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Old 07-24-2022, 12:59 PM #1
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chapolito's 97 manual Baja Surf Camper build

After 15 years of owning 'Taka' I decided to turn my daily driver into a comfortable two person camper, primarily to explore surf in Baja (but still my daily driver). That adventure started 2 years ago, and I've been slowly learning along the way thanks to these forums and Timmy's videos.


1997 Base 4WD • manual 3RZ-FE • 305k miles

2 years ago in Baja:


Most recent Baja trip:


Camper & Body
  • Four Cam Engineering cabin pressure vent filter
  • Sleeping platform + drawers
  • 99+ rear quarter panel trim w/ larger storage compartment + USB ports • post
  • Removed rear seats and rear seat supports for extra storage
  • Lithium aux battery / charge controller / drawer fridge / solar
  • Fixed A/C (new condenser, compressor & dryer)
  • Yakima rack - allows hatch to open with longboards on the roof
  • Satoshi Grill
  • Clear turn signals & corner lights
  • Replaced broken rear wiper
  • Replaced rear hatch strut

Engine & Suspension
TODO

Last edited by chapolito; 03-10-2023 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 07-24-2022, 01:08 PM #2
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Been spending the last weeks upgrading the sleeping platform. I built an access hatch for the electrical compartment, got the aux battery & charge controller installed & hooked up to the starting battery, and drilled 200 holes for better ventilation.





This weekend got a 30L drawer fridge from Phalcon Overland installed:


Replaced the battery terminals while I was at it:


Solar is on the way, but will probably not be permanently installed until I re-fix the roof rust (huge holes) and build a custom rack. Goal is to get surfboards on one side and solar/gas/recovery boards on the other.

Last edited by chapolito; 11-01-2022 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 07-25-2022, 09:14 AM #3
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I'm noticing a disturbing trend of no Baja surf pictures in this thread.
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Old 07-26-2022, 01:27 AM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thezentree View Post
I'm noticing a disturbing trend of no Baja surf pictures in this thread.
ha you are right! I'm typically sprinting down the beach as soon as it gets good rather than taking pictures, but here are a few baja shots from the last ~decade:









please let me know if the photos load, I see them no problem, but seems not everyone can?

Last edited by chapolito; 07-26-2022 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 07-27-2022, 02:17 AM #5
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I can see the pictures. Nice truck, looks like you've been putting it to good use over the years!
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Old 07-31-2022, 12:45 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chapolito View Post
ha you are right! I'm typically sprinting down the beach as soon as it gets good rather than taking pictures, but here are a few baja shots from the last ~decade:









please let me know if the photos load, I see them no problem, but seems not everyone can?

That looks so fun. Iím headed home to east coast summer waves aka Lake Atlantic, but still better than the surf in Kentucky. Keep posting pics!
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Old 08-28-2022, 10:52 PM #7
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Took a 2500mi trip to Baja a couple weeks ago. Scored waves and surfed some new spots.



No issues with the 4Runner, but fixed multiple issues on the Sprinter that caravanned down with us, glad I brought a bunch of tools. Even got to use the 4Runner bottle jack to fix a shock that came undone from the body:


I did have some issues with the new fridge overheating from lack of air flow. Also gave myself food poisoning, unclear if the two incidents were related. Will need to add some computer fans.

Since the trip I've mostly been doing maintenance. Replaced the shifter seat and socket with marlin crawler ones thanks to a comment/tip from @octanejunkie The socket was completely missing, and the seat was pancaked pretty good (old seat is black, new seat is white):


All those white crystals are salt from driving through salt flats in Baja and accidentally hitting a wet area. I could feel things start to rust instantly. Got a car wash about an hour later and have sprayed down the undercarriage twice since getting home, but there is still salt. Will give it a third spray, then have some fluid film waiting in the garage.

I also replaced the PCV valve that was getting pretty gunked up and threw in an oil catch can because.

I installed it low so it won't hit the Spiker Engineering hood struts, but I went too low and I'm not able to unscrew it to empty the can


Greased the driveshaft, which took a lot of cleaning to expose the zerk fittings. They've never been greased in the 15 years I've owned Taka. Slip yokes took a lot of grease.


Built some tire ramps with some scrap 2x4s from recent construction projects in the backyard. Also yanked out the blackberries growing along the fence, will be a lot more space to work now...and no thorns.

Last edited by chapolito; 08-28-2022 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 08-29-2022, 06:16 AM #8
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Food poisoning on a Baja trip does not sound ...ideal. Looks like you guys scored though!

You said your slip yoke took a lot of grease - you may already know this but make sure the cavity isn't packed with grease. If it is, and the driveshaft compresses, the grease may not have anywhere to go and so your driveshaft won't compress enough and can break your transfer case.
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Old 08-29-2022, 09:39 AM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thezentree View Post
You said your slip yoke took a lot of grease - you may already know this but make sure the cavity isn't packed with grease. If it is, and the driveshaft compresses, the grease may not have anywhere to go and so your driveshaft won't compress enough and can break your transfer case.
Thanks, I did not know this! From what I read/watched I thought I was supposed to fill just until the slip yoke starts to push apart slightly. Sounds like I packed it with grease. I drove around town and didn't see any come out the joint, but would rather not break my transfer case!

What's the best way to remove some? Unbolt one end and pull apart?
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Old 08-29-2022, 11:01 AM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chapolito View Post
Thanks, I did not know this! From what I read/watched I thought I was supposed to fill just until the slip yoke starts to push apart slightly. Sounds like I packed it with grease. I drove around town and didn't see any come out the joint, but would rather not break my transfer case!



What's the best way to remove some? Unbolt one end and pull apart?
I suspect it slowly work out past the shaft. If not, plan b would be pull the bolts.

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Old 08-29-2022, 02:27 PM #11
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Quote:
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Thanks, I did not know this! From what I read/watched I thought I was supposed to fill just until the slip yoke starts to push apart slightly. Sounds like I packed it with grease. I drove around town and didn't see any come out the joint, but would rather not break my transfer case!

What's the best way to remove some? Unbolt one end and pull apart?
Make sure to mark the two driveshaft sections so they go back together in the correct orientation.
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Old 08-31-2022, 09:09 PM #12
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Don't forget to flush the frame rails from the inside if you had that much salt!
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Old 09-03-2022, 10:18 AM #13
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Don't forget to flush the frame rails from the inside if you had that much salt!
Thanks for the tip! I flushed the rails and a lot of dirt/sand/salt/etc. came out. might give the undercarriage a 4th spray down before the fluid film since there is so much stuff dropping still.
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Old 09-05-2022, 07:14 PM #14
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After a thorough 4 undercarriage spray downs, I laid down 3 1/2 cans of fluid film. It went pretty quick and easy, was expecting a more messy job. Am curious if I will learn to hate this stuff as I start working on parts that are covered in it.



Replaced the dash lights with LEDs. I really like the OEM green, but feel it is different than green LEDs (more green-yellow). I very carefully pulled the little rubber filters and moved them to the new warm white LED bulbs.



Seems I did something wrong though as the low fuel light is now always on.
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Old 09-06-2022, 02:29 PM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chapolito View Post
After a thorough 4 undercarriage spray downs, I laid down 3 1/2 cans of fluid film. It went pretty quick and easy, was expecting a more messy job. Am curious if I will learn to hate this stuff as I start working on parts that are covered in it.

Replaced the dash lights with LEDs. I really like the OEM green, but feel it is different than green LEDs (more green-yellow). I very carefully pulled the little rubber filters and moved them to the new warm white LED bulbs.

Seems I did something wrong though as the low fuel light is now always on.
Makes it a bit messy when you are working on it, but it's much better than having to deal with rust!

Did you replace your low fuel light with an led bulb? If you did then that's most likely your problem. LED bulbs need very little amperage to light up and any backfed/bleed over voltage will be enough in most cases.
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