Saturday, May 14, 2011

Drop the Chalupa

Between work and travel, I have been struggling to make progress on the Tacoma deconstruction. Over the past week, I spent some late nights in the garage, and progress has been made.

The goal is to make the Taco self sufficient enough that we can take an extended trip in the next few years -- something like Alaska to Argentina. Two projects were undertaken. First, replace the worthless back seats with a stable platform where a fridge and second battery will be located. Second, convert the truck bed to a sleeping/storage space that eventually will have a camper shell over it.

No vehicle is perfect but the Tacoma has a lot of features that make it easily adaptable. The truck bed already has a solid plastic liner in it, and there are two cut outs that accommodate a 2X8 perfectly. Using that feature, I created a platform that is stable and can be easily removed.

Wanting additional storage, I pulled the drawer unit I originally built for the Element and it fit perfectly between the wheel wells.

The toggle bolts will ensure nothing bounces around on washboard roads.

Once the deck was laid out, I cut in two hatches to access all the storage space in front of the drawer unit. The shell I am getting has side windows that open up, giving me easy access to this area.

Here are the hatches open. The entire deck has been covered in grey carpeting over which a 3" foam pad will sit. The only thing I'm waiting on now is for the shell to be installed, hopefully this week.

Next up, gut the rear of the cab. Toyota had installed two pretty worthless jump seats and a storage box so out they came.

The tricky part was to install the platform using as many frame and shell access points as possible. It was definitely a multi-beer job trying to figure out what was going to work. The ah-ha moment came when I pulled the last seat support bracket away revealing a solid mounting platform.

Using Grade 8 metric hardware (thank god for 7 Corners Hardware), the supports are bolted directly to the cab using holes to which the rear seats were once mounted.

Two sheets of 1/2 inch Birch Plywood bolted to the supports and the result is an extremely solid surface. I also added some sound insulation behind and under the platform which will hopefully help reduce some road noise. This area will also be covered in carpet.

Stay tuned for further projects which will include replacing the crappy plastic bumpers and possibly, installing an awning.



  1. Multi-beer projects are the best kind. So, does gutting the cab negate any warranty on the vehicle? Anxious to see it completed :)

  2. "Gutting" was probably the wrong word. I removed the rear seats, a plastic storage unit and some trim -- nothing that was mechanical. Everything could be easily re-installed. I've read the warranty pretty carefully and the focus tends to be on mechanical modifications -- they could void the warranty. These are cosmetic. Ill post more as I make progress.