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View Full Version : Your Thoughts on 80 Build VS. Build a Taco (Long)


Bikeman
12-09-2008, 01:40 PM
Right now the 80 sets with Slee's 5-6" suspension, custom valved shocks, bumpers, removable winch, etc. with 141K miles. It is close to being paid for. It is mechanically perfect except for the occasional EGR code and a slight main seal leak.

My original purpose of the build was to be able to take the family wherever, including moderate to difficult trails, and be able to cruise 65 mph to and from the trail or trip, and be a DD.

My intentions are to basically perform "Stage 3", which is to put a part-time kit in the T Case, gear to 5.29's, Longfields in the front, Poly performance axles in the rear, and add 37" tires. The part-time kit would remove a lot of potential wear of the Longfields, and quirks of running 6" of lift on a full-time 4x4 vehicle. I am figuring even with 35" tires, people pop stock birfs (Tch2Fly) and twist splines on rear axles. I have enough suspension lift for 37" tires and figure they will help in playing in the rocks more.

My biggest hesitation to going to the next "stage" is two fold. One, is the need for a crawler box on the 80 to maximize crawlability. While some have done so with the $3500 approx. Mark's Box from AU, it requires to work a 2" body lift and gas tank mods or just a sub-tank in the rear. I have no problem with body lifts, I have installed many on other vehicles, and can add an aux. tank in the rear and use it as a main. Secondly, is the need for hydro-assist steering. My power steering pump does not like the 35's and front locker engaged. It is better now with synthetic in the system, but I know it won't like 37's at all. I am just wondering if I should quit while i'm ahead, or over time, drop the $6500+ for gears, crawler box, hyro assist, and part time kit. I am not satified to stay with 35's and do gears, with the potential of breaking axles. I figure things will break with 35's anyway.

Then there is the body damage that could result from taking a wagon across rocks. I am not scared of getting rock rash on the body. I can see the potential of having to perform a "chop" on the rear of the body to make an "SUT", since the upper rear corners of the body attract trees and other trail obstacles (read: done that on my old modded Nissan Xterra).

So then there is the notion of getting a 2000-2004 Double Cab Taco that can more easily take a crawler box, perform an SAS, get the suspension set up, gearing, armor, etc. I could mount my RTT in the bed, and do away with a trailer.

Either way, it's big bucks on either vehicle. I just can't fathom spending more big bucks on something I have already put $$$ into. It would be paid for, though. Any thought's on what I should do? Pro's/con's? Suggest another vehicle, ie 2nd-gen runner (steering box already there, but 3.slow) A 40? It has to be family friendly. Red Chili the II?

Uncle Ben
12-09-2008, 02:05 PM
Hmmmm....I really don't know how to answer this without asking a question. How tough of trails are you working toward? I'm running true 35" tires with 4.5" lift and many goodies and have a dent free 80. There is no trail I would want to take a wagon/family hauler on that I have any reservation on doing at any time. Just did Rubicon in June and Holy Cross in September and at Holy Cross I even did Cleveland Rock un-assisted. I haven't done Blanca yet in an 80 but I did it in my old 62 and the 80 will without any doubt be much easier. If your looking at Montrose or Penrose or similar then The Taco you ask about will also require heavy mods and it will be doubtful either truck in question would come out without dents! I really like the new Tacos too but I talked myself out of getting one as the difference in capabilities between a set up new Taco and an 80 are separated mostly by the choice of pickup or wagon. I am running 4.88's with a bored over and ported with Supercharger 1FZ. I have no crawl/power issues!

Uncle Ben
12-09-2008, 02:19 PM
I have to add to my last post that my 80's height is pushing the "family" comfort level already as it's high enough now that the sliders will get the back of your pant legs dirty if you don't use them as a step getting in and out. With the rack on the top parking garages and car washes have to be 7' opening or it don't fit.

Bikeman
12-09-2008, 02:19 PM
How tough of trails are you working toward?

Tough, as the driver gets better, like going up the middle line thru the boulder field at Spring Creek.

What birf's are you using, stock or Long's/Newfield's?

How about the crawability without a SC? I don't want to have to do head gasket job in order to install a SC. 4.88's and 35's would be like 37's and 5.29's.

I want good info like this, without the 'mud attitude of teenages with 38" boggers on their 80's saying it's fine.

Bikeman
12-09-2008, 02:21 PM
I have to add to my last post that my 80's height is pushing the "family" comfort level already as it's high enough now that the sliders will get the back of your pant legs dirty if you don't use them as a step getting in and out. With the rack on the top parking garages and car washes have to be 7' opening or it don't fit.

My 3 y.o. has no issues getting in the 80 by himself:D. There is a clean spot on the sliders today:D. No roof rack on now, and 1" vehicle clearance on my "modded" garage door.

Uncle Ben
12-09-2008, 02:27 PM
Tough, as the driver gets better, like going up the middle line thru the boulder field at Spring Creek.

What birf's are you using, stock or Long's/Newfield's?

How about the crawability [I]without[I] a SC? I don't want to have to do head gasket job in order to install a SC. 4.88's and 35's would be like 37's and 5.29's.

I want good info like this, without the 'mud attitude of teenages with 38" boggers on their 80's saying it's fine.


I was running Longs inners and outers in front but after a year they were just to clicky. I am now running long inners and cryoed stock birfs. The rears are Poly's just because. I had Christos two piece axles in the rear as I was running hubs on all 4 corners so it could be flat towed behind the motor home. We sold the MH and I blew a rear hub leading Golden Spike in two wheel drive after breaking the mini truck crap in front earlier on re-entry (long story). If you haven't done a head gasket yet it doesn't matter if you use forced induction, a head gasket job IS in your future! Use the forums and the web for research but virtual wheeling will never get you out of the house! Oh....I can take nearly ANY line at Spring Creek!

Jacket
12-09-2008, 04:22 PM
I vote Tacoma, but I selfishly would like to watch the build up, and of course I have a slight bias....:hill:

But as far as the "take the family wherever" part, make sure you can put your family in a 00-04 Tacoma "comfortably." When I was shopping for my Tacoma, I started looking at 00-04, but when considering the travel comforts of longer trips, and the fact that the price difference between the two generations wasn't that great, I opted for the newer Tacoma largely because of the interior comforts. While the wider, longer cab makes the 05+ Tacoma a less desirable trail truck, it certainly makes for a better adventure and travel truck IMO.

nakman
12-09-2008, 04:59 PM
Matt what kind of MPG do you get in the Taco? Our 2002 could get 20-22, is that even close in a 2005+?

Mike I kind of like the Red Chili II idea... 3.0's can be swapped to 3.4's, and you're starting with a much lighter platform. On the Rubicon in particular I was envious of the Runners and mini trucks sneaking through spots where the big fat heavy 80's were banging armor.. sure made me want to build one up for my next rig.

edit: and Jacket's right, you oughta sit in the back of a couple 2000-2004's, make sure the car seat(s) will work, etc. My brother had one, and it was pretty tight, I rode back there to go skiing once and that was just about all I could take. That said though, I still want one. :)

Nay
12-09-2008, 05:12 PM
I think your answer is the 80 you already have without the pressure of "stage 3". I think the 80 is a terrible platform to take out of the box. It is realistically too big for trails that will really require 37+ and a crawler box, and if you think the trails are going to lead to a chop top I think you are in a platform that is too heavy and too wide no matter what you do. There is a reasonable question as to whether 37's are where you get out of the box or not, and I think the answer is "not necessarily" - it's the trails you will run that really matter.

What is great about the 80 is you can run 35's on a moderate lift and just regear it - you've already trimmed it up for tube to gain clearance and avoid adding a lot of weight. I run stock everything in the axles and carry spares, which cost me $200 for a set of birfs and all the axles (I need all the other stuff for a trail repair, though). I don't think 35's guarantee breakage, but rather is a decision you make to retain more reliability.

I committed when I bought my 80 to not screw it up by overbuilding it. Forums pics of rigs on 37s and 38s tempt again and again, but I am staying at a 3.5" lift with a level lower gearing to help with a naturally aspirated drivetrain and cutting for clearance and tube for light weight.

So I think you should do this: get a really good set of tires for your 80, brand new. If you really only drive 65, regear to 5.29 so you can move up to 37's if you want to and get the extra gearing at those highway speeds if you don't. Buy some axle spares and birfs and hit some of the more difficult trails that are well suited for an 80.

The only reason to get rid of an 80 for a similarly capable rig is it doesn't fit you, meaning the soul of the rig and the soul of the driver just don't match up. If that is the case, then you have already answered your question :cheers:

Tch2fly
12-09-2008, 05:41 PM
It's funny how having the same name also has us thinking similar thoughts.

I got my Double-cab Taco planning that someday it would take over as my expedition/trail rig but after a lot of thought it isn't going to happen. Initially the 80 was meant for moderate/low end difficult trails but like you the more I wheel ... the harder I wheel. I realized that whatever replaces the 80 will need to be a hard core trail rig/buggy because by the time I finished exploring all the places the 80 will take me ... the only things left are the Penrose/Carnage style trails.

UB has the right idea on the birfs. When I replace the busted birf I almost swapped my inner axles for Longs but decided for now OEM will be fine. I'll stick with OEM birfs (my breakage was pure stupidity :mad: not weak parts).

37s on an 80 ?? yeah, certain cool factor and some more height but we all ran the 'Con on 35s and I never wanted more. Yes for other trails bigger is better - the hard core rig will be built to run on 39s+ :D
The stock PS is my "safety valve" if I can't turn, then I need to rethink my position. IMO, hydro means more chance for breakage.

Stage 3 seems like to much (esp as a DD) but don't give up on the 80 just yet, I think there is a lot of ground you can cover just like it is.:thumb:

Jacket
12-09-2008, 09:17 PM
Matt what kind of MPG do you get in the Taco? Our 2002 could get 20-22, is that even close in a 2005+?


When it was stock I got about 19-21. Since I've added the weight it's dropped to like 17-19.

FJBen
12-10-2008, 08:21 AM
Tough question. My first 80 I built I kept building and building. I was running 5.5" of lift and 35's....thinking 37's custom shocks/mounts making it flex more anything I could think of...much like you only not as big of budget :D

All my rigs are/were payed for so the thought of switching to something with a payment to me is just not happening.

THe last 80 I had (and sold :() was setup great. 4" 35's, gears everything and it drove great on the highway, and wheeled awesome...basically better than the first, more stable.

I found the 80 could do way more than I was comfortable with doing (body damage/tipping) so I had no desire to "build it" more even with the cool looks of 37's. They nailed it, outside of the hardcore trails (which don't interest me) the 80 could basically do it all comfortably.

Maybe you are like me a little, you start reading build threads of others and think you want those mods to go places...I've learned as cool as it is, mine will go/do everything I want and more...the more out of the box you get, the more potential for problems...that like any vehicle tho.

Red_Chili
12-10-2008, 08:54 AM
Drive both and decide which you like, really. If you can find someone who will let you drive their built rig over an obstacle (with spotting of course, unfamiliar vehicle), all the better. Yes, you may do so with the Chili sometime, even Spring Creek.

Another consideration is vehicle size. I prefer smaller vehicles to get in tighter places. YMMV, and certainly there is much to be gained through an 80's size when it comes to family friendly. The Red Chili is *pretty much* family friendly, but there is a limit to what can be packed. Apparently Nakman can far exceed that limit with his 80... :lmao:

And the Chili is rustic in cross country travel compared with an 80. With an 00-04 Doublecab, the comparison would be MUCH closer. The more you build, the less you have the compromises that equal comfort in 80% of the situations you will drive. I like being biased toward that extra 20%, with trucks and motorcycles, you may or may not. I like the experience of driving the Chili with the sides rolled up, an open vehicle, and yet being able to button it up in a storm or winter.

In the interest of full disclosure, if I had to start over (God forbid) due to some catastrophe, and assuming I could afford to, I would start with an '00-'04 Doublecab and SAS it (and go manual tranny most likely).

Bikeman
12-10-2008, 10:08 AM
Good info, keep it coming. Thanks for the offer, Bill. I did like my 86 runner and its size, and still think the Red Chili is about the ultimate, with more rear seat (legroom) than the double cab. Agree?

The Irbis Runner for sale is very interesting, but no IFS for me, and 4.56 gearing would have to be lower. Doesn't All Pro now have an SAS out for that front end that is shared with the Taco?

Red_Chili
12-10-2008, 10:55 AM
Hmmm... I have a 4.88 front diff (edit: IFS). I have a 4.56 elocker and was hoping to pick up a 4.88 V6 R&P to go with the front, and set it up for 2 bills. I *could* go 5.29 with the pickup, I plan on towing. Hmmm...

Front Range Offroad Fab has a leaf spring conversion for the Tacos.
http://frontrangeoffroadfab.com/nfoscomm/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=22&products_id=39&osCsid=9fcc5776dedf81fbc35fa753edcfb32d

RockRunner
12-10-2008, 11:16 AM
Mike,

Personally I really like the 80's, the ride and power (depending on year) compared to a 4 cylinder 4Runner. I really like the way most club members have their 80's set up. the size for me is a big plus,two people and two 95 pound dogs take up a lot of room. I would rule the double cab out. I drove both a 02 and 07 and while they are great trucks they were just to small for my "family".

Just think when you go camping with the family, two in front and two in back ( I thought you had two kids). No room for a cooler or big back of snacks. The 80 allows you to reach in the back and get a drink or ????

If you really want to take the family on harder trails requiring 37's then I would keep the 80 and build it to your needs or get a 4Runner. Either one with the 3.4 in it or a 86 to 89 with the v6, easier for a 3.4 swap. the newer 4Runners afford you a bit more luxury, a build in locker and the 3.4 but no "convertible". The 1st gen 4Runner depending on year, 84-85 is ready to go nearly with the solid axle already, should be the least expansive conversion. Swap in solid axle, lock and gear it, simple lift and you are ready to go. Get the soft top and custom doors like Bill and I and you have a family hauler that affords room, some comfort, great 4wheeling ability, plenty of part choices and STYLE :thumb:

With the 80 paid of and the parts you have on it you could sell it and buy a 80"s 4runner ready to be build or already build.

I love my 85 4Runner, it does what I need it to do. Look at your needs now and into the future. Your kid(s) is only going to grow, is a double cab enough? Do you really need 37's? Will a build 4Runner suit your needs? Remember, wants and needs are two different animals that can both drain your wallet :eek: Good luck on your.........80's 4Runner............decision ;)

Cruiserdrew
01-01-2009, 08:25 AM
I hope it's OK for an outsider to weigh in...


An 80 series in my opinion can be ruined by too much build. 6 inch lift, 37s are heading into that territory, and it makes more sense to separate your wheeling truck from your 80.

What 80s do better than anything else, is to flex to whatever you want to do with it. You don't really want to give that up to make it a "monster", and therefore a more focused but less flexible platform. A modestly built 80 will have fewer issues, go more places and be an all around more friendly machine to live with over time. A 4 inch lift, 35 tires and some gears and it will go most places you want, including still being an excellent daily driver and expedition truck. A paid-for truck too, is a beautiful thing-don't be too quick to make it something it has a hard time being.

The 80 has 1 major flaw, and it basically limits it from hard core use, and that is the lack of serious gear reduction. There is no toybox, no Orion no serious gearing options at all. That may change over time, but for now, that is the deal killer. 80s tend to move too fast, which generates body roll, which leads to mashed sheet metal and trucks on their side. Sure, 80s can do the Rubicon, but what if you wanted to do Rubicon 4 times a year for 5 years?

Building a Taco is EASY, and they make great wheelers. SAS, Toybox, lockers, some armor, and you have a reliable hard core truck in a perfect size. Parts are cheaper, the mods are well worked out, and IMHO wheel better than anything else, even better than FJ40s. I've seen built Minis with all the goodies for sale in Norcal for under $6000. That said, I don't have one or plans to get one. In Norcal there is a mini-truck attitude that keeps me in the Cruisers. Colorado may be different.

If you want to build a hard core truck, and still have a wagon, and not spend too much money, an FJ62 is perhaps the best starting point. Spring over, MT swap, Toybox and you have an awesome package with the advantages of a mini-truck and the size of a wagon. These are going cheap around here right now-I recently got a 100k beautiful stocker for $2000.

Anyway, just some stuff to think about, but my vote is to keep your 80 decent, and you'll still be driving it 10 years from now.

See you guys in Moab. (In my 80 :D)

Cruiserdrew
01-01-2009, 09:05 AM
LOL! What about the Cruiser attitude that makes me want to keep my mini? ;-)

You make valid points, but this all assumes you have more than one truck to work with. .

Obviously there are exceptions to every rule, and my guess is that you are a Cruiser guy trapped in a mini-truck body.:D Besides your truck doesn't have the requsite poorly done mods, loud stereo, and drunken occupants that all too frequently, are the norm around here. I think it's mostly an age thing-your average Norcal mini-truck guy is 23 and I'm about double that. Think Romer, only taller and without cigars.

I have no desire to bash mini-truck guys with broad stereotypes, but you know what I mean.

You are correct about the more than one truck thing--when spare trucks are cheap, it makes no sense to really beat on a nice daily driver.

I secretly want to build a mini-truck anyway.
:cheers:

Romer
01-01-2009, 11:40 AM
Our truck was a touch better on the road trip part

Only if you condisder 65MPH on the highway as better:D

Bikeman
01-01-2009, 03:48 PM
Well, I ordered some Cooper STT's in 35" for now (to replace my old 35's). I will have Ben regear the rig late winter.

I basically held off on 37's since I only have 1" clearance on the "modified garage door" with 35's, and I don't want to spend the $1,500 to raise the header and install an 8 foot door. I am spoiled parking in the garage, esp. during the winter, getting the kid and dog in the rig and having a faster warmup. Call me whimpy.

When I get a daily driver next year, I might go crazy, but I want to wheel the truck for 2009 and evaluate it again next fall.

I still think my 80 is unique in that it is light. I will weigh it next week with the new tires and post. I still think it will handle differently off road in the rocks than the typical 80 with all the junk installed. After all, I netted 5" out of 4" springs.

I have no issues with rigs that are near or at full size for trails. I took my old Sooper Dooty up Webster Pass with no problem (not recommended). I was sold on larger vehicles when I saw a bobbed Chevy crew cab succsessfully navigate Holy Cross.

Right now I'm thinking extended cab T-100 (preferably) or a Tundra, SAS, crawler box and 37's or 40's some day. I won't have room to keep 2 rigs, though.

Nay
01-01-2009, 04:26 PM
Mine is light, too, and you will notice a difference on the trails. I can tell when I wheel by myself vs. with my family.

I think you should drop the lift an inch and run 37's, but I paid for a taller garage when I built my house just so I could go ape on it someday, so it's all easy for me to say :hill:

Bikeman
01-02-2009, 10:17 AM
I might pull the spacers, but want to see how tippy it feels first since I want extra ground clearance and I was hell bent on going 6", but know it's unnecessary for 35's.

nakman
12-05-2009, 09:08 PM
So I bolted a winch to the Taco today.. searching the forum for synthetic winch line and came to this one. Very enjoyable to read again! I had forgotten there was another thread so close to my heart.. :o I still need to wire the winch.. but it could be time I admit to actually building the truck up. this picture from a couple weeks ago, pre-winch obviously..

http://www.risingsun4x4club.org/uploads/nakman/nak_taco.jpg





We took the 80 to dinner tonight, and that's still our nicest car, IMO. The Taco will just never be there, just too cramped on the inside even with the backs of the back seats removed to accommodate the car seats. Still, I think the truck is the perfect expedition platform so that's what I'm going for. when the 4 of us wheel, it'll most likely be in the 80.

As for Rubicon? Come on, we didn't have that much stuff.. 3 big guys, a dog, everyone had their backpack of clothes.. we could have done more if I had removed one of the back seats, I left them both in not knowing how many passengers I may have. But one side was definitely packed with stuff though, and we couldn't have done it all without the roof rack.

nakman
12-05-2009, 09:27 PM
Well not much changed locations throughout the trip, everything kind of had its spot. Only thing we did on the last day coming home is move quite a bit of stuff inside- with Bruce left in Reno I no longer had a rear passenger, and it was starting to rain and my pillow was getting wet.. then wouldn't you know it there was a lot less wind drag and my mileage probably improved, shoulda done that 1000 miles ago. :doh:

nakman
12-05-2009, 09:48 PM
That Taco is awfully nice looking. That might be one of the best looking trucks around. I really do like those stock silver wheels a lot more than the black ones. Roof rack on the shell, a couple of bikes or boats, hell yeah.

thanks man, we're getting there! come over and drive it any time. :thumb:

MDH33
12-05-2009, 10:28 PM
Too bad the 4.5' beds didn't exist in North America when 'Nests were being made, the DC trucks scream for one.

Nothing an interior bed support/shelf system wouldn't remedy in combination with a Roof Top Tent. :thumb:

Bikeman
12-06-2009, 02:16 PM
Do I need to change the thread title?


I just got back from 2 weeks in AZ with the boy. I couldn't have asked for anything more out of the 80. It ran 14.5 hours each way from Denver to Prescott and a couple trips in the Valley in the desert. From miles of sand washes and desert tracks barely wide enough for a UTV, to mountainous, rock forest trails that required being locked in both diffs, the 80 did awesome.

I would still like to buy an 00-04 DC Taco and build it, but would take way too much $$$ to get it where I would be comfortable jumping in and going at a moment's notice anywhere.

Gmann
12-08-2009, 06:24 PM
That Taco is awfully nice looking. That might be one of the best looking trucks around. I really do like those stock silver wheels a lot more than the black ones. Roof rack on the shell, a couple of bikes or boats, hell yeah.

What about me! Same just missing some doors and a longer bed:D

Red_Chili
12-09-2009, 09:35 AM
Do I need to change the thread title?


I just got back from 2 weeks in AZ with the boy. I couldn't have asked for anything more out of the 80. It ran 14.5 hours each way from Denver to Prescott and a couple trips in the Valley in the desert. From miles of sand washes and desert tracks barely wide enough for a UTV, to mountainous, rock forest trails that required being locked in both diffs, the 80 did awesome.

I would still like to buy an 00-04 DC Taco and build it, but would take way too much $$$ to get it where I would be comfortable jumping in and going at a moment's notice anywhere.
Run what you brung, go with what you know.
You'll be doing Spring Creek anywhere you want, in no time.





Just requires the judicious application of DOM here and there to keep things nice... :lmao: