Its been a while since I have given and update. Mostly because things have been taking off like crazy as the only Toyota specific shop in the Midwest! We are stocking more and more items and have more vendor contacts that ever before. We are having monthly events like our annual off road 101 event. We got to show those that were new to off road travel the ins and outs of what their awesome Toyota trucks are capable of. Another big part of our growth is the addition of a new team member.
Please help me welcome Rick Vance! Rick got his start in this business by attending school and becoming a certified Toyota mechanic! From that experience he moved out of dealer work and on to private auto repair on all makes and models before settling in here at Chitown4x4.
His calm demeanor and great attention to detail makes him a great fit for dealing with all kinds of personalities and customers that we run across every day.
Some of Ricks favorite things, Mt, dew, Cheetos and cigars, he is always appreciative of customers that bring him goodies, not that he needs a bribe to do great work, but it never hurts ;-)
Mr Vance loves life and is always pondering the philosophy of business and success. He is always game for talking about what keeps this world turning and what motivates him every day.
Never one to pass on a good cigar with friends and customers!
Ricks other passions lie in a strong knowledge of auto repair and modification, Astronomy, art and graphic design, motorcycles, Cigars and music. Ohh and he loves turbos, they make him melt... you want to see a man smile, talk about turbos.
This is ricks first Toyota, he picked a good one, this picture was the day he grabbed it up on April Fools day 2017! Can't wait to see what this beast turns into!
Rick is going to be quite the asset for Toyota owners in this community. He has taken a real working knowledge of what he does every day, catalogs things methodically and learns new things every job and writes them down for future tech articles and enthusiast help. Also with his knowledge of other platforms we are starting to branch into servicing the the big 3, land rover, and Nissan trucks as well. We are beyond happy to have him on board, now stop on by and say hi!.
Chitown4x4 is proud to announce a totally revised version of its Gas Pax holder for the Fj Cruiser. As many people know, having a swing out bumper can get bulky and hard to move around. They also have a tendency to chatter and make noise on the trail. We set out with our version 1.0 to alleviate these issues and did so successfully.
Customer feed back led us to push for better design, something stronger, more versatile, and adjustable. A common complaint on the fist gen design was the use of a spacer was needed to clear the inner workings of the wiper and the spare tire horn. The new design improves upon that and removes the need for any extensions or plates. This allows those with back up cameras to have the same view they enjoy now. and nothing needs to change.
Things that were addressed with design 2.0.
We have a few prototype models out there enduring testing at the moment to see if there is any changes that need to be made, but so far response is great and they are doing well. Pre orders are being accepted now, Shipments will start to go out in late May just in time for your summer trips!
We are running a first run group sale to kick this off for pre orders so check out the site and extend your exploration range.
A few notes on design.
Over the last few months we have been testing and developing the ability to supercharge the Flex Fuel 5.7L Toyota motors using as many OEM parts as possible to complete the transformation. We are proud to announce that we are now there and selling these kits as installed options only. So pop the cork off the champagne and lets celebrate with some horse power!
This all started last summer trying to shop for a Regular Cab short bed Tundra. Personally I think its the way all pick up trucks should be, but understand the reasons for back seats as well. Finding a RCSB tundra is like finding a needle in a hay stack. At any given time there are 1000's of Tundras on the market for sale, The number of them that are regular cabs are is in the teens at any given time. Make it 4x4 and short bed.. maybe 1 or 2 for sale. To make it worse, most are flex fuel 5.7's and I always wanted the supercharger on my truck. I searched for months to find a low miles RCSB 4x4, Non Flex fuel Tundra... At the end of 7 months, I passed on the idea of supercharging the truck and purchased a low miles 2013 from Oklahoma that was a FFV truck.
As soon as I got the thing I planned out a mod path and purchased the blower unit to see where we could get. I have read that all kinds of other stuff was needed but I was up for the challenge.. even if it meant a no go on completion and selling the supercharger on to another lucky tundra owner that was not FFV.
We sent the truck off to the Dyno and posted 317 WHP and 371 FT/TQ stock. Which was no slouch for a light weight regular cab. The Truck posted mid 6 second 0-60 pulls from stock and even a bit quicker with the 4wd turned on. Then it pulled into the shop and did not emerge for 5 weeks... Waiting and working on this was both fun and exciting.
5 weeks later the truck emerged.. Here are the results....
A truck that drives smoother than it did stock.
The throttle bounce issue is diminished.
The hunting for gears on the highway is gone.
So far MPG has totally been un-effected, yet you do need to run 91/93 octane fuel.
The truck threw down after install 456 WHP and 478 FT/TQ with an AFR of 11.6 So even with these numbers we are conservative on the AFR side. If you use the Stock Toyota HP/TQ figures and drive line loss to the first set of Dyno numbers, that is 546 crank horse Power and 573 Crank TQ ! ! ! Because we are using custom tunes to get this system to work we are able to see more power than the factory non FFV trucks are putting down. Its one hell of a ride I gotta tell ya. The rear wheels don't get traction until it shifts to 3rd gear at 65-70 mph. The 65-100 mph pull is nuts and rivals most muscle cars that I have been in for sure!
So if you have been totally disappointed by the fact that you can't supercharge your Tundra 5.7 because you have the FFV motor.. Think again.... and then give us a call. Kits are ready to be installed as well as several happy customers enjoying the extra grunt from their Tundra. Even 2014+ Customers.
2013 Tundra RCSB 4x4 3500 miles
Wheels: Konig BFD 18x9 +12 Off set
Tires: BFG K02 35x12.5R18
Exhaust, Corsa Sport, custom bent
Front Lift. Fox Factory 2.5 adjustable Coilovers, Icon upper control Arms.
Rear Lift. Ekstrom Designs +2 Shackle Lift and Fox Factory 2.5 RR Rear Shocks
Extras, Roll Top Tonneau, Bed Rug, LED head light upgrades and Sport Grill.
See Below for 0-60 Run, keep in mind that 12% speedometer correction is needed from the tire change, so 55mph reading translates to a 60.5 mph ground speed :-) 4x4 0-60 times is right around 4.2 seconds flat.
BIG NEWS IN THE LED AFTERMARKET LIGHTING WORLD!
Rigid Industries Announces Its Acquisition By Truck-Lite
Rigid Industries LED Lighting Announces Its Acquisition By Truck-Lite Co., LLC
Phoenix, AZ – February 6, 2015 - Rigid Industries® LED Lighting, the world’s leader in forward projecting LED lighting via its patented optic systems and torture-tested housing, announces its acquisition by Truck-Lite Co., LLC of Falconer, NY., a member of the PENSKE Corporation. Together, Rigid Industries and Truck-Lite will now offer the complete package of DOT, off-road and accessory LED lighting for not only on and off-road vehicular markets, but markets the world over in a wide variety of heavy-duty and commercial vehicle categories.
Jason Christiansen, CEO of Rigid Industries, said, "We’re excited to join the Truck-Lite team. We look forward to partnering and combining our industry experience, and will continue to deliver the same high quality products that have made Rigid the industry name it is today. Our two companies are a perfect fit as we both focus on long lasting products, state-of-the-art technology, and a commitment to world-class customer service.”
According to Brian Kupchella, CEO of Truck-Lite, "Rigid Industries provides an ideal platform for Truck-Lite's further expansion into the off road, power sport, agricultural, marine, industrial, and mining markets. It positions Rigid to grow as a major player in the LED lighting industry while maintaining its own distinct brand identity. Rigid has proven themselves a unique and successful company with superior quality, innovation, and a high level of customer interaction."
Both Truck-Lite and Rigid Industries take pride that their products are designed, engineered, and manufactured in the USA. With Truck-Lite’s 59 years in existence, they have evolved and expanded their technology with headlights, safety lights, signal switches and emergency lighting. Rigid Industries has seen extremely fast paced growth as a leader in forward projecting lighting and it is approaching its 10th year in business. Total employment for the two companies is over 2,400. With customers already in 40 countries, both Truck-Lite and Rigid Industries look to expand their presence in the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand in 2015.
Houlihan Lokey served as the exclusive financial advisor to Rigid Industries.
About Rigid Industries®:
Thanks to its unparalleled patented HybridTM, SpecterTM and HyperspotTM optics and its torture-tested housings, Rigid Industries® is a world leader in the forward projecting LED lighting industry. Rigid Industries® ranked 316th on the Inc. 500 list for 2014 and ranked as the fastest growing off-road LED lighting manufacturer in America. Rigid LED lighting products can be used in a plethora of applications across industries such as: agriculture, construction, emergency response, industrial, marine, military, mining, and, of course, off-road and power sports. Rigid Industries® is committed to providing top-notch, innovative technologies and always guarantees a quality product which has
been designed, engineered, and assembled in the USA.
Truck-Lite Co., LLC is headquartered in Falconer, New York, with additional U.S. manufacturing facilities in Wellsboro, Coudersport, and McElhattan, Pennsylvania and Saline, Michigan. International facilities are located in Harlow and Birmingham England; Puebla, Mexico; and Eisenach, Germany. Truck-Lite is a major producer of safety lighting, forward lighting, wiring harnesses, mirrors, turn signal switches, and safety accessories to the heavy-duty truck, trailer, and commercial vehicle industries. To learn more about Truck-Lite, visit their website: http://www.truck-lite.com
INFO COURTESY OF TRUCKLIGHT MFG AND MEYER DISTRIBUTING.
Spod is coming to market with some awesome new tech for our Rigs. The first Gen Systems were totally awesome upgrades for making easy work of 12V upgrades to our trucks.. This is going to blow the doors off of everything else on the market.. Take a look at the video from SPod4x4. Should have them in stock soon after release!! Also keep posted for a review as soon as they come in! Can't wait!
First and formost, thank you to my friends and customers for a great first year of business! 1 year went by so fast, at the same time I can't believe what has been done with literally trying to do so little. This adventure started with 2 custom FJ Cruiser products and keeps ballooning up to encompass other makes and models. The simple philosophy of great prices, and customer support works in an industry where little of those 2 things are found.
I have literally had to fight to stay small. I never wanted this to take over much time, or grow to anything more than helping out the fellow word of mouth Midwestern adventure traveler get his rig up to speed. With that in mind, here is what happened while trying to stay small...
Chi-Town4x4 Hosted 27 Wrench Nights to help others install parts with out labor charges
We became the midwest distributor for Baja Rack.
We became an certified install center with Metal Cloak Products
Became a Stocking Dealer with ... 4x4SPOD.com, Tempui Tents, Rigid Industries, Lifetime LeD Lights, ARB, Metal Tech, ICon, Bilstein, Konig Wheels, Good year Tire, Gobi Rack, Rotopax, Bullet Proof Off road, Spidertrax, Gorilla Lugs, Front Runner, yucon gear, piaa, hella, borla, afe, Fox racing, All Pro Off road, Metal Cloak, Yakima Racks, Thule, Reece Hitch, Factor 55, DDM Tuning, Ready Lift, Engle, Ranco, ARE, undercover, Expedition one, and several others.
Installed over 40 lift kits on customers rigs.
We have 6 Sponsored Shop Trucks on the road in Chicago!
For some shops, this is just part of doing business, but for us, in the first year, while trying not to grow shows me 2 things. There is a need for quality shops here in the midwest to provide technical support for the off road hobby. 2, there is a need for local availability of parts beyond what mail order can offer to us Midwestern folks.
So what is next.... no idea.... So ill just keep on doing what I have been and see what happens in year 2 with not trying to grow a business :-)
Again thank you to everyone for your support and the great times we have had over the last year! its been a blast!
THIS YEAR TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION has announced a ROLLER COASTER worth OF EMOTIONAL CHANGE for those loyal to the brand. WE ARE GOING TO SEE ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGHS AND SULTAN SEA LOWS. WITH CHANGES ACROSS THE LINE UP THIS YEAR WE ARE GOING TO SEE EXCITING NEW TRUCKS HIT THE MARKET AND SEE SOME VERY BELOVED ONES LEAVE. FOR THOSE THAT HAVE NOT KEPT UP WITH THE MOST RECENT NEWS, HERE IS THE RECAP FOR TRD NORTH AMERICA 2014
THE FJ CRUISER DEBUTED IN 2005 AT THE CHICAGO AUTO SHOW WEARING A FLASHY BLUE COLOR THAT WE ALL NOW KNOW AS VOODOO. JUST AS THIS TRUCK CAME INTO THE WORLD WEARING BLUE, ITS ALSO GOING TO LEAVE THIS WORLD WRAPPED IN BLUE. THE 2014 ULTIMATE EDITION IS THE LAST HURRAH FOR THE FJ. IT WILL HAVE A LIMITED PRODUCTION OF 2500 UNITS WEARING HERITAGE BLUE COLOR AND REVAMPED SUSPENSION FROM THE BAJA EDITION TACOMA. THE NOTION THAT THIS TRUCK IS IN ITS FINAL YEAR OF PRODUCTION FOR THE NORTH AMERICAN MARKET IS A SAD REALITY. WITH A QUARTER MILLION FJ'S ON THE ROAD WE ARE LUCKY THAT THESE WILL BE AROUND FOR MANY YEARS TO COME.
Joe BACAL won his second consecutive Baja 1000 when he crossed the finish line at the Tecate SCORE 2013 Baja 1000. This is his 3rd overall Baja 1000 win in the last 5 years. Team Lexus finished the race in 29 hours and 21 minutes. The only other Stock-Full Class truck to finish was Rod Hall who came across the finish line 4.5 hours after the Lexus. THIS IS AN AWESOME ACCOMPLISHMENT FOR TRD.. BUT IT ALSO COMES JUST MONTHS BEFORE TRD/LEXUS WITHDRAWS FROM THIS RACE CIRCUIT. TO IMAGINE A STOCK TRUCK BLASTING THROUGH THE BAJA 1000 IN 29 HOURS IS AMAZING AND IT REALLY MAKES ME TAKE TAKE A DEEPER LOOK WHEN I SEE THE 200 SERIES LAND CRUISER ON THE STREET AROUND CHICAGO.
MUCH LIKE THE FJ CRUISER DEBUT IN CHICAGO BACK IN 2005, TOYOTA HAS ALWAYS GIVEN US CHI-TOWN FOLK SOMETHING TO GET EXCITED ABOUT. THIS YEAR DID NOT DISAPPOINT WITH THE INTRODUCTION AND WORLD RELEASE OF THE TRD PRO MODELS. THIS IS A BIG STEP FORWARD FOR TOYOTA WITH DEDICATED MODELS BUILT AND TESTED FOR OFF ROAD ADVENTURE. 4RUNNER, TACOMA AND TUNDRA MODELS ALL EQUIPPED WITH BETTER PROTECTION, TIRES AND REVISED SUSPENSION WITH A FACTORY LIFT IS SOMETHING REALLY TO GET EXCITED ABOUT FOR AVID YOTA OFF ROAD FOLLOWERS.
SPEAKING OF DEDICATED OFFROAD MODELS, THE 2013 TRD RACING SERIES WAS A HUGE SUCCESS. TRD Tundra drivers registered 13 victories during 2013 on the way to clinching Toyota’s sixth NCWTS manufacturer’s championship. Busch led the way with five wins as his Kyle Busch Motorsports team captured the NCWTS owner’s championship.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN FOR CHITOWN4X4.COM NOT A WHOLE LOT REALLY. SOMETIMES WE NEED TO BE REMINDED THAT THESE TRUCKS WERE BUILT FOR OUR PASSION OF ADVENTURE AND EXCITEMENT. THE TRUCKS HAVE BEEN TESTED ON RACE COURSES AROUND THE GLOBE AND ENGINEERED WITH THE BEST RELIABILITY PERFORMANCE ON THE MARKET. THEY ARE SOMETHING THAT WE ALL USE EVERYDAY AND RELY UPON TO GET THERE AND THEY DO A REALLY GOOD JOB OF IT. THEY EXTEND OUR ADVENTURES AND LET US SEE THINGS THAT MOST WILL NEVER LAY EYES ON. REMEMBER THIS SUMMER TO TAKE A BREAK FROM THE DAILY GRIND, HOP IN YOUR RIG AND GO PLACES.
In Chicago we have had a record breaking winter. as the rest of the country complains about their 1 day ice storm, 2" of snow or some frozen oranges, those of us in the northern half of the USA have been enduring this beast of a winter. BUT AS MUCH BANTERING THAT HAS GONE BACK AND FORTH ON FACEBOOK THIS YEAR ABOUT WHO HAD IT HARDER, NO ONE IN the southern half of the country WILL EVER Grasp how much we cherish our summers.
Those SUMMER days are like gold and we live them to the fullest. With the HOPE OF spring in the air and DRIVING WIth the windows down OUR phone HAS BEEN RINGING FOR calls ON OUR REAR WINDOW KIT FOR THE FJ CRUISER.
FOR THOSE THAT DON'T KNOW WHAT THIS KIT IS. . . WELL, ITS LOTS OF THINGS TO LOTS OF DIFFERENT PEOPLE. MOST OF THE CUSTOMERS SO FAR HAVE BEEN DOG OWNERS WANTING TO GIVE THEIR BEST FRIENDS AN OPEN AIR EXPERIENCE IN THE BACK OF THEIR FJ CRUISER.
THIS WINDOW KITS GIVES YOU THE FLEXIBILITY THAT NOTHING ELSE ON THE MARKET HAS BEEN ABLE TO DO. YOUR REAR WINDOW OPERATES JUST LIKE ONE OF YOUR SIDE WINDOWS. IT GOES DOWN, IT GOES UP, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY FOR THE DOG OWNERS, IT CRACKS OPEN TO A SET AMOUNT AND STOPS WHEN YOU WANT IT TO STOP. THIS KEEPS YOUR FURRY FRIENDS SAFE FROM CLIMBING OUT THE WINDOW, SPRING BOARD JUMPING OFF THE SPARE TIRE TO GET A BETTER GLIMPSE OF THE CAT THAT THE NEIGHBOR ALWAYS LEAVES OUTSIDE.
AS ALL ANIMAL LOVERS KNOW, SOMETIMES THE BEST MEASURES THAT WE CAN TAKE TO PROTECT OUR PETS ARE THE ONES THAT PROTECT PETS FROM THEM SELVES. WITH THE ABILITY OF THIS KIT TO HOLD THE WINDOW FIRMLY AT ANY POSITION IS WHAT MAKES THIS REAR WINDOW KIT FOR THE FJ CRUISER SO POPULAR AMONG DOG OWNERS.
WITH THE SUCCESS OF THIS KIT WE ARE PRESSING ON TO CREATE GENERATION VERSION 2 OF THIS KIT. THIS INCLUDES PRODUCTION GRADE MOUNTING HARDWARE. BEEFED UP BOLTS AND LATCHING HARD WARE. IMPROVED INSTRUCTIONS AND AN EASIER INSTALLATION THAN EVER BEFORE.
WE SEE AVERAGE INSTALLATION TIMES IN THE 2 HOUR RANGE WITH A FEW OF THEM COMPLETED IN 1.5 HOURS. MY SELF I PERSONALLY TAKE AROUND 3 HOURS OR MORE JUST BECAUSE IM USUALLY WORKING ON SOMEONE ELSE'S TRUCK AND IM SUPER CAUTIOUS.
THE NEW KITS WILL BE HITTING THE MARKET IN LATE MARCH JUST IN TIME FOR THE SPRING RUSH. I PLAN ON HAVING SEVERAL OF THESE ON THE SHELF READY TO GO AS SUMMER SWINGS ON IN AND WE CAN KISS THIS TERRIBLE WINTER GOOD BY!
INFORMATION AND VIDEO OF THIS KIT CAN BE FOUND AT
The new year is a time for reflection on what the previous year was about and what the new year ahead brings. Most of us asks what do we plan to do for the new year? What are you goals, aspirations, dreams...
For me running multiple businesses and keeping up with a family at home sometimes I think it would be nice to just keep my sanity and have a good time here and there... but all of us would like to do way more than time and sanity allow.
As far as Chitown4x4 goes there are some very cool things coming down the line for us with manufactures and with customers. We are embracing the Jeep JK platform as a legitimate expedition platform and working on a complete build up of one for everyone to see along the way.
1.) We are working on bringing to market our first wheel for the Jeep Jk crowd from Konig. It is a light weight and strong wheel aimed at the customer that understands adding a bunch of weight with a cast wheel makes a big difference in the way your rig drives and handles.
2.) Chitown4x4.com is looking at launching its first line of Skid plates for the Fj Cruiser, 4Runner and Jeep Jk. We are looking at producing a Stainless version and an Aluminum version for full under body protection on all models.
3.) The rear window kit was so popular that we have sent in for custom parts to be water jetted instead of modifying current Toyota parts for the kit. These will start shipping In February with the upgraded hardware. We have also dumbed down the kit to make the install more custom for the user and less problems with install.
4.) The GasPaX product continues on as our best seller at this point with 10 units out on the trail to date! Look for us to be running a number of promotions tied to this product for the new year including free Trasharoos with purchase.
5.) Vendors that we are working with to offer direct support and products here in the midwest for 2014 is, Baja Rack, Front runner, Rugged Ridge, Icon, Metaltech, Terraflex, Toytec, Konig, Rotopax, Gobi Rack, and Warrior Products.
All of this is very exciting and the dreams that we have are always larger than what can be done, but this above is what is most likely to be seen from us here at Chitown4x4 in 2014.
We wish you all of the best in your own quests for the new year and hope that you can join me for some of the fun parts!
We are exploring the idea of a Self Contained dual battery tray system that fits 2 group 34 batteries in the factory location. Production ideas should start in the next week and we will be test fitting the first prototypes in the next week. The benefits to this set up are
1 Short Cable Runs, simple wire set up.
2 Free up space in other parts of engine bay for other stuff
3 Simple 24V trail side welding if needed
4 No need to fuse every cable connection (cost)
A few more details should be released soon, but im excited to see what comes of this.
This product should fit: 2003+ 4runner, 2007+ Fj Cruiser, 2005+ toyota tacoma, 100 and 200 series land crusier.
It should fit all group 34 batteries, including, Diehard, Odyssey, Everstart and Optima.
UPDATE 2-28-14, This product never launched. The mounting of the kit was too compromised to offer a bolt in solution for customers. if intersted in one off production please contact us.