Category: 4×4

Cedar Creek Road

Cedar Creek Road is a trail of easy difficulty that a 2WD truck with some ground clearance should easily pass through in dry conditions. There are no hard obstacles on this trail, just wonderful views of the canyon and an easy-going drive that is close to San Diego with little risk of vehicle damage. There are also numerous hiking trails in the area for when you just need a nice, long walk outside. This trail is very picture heavy so be sure to enjoy all of the photos here on the dedicated page!

This is where the southern end of the trail starts, even though it does not show up on Google Maps. Cedar Creek Road heads north from the junction at Three Sisters Falls trailhead.

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White Mountain

White Mountain is a trail of moderate difficulty that a 4×4 truck with decent tires should be able to navigate. No obstacle is terribly difficult but there are lots of tough rocks of which a few demand careful tire placement. For much of the trail the brush is very tight or there is a steep cliff to one (or both sides) which may make it very fun to deal with opposing traffic. It would be wise to stop your vehicle at an open spot when you get a chance and take a quick look to see if any other trucks are heading your way. For this trip I was a passenger (for once) and just got to enjoy the scenery a little more than I usually do. I also had a great chance to take more photos than normal, enjoy the rest of the photos and videos here on the complete page!

White Mountain location:

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Espinosa Trail

The Espinosa Trail is a path of moderate difficulty that will be hard on your truck’s paint job and is harder yet on full-size trucks. No single obstacle really stands out, just lots of moderately sized rocks and hinderances that are more difficult in wide and long vehicles. The Espinosa Trail is located in the Corral Canyon OHV area approximately 50 miles east of San Diego and is conveniently located just south of I-8. For those who are more adventurous and have capable rigs there are the two difficult trails known as Bronco Peak and Sidewinder for your enjoyment. Enough of my written description of this wonderful trail though, enjoy the photos and videos and find all of them here on the full page!

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The Coxey Trail (3N14)

The Coxey Trail (3N14) is a trail of easy difficulty north of Big Bear Lake that any truck with some ground clearance would easily drive through. This trail starts high near Big Bear Lake and gently descends down the San Bernardino Mountains into the vast expanse of the Mojave Desert. The southern end of the trail starts in Fawnskin along CA-38 at the Rim of the World Drive. The northern end of the trail is at the junction of Bowen Ranch Road and Coxey Road. This is a fun, relaxing trail run that will be well worth your time. The rest of the photos and videos may be found here on the dedicated page. Enjoy!

Clark’s Summit and Skyline Drive

I’m putting both of these trails on the same page due to how they intertwine with each other. I suppose you could just drive along Skyline Drive on its own but only completing Clark’s Grade would require a U-turn as soon as you reached the top. A 4×4 truck with decent ground clearance and tires will easily pass through this road under dry conditions. The path to Clark’s Summit is a narrow shelf road in which encountering opposing traffic is rather miserable. I’ve generally completed this route from the southern end starting at Seven Oaks Road just north of CA-38.

Upon reaching Clark’s Summit Skyline Drive goes off both east and west and snakes its way north towards a few different spots in Big Bear Lake. The views the entire way are amazing and well worth your time! There are many hiking and biking trails that pass through Skyline Drive so be sure to watch out for pedestrians. There are multiple methods of reaching both of these trails and I will have to pass through more of them in the future. Be sure to look on the dedicated page to find all of the photos and videos and enjoy!

Rubberized undercoating removal, part two

A few weeks ago I typed up a post about cleaning up the frame of my truck and am posting a quick update. I took off the front skid plate and proceeded to alternate between working on the front and rear ends of the frame. I spent some more time chemically dissolving the rubberized goop previously applied to the frame, used a lot of wire wheels and flap discs, and spent so much time cleaning all to spend just a small fraction of the total time actually laying down any paint. In an endeavor such as the one I’m am working on the preparation work is what is the most important. Here are the photos of the forward end (before):

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During:

After:

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I only took a few photos of the rear:

I’ll post up some more progress photos, a few opinion pieces, and another soldering video soon!

Thoughts on rubberized undercoating…

Oh boy, are we in for a good post today folks. Tonight’s post is about the laborious task of removing the rubberized undercoating that the previous owner of my truck applied to the frame and lower portions of the body and bed. I am not a fan of rubberized undercoating as it can make a lot of electrical plugs or bolts difficult to remove, lowers the ability to easily inspect some parts, and cracks over time which allows water to get under it but not easily evaporate. I long ago began the project of removing all of this gunk from my truck and it has been slow going and I still have much left to do. Attempting to use any type of wire wheel, grinding disc, flap disc is ineffective at removing these types of coating as the removal media is rapidly clogged. The use of a chemical means of dissolving the rubberized coating (I just recently noticed that the methylene chloride formula is no longer available in California) is necessitated by this problem and is very miserable and time-consuming.

Here’s a quick video for anyone who is thinking about using rubberized undercoating on their on vehicle:

Here are some of the photos of the work I’ve been doing on the truck most recently:

I had a little mishap as I was removing some rust from the rear axle…

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While I really do need to finish this project I probably should have thought a little harder about the variable-gauge wire wheel I was using next to the wheel speed sensor cabling. It would have been so easy to unplug but I decided to test fate instead. I am fairly certain that no harm was done to the sensor but I bought that as well; hopefully I can just return it.

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This photo is unrelated to the post, but do you like my custom exhaust mod?

Toyota Tundra filter and lube oil changes

Good evening everybody, today I recently replaced the engine air filter, cab air filter, engine oil and filter, and gear oil from both differentials. I will be sending the engine oil sample to Blackstone Laboratories for analysis and early detection of any possible problems prior to a catastrophic (and more expensive) failure. Blackstone is even nice enough to send you the kits for free, they just won’t actually give you your results until you pay the $28 fee. I’ll be sure to show off my engine analysis results when I get a response in one to four weeks. I’ll also be posting some photos of the used filters and differential drain plug magnets below along with mileage change intervals.

First of we’ll start with the rear differential gear oil (last changed about 10,000 miles ago):

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I took images with and without a flash of the drain plug and what I wiped off of it with the shop towel. No water came out and there weren’t too many wear products on the magnet. Gear oil never really smells great though…

Next up, let’s look at the front differential (last changed 10,000 miles ago):

The truck is normally in rear-wheel drive so the front differential put very little on the magnet and the oil looked almost new.

Let’s move onto the engine air filter (once again, 10,000 miles):

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All of those desert trail miles made themselves very well known with all of the dust I beat out of the filter. The cabin air filter told a similar story:

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Last but not least let’s talk about my engine oil sample and draining the filter. When you buy a new filter from Toyota for the 5.7L you receive a drain plug to push into a valve in the filter housing. It always takes a little time for me to get it in their right but it’s much better than just yanking off the filter housing and having oil go everywhere.

I pulled a big-brained move and almost let all of the oil drain out of the pan before remembering to grab my sample bottle. Here’s what the kit looks like after you remove the packaging and take the sample:

I opted to type and print my oil slip rather than writing on the supplied paper to avoid any penmanship issues. The recommended oil sampling procedure may be found on Blackstone’s website but they’re fairly simple. As I said before I’ll be sure to report back on my engine oil results. That’s all for now folks!

 

Mojave Desert Camping Trip – March 2019

In early March I went to the Mojave Desert for a weekend camping trip with a small group of friends. The majority of the group started the trip in the Johnson Valley area and headed north towards camp where I met up with them at night (Friday). One member of our group flopped onto his side in the afternoon prior to my arrival and another truck showed up on the morning on the second day. We drove through the Soda “Dry” Lake, fooled around the Cinder Cones, spent some time beating up our suspensions on whoops, and camped out in the New York Mountains on Saturday night. A good time was had by all. Enjoy the photos and find the rest of them on the dedicated page and Tundras.com!

 

Winter in San Diego County

During February a large cold front passed through California and brought an unusual amount of snow to the mountains east of San Diego with snow level down to about 2000 feet. I decided to head east on I-8 and up towards Sunrise Highway/Mount Laguna to see what kind of chaos the roads would be in due to a few inches of snow. The freeway was full of people: stuck on the side of the road, in the middle of the road, motorist driving with their hazard lights on continuously, heavy trucks that hit each other, and seemingly confirmed all of the bad driving tropes about Southern California. Sunrise Highway (S-1) offered a far different experience and was almost empty. I passed very few other motorists and only a single stuck vehicle. The snow was coming down harder, the temperature was lower, and I had an amazing time up on Mount Laguna.

I stopped around the peak at Mount Laguna to throw some snowballs and take a few photos. All was quite, all was calm, and all was cold that night on Mount Laguna. There were CHP Officers at the southern end of Sunrise Highway who stopped anyone who either: drove a car without chains installed or had a 4×4 truck without chains with them. Usually when there’s a few inches of snow it’s too crowded to head up to the Laguna Range but the heavy storm kept most away. It was a wonderful time and I hope that you enjoy the videos!

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Fox 5 San Diego-Storm brings Mount Laguna heaviest snowfall in years