The MotoIQ Project Tundra
Project trucks are a lot of fun – especially when those putting them together have a budget that is more in sync with that of the average vehicle owner. The folks at MotoIQ, a group of gearheads dedicated to covering the automotive landscape with solid writing and interesting features branched out into the truck segment in 2010 and selected a brand new Toyota Tundra as their next tow vehicle for their stable of track cars. Somewhere along the way, the Tundra became more than just a tire mule – it blossomed into a full-on project worthy of its own continuing series of posts and adventures documenting its evolution from bone-stock to custom rig.
The exact Tundra model chosen was a Double Cab 4×4 with the TRD Rock Warrior package, Heavy Duty cold weather package and of course a towing package. Although the MotoIQ team was very satisfied with the Tundra out of the box, it wasn’t long before they started to customize the truck using TRD parts (chosen because of their warranty-friendly attributes).
The first item to get installed on the truck was a TRD rear sway bar intended to tighten up the truck’s handling and dial-out some of the factory oversteer. Mission accomplished from MotoIQ’s perspective, but the bar also had the interesting side effect of improving initial traction for the powerful 5.7 liter truck. With initial handling improvements taken care of, the MotoIQ team then moved on to helping their tow rig project stop that much quicker. The solution was a set of TRD high performance brake pads which shortened stopping distances and reduced fade without introducing a lot of squeal or any low-temperature issues.
Logically, a truck that features better stopping power than stock is ready to graduate to an increase in horsepower, and that was exactly the mentality behind the decision to install a TRD high flow air intake in place of the stock air box. A TRD air filter was also selected, due in part to its proven ability to keep out trail dust and other debris as well as its clogged filter indicator feature. The intake and filter bumped the otherwise stock Tundra’s output by four horsepower and three lb-ft of torque, as measured on a dyno. This is a little lower than the numbers we observed from some of the after-market Tundra air intakes we’ve tested.
Given that the MotoIQ Toyota Tundra was destined to spend much of its life racking up serious highway miles in front of a trailer, it was then decided that the truck be given at least a fighting chance to maintain a decent finish unmarred by rocks, splattered bugs and other insults. Its Californian habitat also required that the Tundra’s interior be afforded some type of protection from the sweltering summer sun.
The solution was to install 3M Crystalline film on all of the vehicle’s exterior glass, an aftermarket product that is specifically designed to reject heat (blocking 99.9 percent of UV light) while also providing a small degree of tinting. The high tech film consists of over 200 individual layers and also features no metallic component, which prevents interference with wireless devices or cell phones. The front of the trunk (including the lights) was coated with 3M Scotchguard polyurethane film, intended to deflect anything that could be thrown the Tundra’s way out on the road.
The final stage of the MotoIQ Toyota Tundra project was to install a number of accessories that gave the truck it’s own unique look, as well as improved its functionality to better serve the purposes of the tow team. The pickup was given Toyota step rails in order to make it that much easier to climb up into its raised cabin, as well as a rear folding step to reduce the reach needed to access items in the back of its cargo bed. The last accessory to be installed was a Toyota bed extender, an item which can be swiveled out over the tailgate to provide a longer cargo enclosure for oversized loads and then stowed inside the bed when not needed.
The MotoIQ project Tundra offers a nice balance between practical modifications, affordable components and factory warranty compliance that serves as a model of what can be achieved in terms of improving the Toyota pickup without blowing a huge amount of cash in any one place. The truck might not sport a look-at-me paint job or smash the dyno with 500-plus horsepower, but it does what it was intended to do with class and competence. The MotoIQ project is an ongoing concern, which means that there are undoubtedly still plenty of changes ahead for the crew’s tow-oriented Tundra in the coming year.
Filed Under: Featured Vehicles