The Totaled Tacoma

This is the official build thread for the Totaled Toyota Tacoma Project.

The Crunchy Taco in all her crunchy glory!

The Crunchy Taco in all her crunchy glory!

Repairing the frame rust

Repairing the frame rust

Building the fenders

Building the fenders

We started with a 1st gen Toyota Tacoma that was rolled/totaled and left for dead. We bought the project for $150 from a friend and got to work. 

We removed all the fenders and broken windows then removed the bed. When we did this we found terrible frame rust. Next step was to give it a test drive and see how much work she needed.

We charged the battery, aired up the tires, changed the oil and trans fluid then took it for a drive. Every selection on the automatic transmission was drive except for park. We we drove it around the yard it only seemed to be in second gear. We played around with the shift linkage and got nowhere fast. It was time for a new transmission.

While we were waiting and looking for deals on a five speed trans we got to work on the front fenders and bumper. For the bumper we used 1 1/2”D 1/8”W Steel tubing and bent it with our Rouge Fab HD600.

For the fenders we used 1”D x 1/8”W steel tubing with 1/8” think plate steel and we are so happy with how it turned out! These fenders are absurdly strong!

We found a great deal on a manual transmission and all the parts for a swap just over the border in Canada from our new friend Clinton, and got to work. It was a very straight forward swap, with almost everything just bolting right into place. The only modifications required were to cut holes in the firewall to mount the clutch pedal and master cylinder, and hard wire the neutral safety switch so it would start. Having a bad auto trans was the best thing that every happened to the Taco, because it was born to be a manual anyway! She is a completely different beast with the 5 speed transmission!

Next up it was time for some safety features, and first on that list was a full exo-cage! We started with building a flatbed out of some scrap steel we got from our neighbor, then built the roll cage attached to that and welded to the body and frame. There was never any chance of going back to stock on this build, but now there is absolutely no turning back. Once again, our Model 600XHD from Rogue Fab got a work out bending all that 1 1/2” OD x 1/8” wall tubing, and this time we got their VersaNotcher, which made all the tubing notching incredibly easy and precise! The cage turned out awesome and super sturdy. No more fear of our heads being crushed in if we get too rowdy!

We wanted to hit all the trails in Moab Utah this fall, but the little 30” snow tires it came with would not be up to that task. So we got ourselves a set of 37” Nitto Trail Grapplers and some awesome Mamba M23 wheels! These tires look absolutely incredible, and they performed beyond anything we imagined!

The Crunchy Taco is complete, for now. We have many ideas and plans for it in the future, but for now we are focusing on some of our other builds. Stay tuned for more videos of the Taco getting rowdy!