Final minute automobile shake down prior to an Epic Overland Adventure


Though I’ve been arranging a extended variety Overland trip from my house in Northern Michigan to Colorado and Utah for some time now, the date has lastly arrived. And it kinda snuck up on my in all honesty. I know that does not make a great deal sense but with all the prep to the automobile and gear acquisition, I kinda lost track of time a bit. Nicely, four days till departure and I’m nonetheless waiting on a couple of crucial components. Go figure.

Most of the prep perform went into the 2017 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. A completely capable automobile in its personal suitable but there’s normally area for improvement, suitable? That is what I believed. Immediately after binge watching some YouTube videos of guys in Jeeps crawling by means of some epic mountain passes in Colorado and Moab, Utah, I realized there had been a couple of things on the truck that could use some focus. Now I know a complete size truck like a Tundra is no “rock crawler” but some of the obstacles we may perhaps encounter could potentially harm the truck. A lot of late nights with the net and a credit card led to numerous pallets of components mysteriously displaying up at my garage.

1st up was the CTE Bumper from Camburg Racing. I chose this bumper for it is great clearance improvement for the front tires. This will enable me to get the front of the tire on bigger rock obstacles and ledges devoid of damaging the bumper. Along with the clean, not more than the leading design and style that appears to compliment the general look of the truck. Lastly, a hidden winch mount and light integration was the icing on the cake. With no other cars to pull me out of problems, a 12,000 lb Warn winch with synthetic rope is now my life line. I also added a pair of 10” Rigid Industries E-Series flood lights as nicely as A-Series rock lights close to the winch and wheel wells. What I didn’t program for was the enhanced weight that could adversely influence the front finish. Which led to a couple of much more late nights researching.

Last minute vehicle shake down before an Epic Overland Adventure

Initially I planned on upgrading the original TRD Bilstien springs to a heavier pair of coils. When I had problems obtaining a definitive answer wether they would be compatible with the original shocks, I just decided it would be much easier to swap all the things out. And ICON Automobile Dynamics is had been my search landed. A couple of conversations with Joey from SDHQ Offroad and we decided on the Stage eight kit from ICON. New adjustable two.5″ shocks with remote reservoirs for added cooling, upgraded 700 pound springs for the added weight up front, and new progressive leaf packs for the rear. We also added new upper manage arms to boost wheel travel and alignment specs as soon as lifted. Mike, a buddy and certified mechanic helped wrestle the new components into location which was drastically appreciated. Not a hard set up but getting an further set of skilled hands was most reassuring.

Last minute vehicle shake down before an Epic Overland Adventure

ICON Automobile Dynamics Stage eight two.5″ CDC Shocks and UCA

A lot of the videos I watched showed Jeeps and trucks screeching across rock obstacles on their rock sliders. Essentially what seems like a operating board but straight attached to the frame and capable of bearing the complete weight of the automobile. Rock sliders are the sacrificial pawn constructed to take the potentially damaging hit by significant rock obstacles and ledges in order to guard the cars delicate sheet metal, rocker panels and doors. Luckily, Victory 4×4 in my house state of Michigan tends to make some of the finest armor on the marketplace. Though it was a four hour drive to Portage, MI, it was entirely worth it as I was provided a complete tour of their impressive manufacturing operation. Now I’m awaiting Victory 4×4 to come up with a rear bumper choice with dual swing-outs. Since that would be entirely unnecessary and badass.

Last minute vehicle shake down before an Epic Overland Adventure

Mocking up the raw steel Rock Sliders from Victory 4×4

Light Force was good adequate to hook me up with six of their ROK20 LED perform lights to mount to my bed rack. I mounted two lights on either side and two rear facing. If I ever will need to back into a campsite just after sunset, these lights will illuminate the sides and rear of the automobile providing me a clear image of any prospective danger lurking in the dark. But their major objective is to illuminate the operating location about the sides and rear of the automobile when parked. Wether for repairs or cooking omelettes, these lights are normally there and just a flip of the switch away.

Last minute vehicle shake down before an Epic Overland Adventure

Evening testing the Light Force ROK20 Function Lights

The subsequent couple of days prior to we launch will be spent laying out our gear, tools and toys to make positive we have all the things. As nicely as a trip to the grocery shop to stock the Dometic CFX75-DZ. Eventually, we will be in a truck with access to something we may perhaps have forgotten. But it’d be good to know we have the potential to program and pack for most of the conditions we’ll encounter. Some further things I installed more than the winter had been an ARB Dual onboard air compressor. Primarily to re-inflate tires just after airing down. And a Genesis Offroad Dual Battery set-up to assist with the further electrical demands. All in all, I really feel we’re as ready as we can afford to be suitable now.

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The realistic purpose of this trip is to discover the Rocky Mountains of Colorado such as the old mining towns that litter the southern components of the mountain variety. And comply with some the trails and higher mountain passes employed by early settlers that can exceed 13,000′. Then move into Utah and discover the crazy martian landscapes discovered about the Moab location. But most importantly, connect with my 15 year old son Kevin as we perform with each other to overcome any obstacles we may perhaps encounter. All though enjoying the organic beauty of this component of America.

About the Author:

Erik Meisner served in Attack Organization, 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment as a rifle group leader with deployments to the Middle East, Central America and Asia. He’s a licensed pilot, SCUBA diver and enjoys Alpine skiing, shooting, Overland camping, boating, sea kayaking, traveling and golf. Developing up in a military household, Erik had the pleasure to reside and ski all more than North America and Europe. Now residing in lovely Northern Michigan with his wife and two sons, they continue to delight in the outdoors as a great deal as attainable.


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