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January 2007 4x4 Tech Questions - Nuts & Bolts

Posted in How To on January 1, 2007
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Confused? E-mail your questions about trucks, 4x4's, and off-roading tech using "Nuts, I'm confused" as the subject and include a picture (if it's applicable). Digital photos must measure no less than 1600 x 1200 pixels (or two megapixels) and be saved as a TIFF, an EPS, or a maximum-quality JPEG file. Also, I'll be checking the forums on our Web site (, and if I see a question that I think more of you might want to have answered, I'll print that as well. Otherwise drop it old-school style with the envelope addressed to the address below. Letters published in this magazine reflect the opinions of the writers, and we reserve the right to edit letters for clarity, brevity, or other purposes.

Write to:
Nuts & Bolts
4-Wheel & Off-Road
6420 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048-5515
fax 323.782.2704

E-mail to:

Question: I have what was described to me as the predecessor to the Warn 8274 winch hidden in the depths of the garage. However, it isn't stamped WARN anywhere. I was told they used an old Ford starter with a different gear to turn the winch. I was also told they don't make that gear for those starters anymore. The mechanics of this antique work great, but the old starter gear is chewed beyond usability. As well the mounts for the starter were thrashed, welded, cracked, and rewelded and look terrible.

Is the info I was given (Warn product, Ford starter with different gear) correct information? If so, is there any availability to that gear? Furthermore-is there a way to adapt the new motor for the 8274-50 to this old beast? I grabbed this off of an old parts rig I had a total of $50 into, so if it isn't fixable, no big loss. But if I could get it up and going that would be great. Maybe Editor Rick Pw actually remembers one of these.
Kevin Knight
North Pole, AK

Answer: What you have there is a Bellevue 5687, a precursor to the Warn 8274, but from what Pw and I can determine it's been cobbled together by one of your frugal yet ingenious countrymen who couldn't find a replacement motor because we have never seen that Ford starter upgrade. The Bellevue is not a bad winch, though it does have a few shortcomings versus the later 8274 or latest 8274-50, namely the external contracting brake which can wear out over years and then not hold a load very well. But for $50 Pw or I would have jumped on it, so our recommendation is keep it and fix it. We are sure that a replacement motor for an 8274 could be modified to work on the Bellevue, and have heard of folks using Warn 9.5 and even Ramsey winch motors on their Bellevues. Heck, there have even been Hydraulic motors adapted to 8274s and as such they should be adaptable to the Bellevue. The biggest problem is going to be figuring out how much if any irreversible damage was done to the input in order to make it run off a Ford starter. If you were building a rat rod wheeler I could see keeping the Ford starter system just for a hillbilly look, but if you want to use it off road with any dependability, I would hunt for another motor. Contact the Four Wheel Drive Center (800.328.4445) as they can help rebuild this winch for you.

Question: Can you help me find a source that carries fiberglass bedsides that fit a '77 Chevy longbed truck?

Answer: Glassworks Unlimited (714.379.9134, lists them on its Web site for around $560.

Question: I'm currently trying to weld a new bed floor in my '83 Jeep Scrambler. I am using a borrowed blue-point wire-feed welder that runs on 110 volts. I tacked the panel down with several small welds in the corners. I was told I now need to "stitch-weld" the panel in. How exactly do you do that? And how can I avoid distorting the panel when I finish welding it in? Thanks. I really don't want to screw this up.

PhotosView Slideshow

Answer: Stitch welding is basically a long series of single tack welds or short beads depending on thickness. The reason you do this is to diminish the heat-affected zone and hopefully reduce warpage in the thin sheetmetal. Start by going around the panel edge and burn in a small tack weld about every 6 inches. Keep doing this with a crisscross pattern, welding and jumping around the panel to keep the panel from getting warm and warping as it cools. Take your time, and let the panel cool so that it is never so hot you can't touch it.

If the panel is a little thicker you can then start filling in the welds with short beads of about an inch or so. Otherwise just keep stacking the stitch welds on top of stitch welds until they form a small bead.

Question: I am in Nebraska and looking to build a "River Rat." Most people around my area use an old Jeep or Bronco with a V-8. I am trying to lean a little more to the dune-buggie look; lighter and faster. I am looking to build one from the ground up, but I'm having trouble finding a good tube frame. Could you help me out?

Answer: Tube-chassis dune-buggy river rat? I'm not sure exactly what you mean by that, but here are just a handful of buggy builders that come to mind, in alphabetical order. Send me some photos when you get done.

* Avalanche Engineering, 970.884.7716,
* Badlands Off Road, 765.762.2981,
* Blue Torch Fabworks, 866.RCK.CRWL,
* Campbell Enterprise, 480.782.5337,
* 4 Wheeler's Supply, 800.606.6421,
* Frankie's Off Road, 256.413.8300,
* Funco, 909-421-2558,
* Hendrix Motorsport, 805.550.3196,
* Meyer's Manx, 760.749.6321,
* Preferred Chassis, 520.975.6498,
* Poison Spyder Custom, 303.777.4820,
* Poly Performance, 805.783.2060,
* Raw Motorsports, 951.699.6922,
* S&N Fab, 360.435.9040,
* Screamin Seeman Off Road, 507.330.3567,
* Shaffer's Off Road, 775.885.9944,
* Twisted Customs, 605.923.7288,
* Wicked Sand Toys, 951.689.2457,
* X-treme Engineering, 970.493.6766,

Question: I just recently swamped my '86 EFI 302 motor. The air filter was completely soaked, and when I took off the hose that runs from the airbox to the throttle body, water poured out of it. Plus the truck won't start. I know I am going to have to tear the motor down, but if you have any tips or suggestions that I could try to possibly get my truck running without tearing the motor down, I would appreciate it. Also any tips to help prevent it from happening again would really help out. I know I could just stay out of the water, but where is the fun in that?
Kyle, via

Answer: Many trucks have gone for a swim, but with precautionary steps have been repaired and driven home. If water gets in your engine, shut it down fast. Water doesn't compress and can break connecting rods and bend valves. First, pull all the spark plugs and crank over the engine to pump any water out of the engine. Then drain the engine oil and replace it and the filter. Next spray under the distributor cap and around any other electrical components with some WD-40 to help displace water. With that you should be able to reinstall the spark plugs and start the truck. If the engine did suck water and break a rod, then you'll be tearing it down, but if it runs, take it home, and change the oil once again. If you want to keep the water out next time, add a snorkel out of PVC tubing that runs above your hoodline or into your cab.

Each issue, the winner of the Tech Letter of the Month gets something. This month I dug through my office for some goodies to give away and I found two videos. I figured I had better check them out prior to sending them out to this month's tech letter of the month, so I popped them in the DVD player and shut the office door to get some work done. It turns out that most of the stars of these videos seem to be the friends of the guys with the camera, but that doesn't mean they're not running some crazy trails

All My Dirty Friends by Muchado Productions ($20),, is a fun 42-minute video of rockcrawling and trail riding in various homegrown machines. Though not the highest quality videography, the antics are found in some states where you wouldn't expect to find gnarly wheeling, such a Kansas and Iowa. And though it's not exactly child friendly with a few adult words, it's definitely entertaining.

4Lo by 4Locked Films, on the other hand, has some very nice filming of Oregon and northwestern trails with a few bits from rockcrawling and racing competitions. Expect to see a full 50 minutes of tube buggies doing everything from crawling, racing, jumping, and rolling. The background music is a mixture of heavy jams and chill tunes, and other than a slip here or there the language is pretty kid-proof. We recommend ordering your own copy from

Question: I have an '86 Toyota that I'm putting a new engine in and want something a little more gutsy than a 22RE. Maybe the turbocharged 22R, Vortec V-6 or diesel? Do you have a suggestion?

Answer: I also have an '86 Toyota and if I ever have to replace the engine I would get one of the following: a Toyota Diesel from a similar or later-era truck for fuel efficiency, though I hear the best bet is to go to a bigger turbo to get more air in and power out; a built or stroked 22RE from LC Engineering (877.505.2501) or DOA Racing Engines (704.799.6261) would be an easy swap; while a late-model Tacoma four-wheel-drive four-cylinder also known as a 3Rzfe has considerably more power without going overboard and can bolt in with some wiring upgrades. I know that the folks at Marlin Crawler (559.252.7295) and California Mini Truck (909.622.1381) have experience with them. Or if you really want the coolest get an all-aluminum LS1 or LS2 V-8 from TurnKey Engine Supply (760.941.2741). They don't weigh much more than your stock 22RE, and they'll turn your tires just fine.

Of course you'll need to upgrade most of the other drivetrain as well, and your wallet better be fat to get it started.

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