Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh man ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh man!
This thread cannot go any further without my experience during the 261 DAYS IT TOOK TO GET THIS TRUCK
. I hope you're ready for a novel because I've been slowly writing this over the past 8 months so here goes!
For many years I've wanted to build a Tacoma. I'm not the biggest fan of the 2nd gen. It's fender lines remind me too much of the Chevy Avalanche. Not the biggest fan of the 4.0-liter engine. I do like the older 3.4, but I'm a 4cyl guy. Building a 1st gen would be cool, Lord knows how much I love the 3RZ-FE (see my Official 3RZ Knowledge and Database Thread
), but as I already wheel my 1981 Hilux with a 3RZ there wouldn't be a tremendous difference, for example, if I got a 1995 4cyl Tacoma. I guess the Tacoma just hasn't excited me enough yet.
And then January 2015 happened. I saw pictures of that new pretty Blue 3rd gen from the North American International Auto Show and knew this would be the one! Fell in love with it right away.
Spent that spring and summer working things out making preparations for the new Tacoma. In late summer the time had finally come to get this monumental ball rolling. And when I say monumental you need to understand what type of automobile person I am. My father bought his truck September 17, 1983, yes the very same famous Marlin Crawler "Crawler Truck". I believe it to be a fact that no other Toyota truck in history has been wheeled as much as this truck and he is still wheeling it today (check out it's Vintage Picture Gallery
). I learned how to drive stick-shift in this truck. I bought my first car when I was 18 yrs old, a 1987 MR2, which is still my daily driver (build thread
). I bought my 1981 Hilux 4th of July weekend 2004, slapped in a 3RZ-FE Tacoma heart and a 511:1 Triple Ultimate Marlin Crawler Transfer Case Setup and have been wheeling it ever since.
This is a combined history of 62 years between just three Toyotas.
Marlin's 1980 Longbed Hilux (Triple Ultimate Overkill MC T/Case System)
My 1981 Shortbed Hilux (Triple Ultimate MC T/Case System)
I still have my Hilux. It will run the harder trails while I get the Tacoma built.
In short, this Tacoma is HUGE news for anyone who knows the Crawler Family.
Welcome to the beginning of BigMike's Big Journey: A 2016 Tacoma Build ThreadAugust-September, 2015
August 3, 2015: With the new Tacoma release date approaching, I contacted my high-school classmate who works at a local dealership and who in 2013 had sold my wife and I our new Yaris SE. He took very good care of us if you know what I mean, so this was my first choice. I found out he had moved to the dealer's Volkswagen department so he referred me to Ernie, their top Tacoma salesperson who owns a 2nd gen Tacoma himself...
...and at this point I really wish I could say, "and the rest was history", but this turned out to be the start of an incredibly frustrating experience with Toyota.
In the months that would follow, after 47 emails, countless phone calls, text messages, Facebook messages, and three dealership visits including one with Marlin when I broke the news to him (didn't even tell him where I was taking him), Ernie is still unable to get my new Tacoma.
September 14, 2015: The very first 2016 Tacoma arrives to our dealership. Marlin and I were crawling all over, around, and under taking pictures.
I was expecting a delay: It's the #1 selling mid-size truck and a new model was just released. Ernie figured to give Toyota a few months to get production in gear. Maybe by October we'd have it, most certainly by the end of November.
But what I hadn't planned for was the insane model allocation Toyota has containing this clunky, inefficient, heavy, maintenance prone, heat generating, high pressure fluid system that can leave you stranded on the trail, expensive to repair, fuel mileage zapping and fun behind the wheel robbing AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION. GOOD LORD WHAT IS WITH ALL THE AUTOMATIC TACOMAS HOLY CRAP.
Welcome to this side of 1995. Wow what a wake-up call for me. I had no clue that 90% of new truck owners disliked driving. Where has the passion for gear jam'n gone? That moment when you smoothly downshift at the approach of a corner and slowly roll into the throttle with your heel perfecting matching your engine and clutch disc speeds. That moment when you want to accelerate by grabbing a gear and mashing the pedal for instant power instead of waiting for some computer to decide which gear and at what throttle position it thinks is right for you. Feeling an engine's power curve through your leg without the dullness of a torque converter, knowing when to shift by feel rather than guessing how much to lift for the ETC to make its eventual decision...
The window sticker of the dealer's first 2016 TacomaWhat I ordered & Why
The Tacoma I requested is a White V6 Access Cab TRD Off-Road with a Manual Transmission. Why an Access Cab?
The 1st gen Hilux was only offered in the States as a single cab and I've always wanted an XtraCab, so much so that I own a back-half of a 2nd gen Hilux XtraCab cab that is ready and waiting for my 1st gen XtraCab conversion... that will now never take place.
I don't like Double Cabs for the same reason I'm not building a 4Runner: It has a longer cab line that I'll have to worry about through tight rock and tree squeezes.
The bed & wheelbase
I carry recovery equipment to rescue broken rigs and clear trails with our local forest service so I need a full size truck bed. If I get a Double Cab with a full size bed then the truck will simply be too long for technical Rock Crawling. Before companies like Marlin Crawler and All Pro Off Road (RIP) invented the Crossover Steering System, not just some but all of the technical "jeep" trails from Utah to California were off limits in organized events for us long wheelbased "jap-tin-can" Hilux owners. Even some trail leaders didn't like 4Runners and shortbed pickups, despite having by today's standards a short wheelbase of 103-inches, which today can out maneuver most Jeeps thanks to the Marlin Crawler T/Case (I've stretched my '81 to a whopping 106-inches). Back in the 80s and early 90s us "silly pickup owners" would constantly be making multi-point turns to get through trails that Jeeps would go right through without backing up. Worse yet, many Toyotas on the trail didn't have power steering.
The 2016 AC LB has a 127-inch wheelbase and the DC LB a whopping 141. That is 20% and 33% longer than my Hilux, respectively. I've got no choice. I can do with the 20% longer; It'll have a Marlin Crawler transfer case setup. But 33% longer is just too much.
Other thoughts on a Double Cab
- I'll have to either build twice as many tube doors, twice as many sets of quick disconnect door hinges, or unbolt 8 hinges total just to run trails doorless. (It'd probably look dumb with only the front two doors removed.)
- It'll be heavier which is no good for both Rock Crawling or highway fuel mileage (My Hilux has never been on a trailer since I've owned it and I drive to every
trail including the 1,800 mile trip for Moab, UT).
- Twice as many doors for someone to break into the truck.
I'll definitely run the new Tacoma doorless from time to time. Entering the Little Sluice, TLCA's 26th annual Rubithon event, Rubicon Trail, June 21, 2014
With all the hating on "long this" and "heavy that" I suppose I could have gotten another single cab... except for the fact that Toyota is no longer offering a single cab Tacoma!Why White?
You're probably thinking why not Marlin Crawler Red? Well, that color is the iconic Crawler Truck color. If anyone should get a red Tacoma it should be Marlin. White allows a wide range of compatible artwork for marketing. It is also my favorite automobile color.Why the V6?
When I get back home I'm expecting this to be one of the first questions from my close friends. Raised by the man himself, I am a less is more, keep it reliable, easier to work on, lower maintenance, lightweight, fuel efficient, less heat generated, more room for onboard air & welder, suspension parts last longer, better for Rock Crawling, four cylinder Marlin-type guy. I've actually never owned anything other than a 4cyl.
So why now? The Tacoma will certainly be heavier than my Hilux. I wouldn't be surprised if it's already heavier in stock form. Due to its size it might end up on 39s. Don't get too excited yet as I plan to keep it IFS for at least the first year. A 6cly makes more sense for the Tacoma's size & weight.
And then there is the new 6cyl. I love the new 6cyl. I know, you're probably in shock, but what I find so cool and what everyone seems to dislike is that the new 3.5-liter 2GR-FKS is higher revving with a higher RPM power band than the outgoing 4.0-liter. I'm assuming it's more compact & lightweight, certainly more efficient: The new 3.5L makes 35% more HP and 14% more TQ per liter than the 4.0. These are the fun characteristics that I love about 4cyls. I'm excited for this new V6.Why TRD Off-Road?
Two words: Electric Locker. I run them in my Hilux (FJ80 high pinion front, Tacoma rear) and love them to death. This is the only package an e-locker is offered (rear). We rebuild Toyota Electric Lockers
, sell E-Locker Motor Armor
, and I have a lot of experience custom wiring them for older rigs.Why the Manual Transmission?
Naturally there is no other choice for me.
And then the following happens...The Big Issue
We discover that this truck is NOT POSSIBLE
. Apparently Toyota only offers the 6cyl TRD Pro E-Locker-equipped Access Cab with an Automatic transmission!! Why oh why Toyota?! Why must you be so cruel?!
To make matters worse, this information wouldn't be discovered by our dealer until sometime in early October, the month I was hopeful I'd get the truck! According to our dealer they were still receiving info on what model and option combinations were going to be offered and come to find out Toyota will not offer a 6cyl manual TRD Off-Road Access Cab.
So what are my options now?
- 6cyl Access Cab SR w/manual trans: Not offered
- 6cyl Access Cab SR5 w/manual trans: Not offered
- 6cyl Access Cab Limited w/manual trans: Not offered
As it turns out the "TRD Sport" is the ONLY
model that is available in this configuration. I am not a fan of the fake hood scoop, nor the chrome grill. I do like the color keyed fenders. I'll come up with lockers on my own. Okay I'll take it.October, 2015: The Order Is Changed
With no other option we change the order to a White V6 Access Cab TRD Sport
with Manual Transmission.
So we move on, and time goes on. I'd really like someday to get this truck. The problem is that Toyota simply doesn't want to make this configuration. Not even if we put in a custom build order because according to Ernie Toyota will only accept custom build orders once they get caught up with production/inventory of the new model. I can understand this. Apparently I am part of the minority of truck consumers in this country. I understand how supply and demand works.
October comes and goes.
- I miss the unveiling for the Pamona Off Road Expo (this would have been HUGE!)
- I miss the unveiling for the TLCA Southern Cruiser Crawl
This silver 2WD shows up to our dealer October 13, 2015. Another Double Cab. Another Automatic.
November comes and goes.
- I miss the unveiling for TLCA Turf-n-Surf
- I miss the unveiling for CAL4WD Panamint Valley Days (** we thought we'd have it no later than this event **)
December comes and goes.
- I miss the unveiling for the CVC Toy Drive
- I miss the unveiling at four different 4WD Club Christmas parties
- I miss the unveiling for two different New Year Snow Runs
Ernie tells me their first TRD Off Road has shown up. I drive over after work to check it out. Another Double Cab. Another Automatic.January, 2016
It's a new year and now one full year since Toyota announced the new truck. I tell Ernie, listen, I appreciate all your time and all the hunting for this truck, but it's been on the market for four months and we're falling behind waiting around for it.
Anxiety just building and building as I'm missing wheeling events and I'm seeing build threads, FAQ threads, picture threads, trip report threads, cheap trick threads, "White Tacoma check-in" threads, "Let's see your Access Cab", "What did you do to your Tacoma today", "Who's playing the waiting game"... I have been lurking on multiple Tacoma forums like a madman. Countless times I wanted to chime in and reply but I don't.
And then I get aggressive:
January 4, 2016 I submit an order with Hanford Toyota
January 4, 2016 I submit an order with Selma Toyota
January 5, 2016 I submit an order with Merced Toyota
January 5, 2016 I submit an order with Irvine Toyota
January 8, 2016 I submit an order with Roseville Toyota
January 11, 2016 I submit an order with Manhattan Beach Toyota
Do you want to know what each and every dealership sales person gets back to me with? "Sorry we cannot get that model but we do have a White Double Cab Automatic which is even better & we can sell it to you today!"
I kid you not. Not a single dealer wanted my order. In the words of Sheriff Buford T. Justice, "What in the hell is the world coming to?" At least Ernie understood why I was after this specific model.
It's just crazy to me. It is listed on Toyota's website. It is listed in Toyota sales brochures. I see & hear Tacoma commercials one after the other (all featuring Double Cabs of course). I'm seeing more and more 3rd gens running around town. Arrrggg.
On one hand how fortunate I am that I can afford a new truck. My whole life I've wheeled Toyota's from the 80s so I do not take this for granted. But on the other hand it is available yet I cannot get it. Worst of all, this is one step for me but is one giant step for Marlin Crawler, who, despite being the inventor of the Tacoma Dual Case System in the summer of 2001 with many Dual Case'd Marlin Crawler Tacomas on the trail, is perceived as living in the past with the Hilux.
This perception of Marlin Crawler is going to change real quick once I get this truck.
The World's first Dual Case Tacoma is unveiled at the first Marlin Crawler Round Up, August 18, 2001