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Off-Road Unloaded - Letters to the Editor - October 2012

Posted in Features on October 1, 2012
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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.

Letters of the Month

Our letters authors are getting hooked up with the combo movie pack of Battleship. It's an epic action adventure starring Liam Neeson in a fight for our planet's survival. Not only do you get the Blu-ray copy, you also get a DVD and a digital downloadable copy! If you're not a letter writer, you can pick up your own copy this August.

We Rule!

First of all, OFF-ROAD is the best magazine ever! Don’t change a thing! Now this Po’ Boy Prerunner in the April 2012 issue has got my full attention because I have a ‘68 C10 to build for my youngest daughter and would be very interested in any info on this suspension! As soon as I saw your ‘71 I knew that’s the direction I want to go with her project. Her great grandfather had purchased it new! But as I surfed the Web, I came up with absolutely nothing to help me out. So any and all help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance and God Bless!

Randall Titsworth
Via email

Glad you like our project, Randall! It belongs to former OFF-ROAD intern Agustin “Gusto” Jimenez and he loves it a ton...but it’s taking longer than he expected (surprise, surprise, right?). We’re hounding him for a story and hopefully he should have a second installment of the truck soon, including more on the suspension.

First Sadness, Then Anger, Then Acceptance

It’s sad that Ford killed the Ranger and decided to hand the market to Toyota completely. If the big wigs at Ford were smart they would have kept the Ranger as a specialty truck and made a smaller Raptor. We all want Raptors but many of us just can’t afford one. But a Ranger with similar capabilities and half the price…possibly with an Eco-Boost option…that would be cool. Hmm, way to go Ford R&D

Brent E.
Via email

Brent, we know the Ranger will be sorely missed, but the price and fuel economy of the mini truck and fullsize truck were getting so close that it no longer made sense for Ford to keep the Ranger in North America. But there are still a ton of good, used Rangers out there waiting to become prerunners!

Where is That?!

On Page 30 of May’s issue, is it Victoville or Victorville? I thought it to be a very strange name of Victoville until I finished reading the article. But, through my reading I caught Primm and I knew exactly where that is. I think it is awesome that some four-wheel enthusiasts are exploring more of my neck of the woods. People think Nevada is just a hot dusty place with sand everywhere, and Vegas is the first thing that comes to mind. But we have lava rock, mountains, snow, mud, sand, trees (in the northern areas) cactus, ravines that were cut by glaciers. We have quite a bit to offer in Nevada! Keep up the good work.

Ian Moore
Spring Creek, Nevada

D’oh! Thanks for the catch and little bit of ribbing, Ian. It is supposed to be Victorville and that was a typo.

Ranger or S-10?

I recently read your article for the dual disc clutch update. This got me thinking about my own truck and the project IRanger called the “Ranch Runner.” It’s a pickup meant for farm/ranch duties and everyday driver. It’s not meant to be a crazy off-road rig, or meant to pull any crazy loads; strictly put it’s a rancher’s grocery getter that is really fun to drive. Now my debate is on what platform to put it on. I currently own a 2005 Ford Ranger and am debating between that or a Chevy/GMC Colorado/Canyon. My first question is which would be better? I understand that is a bit of a loaded question since that’s the only parameter and no mods have been mentioned. To fill in some gaps: long-travel up front for sure, for the rear I need to the most bed space as possible so I would prefer to stay away from a bed cage but still put some sort of modded suspension in the back. The big thing is it needs to be diesel and a manual transmission. I really don’t know much about what diesels are out there, so my third question is what is a good (prefer to be superior in torque and efficiency to the 4.0 L V-6 the ranger has) four-cylinder diesel to drop in a compact truck. Now, it is my understanding that an Isuzu diesel from their Colorado clone could in theory just be dropped in no problem. If true this would definitely be a plus-1 for the GM. This was my main argument for sticking with my Ranger in that I could just use the Dixon Bros kit; I would also use the shock kit for the rear from Dixon Bros if I stuck with my Ranger. Lastly, would 2WD or 4WD be better for what I’m trying to build? Any help would definitely be appreciated.

Dylan B.
Vista, California

You answered some of your own questions, Dylan.

First, definitely use a 4WD—especially if this is also a ranch/work truck.

Second, we like Chevys, too, but the Ranger is clearly an easier choice to work with. There are bolt-on suspension kits (you mentioned Dixon) available, and lots more aftermarket support for these trucks. There is very little support for 4WD long-travel kits for the Canyon/Colorado platform.

Third, figure out the cost of the diesel swap and whether that’s worth it. Even if you use a four-cylinder diesel, you’ll still be adding more weight than what your current Ranger is packing, and you might spend more money on the swap than you would in gasoline over the next 10 years. Also, no matter what diesel you use, we can bet that your gas Ranger engine is going to be more responsive off the line. If you’re set on a diesel swap, we’d suggest looking overseas in classified sections or with parts dismantlers to see if you can find a diesel Ranger engine-and-transmission package. That would be the easiest way to swap in a diesel, since it’d be from the same platform. Better yet, just import a 4WD diesel Ranger from South America!

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