Author Topic: Looking at Tacoma for the First Time  (Read 285 times)

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Scuffy4x4

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Looking at Tacoma for the First Time
« on: Jul 05, 2019, 04:44:08 PM »
Iíve been a multiple decade Jeep Wrangler owner and was very hopeful for the new Jeep Gladiator but Jeep really missed the mark (especially on price) and I am looking at the Tacoma now as my next vehicle.  Looking at 2016 and newer.

Iím curious about a few things and have had less than good luck getting answers with internet searches and e en going to the local dealer. Who is the manufacturer of the axles and transfer cases on the Tacoma? What is the reliability of the drive train off road without doing upgrades?

Itís going to take a bit to sell me.

blackdiamond

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Re: Looking at Tacoma for the First Time
« Reply #1 on: Jul 05, 2019, 05:10:05 PM »
I donít know if Toyota manufactures their drivetrain parts in house, but historically Toyota drivetrains are pretty reliable off road if not abused. If you get lower gears for the transfer case you can really improve the off road capabilities while reducing the stress on the drivetrain.
1989 4Runner: Dual Ultimate (Inchworm front & Marlin 4.70 rear), Marlin Twin Stick, 1200-lb clutch, 4.88 R&P, Aussie Front, Detroit rear, 30-spline Longs, Long hub gears, ARP hub and knuckle studs & 35x12.50 Cooper STT PRO tires.  Marlin rear bumper & sliders.  FROR front bumper.  SAS with Alcan springs & Rancho 9000XL shocks.  Budbuilt Bolt-on traction bar.  Custom Interior Cage by Those Guys Rod and Customs.

Moab Tested & Rubicon Approved

helipilot77

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Re: Looking at Tacoma for the First Time
« Reply #2 on: Jul 07, 2019, 08:33:52 AM »
Pretty sure AISIN Seiki makes the transfer case and axles and they are 30% owned by Toyota.
-1987 SR5 4runner, 1KZ-te turbo diesel with custom 3" S.S. dump pipe, R-151f transmission, marlin dual ultimate transfer cases w/ triple shifter, SAS, 35's https://board.marlincrawler.com/index.php?topic=98969.0
-1984 SR5 Tercel 4wd wagon bone stock - given to my nephew https://board.marlincrawler.com/index.php?topic=100547.0
-1:10 scale RC 4wd crawler w/yota axles, R2 2 speed enclosed dig tranny and 1st gen 4Runner body by BigBird
-My front axle service write-up http://board.marlincrawler.com/i

BigMike

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Re: Looking at Tacoma for the First Time
« Reply #3 on: Jul 08, 2019, 05:42:01 PM »
Hello Scuffy4x4! :welcome: to :turtle: land :wave:

Thank you for signing up and posting here. Thanks to the rise of social media our forum isn't as active as it once was a decade ago but we have a solid group of knowledgeable and experienced members, many of whom, despite being Toyota lovers at heart, have a lot of experience with non-Toyotas as well.

A bit of history that may appeal to you is that our company founder's first love was building and racing small block Chevy's (from a teenager) and became both a self-taught machinist (of 6 yrs) and ran his own general auto repair shop (for 11 yrs) prior to going full time with Rock Crawling. Other than bringing Rock Crawling to the masses, he is famous for being one of the first prominent off-roaders to have an on-board welder (early 90s) and for carrying a wide range of recovery parts out on the trail. Due to his extensive automotive background, he has done innumerable trail repairs to Chevy/Ford small blocks, Buick 6cyls, and of course AMC engines of all types, diagnosed starting and idling issues with Holly/Weber/Edelbrock carbs, fixed BorgWarner/Dana/etc t/cases, and even carries small parts to fix old mechanical clutch and front drum brake systems... all from some unimposing humble guy who wheels a little red four-banger Toyota pickup. For these reasons Marlin is highly respected in the Jeep industry, despite being an avid wheeler solely of Toyota trucks (since 1983).

This is to express that while we are certainly biased for you to get a Toyota, many of us have a broad experience with and above else respect for all makes and models so long as we can get out of town and enjoy the beautiful outdoors!! :beerchug:

Because this is primarily a Toyota Rock Crawling forum, in terms of Tacoma feedback we're on the more extreme side of things. For example, you would get a lot more feedback from TacomaWorld.com however they'd likely recommend a dozen brands of ditch light mounts, the latest in wheel fashion, and how to install LED dome lights. Those are all nice but very few would be able to hold a conversation with a 20+ year veteran of the Jeep community let alone be at an actual camp fire with one. Moreover, I'd argue only 1st generation Tacoma's (1995-2004) are thus far established in our industry for the serious off-roader.

To that end, we have plenty of members running 1st gen Tacomas with solid axle swaps (as well as it's sister platform, the 1996-2003 3rd gen 4Runner). The nice thing about the 1st gen Taco is that they are still a "mini truck" and are lightweight, relatively simple, and easy to work on. Starting in 2005 with the 2nd gen, these off-roading benefits went out the window and it's only been downhill since as the new 3rd gen is only heavier and larger still, now longer and taller than an original "full-size" Tundra. For these reasons most people here and in the Rock Crawling world stick to the older 1979-95 mini trucks because they require so much less work to turn into a highly formidable off-roader.

To answer your origin of manufacture question, search around for operational PDFs such as this one, http://www.toyota.com/usa/operations/docs/OperationsMap_2016_DigitalV101.pdf, which says Tacoma engines have been built in Alabama since 2005 and that the transmission and t/cases are built in North Carolina and West Virgina (I've always thought they were still built in Japan by Aisin :dunno:). It's not surprising to see more and more of the Tacoma built State-side because it's the most American-made truck in the USA (random source, random supplier infographic).

As for off-road reliability of the drive train, there is hope for the 3rd gen Tacoma. When you say "without doing upgrades" are you also referring to keeping the original factory tire size and type (All Terrain)?

Because you are a long time Jeep addict, we can already taste your disgust for the Toyota IFS. Please, don't be ashamed; We detest them too! Overseas Toyota 4WD trucks still receive Sold Front Axles to this day :tantrum: yet since 1986 (minitrucks) and 1999 (Land Cruiser) it's been nothing but IFS here in the States. :tantrum: What's worse is these modern non-USA Toyotas run linked suspensions front and rear (rear 3-link, front radius arm) which ride nicer than any Toyota factory leaf spring setup I've ever been in. So I guess it's not only Soccer Moms to blame... :hammerhead:

There are some variances, but in general there are three types of the mid-size Toyota IFS:

Toyota IFS Type I: Minitruck IFS (1986-88 2nd & 1989-95 3rd gen 4WD mini trucks) (1986-89 1st & 1990-95 2nd gen 4Runners)

These use small CV joints and are suspended by torsion bars. Compared to the rest, they do have two nice features which are (1) standard manual locking hubs, and (2) reliable gearbox type steering (so long as you beefen up the idler arm). As for the front diff, it uses a standard rotation 7.5" R&P. By standard rotation we mean it's a gear set designed for the standard rotational direction of a rear axle, that is flipped around and inserted in the front. Like the 8" F&R Solid Axle differentials of yesteryear, when used in the front, the torque passes from the pinion to the ring gear on the rear (convex) face of each tooth rather than the front (concave). This not only causes increased deflectional forces but also a reduced contact surface area.

Needless to say this is the weakest/worst design of all Toyota 4WD IFS and should be avoided at all costs. The torsion bar design results in a lot of creaks, chatter, and associated noise during articulation and must be embarrassing for those that use it. Moreover, as this is under the most narrow of all truck bodies that use IFS, the control arms are the shortest which means they have the least amount of articulation with the least amount of rider comfort whilst simultaneously suffering from the highest amount of progressive alignment change per angle of travel. The only wise choice is to ditch this IFS all together and swap in the venerable 1979-85 front solid axle, which has a tremendous aftermarket support with an extensive list of time-proven and competition Rock Crawling components.

Toyota IFS Type II: 1st gen Tacoma IFS (1995-04 1st gen Tacoma) (1996-02 3rd gen 4Runner)

These use slightly larger & stronger CV joints and Toyota dropped the torsion bar design (thank goodness) and switched to a coil-over-strut assembly. While these CVs are stronger, they still leave a lot to be desired. Like the above, Toyota did offer manual locking hubs however this was optional for only a few years and therefore is uncommon. For steering, Toyota switched to a rack-and-pinion design, placing the rack behind the axle which nullifies buckling forces to its inner tie rods (ITR) resulting in very good ITR reliability in the rocks. The rack and it's mounts are, however, pretty wimpy but the truck isn't too much heavier, so... toss-up. As for the front differential, the same size 7.5" dia was carried over however this time it not only uses a stronger and proper reverse rotation and high pinion design, but it also features assembly by way of clamshell, which places the differential bolts perpendicular to the pinion meaning bolt tensile load is added to the overall structural strength, targeting and reduceing pinion deflection. These two factors alone make this the first respected IFS differential and the R&P is surprisingly reliable. And while we're on the subject, because this is the first pickup designed for the American market, the fuel door and tank were moved to the left-hand side for driver convenience which meant the exhaust had to be flipped to the right-hand side which meant the front driveline (and differential) had to be flipped to the left-hand side. As such, for the first time in USA Toyota 4WD pickup truck history, it uses a transfer case with a left-hand front output.

This IFS does enjoy some aftermarket support for mixed desert and Rock Crawling use, but it still suffers from weak axles and steering racks. Because of this it never fully caught on for Rock Crawling so there is some aftermarket support for solid axle swap kits (SAS). The bummer however is that because the venerable 1979-85 front solid axle can no longer be used due to the driveline being on the wrong side, a SAS now requires the use of some non-Toyota & ugly Dana front end (:puke: gross!! :yupyup:) so the majority of these are custom-built SAS setups. We only see but a fraction of these trucks SAS'd compared to their pre-96 counterparts.

Toyota IFS Type III: 120-platform Land Cruiser Prado (2003+ 4Runner) (2003+ Lexus GX470) (2005+ Tacoma) (2006+ FJ Cruiser)

Finally, with the 4th gen 4Runner, Toyota got serious and drastically up'd the IFS game, and 16 yrs later it is still the same overall design being used. There are some variances between the lot, but all of these late-model applications borrow from the overseas Land Cruiser Prado platform, benefiting from m-u-c-h larger CVs and axle shafts, slightly larger steering rack with more robust mounts, beefier control arms with wider attachment points/larger bushings/stronger ball joints/larger alignment hardware, stronger knuckles with larger spindles and wheelbearings, larger and (more beneficially) longer coilover assemblies, larger brakes, a stronger subframe assembly, and to date the strongest IFS differential ever featured in a "mid-size" Toyota vehicle that is adopted from the much heavier 100-series Land Cruiser with a larger 8.0" dia R&P gear size, desired reverse rotation & high pinion, desired clamshell, but also now with the thickest ring gear of them all for an even greater resistance to pinion gear deflection. This front 8" IFS diff is even stronger than an FJ80 Land Cruiser front 8" high pinion solid axle diff (which is a very popular upgrade in the pre-96 Rock Crawling world), and is so strong that gear manufacture Nitro Gear & Axle has yet to warranty a single 8" IFS 4.88:1 or 5.29:1 version of these.

Therefore, if you are pushed into or otherwise forced to run a Toyota IFS, this is the Toyota IFS you want to run. Thanks to it's design, there is a massive aftermarket support with all sorts of upgrades, from longer control arms to full Chromoly axles using actual Dana 60 components. I'm serious(!!) and with 100% lifetime guarantee for use with up to 40" tires (ask me how I know :wink2:).

There are some downsides however: One an annoyance for the daily-driver, and the other a design flaw for the off-roader.

The annoyance for the daily-driver is that there is no longer an option for a locking hub. Every truck with this IFS type has a drive flange (spool) hub. Of course this means you can casually place your Mocha Frappuccino into one of your twenty-five cup holders and engage 4WD on the fly, but let's be serious: Given the choice no one here cares about this. Fuel mileage suffers and any tear to your CV boots result in a nasty super-tacky and difficult to clean molybdenum (Moly/CV) grease nightmare. I've been here on multiple occasions and with a brand new truck. It really, really sucks. I had to use a strong solvent with a short coarse bristled brush just to clean my inner tire sidewalls. There is an individual prototyping a locking hub conversion by fitting the smaller 1st gen Tacoma axle parts into the much larger Land Cruiser-type suspension, which, unless you never intend to go off-road with larger than factory tires, simply blows my mind as to why anyone would spend a moments notice with this. Horrible idea for the off-roader and if he ever produces a kit, combined with these heavier and more powerful late-model vehicles, those puny CVs are going to grande faster than your backup camera can turn on.

The design flaw for the off-roader is the fact that this IFS places the steering rack in front of the axle, which, in a forward gear, expose the ITRs to buckling forces. Perhaps Toyota did this for an improved crash rating. Maybe by placing larger & sturdy items near the front of the crumple zone (steering rack) with a steering design stronger against frontal impacts (as this exposes the ITRs to tensile strength, the preferred property), increases the duration during collision before alignment becomes Toe Out and reduces cabin space in serious impacts. An additional suspect is that the ITR tapers to its most narrow cross-section at it's center where the buckling forces are at the highest. From a manufacturing standpoint, there is no reason for this and it takes longer to produce as more material must be machined. Yet, if you look at the Ford Raptor, a heavier and more powerful truck specifically intended for off-road use, it has this same feature and in fact is only 1mm larger in diameter. So clearly there is a reason for this. Maybe manufactures were spending too much time and money replacing racks from people who cliped curbs or fire hydrants, and instead designed the weakness to simply swap out pretzeled ITRs. But on the trail this is unfortunately the #1 weaklink of the late-model Toyota IFS as these ITR cannot even sustain Rock Crawling with 35" tires.

But if you are only going to run up to 33s, then I think you'll find the stock drivetrain reliability of any 2003+ Toyota or Lexus with this type IFS to be sufficient.
New Instagram: @SlowestTacoma

Check out our new Rock Crawling Videos!
2016 56-speed 580:1 Triple T/Case 3rd gen Tacoma Rock Crawler   
1981 36-speed 511:1 3RZ-FE Rock Crawler
1987 6-speed Supercharged 4A-GZE MR2
Things are only impossible until they are not.
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BigMike

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Re: Looking at Tacoma for the First Time
« Reply #4 on: Jul 08, 2019, 05:42:26 PM »
Itís going to take a bit to sell me.
Let me see if I can give it a shot :greengrin: Here comes my experience with the 3rd gen to illustrate a few different build levels.

Here is my 2016 Sport nearly stock except for Rock Sliders and grill change:









« Last Edit: Jul 08, 2019, 06:16:04 PM by BigMike »
New Instagram: @SlowestTacoma

Check out our new Rock Crawling Videos!
2016 56-speed 580:1 Triple T/Case 3rd gen Tacoma Rock Crawler   
1981 36-speed 511:1 3RZ-FE Rock Crawler
1987 6-speed Supercharged 4A-GZE MR2
Things are only impossible until they are not.
"The worst of both worlds, the best of neither." -abnormaltoy
"An informed question. But difficult to answer. I am what you see." -Nanaki

BigMike

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Re: Looking at Tacoma for the First Time
« Reply #5 on: Jul 08, 2019, 05:42:41 PM »
Here it is on 33s, with Dual Transfer Cases (235:1 Crawl Ratio), F&R ARB Air Lockers, and the IFS has the stock lower control arm (LCA) but with an aftermarket upper control arm (UCA) to allow about 2.5 inches of lift while maintaining proper alignment geometry:





















New Instagram: @SlowestTacoma

Check out our new Rock Crawling Videos!
2016 56-speed 580:1 Triple T/Case 3rd gen Tacoma Rock Crawler   
1981 36-speed 511:1 3RZ-FE Rock Crawler
1987 6-speed Supercharged 4A-GZE MR2
Things are only impossible until they are not.
"The worst of both worlds, the best of neither." -abnormaltoy
"An informed question. But difficult to answer. I am what you see." -Nanaki

BigMike

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Re: Looking at Tacoma for the First Time
« Reply #6 on: Jul 08, 2019, 05:43:01 PM »
Here it is on 37s, and the IFS here had a prototype 2-inch wider (per side, replaced both LCA & UCA) "long travel" AND 1-inch "rock crawling" capability (axle center pushed forward 1-inch, known as RCLT):













New Instagram: @SlowestTacoma

Check out our new Rock Crawling Videos!
2016 56-speed 580:1 Triple T/Case 3rd gen Tacoma Rock Crawler   
1981 36-speed 511:1 3RZ-FE Rock Crawler
1987 6-speed Supercharged 4A-GZE MR2
Things are only impossible until they are not.
"The worst of both worlds, the best of neither." -abnormaltoy
"An informed question. But difficult to answer. I am what you see." -Nanaki

BigMike

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New Instagram: @SlowestTacoma

Check out our new Rock Crawling Videos!
2016 56-speed 580:1 Triple T/Case 3rd gen Tacoma Rock Crawler   
1981 36-speed 511:1 3RZ-FE Rock Crawler
1987 6-speed Supercharged 4A-GZE MR2
Things are only impossible until they are not.
"The worst of both worlds, the best of neither." -abnormaltoy
"An informed question. But difficult to answer. I am what you see." -Nanaki

BigMike

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Re: Looking at Tacoma for the First Time
« Reply #8 on: Jul 08, 2019, 05:44:12 PM »
Brings back so many memories :rivers:













New Instagram: @SlowestTacoma

Check out our new Rock Crawling Videos!
2016 56-speed 580:1 Triple T/Case 3rd gen Tacoma Rock Crawler   
1981 36-speed 511:1 3RZ-FE Rock Crawler
1987 6-speed Supercharged 4A-GZE MR2
Things are only impossible until they are not.
"The worst of both worlds, the best of neither." -abnormaltoy
"An informed question. But difficult to answer. I am what you see." -Nanaki

BigMike

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New Instagram: @SlowestTacoma

Check out our new Rock Crawling Videos!
2016 56-speed 580:1 Triple T/Case 3rd gen Tacoma Rock Crawler   
1981 36-speed 511:1 3RZ-FE Rock Crawler
1987 6-speed Supercharged 4A-GZE MR2
Things are only impossible until they are not.
"The worst of both worlds, the best of neither." -abnormaltoy
"An informed question. But difficult to answer. I am what you see." -Nanaki

BigMike

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Re: Looking at Tacoma for the First Time
« Reply #10 on: Jul 08, 2019, 05:45:58 PM »
Here it is on 40s, now with Triple Transfer Cases (580:1 Crawl Ratio), Prototype Heavy Duty rack and pinion steering setup, and Prototype front Rock Crawling tube bumper:
















« Last Edit: Jul 08, 2019, 07:30:06 PM by BigMike »
New Instagram: @SlowestTacoma

Check out our new Rock Crawling Videos!
2016 56-speed 580:1 Triple T/Case 3rd gen Tacoma Rock Crawler   
1981 36-speed 511:1 3RZ-FE Rock Crawler
1987 6-speed Supercharged 4A-GZE MR2
Things are only impossible until they are not.
"The worst of both worlds, the best of neither." -abnormaltoy
"An informed question. But difficult to answer. I am what you see." -Nanaki

BigMike

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New Instagram: @SlowestTacoma

Check out our new Rock Crawling Videos!
2016 56-speed 580:1 Triple T/Case 3rd gen Tacoma Rock Crawler   
1981 36-speed 511:1 3RZ-FE Rock Crawler
1987 6-speed Supercharged 4A-GZE MR2
Things are only impossible until they are not.
"The worst of both worlds, the best of neither." -abnormaltoy
"An informed question. But difficult to answer. I am what you see." -Nanaki

BigMike

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Re: Looking at Tacoma for the First Time
« Reply #12 on: Jul 08, 2019, 05:47:30 PM »
Here is a summary of what had been done up to this point




And here she is currently with a near-production-ready Heavy Duty Prototype 2.75-inch wider (per side) and now a 2-inch "rock crawling" capability (axle pushed forward 2-inches, known as RCLT HD), as well as a RST rear 3-link:













The truck is my daily driver, its done the Rubicon 6 times, and I've driven it on 40s and ran tails in Moab, Colorado, and Texas. As a lifetime 4cyl enthusiast, I am extremely impressed with the new 3.5 V6 and it gets around 19 MPG at 65 MPH cruise with the 40s.

I share all these pictures to hopefully get across that the Tacoma can be an impressive platform with the right parts. :turtle: I've also fitted cutting brakes (via dual factory e-brake levers) and can now out corner / out maneuver short wheelbase Jeeps. :D So game on suckas! haha j/k :wave:

Let me know if you have any 3rd gen specific questions and hopefully I'll be able to offer some advice!

Regards,
BigMike
New Instagram: @SlowestTacoma

Check out our new Rock Crawling Videos!
2016 56-speed 580:1 Triple T/Case 3rd gen Tacoma Rock Crawler   
1981 36-speed 511:1 3RZ-FE Rock Crawler
1987 6-speed Supercharged 4A-GZE MR2
Things are only impossible until they are not.
"The worst of both worlds, the best of neither." -abnormaltoy
"An informed question. But difficult to answer. I am what you see." -Nanaki

BigMike

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Re: Looking at Tacoma for the First Time
« Reply #13 on: Jul 09, 2019, 11:29:38 AM »
What is the reliability of the drive train off road without doing upgrades?
I just realized I did not respond to this. To set aside any doubt you may have, please be aware that both my transmission and transfer case are still 100% stock and have held up to wheeling with 40" tires without even breaking a sweat. My rear axles are also stock. In fact, because I have two Marlin Crawlers in front of my stock transfer case, I can select three different gear reductions that drastically multiply the torque entering the t/case. Here is a break down:
  • Gear reduction I: 2.28-times more torque entering the factory t/case.
  • Gear reduction II: 4.70-times more torque entering the factory t/case.
  • Gear reduction II: 10.72-times more torque entering the factory t/case.
To put this into perspective, let's assume the engine is operating at half it's rated output (133 lb-ft) and my transmission is in first gear. Theoretically, my factory t/case experiences...
  • Gear reduction I: 1,207 lb-ft torque entering the stock t/case.
  • Gear reduction II: 2,488 lb-ft torque entering the stock t/case.
  • Gear reduction II: 5,672 lb-ft torque entering the stock t/case.
...and this is only at half engine output. So the factory transfer case is definitely over-engineered, which is something you'll find to be commonplace once you crossover into the Toyota world!

Regards,
BigMike
New Instagram: @SlowestTacoma

Check out our new Rock Crawling Videos!
2016 56-speed 580:1 Triple T/Case 3rd gen Tacoma Rock Crawler   
1981 36-speed 511:1 3RZ-FE Rock Crawler
1987 6-speed Supercharged 4A-GZE MR2
Things are only impossible until they are not.
"The worst of both worlds, the best of neither." -abnormaltoy
"An informed question. But difficult to answer. I am what you see." -Nanaki

 
 
 
 
 

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