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I re­ally en­joyed your col­umn (Fir­ing Or­der) in the June is­sue and it in­spired me to share the story of my fa­ther-in-law’s ’13 Toy­ota Tun­dra. Ger­ald Haynes was a long­time gear­head and all-around truck guy. He owned many trucks and 4x4s over the years in­clud­ing an old Power Wagon, a Bronco that he put tons of miles on, a ’57 Chevy truck, a 4Run­ner, and he even re­stored a ’67 GTO in his younger days.

Jerry was a Navy vet­eran who served dur­ing the Viet­nam War, and he was proud of serv­ing his coun­try. In his pro­fes­sional ca­reer Jerry was a Mas­ter Grader Oper­a­tor and worked dili­gently on most of the roads through­out his home state of Michi­gan for more than 30 years. He made many friends over the years from work­ing on the roads to the car shows that he would at­tend. Jerry was will­ing to sit down and talk with any­one.

Un­for­tu­nately, Jerry passed over a year ago now. He was very happy un­der the pal­lia­tive care of our lo­cal VA hospi­tal, and he com­fort­ably en­joyed his last days with us. Be­fore his pass­ing Jerry in­formed us that he put a life in­sur­ance pol­icy on his very beloved Tun­dra. The pol­icy stated that my wife was to in­herit the truck and that the pol­icy would pay the out­stand­ing bal­ance on the loan.

Jerry loved his Tun­dra and he was proud of the fact that he “picked it right off the show­room floor.” It’s a ’13 TRD SR5 with the 5.7L and tow pack­age in­clud­ing 4.30 gears. Jerry used and en­joyed the truck’s abil­ity to tow his large (36-foot) camper trailer, and he made mul­ti­ple trips from Michi­gan to Ari­zona and Florida. The truck al­ways per­formed great for Jerry, but he did even­tu­ally in­stall a Fire­stone Ride-rite load lev­el­ing kit in the rear and a drop-in K&N air fil­ter el­e­ment.

Since Jerry’s pass­ing we have worked hard to honor him through his truck that he loved so much. We now use only Amsoil Sig­na­ture Se­ries oil and TRD fil­ters. We’ve also re­placed the fac­tory tires with BFG A-TS in the stock size and load range E. Jerry had his End-of-the-trail front li­cense plate on all of his trucks over the years, so we felt it ap­pro­pri­ate to in­stall it on the Tun­dra as well.

The TRD pack­age gives this truck an auto lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial in the rear axle and A-trac to con­trol the front diff. With the ad­di­tion of the A-TS this truck has plenty of off-road abil­ity for tak­ing Jerry’s grand­daugh­ter two-trackin’. The fac­tory Bil­stein shocks and skid­plates help with the peace of mind to push the stock sus­pen­sion through some nice ter­rain around Michi­gan.

Jerry chose this truck for the uses that were im­por­tant to him at that point in his life. Those uses were cen­tered around be­ing able to travel the coun­try and see dis­tant fam­ily mem­bers that had been dif­fi­cult to spend time with dur­ing his work­ing days. He towed his home with him and got to spend some very qual­ity time with the peo­ple that were held dear­est to him.

Af­ter read­ing your col­umn about the dif­fer­ent ways we can con­sider a 4x4 “good” I in­stantly thought of my beloved fa­ther-in-law and friend. He cer­tainly thought that his Tun­dra was a good 4x4.


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