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December 2005 4x4 Tech Questions - Techline

Posted December 1, 2005

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Four Wheeler
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Question: I would like to know if there was a place that could make me a bolt-on adapter that would change my '74 CJ-5's five-lug pattern to an eight-lug pattern? It could even be a six-lug pattern. It seems there are no good-looking wheels for my Jeep's bolt pattern.
Jay Simpson
via fourwheeler.com

Answer: Well, I've heard of people wanting to go from the eight-bolt pattern down to a five-bolt pattern so they had better wheel availability, but not in the reverse order that you want. Gee, it seems to me that there are far more aftermarket wheels available with the common five-bolt pattern than there are with the eight-bolt pattern.

I am not really sure if it's possible to make an adapter from eight to five without it being quite thick, which means the wheels will have to have a large amount of backspacing in order to maintain the proper scrub radius. I spoke with the folks at Weird Harold's Cool Parts (888/453-COOL, www.weirdharoldscoolparts.com), which builds custom wheel adapters of all types. They thought it could be possible with a two-piece adapter, but it would be quite expensive and they don't make such.

My only other suggestion is to spend some time on the Internet and see what you can come up with. However, I think that you are just looking in the wrong places when it comes to wheel availability. The 5-on-5 1/2-inch bolt pattern is just about the most popular pattern out there, so I am sure with a bit more looking, you could find a wheel that you would like.

Question: I am now the proud owner of a '90 3/4-ton Dodge Ram 4x4. This truck is great. It has a Dana 60 in the rear, a kingpin-style Dana 60 out front, an NP205 geardriven transfer case, and a 727 TorqueFlite tranny. I'm not afraid of breaking anything. It has a 360 fuel-injected V-8 that is never low on power.

But there is a problem. The truck rides ... well, like a truck and then some. The suspension is very stiff, and I have to almost stop while I go over a speed bump. Going down the highway is bearable but it is a real kidney-shaker. This ride doesn't seem right, even for a truck this size. I was thinking about getting some real good shocks, but before I buy them, I was wondering what would you do in my situation? I would like this to be a capable 'wheeler but also a tow rig. I am new to the sport of four-wheeling and know only what I have asked about. Please help me and save my kidneys.
Paul Lusk
via fourwheeler.comv

Answer: Part of the problem is that you have a big truck that was designed to haul a heavy load. The first thing to do is to match the tire pressure to the load being carried. You don't need to run around with maximum air pressure as stated on the tire's sidewall. Keep lowering the air pressure until the ride quality improves but doesn't affect tire wear or handling. A major tire dealer will have a book that will tell you what the tire's capacity is at what air pressure. This lowered air pressure will go a long way in improving the ride quality.

Question: I have a '97 long-wheelbase F-150 with a 4.6L V-8 and 4x4 auto transmission. I wanted the truck to have the five-speed in it but had to manage with the automatic. Is there a way to swap out my auto for a five-speed? I figured I could find a wrecked truck with the same specs and swap out all the parts necessary? If this is possible without high cost, what are the parts I may need, and would it be moderately easy?
Aaron Grissom
via fourwheeler.com

Answer: Sure you could, but it would be a lot of work. To start with, it would be best if you found a pretty complete donor truck. To make things easier, you will want the transfer case, along with the transmission. You will also need the driveshafts, flywheel, clutch assembly, and all the clutch-related linkage under the dash, such as the pedal assembly, which will include the brake pedal, the master cylinder, hoses, slave cylinder, clutch arm, and all the nuts and bolts. Don't forget that you will also need to install a pilot bearing in the end of the flywheel for the input shaft of the transmission.

Now the biggie. My guess is that you're also going to need the computer as it's a different part number for the standard trans than the auto. Don't forget you will also need some jackstands to raise the vehicle as high as possible for under-vehicle working clearance, and some type of a transmission jack to facilitate the removal and installation.Like I said, it will be a lot of work, and not exactly cheap. If your heart is really set on a five-speed, then maybe you would be much better off by selling your present truck and finding one with the five-speed you want.

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