Tonkaman’s Tonka truck

The time has finally come! My new truck finally found its way home!

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It is a 2022 Ram Powerwagon. FULLY LOADED with every possible option minus a sunroof and ram boxes. That level 3 interior is almost too luxurious!

Most of you are familiar with my love for Tacomas, so this new truck may seem a bit off beat for me. The truth is the Tacoma was an AMAZING off road rig, but we were bursting at the seams. Lately we had given up on camping whenever the whole family would be going, since it was too difficult to haul a full crews gear. I got sick of always feeling like our adventures were being limited by cargo space.

I was having a hard time nailing down exactly what type of vehicle suited our needs. In hind sight it’s because our needs vary too much and I would need 10 rigs to always end up in the ‘right’ one for the day. So finally I made a list of all the things I needed my rig to accomplish. After writing the list, I crossed off all but the top 4 so I could focus on what really mattered.

1- Offroad capability. I hate adventuring in the backcountry only to get turned around when the trail gets rough. I needed a vehicle that could give me the peace of mind to keep pushing deeper into the gnarly trail condition.

2- More cargo Capacity. Our preferred method of travel is in the deep backcountry, alone. Those risks come with the responsibility to be prepared, and being prepared means packing a fair amount of ‘just in case’ gear for repairs, extractions, and emergencies. Even though we learned to pack like backpackers, this family of 3 + 1 dog still struggled to pack everything needed.

3- Payload/Towing. At this point I know the obvious answer is just stick a 4 wheel camper or Offroad trailer behind the Tacoma! To be honest that thought scares the hell out of me. The Tacoma is way over its GVWR and it always feels like it is one emergency maneuver away from catastrophe.

4- Aftermarket support. I love to tinker and modify things. I don't have the fabrication skills that many in this community do, so I depend heavily on being able to buy rather than build. There are many vehicles out there that have been transformed into complete beasts, but they take years of someone’s time and talent to get that way. That’s why having proven aftermarket support was high on my priority list.


ENTER THE POWERWAGON!

1- The capability is off the charts with its linked suspension, F&R lockers, sway bar disconnect, lift, and winch.

2- Obviously the bigger size is going to make it suffer Offroad, but size was one of my biggest issues needing to be addressed. There are only a few trucks thats size lands between the Tacoma and Ram, such as Tundra, Titan, and 1/2 tons. In the end I decided those trucks just couldn’t compete with the Rams ability after proper modifications.

3- So now I have a full size pickup and lots more space in the cab. Don’t think I fell off the deep end though, because it’s still a 6.5’ bed and only a 1200lb payload capacity. As far as full size goes it’s pretty wimpy, but still worlds better than the Taco. I went with a short bed to maintain the best turning radius and break over possible. It was a hard choice, giving up valuable dirtbike space, but capability was higher in my list. The low payload ratings are strictly due to the soft powerwagon coils. I can always change coils or add airbags to get the typical 4,000lb payload capacity. That’s an easy swap and I’ll still have the full sized frame/brakes/suspension/steering components.

4- The possibilities are endless with this platform, that’s what really pushed me over the edge. With slight modifications I can clear 40” tires on 3” of lift. I can swap out bumpers for higher clearance and stronger alternatives while keeping every single camera and sensor in place. With the AEV Prospector package I can garuntee that everything works together seamlessly. It’s so seamless that Ram trusts AEV enough to build their trucks and leave the full factory warranty on it.
 

TRD270

Aloha’n MF
Location
SaSa Sandy
Does anyone see a problem with mounting the air compressor along the frame rail? Best place I’ve found is in front of the rear wheel well.

If needed I could make a weather guard to protect the filters. Something like a battery box could work and just cut holes in it for plenty of ventilation and drainage.
If you do I’d keep it as far forward as you can, more rear you get the more salt mist it will see in the winter and dust on the dirt. Can you mount it inside? Maybe in one of the foot well boxes they have in the rear seat? Not sure if they still do that
 

moab_cj5

Premium Member
Supporting Member
Does anyone see a problem with mounting the air compressor along the frame rail? Best place I’ve found is in front of the rear wheel well.

If needed I could make a weather guard to protect the filters. Something like a battery box could work and just cut holes in it for plenty of ventilation and drainage.
If it's an ARB, you can run a hose to a remote location for the filters. Is there room to mount it in the bed? Or at least mount the filters in the bed?
 

jeeper

Currently without Jeep
Location
So Jo, Ut
Does anyone see a problem with mounting the air compressor along the frame rail? Best place I’ve found is in front of the rear wheel well.

If needed I could make a weather guard to protect the filters. Something like a battery box could work and just cut holes in it for plenty of ventilation and drainage.

What are you doing for storage? If you are going decked drawers, the compressor would fit well in one of the corner pockets.
 

Tonkaman

Well-Known Member
Location
West Jordan
If you do I’d keep it as far forward as you can, more rear you get the more salt mist it will see in the winter and dust on the dirt. Can you mount it inside? Maybe in one of the foot well boxes they have in the rear seat? Not sure if they still do that
Yeah road salt and mud are my biggest concerns. I don’t love mounting compressors inside and have traditionally found a place under the hood. This truck has hardly any storage space inside. Those wimpy footwell boxes are way smaller than they look at first.
If it's an ARB, you can run a hose to a remote location for the filters. Is there room to mount it in the bed? Or at least mount the filters in the bed?
It could be bed mounted I suppose. I haven’t figured out how my bed usage will evolve yet. Maybe I just run it there until I make the next change in use?

Don’t the filter extensions dramatically reduce the efficiency? Besides the air filters how do the compressors handle the elements?
What are you doing for storage? If you are going decked drawers, the compressor would fit well in one of the corner pockets.
I still haven’t decided. Maybe this is yet another reason to get a drawer setup? I’m sure the compressor would best nicely in an otherwise empty space.
 

J-mobzz

Well-Known Member
Im so stoked on this truck for you @Tonkaman ! So amazing and looks just absolutely killer. As far as compressor location I had a viair mounted to the inside frame rails of a truck for years without issue. I did not daily drive that truck though. I believe you're in the same situation where you won't be DDing this truck all winter. Personally I would go for it and potentially learn my lesson the hard way.
 

Tonkaman

Well-Known Member
Location
West Jordan
Im so stoked on this truck for you @Tonkaman ! So amazing and looks just absolutely killer. As far as compressor location I had a viair mounted to the inside frame rails of a truck for years without issue. I did not daily drive that truck though. I believe you're in the same situation where you won't be DDing this truck all winter. Personally I would go for it and potentially learn my lesson the hard way.
Thanks, I’m so stoked to actually use it!

I think our heads are in the same spot as far as risk to reward on this one. Thanks
 

Tonkaman

Well-Known Member
Location
West Jordan
Not too much progress lately. I’ve just been slowly tackling 1 wire at a time, making sure to use high quality connectors, braided loom, and adhesive lined heat shrink on everything. After the wires are pulled I use the label maker to label each loom.
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Today I mounted up the switch pros controller. I found a good spot on this removable access panel. I needed a super low profile way to attach it, and ended up using binding screws for the first time.
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Tonkaman

Well-Known Member
Location
West Jordan
Does anyone see a problem with mounting the air compressor along the frame rail? Best place I’ve found is in front of the rear wheel well.

If needed I could make a weather guard to protect the filters. Something like a battery box could work and just cut holes in it for plenty of ventilation and drainage.
Well I started to make a quick bracket so I could have OBA for my trip last weekend.I was in such a hurry to get things done that I only ended up wasting a couple hours. My bracket ended up impossible to bolt onto the truck and the compressor at the same time -_- 🤦‍♂️
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Tonkaman

Well-Known Member
Location
West Jordan
Can you weld some nuts on the plate under the compressor? That's pretty ghetto for your snazzy build but it would be hidden and only the internet would know.
It’s probably not a tricky puzzle to solve, but I have very little experience with fabrication. I was trying to use the only 2 threaded holes on the frame I could find. What I didn’t realize was that the compressor has female threads so the bolts have to come in from the back.
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I think I’ll just make another piece that bolts to the truck and make it so this bracket bolts onto that. I like doing this stuff, it really makes me think about parts from a new perspective.
 

Tonkaman

Well-Known Member
Location
West Jordan
I modified the air compressor bracket and simply added 3 tabs for bolt holes. The frame holes are not accessible from the backside, so I had to get creative to utilize them.

First I wound small gauge wire around the bolt threads, then I fished the wire up into the frame and out the desired hole. Once the bolt was through I zip tied the bolt into place so it would stay still until I could get hardware installed. 5DA32B0F-D00B-4A6D-BBFE-E704E05A24B4.jpeg2195C22C-8347-426E-B92B-5C57AE43F567.jpeg

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After the compressor was bolted into place I ran the power wires to the safety Hub, and the control wires to the switch-pros controller.
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Now I just need to decide what I want to do with the air lines.
 

Tonkaman

Well-Known Member
Location
West Jordan
I was dirtbiking up American fork canyon and came across a truck that had lost control and was off the road. Luckily for him he snagged a tree and it was keeping him from dropping into tibble fork reservoir.

I got to break in my new winch today! Unfortunately I was massively unprepared since I haven’t found a home for my rigging yet and I hadn’t even tensioned my winch line. Luckily a couple teenagers stopped with a keep that had a winch and plenty of rigging. They called their dad up who brought another jeep with a winch.

We rigged one jeep to the frame underneath the drivers door, and rigged the 2nd jeep to the rear of the pickup. My fear was that the weight of the pickup would just pull the jeeps down the hill once that tree let loose. To stop that from happening I parked back a ways so I had good traction, and hooked my winch to the jeep. It took all 3 of us but we got the truck out pretty much undamaged 👍

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