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How a family rebuilt a trusty old 2001 Toyota Tacoma

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Truck drivers know how a truck can really go from being a simple vehicle to a Memorable Road Companion. It's more than just something that gets you from A to B, it's part of your family, it's a companion that has driven you and your family around for years. Whether it was for work or to go on an adventure, your truck was there to protect and do its job. Often, these trucks end up being part of our legacy.

 

This is what happened with a 2001 Toyota Tacoma Xtracab that from Plainville, commuted all over the place. Its owner, a hard-working American man, chose a 2.7L four-cylinder with automatic and 4x4 to deal with the cold winter months in New England. This truck was very well-loved and was used to travel 100 miles every day for work, racking up to 321,000 miles before its owner passed away.

 

However, his family couldn't see this being the end of what the grandkids renamed as "Grampy's Truck". That's why they decided to bring it over to California and start the process of extending its life.

 

The transformation

 

First, they fixed the rotted frame so that it was in enough good conditions to travel the country. Once in California, the real work started.

The good old Michelin tires were replaced with General Grabber AT2 tires and KMC XD128 Machete wheels, intended to provide better traction when driving off-road.

 

After much driving, the factory exhaust system finally gave up by falling off, and so was replaced with a Gibson after-cat exhaust system.

 

That was all for two years until a smog check further down the line required them to add two California Air Resource Board-stamped catalytic converters from MagnaFlow. That was enough to keep it going for another year without repairs until the front factory struts decided that it was time for them to retire.

To fix that, the family decided to install Eibach Pro-Truck struts and shocks, ensuring that the tires keep touching the road surface as they should.

 

Now that the grandkids are old enough to get their driving licenses, they are hoping to get a go at driving this truck which represents a connection with their grandad. However, not without some further modifications. Since the frame was starting to become a worry, they replaced it with a solid first-gen Tacomaframe all the way from Tahoe. They still aren't sure exactly how they plan to transform this iconic truck while maintaining its original form. Here are a few options they are considering:

 

Option 1 - Do a full-frame replacement but maintain all the Original Parts and update as needed.

 

Option 2 - Upgrade it with a lift, rear axle assembly from a V-6 Tacoma, winch, bumper, etc. to make it fully ready for the road and longer-lasting.

 

Option 3 - Do the whole transformation, add every little detail and extra as desired, and keep only the body and interior as it was.

 

Overall, this mission wasn't without any hiccups but it was surely worth every buck and minute as it kept the legacy of their dad, his trusty old companion, alive for many more years. And most importantly, they are now working out a safe way to keep this truck on the road, including adding a protective bumper. Is it time you do the same for your truck? Check out our Ultimate Bumper Guide to find what you need and contact us on live chat or by calling us on 281-404-2124 to get any advice or help.

 

(Original story published by motortrend.com https://www.motortrend.com/how-to/toyota-tacoma-build/)


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