4x4 AnswerMan: Pit Bull Tires, Upgraded Exhausts, Toyota Gears and More

Jul. 31, 2014 By Jaime Hernandez
Toyota eight-lug pickup crawling along the Rubicon Trail in the Sierra Nevada mountains, California.

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.

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Sounds great under-load. Just enough rumble without seeming like an obnoxious little boy begging for attention

Sure looks good and sounds great, Sean. Toyota Racing Development’s team does a great job at putting together performance parts for the enthusiast. And the best part is they don’t void warranty.

Check out Video for TRD Tundra Dual Exhaust 



That "stinker" Marty Fiolka and his co-horts like Bill Brindle III were up to "ALL GOOD" while we Bajaholics were sweating, trembling and craving for some of the good ol' days!
"Baja Bill" Fuentes

Letter sparked by Baja Social Club Acquire Bruce Brown Footage

Hola Baja Bill,

Looks like this film just keeps getting better. We had the opportunity to preview what Fiolka and his team have assembled so far and it sure looks promising. The mystique of Baja is interwoven throughout, bringing to light the raw emotion and adventure that connects so many with the land, people and race. Adding quality vintage footage from Bruce Brown is sure to bring an even deeper dimension to the film. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out On Any Sunday and Endless Summer – both Brown classics.

Can’t wait to see the final production.

Baja Social Club - Teaser

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4x4 AnswerMan,

I know this is a few years old but I am wanting to do almost the exact thing to my '91 V3500 crewcab. Any opinions on how the tires did, both on and off-road?
Matt Crouch

Letter sparked by Project Big Bad Chevy Wheels and Tires

Hi Matt,

Thanks for resurrecting this story. We're not sure of the long-term fate of these specific Mad Dog tires, but we do have a few other accounts that give them good ratings. Pit Bull has carved out a name for itself among hardcore crawlers and mudders by offering an affordable off-road tire that performs.    Check out these in depth Pit Bull tire reviews that may help with your decision.

Good luck!

Testing the Pit Bull MadDog Radial Mud Terrain Tire

Review: Pit Bull Radial Rocker Off-Road Tires

Pit Bull Tires Radial Growler Review




Looking to do some of this for sure!
Shawn Beasley

Letter sparked by Jim's Serious Off-Road Buildup Tips

Holly Moly! That sure is a long list of modifications made on Jim's 4x4. It's amazing how fast the parts and work adds up, especially on these older four-wheel drives. At first glance it may be a little overwhelming, but this much work is usually done over a long period of time—not all at once. There's no need to panic or take on a fourth job just to pay for the build. It’s more of a roadmap. Once you get going, you’ll figure out what makes sense for your specific 4x4 and the type of off-roading you do. Nevertheless, Jim’s list is pretty good... we see a few things we need to tackle on our own adventure rig. Off to the garage!



4x4 AnswerMan,

I have a 2000 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4WD V6 3.4L with stock tires P225/75/15. What gear ratio do I have? Needing another rear differential.


Hi Pattie,

Your 4WD Toyota 4Runner was offered with two different gear options in the US.  Most 4x4 models were equipped with 4.10 ratio, while the optional eLocker model came with 4.30 ratio.

To get an accurate gear ratio for your 4Runner, you would need to pull the third member and count the number of teeth on the ring and pinion. Use the formula below to decipher what you have:
Ring/Pinion = Gear Ratio
(e.g. Ring has 37 teeth, Pinion has 9 teeth 37/9 = 4.11)

If you’re looking for replacement gears, parts or carriers, make sure to look up Nitro Gear. They have the widest selection of differential parts for Toyota 4WD.  More info at http://www.nitro-gear.com/.

Good luck!



4x4 AnswerMan,

I installed these brackets, the rod ends would squeak and after 5000 miles of ROAD driving, the rod end had froze up causing the bracket to split at the weld. After explaining my problem and telling them that my truck never goes off road AND I live in the South East (no salt), they tell me that my torsion keys were cranked up too much.  First of all they never saw pictures of anything that they could tell this from. Secondly, my truck has a 6" lift and that's it! The torsion bars have never been adjusted. I have a 2006 Chevy Z71 with 6" Rough Country lift and 35" tires.
 Dirty D

Letter sparked by Fix the sloppy steering in your Late Model Chevy

Hi Dirty D,

Sorry to hear your Chevy is having steering problems. We took a closer look at the Cognito Pitman/Idler Support Kit and identified it uses heim joints. Since these are considered “wear parts,” Cognito excludes them from warranty. If the heim joints have gone bad, you can either replace them or ditch the kit all together. Another possible problem may be your type of lift kit. Cognito does not recommend using their Pitmat / Idler Arm Support Kit with lift kits that use a dropped centerlink. Do you have a dropped centerlink? If so, this might be the problem.

In all honesty, big off-road tires and lift kits on a truck require additional suspension and steering maintenance—even if it never goes off-road. The added weight and stress put on by these aftermarket parts can really shorten the life of components like ball joints, shocks, bearings, bushings and drivetrain. It’s the price we pay for having really cool lifted trucks. = ) 

Hope you get your steering tight and in good working order soon.




I have some comments on International146 and his Datsun diesel Scout. If it matters, I've owned 17 Internationals over the years but never a Datsun diesel-powered one for good reason. They're junk. If well maintained they're okay. Motor Trend Magazine tested a new Datsun diesel Scout in the Jan/1977 issue and had only 1 good thing to say about it. Off road, it was great. But on road it was "...downright dangerous". The turbo version in its last gasp year (1980) gave it less than 2hp per cylinder.

The engines were so bad as far as roadability, a LOT of buyers took them back to the dealer and some had gas V8's replacing the extremely heavy diesel.  To sum it up. the Scout diesel was International's version of the Edsel.  Remember the diesel Oldsmobile? Same thing. Junk.

Anyone with a diesel Scout should either foist it on someone else or replace the boat anchor with a 304, 345 or 392. Even a 266 would run rings around the Datsun diesel.

I see diesel Scouts on eBay advertised as "rare". Now you know why.

David Furlong

Letter sparked by owner with troubled smokey 1980 International Scout diesel with a sd33 engine.

Hello David,

Thanks for the notes and laugh.  Sounds like these engines were a real piece of work. We can’t really comment on their performance since we’ve never driven one. You’ve owned 17 Internationals...wow, that’s a lot of IH. You must be a big fan. By chance, did any of those happen to be tractors? My dad had an IH tractor when I was a kid, a big red one (like most International Harvesters). Sure was fun to drive—slow, but fun.

We found an old International Harvester Scout ad from 1980 which reads, “Scout Introduces the World’s First Turbocharged diesel with 100,000 Mile Warranty.”  That’s pretty impressive, even by today’s standards. The MPG wasn’t bad either (22 EPA MPG, 24 Highway MPG). Nevertheless, we sure like those vintage International Harvester Scouts. We still get a big smile whenever we see them out on the trail--although it’s become a rarity. They must all be on eBay or a barn.

Thanks again for the comment.




Does anyone know of a place to do more high-speed stuff where a Raptor could play?
Christian McClure

Hi Christian,

I would find other SVT Raptors in your area and check out the local RallyCross (http://www.ner.org/rally/rx), as both should yield fast options. Driving your Raptor through technical terrain will help you develop better high-speed driving skills and learn more about your truck. There may also be some dirt trails and country roads near you for faster paced off-road travel.  Best thing to do is reference a topo map, check with local off-road clubs, BLM and Forest Service for access information.

If you ever get a chance, a trip to the deserts of the southwest and Baja can really be eye opening to the Ford Raptor’s true potential. This is where the SVT team developed and tuned the Raptor before going to market. This is also where many aftermarket suppliers do R&D on their suspension and equipment.

For a fun time with a bunch of SVT Raptor owners, make sure to also check out the Raptor Nationals (See related story Raptor Nationals).





I heard they are thinking of bringing the Powerglide back.
Rich Novello

Letter sparked by 2015 Chevrolet and GMC Pickups, SUVs to Offer Eight-Speed Transmission

Hi Rich,

Funny, Rich... although that might not be a bad thing if you’re into racing. The “slip-n-slides” can be built to handle in excess of 3,000 HP. 
I think GM is going the 8-speed route to try and squeeze more MPG. We’ll know soon enough.

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.

More 4x4 AnswerMan Columns
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