This is Ben’s 2000 Toyota Tacoma Xtracab 4WD with supercharger with a lot of mods!
Ben is from the Central Coast of California and is part of a “Hotshot” crew in the US Forest Service where he seasonally fights fires. This allows him to travel with his Tacoma during the off-season.
Let’s see how this rig is built!
2000 Toyota Tacoma Xtracab 4WD, 3RZ-FE 5 Speed Manual
Mileage: 330,000 miles (replaced motor at 285,000. Ordered from toyotatruckengine.com)
Engine mod: LCE low boost supercharger (installed at 35,000 miles on new engine)
Exhaust: Magnaflow high flow catalytic converters and muffler
Front suspension: Icon coilovers and Icon Delta Joint upper control arms
Rear spring: Old Man Emu Dakar rear springs with extra leaf
Rear shock: Bilstein 5125 9.25″ stroke with Timbren bump stops
Front Diff: Open
Rear Diff: ARB Air Locker
Diff Gearing: 1:4.56
Tires: 285/75R16 tires (33″ by 11″ on 16″ rims)
Armor: AllPro skid plate
Front bumper: Craigslist find, unknown manufacturer
Rear bumper: DIY single swing-out
Winch: Warn 8000lb
Air compressor: Onboard ARB single
Recovery gear: Yes, in the ammo can
Expedition rack: DIY
Awning Rear: DIY
Awning Side: ARB
Water tank: 5 Gal, DIY
Additional Fuel: 2 x 5 Gal Jerry cans
Fridge: Dometic 25 quart
DIY modular sleeping cot and shelving
DIY interior dash and power outlet
DIY rear seat delete and dog platform
DIY overhead interior cab storage
Old 4Runner retrofit sunglasses holder install
Rear view mirror delete
Back up camera
Dual battery with 100 W solar panel, 75 AH deep cycle and 800 W inverter
Blue Sea fuse blocks
Mixed 5″ and 7″ off-road lamps
3″ driving light pods
Anytone dual band mobile radio
Computer fans for camper ventilation
Dimmable LED lighting strips in camper
Side flood/ditch lights
How did you discover overlanding?
I first started overlanding more than a decade before I ever heard that word, we used to call it car camping. After moving away for college I ended up spending a lot of time with my older brother and his friends. We all had old little trucks and would drive up and down the coast looking for surf and started camping in the back of our trucks on whatever fire roads we could find and occasionally took off into the desert or Mexico for a week or so at a time. We all scraped up whatever cheap camper shells we could find and afford so we could leave at the drop of a dime and ignore the weather. One of these friends had an old bed kit that he couldn’t use at the time and he lent it to me until the day came where he would need it back. It lived in the back of my first car, a 1993 2wd Ford Ranger, until that day did come where the kit went back to its original owner so I broke ground building my first bed kit. Things have evolved since then through multiple generations of builds in my second car, the Tacoma.
What is your favorite piece of overlanding gear you have?
Have to say the fridge. No ice hassle, always have cold beer, I use it constantly.
Why do you overland?
I love being outside. I love being on the move. I’ve never gotten a hotel room of my own intention. My idea of a holiday is getting away from buildings, lights and people (aside from friends or others I meet out in whoop whoop). The places I want to go the only way to get there is to drive and bring what you’ll need once you’re there. I love the experience of not knowing exactly where you’re going or where you’ll end up, just looking at a map and finding a spot that looks promising, getting there and discovering what it is once you’re there. Sometimes you get skunked but most times it’s someplace that leaves you with memories you’ll take with you to the grave. I do it because of the opportunity it provides to be immersed in nature, be comfortable enough to call it vacation and it’s also a blast to smash down dirt roads listening to Shakey Graves with the windows down.