Tundy – The Truck

This is the truck.  I can't get into it unless My Family helps me...

This is the truck. I can’t get into it unless My Family helps me…

Why we went with a Tundra

When we started planning the trip, we were pretty sold on the idea of a Sportsmobile.  After reviewing the balances in our bank accounts, we knew it wasn’t going to happen unless we postponed the trip for a while to save.  We also realized that unlike most of the other overlanders doing the same drive, we are planning on staying somewhere in Central America for a while, rather than continuing right on to South America.  The idea of having a Sportsmobile as our daily use car didn’t sound like something we wanted to do, especially since we plan on being involved in the community in one way or another.  We’ll be much more inclined to give people a ride or throw building supplies or what-have-you in the back of the Tundra than we would be to do the same with our home on wheels.

That left us choosing between tent-camping, whether on the ground or roof-top, and an SUV combo or a pick-up and slide-in camper combo.  We went with the pick-up/slide-in combo because really, glamping I can do for 6 months, real deal camping, not so much.

Jason’s Ford Explorer died in January as we were on our way to Utah.  It was either sink a couple grand into a car we knew we wouldn’t be keeping for that much longer or take the opportunity to find our truck.  We knew we wanted a 4×4 Toyota as they are easy to work on and (perhaps more importantly) gets parts for in any of the Americas.  After a month or so of hitting refresh on craigslist and multiple other classifieds several times a day, we found our Tundra!

We will make a list of modifications and repairs as they happen, but this is what we started with:

  • 2006 Toyota Tundra 4.7L V8 TRD Limited
  • 3 inch suspension lift with Downey coil covers, Bilstein shocks and Fox 2.0 shocks in the rear
  • K&N cold intake system with Flowmaster 44 series exhaust (that means no droning in the cab)
  • Custom stereo system with 10″ JL W3 Sub/Fiberglass box (um, yeah, this is going to be removed before we go but for now we are enjoying terrorizing the neighbors)
  • Leather and wood grain interior
  • LoJack anti theft device
  • 130,000 miles

Modifications and Repairs before and during the Big Adventure

  • May 2013
    • New spark plugs, oil change, all fluids topped off, new front axles, tires rotated
  • August 2013
    • New BF Goodrich All Terrain LT 265/75R16 E-rated tires
    • Switched out the old Bilsteins for the Rancho 2.25″ Loaded QuickLIFT (includes Coil Spring, upper mount and strut)
    • Recharged the Fox 2.0 shocks in the rear
    • Power Stop Evolution Ceramic Brake Pads along with Drilled and Slotted Rotors
    • RideCONTROLL Rear Air Springs by Air Lift
    • Picked up a VIAIR 300P Portable Air Compressor and a High-Lift Jack (with Off-Road Base)
  • September 2013
    • Switched out the old battery for an Optima Yellow Top
    • Oil change and all fluids topped off
  • January 2014
    • Oil and filter change
  • February 2014
    • Brake pads replaced (NOTE: Our current brake pads would have lasted for a while longer, but after overheating the brakes on our descent from Semuc Champey, we decided not to take any chances)
  • June 2014
    • Full tune-up, oil change and inspection
    • Machined the front rotors as they were still shiny from our Semuc Champey adventure.
  • July 2014
    • Noticed squeaking from both front wheels as we drove. Had one front rotor re-machined as it was apparently a couple of millimeters off.
    • Replaced both front brake pads, which may or may not have been necessary.
  • January 2014
    • Oil and filter change
  • March 2015
    • Replaced the front lower ball joints
    • 4 wheel alignment
    • Replaced the rack and pinion bushing
    • Frame inspected for excessive rust, no found!
      Replaced the right front wheel bearing
    • Oil and filter change
    • Rotated tires
    • Replaced CAN H wire.
    • Smogged.


Our thoughts on the Tundra

We love our Tundra!  As you know, we chose the Tundra for the availability of parts while south of the border and for it’s reliability and we were not disappointed at all.  The truck got us everywhere we wanted to go, with no problems.  Other than overheating the brakes, which was basically an user-error, we had zero problems on this trip!  We would definitely recommend a Tundra to anyone planning a similar trip.