RLLC-PROJECT: 2007 Toyota Tacoma aka #2GTACO 

RLLC-PROJECT: 2007 Toyota Tacoma aka #2GTaco

We’ve recently purchased a 2007 Toyota Tacoma for the shop as a project to get ourselves into the 21st century of Toyota four-wheel drive vehicles! If you’re reading this for the first time and just hearing of Red Line Land Cruisers, this is not our first Toyota rodeo! We have been servicing the Toyota Land Cruiser community here in Colorado Springs, Colorado, since 2007! We are not just talking about oil changes for FJ40 Land Cruisers.

We have been modifying, restoring, revitalizing, and mechanical restorations of FJ40s, FJ55s, FJ60s, FJ62, FJ80, and FZJ80 Land Cruisers, with an occasional 70-Series passing through town needing mechanical assistance! We personally own FJ40s, FJ55s, FJ80s, and FZJ80 Series Land Cruisers.

Now, we own a second-generation Toyota Tacoma from 2007.

GEAR PATROL stated, “Toyota sold 237,323 Tacoma’s just in 2022 alone, making it the eighth best-selling vehicle in America” in their “The Toyota Tacoma: Why Does Everyone Love It So Much?” story. Motor Biscuit stated, “The Tacoma has been the best-selling small truck in America for 18 years” in the “Why Is the Toyota Tacoma the Best-Selling Small Pickup?” story.

Despite all this “TACO GREATNESS,” we feel it will be hard-pressed to beat our Land Cruisers! At the same time, we must explore this new era of Toyota vehicles. The Toyota Tacoma and 4Runner are basically the modern versions of Civics and Integras of yesteryear. “They are all the rage!” We say this as those were the cult vehicles of the early 90s generation of tuner cars. That generation has grown into adulthood and is yearning to explore beyond the pavement. We get to say, “All the new kids are driving them!” as an additional generation or two has joined the fold, and Toyota (a.k .a., a Japanese brand) has a 4WD offering to quench the thirst to roam. Like us old geezers, Toyota offered two levels of 4WD vehicles back in the day, with FJ40 Land Cruisers and Toyota SR5 4X4 Pickup Trucks. Toyota has a global reputation for its four-wheel drive vehicles, so the big question today is whether Toyota is living off the vapors of reputation or they are still delivering that Land Cruiser “trickle-down” quality. Everything has to evolve and can not always stay the same as we love and remember it, so we will open our minds and wallets and take on the adventures of Taco!

Now, we need to come up with a good Instagram hashtag for it!
How about #DoubleOH7Taco or, better yet, short and sweet for the win: #2GTaco


Next Up: Where to start… #2GTACO NO SHELL! 

RLLC-PROJECT: 2007 #2GTACO Toyota Tacoma
Let’s start with getting rid of the camper shell! ALREADY LOOKS BETTER! We get it! A camper shell is a functional item, just not our “cup of function!” We have something a little different planned.


Mechanically inclined to dissect the Tacoma! 
RLLC-PROJECT: 2007 #2GTACO Toyota Tacoma

Have no fear, little #2GTaco! There’s just a bunch of your grandparents in here! You’re related! Guess it is a little embarrassing to prop your hood up in a room full of grandfolk! They just love to pinch cheeks and squeeze the hoses in a fit of “cute aggression.”


First things first, the stock fan clutch is toast after 204,000 miles! We toss on a new one, and we have another on the bench for R&D purposes as we typically modify these as we do for FJ62, FJ80, and FZJ80’s. We modified the OEM Aisin Fan Clutch to engage at 95 degrees as we changed the CST Fluid formula and adjusted the temperature springs to achieve a long term solution with a higher “lock up” rate. This is also known as the “Blue Hub Fan Clutch Mod. “ This modification is very popular because it correctly matches the fan engagement to the water pump rotation dynamics. See our fan clutches here: https://redlinelandcruisers.com/?s=fan+clutch&post_type=product 

Why are we so particular about all this? ELEVATION! Give this a read, “Elevation Doesn’t Care! Keeping Land Cruisers Cool!” We like to ask a lot of our rigs. Thus, they need to be given a lot of that TLC! It’s funny how TLC has double-meanings for us, Tender Loving Care – Toyota Land Cruiser.


Next up: Toyota Tacoma Safety Recall E02

Word on the street is.. There is a leaf spring recall on these Taco’s!

RLLC-PROJECT: 2007 #2GTACO Toyota Tacoma RLLC-PROJECT: 2007 #2GTACO Toyota Tacoma RLLC-PROJECT: 2007 #2GTACO Toyota Tacoma

We check ourselves in at the clinic. The dealership informed us that the leaf springs are in stock, and we should be done and out by the end of day. BOOM! NOPE! Sorry sir, we can not work on your 2007 Toyota Tacoma due to the aftermarket airbags that are installed and impede our removal and installation of the new springs. We can not warranty the work due to the aftermarket parts; thus, we can not work on your truck at this time. THE END! So we go back to the shop to asses our situation. We will bring it back sans airbags! We want those new leaf springs!

Here is the official word from Toyota 

Title: Safety Recall E02 – Remedy Notice Certain 2005-2011 Model Year Tacoma Pre-Runner and 4×4 Vehicles Rear Leaf Spring

Description: The subject vehicle’s rear suspension system contains leaf springs constructed of three or four leaves. There is a possibility that a leaf could fracture due to stress and corrosion. If this occurs and the vehicle continues to be operated, the broken leaf could move out of position and contact surrounding components, including the fuel tank.

Recall Date: September 29, 2014
Dealer Reference ID: E02
​​NHTSA Recall ID: 14V604

Source: https://www.toyota.com/recall
Word On The Street: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/leaf-spring-recall.566090/


Let’s Get Those Leaf Springs! 


No, this is not our version of a Method Race Wheels / Rotiform AeroDisc wheel Collaboration… Remember, we are attempting to have this 2007 Toyota Tacoma’s factory Safety Recall E02 completed! But we have a slight issue at hand. The dealership we purchased the pickup truck from did not supply us with the wheel lock nut. We could drive up to Denver from Colorado Springs, but that would be a wasted day! And, too, that’s like driving from Orange County, CA, to DTLA – NO THANK YOU! We will take matters into our own hands!   

Justin fashioned up our “RLLC-AeroDisc” with cardboard and yellow tape. We will not be attending Bonneville Speed Week to test the aero efficiency of Our “AeroDisc,” it is simply for the protection of the finish on the Method Race Wheel. With the “protection disc” in place, Justin welded a standard nut onto the wheel lock nut – AND DONE! Now we can get down to the business of removing the aftermarket airbags in order for Toyota to perform the E02 Leaf Spring Safety Recall. 

But “SinceYou-iz” Yellow Taping 


Justin does a quick visual marking indicating that he wants to “blackout” the silver area between the two windows. Yes, it’s a visual thing! The #2GTACO has to look good!

REMOVE AIRBAGS – TOYOTA TACOMA 

These are the aftermarket airbags that are impeding our progress of having Toyota perform the E02 Leaf Spring Safety Recall. We will remove them and take our happy Taco’ back down there! 


The passenger side airbag is missing the rubber bumper that rides on top of the leaf springs. Of course, there is a “clacking noise” being emitted from under the truck due to our bumpy street! With Colorado Springs sitting at 6,200-ft of elevation, it is a mountain town, complete with the pothole-riddled streets as expected from a mountain town that has overgrown tremendously over the past few years!

Poor Bilstein’s have seen better days! There is no telling what abuse these have seen! We will give these a proper, respectful burial. Upside to what is underneath! We have a full-size matching Method Race Wheel complete with matched-size BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A! But only if they knew the rules! 5-Tire Rotation, please! With the airbags out of the way, we have our appointment set to revisit our local Toyota dealership in hopes of having the E02 Leaf Spring Safety Recall performed!


DEALERSHIP VISIT Round-2 #2GTACO

With the aftermarket airbags removed, round two at Toyota Of Colorado Springs went much smoother. The E02 Leaf Spring Safety Recall has been completed! ☑️🏁 Now we can get on with the next-next! 


KICK’EM IN THE GRILL PETE! TOYOTA TACOMA 


It’s “stanky,” it’s clanky, it’s plain Janky! The factory push-pin connectors are very plastic, as typical with all these new(er) vehicles. Look at us calling this 2007 Tacoma “NEW!” But we are used to 1960 – 1997 Land Cruisers.. nuff’ said.

Does anyone have any suggestions on the best “bug-resistant” way to black out the front grill? Leave a comment here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CusQuBNJvr9/?img_index=1

Megamouth or catfish?


204,000 MILES OF STREET GRIME? #2GTACO 

New Toyota Tacoma to us, but we inherited a box of dust bunnies! The previous owner was obviously not doing the “every oil change – change the air filter” routine. Or at least inspect it!

While we were in there, we deleted the Post EVAP Charcoal Screen Filter as it was clogged due to the previous owner not changing the air filter often enough. Yes, we know removing this is not going to give us any “increased” benefits, but when it is clogged full of grime, our consciousness is on our dime.


CARPET OUT – SOUND DAMPING IN TOYOTA TACOMA 

The Tacoma had a bit of a musty smell to it, and in true Justin fashion, the interior gets pulled out, and we find the culprit with a bit of black mold on the back end of the carpet where it meets the rear of the cab. While we are in here, we apply sound-damping material for additional creature comfort in preparation for those long dirt roads!


Pho’ Sliders Removed from #2GTACO


These factory option “side steps” are NOT rock sliders! Pho’siders are for the bins! The scrap metal bin, and even then, these might not pass as actual metal! We want actual rocker panel protection with real-deal rock sliders fortified with real steel! We will address this at some point, but these stockers are in the recycle bin for now!


Headlight Polished – Toyota Tacoma


The headlamp on the left (driver’s side) shows how bad these housings are! The one on the right (passenger side) is the result after polishing the housings.

It’s a process of polishing with various grits and a final polish, topped off with a ceramic coat finish to attempt to preserve the plastic housing. The sun here in Colorado Springs is quite brutal due to our elevation, as our shop sits at 6,200 ft, and our wheeling mountains start at 9,000 ft. Thus, technically, we are sitting closer to the sun, so the UV index is intense! How intense? For every 1,000′ you gain in elevation, the sun’s rays can intensify by around 4%. This means that Colorado’s UV exposure can be around 20% higher on average compared to sea level – and more if you are on a 14er. Protect your headlight housings with good ceramic UV protection or, more often, with traditional waxes.


TACO’s And ICON’s – Two Peas In a Pod #2GTACO

You know we are ICON Vehicle Dynamics fans! Two of our three 80-Series Land Cruisers are ICON-equipped! But we are rather thrifty here, so we found a used set to pick up with leaf springs!



The ICON Vehicle Dynamics 2.5 VS RR CDCV suspension system should be the trick for the #2GTACO! ICON’S unique use of a 6061 billet aluminum manifold a few inches below the top cap of the shock creates an internal Bump Zone that, when used, creates an additional 20% damping force. This additional force helps prevent harsh bottom-outs and controls the suspension when compressing at high velocity. The ICON CDC Valve is an externally adjustable valve that restricts oil flow into the reservoir, creating ten levels of compression-damping force ranges. 


Dirt King Rear Frame Plate Kit

The Toyota Tacomas have C-channel frames from the cab back, allowing the frame to twist and bend. The Dirt King Rear Fame Plate Kit provides eight pre-cut 1/8th inch thick plates designed specifically for the first-generation Tacoma and allows you to box in the frame, dramatically increasing strength.


C4 Cab Relocation Mount – 2ND GEN Toyota Tacoma

The C4 Cab Relocation Mount gives your tires maximum clearance at full lock for your 2nd Gen Tacoma and our #2GTACO! This Relocation Mount requires cutting the factory body mount and welding in the C4 Cab Relocation Mount. Made of 3/16th steel, 1/4″ steel, and DOM tubing.


Banks Monster Exhuast for the #2GTACO

The48138 Banks Monster Exhaust System is getting installed onto the #2GTACO!
Banks Power Monster exhaust systems for gas and diesel vehicles use 100 percent stainless steel constant-diameter tubing to dramatically improve flow, slash backpressure, and lower operating temps. Only Banks offers a truly engineered system. While the other guys may offer a replacement, Banks delivers total enhancement.

Replacing the restrictive stock muffler with a free-flowing Banks Monster muffler makes a massive difference in airflow, sound, and performance. Exhaust flows straight through instead of torturously winding its way back and forth inside hairpin chambers and building up back pressure. Only Banks Monster mufflers have an expansion chamber to alleviate the nasty drone that other straight-through mufflers are known for. Banks utilize durable ceramic packing with a high-temperature rating that won’t degrade like fiberglass.

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