Reader: I own an '04 Tacoma TRD XtraCab 4x4 with a 3.4L V-6. My question is about getting tires for it. I know I definitely want to go with a 6-inch Fabtech lift, but I was hoping that you could tell me what the biggest size tire I could install without having to shave or trim anything on the vehicle. (Actually, is it even a hassle to get that accomplished?) I also want the tires to pop out on the sides some. Please let me know if you can help me out.
Staff Sgt. Jose Aguilar
Editor: Depending on which system you go with-Fabtech offers more than one 6-inch kit for your truck-you can fit up to a 35x12.50, but you'll need to live with some minor trimming either way, according to Fabtech. We wouldn't recommend going any wider-for starters, you will surely encounter some nasty firewall rub at full steer, assuming you can even turn the wheel lock-to-lock anymore. In addition, tires that protrude outside the 'wells are illegal almost everywhere, unless you're running aftermarket flares, and the added weight of a wider tire and its accompanying wheel may just be placing a little too much outboard torsional load on your stock front drive components.
I am very interested in modifying my Wrangler TJ to run on E85 ethanol instead of gasoline. I've been researching this for a while, and I've found www.e85fuel.com to be a good source of information. But, it says that the aftermarket parts for converting any vehicle are not out yet, and thus far the only E85-compatible Jeeps are the Commander and Grand Cherokee coming out in 2007. Have you heard anything about the aftermarket parts coming out for converting other Jeeps? Will Four Wheeler cover such a project in the future? I know that I'm not the only Jeeper who is interested in this and we are all looking forward to a cleaner and hopefully cheaper fuel.
Also, I have a question regarding putting a Hemi in a TJ. I have found Robin Stover's articles about your Teal-J project to be a wealth of information, but one thing isn't clear. Every Jeep that I've found with a Hemi placed in it has been changed to an automatic transmission. Is this necessary? I really love driving my manual transmission and I would prefer to keep it like that.
Editor: Sorry to say, your TJ's stock grindbox won't live long behind that kind of power, hence the need for a tranny swap. It's possible that the G56 six-speed manual (the standard transmission with Hemi-powered Dodge Rams) could be made to fit, but at present, we don't know of anyone who makes an adapter to mate it to a Jeep transfer case.
About E85-compatible Wranglers, nope, we haven't heard anything from DaimlerChrysler about this, but we wouldn't be surprised to see a flexfuel powerplant-likely a V-6-show up in the JK within the next couple of years, along with a 3.0L Bluetec diesel option. And not to worry-when these engines become available, we'll be all over them with in-depth coverage and testing.
Reader: I have been subscribing to this mag for decades, and lately all your articles have been about 4x4 cars. Not once have you had an article about trucks. Instead, it's all about this car and that car-hey, if you cannot have a truck in an article, call it a "rig" or something, but don't use the word truck instead. My dictionary's definition of "truck" is:
Truck: A motor vehicle used to haul cargo instead of passengers.
Those shortbed four-door cars are not trucks. Trucks are used to haul cargo-not one's overnight luggage. A truck may be used to haul one's plaything, and one can play with one's 4x4 truck, but it still must be used for hauling cargo most of the time instead of being a buggy itself.
Why not write an article on those 4x4 Japanese mini-trucks that they're selling to farmers now with the cab-forward setup and the 6-foot dump bed? How about one of those Paris-Dakar race trucks? Are there any articles on converting a tilt-cab/forward-control truck to four-wheel drive?
I have a '95 GMC 4x4 extended-cab, an '82 Chevy lifted 4x4 with 300,000,000-plus miles, a '72 Kaiser M35A2C turbodiesel 21/2-ton 6x6, and a 5-ton GMC M135 chassis-cab 6x6 that is a ongoing project. I'd also like to know if you know of any modern tilt-cab/forward-control 1-ton 4x4 dump trucks. Dualies are too wide to fit on my tractor trails, and my extended-cab is too long to make the turns.
William E. Kahl
St. Louis, MO
Editor: Three hundred million miles? Wow, that's a lot of driving, even for a 25-year-old truck! Seriously, though, we've dabbled with medium- and heavy-duty rigs in the past in our pages, with mixed results. A 4x4 conversion for a two-wheel-drive forward-control truck? We've never heard of one, and we'd think it would probably be easier to hunt down an old Jeep FC pickup or Land Rover FC that already came with four-wheel drive.
We also don't know of any 1-ton dump trucks that you can get off the shelf. On the other hand, there are dump-bed conversion kits available for all kinds of pickups. Pierce Sales, Hefty Products, and Dump-Pro all offer such kits, and later this year, we'll be showcasing a dump-bed conversion on a Chevy military CUCV truck. Until then, though, enjoy the box of Four Wheeler goodies that we'll be sending your way. And why not send us some photos of your vehicles? We're always on the lookout for unique Readers' Rigs-even ones with 300 million miles on 'em. Thanks for writing in.
Reader: Can you tell me where I can get a high-output alternator-around 150 amps, preferably, either 12- or 24-volt?
Editor: Nowadays, the question is, where can't you get one? Premier Power Welder, Wrangler Northwest Power Products, Performance Distributors, Powermaster, Mechman, and many others offer high-output alternators for many different applications. Check out some of the companies' Web sites, or some mail-order sources online, and you're sure to find something that's right for you.