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My Storm Chase Rig: 2020 Update

After moving to Texas, from Georgia, I picked up another 4Runner, after a brief, awful hiatus without one from late 2017 – early 2019. You may remember a blog I posted in February of last year – “Texas and Toyota, I’m back”

It should come as no surprise that I made some enhancements shortly after securing that vehicle, from suspension, to lighting, electronics and even a new roof rack. I thought I would take a bit of time and detail just what all I’ve done!

As a reminder, here is what it looked like when I picked it up in February 2019. It’s a 2016 Toyota 4Runner Trail Premium. The only thing that stayed the same from this picture is the wheels and tires, as of writing this.

Suspension

First up, was removing the simple “spacer lift” (using rubber spacers to increase the vehicle ride height) and install a real suspension. I went with Icon Vehicle Dynamics 2.5″ remote reservoir coilovers on the front and 2.0 shocks in the rear. I decided to be really brave and take on this project myself. I won’t say I regret it now, but that evening I was definitely very unhappy with myself when I hit a roadblock at 3am and had to give up for the evening.

Hardware

I wanted to add some underbody protection, so I installed the RCI front skid plate. Then I got rid of the running boards which had the 2 steps you see above, for some rock sliders from Shrockworks in Houston, TX (made literally for sliding over rocks), but I got them mainly for extra clearance, plus sleek look.. They also have the unintended benefit of protecting against door dings.

Other big hardware adds were my Prinsu roof rack, C4 Fabrication front bumper, my ARB awning and my rear hatch ladder.

Skid Plate, Rock Sliders, Rear Molle Rack + Gear

Front Bumper, Winch, Lightbar

I went with a C4 Fabrication bumper and a SmittyBilt x20 10,000lb winch. The light-bar is an “Extreme LED” light bar. I hope it works for a long long time because it was a giant pain in the butt to install inside that bumper!

Roof Rack, Awning, MaxxTrax, HiLift

I went with a Prinsu no-drill full length roof rack, with a 40″ Cali-Raised LED light bar. I have a full length ARB awning. On the roof I have MaxxTrax traction boards + my HiLift Jack + some RotoPax Mounts

Lighting

Beyond the big light bars, I also upgraded my headlights to HID’s with Diode Dynamics lights, some rock lights, bright red/white interior LED’s, some Rigid Side Shooter lights for the hood to light up the ditches, some reverse lights and finally some Rigid scene lights that light up the drivers side.

Electronics

I have my typical electronics, laptop, HAM radio, etc.. But I also added a Pioneer head unit with wireless Apple Car Play, my new SDS100 Digital Scanner, but my prize possession is the SwitchPro 9100 which makes everything so easy and fully supplies all the power I can ask for to each device. It prevents so much extra wiring from needing done, everything just connects under the hood and one big cable comes inside to turn on whatever I want.

Dash Camera

Just this week I inked a sponsorship deal with BlackVue Cameras. I wanted to find a reliable, top end brand that I could trust to hold up to the heat (those long June chase days get hot!), the awful roads and whatever else chasing throws. I am going to be installing the BlackVue 4K DR900S, which will have front and rear cameras. Really excited to have a real rear facing camera!

Look for a full blog once I get the camera in hand soon!

BlackVue-dashcam-on-window

Storm Photos

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Brandon Sullivan

I am an entrepreneur, meteorologist and storm chaser. I travel and take captivating photos and videos across the world. If I'm not chasing, I'm at the gym. All opinions are my own and do not represent my employers or investments.

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