Jesus Gauna’s 2017 TRD Off Road Tacoma Build

Overland 3rd Gen Tacoma Build On Top Of Imogene Pass Trail In Colorado

Super Capable Daily Driver On 33″ Tires & Several Other Mods

Welcome to another Walkaround Wednesday! We hope you’ve been enjoying this series and have found inspiration for your own rig from each week’s rig feature and interview.

Last time, we looked Niel’s 2021 TRD Pro Tacoma.

This week, we’ll showcase a rig built with an entirely different mission in mind. Instead of a dedicated rock crawler or overlanding monster, Jesus built his Tacoma to be a practical daily driver in addition to being able to hit the trails. He needed to retain the functionality of the truck bed to transport parts for his 18-wheeler and excessive weight wasn’t an option. Keep reading to see how Jesus overcame these challenges.

Vehicle Walkaround

2017 Inferno Red Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road With True North Fabrication Hybrid Front Bumper


Base Vehicle:

  • Year: 2017
  • Make and Model: Toyota Tacoma
  • Trim: TRD Off Road
  • Cab: Double Cab
  • Bed: 5 ft
  • Color: Inferno
  • Mileage: 138k


  • BF Goodrich Ko2 All-Terrain Tire, 285/70R17 (Review)
  • TRD Off-Road Wheel Blackout Kit
  • SpiderTrax OffRoad 1.5″ Wheel Spacers
  • Eibach Stage 1 Pro-Truck Lift Kit (Install & Review)
  • Moog Tie Rod End Kit, Inner and Outer
  • Add-a Leaf Kit (Leaf Spring Buyer’s Guide)
  • DIY Rear Differential Breather Relocation (DIY Guide)


  • DIY Tubular Front Bumper – True North Fabrications
  • DIY Rock Sliders
  • DIY Skid Plates
  • Aftermarket Rear Bumper (purchased on eBay)

    Lightning & Electrical:

    • Cali Raised LED 52″ Curved 5D Dual-Row Light Bar
    • Baja Designs Squadron Sport Auxiliary Light Pods


    • Softopper Folding Truck Cap (Review)
    • Overland Vehicle System Nomadic 2 Extended Rooftop Tent
    • Heavy Metal Off-Road 21″ Bed Bars, 2x
    • Amazon Basket Roof Rack


    • K&N Drop-In Replacement Air Filter
    • Ripp High-Performance Coil Pack System
    • KDMAX Pro+XT Tune
    • MBRP XP Cat Back Exhaust System (Install & Review)


      Tell Us About Yourself. Why A Tacoma?

      3rd Gen Tacoma Builds in Moab Utah On 4x4 Trails

      Hi! My name is Jesus Gauna; I’m a truck driver with almost a decade of experience. I chose the Tacoma platform solely based on its reliability. I also liked that it was economical and it can fit almost anywhere.

      I really loved the 2015 TRD Pro in the new color, Inferno, but since the 3rd Gen was right around the corner, I decided to hold out. I figured that the TRD 4×4 Off Road was the best bang for the buck; having a rear locker and black fender liners showed me that it was built for the rugged, yet it had a lot of creature comforts.

      How Do You Use Your Tacoma?

      3rd Gen Tacoma DIY Hybrid Tubular Full-Width Bumper From True North With Baja Designs Squadron Fog Lights

      I daily drive my Tacoma. It’s my go-to vehicle, either for picking up parts for my 18 wheeler, buying groceries, or going on an adventure. I know I can depend on it.

      Tell Us About Your Build Process

      3rd Gen Tacoma By Moab Grand County, Utah

      I started with the most important mod of all… the lightbar! Just kidding, first I did all of the simple stuff: tint, rain guards, TRD Pro grille, Eibach shocks, Spidertrax spacers all around, an add-a-leaf kit on the rear. I made the step up to 33s and added a CB radio, ditch lights, and the 52″ light bar from Cali Raised.

      Next came a simple basket from Amazon for the roof, an extended diff breather for the rear, a K&N air filter, Ripp coil packs, a custom tune, a Softopper, and a 10k Warn winch with a DIY front bumper that I MIG welded myself. Finally, I added some custom rock sliders and skid plates that a buddy of mine made for me, as well as bed bars, an OVS rooftop tent, and a rear bumper.

      What Do You Like Most About Your Tacoma? Least?

      3rd Gen Toyota Tacoma Off Road Towing A Flatbed Trailer

      What I like about the Tacoma platform is that it has a lot of aftermarket support for overlanding and off-roading parts. 

      That being said, my least favorite part about the Tacoma is that after all the mods, it gives me about 13 mpg… ouch!

      What’s Your Favorite Mod? Do You Regret Any?

      Overland Built Toyota Tacomas At Summit of Imogene Pass, Elevation 13,120 ft

      I can’t think of a single mod I regret; I have yet to come across any major problems with any of the aftermarket parts. I can’t say I have a single favorite mod either; they’ve all been part of the process. The truck as a whole, with everything I’ve done to it, has been the best part of owning my Tacoma.

      What’s Next For Your Tacoma?

      Inferno Red 3rd Gen Tacoma Overland Build Near Wooded Campsite

      At some point, I’d like to switch the suspension to a 3″ or 4″ lift kit, which would help to fit 35″ tires. I’d also like to upgrade to a set of beadgrip wheels and upgrade the leaf springs. Hopefully, in the future, I can take the truck to Alaska or Baja.

      Final Thoughts

      3rd Gen Tacoma Overland Build With Custom Rock Sliders, Hybrid Front Bumper & Skid Plates

      What I love about this rig is that it has practically all of the capability of an overland built with no expense spared, yet it avoids many of the downfalls. It’s not weighed down by excessive gear, it retains the functionality of a truck bed for doing truck stuff, and I’d venture to guess that the acceleration is similar to stock. Most of all, the mods that make up this build are all super accessible to the average Taco owner, both in terms of price and ease of install.

      That wraps up this week’s Walkaround Wednesday! A huge thanks to Jesus Gauna for sharing his rig with us.

      If you want to stay up to speed on his Tacoma, or check out his Toyota Supra and Tundra builds, head on over to his Instagram (@Trd_Gauna1715).

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