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June 2009 Off-Road Unloaded - Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on June 1, 2009
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What To Do With A '94 GMC?
I have a dilemma: The love of my life is a 1994 GMC 4x4 1500 with a 5.7L engine. Doesn't sound like a real problem so far, does it? I also love my 1968 Cutlass that has a 350ci small-block. I've been planning on doing an engine swap in the Cutlass, replacing my original 350ci engine with a big-block 455 bored out to 490 cubic inches. The big block is fresh and ready to install into my Cutlass with a TH-400 transmission. The Cutlass right now sits and drives with pride, numbers matching and all. I cannot molest this relic car of its pride, as I am a 41-year-old man who knows better. Therefore, I am really considering what it would take to make myself a Olds big-block Chevy 1500 4x4. I understand fabricating the motor mounts, finding hoses that would work, fabricating crossmembers, etc. But I am unsure on the air conditioning, transfer case, and suspension. For the love of these old big blocks and for the love of mud slinging, it can be done, can't it?!Rick VanBonn, Whitmore Lake, MI

Rick, I understand not wanting to molest your Cutlass and get rid of the numbers-matching block. At the same time, I think a big-block Cutlass sounds cooler than a numbers-matching Cutlass.

If you were to do the swap, air conditioning would not be a problem. You could probably find an A/C condenser off another big-block engine of the same era and bolt it on with a bracket. The lines could run directly to the factory '94 Chevy equipment already on your truck. For the transmission, Advance Adapters ( can help you mate your original Chevy truck tranny to the big-block. As for the suspension, you could probably add a set of higher spring rate Sway-A-Way ( torsion bars to handle the added load.

If I may, I'd like to make another suggestion: Go ahead and stick that big-block into your Cutlass, and put nitrous on that '94 Chevy truck. I'm guessing you drive that '94 Chevy more often, while that Cutlass probably doesn't hit the highway as often. You obviously will get better fuel economy sticking with that factory small-block in the truck, and a good nitrous kit will give you the added power you are looking for when slinging mud. And if you eventually do blow up your engine on the nitrous, TBI Chevy 350s are everywhere, and they are cheap.

Thanks Are In Order
I am reading my first Off-Road magazine-the November 2008 issue. In the Unloaded feature you give excellent advice to T. M. Riley, USMC (disabled combat veteran). You forgot to recognize Mr. Riley's sacrifice and service to our county. The freedom to enjoy off-roading in our country is secured by people like Mr. Riley! Please recognize him in your next columnRespectfully yours,Bill Handy, Tarzana, CA

Thanks, Bill. You are right on! Thanks very much, T.M. Riley! We all appreciate your courageous sacrifice!

Toyota T-100 Fiberglass
My name is Benjamin, and I came across your website by looking at some T-100s on Google Image, and your website came up with a white T-100 prerunner. The reason I'm trying to contact you is because I've been looking for several months for some fiberglass fenders just like the T-100. If you can let me know where I could find them, please email me back. And yes, I've tried Hanneman, Fiberwerx, Mcneil Offroad, and Glassworks already. Anything you can think of would be appreciated. ThanksBenjamin, Somerton, AZ

Ben, just for fun, I checked with all those fiberglass manufacturers you mentioned, as this feature on our website ( was done before my time here at OFF-ROAD. Like you stated, none of them had anything. But, I actually found T-100 fiberglass fenders for you online. Trailer Products carries them ( I have included this link so you can check them out:

I hope this helps. Good luck on your T-100 build and send us some pictures when you're done!

This month all of our letter writers are receiving a copy of Dirt alliance's new DVD From The Dirt. It contains a bunch of dirt lifestyle footage, including a bunch of prerunners, race trucks, dirt bikes, and some interviews. You can check out a preview at

Editor's Note: If you want to say or ask something, email Unloaded at or write: Unloaded, Off-Road Magazine, 2400 E. Katella Ave., Ste. 1100, Anaheim, CA 92806.

Remember, we're giving away swag every month to the author of our favorite letter. Be sure to include your address, so we know where to send your goods. And since we lost our copyeditor, please know that we are not going to be copyediting your letter if you are going to be hating on us, so you better check it over well before sending it our way!

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