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BigMike's 2016 Tacoma Trip & Trail Log

Old 01-24-2018, 06:23 PM
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At this point I had encountered my first two annoying characteristic of the new Tacoma.

Old School Rock Crawler's Off-road Impressions I
  • The V6 flywheel must weigh a full metric ton. If you try jam'n through the gears in low range the RPMs don't fall at nearly a quick enough rate. I have no doubt this was done for better fuel economy as well as less apparent mistakes to novice gear jammers. I already have a simple solution for this in my mind.

  • The Hill-Start Assist is a major pain in the butt off-road as it prevents the ability to rock the vehicle back and forth in search of traction or a line adjustment. This is important especially on snow runs. If you're unfamiliar with it (like I was), the truck will hold the brakes for about 2 full seconds while you make a gear shift from a stop. The reasoning is to allow time to engage a gear and begin disengaging the clutch before the truck has a chance to roll down a hill. I can see this being a helpful feature for all the Tacoma owners who use the truck to take their cats to the pet groomer every Wednesday before picking up their kids from soccer practice. But come awn man people want to drive stick shift for the love of toe-and-heal clutch work. Afternoon cat food delivery Tacoma trucks have automatics by definition. With a manual trans Tacoma, they should at least provide a way to defeat this. It's not that hard: I'll just simply remove the clutch engagement switch from the system whenever in low range (insert relay, done). Now the ECU won't know when I'm using the clutch. Problem solved.
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Old 01-24-2018, 06:24 PM
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I've always wanted an XtraCab, aka Access Cab. The stock ground clearance is pretty sad...



...especially the horrendous design of the exhaust crossover. What was Toyota thinking here? The exhaust pipe is lower than the cross-member. It will, at least however, not be in the way of our Dual Case products which is nice but definitely I'll have to improve this.



At the base of Hollywood Hill



Up the approach to Hollywood Hill



High-centered again

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Old 01-24-2018, 06:24 PM
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I took the cheater-line off to the left





It gets steeper and steeper



Shot from the cab

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Old 01-24-2018, 06:25 PM
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Old School Rock Crawler's Off-road Impressions II
  • The Tacoma Transfer Case has a 2.566:1 low range gear ratio. This is 12.69% lower than the Hilux's 2.277:1 low range. But don't be fooled: Unloaded and with small stock tires this low range is usable until you get into any sort of a climb or descent. You cannot start the truck in gear; You have to constantly slip the clutch; You have to ride your brakes down the backside of every obstacle. It's okay for now, after all this is why the Marlin Crawler exists. In due time my beloved Tacoma!

  • I am very pleased to discover the new 2GR-FKS lugs down very well. This is absolutely critical for non-Triple case Marlin Crawler owners in those situations when you're in a real pickle and need to go as slow as possible. Of course I was stalling it -- it doesn't have a Marlin Crawler yet -- but I can clearly see this engine is going to be a winner once combined with some actual Crawling gear ratios. It fights hard to stay alive at sub-idle RPMs.
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Old 01-24-2018, 06:26 PM
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Stopped on the upper side of Hollywood Hill





Fun for everyone except the clutch

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Old 01-24-2018, 06:26 PM
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Old School Rock Crawler's Off-road Impressions III
  • Holy crap this seat belt auto-latching mechanism is crazy sensitive! It is so bad that after having parked on a hill, I could not buckle back up! If you unbuckle while on any steep grade then the seat belt becomes unusable. I had to continue up the rest of Hollywood Hill without a seat belt on. :o Any 1995 and older truck I've been in would allow you you pull the belt out so long as you pulled it slowly. Not so on the Tacoma no matter how slow I pulled. This I do not like.


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Old 01-24-2018, 06:27 PM
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Great weather for some wheel'n!



Elevation here is about 6,500 feet.



Continuing up towards Bald Mountain





Finally at the top! Elevation 7,838 ft.



Overlooking Shaver Lake, CA

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Old 01-24-2018, 06:28 PM
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Misc pics from the Top











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Old 01-24-2018, 06:28 PM
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The northern end of the trail is pretty dang easy and we skipped all the optional stuff the stock Taco couldn't do and bugged out. One last pic after airing back up and ready to return home.

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Old 01-24-2018, 06:29 PM
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We took some misc videos which I turned into a quick & dirty compilation with no music. It's nothing special. I remember my first time wheeling my 1981 Hilux (took it up Claw Hammer) and being crazy nervous to not even get a single scratch. I was overly cautious here too haha Hope you enjoy!


At the 4:03 min mark I wanted to try out the truck's "Auto LSD" feature so I got the Taco intentionally crossed-up and learned a very bad thing about the Auto-LSD. I discussed this in a rather long rant at reply reply #238 of my build thread. To sum it up here, Toyota's system requires the driver to apply increasingly large amounts of throttle the moment forward momentum is lost which is precisely the direct OPPOSITE of what you should ever do. Therefore, Toyota's Auto LSD system is teaching the next generation of off-roaders a horrible habit that adds stress to and increases the chance of breaking parts and damaging the environment (I.E. the same bad things that a Marlin Crawler TacoBox remedies).

And that was it for my first time with the Taco at Bald Mtn!

The rest of 2016

At this point I have to share the sad news that before I knew it the summer had taken off and got away from me. Looking back it's understandable how this happened as Toyota promised and then shorted me 7 months of ownership & build progress before the wheeling season got going.

In addition, after the Bald Mountain trip my wife and I celebrated our 10 yr anniversary in Hawaii, we returned to southern Japan to visit relatives for the first time since the largest earthquake disaster in recorded Kyuushuu history, I upgraded the entire content management system (backend) of our Marlin Crawler website (replacing the prior system that had been in use for 8 years), restructured both our sales and warehouse crews, and my wife and I started the process of purchasing our first house.

For the remainder of the year Marlin Crawler sponsored and attended 40 additional 4WD events, Forest Service CPR/chainsaw classes/trail work parties, and led three Adopt-A-Highway clean-ups (HWY168/CenCal). Members of 11 different 4WD clubs, it's no secret as to how serious we consider community involvement and it takes time to get things setup/prepared. This is a core, fundamental difference that separates Marlin Crawler from other companies in that when Marlin invented Rock Crawling it was first a hobby that then grew into a company; Supporting the community is where our heart is.

Combined with the new Tacoma, 2016 was one of my most productive years. Other than the Moab trip I posted earlier, I only went to one other event: Our 15th annual Marlin Crawler Round-Up at the Rubicon... in my 1981 Hilux... where we eclipsed the $100,000 dollar mark in total donations to the Rubicon Trail.

I went from a "3rd Gen Tacoma forum pro-lurcher" to a complete off-line ghost. But at least I made our Round-Up, which since 2004 my Hilux has never missed. After I got home I remember telling the truck how this will be her last Rubicon trip for a while.



I actually almost missed this one because I didn't get my internal/company work done until Saturday morning the day of the event. I drove my Hilux straight up to Rubicon, wheeled in solo, made it to the Springs Campground in time to oversee the dinner & raffle, and returned home the next day. Six-hundred highway miles and the Rubicon Trail in about 40 hours total!

Check out this 35-year old Toyota Rock Crawler with 19 times more torque than a 2016 V10 Dodge Viper at full throttle and still get'n it done overloaded up Cadillac Hill in the partial wet.
"I Love What You Do For Me, Marlin Crawler!"



edit:

Trip #6 - Valley Children's Hospital Toy Drive (Dec 3, 2016)

Hey guys!! I completely forgot about the 2016 Children's Toy Drive!! About five years ago, two of our customers got together to invite 4WD club members from various clubs in the area to get together and donate toys to the Valley Children's Hospital, the largest Children's Hospital this side of the Mississippi. It has since turned into a big event drawing close to 200 people from 4WD Clubs up and down the Central California Valley, a stretch of nearly 300 miles.

The event was covered by a local TV network as well as picked up in multiple valley Newspapers. Most of my pictures were of the actual event itself, which can be viewed on our website here https://www.marlincrawler.com/galler...rens-toy-drive, but here come a few pics of the Taco participating!










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Old 01-25-2018, 07:44 AM
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edit: Here come the remainder of my missing Toy Drive photos!










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Old 01-25-2018, 07:54 AM
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Trip #7 - Fins & Things (May 4, 2017)

Now the world's first Dual Case'd 2016+ Tacoma!


Event: Cruise Moab
Trail name: Fins & Things - Rating: 4/10
Location: Moab, UT
Special note 1: First trip for the new Marlin Crawler Dual Case setup! (28-speeds, 235:1 Crawl Ratio)
Special note 2: ARB Air Lockers installed F&R but not plumbed in yet. Truck is still open-open.

Cruise Moab is the largest annual Toyota-based Moab event, gathering over 200 in attendance, and is hosted by the Rising Sun 4WD Club. We have attended off-and-on since it's inception 20 yrs ago. It is an official TLCA event that is incredibly well ran by the Rising Sun 4WD Club of Colorado. If you've been wanting to run trails at Moab with extremely friendly and knowledgeable group of Toyota gearheads, then this is the event to attend.

This trip was discussed from reply #336 of my build thread, so I'll copy much from that here.

Knowing that my truck is still open-open with no (working) lockers, I signed up for some easier trails I've never done before. First day we did Fins & Things which has a difficulty rating by the Rising Sun 4WD club as a 4 out of 10. The first pic comes from about 6 hours into the road trip, stopping for lunch in Vegas



Brand new Marlin Crawler TacoBox Dual Case Unit looking great!



Arrived safely back in Moab!




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Old 01-25-2018, 08:24 AM
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Morning Driver's meeting



Now on 33s I aired down to 12 psi. Before I got beadlocks under my Hilux, I had 35" tires and around 7 psi it would begin burping air out the bead. Knowing the Tacoma is both heavier and has a smaller tire profile with 17" wheels, I figured I'd try 12 and see how it works from there.

The day has officially begun!





This lil climb was fun because Marlin got into a wheelbase hole and struggled. It took him a while to finally get up it and then when I came along, beings I am a good twenty-inches longer, I walked right up this...



...and on the very first obstacle my very first time using the Marlin Crawler Dual Case TacoBox I performed my very first Walking The Crawler!

It was awesome. Sure, 235:1 is not as impressive as my Hilux's 511:1 nor anywhere nearly as impressive as The Crawler Truck's 1,148:1, it was still cool to see. I got out of the truck during the steep section but only have this pic from Marlin's camera....which for some reason has a weird hue filter enabled (sorry in advance for the strange colors)

The truck climbed up the ledge on it's own in gear with no throttle input and no engine stalling. Keep in mind, with the Marlin Crawler TacoBox, the Tacoma now has around 2,350 foot-pounds of torque.....at an 800 RPM engine idle!



Oh man what a night and day difference having the Marlin Crawler installed!! This truck has 1,000% been transformed and the same with my confidence level -- I feel like I could go anywhere, traction limiting. The invincible feeling you get from the Marlin Crawler. Man oh man how long has it been since I've felt this way. This is so awesome to be building a new truck!!
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Old 01-25-2018, 08:25 AM
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Fins & Things has a few nice steep climbs. Moab slickrock traction combined with the Marlin Crawler meant that my Auto LSD was not used at all the entire day. I never got stuck and never had the LSD system kick in. The few times I lost forward progress were simply remedied by finessing the truck with the Marlin Crawler and letting the tires work and find traction. Honestly Moab is an amazing place to showcase just how much a difference the Marlin Crawler can make to a truck.

The increased amount of traction and control from the Marlin Crawler is simply incredible



Just idle on up. No gas, no clutch slipping. Point and shoot easy.



Very happy I got rid of that fake hood scoop



Thanks to the Marlin Crawler, my engine compression braking has been amplified by a factor of nearly 5 so I never have to touch my brakes no matter how steep or how large the drop-off is. Just focus on driving and let the low gearing hold the truck back naturally and calmly.



Cool pic from a Land Cruiser customer

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Old 01-25-2018, 08:28 AM
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First time Rock Crawling and the 2GR-FKS

Ok guys! By this time we were a couple hours into the trail and I had a firm opinion on the new 3.5-liter engine and Rock Crawling.

I am extremely pleased to report that this engine is the best, low-RPM lugging engine I've ever experienced. I can get the truck moving so slow and steady at approximately 250 RPM and it not only won't stall but it doesn't even shake -- it is entirely smooth at sub-400 RPM engine speeds for as long as needed. I was most impressed by this. All I have to do is take a slightly steeper line and not give any gas and let the weight of the truck load the engine down for a continuous & steady low engine speed. This is the control I've been preaching about when you install a Marlin Crawler.

For comparison my Hilux's 2.7-liter 3RZ-FE can lug down to and sustain about 350-400 RPM before it gives up the ghost, but at this RPM it is shaking and rattling quite badly. The new 3.5 V6 is extremely impressive. A 6-cyl engine has a power stroke 30 fewer degrees of crankshaft rotation compared to a 4-cyl, but no doubt progress in modern engine's Noise Vibration Harshness (Wiki:NVH) is really shining here with the modern 2GR.
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Old 01-25-2018, 08:30 AM
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Few pics from Marlin's camera (with the messed up hue)





Edit: Forgot to mention this is me playing around in Photoshop on a potential new windshield sticker








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Old 01-25-2018, 08:32 AM
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First time ever wheel'n with All Terrains and I was impressed. They hook up very well here in Moab. I thought they were grabbing better than Marlin's IROKs, which are probably better suited for lose rocky terrain.





Stopping for lunch





Back on the trail!



Cool pic with the Toyota legend himself!

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Old 01-25-2018, 08:33 AM
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With the front suspension loaded it seems the axle could have been designed forward a bit. No wonder these trucks have tire to body mount interference issues...



Got my very first low oil pressure warning light! Too cool!



And that was it for the Tacoma's first time now as a 235:1 bona fied Rock Crawler!

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Old 01-25-2018, 08:34 AM
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Later that night the Tacoma enjoyed it's third time in a Marlin Crawler booth. It was way awesome now having the only Dual Case 2016+ Tacoma in the world right in our booth!



Feeling better and better for the future of this Tacoma



And that was it for the Tacoma's first day of it's second time back at Moab!
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Old 01-25-2018, 10:01 AM
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Trip #8 - Flat Iron Mesa (May 5, 2017)

Event: Cruise Moab
Trail name: Flat Iron Mesa - Rating: 5/10
Location: Moab, UT
Special note: ARB Air Lockers installed F&R but not plumbed in yet. Truck is still open-open.

This trip was discussed from reply #344 of my build thread, so I'll copy much from that here.

The next day we ran Flat Iron Mesa. Like the day before the trail was new to me so I was eager to check it out. After gaining a lot of confidence from the Marlin Crawler TacoBox, I was eager for something more difficult. Rising Club rates this trail as slightly more difficult at a 5/10 rating.

Amazing weather, amazing turnout, gonna be another amazing day out wheel'n!





The trail started out pretty mellow





Nice views here and there




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