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Hello! My name is Ian Lane-Lohse and I have been working on Toyota trucks for just shy of 10 years now. It started out with a Baja buggy that I ruined by teaching myself how to fix it when I was 16 years old. I was sick of getting stuck all the time in 2WD so I got my first 4×4 truck, a 1986 Toyota pickup, 22R and IFS—the worst combination— but at least it was 4×4 and I stopped getting stuck so much! Ever since then I’ve been building trucks in my spare time and teaching myself how to rebuild engines, transfer cases, and set up gears.
Overland Adventures in a Toyota Tacoma 4x4
I took welding classes in college before I joined the military which really catapulted my truck building. I just got out of the army after serving as a combat medic. I served one tour in Iraq where I realised that I wanted a career in medicine. Right now I am pursuing medical school but Toyotas will always be my first love. While I was in the army, I met my wife, Brittany, who works full time as a recruiting coordinator for a law office in downtown San Diego.
Overland Adventures in a Toyota Tacoma 4x4 - 2
Brittany is always there to step in and start wrenching and she always dives in head first. I’d be willing to bet that no other legal recruiter can fully mount bead-locks torqued to specifications, make welds on link tabs, or install transfer cases. We got married just before I got deployed in Iraq, so most of our relationship has been long-distance until recently. The way we see it, off-roading gives us the chance to catch up on lost time because it’s just us together, no cell service and no distractions. We try to get out and explore as much as we can and driving a Toyota Tacoma 4×4 on tons and 40s makes it easy.
Toyota Tacoma 4x4The truck is a 95.5 American model Toyota Tacoma 4×4. It’s the first year of the redesigned 3.4 V6 engine which replaced one of the worst V6’s in Toyota’s history (the 3.0). The engine is largely stock to pass California’s strict emissions testing, and the 5-speed transmission behind it (though rebuilt) is also a stock unit. Mated to the transmission is a left hand drop gear driven 4.70 transfer case which we both constantly worry about breaking. The axles are 1-ton truck axles from the junkyard bought for cheap.
Toyota Tacoma 4x4
The rear of the Toyota Tacoma 4×4  is set up with a pretty standard 63″ Chevy leaf spring swap. The front is a custom 3-link welded on by someone else, I sort of inherited this project after someone got burnt out on it. When I drove it home it was clear the 3-link geometry was not right and it’s taken countless hours of grinding and welding to get it to handle well on the street. The 4×4 truck has all the standard gear with lockers front and rear, hydraulic assist steering, and large 40″ (102 CM) tires.
Overland Adventures in a Toyota Tacoma 4x4 3
We currently run all Bilstein shocks and have worked extensively with a knowledgeable local rep to get the valving on the truck dialled in for our adventures. For camping we have an on-board fridge, dual battery’s, and the ever trendy roof top tent. The Toyota Tacoma 4×4 is currently in a metamorphosis as its getting a ton of modifications thrown at it, including a swing-out tire carrier and full exo-cage.
Overland Adventures in a Toyota Tacoma 4x4 in Snow
We just recently did a 5 day trip in Death Valley here in California. Death Valley is an incredible park totalling just over 5,129 square miles (8,255 square KM). You can go from scorching heat on the desert floor to snow at higher elevations in a matter of hours. It truly is one of the wonders of the world. It’s one of our favourite things to be able to get out and explore America with the freedom we get from this truck.
Overland Adventures in a Toyota Tacoma 4x4 - 3
We spent our five days completely off-road and explored tons of wonders from natural hot springs to massive sand dunes, then driving to the south end of the park to explore relics of old mining towns. Death Valley is one of our favourite places in the world and it’s worth a visit for anyone who likes exploring nature’s beauty.

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