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September 2011 4xForum - Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on September 1, 2011
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Send questions, comments, and suggestions to: 4Wheel Drive Magazine:
Attn: Christian Lee
1733 Alton Parkway, Ste. 100
Irvine, CA 92606

Venture Toy Article Archive
Q: I would love to find more information on the Venture Toy Tacoma, including pictures and specs on it. Can you tell me which back issue I can find more in or if there is an online database of every modification that has been done? I was considering the purchase of a scan gauge, but I would also like to know what modifications you would recommend to do first to help when running trails. I love my truck and love taking it off-road. I live near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was curious if you could recommend anywhere that I could take my truck around here or recommend a club to join. My truck is a 1999 Tacoma SR5 with the 3.4L V-6 mated to a stock five-speed manual transmission. Thank you for any help or advice you can offer. If you have any magazine swag — stickers or something — I would love to score some. Thanks again!

Steve Ringer
Via email

Past articles about Jay Kopycinski’s Venture Toy Tacoma project can be found in the article archives at

A: Steve, the Venture Toy Tacoma was built by one of our longtime freelance writers, Jay Kopycinski. The vehicle is a 2001 Toyota Tacoma that started out as a 2WD model. The project first appeared in the December 2008 issue and Jay has provided detailed updates in subsequent articles, all of which are available at The wrap up of the build appeared in the June 2011 issue. To search articles about the Venture Toy Tacoma, go to and click on the “Technical” icon at the top of the page. Once in the Technical article archive you can search for articles by make of vehicle.

When approaching the build-up of your own Toyota, consider what aspects of your rig are holding you back from further adventure. Tire size is often addressed first. You can start small with a spacer lift kit and shocks to clear slightly larger than stock tires, or invest in a complete suspension kit that will allow fitment of taller tire sizes. The taller the tire the more modifications your rig will require. If you simply want to push your rig further in stock form, I suggest a rear locking differential or limited-slip, which will increase traction greatly. Pair this with a set of aggressive tread tires and you will be very surprised at what your “stock” 4x4 can handle.

As for where to ’wheel in your area, you have Rausch Creek Off-Road Park [(570) 695-3900,] about four to five hours east of Pittsburgh in Tremont, Pennsylvania. The park features almost 3,000 acres of trails and free, on-site camping. You can also take part in the park’s monthly “Off-Roading 101” courses, which offer instruction on everything from vehicle preparedness to driving skills across mild to hard-core obstacles. You can check the course schedule and seek out people to ’wheel with on the Rausch Creek Off-Road Park forums. ’Wheel on.

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