4x4 AnswerMan - Truck and SUV Off-Road Tech

Nov. 23, 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.

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October 2011

September 2011

August 2011


4x4 AnswerMan,
Iím in the process of purchasing a 1981 Bronco with a 351 windsor, I want to know as much as possible with how many miles is the average that it can last, gas mileage all that fun stuff, there's only a 50 cent size piece that has been bondoed, the rest is still dent-free and solid. Two small rust spots that I want to remove as well.
Brittany Proctor

Hi Brittany,

Glad to see youíre joining the off-road nation.  The Ford Bronco is an excellent full-size 4x4 that offers a lot. Youíre on the right track getting a V8 351, rather than the less popular inline 6. As for lifespan of a 351 Windsor, it really depends on how well the previous owners took care of it. In my personal experience, anything over 100k is going to require major maintenance like water pumps, starters, alternators, pulleys and such--short of a rebuild.

If you take care of these odds and ends and stay up on your oil changes and regular maintenance, you can see over 200k miles. Iíve heard of them getting up to 400k miles before being rebuilt by some meticulous owners.

Since you might not know the full history of the Bronco, the best indicator at this point is a visual inspection: see how dirty the engine is, if there is any oil or grime residue, any leaks. If you have a friend or local mechanic that can check the compression and listen for any weird knocking in the engine, then youíll be that much better off. Even if you have to pay itís money well spent. The last thing you want is to buy a ticking time bomb.

Aside from that, one of the biggest changes in your Bronco versus older ones is the front axle design. In 1980, Ford replaced the live front axle with a Dana 44 Twin Traction Beam that actually works as an independent front suspension.

These Twin Traction Beam axles can be built well for desert or high-speed off-roading. You can get a lift to run 35s, maybe 37s with trimming, but anything bigger than that becomes a challenge. Most people that build them for mud bogging or crawling convert them to a solid axle to allow for more lift and larger tires.

If you want to learn more about the History of the Ford Bronco, make sure to check this article out http://www.off-road.com/trucks-4x4/tech/late-model-19781996-ford-bronco-history-18938.html

Now go get your Bronco, girl!



Hey 4x4 AnswerMan,

My name is Dan and I live in Tofino B.C. I am wondering if stock 4Runner wheels (the 4-star mags that were on 4Runners and Tacomas pre 1995) fit my 1995.5 Toyota Tacoma 4x4?

Hi Dan,

If youíre talking about these beauties, I think my dad has one in the attic.

Those are 15x7 Toyota Alloy wheels found on 4WD models from 1990 - 1996 (4Runner, Pick-up, T100). The ones on your 1995.5 Tacoma should also be 15x7 with a 6-lug pattern. Pretty sure they fit but itís still worth double checking, as the backspacing looks different on these earlier wheels. Make sure nothing rubs, like control arm or disk brake caliper.

Also, pay close attention to the lug style, as some are acorn and others are shank.

Other than that, you should be golden rocking the Ď90s Toyota wheels.


Hello, my name is Shane. I am shipping out to the military in March and by September I want to purchase a 90's Chevy K1500(4X4 model) Now, I would like to put a 4" suspension lift and 3" body lift with 35s or so for when I'm out playing with the guys. Do you have any recommendations for maintaining speed when driving on the highway or if I'm racing on the back roads?   I've heard to upgrade the Axels to 4:56 and upgrade the Tranny.  What do you think?

Hi Shane,

First off, a big shout out and ďThank YouĒ to all the men and women that protect the United States every day.

Iím glad you are looking at getting a 4x4. With a Ď90s Chevy K1500, you can do a 6-inch lift and that will be plenty for 35s.Youíll get better suspension performance this way than a body/suspension combo.

As for gears, yes, re-gearing is a must if youíre going to step up to 35s. Either 4.56 or 4.88 ratio would work, with the 4.56s being better on the MPG and 4.88s being more off-road friendly (lower).

By swapping out the gears early on, it will help preserve your transmission from premature failure. When you do end up having to re-build it, you may consider a shift-kit for more power-play.




4x4 AnswerMan,

I have a 392 loadstar dump truck I just bought for $200 bucks. It has a 392 International 4 barrel on it. Holley equipped, I'd like to change it to a Edelbrock carburetor instead. I called up Edelbrock and the first guy suggested a 600 cubic feet a minute carburetor and I asked for a more familiar tech and he said it is a 650 1805 or 1806 that will fit. I talked to another gentleman who told me he had his 392 truck motor rebuilt and burned out the valves in 1000 miles. I wonder if he had non-hardened valves put in or if he had a carburetor that was running too lean. I also saw that the 1805 might fit a 442 olds 1978 too. So I might not need a 1805 but would like some input just in case the guy was trying to sell me what I suggested instead of what is supposed to go on the intake? There are a couple of posts on this web site about changing to Edelbrock carbs but no mention of the carburetor models. Can you help me with the model of Edelbrock?

David Medway

Hi David,

Sounds like a good buy, especially if you have a place to park it. Iím not sure if the truck was running, but for $200 I would think not. In any case, just wondering why you would want to get rid of the factory Holley carburetor instead of having it re-built? In many cases keeping the factory carburetor works best than some custom deal, especially if your engine is stock.

Now if the engine has been modified or altered in anyway, like bigger pistons, cam, intakes, etc, a different carburetor may be in order.

Iím not sure what the folks at Edelbrock said or recommended. Sometimes the techs are just going off of what their fitment guides tell them.

The 392 and International Harvesters for that matter are rare, and if you have some insight from a fellow IH enthusiast that tells you otherwise, use it.

My best suggestion would be to get on the IH Forums here on Off-Road.com, as youíre bound to get some good advice from other fellow IH owners.


4x4 AnswerMan,

I used everything you guys did in your article Toyota Truck Rear Disc Brake Conversion (http://www.off-road.com/trucks-4x4/tech/toyota-truck-rear-disc-brake-conversion-18340.html) but still have a lot of pedal movement.  When the pads move back in place is where I think my long pedal stroke is coming from.

I was told if I use a FJ80 master cylinder it has a residual valve built in.  I did this disc brake conversion on an 88 V6 4x4. 

There is a 2 lb proportioning valve from Wilwood you can put in line also.  I think I am going to try the master cylinder.  Any suggestions?


Hi Gene,

Glad to hear youíre experimenting. Itís important that you use the K1500 4WD Chevy 6 lug rotors in the rear and El Dorado calipers, otherwise there will be a lot of slop if the tolerances arenít right. Iím running the same set-up on the front of an FJ40 Toyota Land Cruiser using a JT Outfitterís disk brake conversion with a Tacoma master cylinder and they work well.

Toyota Disk Brake Conversion Kit using 6 Lug GM Rotors & Calipers

Maybe your system has a leak in it? Go through all your plumbing to make sure there are no leaks. Give it another bleed.

If that still doesnít fix it, and youíre still running the original master cylinder, it might be due for a rebuild or swap.

The FJ80 master cylinder would be a nice upgrade if you decide to go that route.  Itís designed for four-wheel disk brakes, perfect for what you need.

The only time you really need a proportioning valve is if you are hitting the brakes and the rear is locking up before the front. 

Good luck! 



I just acquired a four wheeler that has been run out of oil and froze up. I was wondering what would be the best way to get it unfroze and would it be able to run again if I put new oil in it?

Hi Phillip,

Which oil ran out, engine?  Iím wondering if by ďfour wheelerĒ weíre talking about an ATV.  Iím not the ATV Answerman, but Iíll give it a go. 

The same principles apply, anytime the fluids in an engine, transmission or transfer case are completely depleted, thereís a good chance they can seize up, especially if moisture gets in there. 

If it was in storage, you can try any of the anti-seize products sold at your local auto parts store to see if it will free up.  If no luck, then the next best best is to take it apart and take a look at the internals to see what is wrong.


Toyota Sunrader 4x4 Motorhome

4x4 AnswerMan,

My name is Ken and I am interested in obtaining a complete full floating axle conversion kit for my 1987 Sunrader camper 4x4 22re automatic trans. Please let me know what else is needed to complete the whole conversion to disc brakes.  Also, I want the whole thing or everything that is needed to do the job correctly so I don't have to wait for more parts. Thanks for your help in this project as I am new owner to this cute camper that is rare and had a recall from what I hear.

It is a six lug single rear wheel axle now.  Once again thanks for your help bro....

Iím hoping this is a totally complete change over from this one bearing rear axle to the full floating correct axle for all the weight this camper carries. Thanks again bro.


Hi Ken,

Thanks for bringing up this old article written by contributor Jesse Katz

ULTIMATE TOYOTA AXLE: PART 3 - Full floating conversion kit

Here it is, all the parts to convert your Toyota rear single wheel axle into a full-floater:

Full Floater Conversion
    2 Toyota Solid Axle Spindles
    2 Toyota Wheel Hubs
    2 Wheel Bearings
    2 Wheel Bearing Nut Kits
    1 ARP Hub Stud Kit
    12 Hub Stud Cone Washers
    12 Flat Washers for Hub Studs
    12 Wheel Studs
    2 Brake Rotors
    2 Loaded rebuilt calipers with pads - E-BRAKE Supra Calipers
    16 Spindle Bolts
    4 Caliper Bolts
    6 Gaskets and 4 seals, including large outer hub dust shield
    2 Dust Shield Center Plates
    2 Drive Flanges or Locking Hubs

You can pick up the kit at http://www.frontrangeoffroadfab.com
Iím sure theyíd be happy to answer any further questions.

Also, you might want to check out a more specific article to the Toyota motorhome rear axles, recalls and such that we found on http://www.toyotamotorhomes.com/axle_facts.htm

Good luck to you, Bro.



Hello Mr. 4x4 AnswerMan,

My question is, will a 1993 S-10 blazer body fit on an 1986 frame without any problems? I can't seem to find any 1986 bodies in any junkyards.

Brian Johnson

Hi Brian,

You can make anything fit, it just takes some creativity and a big hack saw.

Itís not going to be a direct bolt-on, so youíre going to have to bust out the welder, fabricate some new mounts to fasten the body, and maybe even bang the firewall with a sledgehammer to make room for the engine and trans.

Another option is to look outside your area, or maybe even out of state for an 1986 Chevy S-10 body.



4X4 Answer Man,

Will a 96 Toyota 4 Runner back wheel hub swap and match a 96 tracker? 

Thank you,

Hi Roxanne,

It might, with some massaging, but you will then have the problem of the rear wheels being 6 lug vs. 5 lug in front. So even if you got them to work, youíd have to address the front hub issue.

Now if youíre looking to go from 5 lug to 6 lug on your Tracker to run different wheels, maybe some wheels spacer/adapters would be a better choice.  It will be easier and will also give you a wider stance for added stability.

For quality off-road wheel spacers and adapters, check out Spidertrax at http://www.spidertrax.com/



4x4 AnswerMan,

I have 89 Toyota 4x4.  It has a 4 cylinder with 31x10.50 R15 on it now. Wanna put a body and suspension lift. If I change gears front and back what size do I need to run 35's - 38's to keep from causing problems with my motor. Not off-roading, just highway driving.


Hi Draper,

Iíd say 4.56 if youíre more concerned with MPG, 4.88 if youíre leaning toward 38s. It will give you better pick-up and turn for the large tires you want to run.

But I ask you one favor Ė please take your 4x4 off-road every now and then. Dirt is good for the soul.



4x4 AnswerMan,
I am purchasing a set of the Cooper Discover AT3's for my Silverado. Do you have any idea who manufactures the nice looking wheel that the AT3 is mounted on in your article?
Greg Jones

Hi Greg,
These look like old Dick Cepek CP 1 wheels that have been discontinued.  Cooper Tires has a relation with Dick Cepek and Mickey Thompson, so often you will see them use their wheels on their tires for ads and such.

You can try to see if any close outs still exist for them. I learned that at one point Tire Rack carried these wheels. Maybe start there http://www.tirerack.com.

For the current wheel line-up for Dick Cepek and Mickey Thompson, make sure to check out http://www.dickcepek.com/ and http://www.mickeythompsontires.com/

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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