4x4 AnswerMan: Off-Road Truck and 4x4 Questions Answered

Feb. 18, 2011 By Jaime Hernandez
Have a truck or SUV question for the 4x4 AnswerMan? Send your questions to editor@off-road.com. Please include your name and location, and be as detailed as possible about your questions.

Other 4x4 Answerman Columns:
January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

4x4 AnswerMan,
I'm considering a new 2011 Dodge Power Wagon (PW). They have 456 gears and I would like to put 35-inch tires on it.  I have read numerous articles on the PW and some have indicated that it rides 2 inches higher than a standard 2500. Certain suspension companies are saying that their leveling kits will allow 35-inch tires on a Dodge. Do you know whether the PW would still require a leveling kit to fit 35 's, or should I consider a smaller tire; I'm looking at Toyo Open Country MTs? I would like to tame the gear ratio a little more than the stock 285 series tire does. Dodge dealers I've spoken too, don't seem to know.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Gerry Moody

Hi Gerry,

Good to hear you like the Dodge Ram Power Wagon. We do too. They really are a great all-around truck with great off-road capability.

As for running bigger rubber, 35-inch tires should slide right in there without any additional lift. The Toyo Open Country MT will fit if you use the stock wheels. If you get an aftermarket wheel, try to get as close to factory wheel backspacing in order not to have any problems with rubbing.

Here’s a little write up we did on the 2010 Dodge Power Wagon while testing it out in Moab, UT.  The models are very similar to 2011. I think it will help you make your decision.



Hey 4x4 AnswerMan,
I was checking out the February edition of Off-Road and noticed quite a few older trucks in it and thought maybe I’ll send you a picture of Old Blue. My favorite toy. 1967 F-250 4X4. I take Old Blue to Silver Lake Sand Dunes out here In Michigan. 

I plan on doing a paint job this winter and some spring and tire upgrades so she’ll be ready next year. Also I have a ‘67 Ford F-250 4X4 that I call Big Red. He’ll be lifted quite a bit and used for heavy off-roading. When that project is done I plan on having a pair of deuce and a half axles, 47-inch tires and power it by a 7.3 turbo diesel with an C-6 transmission. Wish me luck.

Wayne Jaynes

Hi Wayne,
Thanks for sharing your awesome truck with Off-Road.com. We do appreciate old iron around here, and yours is definitely something to talk about. Hitting the dunes in Old Blue looks like fun.

It also sounds like your garage is full of project trucks. Make sure to send us some photos of your builds. You can keep us updated by sharing photos and the progress of your build on our Off-Road.com Forum http://forums.off-road.com/


I just changed my timing belt and etc. TDC #1 is correct and the cam is at 0; however, the other mark was not lined up to the factory marks and now it will not start. I am assuming that I will have to put the crank to 0 and TDC #1 and then line up the factory marks on the other cam? Correct?

You’re on the right track. Those marks on the Toyota V6 are there for a reason. Make sure the cam and crank are lined up correctly and then put the timing belt on. Also, make sure that the distributor is in the right place when #1 cylinder is at Top Dead Center (TDC).

I referenced the handy-dandy Haynes Repair Manual and it shows the following:

If you like to wrench you on your Toyota, I would recommend getting one of these manuals. It’s money well spent.



4x4 AnswerMan,
We have question about 2006 Dodge 2500 diesel. We purchased it new and placed a 6-inch lift and coil spacer to arrive at 8 inch running 37x13.50x20 and K&N cold air intake, ordered a edge chip < juice with attitude >. Had it installed and truck went haywire, gauges going up and down had it removed to find out there was a brake in 06/06 production having the installer update the programmer with Edge. Meanwhile took truck to dealer to fix gauge issue had fix, as programmer was received back from Edge installer reinstalled.

Now the problem is we purchased truck to haul we currently have a 21-foot toy hauler about 8,000 loaded, to have replaced soon to 33 ft. Towing the 21ft.
it heats up to 1,300 degree exhaust temp and last trip trans temp was high.

We lock the trans up on 2nd gear and use tow mode, we do live in Utah at 6,000 ft. elevations and do travel up to 10,000 ft., but it doesn't occur at lower elevations.

We have called many shops and dealers they all claim we need a larger turbo or inner cooler, what I can't understand is all Dodge truck owners with smaller lifts haul larger trailer with no issue.

So what's up? Any help would be great


Hi Al,

Funny isn’t it, you modify one thing and it affects 2-3 others. As for the high temps, I think the big tires and lift have a lot to do with it. The lift adds more air resistance than stock height, so this makes your truck work harder to push all that air out of the way when you’re moving down the road. Aerodynamics is lost.  Those lower trucks you mention have that advantage over your 8-inch lift.

Big tires also make a big difference. They look cool and will help gain ground clearance, but you trade off other things like HP and torque. Again, your truck has to work harder to push that big rubber around. This is especially hard on your transmission.

You did didn’t state what gears your truck has, but if it’s the stock 3.73, then you should consider moving up to 4.10 or 4.56 to help with the bigger tires and tow loads. Some diesel trucks came with 4.10 from the factory. You can look in your glove box for a label that states the gearing. This should help your trans temp. You can also add a high-capacity trans pan and oil cooler with electric fan.

Now Al, let’s be honest here, if your main goal is to tow, then you might consider lowering the truck down to 3-4 inches. You can still run 37s with longer arms in the front. We’ll show you how soon. Make sure to follow our Project Dodge Mega Cab build here on Off-Road.com: Project Dodge Mega Cab

Even going down to 35s might not be a bad idea once you get your bigger 33-foot trailer. Remember, it’s for tow, not show. Try to find the happy medium. The truck will let you know what works and doesn’t work.

As for bigger turbo and intercooler, yes, you could do this, but then you will also need to upgrade other components like injectors and head bolts.

Start with the obvious and analyze what is making your truck perform poorly.  Then replace or fix that weak link.

Good luck.


Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ73 (Photo Toyota Motor Corp.)

Hi 4x4 AnswerMan,

I just bought a Toyota Land Cruiser (FZJ73) 1997, it has ADD, and manual hubs... While driving on the freeway, can I pulse the 4H button (with the hubs locked) for a "shift on the fly"? If yes, does a speed limit for doing these exists?

Felipe Guerrero

Hi Felipe,

Nice buy. Those are rare, at lease here in the U.S. As for shifting on the fly, yes it can be done, but it is recommended that you keep it under 62 MPH when shifting into it 4-HI for Automatic transmissions. I have read that the manual transmission has to be 55 MPH or lower to safely engage 4-HI on the fly.

Hope this helps. Enjoy your Cruiser!



Dear 4x4 AnswerMan,

I have a 1997 Chevy Tahoe 4X4 that regularly cracks the rear of the transmission case (4L60E) where it bolts up to the intermediate plate between trans and transfer case (243). We have replaced all the mounts and both drive shaft yokes are free. 
I see by the design that this spot is rather vulnerable to external torsion forces. Are you aware of any permanent solutions?

Cary Hajduk

Hi Cary,

I feel your pain. I personally cracked two 4L60E housings on my Z71 Chevy. It turned out to be that the NP243 transfer case shafts were bent. This was causing the transmission to keep cracking in the same area you are describing. We ended up getting another NP243 transfer case and swapped it out. No problems in eight years.

This worked for me. Maybe take the transfer case out and gauge the shaft on the transfer case to see if it’s true. If it isn’t straight, there’s your problem.

Good luck!



4x4 AnswerMan,
I have a 2004 3500 5.9 Diesel truck that I added a 2-inch leveling kit on. Now I have a rattling noise coming from what seem to be the end links on the sway bar. I think what I need is drop blocks for the sway bar, but the only ones I can find are from Hell Bent Steel, but the ones they have don't line up correctly. Do you know anyone who makes the drop block that doesn’t angle forward like the ones at Hell Bent Steel? Or have any other remedies?

George Atencio

Hi George,

Get under your truck and inspect the bushing and bolts holding your sway bar in place. You should be able to isolate what is causing the rattling and be able to fix it.

If the new angle on the sway bar is adding too much stress, a drop down block might be in order. Try contacting the manufacturer of your leveling kit to see what they recommend. Each lift manufacturer has their versions of what will compliment their kits and fix problems like these.

As for the Hell Bent Steel, it looks like it would achieve what you are trying to fix or upgrade if the sway bar angle is the problem. But before you open up your wallet, talk to the manufacturer to see what they recommend. They have hours of R&D perfecting the kit you have on your truck, so they more than likely have already experienced and solved what you are dealing with.

Good luck.



Hi 4x4 AnswerMan,
I just got an ‘88 Suzuki samurai and also found motor and trans out of a ‘91 two-wheel-drive Sami. Both are 1.3 L my plan is to overhaul the 91 and replace the ‘88 and then overhaul the ‘88 and keep as spare.

My question is the ‘88 is carbureted and the ‘91 is fuel injected. Can I put the carb on the 91 without any modifications, are the intake bolt up the same or can be interchanged with no problems or do I have to get a computer and use the fuel injection?

Southaven, MS

Hi Bruce,

Suzuki Samurai … good times. The 1.3L carbureted shares the same block as the fuel injected one. One of the differences is that some are 4-valve and others are 8-valve. If you plan on swapping carb to fuel injection you will need to use the intake manifold. If you’re going to run fuel injection you will need to use the computer (ECM) and wiring harness to make it work.

If you’re going to spend all this time and money, consider the 1.6L swap also. It seems to be a popular one within the Samurai community for added HP and availability of parts.

You’ll find plenty of Samurai tech here on Off-Road.com. Here’s an engine swap article from the archives: http://www.off-road.com/trucks-4x4/tech/engine-swap-tips-20371.html

 Also, make sure to stop by our Suzuki Forum and chat with the Suzuki guys.  They’ll tell you straight up what to do and not do. They’ve done it a time or two. http://www.off-road.com/trucks4x4/Suzuki:+All



Hello 4x4 AnswerMan,

I have a 2007 GMC 2500 new body style and I want to put a set of 285/60/18 tires on it.  Will I have to lift the truck for them to fit and if so how much do you think?


Hanson, MA

Hi Joe,

If it’s a 4x4, then you don’t need to lift the truck. You have enough clearance to get 285s in there. Just make sure you get the new wheels with backspacing as close to the factory wheels to avoid rubbing on your fenders or suspension.



4x4 AnswerMan,
I have 04 dodge 2500 diesel quad cab and bought 35s and they rub on the front. Will a levelling kit work
Larry Lusk

Hi Larry,

No more rubbing. You can fix this by adding a leveling kit. You can find a nice one from Ready Lift

Another option is to do a front leveling suspension kit like the KORE Performance  that consist of springs and shocks. This will give you the height and a better ride.  We have one on the Dodge Ram Mega Cab and love it!

It all really depends on how much money you want to spend and what you use your truck for.

Now fix that rub!

Have a truck or SUV question for the 4x4 AnswerMan? Send your questions to editor@off-road.com. Please include your name and location, and be as detailed as possible about your questions.

Other 4x4 Answerman Columns:
January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

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