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BigMike's 2016 Tacoma Trip & Trail Log

Old 01-25-2018, 10:10 AM
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After a while we got into some slickrock



This was a tough line because you drop in from a sharp right turn. The reduced driver visibility of the Tacoma not helping here.







This was a nice little climb. I struggled at first but then found my footing by Crawling it very slowly in Dual low range.

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Old 01-25-2018, 10:12 AM
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On this drop off I was super tempted to run it hard driver because I love how the Crawler holds the vehicle back without using the brakes.



But because I'm still open-open, if one tire on each axle is able to unload, then you can still slide forward despite the engine maintaining a steady idle in gear.



That factor combined with the fact the front bumper sticks out a mile concerned me enough to stay a bit passenger.



It ended up being a very basic drop-off. No brakes needed. Just engage the TacoBox and let the engine hold you back.

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Old 01-25-2018, 10:18 AM
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This climb was pretty gnarly for open-open. I could have taken a simple dirt-road line to the far right but took the hard line up the middle.



I couldn't climb it without lockers so I shifted the T/Case in High Range and the TacoBox (Crawl Box) into Low to use our 4.70:1 T/Case ratio, and in 8th gear (2nd gear + single 4.70) I was able to get enough tire speed to trigger the Auto-LSD computer. This was only my second time using the Auto-LSD since owning the truck. It did it's job, only had to bounce a few times and once I felt traction I let up in a smooth enough fashion to not lose forward momentum and was able to do the rest with just the single Marlin Crawler Crawl Box. One positive I learned here is that the Marlin Crawler amplifies the effectiveness of the Auto LSD. But... it's still a lot of bouncing and tire carnage.



This spot was even worse for the open-open Tacoma and I learned something I never knew before.



Because Auto-LSD worked above, I decided to run the same gear here: 8th gear with my Marlin Crawler in Low and T/Case in 4-High. It was a struggle. I revved the crap out of the truck and was spinning the tires so much that I was literally getting white smoke from my tires. (Such a dumb system Toyota.) Our Trail Leader was spotting me and he asked what gear I was in. He laughed when I told it was 8th lol

Rear tire stuffs nicely.



According to our trail leader, whose 200-series Land Cruiser is equipped with ATRAC, the computer runs a more aggressive VVT-i programming in Low Range. (I am very curious to know if this is true for the Auto-LSD system.)
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Old 01-25-2018, 10:20 AM
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So I shifted out of the Marlin Crawler and put the T/C into Low Range and grabbed 11th gear (2nd gear + stock t/case). It still was not a pretty sight and at a higher final drive ratio I had more tire smoke and more bouncing. I probably should have given up but the Trail Leader was excited to see me make it and gave me the go ahead to keep trying.

White-smoke tire burnouts on the trail. If this is what Toyota wants new drivers to do then I am worried for the future of off-roading.

Finally made it! Sorry slickrock and sorry BFG tires. Man oh man this is so not my style of wheeling. I won't go out again without getting the ARBs plumbed in that's for dang sure.



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Old 01-25-2018, 10:22 AM
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Next there was an optional long steady, sort of a narrow v-grove climb that leads up to a large & steep waterfall. At the base of the waterfall there was a ditch-out route so I went up as high as I could and then bailed. A few people in our group tried the waterfall and only one guy made it. I'd love to return here next year with lockers and larger tires and give it a go!

Here I am near the top of the v-grove section.



Stopping for lunch



Great day for some wheel'n!



At this point it was already close to 3pm and I had a mission that I was on and needed to get up to northern Utah for a business trip. So a few of us took a fireroad back to the highway (including Marlin who needed to get back in time to help at the annual Raffle).

Here we are airing back up. I am using a portable version of ARB's new maximum twin-compressor which works "decently well". It isn't as good as a York and certainly not as good as a RV2 (which I've got mounted to my 3RZ in my Hilux). But for an electric compressor it did well for my lil 33" tires. (I plan to install a similar setup with an under-the-bed aluminum air tank for on-board air and to operate my air lockers.)



Love that Moab red dust!



And that was it for me and Cruise Moab 2017!
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Old 01-25-2018, 02:18 PM
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Trip #9 - Moonlight Madness (June 24, 2017)

First trip with the bed bobbed! (6" removed from the back of the bed)

Event: 31st annual Moonlight Madness (https://sites.google.com/site/clovis...nlight-madness)
Trail name: Bald Mountain
Location: Central California, east of Shaver Lake, CA
Special note: ARB Air Lockers installed F&R but not plumbed in yet. Truck is still open-open.

This trip was discussed from reply #411 of my build thread, so I'll copy much from that here.

The next month I was able to attend the 31st annual Moonlight Madness, which is a local 4WD club's event that has become so successful that it is recognized by the California Four Wheel Drive Association. The main event is unique due to it taking place from sundown to about 3am (moonlight!). Because Bald Mountain can literally be done in an AWD family car with ample ground clearance and a skilled driver, the event attracts all makes and models of every imaginable configuration which makes for some interesting times in the dark to say the least.

Usually we miss this event because it coincides with the Toyota Land Cruiser Association's annual Rubithon event, but as previously mentioned we had a great winter and the Rubicon trail was still closed. So off we went to Moonlight Madness!

Here I am with my first return to the Dinky Creek Trail Status Board since last year!





Any day back in the mountains is a great day



I forgot to mention what tires I'm running: 33" BFG All-Terrain T/A KO2, specifically a 285/70R17 which converts to 32.7" x 11.2" x 17" :thumbs: Stock tires were 265/65R17 or a 30.6" x 10.43" x 17".

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Old 01-25-2018, 02:40 PM
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We were invited to do a Vendor Appreciation run of which there were about 10 rigs. Mine was the newest, most stock, and the only one with no lockers, but thanks to the Marlin Crawler it was quite capable.



The confident feeling you get when you have the World Famous "Crawler Truck" in your group is so impressive. To know that no matter what happens, no matter what brakes, you've got one of the best trail recovery vehicles and person on the planet in your party.



Basic, exposed terrain of our pretty High Sierra Nevada mountains. The elevation for this trail ranges from about 6,500 to 8,000 feet.



It wasn't long until I got a chance to REALLY APPRECIATE just how awesome the Bed Bob is!!

Check this out! The factory bumper's trailer receiver cleared without contact!



The best thing about this with a Marlin Crawler: NO BRAKES, just let the greatly magnified engine compression braking hold the truck back while idling. The Marlin Crawler adds massive vehicle control to the driver. Amazingly smooth, slow, precision Crawling, without any of the bucking, popping, jerking, and 12-minute brake overheat issue of Toyota's gimmicky "Crawl Control" system.

The young new kid Tacoma showing some of the older trucks how to CRAWL.


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Old 01-25-2018, 02:45 PM
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Look ma, no hands!

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Old 01-25-2018, 02:47 PM
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Walking the Crawler





Pic of me filming the above video ...driverless



Cool shot with the Crawler Truck


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Old 01-25-2018, 02:49 PM
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Climbing up for a nice re-group photo





I have to admit. Things are certainly a whole lot more comfortable in the Tacoma



Whooops hahahaha Did this somewhere. Looking forward to tossing these wheels soooooon



Back in 1979 when Toyota introduced the 4WD Hilux it was marketed as the Son of the Land Cruiser. Do you guys think the Tacoma should be marketed as "The Son of the Hilux"?

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Old 01-25-2018, 02:50 PM
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Next we headed over to a popular obstacle known as V Rock. The hardest line is to the far left (out of the photo), the standard line is up the V (visible at left), and the easy line is what I took here on the right.

Here is a nice series of me going up open-open (no lockers), just pure traction by way of very low gearing (throttle-less slow & steady Marlin Crawler static friction FTW!)





With the Marlin Crawler TacoBox engaged you can go so slow (no throttle, no brakes) that a spotter can even rest his hands atop a tire while moving!







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Old 01-25-2018, 04:48 PM
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Next I spun around and climbed a steep ledge to the east side of V Rock. This ledge is fun because as you move right it slowly becomes more steep. There is a point at which my 1981 shortbed Hilux will not Crawl it, even with a 511:1 reduction, but yet a long wheelbase Hilux with a Marlin Crawler will go right up. So I was eager to take this 20% longer Tacoma up a much steeper section than I've ever tried and that is when this happened...





Everything was going good until the Tacoma began smoking!

So I backed down and waited for it to clear out.....which took quite a while!



It is strange that the smoke is white. This indicates water being combusted, such as a blown head gasket. It is typical to burn oil at severe angles due to oil shifting to the back of the pan and in a way flooding the rear cylinder(s) such that the piston rings cannot prevent oil from passing into the combustion chamber.....but burning oil through an engine results in a bluish smoke. For argument sake, there is a third distinguishable smoke color and that is gray which indicates a very rich fuel mixture.

Everything on my gauges looked fine so I reattempted the climb and up she went. Maybe the new emissions systems are just so efficient at even cleaning out blue smoke from burning oil.



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Old 01-25-2018, 04:57 PM
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Around the corner from V Rock is a fun climb called Hollywood Hill. As discussed earlier I previously demo'd the "Auto LSD" feature here on an easy line to the far-left a year ago and posted a video about it. Finally with the TacoBox I was ready to properly run the hill! Here is the only pic I have heading up

I could *never* have done this open-open before installing the Marlin Crawler. And now with the Crawler it's just point-and-shoot. Such an insane difference...



Continuing on a club member took me through a pretty nasty section that I opted to back out of. 33" tires and hardly any lift isn't gonna cut it here. Pretty cool shot of the All Pro slider saving my body



Flex is such a relative term!





Glad I backed out. I was in a pickle. My exhaust pipe was also happy I didn't go any further. This is such a lame place for the exhaust. I've already got a nice plan to relocate it.


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Old 01-25-2018, 05:01 PM
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Enjoying the many large exposed granite domes









Something about this AccessCab is still really, really exciting me. So much room here compared to my Hilux!

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Old 01-25-2018, 05:03 PM
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Finally made it to the top of Bald Mountain! This is one of many U.S.F.S. Fire Lookouts and a great place for lunch.



Overlooking Shaver Lake, CA



Few random pics while stopped







Back at camp I pulled out and *finally* put on my first sticker indicating I have a superior Manual Transmission!

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Old 01-25-2018, 05:05 PM
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Later that evening the main run for this event, as you can imagine for an event called Moonlight Madness, begins at dusk. I was part of the Trail Committee, providing support for the hardest obstacle known as Posi Hill.

Leaving camp



Beautiful sunset on the way back up the trail



Back at the tower



Ohh yeah first time night wheel'n the Tacoma!! The factory fog/driving lights are awesome!! I get the forward light from the highly efficient LED daytime running lamps and then nice, essentially Rock Crawling nearby flood lighting courtesy of the small lower driving lights. No headlights needed--I LOVE THIS. Very, VERY nice touch with this Toyota -- Obviously not designed for this, but very cool to use it while slowly Crawl'n on the trail.

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Old 01-25-2018, 05:08 PM
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Marlin and I were in charge of working Posi Hill which is one of the more difficult areas of the trail. There are a couple less challenging ledges to the left but to the far right is what many refer to as the "Buggy line": Two big ledges that are a wheelbase hole for many vehicles. It's pretty nasty to the far right.

The Crawler Truck and my Tacoma ready to provide assistance.



There were some people definitely using too much skinny pedal resulting in some carnage. This was the only roll over pic I got, this one a UTV. There were three or four roll overs. When you don't have low enough gearing, the only option is to gun it and hope for the best. It's unfortunate.



There were lulls from time to time when we'd be waiting for different run groups to make their way to Posi. During one of these lulls I decided to give it a go in the Tacoma: Attempt Posi Hill on the left side without having any posi lockers!!!


After I made it up this diesel-powered military Hummer came up to attempt the same line. He was also open-open... and... he... failed... over... and.... over... again... and... again! He must have tried for a solid 10 mins. He then turned around and left the area and people came over to me impressed how my Tacoma was able to make it up. MAN I love what the Marlin Crawler TacoBox Dual Case setup has done to my Tacoma!



And that's it! We got back to camp about 1:45am and enjoyed the raffle the next morning. Not sure when I'll be able to attend Moonlight Madness again but it was nice to support a local event for a change!
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Old 01-25-2018, 08:34 PM
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Trip #10 - 29th Annual Rubithon (July 14, 2017)

Event: 29th Annual TLCA Rubithon (https://rubithon.com)
Trail name: Rubicon
Run group name: "Marlin Crawler Sweep Run"
Location: Loon Lake, CA
Special note: *Finally* got my lockers hooked up!

Whew!! What an experience!!!

Before I begin, this thread is now officially caught up to my build thread. I regret not creating this thread sooner. It is currently late January 2018 and for this trip report I have no other notes and am recalling my experiences from 6 months ago. I am looking forward to being caught up here to provide the best reports directly after each event :thumbs:

As discussed from Reply #528 of my build thread, having only 2 weeks after Moonlight Madness to get the truck ready and with less than 24-hours on new 37" tires + a new suspension system, I made it to Loon Lake about 8 hours after our main group in time to catch some ZZZs before hitting the trail.

"Marlin Crawler Sweep Run" details:
I will be leading a group of seven built and experienced pre-1995 Toyotas on our annual "Marlin Crawler Sweep Run", which is an official run group where we are the last group to enter the Rubicon during each annual Toyota Land Cruiser Association's Rubithon event (http://rubithon.com), with the responsibility of repairing and helping any broken down or struggling rigs on the trail between Loon Lake and the Springs Campground.

As previously mentioned, helping others and giving back to the community has always been the Marlin Crawler way and we always look forward to this event. In fact, since the event started in 1988, we have only missed two. The unique and fun aspect about our Marlin Crawler Sweep Run is that we never know what to expect: We might come across a dozen broken rigs or none; We never know. So it is my job as trail leader to maintain a brisk pace to complete the majority of the Rubicon trail in one shot & get everyone safely to camp that same day.

This event is traditionally the third weekend of June but due to the strongest winter we've had I believe in more than ten years it took 3 extra weeks for snow melt and the trail to open. This also means the trail would be more difficult than normal due to 1) the stronger the winter = more rocks get washed out that were tossed & stacked in place during the previous wheel'n season resulting in nice more challenging obstacles, and 2) we were among the first 100 or so rigs to cross the trail since it re-opened meaning fewer and fewer rocks had been re-stacked at this point. Many of our Central and Northern California trails close every winter so they start off spring/summer more difficult and become easier and easier throughout each season. This is what makes being part of trail opening work parties so much fun: The trails are always most challenging early in the season!

For me and the Tacoma, this will be the first serious trail, the first time as trail leader, and possibly the first 3rd Gen Tacoma to take on the Rubicon!

My goals are as follows:
(1) Be the first 3rd gen to conquer the Rubicon
(2) Do not get stuck even once
(3) Do not require any spotting even once
(4) Do not take any body damage

Let's do this!!

Ohh yeah baby the Tacoma has received the infamous Rubithon Trail Committee magnet wooohoooo!





The new tires are 37" x 12.5" x 17" BFG KRAWLERs


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Old 01-25-2018, 08:39 PM
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Aired down and the day had begun!



Stopped to regroup and get some IFS action



This was past the old/former Gate Keeper and only about 10 mins into the trail: Clearly not enough clearance work had been done. The truck had only been on these meats for less than 2 days. It's gonna be a long but fun day!





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Old 01-25-2018, 08:41 PM
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We were moving quickly so I missed pictures of the entire Granite Bowl where the first Marlin Crawler Round Up event took place 18 years ago.
Here I am after a nice climb (that gives Carburetor guys issues) after leaving the far end of Loon Lake:



Liking the view without that fake hood scoop in my face!





Regrouping at the new overkill Ellis Creek bridge.



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