Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Prepping a Tacoma for a FWC....and Europe

tacoma fwc eagle shell suspension tires brakes germany europe air bags

  • Please log in to reply
19 replies to this topic

#1 GrayJ

GrayJ

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 13 posts
  • LocationRheinland-Pfalz, Germany

Posted 15 August 2016 - 01:31 AM

WTW,

 

I have a Tacoma and just purchased a FWC Eagle shell. I also just found out I'll be moving to Germany for a 3 (possibly 6) year stay. I'll be shipping the truck and camper to Germany in March. I'm now prepping the truck and have a few questions I hope you all could answer.  

 

I’m looking forward to exploring Europe, and I’m guessing I’ll see a lot more highway than dirt roads.  In the past, I haven’t done any "real" off-roading, mostly highway along with forest service roads getting to trailheads or out of the way camping spots in OR, WA, and CA.  I haven’t really had any problems with my stock setup, but I know I’ll need to make some changes to accommodate the camper. I travel pretty light (backpacker) and want to keep it that way, so I don’t plan on upgrading the bumpers or adding a winch until I know I’ll actually use them. The truck will probably be my only vehicle, so the camper will not be mounted full time.

 

The truck:  2010 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab SR5 V6 4x4 (stock, 85k miles)

                  16 in alloy wheels with P245/75R16 Michelin LTX M/S2 tires
                  recall rear springs installed (3 leaf w/overload)

 

The camper:  2016 Eagle shell with factory furnace, aux battery, and roll-over couch

                      Haven’t weighed it yet, but the data plate says 600 lbs
                      Planned add-ons: small solar setup, and maybe a fridge later on

 

As of now, I’m planning the following upgrades:

 

Suspension:

 

Boss air bags with Boss adjustable shocks front and rear. I would install custom leaf packs, but I’d like to be able to adjust when the camper is not mounted. Since the truck is at 85k, I'll probably replace the front springs with new stock springs at the same time. 

 

-  I’ve noticed references to air bags putting concentrated stress on the frame. Do I need to strengthen the frame at the mounting locations?   Should I pair the bags with slightly upgraded custom leaf packs to help avoid this?

 

Tires:

 

I know I’ll need to ditch my passenger rated tires in order to better support the extra weight. I’d like to avoid E rated tires to preserve the ride quality, but it doesn’t look like I have much of a choice. I’m on the fence between staying with the stock 245/75’s and going to 235/85’s. I haven’t seen a 235/85 in anything less than an E, but I have seen a couple 245/75’s in a C. Right now I’m leaning toward Cooper Discoverer AT3’s, as they seem to be one of the lighter AT tires out there, or another set of Michelins.

 

-  Would a C rated tire be up to the task?

-  Anybody know of any D rated tires in either 245/75R16 or 235/85R16?

-  Since the 235/85's are larger in diameter than the 245/75's by about 1 inch, would I have any trouble using chains?

 

Brakes

 

I’ll be replacing my original front and rear brake pads at the same time as mounting the camper.  

 

-  Should I be looking at aftermarket rotors and pads, or am I ok sticking with stock parts?

 

Europe:

 

Since I'll be driving a U.S. spec Tacoma in Europe, I'm thinking I should take some parts with me to try and avoid any availability or cost issues later on. Just off the top of my head; bulbs, filters, wipers. Any suggestions?

 

 

Sheesh, I think that's it. Am I missing anything? Thanks in advance for any input and for all the info that everyone’s taken the time to post on here.


Edited by GrayJ, 08 January 2017 - 01:46 AM.

  • 0

#2 Wandering Sagebrush

Wandering Sagebrush

    Free Range Human

  • Site Team
  • 6,243 posts
  • LocationNorthern Oregon

Posted 15 August 2016 - 01:40 AM

I'm not sure if US and EU propane standards are similar, maybe they are, but you might check to see if there are any issues.
  • 0
Real Dogs Have Beards - Fear the Beard

Tu Ne Cede Malis

#3 GrayJ

GrayJ

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 13 posts
  • LocationRheinland-Pfalz, Germany

Posted 15 August 2016 - 02:31 AM

Thanks for the tip. I won't be allowed to ship the 2 10 lb tanks that came with the camper, so I'll have to get new tanks over there. I'm still looking into whether or not I'll have trouble with the actual camper fitting or the furnace itself.


  • 0

#4 PaulT

PaulT

    Need gumbo

  • Members
  • 1,719 posts
  • LocationHillsboro, Oregon

Posted 15 August 2016 - 04:08 AM

You'll like the AT3's in comparison to the LT M/S2's. I just made the same switch on my 2010 Tundra. I needed to move from P series to E series. I really liked the Michellin's in Oregon's wet winter roads.
The Michellins are a little quieter and a softer ride but I have been pleased with the the AT3 tires thus far. Very quiet for a more aggressive tread and noticeably flatter in turns.

Paul
  • 0
I thought getting old would take longer.

#5 Roadtrip

Roadtrip

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 15 posts
  • LocationArizona

Posted 15 August 2016 - 04:22 PM

I put 235/85/16E Cooper Discoverer A/T3s on my 2004 Tacoma DC and the ride is much improved over the BFG ATs 265/75/16D that were on there. I'm running them at 35 lbs with stock suspension and a SnugTop camper shell as the only added weight. I love the ride - not rough at all, and the added MPG is an additional plus.

 

Try them - you won't regret it!


Edited by Roadtrip, 15 August 2016 - 04:22 PM.

  • 0

#6 knoxswift

knoxswift

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 179 posts
  • LocationBig Bear City, CA

Posted 15 August 2016 - 06:21 PM

I have these on my 2010 Tacoma in E rating for my FWC:

 

http://generaltire.c...suv/grabber-at2

 

Excellent tire, on and off road.


  • 0

#7 knoxswift

knoxswift

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 179 posts
  • LocationBig Bear City, CA

Posted 15 August 2016 - 06:23 PM

Also, I do have custom made springs for my 2010 and FWC but in addition I run these:

 

http://www.activesuspension.com Really helps with the Sway and adjustable.

 

For the front if you are looking to lift consider ICONs best bang for the buck.


  • 0

#8 moveinon

moveinon

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 106 posts
  • LocationMilwaukie Oregon

Posted 15 August 2016 - 07:40 PM

Hard to think about spending 6 years in Germany and not buying their Hilux turbo diesel pickup to put the camper on, especially with an exchange rate now of $1.12.  More torque, better mileage, cheaper fuel in Europe, better resale, and higher load capacity.  Wish they would sell it here.  But if you do take yours over:

 

Brakes-the front rotors on our Tacos are notorious for warping.  If you replace them getting slotted, with no drilling, will dissipate the heat much better than stock rotors.  There are also much better pads on the market than stock.  Going down off those Alps can be hard on brakes.  Couple of friends have upgraded to Tundra brakes and rotors for the additional breaking without warping.

 

Air bags-I went over some very rough roads and non-roads in my last truck which had Firestone airbags and other suspension upgrades (no frame reinforcement) hauling loads of gravel and wood-way more weight than your camper and never a frame problem.  I also had custom leafs and shocks and everything rode great when loaded, rode like hell when empty.  If you tune your suspension for the camper with springs, shocks, and airbags I do not think you will like it when the camper is off-pretty harsh.  Put quite a few miles on the current tacoma/camper with only air bags off road but not as rough and never a problem and my camper has about everything so is a bit heavy for the truck.  Just a word of advice-make sure that you have quality airlines for the bags as leakage there is about the only issue I hear about with them.  My experience was that a lot of the “off road” all over Europe was more like a logging road here in Oregon.  If in your travel if you decide to go to Morocco or Tunisia then you’re into a whole different off road and might want to contemplate a very different kind of build.

 

Parts to take-Lots of Toyota dealerships in Germany.  You should be able to find out which parts are the same between your Tacoma and the European trucks and then only take unique items that may need replacement with you.  Toyota may use a lot of the same parts.  I assume you are replacing belts, wipers, filters, etc on the truck before it ships.


  • 1

#9 GrayJ

GrayJ

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 13 posts
  • LocationRheinland-Pfalz, Germany

Posted 15 August 2016 - 09:18 PM

Thanks for the feedback on the tires.

 

Knoxswift;

 

Haven't heard of the active suspension product before, thanks. Might take a closer look. I'm not after a lift, just some help with the load. If, however, I end up gaining an inch or so after it's all done, I wouldn't be disappointed.

 

Moveinon;

 

You're right, it is hard not to think about getting a Hilux, in fact, I think I still am a little. Thanks to FWC's impeccable timing with regards to canning the Eagle, I had to make my purchase before I actually knew where I'd be moving next. Now that I have the Eagle, I think I'll stay with the Tacoma. The Hilux bed looks to be too narrow for it. On the other hand, I could sell the camper and truck, get a Hilux, and then put one of those nice composite campers on it. Thanks for reviving that dilemma in my head, haha.

 

"Nice composite campers": http://expeditionpor...ile-uro-camper/

 

I'll start looking for brake upgrade options. Tundra brakes and rotors on a Tacoma? Any fit issues with 16 inch wheels?

 

As far as the frame problem, posts like this are what have me concerned:

 

"Too many people put airbags in leaf suspension vehicles, pump the bags up to 70 + psi and load the vehicle up and wonder why their chassis bends. It's due to transferring all of the weight to a single point when the chassis is designed for two points. The best way is to upgrade springs then if required use airbags at a moderate pressure to create three points of contact."

 

On the other hand, I haven't seen very many posts on this issue, so I maybe I'm just paranoid. In case it's not obvious, I'm following Jonathan Hanson's JATAC build pretty closely as far as suspension upgrades:

 

http://www.exploring...ir-bags?rq=boss

 

I'm hoping to make at least one trip down to Morocco or Tunisia. I figure I'll just go as far as my setup can reasonably take me.

 

Yes, trying to replace everything that may need replacing before I ship.


  • 0

#10 knoxswift

knoxswift

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 179 posts
  • LocationBig Bear City, CA

Posted 20 August 2016 - 10:18 PM

I think the active suspension does lift it a little because it keeps the leafs arched. But not like putting a different pack in. I like them. They reduce the sway.


  • 0





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: tacoma, fwc, eagle, shell, suspension, tires, brakes, germany, europe, air bags

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users