,220 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Today I resurfaced the rear drums to get rid of the "lugging" while coming to a stop. It alleviated most of it, but there's still a hint of it there. *sigh* I also tinted the rear side windows with a 35% tint overtop of the factory tint, so it now matches the front.

Previously, but not mentioned, I replaced both of the tailgate cords. I also replaced the MIA rubber boot for the RF headlamp, and swapped in an Osram Silverstar as water intrusion killed the new bulb. :unamused:

Sirius satellite radio is installed. The antenna is on the dash, but I'm going to move it to the roof when the weather is warmer.

The short ram intake is due to arrive on Monday. I attempted to clean up the SPT/K&N air filter, but it's still quite dirty. I'm going to use it temporarily and throw in a new K&N filter when I do the 300,000 mile service.

RS25 and MAIC decals are in, but not applied. I was unamused to find that the RS25 decals were white and red; I wanted gold, but neglected to note that the order form didn't let me specify colors. I'm going to take the decals to a local vinyl shop and have them remake the RS25 decals in gold.
 

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ok terrific.
'95 STi RA rep, rhd yo!
Joined
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5,220 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
The frame is in excellent shape. The dealer stated that it was one of the best looking frames they've seen on a truck this old. There was only minor corrosion around the brackets, but it's now all covered in undercoat.

I think the key to longevity of the frame was washing the undercarriage weekly during the winter and storing the vehicle in a heated garage. :)
 

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Free Supers!!!
08 Fozzy, 94 Toyota Hilux
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4,149 Posts
Glad to hear that. I see the techs at work doing atleast 1-2 a week on Taco's. Their great trucks. I had a 94 2wd hilux. 22RE 5 speed manual everything at it did everything I ever asked it to do.
 

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ok terrific.
'95 STi RA rep, rhd yo!
Joined
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5,220 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.2.2; en-us; LG-P925/V10e Build/FRG83G) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1)

Nice. I hear the 22RE is s great engine, especially when turbocharged.
 

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ok terrific.
'95 STi RA rep, rhd yo!
Joined
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5,220 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I packed my tools in the truck last weekend, and noted that I only had 1" of suspension travel. While driving, I was bottoming out on the bumpstops, it rode like crap, and I know my rear wheel bearings probably didn't appreciate the jolts. I have to do the same trip in a couple weeks with the additional weight of a transmission, so I decided to finally make a decision and get it done.

I went with the Firestone kit for a few different reasons. First of all, the kit mounts closer to the axle than the Air-Lift kit, and it has a higher weight capacity. I don't intend on ever exceeding the Air-Lift's capacity, but I'll be happy knowing that I'm running well within range rather than maxing out. Firestone airbags are common in various aspects of the automotive world, so replacement parts should be cheaper and easier to come by.

I paid $280 for the kit, and first impressions were good. The brackets are sturdy and well-made and the hardware is decent.



Installation took more time that originally expected. The instructions are in plain English, but difficult to follow at times. It states to lift the truck and support the axle by jackstands. This is NOT simply a safety disclaimer. The airbags will not bolt in with the suspension at full-droop. If you want to install the kit with the help of a lift, you should chain the axle to the frame before you lift the vehicle in the air. (Also note that this will be required if you want to lift the vehicle after the airbags are installed. The bags can stretch too far and be damaged with the wheels off the ground)

It took me 4 hours to install. Part of that is because of the instructions, another part is because I'm a perfectionist. The most time-consuming steps were cutting off the rubber bumpstops, and drilling the holes for the frame. You will need a small bit for the pilot hole, and a 3/8" bit. These MUST be high-quality bits, or you will dull them on the frame. If you are using a cordless drill, charge up all your spare batteries because you will need them.

The bracket for the frame has four holes, but only two will be used. I recommend a diagonal pattern to avoid weakening the frame anymore than you have to. My truck has the load-sensitive brake bias, and the bracket is located right where you need to drill the holes. The nuts they provide have long tabs, and you have plenty of room inside the bracket to fish the nuts in and tighten them down. Don't worry about clearance, as you will have plenty of room. Note that you may want to adjust the rod for the brake bias so your rear brakes do a bit more work with the rear loaded.

I hit all of the brackets and the frame with undercoat. I suggest you do the same.

With the Leer cap installed but an empty bed, I found that 14psi was more than enough to bring the truck up to correct ride height. Pumping the springs up more (20-30) will provide an additional substantial lift. You wouldn't know it in this picture, but my truck has an engine sitting in the bed:




The truck rides much smoother, with less of a punch to the kidneys when hitting large bumps. I did note that the Rancho shocks do not offer enough dampening for the stiffer suspension and heavier loads. I was considering upgrading to Bilstein suspension all around, but I need to do further research to figure out what will be a bit heavier duty than what I'm running now.

I'll try to get some pictures of the installed kit when I have the wheels off at the 300k service.

Also added recently is an eBay intake with a SPT/K&N filter. I'm going to swap in a new K&N in a few months when I do the 300,000 mile service. I should probably pick up some plastic sheeting to block off the filter from the rest of the engine bay.

 

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ok terrific.
'95 STi RA rep, rhd yo!
Joined
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5,220 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Cleaned the truck, waxed it, and balanced all four tyres in prep for a road trip to Missouri for the 100 Acre Woods Rally. I found out the day before we left that the RR wheel is bent, but loaded the tools and equipment in the truck anyways. Too late to worry about it now.

Hit a milestone on the way back. Oddly enough, it occurred just as we passed a Toyota dealership.



Still going strong. I'll do the 300K service in the next week or two. I need to pick up some oil, filter, and a new K&N. I also need to purchase stock in Motul to change the front diff, rear axle, transmission and transfer case oil.
 

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ok terrific.
'95 STi RA rep, rhd yo!
Joined
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5,220 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.2.2; en-us; LG-P925/V10e Build/FRG83G) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1)

If I were out in your area, I'd rock one with the fiberglass fenders and long travel suspension. :)
 

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ok terrific.
'95 STi RA rep, rhd yo!
Joined
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5,220 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Still racking up the mileage but the mods have been slow. I installed a Cobra CB radio because redneck as well as a PA speaker under the hood and an antenna over the LH taillight.

After rearending some twat last fall I decided it was time to get serious about my brakes ans upgraded to Brembo rotors and Hawk LTS pads.

uploadfromtaptalk1393775489752.jpg

Upgrading to some 33" pizza cutters, just in time for the pizzas to arrive.

uploadfromtaptalk1393775577576.jpg

Bilstein suspension should be here this week.

Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk
 
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