Project Tundra: Ultimate Baja Media Truck Build

Jammminjay

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In my line of work of owning a media company, Dusty Summit, having a capable off-road vehicle is an absolute must; the locations we shoot at requires you to get from a remote location in the desert. Whether it be shooting a desert race or a commercial for a client, we are constantly scouting locations in unforgiving terrain. I recently sold my beloved 2007 Lexus GX470 that I lovingly beat on for the past two years. It was an incredible car that served its purpose as a daily driver and production vehicle. It started its life as a dedicated off-road adventure car that I would take into the mountains for camping, but when I launched Dusty Summit, it quickly snowballed into a car that would see hundreds of miles offroad. From the rock trails of Moab to the majestic beaches of Baja. It was a Swiss Army knife ready for any adventure I threw at it
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But all great things have to come to an end, and I sold it. As business was getting busier and we were spending more time on the road, hotels became increasingly expensive, so I thought, why not build a capable Off-road rig that can serve as a mobile office and a camper - save a few bucks on hotel rooms. But that isn’t the only reason for selling the GX: when it was fully loaded with camera gear in the back, it handled as if someone had loaded the entire back with bricks, just awful. This probably could have been remedied with stiffer rear springs and airbags, but that would have compromised the suspension on the trails.
Just last week, I sold the Lexus, and it is headed to New Mexico with its new owner; it was a great vehicle, and I would not be surprised if I purchased another one down the road.
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Enter the Toyota Tundra, a new project I am tackling to build out the ultimate media chase and overland vehicle. This truck will serve as a home base for our media productions in the foreseeable future. I purchase a single-owner 2008 Toyota Tundra 5.7L 4WD with a perfect maintenance record from Albuquerque, New Mexico. After some digging, I found out an 84-year-old woman bought it new, and her son kept every single receipt for the truck.

I went with this platform for a few reasons: the first is that Toyota’s reliability is unmatched compared to any truck. The second is that the newer generation Tundra is 70% more expensive but is the exact same truck underneath. Only the body and interior are different; the rest of the truck remains the same in addition to a few technology upgrades.
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Although it is entirely stock with the beautiful old man camper spec, I have been collecting parts and will build it out in phases. It is going to get a Total Chaos Mid travel kit paired to Icon suspension in the front that allows for 12” wheel travel utilizing a factory lower control arm. 35 inch General Tire X3 tires and wheels are still a deciding factor for the next move.
enduro camper
I am partnering with Enduro Campers to build out a lightweight composite pop-top camper called the Lobo. That’s Spanish for lone wolf… I love it. Enduro Campers is a new camper company based out in San Luis Obispo, and we will be using my truck as a test mule for the first XL Pop-Top camper. They use super-durable composite sandwich panels to create an ultra-light and durable camper that will be strong enough to withstand the abuse I am going to throw at it. With these advanced technologies, the camper should only weigh about 280 pounds. This will be one of the focal points to the build; I will be able to have a mobile office while on location for shoots and use it as a camper on long trips. Skip the hotels as much as possible; we are going camping, boys!
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This is Project Tundra, my quest to build the ultimate do it off-road media support truck. Whether it is chasing races in Baja or on a shoot in Colorado Rocky Mountains at 12,000 ft, this is the journey of the Dusty Summit Toyota Tundra.
 
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Jammminjay

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Today there are many different companies fabricating aftermarket suspension options for a Tundra. But few companies in the off-road industry have stayed true to their roots for over 25 years producing superior off-road suspension. Total Chaos Fabriction is a company that is deeply rooted in the off-road community as racers, fabricators, and suspension builders. When you think of suspension fabricated parts for Toyota, you think Total Chaos, simply it. Superior performance.

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For now, I have 2.5 coil-overs that provide adequate performance while I wait for better shocks. These 4130 Chromoly tubular upper control arms utilize a 1” uniball and when mated with an extended coil-over, you can achieve 12 inches of wheel travel, which is a modest amount utilizing the stock control arms.

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Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take the truck to Baja for the Baja 400 but we were able to give it a good shakedown after a there is an immense difference with these control arms, it feels stiffer, and the truck tracks straight. I can’t wait to put these arms to the test for all the adventures we have planned

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Next Up: Wheels and Tires...
 
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Jammminjay

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Turns out finding 17" wheels for a Toyota Tundra is inherently difficult to find. Luckily KMC had the KM717 BULLY OL in stock and thought bronze would be an addition to a set of 35 inch General Grabber x3. The overall cohesive design is unique and can be seen as a derivative of the Grenade wheels. Needless to say, I am stoked.


With 4.11 gears It isn't too bad with 35s definitely no need to regear at the moment. I am averaging around 14 mpg on the highway. Although I eventually want to add 37s later on and I can immediately see the need to regear for those. But once I do that next year I will add Eaton E Lockers front and rear for redundancy.

While on a photoshoot to Glamis yesterday I tested out bombing through sand highway to Oldsmobile Hill and the Tundra absolutely rocked it. The suspension feels good for what it is. Probably wasn’t the smartest to go out by myself but thankfully It handled the sand fine. The Tundra weighs ALOT and still trying to get a feel for hurtling this beast through the desert.

Spent a little over three hours stuck in the sand. Left the traction boards at home… Ended up digging myself out. It is what it is. If you aren’t getting stuck in Glamis are you even having fun?! Highly doubtful.

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Tom_Willis

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. I purchase ....with a perfect maintenance record from Albuquerque, New Mexico. After some digging, I found out an 84-year-old woman bought it new, and her son kept every single receipt for the truck.
This dude just bought Jesse Pinkman's truck. Although there might be some fat stacks hidden somewhere, I'd get it pressure washed and be damn sure there's no residue from his signature "Chili P" brand. Was Heisenburg's hat in there?
 

JDDurfey

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I used to run 20 psi in the front and 10 psi in the rear of my Dodge diesel and I never got stuck. But then again, I didn't go where I knew I would get stuck. I always stopped facing down hill too.
 

jon coleman

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my bfg tires said 50 psi cold,so i would air them Way down to around 30( tru story, around '86, the guy was new, )i would be around 8 rear 15 front, 15x7, 31x9.50 mud terrain type, acctually the best tires in sand besides paddles are the Widest tallest street tread on a Narrow rim , its all about foot print & floating on Top of the sand, not digging into the sand
 
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Jammminjay

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This dude just bought Jesse Pinkman's truck. Although there might be some fat stacks hidden somewhere, I'd get it pressure washed and be damn sure there's no residue from his signature "Chili P" brand. Was Heisenburg's hat in there?
I used to live in Santa Fe just North of Albuquerque for 5 years. That was definitely an interesting city.
 

Tom_Willis

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I used to live in Santa Fe just North of Albuquerque for 5 years. That was definitely an interesting city.
Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, originally wanted to use LA, but because of all the hassle and costs and policies there, they started looking around for another area that clearly had a population using meth and eventually settled on Abq. I bet as much as they appreciated a tv series being filmed there, they would have preferred it centered around a family more like the Brady Bunch than a high school science teacher cooking meth😬
 

Jammminjay

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Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, originally wanted to use LA, but because of all the hassle and costs and policies there, they started looking around for another area that clearly had a population using meth and eventually settled on Abq. I bet as much as they appreciated a tv series being filmed there, they would have preferred it centered around a family more like the Brady Bunch than a high school science teacher cooking meth😬
Abq and Santa Fe has blown up in the film industry. So many movies and TV shows are filmed there. I used to work on a few productions out there. They call it the Hollywood of the southwest. Many tax incentives for productions to come and shoot there. I believe Netflix has several studios there.
 

notime

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with my tundra happends the same, i think had too much low end TQ, as soon hit soft sand and not enough momentum, and with all the nannys protection sensors, had to get used, past 500 i was shooting video at RM255 parked near to a wash and miscalculated the soft sand and spend like an hour digging (forgot to take pics) and i forget my maxtraxs.

for me truck its very good, only sometime, i feel 4x4 doesnt engage, i have FOX 2.5on it, on hwy i get 13-14 not in a hurry, i use the truck with 315/R17 with KMC Machetes i got at camburg, since im gonna sell the truck got back to stocks 18 with 285 Yokohamas MT
 

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Jammminjay

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with my tundra happends the same, i think had too much low end TQ, as soon hit soft sand and not enough momentum, and with all the nannys protection sensors, had to get used, past 500 i was shooting video at RM255 parked near to a wash and miscalculated the soft sand and spend like an hour digging (forgot to take pics) and i forget my maxtraxs.

for me truck its very good, only sometime, i feel 4x4 doesnt engage, i have FOX 2.5on it, on hwy i get 13-14 not in a hurry, i use the truck with 315/R17 with KMC Machetes i got at camburg, since im gonna sell the truck got back to stocks 18 with 285 Yokohamas MT
Yeah, they are just really heavy! That is a good green!
 
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