Wednesday, June 29, 2011

CB, Firestik, Hi-Lift, Repairs, and Misc Work on River

Ok, so I finally got my CB and Firestik 4' antenna installed and wired up. Running the coaxial cable was not as bad as I thought it was going to be but it still sucked, my biggest concern about it was being discreet, I did not want holes drilled into my center console or lose access to my ashtray (I keep spare change in there, it works). I ended up putting it where I have never seen a CB put in a 4Runner, behind the lower dash trim.
 The piece in the center of the picture is just a random trim piece that
pops out easily, I knew there was space behind it because when I had my old blue pickup I kept about $100 in cash behind it, I don't do that anymore but I never had the cash taken and I left my windows down 90% of the time, EVERYWHERE. In my 4Runner I had to pull a plastic tube out (A/C System?) and wrap up the rats nest of wiring nicely but after that the CB just slid in, I don't even mount it in there, it won't move at all during daily driving because some wires wrap around it and hold in in place. The mic is kept in the glovebox except when I plan to use it, that will keep me from yelling at everybody over the PA eventually (I haven't bought a PA speaker yet) because I do have pretty bad road rage in traffic.
This was the first installation I did, as you can see the wires are tangled all around it and look horrible.
The second time around was much better, I put in a side mic CB with a PA and better mic than what the first one had, I also cleaned up the wiring which took forever. The CB is loose in there which makes it easier to plug the mic in and store it.
The antenna mount is the weak point in the system. As you can see it is just fabbed up from some flimsy steel that was lying around. I will eventually make a more solid mount and paint it right, but this works for now. The antenna actually created some more wind noise which surprised me but it's not too bad. I routed the coax cable through a grommet in the taillight and then out above the top mounting screw, the tailgate actually closes over it but it's not bad. Charlie Whiskey did not get his antenna right on the SWR meter and his is a little more intensive to change than mine.
I still don't like the feeling of drilling into my truck, it's weird, and I hate it when I buy a truck that has random holes everywhere from someones half-done wiring attempt hack job of a sound system install. That being said, I wanted a discreet CB install without a mag mount antenna more than I didn't want to drill holes. You can't win at everything...
 This is the one thing I really wanted most of all, a PA system. As I said above I don't yet have the speaker for it but I will be buying one soon, it was between a PA speaker and a Hi-Lift jack, I chose the Hi-Lift. I don't actually have any pictures of it because I forgot to take them off of the camera which is at my girlfriends house. It's just a regular Hi-Lift 48" that has had a rough life, it's pretty beat up but it works properly, just needs a little TLC right now. I left it at the shop because I plan on painting or at least oiling it up later then finding somewhere to put in in my truck.
The rest of this post is going to be some future plans, the above picture is a center console for a 4Runner, it's the base model one which has more storage, I don't have this one, I have one with rear heat that I never use so I plan on swapping them out which is actually a lot harder than it sounds, the rear heater uses coolant from the engine to work so I have to re-route some coolant pipes, plug up 2 holes in the floorpan, and find a 2 level center console (My first 4Runner had one, I should have kept it...) they are actually quite rare evidently because I've been looking for one for a month with no luck, no junkyards have one, nobody is parting out a base model 2WD 4Runner, nothing. At this point I'll take any color (I prefer gray, but oh well) just to get my hands on one.
Not my picture
This is something I really want but will not buy, this is a CBI rear bumper and tire swingarm. $2000+ of steel for the back of your truck. Now I'm all for it, I just can't justify 2 grand on a truck I spent less than that on in the first place. Plus, I already have the swingarm, so I couldn't but this anyways. My plan is to build my own, I want to modify the swingarm to hold the tire at an angle with a Chinese Military Folding Shovel, and a good 3 ton floor jack and handle all locked into it. I also want to build a steel bumper I can jack up using a Hi-Lift (I would kill the stock bumpers if I tried that) with storage for a tow strap, and 2 protected Hella-style lights as reverse lights.
This may come as a surprise to some of you but I actually hate brush guards, in my opinion they are pretty much useless and they stick out way too far. I like the tough, off road look they give but I think a TJM Front Bumper looks way better plus you can have a winch without ripping anything off. I don't like any of the available options for 4Runners as far as front bumpers go, the Boondock Front Bumper, Brush, and Hood Guard looks incredibly menacing on the road, there is a guy who lives somewhere around me who has one, nobody is ever in front of him on the road. The thing is an absolute tank, beefy, menacing, intimidating. It's awesome. I want to build one for my 4Runner. My requirements for a front bumper like that would be it has to be able to be unlatched to get to the engine, has to have mounts for 2 or 3 lights, integrated turn signals, front hitch mount, winch mount, and it has to be strong, not so heavy that the truck can't move, but strong. This however, brings me to my biggest want for River, a diesel engine. Preferably a D4-D but a 1KZ-TE is ok too, as long as it is backed up by either a 5 or 6 speed manual transmission (6-speed would be glorious). Diesel Toyz in Texas seems to have a good customer base and reputation, but this is pretty expensive any way you do it. Especially if you factor in the cost of 2 custom fuel tanks, a dual-fuel system running both diesel and WVO (Waste Vegetable Oil), and a host of other mods I want to do. The closest mod I will be doing (I am in the planning stage right now) is building a custom Safari Basket for the top of my truck in the style of a Gobi roof rack, with my own design built in. Right now I know I want a basket with mounts for 3 lights in the front, 2 in the back, and integrated wiring system for the lights with quick-disconnect points, I want it to bolt into the stock roof rack mounts (in case I ever need to switch it to another 4Runner), have secured storage boxes on either side for a Hi-Lift jack, Fire Axe, Rope, and other gear, and look better than the rest of the options available (None except the Gobi-which is unavailable for a 2nd Gen 4Runner-look good in my opinion). Plus building it myself will allow me to learn, I don't currently know how to weld, but I know an amazing welder who has agreed to teach me and let me use his equipment for this project. I just need to buy the materials and do it. Oh, and if I build my dad one he will buy the materials, but I have to front the cost. So technically I will be building 2 racks.

So, overview:

1. Diesel Engine, WVO 2 Tank setup
2. TJM/Boondock Style Front Bumper with Winch, Hitch Mount, Lights, and Recovery Shackles
3. CBI Style Rear Bumper/Modified Swingarm with Jack, Shovel, and Tow Strap Storage, Lockable
4. Gobi Style Safari Basket with Hi-Lift, Chinese Military Shovel, and Rope Storage, Lockable
5. Tube Steps/Rock Sliders
6. Custom Skid Plate
7. Custom Underbody Armor (Gas Tanks, T-Case, Diffs, Other Important Pieces)
8. Custom Storage Well where normal spare goes, 13.5" Deep, 31"x31" wide/long
9. Snorkel for intake

This is by no means a "complete" list (that would take pages) but this is the majority of my plans, The armor I plan to add would NEED a diesel engine just to move the truck, my truck weighs something like 2 tons stock, that is at least another 500lbs plus the extra weight of the diesel, plus gear weight, plus 2 full gas tanks, plus... yeah, a lot of weight. This is also quite an expensive list in both time and money, I will need to design and fabricate all the metalwork, plus I would most likely be getting a reputable shop to swap the diesel in, then rust repair/prevention... it goes on and on. I figure buy another MR2, make it reliable, then get the 4Runner stripped, prepared for the swap, painted, swapped, and rebuild to driving condition, then build the armor over time as a project.

My name is Seth and I have been modding for... you know what screw you guys, I'm going home (to build my truck)!

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