Tag: trucks

Miscellaneous Truck updates

It’s been a while since I’ve posted some progress updates on the truck build so here it goes. The following is a short list of components I’ve changed out and a few maintenance items performed:

I had approximately four quarts of automatic transmission fluid changed out and did an oil change with fine lab results.

I replaced one Blue Sea Systems fuse block with the higher capacity Safety Hub 150. The Safety Hub 150 is rated for up to 280A and allows the use of higher current/interrupt rated MIDI®/AMI® fuses in addition to smaller ATO/ATC fuses. I also finally got around to covering up the exposed “hot” points on the isolation breaker, upgraded a few ground wires and replaced the Odyssey Group 34R battery with a NorthStar 27F battery.

After giving the exhaust a few love taps on a trail recently I had a new pipe welded onto the end of the muffler. There’s so much more clearance this way…

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I replaced the Rigid LED flood lights with a Vision X Light Cannon. This light is simply amazing!

After putting enough dents into the rear bumper is was time to get a new-to-me bumper off of craigslist for $80 and replace the disgusting chrome with some satin black spray paint.


Those are all of the updates for now, what’s your favorite truck mod?

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

Toyota Tundra Build Updates

Hello everybody, today I’ll just be posting up various photos of what I’ve done to the truck recently. An abridged list of what I’ve added in no particular order:

Without further ado, here are some of the photos. You can find the full build thread here and enjoy!



Rolling Coal on Cops

I browse through a lot of automotive videos on YouTube and one of the more idiotic ones I’ve stumbled upon recently are videos of diesel truck owners who have voided their warranty with stupid powertrain “upgrades” and roll coal on various groups, including police officers. In a large portion of the clips the cop is talking to a motorist that’s been pulled over simply happens to be behind one of these idiots who feel like holding their camera phone out while driving or recording their face and then proceeding to act like complete morons. I suppose that when you have brain damage it seems like a good idea to roll coal on the motorcycle cops that just pulled you over…

Derp, “Fuck the police.” “‘Murica!!!” Oh my, what a smart individual.

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Be gentle with me, I have brain damage. And trucks nuts, because I have no taste.

It is simply amazing how some of these dumb-shit truck owners feel like they alone own the road and can do whatever they want. These imbecilic drivers want attention and well after rolling enough coal, voiding a lot of warranties, and acting like a bunch of jackasses they have plenty of attention. For one example, a New Jersey State Assemblyman by the name of Tim Eustace had coal rolled on him by some idiot as he was driving his Nissan Leaf down the freeway. Shortly thereafter New Jersey passed a bill specifically banning the practice of rolling coal. It’s already a violation of the Clean Air Act to remove or otherwise disable emission equipment installed from the factory (a few of these trucks were probably build before emissions equipment became standard on diesel trucks in the mid-2000s) but all these idiots are doing is bringing more of what should be unwanted attention to themselves. It’s not enough to roll coal at a show, they have to do it to a random cop standing on the side of the street. Similar laws have passed more recently in Maryland and Colorado as well.

Herp, derp, your parked car is just pissing me off too much.

Aside from the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal numerous other companies have received fines for either selling, installing, or operating street trucks with inoperative/removed emissions equipment. Here are a few articles with multiple examples to illustrate my point:

Hard Working Trucks-Special Report: DPF Delete

Ontario Trucking-CTA-Feds Must Crack Down on Truck Emission Control Tampering

Commercial Carrier Journal-EPA enforces Calif. emissions regs, carrier hit with $400k in fines over DPF violations

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-Clean Air Act Vehicle and Engine Enforcement Case Resolutions

I want to highlight just one EPA case from 2018 regarding the Freerksen Trucking Company:

“20. In response to the Request for Information, Respondent provided invoices and other information indicating that between August 5, 2015, and December 30, 2016, Respondent modified emission controls, including DPFs, EGRs, and/or the SCRs on 22 HDD trucks, and Respondent installed defeat devices on each vehicle to modify the Engine Control Module. Itt the response, Respondent also included additional invoices demonstrating that Respondent was beginning to make repairs and reinstallations of the modified vehicles. Respondent also included invoices and other documentation demonstrating breakdowns and other issues associated with the Engine Control Module that trucks within Respondent’s fleet had experienced in the years preceding Respondent’s installation of the defeat devices.”

“24. On May 8, 2017, Respondent reported to EPA that emission controls have been reinstalled on 21 affected trucks and all defeat devices have been correspondingly removed. Respondent reported that the one remaining vehicle had been sold prior to EPA’s enforcement action and therefore is unable to reinstall the controls.

27. Based on analysis of the factors specified in Section 205(c) of the CAA, 42 U.S.C. § 7524(c), consideration of the EPA’s Clean Air Act Mobile Source Civil Penalty Policy, dated January 2009, the facts of this case, Respondent’s cooperation and prompt return to compliance, Complainant has determined that an appropriate civil penalty to settle this action is $50,000. Respondent agrees to pay this civil penalty.
28. Within 30 calendar days after the effective date of this CAFO, Respondent must pay $12,500 of the civil penalty by sending a cashier’s or certified check, payable to “Treasurer, United States of America,” to:
U.S. EPA Fines and Penalties Cincinnati Finance Center
P.O. Box 979077 St. Louis, Missouri 63197-9000
Respondent shall pay the remaining $37,500 of the civil penalty within 180 days of the effective date of this CAFO using the same method.

So not only did this company have to pay a fine, they were also awarded the joy of re-installing all of the emissions equipment that they had removed (I’m willing to bet that they didn’t keep any of the parts they removed either). That must have been an insightful and fun-filled experience for the Freerksen Trucking Company. Perhaps some of these joyous deezul pickup drivers could tone it down and save their antics for private property, a track, or a show? Or perhaps they’ll just keep bringing the spotlight down on themselves and anyone else who drives a truck (gas or diesel).

Installation of the ARB RD-146 Air Locker

So many things to type up about, so little time. Today, I’m just going to post up about the ARB RD-146 air locking differential that was just installed in the Toyota 10.5″ rear axle of my Tundra. This axle is incredibly strong and better than any custom build Ford 9″ or Dana 60 that Tacoma owners sometimes install on their trucks. The ARB differential case alone weights about 58 pounds and is much more substantial than the already massive stock case. It’s also a four-pinion design instead of a two-pinion. The ARB RD-146 is simply an engineering marvel.

Stock differential case
Stock differential case
Here's the ARB
Here’s the ARB

I went with the compact compressor ARB offers (CKSA12) due to the space that the twin compressor would take up. The compressor is mounted in the driver side frame rail with the suction tube and filter up in the engine bay next to the brake booster and master cylinder. The compressor and air locker actuation switches were mounted in stock blank locations and are connected directly to the battery through a fuse for circuit protection. Counting the work for installing the compressor and switches the total install time was about 12 hours. The equipment was installed by Speed Freek (A.K.A. Jason) of Vista, CA. I would highly recommend his services to anyone in San Diego or Orange counties. You can watch him perform the equipment installation or drop it off and ask as many questions (and take pictures) to your heart’s content. There are a lot of bad shops out there but this is a man that you can trust to put the necessary time in to ensure the job is done right or in very limited circumstances (re-gearing a clamshell or electrical work on European vehicles), admit to what he cannot do.

As always, enjoy the photos and share with your friends!

Checking the backlash before moving forward.

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Setting the backlash with the ring and pinion on the ARB to 0.0075″, just like before.

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Not actually related to the differential installation, but still pretty useful.
Not actually related to the differential installation, but still pretty useful.

Stag Point

Stag Point is in the Foothills of Northern California northeast of Yuba City off of F.S. Highway 120. The actual trail leading to Stag Point is only a few miles long. To reach this trail: head left following signs for the Little Grass Valley Reservoir, continue north, drive over the dam, turn left onto F.S. 94, stay on F.S. 94 until a right turn appears for 22N72, and stay left until the trailhead is reached. The trail quickly gets steep as it descends about 3,000 feet with tight and narrow switchbacks.

I didn’t take any photos along the trail to Stag Point and forgot to save the video (from my dashboard camera) in time to prevent it from being over-written by proceeding loops. There are a couple of footpaths leading to the river both to the right and left of the campsite. It would be wise to bring insect repellent. Enjoy the photos! Click here to find the rest of them.

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The price of trucks…

I recently read an article on Yahoo! Autos about the Ram Rebel that’s coming out soon. It’s pretty much just a Ram 1500 with some more expensive trim pieces, a one-inch lift, and 33″ Toyo A/T’s. The cheapest 4×4 version of this truck goes for $45,915 and this is for the V6 version. Stepping up to the V8 jacks the price up to $55,375. I simply don’t see how this truck can cost so much. I suppose that it looks nice on the inside and is slightly taller than a stock Ram 1500, but this much? It doesn’t come with a locking differential, the front CV axles are stock 1500 shafts, and any sticks that hit those stupid air bags will leave you sagging on the trail. I guess FCA is charging a lot for things like the kick-ass tread pattern in the seats, it certainly didn’t go towards using properly designed electronic control systems…

The Ram Rebel is showing that graded dirt road who’s boss…
I suppose that this would be hard to de-badge.

2015-ram-1500-rebel_100496933_m 2015-ram-1500_100497097_m

I looked up how much a 2014 Ford F-150 Raptor cost new and the price turned out to be $44,995. The Raptor shows up with things like a bigger rear axle (Ford 9.75 vs. ZF 9.25), a locking rear differential, 3″ Fox coilovers, a LSD in the front, 35″ tires, longer axleshafts in the front, a V8, and doesn’t have air bags ready to be popped by any sharp sticks or brush. I can at least see where the money on a Raptor goes towards and it still looks good inside and out. If you wanted to, you could build up a used truck to be like the Raptor for less cash, but at least the price of a new Raptor makes some sense and the upgrades really add to the off-road ability of the truck. The Rebel just looks like a sticker and trim package to me.

f1514_pg_007_rpt_lg f1514_pg_009_rpt_lg f1514_pg_005_rpt_lg

Obviously, the Ram Rebel's stickers and tread pattern seats are more valuable than the equipment found on the Raptor!
Obviously, the Ram Rebel’s stickers and tread pattern seats are more valuable than the equipment found on the Raptor!
Of course, this is lame and totally inferior when compared to the Rebel.
Of course, this is lame and totally inferior when compared to the Rebel.

I suppose that the Rebel isn’t a Raptor competitor though, it’s closer to the FX4 trim. But even then, some stickers, trim pieces, and tread pattern seats aren’t worth $10,000. The FX4 also comes with that locking rear differential, which the guys over at Ram trucks don’t seem to offer (unless you want to pay for a Power Wagon). The price that trucks have been going for lately seems to be going up rapidly. Good luck trying to find a Power Wagon that doesn’t have thousands in extra options. The cheapest new F-150 in San Diego county goes for $31,560. The cheapest Colorado (a mid-size truck) goes for over $30,000. With new vehicle prices being jacked up due to extra accessories, about a quarter of new auto loans have 73-84 month terms. I simply can’t imagine having an auto loan for that long.

What do you think? Is there some value in the Ram Rebel that I’m simply missing? Am I being to judgmental? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Yahoo! Autos-Ram Reveals Pricing For 2015 1500 Rebel and Laramie Limited

Motor Authority-2015 Ram 1500 Rebel Rumbles Its Way Into Detroit

For anyone who’s interested in the Ram Rebel, watch it own some dirt roads and do some donuts.

repel repel1 repel2 repel3

Chrysler and failing Totally Integrated Power Modules

One of the reasons I haven’t posted as much lately (aside from laziness) is dealing with the Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM) that’s installed in my Jeep. In less than two years ownership of my 2012 Wrangler I’ve had to replace this device twice. The first time the TIPM failed was in the desert. My dashboard turned into a Christmas tree, the speedometer went to zero, the engine oil temperature meter pegged, and when I plugged the OBDII reader in I pulled numerous faults that amounted to a loss of communication with numerous components. In vain hope I decided to disconnect the battery. I was also an idiot and shorted the terminals together. The dealer noticed this on the battery terminal and claimed that I “cross-jumpered” the battery; as if some current flowing through just the battery terminals should damage the TIPM (without blowing fuses by the way). I was out for about $650 on the part and $300 on labor. It also took two weeks for the part to show up. This happened about six months ago. Here’s the work order for the first TIPM replacement:

scan0001 scan0002

Last month, I received several fault codes from the ABS Module (C1246 & C1082), TCM (U0414), and fuel level instrumentation (P0643). These codes are obviously not related and I thought that the TIPM might have failed again. I dropped the Jeep off at the dealership (Midway in San Diego). I got a call the next day asking to drop the fuel tank to check a couple of test points. After showing up in person to explain that they should troubleshoot indications that don’t involve so much time and effort. I also explained how it made little sense for numerous sensors to all fail at the same time. The dealer tech relented and the next day I received a phone call stating that the TIPM failed again. The new TIPM has still not show up and I bought a new-to-me truck, a 2011 Tacoma. The dealer did not offer a courtesy vehicle. I’ll post up what the work order says for this next replacement as soon as my Jeep is fixed. (Update: The work order is posted below. I got a whole 4761 miles out of the second TIPM.) After dealing with rather long wait times to receive this part I decided to look into that matter some more…


The TIPM might just look like a fuse and relay box, but the positive terminal of the battery is connected directly to it and the TIPM is a power switching and control device that controls many settings and supplies power to all peripheral components and systems. The TIPM has a case on the outside (duh), has fuses and automotive relays near the top, then has seven decks of buswork (wires), has a board with several relays and Integrated Circuits (IC’s) that perform the logic operations, and then some sockets near the bottom. The TIPM even controls pulse width modulation for the headlights. And when overcurrent conditions are detected by the circuitry, the TIPM will often just shut off the offending system with no warning. But hey, this device allows the radio to stay on after pulling the key out of the ignition. Just a few photos to get a better idea of what’s in there:

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Interestingly enough I couldn’t find this part on Mopar’s website. I was able to find the part on another website as a slightly newer revision. But if Chrysler hasn’t bought this from a vendor who could properly assemble and/or design the TIPM I really don’t want to try this again. It really doesn’t help that any one of the relays on the board (the white boxes) going bad can cause a loss of functionality with no warning. The only thing that can be done if one of the relays or IC’s fail on the board fail is to replace the whole TIPM.

Complaints about the TIPM that’s been supplied in most Chrysler vehicles since around 2006/7 are nothing new. The 2007 Wrangler and Dodge Nitro had to have the TIPM reporgrammed to prevent the fuel pump from turning off during operation. 2011-2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s and Dodge Durango’s had to be recalled due to fuel pump relay failures in the TIPM, affecting almost half a million vehicles. A search of National Highway Transportation Safety Administration complaints show numerous instances of 2006 Dodge Power Wagon’s having failing/failed TIPM’s that sometimes cause loss of functionality such as trailer brake lights going out while towing, or windshield wipers turning off in the rain. There are several instances of Dodge/Ram truck owners going through multiple failed TIPM’s. The Center for Automotive Safety also has plenty of documentation relating to these failures for anyone who’s interested. It really is too easy for the TIPM too fail.

A number of people seem to be getting upset with Chrysler and a class action lawsuit is pending against Fiat-Chrysler. I think that it’s about time I added my name to this lawsuit, especially since Chrysler’s motion to dismiss failed. I ended up buying a 2011 Toyota Tacoma and am thoroughly finished with Chrysler. At least as soon as the part shows up and I can finally sell my Jeep anyway. For anyone who’s interested in a Chrysler vehicle, be very careful.


What not to do with your Ford Raptor

It’s amazing what some people will believe their new $50,000+ Ford Raptor to be capable of. Throw some Fox shocks, 35″ A/T tires, and a few skid plates on a truck and some people think that it’s just like a real competition truck or buggy. Even if the engine still runs I wonder how much damage the suspension components and frame took? Live and learn I suppose. Enjoy the videos.

Another angle:

To go along with how not to jump your new Ford Raptor, below is a video on how not to deliver a new truck to the customer. At least this man caught it on tape so the dealer couldn’t make up some magical story. All the employee had to do was back straight out…