4x4 AnswerMan Tackles Reader Questions

Keep Wheelin' with the AnswerMan

Apr. 15, 2010 By Jaime Hernandez

Have a truck or SUV question for the 4x4 Answerman? Send your questions to [email protected]. Please include your name and location, and be as detailed as possible about your questions.

LOCKING CRUISER

AnswerMan,

I have a 1989 Fj73 Toyota land cruiser with the 3f engine and absolutely love this car. I’m looking for the differential lockers for this car but don’t know where to find them, which ones would work for my car? I asked at a Toyota dealer but they are too expensive. I would appreciate some help.

Thanks
Rico
Bogota, Colombia

Hola Rico,

How is the off-roading in Colombia?  Must be good, especially in a Land Cruiser.

There are a few options for lockers.  You can go with a mechanical one, like the Detroit Locker made by Eaton.  These work great, but you can’t lock/unlock on demand.

 The most popular application is the ARB air locker.   This might be the way to go if you want to have control on when to lock and unlock the axle.

ARB air locker

You can find more information on the application at http://www.arbusa.com

We don’t have the FJ73 here in the USA, but would love to see some more pictures.  Why don’t you post some up on My.Off-Road.com

Suerte!

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BUCKIN’ BRONCO

AnswerMan,

My 1993 bronco with automatic hubs seems to be locked in low range and vibrates at around 45 mph. Is there a way to disengage 4wd manually? Recent transmission work done and transmission down shifts when brake is applied...can it be a vacuum problem?

Bronco525
Sarver, PA


Hi Bronco525,

It can be a vacuum problem. Trace your lines and check for leaks. As for manually disengaging your 4x4, you can remove the front driveline until you can sort things out.  This will eliminate sending any power to the front.

If you have a lever activated transfer case, make sure the linkage is not hanging up on anything.  It might need some adjustment to get into 2H.

You mentioned some transmission work was recently done.  If you did it yourself, go back and check all your wire harness connectors, relays and linkages for the transmission and transfer case are set-up correct. If you had a mechanic service your transmission, let them know that this problem started shortly after the fix was made.  Have them take a look.

Good luck.

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NO 4LO -- NO GO

AnswerMan,

I have a 203 transfer with the kit in it but I can't get it to go into 4 low it will shift to all the other gears so I don’t know what’s going on with it any thought.

s10mudder
Buckhannon, USA

Hi s10mudder,

Make sure you have your vehicle in “Neutral” before you try to engage 4LO. 
Also, check the linkage to make sure it’s not getting caught on anything.
Lastly, check the fluid level in the t-case, if it's low, then this might be why it's not being co-operative.

The worst case scenario, you have something broken--but you should be able to hear metal grinding, or it woudl just be plain locked.

Start with the small stuff and work your way up.

Gook luck.

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BOUNCY TACO

AnswerMan,

I've got 45k miles on my 2007 Tacoma 4x4. The inside of my front tires are getting worn down and the ride feels bouncy and loose. What type/make of replacement shocks do you suggest? I do a lot of off roading and also a lot of highway driving. I also don’t have a ton of money to spend on them since I need new tires as well.

Thanks, Matt
Chico, CA

Hi Matt,

Since your Tacoma is a 4x4, I have a feeling it comes with the TRD Bilstein mono-tube shocks.  These are generally good for over 100k miles.  Bilstein told me once that they had a set on a UPS truck that had logged over 1-million miles.  When they tested the shocks, they were still within spec.  That’s pretty impressive.

If you say you do a lot of off-roading, and you also drive it on the road—take it in for an alignment, this should fix your problem.  Things do get out of whack if you pound on them hard.

If the shocks are shot, then I would recommend Bilstein since TRD uses them on their TRD package Toyotas.  I had them on a Tacoma and 4Runner, they worked great.

Good Luck.

Send your 4x4 and Truck questions Attn: 4x4 AnswerMan
to mailto:[email protected]


4x4 AnswerMan - April 2010

3/4 TON AXLE SWAP

AnswerMan,

I have recently purchased a 72 3/4 ton Chevy P/U.  I have a Dana 44 in the front and an HO52 on the rear. I want to swap the rear axle out. What suggestions would you have as far as a good replacement rear with little modifications that need to be done? I just want to have more gear, locker options.  Also do you have any resources for finding a new rear?

Should I consider another 44 on the rear or a 14 bolt?? Any help you have would be much appreciated.
Chris Abolt

Hi Chris,

You can’t go wrong with a GM 14 bolt and the options for gears, lockers and mod parts are stout.  On the same token, A Dana 44 has a lot of options as well.

Dynatrac Super 60

You can find GM 14 bolt axles at wrecking yards mostly.  A Dana 44 can be ordered “New” from companies like Currie Enterprises or Dynatrac.  If you go the “New” route, you can pick out your gears and locker.  They will come fully assembled and with warranty.

If you get a GM 14 bolt from the wrecking yard, you  just need to clean it up and drop in your gears and locker.  A nice addition is to add rear disk brakes to the 14 bolt.  Check out this “How-to” article on Off-Raod.com http://www.off-road.com/trucks4x4/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=200819

Good luck!

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BRAKE TROUBLESHOOT

AnswerMan,

I have a 1995 Nissan with VG30E ENGINE: gasoline. Recently the brakes just got soft and are no longer very effective. My mechanic recommended a master cylinder change, brake pad change, etc. I have done all I can and there is no improvement. I wonder if anyone can be of help to me.

Fusi
Buea, Cameroon

Hello Fusi,

I hate it when brakes get soft.  Usually the culprit is a bad Master Cylinder, leak in the lines or brake piston seals.  Start with the small stuff first, then work your way up.

Since you already replaced your Master Cylinder and brake pads move on to check some other key items:

1)Check for any fluid leaks.

2) Make sure you do a good job bleeding the break system.  Changing out the brake fluid is also recommended.  I have found this simple service to take care of brake fading after a hard run or drive through windy mountain roads.

3) If you have rubber hoses going to your brake caliper or brake drum, check to see if the rubber is too soft.  A fix for this can be replacing the rubber hoses with wire hoses.

4) Check your Brake booster.  This part can be expensive, but if it’s not working, you will not get crisp braking from your system.

5) Check your brake pistons at the caliper and drum for leaks.  They may need to be re-built or replaced.

You are bound to find the problem if you work through the system.

If you are not sure of what you are doing, take it to a professional brake shop.  You don’t want to loose your brakes on or off the road.

Cheers!

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2WD F150 CONVERSION TO 4WD

AnswerMan,

I Wanna do a switch on my 02 2WD Ford F150 to a 4WD but don't know the best way or what the total cost might be..... I kno of people who have made the switch but don't know the proper way to go about doing it.

DRAKE021
Lexington, OK

Hi DRAKE021,

There are two ways to make your F150 2WD a 4WD:

  1. Sell it and buy a 4WD
  2. Get your wrenches or pocket book out for some heavy mods.

 If you decide to turn your 2WD into a 4WD, the Straight Axle conversion is they way to go.  You would need to find a donor truck, maybe an older F150.  You will need to do some heavy fabrication and welding to make it work.

So now that you have the front-end set-up, you will also need to think about adding a divorced transfer case behind your trans.  The earlier F150 donor truck might also be a good place to get this from.  Custom brackets and possibly adapters may be needed.  Not to mention custom drive shafts and such.

One thing is for sure, once all the work is done; you will have a sweet straight axle suspension F150.

If this sounds like way too much work—which it is; sell your 2WD and buy a factory 4WD F-150.  A 2002 F150 with factory 4x4 will have independent suspension.

Enjoy!

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FORD 5.0 --> 5.8 SWAP

AnswerMan,

I HAVE A 1995 BRONCO WITH A FUEL INJECTED 5.0 IN IT THAT IS VERY TIRED... I ALSO HAVE A 1990 F250 WITH A PROFESSIONALLY BUILT, RELATIVELY STOCK, FUEL INJECTED 5.8 IN IT... THE ENGINES APPEAR THE SAME AND IN MY RESEARCH I BELIEVE THE BOLT PATTERNS ARE INTERCHANGEABLE... ARE THE ELECTRONICS THE SAME, WILL THIS CHANGE JUST PLUG TOGETHER, IS THIS A SIMPLE SWAP.. ARE THESE TWO VEHICLES ENGINES INTERCHANGABLE.

Thanks,

Brian Duke
Cedar Point, NC

Hi Brian,

Close, but no cigar.  Although the engine themselves might look very similar, the electronics will throw a monkey wrench in your plan.   In all honesty,  for it to work correctly,  you would need to swap out the entire wiring harness and ECU. 

This is not even taking into consideration any smog laws in your state.  Some states are very specific that the factory engine designated to your vehicle stay in your vehicle if it’s still being driven on roads.

If this is strictly an off-road use vehicle, then there might be more lee-way.  Check into some of these things before you dive into it.

Let us know what you do on My.Off-Road.com.


Send your 4x4 and Truck questions Attn: 4x4 AnswerMan
to mailto:[email protected]


4x4 AnswerMan - April 2010

JEEP V8 CONVERSION

AnswerMan,

I have a 97 TJ and would like to know if a Chevy Gen III conversion would be better then a performance 6 cyl?

JDW1173
Marshalltown, IA

Hi JDW,

I just rode in a GM 350 V8 Vortech at the Moab Easter Jeep Safari this year.  It had plenty of grunt, and around 300HP stock.

You can do some things to your 6cyl to pump it up like adding an intake, exhaust, power programmer and header to name a few.   It all depends on how much time and money you want to spend.

I’ve noticed that since the Hemi was re-introduced, more Jeep Hemi V8 swaps are taking place.  It was expensive at first, but the prices on conversions have really become much more reasonable if you're looking to keep in the Chrysler-Jeep brand.

You can find used Hemi motors for sale from vehicle wrecking yards, or you can even get a crate motor from Mopar.

Check out the guys at Burnsville Off-Road to get some ideas on the Hemi conversion.  They were one of the first doing it, and they have a lot of experience with the ins and outs.

You can also check out Mopar for info on Hemi crate motors and electronics to make them run.

Also, if you have more questions make sure to check with our Jeep expert, the “Jeep Creep

Enjoy!

Jeep Creep
The Jeep Creep

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MEASURING UP AN IH SCOUT

AnswerMan,

I need to ship a 1967 International Scout, but don't have the vehicle to measure. Nobody posts the physical dimensions for IH vehicles, where are they found?

Mikel
Sacramento, CA

Hi Mikel,

Try asking the IH Scout Discussion group on Off-Road.com.  I’m sure they’d be more than happy to give you dimensions and any other pertinent information.  They are a very knowledgeable and active IH Scout community.

Here is the link http://forums.off-road.com/ih-scout-trucks/


Send your 4x4 and Truck questions Attn: 4x4 AnswerMan
to [email protected]


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