The Grey Mouser: Reboot

Haggis

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Founding Member
Lets be honest about this here Tacoma...it’s an old truck. Sure it’s 5.5 years old but it’s basically the same truck as ones built 15 years ago. It’s just old, everybody says so. Gots no disc brakes on the back, a dern tractor motor under the bonnet, an archaic transmission with only 5 speeds...5 freaking speeds...and technology...hell thats straight out of the last decade. Ain’t going to impress anybody with all that new hotness out there in the 4x4 market.

Behind the curtain discussion was had about this trucks future, to the extent that test drives in 3/4 ton trucks were made. But than we realized that the Mouser is the most reliable vehicle we have ever had. He just rolled 90,000 miles and we have had to do absolutely zero repairs on him. A set of brakes and the aftermarket parts have been it. Better than Fafhrd, the 2 FJs and worlds better than our Jeeps and Dodges. And for 90% of what we use him for it’s about perfect. And it just works well, everything you need without extra fluff. So we are gonna keep it, care for it and upgrade it as it needs. First thing that needs addressed is unsprung weight. Yes we are bucking overlanding tradition and are going to remove weight. Crazy right. Biggest cause of weight gain is the cap and Maggie with over 500# so tonight we made a move to cut that in half...

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V2 platform camper, all aluminum and will fit under the lean-to. Looks like a Montana trip is in the works for late summer.
 
You know, just because you can does not mean you should. This is especially true with technology.

Sure, the Tacoma is old, but it is proven and - most importantly - reliable. Drum brakes are better for parking brakes, most tractor motors run forever (reliable), and what do you need more than 5 speeds for realistically?

Many people confuse marketing fantasy with reality.

So, that being said, have you seen the new ................................................... :p
 
You're killing me... I've been drooling over that GFC for some time now... course I'm still looking for a truck.. I've only been looking for 6 or 7 years.. I'll get one eventually.. maybe.. when the prices come down...
 

Haggis

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Founding Member
So you might be curious as to why we have decided to move on from our current traveling arrangement...or maybe not. Too bad feller or ma’am, I’m going to tell ya anyways. Pull up a chair.

On our last big trip, the South Dakota one, our current set up worked really great. Comfortable, warm, quick to set up and quick to tear down. As we sat in whatever spot we found to camp, Michelle and I would discuss what we liked about the setup and conversely what changes we would like to make. Four things kept coming up in the discussions. Having a place to be out of the weather without having to recline in the Maggie or use a shelter, the amount of weight we were lugging around, a sleeping arrangement that didn’t have to be taken on and off before and after every trip to get the truck back in the leanto and finally that we couldn’t haul our kayaks on trips with the Maggie on top.

A year and a half ago we ran down to the big Fieldlanding thing with the AAV crew to hang out and check on a few options. We looked at Vagabond Drifters, GFCs and AT Summits. We liked the Summit the best. The GFCs at that time were a pretty cool concept with a lower weight than the other options but there were a few things we didn’t like. The tent fabric was pop riveted into the frame and there were small gaps were bugs could enter. I also didn’t like the steel frame because NW PA winters no likely iron based products. Than there was the 1.5 year wait time to get one. We decided when the time was right we’d get an AT Summit.

The Summit has a lift up bed that you can leave your bedding on and have full headroom in the truck bed, a great build quality and you can get an headliner and even an insulation package. You could haul 100# on top and still operate the wedge lift. Pretty nice but the clear coated aluminum finish is quirky at best and the side doors were extra cost items and kinda smallish. Base price in the Fall of ‘19 was $8900. A bit pricey, a lot pricey when you added windows to the front and rear or things like racks. But it seemed the best option when we would decide to get a wedge camper.

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So a new year rolls in and we decide to keep the Mouser and up fit the camping arrangement. A wedge camper seems to be the best option with the least downsides for our needs (wants really). Let’s order a Summit. It’s a bit hefty at 340# in base form but that’s still 150# lighter than current. First hurdle, at 35” above the bed rails without racks it’s too high to fit in the leanto when mounted on the Tacoma. Second, in the passing of a year and a half the base price for a Summit has jumped $2,000 to the $10,900 level. Kitted out to what we want the cost would be over $14,000. Thats too much, plain and simple. Well damn. I don’t want to build another shed or spend that much money. Enter GFC...

They have a new version, the V2 model. All aluminum construction, replaceable structural units so if you smack a tree you can repair it, the tent is fully sealed into a channel seam, upgraded fabrics and weighs in at just 240# Tacoma short bed version. Sits at 30” above the bed rails so it easily fits the leanto. Will lift up to 100# when deploying tent, our kayaks are 90# total. All doors are now removable without the broken hinge issue of the older version. Base price is $6950 and with added front and rear windows and the stone fabric option the total was under $7500. The wait is just 6 months now that assembly doesn’t depend on finding enough skilled welders willing to work to knock out those older frames. This caught our attention and I called and talked to a Mike for a good long time. It will swap out to a 3rd gen Tacoma if we get the itch for a new ride easily. A couple of weeks pass as we thought and reviewed options. Than Michelle says order it and so it was done.


We want just the basic black as black goes with anything and the grey (?) stone fabric tent. like this one...

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Another factor was aesthetic as the GFC just looks a lot less massive on the truck. Downsides, well there’s a few but no set up is perfect. Bedding needs pulled when closing up the top. The Honeycomb roof is noisy in the rain, I found that out in Andy’s at the last ARV I attended. But all in all we think it will be the best solution for us. Hers a few pics for reference.

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Whats to happen with our current set-up? Well the Leer 100RRC has been soldish already. It’s gonna go to a good home and get well used by a man of distinguished vehicle pedigree. I just hope he doesn’t trade the truck he’s buying this for before he comes and picks up the cap.

We are gonna keep the Maggie. It’s just to damn nice to let go, there’s no way we could replace its excellent construction and performance for all the more we got into it. It will be mounted back up on the BaseCamper Trailer and be a loaner for the kids to use behind their rigs when they go awandering. Cameron wants to mount up on the FJ Muninn he’s piloting now also. Maybe I should do a VRBO thing with him lol. Little bugger has cost me enough money over the years so I could try and recoup some of that back a rental at a time.;)
 
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Haggis

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Founding Member
So, behind the curtain discussions have been happening. With the decision to keep the Mouser combined with Michelle’s desire for an always ready to go rig, decisive strategic moves have been made. The Mouser will be a full time RV...in response it was time to Unleash Operation @Gallowbraid!

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Haggis

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Founding Member
I fully support this move!
Once we decided to pull the trigger on a third rig (the FJ is officially Cameron’s now) we went back and forth on what flavor of ride to get. We looked at F250s, two door Wranglers, another Subaru but ultimately Michelle wanted another Tacoma so...

Here’s our new to us 2019 with just 9,300 miles on the odometer. It’s going to be the daily runabout and do truck stuff while the Mouser will be the travel rig.

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Haggis

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Founding Member
That is one thing about the 3rd gen - a gorgeous black interior. It doesn't make up for the motor, however....
My take on the two generations in the short week and a half it ownership...

The interior is nicer on the 3rd gen feeling larger than the Mousers. But the seats aren’t as comfortable as the 2nd gen and I dislike the small rotary dials for 4WD and the HVAC controls. All the info screens are cool on the 3rd Gen.

The flatter hood of the 3rd gen has better sight lines and makes the truck fell bigger as well.

As for the motor I think it’s more of a transmission tuning issue than the motor. While the 2nd gen just gets on pulling along the 3rd gen seems to want to be a showboat but can’t make up its mind on how to smoothly accelerate. It’s like a teenage kid trying to drive like its dad but confuses sound emission with actual smooth application of torque and horsepower. Its not terrible but I prefer the power transfer on the Mouser much better. I’m not sure what the Toyota engineers had in mind with the new power train as it isn’t any more efficient or powerful than the one it replaced. I think despite the Mouser having a 3:73 gear set and the tan truck having a 3:91 the Mouser would win in the 1/8 for sure and probably win the 1/4 as well. Might have to put that to a test. Overlanders need more drag racing results.

In addition I’m getting some flack for not instantly modding the new truck to be our travel rig. I know it’s got the locker and crawl control that the Mouser lacks but I can’t get the local boys here to understand that isn’t as important to me as the better drivability of the Mouser. The tan truck draws eyes way to easily even in stock form though the color hides mud and sawdust perfectly. The Mouser, despite the mods, is a more low key vehicle which has proven advantageous to us in past travels. In the grand scheme dividing the roles this way keeps miles from piling up on each truck and should make both last nearly a decade from now without ridiculous odometer readings.
 

Greg

Adventurist
Senior Staff
My take on the two generations in the short week and a half it ownership...

The interior is nicer on the 3rd gen feeling larger than the Mousers. But the seats aren’t as comfortable as the 2nd gen and I dislike the small rotary dials for 4WD and the HVAC controls. All the info screens are cool on the 3rd Gen.

The flatter hood of the 3rd gen has better sight lines and makes the truck fell bigger as well.

As for the motor I think it’s more of a transmission tuning issue than the motor. While the 2nd gen just gets on pulling along the 3rd gen seems to want to be a showboat but can’t make up its mind on how to smoothly accelerate. It’s like a teenage kid trying to drive like its dad but confuses sound emission with actual smooth application of torque and horsepower. Its not terrible but I prefer the power transfer on the Mouser much better. I’m not sure what the Toyota engineers had in mind with the new power train as it isn’t any more efficient or powerful than the one it replaced. I think despite the Mouser having a 3:73 gear set and the tan truck having a 3:91 the Mouser would win in the 1/8 for sure and probably win the 1/4 as well. Might have to put that to a test. Overlanders need more drag racing results.

In addition I’m getting some flack for not instantly modding the new truck to be our travel rig. I know it’s got the locker and crawl control that the Mouser lacks but I can’t get the local boys here to understand that isn’t as important to me as the better drivability of the Mouser. The tan truck draws eyes way to easily even in stock form though the color hides mud and sawdust perfectly. The Mouser, despite the mods, is a more low key vehicle which has proven advantageous to us in past travels. In the grand scheme dividing the roles this way keeps miles from piling up on each truck and should make both last nearly a decade from now without ridiculous odometer readings.
One thing I was looking into was VF Tune for the Tacoma. It's can flatten the torque profile and make the 3.5L run like the FJ's 4.0L. For the cost of $390 (+ the software and cables) is far cheaper than most other mods. Much cheaper than a regear.

https://vftuner.com/collections/tune-packs/products/tacoma-3-5l-vf-tune-pack
 

Haggis

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Founding Member
Spent the afternoon getting the Mouser into travel mode. Water tank, drawers and all the stuff are loaded up even though our next trip is two weeks out. Work is crazy, still, and next weekend is booked so today was the best time to get things sorted. It’s also the last time we will use the contractors cap which unexpectedly made me a bit sad and nostalgic. That hunk of fiberglass has made many a trip better and I’m going to miss it. I hope it aids Gallowbraid‘s future travels as much as it did ours. All over our home state of PA, Michigan, West Virginia, the Canadian Maritines, Cape Breton, Maine, Virginia, Southern Ohio, South Dakota, Adirondacks, Montana and for that last hoorah Kentucky...that cap has been a boon. It’s going to be weird to be cap less for a few months.

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