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January 2010 Off-Road Unloaded - Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on January 1, 2010
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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 because 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! Thanks!

Cruisin' Info For an FJ
Hi! I'm a big reader of your magazine, and I was wondering if you can put something in one of your issues about the newer FJ Cruisers. I'm thinking of buying one and would like to learn more about them. Thanks!
Sincerely, David Barton
North Babylon, NY

David, unfortunately I don't see any FJ Cruiser stories coming down the turnpike soon, but we do have a 4Runner project and some current generation Tacoma stories in past and future issues. The current generation Tacoma and 4Runner have the same basic frame, axles, and suspensions as the current FJ Cruiser, and therefore most of the tech for the Tacomas and 4Runners will also be good for FJ Cruisers, too.

If you want to know more about the bodies or other things solely specific to the FJ Cruisers, I'd suggest contacting Toyworx Automotive, (805) 474-1288, in Grover Beach, California, and asking for Daniel Arndt. Toyworx Automotive specializes in FJ Cruisers and knows all the ins and outs of them.

Building An S-10
Hey there! I've recently gotten into the prerunning scene and decided I'd build something not as common, knowing full well that parts would be slightly harder to find. And a little more costly! My project base of choice is a '95 S-10 Extended cab with the 2.2L and five-speed tranny. I'm currently looking for a nice bolt-on long travel kit including A-arms, shackles, and leaf springs, though I'd like to provide my own shocks and coilovers. I'm also looking for some good fiberglass front fenders, hood, and bedsides. And I'd like the bed cage to leave room in the center for my dirt bikes. And is it possible to have a tire carrier on that bed cage? Thanks! 'Love your mag. Any help is appreciated!
Brandon Miller
Via email

Brandon, I'll tell you what: we've gotten more requests and inquiries for Chevy S-10 builds than just about any other vehicle in existence. We don't necessarily think it's because it is the most popular vehicle in the off-road scene, but instead because it's been one of the most ignored (by the aftermarket) common trucks/SUVs made in the last 20 years. And we've heard you, S-10 owners, and will definitely bring you what you want to see in the near future. We would have already had a story out for you, but the fact is that none of the staff has much experience with S-10s, and when we do get the stories going, we want to make sure we do them right. In the meantime, let me direct you to a great website/forum that will be able to answer almost anything S-10 that you could possibly be wondering about: The Dezert Dimes group at will be your online S-10 bible! We're working closely with them to build up a donor S-10 Blazer SUV that we've acquired, and they've been an awesome encyclopedia of anything S-10.

And Brandon, all of your requests are definitely no problem to come by...if you have the ching to plunk down for parts. G Machine Racing ( makes a nice long-travel suspension, and Hannemann Fiberglass ( makes fenders and bedsides for S-10s. But the bedcage and tire carrier will likely have to be custom-built.

This month our Letter of the Month is getting hooked up by Bully Dog Technologies, who is providing a brand new tuner for their vehicle. Bully Dog has a tuner for almost every OBD II truck or SUV made, and their programs are many times concerned with better fuel economy and engine longevity instead of pumping out the absolute most power you can out of an engine. Check out a tuner for yourself at

Powerstroke Injector Harness Issues?
I just renewed my subscription after a short hiatus and in my first issue back (October 2009) I see that the STD is down again because of the injectors. I had to contact you before you replace the injectors without checking the wiring harness connector inside the valve covers first. Three injectors going out at same time is highly unlikely...The problem is the harness under the cover gets soft from the heat and oil and works its way loose. If it comes open the vehicle will not run. If it is partially open it will run like a turd. I know this because it just happened to me heading home from a 1,200-mile trip across the desert (Texas to Phoenix).

When it got hot it was so bad, my truck would not run. There is good news and bad news. The good news is that this is so common (usually after 80,000 miles) that FORD has made a wedge to plug into the harness so you do not have to buy a new wiring harness. I compare the wedge fix to jamming a book of matches in the wing window to keep the window from whistling. (Do any trucks have wing windows anymore?) The wedge clip is cheap. The bad news is all the stuff you have to remove just to get the valve covers off.

You can check the continuity from the outside by unplugging the "external" harness.
Hope this helps.
Dan Lohmeier

Dan, I really appreciate that info! I immediately went to my diesel guys with this. One had not heard of it, but the other two told me that this was a deal on the 7.3L engines, not the 6.0L Powerstroke like what our 2003 F-350 has (you could order either engine in 2003). I appreciate the advice, though, and for that I'm making your letter our Letter of the Month, and I want to send you a Bully Dog Watchdog tuner ( for one of your trucks.

Our truck turned out to have four bad injectors this time instead of just three like that last time. We also had a clogged EGR cooler and a clogged oil-cooling system as well. Good grief... Oh well. Bulletproof Diesel ( was able to get EVERYTHING on our F-350 fixed with their awesome new EGR cooler, oil-cooling system, and eight new injectors.

P.S. Yeah, I totally miss wing windows too!

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