The Grey Mouser: Reboot

Haggis

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#1
Or Fafhrd gets a Mini-Me

From the annuals of classic fantasy literature springs the adventures of two daring adventurers, swordsmen and rogues, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser. One a burly, barbarian who ventures forth from the arctic tundra and the other a small, wily thief from warmer more exotic lands. As a tribute to these tales read as a kid my Tundra was christened after the more burly of the pair and so Fafhrd http://americanadventurist.com/forum/threads/fafhrd-the-tundra-haggis-work-exploration-truck.27/ came to be. At one time he had a companion vehicle in the stable, an 04 Jeep Unlimited known as the Grey Mouser http://americanadventurist.com/forum/threads/the-grey-mouser-04-jeep-unlimited.33/ that took us on many an adventure but his unreliability and cargo limitations ultimately had us outgrow him.

Well just recently Fafhrd was paired with a new adventure companion and the two work well together. Michelle after seeing them together said..."Well looks like Fafhrd has got his Grey Mouser back..."

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This wasn't a planned purchase but as the Pathfinder my boy was driving was getting to be a pain in the "buttocks" to own it was time for it to go. Taking the Nissan on a quick run down to the local Toyota dealer netted us the last 2015 Tacoma on the lot and one hell of a good deal on a TRD Sport.

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Plans for this truck are for it to be our long distance travel rig and set up for extended paddle and camping trips. Fafhrd will be the work/hunting truck (and more than likely Cam's college ride) and the FJ will slowly get turned into the fun rig. The Tacoma, well its Michelle's truck, her own adventure rig for when she wants to go paddling or biking and I'm off at work or mucking about somewhere. Girl's just love a pick-up truck...
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Haggis

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#2
2015 Tacoma TRD Sport DCSB

Latest Photo

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Drivetrain: 4.0 V, 5-speed automatic, 3.73 gears, LSD

Suspension: Bilstien 5100s front set at 2.5”; OME Dakar Heavy Springs with Bilstien 5100s at the rear; Firestone Air Lift bags with Daystar cradles

Tires/Wheels: Factory Toyota split 5 spoke Tundra rims: 255/80/17 Cooper ST Max

Exterior Upgrades:

^Leer 100RRC contractors cap: dual solid door sides; dual toolboxes; Thule Tracker rack system; carpeted headliner; LED interior lighting; LED cargo box lighting

^SOS Off-road Concepts Aluminum Streamline Front Bumper

^ComeUp 9s Winch

^White Knuckle Off-road Rock Sliders

^ Yakima Jaylow kayak mounts

Interior Upgrades:
^OCD Console Organizer and Storage Tray
^Husky Weatherbeater Floor Liners
^Covercraft Ballistic/Waterproof seat covers front and rear.

Adventures to Date:

>Little Juniata River run: 4/15/2016
>Ohiopyle State Park: 5/25/2016
>Upper Peninsula of Michigan: 8/6/2016
>Pine Creek Gorge; Pa Wilds: 7/28/2017
>Canadian Maritimes: Nova Scotia/New Brunswick 8/6/2017
>Pennsylvania Wilds: Loyalsock State Forest, Worlds End & Rickettes Glen State Parks 7/20/2018
>Hocking Hills State Park & Serpent Mound 8/5/2018
>New York: Rock City State Park
>Allegheny Nation Forest 5/10/2019
>Pocono Mountains/Hickory Run SP 8/10/2019
>West Virginia Backcountry 9/1/2019
>Hickory Creek Wilderness; ANF 1/2020
>Moshannon State Forest 3/8/2020
>Allegheny National Forest 5/2020
>Pennsylvania Wilds; Quehanna Wild Area 5/2020
 
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Haggis

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#3
Michelle has finalized her vision for her truck. Here's the build out objectives she wants before we do our cross country tour inext year...

^Fiberglass contractor cap with solid side doors, toolbox enclosures, carpeted headliner and Thule rack. Done 3/2016.
^Better tires than stock as the factory mounted tires aren't cutting it. Done 8/2017
^Cooler wheels... Just because. Done 8/2017
^Rock sliders as she does not want to lift the truck any. This will also help protect the truck from deer strikes. Done 5/2020
^Aluminum front winch bumper to save weight and again protect from the ever present threat of mujahideer attacks. Done 5/2020
^Suspension assists in the form of airbags or the Timbren system to help handle the full weight of our travel load out. Done 7/2017
^Put gas in it and go someplace cause the rest doesn't matter if you don't use the truck for what it was bought for. Done.
 
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Haggis

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#4
Friday saw the start of the transformation of this little truck into Michelle's personal adventure rig. I headed up north to the lake shore and picked up the Leer 100RRC contractors fiberglass cap that she ordered.

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Equipped with dual solid door panels and toolboxes to each side, a Thule Tracker rack system, carpeted headliner and interior LED lighting it has all the options she was looking for. Rated for loads up to 400lbs dynamic and 600 static this will give us the option of mounting our Autohome Maggiolina on top if we don't want to travel with our Basecamper trailer.

Plans are to mount our Eezi Awn awning on one side and to have cooking gear in that side box for easy access while we have recovery gear on the other. This will no doubt change as I waffle back and forth and change my mind repeatedly. Also we will more than likely do a drawer system in the bed. Here's a few more pics...

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I think this will make the most of the limited space available with having so small of bed real estate to work with.


Next mod on the docket is suspension assists to help the weak springs on these trucks. I'm leaning heavily towards the Air Ride bag system as of now.


Long live the Collective ;)
 

bob91yj

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#5
I like the air bag idea because they are infinitely variable depending on load. I would recommend shocks with more rebound damping to help control the bags rebound. Somewhat apples/oranges using my Dmax as a comparison, YMMV.
 

Haggis

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#6
I concur @bob91yj. I believe the airbags will allow us more adaptability over the Timbrens that I am using on the Tundra. Now to find a good deal on a set of Air Rides.
 

Haggis

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#7
The first adventure run for the Grey Mouser was as a kayak mule for a weekend of paddling fun on the Little Juniata River in central Pennsylvania. For this jaunt we picked up a pair of Yakima Jaylow kayak mounts to haul our boats instead of just strapping the to the crossbars as per usual. This was mainly due to the fact that the crossbars weren't long enough to fully hold our two XP9s side by side. With boats on top and our BaseCamper in tow we had a hell of a good weekend.

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We choose the Jaylow mounts for a couple of reasons...
^They fold flat when not in use so the truck still fits in the garage.
^The design of the attachment clamps allow us to use the crossbars of all our vehicles. The rectangular Thule, the round Yakima and the rhomboid oddball profile of racks on the Tundra. These mounts also attach and detach easily and quickly.
^These mounts offer two hauling options; laid back for single boat or upright for a dual stacker option. This means that we can haul two boats per mount for a total of 4 (that's for the math impaired) if we so choose up on the racks. This frees up bed space for either gear or more boats when shuttling.

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We found these mounts to preform excellently. The boats were solid going down the interstate at speed and we heard no wind noise the whole weekend with either the boats mounted or off the truck and the racks still upright. Mounting hardware and the provide straps worked very well. Look for a full review in the gear section when I can make time. These racks are Clan Haggis approved. :thumbsup

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Haggis

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#11
The Mouse has been running us about the Pennsylvania countryside as of late. First it was a run to see the waterfalls and whitewater rapids of Ohiopyle State Park. Hiking and mucking about were the order of the day, though we did find a two-track that turned into a trail which tested the stockness of Michelle's truck.

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The next weekend the Tacoma was once again a kayak mule hauling our boats over to the Geneva Marsh for a day of paddling adventure...

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Haggis

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#12
In about a week and a half we'll be jumping in the Mouser for 10 days of Michigan Upper Peninsula goodness. So for the last two weeks I've been gathering gear and wrangling needs for the run up. One of the things I learned from our last visit UP way a few years back is that gas stations can be hard to come by and I won't have the 28 gal tank of the Tundra to rely on. I'm going to need to haul some gas. But I don't really have a dedicated spot for a jug and I have too much adventure gear going into the bed for gas can to be just thrown in. What to do, what to do?

Well it's widely known that I can be a bit frugal, so I kept to form and looked about the garage to see what I could make work. Some head scratching and some on the fly engineering produced results. A bit of left overs aluminum tubing, parts off an old tonneau cover, a couple of jam nuts and some bolts and I have a pretty solid can holder utilizing the rear cargo management rail...

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Haggis

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#14
The Koplin decants OK, better than most with a CARB compliant spout. It's usually my ATV can, but the flat layout just saves so much room in the truck beds. It holds 6 gallons but I usually only fill it up with 5.5 gals to give me a little wiggle room with spillage.
 

Haggis

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#15
The Mouser was chosen over Fafhrd for mule duty whilst on our drive to the greatness of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Originally the trip was planned to just be Michelle and I and we were going to utilize just the truck. Mount our Maggie on the shell, arrange the camping gear in the bed and do a rolling test bed for future trips. But Cameron decided at the last minute that he really wanted to come along so plans changed. Adding just one person adds so much more bulk: spare tent, cot, sleeping pad, clothes duffle, personal pack and extra food and drink. So instead of just piling it all up in the trucks bed we decided to roll with the BaseCamper instead.

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While the truck ran fine and tugged the trailer well over 2600 miles of the Mid-West I missed my Tundra. Gas mileage average was not good for this trip yielding a thirsty 14 mpg. My 9 year old, V8 powered and lifted truck would have still been getting 17 mpg with that wisp of a trailer behind it. While Michelle loves her truck, I'm not so sure that I could live with this generation of Tacoma over a long 10 years of ownership. It just feels like weak applesauce compared to that 1st gen Tundra.

But it's still a nice truck and we had a blast roaming the UP. Here's a couple photos of the Mouser out and about, I'll save the trip pictures for the trip report...

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And here's a video of Cameron piloting the Mouser along the South Mandran Loop as we get as far east on the Keweenaw Peninsula as possible. During a massive thunderstorm. As we watched the road eroded away in front of us. And the road became a running stream of rust colored water...
 

Haggis

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#18
It appears this little truck might have some large shoes to fill. So some upgrades are being looked into. One question I have for you all is a recommendation for a suspension with minimum lift/maximum payload. We'd like to stay under 2" of lift but add +600 lbs to the rear load out. Options I have on the radar are doing a similar set-up as the suspension on Fafhrd, Bilstien 5100s and custom built leaf springs aka Denver or Alcon. That set-up worked well on the Tundra. The other option I've considered is the OME 2" Heavy Duty kit. What am I overlooking? Plan is to run 265/75/16s or possibly 285/70/17s.
 

Dave

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#19
Best bang for the buck is the OME kit. Put the heavy Dakars on the back with the extra leaf and have fun. Maybe add Timbrens as well if really loading her down - they're very nice and bulletproof.
 

Haggis

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#20
Good. The contractor cap already puts an extra 300lbs on the rear. Add onboard water and the Maggie and the weight will add up fast.
 
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