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Off-Road Unloaded - Letters to the Editor - November 2011

Posted in Features on November 1, 2011
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Editor’s Note: If you want to say or ask something, email Unloaded at or write:
Unloaded, OFF-ROAD Magazine, 1733 Alton Parkway, Ste. 100, Irvine, CA 92606

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.

Everyone who wrote in is getting a copy of the latest in the The Fast & The Furious franchise: Fast Five. I have to admit that this was the first movie I’ve gone to see on opening night since Spaceballs , and it was well worth it. It’s five times the action, excitement, and fun, as Vin Diesel and Paul Walker reunite with the stars from all the sequels to pull off one last job worth $100 million — but with a determined U.S. strike force fed (Dwayne “TheRock” Johnson) and a ruthless drug kingpin hot on their trail. It’s available for Blu-ray and DVD on October 4.

Now That’s Customer Service!

My loving family bought me Rockcrusher diff covers for my ’04 Ram 4x4 about a year ago, but one of the diff covers did not have the threads cut in the drain plug. The seller said I took too long to complain and wouldn’t help. Dangit!

I emailed Rockcrusher…which promptly replied, “Very sorry; their error; please send back COD and we’ll send you a better cover and pay shipping both ways.” Admittedly, I was skeptical. Four days after I sent the diff cover back to them, I received an anodized replacement! And two days after that I got the check for the COD. I was ready to wait weeks and perhaps see nothing at all. The best way to see if someone sells a good product is if they can afford to support it.

Rockcrusher kicks booty! Have no concern buying from them. There are people on their end!!!


Ranger Vs. Tacoma? Tacoma

My friends and I have had this discussion a 1,000 times! Should you go Ranger or Tacoma? My first truck was an ‘89 Ranger. My last two trucks were Toyotas. My best friend, Court, is on his 4th Ranger. (also green stickered, not street legal). So, I have seen both in action for the last 13 years. I have a lot of hours racing in the I-beam truck Ranger. I also have a lot of hours in the A-arm Toyota. We have put a lot of testing and fabrication time in both vehicles.

First off, I have to give the Ranger an A+ rating on going straight, wide-open throttle thru the desert. In big mean whoop sections going straight, the I-Beam Ranger will soak it up beautifully. This is because the amount of travel you can get in the front end. Unless you have a center-mounted A-arm truck, you will never achieve the travel that a Ranger I-beam will give you. The handling in a Ranger though, is not great versus an A-arm truck.

And this is where the discussion gets heated! I will give the Toyota an A- rating on handling and overall ability. They are generally lighter and easier to drive in certain sections of the desert. This is where I have doubts about the I-beam Ranger. The cornering and handling can be awful in a Ranger! Depending on your shock set up, you will come in to a corner and the front end will lift up during cornering. This is because I-beams cycle a certain way. It lifts in sand dunes if you are going over a steep peak (which makes it very hard to see what’s on the other side). It is also sloppier and we noticed more flat tires with the I-beam when racing. This is because the sidewall tends to be more exposed as the suspension drops out.

I am not bagging on the Ranger. Some of the best trucks I ever co-piloted were Rangers. Budget also plays a role for many people. You will get tons of travel for a cheap price with the Ranger. But Wait! Do you want equal length? How far do you want to go in your build? The stock steering is kind of scary if you leave it stock on a Ranger I-Beam. So now, suddenly your cheap travel gets more expensive if you want to do it the safer and right way. The cost of the two are close to the same when you consider that. So, the Toyota will corner and handle better, and the Ranger will soak up mean whoops better.

I want to end this with the same point I always make to my friends when we discuss this. How many Trophy Trucks are I-Beam? How many short-course trucks are I-beam? Not many. The best in the industry with the most money use A-arm suspension. That clearly tells you what is preferred and what works the best. (This is why I think I am If you want to just go straight, as fast as you can in the desert for fun, get an I-beam. If you want good cornering and better over-all handling, go Tacoma. In the end, all that matters is that you go to the desert with your friends and have fun! They both work well.

Thanks guys keep up the awesome work with the magazine!

Bryan Blagg
O.R.A. Desert Film Productions

Ranger Vs. Tacoma? Tacoma

First off, I am biased. I love my Tacoma to death! I was stoked to see JD’s nasty prerunner on the cover of the June 2011 issue. I hope to get my rig up to his spec in the future.

I have respect for the Ford Ranger. That truck has been haulin’ since the ’80s, but the new ’05-and-up Taco has established a level of dominance that is hard to refute. Tacomas come out of the box with more power, better suspension, and that legendary Toyota toughness.

The demand for desert rat Tacos has grown to support a myriad of aftermarket companies. Camburg, Total Chaos, All pro, DMZ—four fab shops putting out long-travel kits.

It is much easier to build a high-performance Taco than a Ranger. The Taco will still be street legal too! OFF-ROAD needs to find a street-legal Ranger to crank against JD’s truck. We need a showdown!

I have seen some pics of a Ford Ranger that has some Raptor SVT attributes. If this does come to market the Taco could be challenged again!


RJ Wright

My Tacoma:
2007 TRD 4x4

  • Total Chaos upper uniball on stock lower arm
  • Fox 2.5s with 3-inch lift
  • Fox 2.0s out back with Deaver + 2 spring
  • 33-inch BFG KM2s on Pro-Comp rims
  • TRD blower with underdog stage one kit
  • Magnaflow off-road pro turndown exhaust
  • estimated 315 hp
  • Hella HID bulbs
  • Locked rear diff

Ranger Vs. Tacoma? Ranger!

A Ranger is the preferred truck to go blasting across the desert in — a TTB Ranger is even better than an IFS Ranger. The Ranger is a great size for a truck. The Tacoma used to be a good size, but the newer ones have gotten larger and less maneuverable. Rangers have been around in essentially the same form since 1983, which means there are plenty of spare parts to be had. Also, pretty much any year truck can be customized with parts from any other year truck—you can easily build a completely custom truck with factory parts!

The aftermarket has all kinds of parts for Rangers—significantly more than for the Tacoma. Suspension, body, engine, interior—anything you could ever want or need. A long-travel I-beam or twin-traction beam suspension soaks up the bumps and woops, allowing you to fly across the desert floor. Ivan “Ironman” Stewart even used a similar front suspension design on his Toyota.

The biggest reason a Ranger is the preferred truck is because of ones like my ’93 Ranger. It has 320,000 miles on the original 4.0L engine and A4LD transmission. How many Toyotas have run that far? Of course, I’m about to pull the engine and transmission, and drop in a 5.0L and AOD transmission, but that’s another story.

As you can see, it’s no contest. The Ranger wins, hands down.

Scott Bosso

We Are Online, Too!

My name is Santiago, and I’m from Argentina and I’m 24. Since I was little I’ve been buying 4WD magazines. I’ve just finished my mechanical engineer degree with an orientation in automotive industries, and a great part of my motivation was due to those magazines I used to buy (now I can’t due to our current coin value), but thanks to I’m back on the road (or off-road, again?).

Thanks for the great work you do issue after issue!

Santiago Fornieles
Buenos Aires, Argentina

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