4x4 AnswerMan Tackles Readers' Questions

Keep on Wheelin' with the 4x4 AnswerMan

Sep. 02, 2009 By Jaime Hernandez


FORD NP203 Transfer case

This half of the transfer case is still under the truck, not sure what will happen if I take it off.  If anyone can identify it I would appreciate it. Most of the tags from the factory like the transfer case and axle tags have been lost or removed by the previous owner.

MyOff-Road.com member

Wow! That thing just grenaded--it must have been one hell of a mud-bogg.

Well don’t fell bad, we’ve all cracked or broken a transfer case before, but yours takes the trophy.
To help get your Ford back on the road, start calling on local wrecking yards for an early '70s Ford 4WD.  The case is more than likely a NP203 full-time transfer case. The NP203 is a popular transfer case found on Fords from that era.

You can also pick up a rebuilt one at National Drivetrain (www.nationaldrivetrain.com)
Good luck and keep us posted on your truck.


I am having trouble finding parts for my '85 Toyota pick-up. I’m trying to find lift kits and Baja bumpers for it, and so far I’m having nothing but bad luck. If anybody can point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated.

Quail Valley, CA

1980s Toyota 4x4

(1984 Toyota 4WD Pick-up, Troy Muse)

Hi Loomis,

The 1985 Toyota Pick-up is a pretty sweet ride for playing in the dirt. I’m not sure if you have a 2WD or 4WD, but either way, there are numerous combinations for your little truck to help it achieve its full off-road potential.

Since you’re working with a truck that is over 20 years old, the parts are limited.  You want to look for companies that make suspension lifts for Toyota Pick-ups from 1979–1985. 

We did find that Tuff Country has a 3.5-inch bolt-on suspension kit that would give you some added clearance to squeeze in some 33-inch tires on a 4x4.  If you want to go more extreme, like a rock crawler, you can talk to the experts at Marlin Crawler (www.marlincrawler.com).  They do nothing but extreme Toyota 4x4s.

You can also do something custom like Troy Muse's 1984 Toyota on Off-Road.com.

If you have a 2WD or are going for the PreRunner, there are few companies that have specialized in early Toyota long-travel kits like Total Chaos Fabrication (www.chaosfab.com). They make an unbelievable long-travel kit that will yield over 15-inches of travel for these early Toyotas.

As for bolt-on Baja style bumpers, one of the original Toyota fab shops called Duffco will have what you’re looking for (www.duffcoenterprises.com).  You can also try the ORI Baja Eliminator bumper at Off Road Warehouse (www.offroadwarehouse.com/products/sfID1/61/sfID2/273/sfID3/23).

If none of the bolt-on stuff suits your fancy, there’s always custom fabrication.


I have a 1985 Dodge Ram Van, what does it take to convert to fuel injection, and where can I buy the requested kit for conversion in order to buy on my way back from MI next Nov. 2009?

Saudi Arabia

Hello Samir,

Why the heck would you want to spend more money on the Ram Van, unless it’s a Psychodelic Love Mobile with a reclining Captain’s Chair that sits pretty on 37s. 

Any who… yes you can buy a fuel-injection conversion kit for your love Van. There’s a company called Affordable Fuel Injection that will gladly take your money to make that Mopar purr like a kitten. See if they’ll throw in a pair of fuzzy dice while they’re at it.

Here’s the link www.affordable-fuel-injection.com/index.php?id=30&title=Mopar+Throttle+Body+Fuel+Injection.


My 1981 Chevy 1/2-ton transfer case shift positions are not the same as me 1982 3/4-ton. Does anyone know the shift positions?

-Mr. Mark
Stansbury Park, UT

Howdy Mr. Mark,

In 1981 the engineers at GM decided to replace the cast-iron NP205 and NP203 transfer case with a lighter NP208 aluminum. The NP205 remained in the heavy-duty trucks, like your 1982 3/4 Ton Chevy.

So if we are correct…and I think we are, your 1981 would have the following shift position:


It’s different than your 1982 3/4 Ton with the NP205:


Enter your question or comment below, or send questions to [email protected]!


Shrock Works

What are the measurements of the bumpers on the '06 4Runner and '06 Tundra? Is there a difference in how they are mounted? My reason for asking is I found a sick bush bumper made by Shrock Works but they only make it for the 4Runner.

Edmonton, Canada

Hi Sam,

Shrock Works does make some nice looking beefy bumpers. Unfortunately for you the Tundra and 4Runner bumpers are not the same.  We did check with Shrock Works on the matter--close, but no cigar.

I think you’ve been reading too many articles by our writer Justin Fort on swapping Tundra parts to a 4Runner. = )

A quick search for first Gen Toyota Tundra off-road bumpers didn’t give us too many bolt-on applications for your 2006 Tundra. We did, however, find one at Slee Off-Road made by ARB that would fit (www.sleeoffroad.com). You might also consider having an off-road fab shop make you a custom one.


I plan on converting my 2x4 that once was a 4x4 back into a 4x4. It's a 1992 Mazda Navajo. Any help with what the stock axles are would be greatly appreciated. I plan on converting it into a light rock climber as there arent any rocks to climb. Let me be exact: I am not a mudder by no means; I enjoy trail riding and occasionally a mud hole, and I'm not like most people here who are strickly about getting the truck dirty. Thanks in advance.

Gulfport, MS
Hello Chris,

So you want to go back to 4WD …huh.  Apparently your 1992 Mazda Navajo is based on the Ford Explorer platform. The four-wheel drive model for that year came equipped with a Borg Warner 13-54 part-time four-wheel drive transfer case (which I hope you still have). 

As for the axle setup, the 1992 Ford Explorer came with a 8.8-inch rear axle in either a limited slip or open version with a variety of gear ratios.  The best bet is to find a donor Ford Explorer or visit your local Auto Salvage Yard to get all the parts you need if you decide to embark on this adventure.


Hey guys! I’m new to this and the off-road community. I live in mid-western Ontario and off-roading has really taken off with my generation. There are a few guys out there that have the full rig but I’m just starting out. I bought a 2005 GMC two-door Jimmy this fall (unfortunately not the ZR2 series, but I got a good deal on it) and have taken it to the trails quite a few times and only been stuck a handful of times (mostly due to my stock tires). Where can I shop for a good lift online? It’s hard to find one that matches up to my model because 2005 was only released in Canada and only in two-door and the last year of the Jimmys.

Ontario, Canada

Hi Rob,

Lucky for you that your 2-door 2005 GMC Jimmy shares the same platform as the Chevy S-10 Blazer from 1995 – 2005. Although the options are slim on suspension lifts, you will have some luck with companies like Trail Master that did make a 5-inch lift for the S-10 Blazer. That should give you enough room for some 33-inch off-road tires. Check them out at http://www.trailmastersuspension.com.


I am looking at a used 2003-2004 Dakota as my next truck as my Silverado's time has come for retirement. I am getting some conflicting information on the capabilities of the engine choices. Write-ups I have seen on the 3.7L V6 have people getting 13-15 mpg while others are reporting 18-22 (all people stating mixed driving conditions). I have also seen large fluctuations in the 4.7L V8 mpg reporting. I have seen as low as 11, which is worse than my Silverado's worst tank, and as high as 20.

I've checked Edmunds, Consumer Guides, and Consumer Reports along with other forums and can't get any reliable information. Can anyone give me some insight on your experiences as far as average MPG, how well either powerplant performed, and how well the truck worked/works for you overall I would appreciate it. Thanks for any help you may be able to offer.


Hi Jared,

I’m glad you’re concerned about how much gas your guzzler is sucking out of your wallet. We’re all feeling a pinch these days and every penny counts. The conflicting reports you are getting can be due to different testing conditions, models and vehicle configurations (e.g. automatic vs. manual, 4WD vs 2WD).

Since we only care about off-road trucks here we’re going to focus on the 2003 4WD Dodge Dakota.

We found a little MPG study done by the US Department of Energy that resulted anywhere from 12-14 MPG average.  Surprisingly the 4.7L V8 gets better gas millage than the 6 cyl 3.9L. The best MPG was 11 city, 16 hwy with an average of 14.1 MPG for the Dodge Dakota 4WD, V8 Automatic*.

Something tells me that the guys telling you that they are getting over 20 MPG are driving stock 2WDs with perfect tire PSI. They may also be suffering from a mild case of Pinocchio Syndrome.

Find more MPG info at www.fueleconomy.gov.

 *Test based on 45% highway driving and 55% city driving with 15,000 annual miles.


Help!!!!!!!!!!!! I have an '05, pre-runner, V6 6-speed manual trans. The tac's 2400 RPM @ 65 mph and it has stock tires on. What is my gear ratio? I want to drop my RPM as much as I can. It’s a 2WD, TRD package.

Baltimore, OH

Hi Tim,

Hope the RPM aren’t churning too high these days. We looked into the factory gear ratio for your 2005 Toyota PreRunner.  Here’s what our friends at Toyota gave us:

4.0-liter with 6-speed manual

1st                       4.17
2nd                      2.19
3rd                       1.49
4th                       1.19
5th                       1.00
6th                       0.85

Your factory rear axle ratio is 4.1:1

I know you mentioned you have stock tires, but make sure they are in fact factory size: P265/65 R17 for the TRD package. If you have anything different I would start there. Small tires will give you higher RPM.

If you want to switch up your gearing give the guys at National Drivetrain a call. Tell them Off-Road.com sent you: http://www.nationaldrivetrain.com/.

Enter your question or comment below, or send questions to [email protected]!


Flowmaster 40

I need some suggestions for my 1992 Ford Ranger XLT 3.0 V6 five-speed? What should I get in terms of exhaust – a whole new exhaust system, cat back, just the muffler? What brands are good?

West Allis, Wisconsin

Hi Mike,

Our search didn’t turn up any cat-back or full exhaust systems for your 1992 V6 Ford Ranger.  If you just want to open up your exhaust a bit and add HP, try a 40 or 50 Series Flowmaster. They have a nice deep sound with some added performance (www.flowmastermufflers.com).

If you have so much money that you don’t know what to do with it, do a custom full system with headers…that will really open your motor. The guys at JBA Headers can a set just for your truck (www.jbaheaders.com), but before you go burning down to the local muffler shop, check and see what smog laws apply in your state.

Some other brands to consider are Magnaflow, Borla and DynoMax.


Can anyone tell me what I need to for a rear disc brake conversion on a Toyota Tacoma? Does anyone sell a "kit"? Can I pick this stuff up in a salvage yard?

Clinton, TN

Hi Tom,

So you want to stop on a dime …well All-Pro Off-Road has just the kit for you. It will work on a 1995–2004 4WD Toyota Tacoma or Pre-Runner. It uses GM metric calipers. You will have to fiddle with the factory Brake Proportion Valve (BPV) to get the right front/back fluid displacement.

You can check out their kit here:  www.allprooffroad.com/9504tacomabrakeupgrades/9504discbrakekit.


Ok, I finally replaced the fuel pump on the '98 Tahoe that is probably going to belong to my son eventually unless someone buys it. Now I need to replace the oil pump.  I have heard that I may need to jack up the engine to remove the oil pan. Does anyone know for sure if this is the case before I dig into the job and find out for myself?

Martin, TN

Hello Jason,

Those '90s Chevy Tahoe/Blazers are sweet. My brother has one with over 200k miles on it and many off-road trips. If you decide to keep it for your son he’ll enjoy it, especially if it’s the two-door model with the shorter wheelbase. 

As for your oil pump repair, you may be able to get to it without lifting the motor, depending on your suspension setup. If you’re still running stock suspension then you should be able to get to it with little trouble.  If you have an IFS lift kit, the front cross member that gives your rig the lift may get in the way. Take a look under the chassis to see if you have enough room to drop down the pan. If you don’t, then you will need to lift your motor with an engine hoist to give you a few inches to wiggle the oil pan out.


Once upon a time I thought I was pretty mechanically inclined, until the 1990 4Runner came into my life – I swear it is possessed. I ran a code check and replaced the knock sensor wire and the TPS. It was idling pretty good for a day or two, and now when I start it up it runs high sometimes and runs normal others. I am kind of feeling like I might have a auxiliary air valve issue, being my idle screw is in all the way. I would appreciate any info.

Lompoc, CA


Sounds like you have a few things going on with that '90 Toyota 4Runner. It would help to know if you had a 4-cylinder 22R-E or the V6 3.0L. In any case, we found some old tech here on Off-Road.com that may help with you Throttle Positioning Sensor (TPS) problem.

For starters, you might want to start with something as easy a cleaning the throttle body. Check for any buildup of sludge that may be clogging the air bypasses, vacuum ports, or preventing the throttle plate from closing to it's proper position. 

Get the full story here: www.off-road.com/toyota/tech/tps.


I have a 1983 Bronco. jJust wondering what the cheapest way to lift it about 2 inches? Want to clear 33-inch tires.

Rincon, GA

Hello Moon,

So you want the best and you want it cheap.  It’s hard to give you both, but we’ll try. 

In your case, a body lift would be the cheapest way to get that Ford Bronco up 2-inches. That should give you enough clearance to fit 33-inch tires using the factory rims.

You can find a kit from Performance Accessories: http://www.performanceaccessories.com.

Enter your question or comment below, or send questions to [email protected]!

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