Pre-Teton Travel Truck To Do List

I’ve got about two months until the Teton road trip, so Rocinante is now my top priority project. The master list of improvements continues to grow, which means it’s time to sort out the critical items and get them squared away first. These projects definitely need to be done before we leave:

  • Finish the sleeping platform. The outer box is complete but still needs to be strapped to the truck frame. Both drawers need fronts, handles/latches, and carpeting for the bottom of the drawers.
  • Shell weatherproofing. Both stargazer windows need to be replaced. Add awning over the back door to redirect drips. Clean up and caulk back door.
  • Dim headlight issue. Try replacing the bulbs, move to whole new light assembly if needed.
  • Power. New panel is on order, figure out installation once it arrives.
  • Radio and GPS. Decide, buy, install. If my phone is the best option for navigation, need a dash mount.
  • Shell livability. Add curtains (possibly insulated) and bug netting for the back door.

Tailgate latch, un-busted

When we bought the truck, we could only open the tailgate by shoving both hands into the tailgate housing and spending three minutes carefully tweaking the control wires, then attempting to catch the free-falling tailgate with something other than your face. This process worked about 60% of the time. The mechanic quoted me $80 for the new latch plus labor, and I *think* I suppressed my giant eye-roll until I was back in the car.

Here’s the $17 replacement part and the helpful installation video that I followed. Seriously, it took longer to round up the tools than to install the new latch. The most exciting part is prying off the spring clip that holds the lock tumbler in place. Fliiiiing! Be prepared. 

Old latch on the left, replacement on the right

The interior latches on the sides of the tailgate also needed a squirt of lubricant before closing up the housing. One more small repair to check off the list.

Window latch replacement

What is that flappity-flappity-flappity noise coming from the driver side tilt window? Didn’t I just latch it down? On closer inspection,  I found that the black plastic pivot inside the latch was cracked, keeping the window from locking down properly.

Busted pivot piece, held together by dirt and cobwebs

Apparently these pivots are notoriously flimsy, and the window flapping issue is a common complaint on Toyota trucks. Fortunately,  this dude has started manufacturing a solid aluminum replacement pivot. After watching his installation video, we popped the new pivots in on both side windows, and now they both work perfectly. 

Old and busted plastic pieces, and the new aluminum replacement pivot

Shiny new pivot, fewer cobwebs