Toyota has a long-standing history with off-road racing dating back to the early 1970s. Whether it was their desert racing trucks or their World Rally Championship Celicas and Corollas, Toyotas have always been hard to beat in the dirt. They were an integral piece of the puzzle as drivers like Ivan Stewart and Rod Millen raced their way to fame. In 2014, Toyota came out with the TRD Pro model for the Tundra, Tacoma, and 4runner as a tribute to their off-road racing heritage. Those trucks were welcomed by off-road enthusiasts with open arms.
So much so, that in some locations it was difficult or even downright impossible to get one. A lot of dealerships only had access to a few of them, and that resulted in a heavy dealer markup added to the window sticker at times. So what do you do when Toyota won’t sell you a TRD Pro, or you don’t want to pay over sticker? You build your own.
That’s exactly what Tyler (aka @boosted_celica) did. The time had come for him to part with his lifted 2nd gen Sequoia just as word was starting to spread about these new TRD Pro trucks coming out. He received insider information that his local dealer was only going to be allocated 2 Tundras – both white and in the Crewmax configuration.
How did Tyler stumble across this insider info you might ask? Well, he happens to work in the parts department of that exact dealership. That fact was about to come in very handy. Keep reading to see the complete list of part numbers so you too can build your own TRD Pro clone!
You see, Tyler just got rid of a big, white, lifted truck. A white, Crewmax TRD Pro would have felt like a lateral move (although definitely not the case financially!). The final nail in the coffin came when the dealer let him know that they couldn’t give him much of an employee discount on the TRD Pro due to its high demand. That’s understandable considering they only had 2, and there was a lineup of people willing to pay at least MSRP for them.
The thing is, Tyler really wanted a TRD Pro Tundra. The regular Off Road package wasn’t going to cut it. He’s from Cambridge, Ontario – a rather blue-collar city. Part of that blue-collar lifestyle means figuring out how to make something work despite being told “No!”. And that’s exactly what he did.
After searching the system for part numbers, he realized that he could buy nearly every TRD Pro part separately, from the suspension to the shift knob. All he needed was a truck to put them on. The dealer offered him a 2016 Tundra that had been sitting on the lot for some time. It was an SR5 with the TRD Off Road package in a rather bright orange. They figured it hadn’t sold because the color was too bold for most people. But Tyler knew that it wasn’t just a random shade of orange… It was Inferno Orange Pearl – one of the few colors the TRD Pro was offered in.
The deal was made, and before the stock SR5 Tundra even left the property, it was pulled into the mechanic’s bay to undergo its TRD Pro transformation. The only things that weren’t included were the TRD Pro interior and the stamped bedsides. Everything else was added. This was a brand new truck, with nearly all of the TRD Pro awesomeness, assembled by a Toyota technician. That’s about as close to a real TRD Pro as you’re gonna get.
Tyler didn’t end the mission once his truck had transformed into a TRD Pro clone. You see, he has trouble keeping anything stock (he also has a turbocharged 7th gen Celica). It was only a matter of time before he added his own flavor to the Tundra as well. Unlike his highly modified Celica, he decided to stick with a more OEM-Plus (do non-german car owners use that term?!) approach on the truck.
The first and most noticeable upgrade was the set of Method Race Wheels from his old Sequoia. They still wear the same 33″ Nitto Trail Grappler tires from his old truck, but have since been custom powder coated in a bronze and gloss black combo by Stripping Technologies in Cambridge, ON. The new color created a subtle, yet eye-catching look that very few other trucks could pull off.
Many people were initially concerned that the TRD Pro package was going to be mostly cosmetic, like the TRD Off Road trucks. I’m happy to report that this is not the case at all. The TRD Pro doesn’t just level the front end by lifting it a couple inches with spacers. It uses Bilstein shocks with piggyback reservoirs that have been custom tuned by TRD themselves. They provide a firmer, more controlled ride on the street and absorb harsh impacts like its nobody’s business. There’s no doubt that this is a proper off-road suspension setup.
To assist with the truck’s on-road manners, a pair of TRD sway bars were added. Interestingly, only the rear sway bar is a Tundra part. The front was actually sourced from the new Sport model of the 2018 Sequoia!
The flimsy TRD Off Road skid plate was also replaced with the 1/4″ thick Pro version. This is more than a cosmetic upgrade – the TRD Pro skid plate actually provides valuable protection.
The TRD Pro grill comes as 2 separate pieces – an upper and lower. It really brings out the Tundra’s muscular front end styling. It’s also a nod towards the old Land Cruisers with the word “Toyota” spelled out rather than just the logo. This is a great example of modern-retro styling done perfectly.
Other updates to the front end are a pair of LED headlights from the face lifted 2018 model Tundra, a 30″ Rough Country LED light bar flush mounted with Tundra specific brackets, and some LED fog lights from Spec D. By the way, those are actual Ford Raptor grill lights too – not aftermarket LEDs!
You might be wondering what happened to the factory chrome SR5 bumpers. The answer is, they’re still there! They were wrapped with vinyl that closely matches the Inferno Orange paint by Niko Signs and GraFX in Waterloo, ON. Tyler was concerned that any stone chips would show up as little chrome dots over time, so they were also wrapped with clear film to protect them.
The TRD dual exhaust that comes on the Pro is one of the nicest sounding OEM systems out there. This Tundra is a daily driver, so Tyler didn’t want his truck to sound like YeeHaw cousin kissin’ mayhem every time he started it up. The TRD exhaust barks loudly when you want it to, but stays subtle and drone-free during everyday driving. I haven’t heard another OEM exhaust on any truck that sounds as good as this one. Plus, it’s stainless steel, so it should survive many Canadian winters.
The Inferno Orange paint matched mirror caps were ordered to spruce up the original all-black SR5 mirrors. They’re kept company by a pair of TRD Pro badges sourced from a Tacoma. The badges might be a love it or hate it thing, but I think they suit the truck perfectly. I’m sure quite a few people have stood there scratching their heads while they wonder “is this a rare version of a TRD Pro or something?“
Although the interior is still from an SR5 model, Tyler added a few nice touches to it. The center console lid and floor mats are both TRD Pro parts, and the TRD shift knob is surrounded by some body-matched orange vinyl.
The trim piece on the passenger side of the dashboard holds something pretty special. Tyler goes to the Sema show in Las Vegas every year and decided to bring this piece with him this time. He managed to get it autographed by Rutledge Wood and BJ Baldwin, both very prominent figures in the Tundra community. This reminds me of all the Shelby cars that Carroll signed. Pretty cool.
Under the hood is left fairly stock. Toyota’s 5.7L V8 is a very strong, reliable engine and puts out some decent power right out of the box. An AFE cold air intake helps to free up a few extra ponies and compliments the TRD exhaust nicely.
A TRD oil cap ties in with the overall theme of the truck and a custom hydro dipped engine cover adds a little extra styling to the engine bay.
Now, unless you’re a member of the trendy Overland crowd, you’re probably wondering what the heck that black square shaped thing is that’s magically hovering over the box (I was even asked this during the time it took me to snap these pictures!). Believe it or not, it’s a tent from Smittybilt. It sits on top of a Thule bed rack and folds out whenever it’s needed.
Tyler is a huge race fan and spends a lot of time camping at race tracks. Camping in his truck is much more economical than staying at hotels every night and this setup works perfectly. In a few simple steps, the tent folds out and a ladder drops down. The nice thing is that the entire bed is still available for storage. It also doesn’t hurt to be elevated from the critters or any wet ground while you’re sleeping either.
This TRD Pro Tundra clone is living proof that you can still have the truck you want even if it isn’t technically available. Of course, buying any TRD parts from Toyota is never cheap. But if this is the truck you had your heart set on, doing it this way will surely come in under the MSRP of a real Pro.
In this case, Tyler was able to create a truck that’s nicer and more capable than a real TRD Pro in stock form, all while saving money. The end result is a custom looking truck that maintains Toyota’s legendary reliability. Where I come from, that’s called a win-win.
If you like his Tundra, make sure you give Tyler a follow on social media. You may even catch a glimpse of his turbo Celica that’s sure to make its way into a feature here on Canadian Gearhead in the future.
Parts List and Modifications:
Want to build your own TRD Pro clone? Here’s all the Toyota part numbers you’ll need:
- TRD Pro Suspension – ptr13-34140
- TRD front sway bar from 2018 Sequoia Sport – ptr62-0C180
- TRD rear sway bar – ptr11-34070
- TRD Pro skid plate – pt938-34140
- TRD dual exhaust:
Mufflers – ptr03-34160
Tailpipes – ptr03-34161
- TRD Pro hood bulge – 76180-0C030-E1
- TRD Pro grill – 53100-0C260-E0
- TRD shift knob – ptr57-34141
- TRD oil cap – ptr35-00110
- “Tundra” tailgate insert – pt948-34150-20
- TRD Pro badge from tacoma – 75428-04020
- TRD Pro floor mats
- 2018 Tundra LED headlight conversion
- Inferno Orange painted mirror caps
- Method Race Wheels NV – (18×9)
- Nitto Trail Grappler tires – (285/65/18)
- AFE Magnum Force Stage 2 Pro 5r cold air intake
- Smittybilt Overlander tent
- Thule 500XT Xsporter Pro bed rack
- Rough Country 30″ Black Series LED light bar with Tundra brackets
- Spec D LED fog lights
- Ford Raptor grill lights
- The Antenna Source “Shorty” antenna
Detailing Products Used:
I was only in charge of the paint correction on this one. The owner looked after all of the other detailing using his collection of products from Adam’s Polishes. He’s also a big fan of the different interior scents from Chemical Guys like Fresh Glazed Doughnut and Smell of Success.
Before polishing this truck, we prepped it using a Nanoskin Clay Block with Adam’s Detail Spray. Initially, I planned to do a quick one step paint correction but I ended up needing to add an extra step of light compounding with Meguiar’s D300 on a microfiber pad. I followed up with Meguiar’s M205 on a foam polishing pad, then protected the paint with a coat of Jescar Powerlock+ sealant. This was all done with my trusty Griot’s Garage DA Polisher that you can read all about here.