Some thoughts on Trail Spares

As I’m getting ready for the Appalachian Toyota Roundup, one of the things I go through are my trail spares I bring.
Things can break when you least expect them to, and it’s a good idea to bring spares for your own vehicle, even if you don’t know how to replace them, there will always be someone with you who can help. You can’t simply assume you can use other people’s spares.

Here’s a list of items I carry, along with some links on where to get them.

-CV / Front axles.
IFS Toyota’s have some -I’ll say it- potential weaker parts, and the CVs are certainly prone to failure.
Sure, you’ve went full send and never broke one, but depending on how you wheel, and the lines you choose, they can break. Don’t worry, the solid axle guys have Birfields to break.
OEM Axles are certainly the best axles for the money, they are built different from most aftermarket ones. Spline count is different, as is the bearing cage.

OEM Replacements are expensive, and should only be bought new. The reason I say that, is that Toyota offers “OEM Reman” axles, which I have found to not necessarily be an actual OEM axle.

RCV makes very good axles, at a price. Some swear by CVJ axles, others run axles from the big box stores.

Before I went long travel, I wheeled on Autozone Duralast Gold axles, which are new built and have lifetime warranty for under $100. Break one, install a spare, and have a replacement usually same day at any Autozone in the country.

Left and right axles are the same, at least on FJ Cruiser/4Runner/Tacoma etc.
I carry 2 spare CV axles, as mine are +2″ Long Travel, and can’t be bought from a parts store, they have to be built up on an OEM axle.
I also tightly wrap the splined and threaded parts in a shop rag, and tape them up. It keeps the critical parts from getting damaged, and you’ll have an extra set of rags!

Toyota CV Axles. Picture from Toyota USA.

-Tie Rods.
Another part that might give out on you, are the inner or outer tie rods. They are what connects your steering rack to the wheel spindles.
They’re not very hard to change on the trail, but your alignment will be out of whack, as your toe in/out is adjusted on them.

I carry 2 MOOG inner and outers, and they’ve worked for me. They can be ordered from places like Advanced Auto, RockAuto etc.

Once again, OEM tie rods are superior, and I’ve just learned that Cruiser Outfitters in Utah carries a set of 555 Tie Rods, which is apparently a supplier to Toyota, so certainly OEM quality.

One thing to note, is that 2007-2009 use different (smaller) inner as well as outer tie rods thant 2010+, and they are not interchangeable. 2010+ Prado 150 series are beefier and stronger.

I have 2 kits (4 inners/4 Outers) from Cruiser Outfitters coming in, as well as some long travel Tie Rod Extentions from Total Chaos. I normally carry 2 inners and 2 outers.

Picture from Cruiser Outfitters.

-U Joints.
All 4 U-Joints are the same on the Prado 120/150 based trucks, so one or two spares are easy to carry. They’re not expensive, Toyota OEM is best quality, but MOOG etc it an acceptable spare.

I have a different rear driveshaft, due to my Atlas transfer case, so I carry 2 1310 joints for the rear, as well as a spare complete rear driveshaft.
In addition I carry 1 U Joint for the front. I’ve never seen a front one fail on an IFS Toyota, the front diff doesn’t move much in relation to the transfer case, so hitting them on rocks – the cause of many failures – isn’t a thing.

-Lug Nuts.
Another thing I recommend you carry are lug nuts. I carry a handful. And make sure they’re the right kind, Toyota Alloy wheels use different lug nuts from the steel wheels, and they aren’t interchangeable.

I wheeled with some guys in TX once, and one of the guys had alloy wheels, and a steelie spare. When he ripped the sidewall on one of his alloy wheel tires, he went to put on the steelie spare. No dice. Good thing I had enough acorn style lug nuts with me to get him going.

While we’re talking about lug nuts, I highly recommend you throw the locking locknuts in a box in the garage. They have no use offroad, that special adapter is easily lost, and I’ve seen them strip out.

-Valve stems and valve cores
I’ve seen some valve cores damages and leaking after airing down, so I carry some spares. Make sure you carry the little tool to remove and reinstall the cores too.
Spare valve stems are a good idea as well, if your valve stems are exposed to rocks etc.
Colby Valve makes some trailside repair kits for sheared valve stems etc.

Grab a selection of spare fuses from any autocrats store, and throw them in the glove box. Always good to have on hand.

Everytime I’ve installed or changed something on my truck, that came with extra hardware, or new, I’ve thrown the old in a big ziplock bag, and carry that as well. Toyota uses a lot of the same sizes and thread pitches, so a small amount of nuts and bolt will go a long way!

I also have some cotter pins (for tie rods and CV Axle nuts) in my kit, as well as electrical tape and good quality ty-wraps. They have many uses.
These Thomas & Betts TY525MX Ty Wraps are the best ty-wraps known to mankind. 50Lbs tensile strength and UV Resistant. You can find them in different sizes and strengths. The 525MXs are pretty versatile, and can of course be joined to make longer ones.

-Front Wheel Bearing / Hub Assembly
While the front wheel bearing is something that rarely breaks on the trail, a lot of folks carry a spare assembly.
I personally don’t, but sooner or later I will, as the mileage on my truck goes up, and it’s a wear item.
Blue Pit Bearings has a variety of ready to bolt in assemblies, with some bearing and hub options, from aftermarket to OEM.
MidState Offroad has bearing assemblies as well, but has no options to use Toyota hubs, but uses Dorman hubs only.

Bearing assy, picture from Blue Pit Bearings

I usually have some engine oil with me, as well as enough water to add some to the cooling system if needed.
Transmission, transfer case fluid and differential fluid is either in my truck with me as well, or at basecamp, depending on where I am.

Another great product I’ve had tremendous luck with, is this Radiator leak stop. I was on a trail with friends, and a Tacoma sprung a radiator leak from something loose rubbing through it. It went from a steady stream to no leak within a minute.
This is typically a “get off the trail fix”, and the cooling system should be flushed when practical.

If you are carrying any other spares that I haven’t thought of or have missed, please comment below, and I’d be happy to share them!

-Edit- My friend Milo reminded me, something I also carry: A spare serpentine belt! Got an OEM with me as well, as well as the tools to change it.

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