Click for Coverage
Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
  • JP Magazine
  • Dirt Sports + Off-Road
  • 4-Wheel & Off-Road
  • Four Wheeler

Techline - November 2013

Posted in How To: Tech Qa on September 27, 2013
Share this
Photographers: Four Wheeler Staff

Basic Body
I have a ’91 Chevy S-10 4x4. I want to make it to where it has more off-road ability. I already have plans for the engine and exhaust, but I am not sure how to lift this year of S-10. It has all stock suspension and I would like to be able to fit 31s or 33s. I won’t be able to upgrade axles at this point, so something more in the line of 31s would be better. I plan on leaving the stock 4.3L in it for now, but swap over to a 350 or 355 V-8 later on. What’s the best way to gain some lift without losing any reliability from the vehicle?
Nate Veltman
Via email

Your generation S-10 has a few lift options. Superlift Suspension ( offers a 2-inch lift, while Rough Country Suspension ( lists a 2.5-inch kit. Both suspension lifts are said to allow for a 31-inch tire. If you do not want to modify your suspension, another option would be a 2-inch body lift from Performance Accessories ( The body lift will be a touch more labor intensive over the aforementioned suspension systems, but it is very affordable and will allow you to run a 31-inch tire as well.

Tire Time
I have a ’11 Toyota FJ Cruiser and need advice on new tires. I currently have the factory 17-inch wheels and stock suspension. What is the largest tire I can run without rubbing?
Omar Al-hadhrami

285/70R17 seems to be very popular with the non-lifted FJ crowd. Some claim to experience virtually no rubbing, but that can differ depending on the tire manufacturer and whether it is a mud- or all-terrain tire. A safer bet would be a 275/70R17.

Solid Frontier
I have a ’00 Nissan Frontier and would like to get rid of the independent front suspension with a solid front axle. Do you know of any kits?
John Cart

Calmini ( offers a multilink conversion that’s designed to work with a Dana 44 front axle from a Jeep Wagoneer. You’ll still need more bits and pieces like new steering, front driveline, and coilover shocks, but this will get you going in the right direction.

Disc Brake Conversion
Could you tell me what kit was used in the “Better Back Brakes,” (Apr. ’09) article? It showcased a GM 14-bolt disc brake conversion.
Wayne Kennedy
Via email

The kit was supplied by custom axle manufacturer Dynatrac. The company can be reached by phone at 714/596-4461 or online at

Which Gear?
I just read the “Improper Gearing” article (July ’12) and found it very helpful. I am not a mechanic, nor am I going to build a rockcrawler or other type of “real” off-road machine. I do, however, want to differentiate my stock ’02 Toyota Sequoia from the dozens just like it I see every day! I know I can get a small lift from Revtek, so I can put 35-inch tires under it and still fit in my garage.

My question is as follows. What gearing should I use to maintain my day-to-day driving without sacrificing too much power or gas mileage? The stock tires are 30.8 inches. I do not know the gearing, but it is bone stock. I might go with 33s or 35s, but need to know what would be the proper gearing. I do not off-road much, just the occasional snow.
Paul Griswold
Via email

(Editor John Cappa responds:)

As best I can tell, your truck has 4.10 axle gears in it now. Switching to a tire that is a true (not the sidewall specs) 33 inches tall really won’t warrant a gearing change. To do so would require something around a 4.39. Unfortunately, that ratio is not available for your Toyota. It’s a pretty small step up and really isn’t a cost-effective upgrade. The true 35s would require a 4.66 gear to bring it back close to stock. There are only 4.10, 4.56, and 4.88 gears available for your 4x4. So, if you decided to make the swap, the 4.88s would make the most sense with the 35-inch tires. However, if the tires you are considering are not actually a measured 35 inches tall, you may be better off with the 4.56 gears.

Ultimately, I just don’t think the gearing improvement will be justified by the cost in either case.

Where To Write
Address your correspondence to: Four Wheeler, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245 or send an email to All letters become the property of Four Wheeler, and we reserve the right to edit them for length, accuracy, and clarity. The editorial department can also be reached through the website at Due to the volume of mail, electronic and otherwise, we cannot respond to every reader, but we do read everything.

Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Browse Articles By Vehicle

See Results