2018 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road Build - margygreen

On 30Nov2018 I purchased a 2018 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road 4x4 to use as the base of my next project. To get be able to get the best price deal, I ended up getting a 2018 with all the options, Premium and Tech packages. The 2019 identical model and options was identical in every respect.  This page will document the modifications. The photos below show the truck the morning after I picked it up.

I really hate that most new vehicles only come with the option of a all black interior. It is so dark and shows every little speck of dirt especially on a vehicle taken off road an in desert areas. I'm adding light gray interior accessories to try and lighten up it up, otherwise it is too dark and depressing for me.

Stock 2018 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road 4x4 with Technology & Premium Packages as Picked Up

  • 2018 Gen3 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road as brought home
  • 2018 Gen3 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road as brought home
  • 2018 Gen3 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road as brought home
  • 2018 Gen3 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road as brought home
  • 2018 Gen3 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road as brought home

Ditch Lights & Brackets

I ordered the low profile hood ditch light brackets with the the 27W side illuminating LED pod lights, wiring harness, and interior push switch from Cali Raised LED. The side projection section of the lights only project to one side, the ditch side, for the respective drivers or passenger side mounting location. These lights work with RIGID DSS light covers. I got opaque black since when driving in California they have to be always covered when on roads. I also have the clear covers for use the rest of the time since Arizona and other surrounding states don't require them to be covered. I have these slightly turned toward the outside to illuminate more of the ditch for nighttime off-road driving.

Ditch Lights & Brackets

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  • 20190102_123951

Dual Battery System

I ordered the Tacoma dual battery system kit from Off Grid 4x4 Engineering with in-cab switch. The horn was relocated from the fender to the rear firewall side bracket of the passenger side battery holder. I completed had to cut a file the factory switch opening to accommodate the larger Carling Series size battery switch. The small cubby  was replaced with a metal CaliRaised three switch plate. The Ditch light switch was part of the Cali-Raised kit but I'm replacing it with another fromCH4x4 because the blue text illumination is very dim and uneven compared to the other. The air compressor switch is also from CH4x4. Both illuminate blue.
My 2004 4Runner has the DirtyParts.com dual battery kit but this newer system from off-grid4x4  is in my opinion a better cleaner install kit.

Dual Battery System Off-Grid 4x4

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  • 2ndbattery_29Dec2018_013

Electrical Power Tray

A blank Tacoma Gen 3 TRD Off Road Power Tray was installed in the engine compartment to hold various components to control the electrical accessories. The tray holds a 2nd battery on off switch, a fuse, a low voltage disconnect, grounding bar, 6 circuit fuse box.

Power Tray


ARB Twin On-Board Air Compressor in Expedition Essential Kit

I ordered the Gen 2/3 Tacoma bedside compressor mount kit with the ARB Twin air compressor and additional extra long wiring harness and accessories from Expedition Essentials. I replaced the included ARB switch with a CH4x4 Toyota Push Style blue LED ARB Twin Air compressor switch to mount in  a factory position on the dash. This kit mounts in the drivers side bed compartment replacing the factory plastic storage box. I had debated putting the switch in the rear by the compressor but left it on the dash.

Once I get the habitat topper installed I'll add an easily accessible port.

ARB Twin ON-Board Air Compressor

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  • on board air_08Dec2018_004
  • on board air_08Dec2018_005

Hood Solar Panel & Controller

I installed a Solara 80W 24V solar panel on the hood. This solar panel is designed for sail boat decks. I also have one on my older 4Runner and it has worked well. It is connected to a Victron Smart solar controller to keep the second battery charged. There is a second solar controller to plug in a portable solar controller on a long cable to move around with the sun.

Hood Solar

  • Tacoma Solara hood solar panel
  • Tacoma hood solar
  • Tacoma hood solar

Front Grill

I replaced the stock grill with an aluminum grill from Bullet Proof Fabrication. I painted the piece behind the letters blue.

Front Grill

  • bullet proof fabrication grill

Coming Soon Here: MobTown Rock Sliders Information & Photos

Coming Soon Here: Full RCI Skid Plates Information & Photos

Coming Soon Here: Rims & Tires Information & Photos

Coming Soon Here: King Suspension & Deaver Leaf Springs Information & Photos

Hood Lights

I installed the KC Cyclone LED hood light kit. I made a vinyl cutout label to show where the switch is.

Hood Lights

  • Tacoma KC Cyclone engine lights
  • Tacoma KC Cyclone engine lights
  • Tacoma KC Cyclone engine lights
  • Tacoma KC Cyclone engine lights

Interior Molle Panels & Storage bags

I ordered the center console, front door, and headrest Molle panels from ogfab.com. They come powder coated black but I painted mine blue. Since I had the ram mount post on the passenger side, I trimmed the passenger side panel down and re-drilled a mounting hole so it wouldn't interfere. The door and center console panels are mounted using rivet nuts and stainless steel allen head bolts.

To both doors and both sides of the center console I attached Condor Coyote Brown  MA67 pouch, 2 on each door and one on each side of the center console. These will be used to hold cameras, binoculars, extra batteries, field guides, etc. Also on each side of the center console, I added a One Tigris water bottle holder. This is a convenient location to hold a Hydroflask. The passenger side center console also has a Condor glove pouch that holds ~ 3 pairs of 9mil gloves. The headrest panel has a large Condor shoulder bag for keeping dog supplies. I have another panel and same bag for the other seat but after I remove the back seats and set that area up it will likely go against the back wall.

Molle Panels & Pouches

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  • molle panels_14Dec2018_006
  • molle panels_15Dec2018_010
  • molle panel_16Dec2018_001
  • OGFab headrest molle panel
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Raingler Ceiling Net

I added a gray with blue stitching Raingler Ceiling net. I find the net useful for holding my windshield sunshade, jackets and hats, down Rumple blanket and herping tools: snake grabbers & stump ripper. This keeps these items up out of the way and gives my dog more room and keeps her off the stuff..Having the moon roof limits the ceiling space and there would be much more space above the net if I didn't have the net. I don't intend on having backseat passengers so I'm not worried about the net lowering the ceiling height for people sitting in the back.

Raingler Ceiling Net

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Coming Soon Here: Hi-Lift Mount Information & Photos

Badging Blue Overlays

I ordered azure blue vinyl overlay kits from TVDVinylDecals.com . I also added the Toyota Door Sill Protectors.

I disliked the red TRD Off Road 4X4 factory sticker, mainly because it is red. Some people completely remove them but I haven't decided to do that yet so I added a blue overlay on the 4x4 I made with my vinyl cover.

Badging Overlays

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  • trd or decal_25Dec2018_003
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  • badging_01Jan2019_003
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Hood Struts

The Tacoma only comes with a manually operated hood support rod. Not being used to it I found it annoying. I added the Redline Tuning Gen 3 Tacoma QuickLift Plus hood strut kit. This kit adds a pneumatic hood strut to each side of the hood. It was simple install, just measure twice to ensure proper placement and then drill holes and install the brackets with rivets. I used the Astropneumatic drill adapter rivet tool, a manual rivet tool would be difficult and the drill adaptor is well worth it.

Hood Struts

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  • hood struts_16Dec2018_002
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My Tacoma didn't come with the factory mudflaps. I didn't want rocks dinging up my side panels or my future rock sliders. I ordered the standard size RokBlokz mudflaps.


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  • mudflaps_29Dec2018_001

Interior Mods

I didn't want the Toyota all-weather floor mats but they were part of the vehicle already. I replaced them with gray Husky all-weather floor mats that provide more coverage and protection. I also added a gray dashmat.I replaced the small non tactile factory radio knobs with anodized aluminum ones from Hondo garage. I filled in the embossed octopus with blue paint (not shown). I also ordered the center console box from MesoCustoms. Since I used two add-a-fuse in the underdash fuse box, I ordered the MesoCustoms extended depth cover. The factory cover site flush over the top of the fuses.

Window Tinting: The rear passenger, back window, and moonroof are factory dyed tinted but that provides not heat reduction or UV protection. I had the rear side windows tinted with Formula One Pinnacle 15, 15% transmission film, on top of the factory tint, it gives the desired transparency. The moonroof was tinted with Formula One Pinnacle 50 film that blocks 50% of the heat and it makes a difference below the moonroof but allows more transparency since it was already factory tinted. The front windows were already factory tinted to 15%. I had the full windshield tinted with Llumar Air 80 a clear film that blocks 99% of UV but also 50% of the heat but is essentially clear transmitting 80% of the light.. The top windshield then received a Formula One Pinnacle 5,  5% transmission dark strip. I didn't get the rear window tinted because I will be putting a topper on the bed.

Interior Mods

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  • floormats_01Dec2018_003
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  • floormats_01Dec2018_002
  • hondo knobs_17Dec2018_003
  • fuse cover_19Dec2018_002
  • coin holder_01Jan2019_001

Extra USB & DC Ports

Multiple electronics necessitated the need for extra USB & 12V ports. The 12V DC socket in the center console was replaced with a dual USB port, one a quick charge 3.0 to power the driver's phone and one 2.4A to power any other additional device such as cameras. The truck came with a Qi charging pad with is pathetic and never worked with any of our phones and besides who wants a phone loose sitting on a platform sliding around. The dash Qi button was replaced with a dual USB port, one quick charge 3.0 and one 2.4 A. These are extra ports for extra electronics that may need charged. A dual quick charge 3.0 installed in the glove box. This powers the tablet and passengers phone mounted on the top of the center console.

USB & 12V Ports

  • Tacoma USB ports
  • Tacoma USB ports
  • Tacoma USB ports
  • Tacoma USB ports
  • Tacoma USB ports
  • Tacoma USB ports

Phone, Tablet, & GPS Mounts

For the driver's phone, I installed a RAM POD 1 Universal no drill mount post. This post is clamped by the center shifter console mounting bolts. I like it in this position because it is easy to work with and the location keeps the phone out of the sun. A Digital Multi Mount (DMM) from The Taco Garage. Of all the mounts I've had or seen this is by far the best. It provides a clean no obtrusive mounting area for multiple devices and they are held very securely and don't bounce around. The DMM holds the tablet used with GAIA GPS app for GPS mapping, and the passengers phone. GAIA allows you to download in advance maps and different maps can be layered with the paid version. The tablet & phone are powered from the dual quick charge 3.0 port installed in the glove box. The tablet is held by a Hondo Garage Big Squeeze, and both the driver's and passenger's phone is held by Hondo Garage Phone Perfect Squeeze mounts. The GPS mount is a Hondo Garage Un-Holey mount on the drivers side vent. The GPS is held by a RAM mount bracket and is hardwired to the 2nd battery via the fuse box. This system holds everything very securely even when bouncing around off road and the device are within easy sight and reach.

Phone, Tablet, & GPS Mounts

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  • ram mount post_02Dec2018_002
  • The Taco Garage digital multi mount. This is the perfect solution for mounting accessories to the Gen 3 Tacoma.
  • The Taco Garage digital multi mount. This is the perfect solution for mounting accessories to the Gen 3 Tacoma.
  • Tablet and passenger phone mount attached the The Taco Garage digital multi mount using Hondo Garage Big Squeeze and Phone Squeeze mounts. Power from glovebox USB. Drivers phone on RAM mount arm using Hondo Garage phone squeeze mount.
  • Garmin GPS on Hondo Garage un-holey gen 3 tacoma vent mount.

LED Interior Light Bulbs

The incandescent factory interior dome and map light bulbs are so dim and yellow, especially with the all, black interior.I replaced both map lights and the dome light with LED bulbs from LUYED purchased from amazon. The factory map bulbs are difficult to replace but by wrapping it with a piece of masking or packing tape you can then pull it out. The map light LED replacement (LUYED 3014 6-Ex Chipsets - 100 Lumens) pushing right in. before pushing in all the way make sure it works if not flip it around. The LED dome light (LUYED 24-EX Chipset 300 Lumens 31mm) required a bit more finesse, slight bending of the unit to fit. This is because the factory bulb, rather than ending in a point,  has small flat ends that fit into a slot versus the full pointed ends.

LED Light Bulbs

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  • map light led_07Dec2018_003
  • map light led_07Dec2018_001

Bed Rug

I added a BedRug to the bed that covers and pads the bottom and sides. Since the bed will be used as a camper this is important to reduce dust intrusion into the bed. It covers the gap between the bed and the tailgate and also pads the tailgate making for a softer entry and bed for the knees.

Bed Rug

  • bedrug_01Jan2019_001

AC Drain Extension

I added a 5/8 inch heater hose with a stainless steel clamp to extend the AC Drain. normally it drips on the frame and has been a known source of frame rust in Tacoma's. Living in the dry desert this isn't as much a worry as other places, but it was a cheap and easy fix. The AC drain is located behind the plastic panel at the rear of the front right tire wheel well.

AC Drain Extension

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Things for my Dog, Pixelated Jaypeg

I added Jaypeg's sticker to the outside of her window.

I sewed a protective seat cover and door protector I still need to finish the seat cover.

Jaypeg Accessories

  • jaypeg decal_17Dec2018_001
  • 20190102_144955
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