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How to be a Baller on a Budget

Our first thought was to build this gigantic truck with 20-inch wheels on 37s and create a thunderous towering Tundra that scares small farm animals. Then reality hit and we thought, we don’t know where any small farm animals are at? Plus, gas prices in California are still over $3.00 a gallon, so scrub that idea. Because the truck would eventually see some off-road time and most likely tow a trailer, we compromised and decided on a perfect off-road daily driver.

We don’t know if you’ve kept up with the prices of new trucks lately, but holy moly and Dale Earnhardt Jr.—a new pickup truck of any make and model is pretty pricey. Like $50,000-$70,000 pricey. Whoo wee! That’s the sound we made while at a new car dealership recently looking at new pickups. If you’re like us, we are always looking for a bargain and a way to have our truck and feed the kids too.

Buying A Used Truck
A trip to a dealership can be fun or it can be mind boggling and draining of your soul. But with the help of the internet you can aleve yourself of that misery. There are many websites that offer complete descriptions of trucks with pictures of the interior and exterior to give you a complete look of the vehicle. Car Gurus and Truck Trader are a few you can check out with full descriptions and pictures. Watch out for those tricky photo filters!

Smooth body, nice straight grille, no blemishes—yes, we are still talking about trucks so get your mind out of the gutter. On our search for a quality used truck we ran into this problem. We decided to go with a ½ ton Toyota Tundra with a 5.7 motor and a posi rear-end. We opted for a four-door CrewMax shortbed for the interior room and the timeless good looks. Because we are weekend off roaders, the truck will see more street than dirt or sand, so we chose a two-wheel drive. The truck had been serviced at Toyota by both previous owners and was in excellent condition. We highly recommend checking CARFAX for information regarding accidents and mileage before you buy.

Another reason for choosing a Tundra, there’s a ton of quality aftermarket parts available for the Tundra especially if you want to lift it. Depending on your budget you can buy and install most of these parts yourself and create the truck of your dreams…umm…we mean the truck of your kids’ dreams and if you don’t have kids, just buy more truck parts.

When we purchased the Tundra it came with a set of KMC 20×9 Monster wheels mounted on Hankook 275/55/20s street tires. That combo looked great but not good for any off-road escapades. The Tundra also comes equipped with 4-wheel disc brakes with 4-piston calipers in the front and a single piston caliper in the rear. This is enough to stop our 33-inch tires safely, if we don’t get too crazy in our driving habits. If you do choose to go bigger such as a 35, 37 or 40. You may want to look at your brake setup and decide if your brakes can stop that much weight in an emergency or just plain everyday braking

Before we knew it Tiger already had the Tundra on the lift and was removing the old wheels and tires and inspecting the brakes.

We loved the KMC Monsters so much we wanted another set in an 18-inch wheel to give us that big wheel look but still be able to clear the Toyota’s fender wells without cutting it up.

We’re pretty handy with tools but when you have a friend named Tiger who owns a performance shop that installs…uh…lift kits and specializes in off-road suspensions and wheels and tires, you kinda say OK, go get ‘em Tiger! Tiger Garcia and his wife Annie run one of the busiest off-road suspension shops in Ventura county—Go Big Truck Performance. Trucks of all makes and models, Jeeps, Sprinter vans, UTVs, you name it Tiger has worked on it. Tiger invited us to his ultra clean shop and even though he has a small army of qualified techs, he decided to do the install himself. We never had a Tiger work on our truck before, so we were excited and kept our voices low.

Stock Toyota setup, which in most cases would work fine. But if you’re thinking about some serious off-road action, a coilover kit and upper arms are needed.

Depending on how old of a truck you’re working on, the bolts could be rusted and hard to break loose. Our 2010 Tundra was still new enough that everything came off pretty easy. No busted knuckles on this unfrozen Tundra.

Having a lift and the correct tools makes the job a little easier and safer.

A good habit to get into on any job is to inspect all parts before assembly. This helps in case there are parts missing, damaged or just the wrong part. That way you won’t have to reassemble your truck while you’re mad!

Here is a good look at the stock control arm and the new Camburg arm. Huge difference not in just the look but the function as well. The Camburg upper control arm has a Uni-ball that allows greater travel and welded tubular style adds strength under hard driving conditions.

Scott is taking out the TPS (Tire Pressure Sensor) out of the old wheel and tire to be used on the new KMC/Kenda combo. If your vehicle is equipped with these sensors, it is always good to inspect them for excessive wear or damage before reinstalling them. We also found out that by trying to save a little money, some aftermarket sensors fail prematurely. So, it’s always better to pay a little extra or stick with the factory sensors that you know will work.

When installing aftermarket wheels always be sure that the facility has the proper equipment and experienced personnel to do the installation. Fortunately for us, Josh has that custom wheel experience and had our tires mounted and balanced in no time.

A thing of beauty! The unboxing of our new Eibach 2.0 3-inch coilovers. The controversy in the numbers between the 2.0 and 3-inch is the coilover is a 2.0 but can be adjusted to its maximum height of 3 -inches. These coilovers are fully adjusted to fit your driving needs. This kit is easy to install with the proper tools. We recommend using air tools to make the job easier when taking off the old stock parts as they are probably a little rusty. What we liked about this particular kit was the adjustable factor. We chose to adjust to the 3.0 height so we could fit the 18X9 wheels on 33-inch tires without trimming any inner fender wells.

To give our Tundra some fresh air, we installed Flowmaster’s new Delta Force Performance air intake system. We did notice a difference in acceleration and a slight increase in engine noise, which to us sounded awesome.

Our old coilover had a spacer installed to give it some lift. That will be removed, and Tiger will use the top portion of the original coilover on the new Eibach kit.

Safety, safety, safety. We cannot say this enough. We have heard all the horror stories of someone trying to save a few dollars by using an inferior spring compressor they rented from the local parts store only to have it come loose or break, taking out the neighbor’s window in the process. In some cases, severe injury or death.

Here Josh is getting the lift jack under the differential before removing the old shocks. Again, we stress safety and proper tools to do any job.

These shocks were almost too pretty to install. We just wanted to look at them all day!

Always go by the manufacturer’s specs when installing aftermarket parts. If you noticed, Josh doesn’t remove the protective plastic until the shock is completely installed. This eliminates the chance of being scratched or having greasy handprints all over the shock tube. Good job, Josh!

And there it is! These shocks don’t just look good, but they were made for some off-road action. Sad part is that it makes the rest of the undercarriage look old. Detail time!

Kenda Tire stepped up and offered their brand new Kenda Klever R/T Off-Road tire. The Klever R/T was made for off-road conditions and is pinned for winter studs. Winter studs? We don’t get much snow here in California unless we trek up to the mountains, which may be an option. Strong upper sidewall tread blocks assist with typically difficult mud, sand and gravel environments while the construction provides long-lasting wear with reasonable ride and noise on the road.

Mounting the last one. We actually have five wheels and tires. Kenda advised rotating the fifth wheel/tire into the scheduled rotation of our wheels to give extra longevity and extra mileage to our set of tires. We will give you an update on that and hopefully we will get those extra miles out of these tires.

Lubrication, we can’t say that enough either. One of the biggest causes of mechanical failure is heat and improper lubrication. Always prep your parts according to manufacturer specs and keep religious maintenance on those parts, and they will perform great and last a long time.

Proper balancing is critical on oversized custom wheels and tires. Any wheel for that matter, but especially on a large wheel and tire. Also having someone like Tiger who does this every day and understands the geometrics of proper tire balancing is important.

More grease. Tiger is repeating the same steps on the passenger side and as a general rule he inspects the entire front end for damaged or worn parts that could cause problems down the road.

Wow, does that look awesome! We might be a little biased here. We noticed the new Eibach coilovers match the color of our Tundra. No, that is not why we picked them, but it does seem like it was meant to be.

Paired with the new Camburg upper control arms the Eibach coilovers looks like it’s ready to see some action.

What a difference this makes not only in looks but in performance and durability. We can’t wait to take this off road and see how it handles.

There she is, folks. The stance is a bit higher and with the new 18×9 KMC Monster lll wheels and Kenda Klever R/T tires this setup looks rad. We love it! After a quick trip to the alignment shop, desert trails here we come. We decided to make the trek down the 10 freeway and cruise to Joshua Tree California and a side trip to Pioneer Town a quaint little rustic town known for good food and good times. We had both! Thanks, Tiger and Annie Garcia of Go Big Truck Performance for making our Tundra dreams come true.

Source

Go Big Truck Performance Inc.
www.gobigtruckperformance.com

Eibach
www.eibach.com/us 

Kenda Tire
kendausa.com

KMC Wheels
www.kmcwheels.com

Hooker Headers
www.holley.com/brands/hooker_blackheart

Flowmaster
www.holley.com/brands/flowmaster

Camburg
camburg.com

 

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