Project Toyota Tundra Part 9- Installing TRD's big brakes with Volk Wheels

By Mike Kojima 



When we last left off we had just gotten our TRD big brake set and were anticipating installing them on our Project Tundra Supertruck.  However our brakes were so big we could not fit them under our forged 17" TRD wheels.  It was not even close.  Checking with TRD we found that the smallest diameter wheel we could use was a large 20" in diameter wheel.

We are not  in love with the Dub look nor are we Raider fans, so we set off in search of a wheel combo that would look proper on our off road 4X4, fit our big brake kit and not weigh so much it would nullify the advantages of big brakes or a supercharged engine!

The journey proved to be somewhat long and somewhat difficult but in the end, we got the look we wanted and our big brakes.


CLICK HERE to Read More about Project Tundra!



Our big brakes are going to be great to stop our big, heavy and powerful truck, especially when towing.  Most of the cars in the MotoIQ garage have excellent brakes so even though our Tundra had pretty good brakes for a truck, we were used to more.  With huge 406mm in diameter rotors, we had to run at least a 20" in diameter wheel.  We were not too keen on this because we really dislike the Dub look on off road oriented trucks and we wanted to keep the proportions esthetically pleasing. 


Since we had to compromise in getting larger wheels, we decided to go all out in our wheel selection by opting for super trick and expensive Volk TE37X off road racing wheels. We custom ordered our wheels from Japan as Mackin Industries only stocks the TE37X in 18" and 22" sizes.  Unfortunately it took six months for our wheels to arrive.  If you think this combo looks good, give Eddie Lee at Mackin a call and if enough of you do, he will probably consider stocking them.  20" is sort of a no mans land size wheel in the truck world.  Most off road look guys want 18" wheels and Dub lovers and street truck fans want 22". 


The TE37X is perhaps the trickest  and most expensive truck wheel on the market.  It is forged using Volks multistage dies to get the forging very close to net shape with no machining.  By forge forming the entire wheel, you get superior grain formation around the entire geometry of the wheel.  This is impossible to get in a wheel simply machined from a forged blank.  This technology enables the TE37X to be Paris to Dakar proven off road  strong while only weighing 24.3 lbs for our huge 20x9.5 wheel!  The TE37X probably weighs half as much as some off road wheels of the same size. 


We think our TE37X wheels are beautiful and the bronze anodized finish will go well with our trucks white color.  Most truck dudes will never know about why we want to keep rotating inertial mass down and why we would pay so much to do it.  Our wheels came in a zero offset, not exactly what we wanted as we knew they were going to stick out of the wheel wells off road style, this was sort of ok with us but we would have preferred something like a 30mm offset. 


For tires we chose the Nitto Terra Grappler in 305/55-20.  We wanted a fairly beefy tire that would not look low profile silly on our off road 4x4 truck.  According to Nitto the the we chose was only about 1.2" wide and 0.7" taller than our old 285/70-17 BFG stock tire.  Wrong, Nittos run on the big side for their size and BFG must run on the small side.  The Nittos were much taller and fatter than our stock tires.  This created all sorts of headaches for us later even though our fitment looked really good.  In hind site it would have been better to get the slightly shorter 305/50-20 Terra Grappler that Nitto also makes. 



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Tuesday, August 21, 2012 11:28 AM
Any chance the stock front calipers and rotors will fit on the back with a custom caliper braket and a proportioning valve?
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 12:07 PM
It looks like an air hammer would have been a better idea...
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 12:13 PM
Theneil - Why would you want to? The upgrades powerslots and pads are more than enough and a LOT easier mod.

Mike - I've seen Volks on a Datsun mini-truck but never a fullsize before, grinning bigtime! Oh, and those of us who take/have taken our rigs on the trail might prefer rubbing our tires on a tree or rock, rather than our fender flares ;-p I don't even own a wallett chain!
Full-Race Geoff
Full-Race Geofflink
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 1:06 PM
nice!! the 20" size is becoming more common for trucks - our ecoboost F150 uses a 20x9
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 1:30 PM
Haha are you kidding! The crossmember would have laughed at an air hammer more than it did at Pete the giant Chinese guy. It is so tough we should sell hammered Toyota metal as an armor plating to the government. We might have discovered something.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 1:37 PM
the nail, sure you could get that to work but there are a couple of issues, first this truck uses a super highly engineered stability control and integrated traction control. Putting something in the rear would make the system freak out. The TRD brake system is carefully engineered to work with the factory stuff.

Second, you would loose your parking brake.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 1:55 PM
Woah,woah,woah Hold the phone Mike....
So you're not going to replace the Parking brake with a stand alone e-brake in and drift it?:P
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 2:07 PM
More like a turning brakes for a tank...
Mike @FIGS Engineering
Mike @FIGS Engineeringlink
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 10:24 AM
On our Tundra we went with a thin 34x11 tire AKA the 275/65/20 on our truck. Despite needed to trim the front fender (were doing that anyway for prerunner-like clearance) they do not rub at all. Truck looks great, cross between street tuner and capable tow rig.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 3:29 PM
Yeah, that is pretty weird about the actual tire size. My back-of-the-napkin skills verify that it should be roughly 1/2 inch larger than stock.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 10:35 PM
Somehow they are like 1.5" taller than stock.
R. Motoki
R. Motokilink
Thursday, August 23, 2012 2:42 AM
Wow you ran the stock brakes pretty hard huh? The lip on the rotor is large enough to see in the 4th pic, 2nd page.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Sunday, August 26, 2012 11:07 PM
Yeah the stock brakes were pretty hammered.
Sunday, September 02, 2012 2:29 AM
Hate to be a downer but the only ting bad about the Toyota factory brake upgrade kit is that it eats rotors. And if I remember correctly, the rotors are about $600 a piece. Steep price if you ask me. I've heard that upgrading the factory brake lines and installing certain aftermarket pads (I forget the name forgive me!) you can achieve the same, if not, better stopping performance than the factory package. Correct me if I'm wrong. Sweet rims though!
Sunday, September 02, 2012 6:19 AM
In a towing application like this, braking power and braking endurance are both important. The TRD kit will provide much more of the latter than the OEM because of the better thermal mass and other thermal characteristics. The problem of rotor wear is down to pad compound; there is probably a less abrasive pad compound available for the TRD kit I'd imagine.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Sunday, September 02, 2012 7:25 AM
Max - You're not a downer but I think you're not quite making sense. YES, upgrading the brake lines and pads will perform better than what comes from factory originally. NO, those upgrades won't touch the TRD upgrade kit. Consider that this upgrade kit upgrades the brake lines, pads, rotors AND calipers!
Friday, June 20, 2014 12:22 AM
Any updates???

Love a set of these wheels for my tundra.
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