Building a Boondogglin' Tracker
Thanks for a great mag. I have been wheeling, on and off, for several years and you guys have always been a great source of information for all my vehicles. Now don't laugh too hard at my current project, okay? I picked up a 2000 4x4 Tracker 2.0. I've taken it on the trail a few times already & find it quite a capable little 4x4. I'm planning a lift kit, bigger tires, some bars and maybe a roof rack as this is my fishing and shooting rig. I've found a couple of places for the suspension lift: Calmini and E.M.O. I'm having some difficulty deciding which 2.5-inch lift to get; one is more complete than the other, but one of the competitors claims some of the components on the others kit are unneeded and that it produces a rough ride. Since this is my daily driver, I do want a semi-civilized road vehicle as well. I don't really do any hardcore rock climbing, mostly just boondogglin' trails out here in San Diego and Imperial counties. Cost isn't an issue, as I do want to use the right components for my needs. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Hey, no laughs from us. We've always had a soft spot for Suzukis around here.
We've never heard of "E.M.O." Perhaps you're referring to Old Man Emu (OME)? They manufactured lift kits for '93-'98 Trackers and Sidekicks, but nothing for your vehicle. We've heard of some shops and individuals who've cobbled together suspension lifts for '99-and-later vehicles using some of the older OME parts, but the installation is likely going to require some custom work and mixing-and-matching of componentry. The Calmini kit, by contrast, comes as a complete kit, and since they're located in California, you shouldn't have to wait very long to have the kit delivered to you. Just so you know.
We Get All Sorts of Requests
I have a '97 Jeep Cherokee engine and transmission from a wrecked Jeep. I want to put them in another model, but the wiring harness is a mess. Do you have one that I can buy to run the engine and trans?
Reidsville, North Carolina
Nope. Next question?
What Makes a "Best Buy"?
I read your article "The Best Buys in Used 4x4s" (Sept. '09) and wondered what features about the '85-'95 Toyota trucks caused you to select those models. I am looking at a 1998 Toyota Xtracab, 4x4 with the 3.4L V-6, five-speed standard, and 175,000 miles. My use will be for off-road hunting- following and chasing dogs that locate and tree game.
If you could give me your advice on this truck and advise if it has problems or weak components that give trouble.
The primary considerations in picking our "Best Used Buys" were availability, aftermarket support, purchase price, and ease of modification. There's nothing at all wrong about that '98 Tacoma, and for your intended use, it should work just fine. We opted for the earlier-generation SR5 trucks and 4Runners since they're still plentiful; more parts are available for them via the aftermarket than for the later-model trucks; they don't come with quite so many electronic nannies; and high-mileage versions of them in decent running condition can be had for a very inexpensive price.