Taco Build

2001 TOYOTA TACOMA EXTENDED CAB          V-6          3.4L


ROOF TOP TENT: We managed to find an autohome (the Columbus model) on craigslist. We considered this a great find in Jersey, where things like this are hard to come by. We met some dude named Barry who was selling it for his friend Marty. Barry claims Marty only used it a couple times. Barry was unsure of what the Autohome even was, and proceeded to say, “What the hell is it, I would’nt give you $50 for it.”


DUAL BATTERY: Optima red top (starter battery) Optima yellow top (auxiliary battery)


I had to move the cruise control in order to fit the auxiliary battery under the hood. I also welded up a strong enough battery tray to withstand thousands of miles of bad roads.

Once the battery was secure I wired the Painless wiring dual battery kit. This included a toggle switch, indicator lights, solenoid, and various wiring accessories. The toggle switch allows the truck to jump start from the aux battery if the starting battery is dead. The toggle can also turn the entire system on and off.

I then installed the Power Bright 1100 watt inverter and mounted it behind the passenger seat. When installing you need to be sure the inverter has sufficent airflow and is properly secured.


I wired up a few accessories in the truck bed. When doing this I used a junction box for all the accessory wires. You can also see the 100 watt inline fuse used for the power inverter. (Better quality wire and accessories can usually be found at car audio stores.)


I setup an additional fuse panel for the accessories, then hooked them up to the auxiliary battery. The fuse panel has two additional  12 volt outlets that we use for the fridge, fan and charging devices.)


LED LIGHTING: LED lights are easy to install, and energy-efficient. LED’s are also known for putting out a significant amount of light while taking up very little space. With space and energy being a major issue while living out of your vehicle, LED’s are an excellent option for any auxiliary lighting.

One LED strip on the tailgate window works great while tailgate cooking.

IMG_3102The second LED strip is located inside the truck cap.

IMG_1618Along with the LEDs, I installed a couple of “light up” toggle switches.


WINDOW TINTING: This helps prevent wandering eyes from peeping your gear. We decided to do the darkest tint possible on all windows, except the drivers, passenger and windshield.


SECURITY: We had a basic car alarm installed. This comes in handy for breakins in crowded areas, and also helps with peace of mind when away from the vehicle.


WINDOW CAGES: I welded up some up for the rear sliders.


LOCK BOXES are a great place to keep valuables. I made this lockbox using  plywood and angle iron, then glued and screwed together using one way screws. It is Bolted the the body of the vehicle and locked using a pad lock and key. This box is big enough to fit a laptop, files, and cameras with room to spare.


SUSPENSION: ARB Old Man Emu full suspension kit with Dakar leaf springs. Along with great suspension, it lifts the truck about 2 1/2 inches.


TRUCK BED BUILD: Storage and organization is a major thing when living and traveling out of your vehicle. You may need to locate your items at a moments notice for whatever reason. I built storage cabinets out of plywood and covered the doors with a thin outdoor carpet. I painted the unit with a truck bed liner to ensure durability and water proofing. Notice the hand pump faucet on the bottom right of the photo.


WATER TANK: 7 gallon tank used with hand pump faucet. This is mainly used for drinking water.


We still had enough room to mount a surfboard on the cieling, fishing poles on the side, and the high lift jack on the cabinets.


AWNING: A bit if luxuary for a reasonable price. Not totally necessary, but when you actually need it, you will be stoked.


ARB FRIDGE: I ordered a much cheaper fridge, but after some shipping issues I had to buy an ARB last minute. Although it is expensive, it works great, flawless so far. It has ac & dc power cord options which works great when you can “plug in” at the campground.


ROOF RACK & JERRY CANS: Both items are reccomended for obvious reasons. The jerry cans also prove helpful when crossing borders from countries with cheap gas, and you can stock up.


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