4x4 AnswerMan Tackles Reader Questions

Keep Wheelin' with the AnswerMan

May. 17, 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.

4x4 AnswerMan - May 2010
May 2010 Ė 4x4 AnswerMan
Bilstein 7100 Series: off-road shock rebuild
4x4 AnswerMan,

How much for the whole ordeal, Rebuilding Your Off-Road Shocks: Bilstein 7100 Series?

San Diego, CA

Hi Tacoboy,

Shock re-build is $65 per shock. A new 7100 Series w/ reservoir retails for around $189.  In most cases rebuilding makes sense. If the shock body, piston rod and hose are damaged, then you might be better off buying a new one. You can find a complete list of prices for parts and rebuild services at http://www.bilsteinus.com/services.php



4x4 AnswerMan,

I have a 79 Bronco. My front springs height is like 15 and a half inches installed. I have dual shocks in front.  Would it have come from the factory with heavy-duty springs that would level it? There is no body on the frame, would the body lower the spring to 13 inches like on stock?

Delaplane, VA

Hi Paul,

Thanks for bringing this old Ford Bronco article back. Thereís a lot of good information for 2nd Generation Broncos here: 1978 - 1978 Bronco Mild Lifts.

Getting back to your question, I know youíre probably excited to have those extra inchesóbut believe it or not, it is very likely that once you put a body, engine, and a few hundred pounds of do-dads on your Bronco, the springs will settle to the factory 13-inches (installed).  If they donít, then those are definitely not factory springs.

Until you get all that weight on the frame and the springs settle, itís hard to say for sure if you have 15-inch springs (installed). Let us know what you find after you get the whole thing put together.


4x4 AnswerMan,

Where can I find a performance cam for 88 2.6 4ze1 Isuzu Trooper? I emailed Calmini but they don't make cams for this any longer.  I canít find any other than O.E.

Flagstaff, AZ

Hello Srgntnono,

Tuff luck on the Isuzu cam. Obviously Calmini made them at some point, so thereís bound to be one laying around in a garage somewhere. Check eBay and Craigslist from time to time. You can also contacting the big cam manufacturers, like Crane, Comp Cams, or even supplies outside of the US like Australia, Japan or Latin America that specialize in Isuzu 4WDs.

If this lengthy search still doesnít provide you with the performance cam you are looking for, maybe you can get Calmini to give you some info on the cam, like degrees of lift and such. Take this info to a speed shop so they can build you a custom cam. Racers and gear heads have it done everyday.


4x4 AnswerMan,

I own a 2005 Chevy Silverado Z71. I am currently running a set of 285/70/R17 Kuhmos. I am putting a 2-inch lift kit on the truck within the next few days. I would like to know if there is any chance that a set of 35-inch Goodyear MT w/Kevlar will tuck into the wheel wells without having to do any cutting?


Hi Dustin, closeóbut no cigar.  The back will fit the 35s, but the front will require some cutting of the fender and bumper to squeeze in that much rubber.  The 285s donít look bad, and if anything, with the additional 2 inches you are adding to the front, it will level things out and give you more clearance for wheel travel.

To get 35s in without cutting, youíre going to have to go at least 4-inches.


4x4 AnswerMan,

I have a 1984 full-size 4x4 P/U when I hit my brakes hard the transfer case jumps into neutral I have to pull over, put tranny into park and shift the transfer case to 4-wheel lo and then back to 2wheel then I can shift tranny back into drive and continue on.  Why does this happen? Should I go ahead and change it out with the old gear driven case I have out back.

R. Norton
Towncreek, AL


Sorry to hear your T-case is giving your trouble.  Weíll try to help trouble shoot it. Since you say that the t-case kicks out into neutral by hard braking, it definitely has to do something with your transmission or t-case.

Start with the small stuff first; check your front hubs make sure they are disengagedóso they donít put any stress on the t-case during driving/stopping on pavement. Check the t-case linkage and make sure nothing is causing the linkage to kick out of gear when you downshift or hit the brakes.  You should also check the t-case and trans fluid.  If you see any metal in your t-case oil, this might be a sign that thereís gear or chain damage inside.

If you still canít find anything wrong, take it to a good transmission shop and get a diagnostic done. Many times there will be no charge if they can at least give you a quote for the job. At that point, you will need to decide if it makes sense to fix, or just give that second t-case you have a whirl.

Good luck.

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

4x4 AnswerMan - May 2010

4x4 AnswerMan,

My 2003 Chevy Silverado has 39.5Ē tires and 4.56 gears, I programmed these parameters in and the speedometer is accurate according to GPS. The ABS keeps failing due to the rear wheels reading the same as the speedometer but the front wheels read about 20% lower than rear according to my friends MAC ABS reader. I know that the front sensors are on the hubs and the rear uses one sensor on the input of the axle, is there a fix for this situation?

Thanks Mike

Superlift TruSpeedHi Mike, 

Hereís your fix, the Superlift TruSpeed device.  It will fix the problems you have with incorrect information being transmitted from the sensors to the ECU and dash. 

You say you calibrated your dash, but that alone wonít fix the problem. The pick-up at the sensors is being altered, and one of the fixes is the Superlift TruSpeed.  Itís been out for a few years now and has worked great for many.

4x4 AnswerMan,

I have code 25 on my 1991 toy 4Runner 2.4 EFI, 5-speed 4x4. I have a new O2 sensor, but that did not solve the problem any idea whatís wrong?

Channelview, TX

Hi Jame,
The 025 OBD1 trouble code is ď5 Air-Fuel Ratio Lean.Ē Start doing some small maintenance to see if this fixes it:

  • Replace or clean your air filter
  • Clean your MAF sensor
  • Change the fuel filter

You want to make sure nothing is obstructing the air or fuel so the trouble code goes away.
Good luck.


Hello 4x4 AnswerMan,

I'm currently underway on an engine swap on a 91 SE V6. Iím swapping out the VG30 for a VG30DETT with around 280hp and 280trq (Around double of the stock configuration).  I am a little new to the 4x4 scene and a little unsure of how well the transfer case, etc, will hold up to the power. The tranny and rear-end will be replaced, and I am putting in locking hubs on the front. Anything else you recommend? If itís anything like any of my other builds, I will be hard on it, and find the week spots pretty quick.


Joe S.
Edmonton, Canada

Hello Joe,

You are so excited about your engine swap that you forgot to tell us what type of vehicle. In any case, by describing the transfer case, at least weíre dealing with a 4x4.  To answer your question on the t-case, itís hard to say. The best test will be after you get the turbo engine purring and you get out on some trails. Youíll find your weak points once youíve played in the dirt. 

It might not be your t-case, but rather a drive shaft, u-joint or axle.

Just drive it, have fun, and when it brakes, beef it up, or find something that will hold up to the added HP and torque.

Please keep us posted on your build by starting a blog on My.Off-Road.com.



4x4 AnswerMan,

I have a 1995 Ford full size Bronco with a 5.8 V8 motor, auto trans with OD, with three quarter ton drive train under it. 15/42/15 super Swampers and 4.11 gears.  I want lower gears but don't know how low. I want to use it as a daily driver and play in the mud on weekends, but must be able to run 65 mph. When I drive it now it jumps in/out of OD on the highway. Can you help me figure out what gears would be best?


Cragford, Alabama

Hey Dwayne,

Sounds like you have yourself a monster Ford Bronco there. A popular option when going up from 4:11 gears is 4:56, especially when running over 35-inch to 42-inch tires.  If youíre looking for better fuel mileage, not burning up your OD.

If youíre looking for more power and are okay losing some of the MPG, then you can go even lower on the gears. 

If you want to get real technical, there is actually a formula that can help you find the right gearing for your rig.  The guys at National Drivetrain put this together: http://nationaldrivetrain.com/Tech_pages/app_chart.html

If you still have questions, contact the guys at National Drive train and tell them Off-Road.com sent you.
Send your 4x4 and Truck questions Attn: 4x4 AnswerMan
to mailto:[email protected]

4x4 AnwerMan,

My name is Steven, I own a 2001 F250 Super Duty with the 7.3 diesel. I have a 6-inch Skyjacker suspension lift. Iím currently adding some more toys and detailing the chassis right now.  I fell in love with the SCREAMER rear differential cover.  I was wondering how I could get my hands on one of those?

I also am wondering how can I add a little more lift without changing the lift kit? Obviously a shackle kit is what I heard to do, but what exactly would I have to change and what parts I would need? I was hoping to gain at least 2-4 more inches.  No body lifts, not really a big fan. Please let me know.

Thank you very much for your time.

Stoughton, MA

Hi Steve,

Iím glad you found the molten design diff covers. Some of their designs are far out, man.  Their website is no longer live, but you might try giving them a call or writing a good old fashioned letter.  Hereís their info:Molten Image Desings

Molten Image Designs
1575 W. 1600 South
Springville, Utah
Telephone 866.489.7287

As for extended shackles, try the guys at Ruff Stuff. They make a lot of cool stuff for full-size 4x4 trucks, mostly raw pieces that are perfect for fabing your own. You can also try the guys at Off-Road Design.

You might be able to squeeze 1-2 inches with longer shackles.

If you get to the 6+ inch lift area, you might consider crossover steering and longer shocks if you want the truck to handle good.


4x4 AnswerMan,

I have acquired a Suzuki Vitara three door 4x4 manual 5 speed. I would like to replace the factory fitted tyres with a more suitable all purpose off road Tyre, are there any suggestions? Secondly am I able to raise the suspension just a wee bit higher without compromising the suspension system too much?

Adelaide, Australia

Hi Edd,

Iím not familiar with the tire offerings in Australia, but the all-terrain tires seem to be the best for on- and off-road use. They also have a more aggressive thread than most factory tires.

To get a mild lift or leveling of the vehicle in the front of a Suzuki Vitara, you can either do a body lift, suspension spacer, longer coils, or a complete suspension kit.

Iím sure you can find Old Man Emu in Australia. They make some nice kits for your Vitara. You can also take a look at http://www.lowrangeoffroad.com. They specialize in Suzuki off-road parts.

Have fun, get creative and please let us know what you end up doing.  You can start a blog on My.Off-Road.com.



4x4 AnswerMan,

Iíve been looking for rims and leveling kits for my 1995 Dodge Dakota. It currently has a 3inch lift but it sits rear high and would like to level it out so I can put some 31" tires on, along with where can I find rims for my truck to fit 31" tires? Iíve been looking and can't find anything.  Can I get some help?

Thanks, Paul

Hi Paul,

Sounds like youíre halfway to your dream off-road rig.  If you already have a 3-inch lift, and your back sits high, it might be as simple as switching out the lift block on the rear leafs to something smaller.  This, of course, only works if you have a lift block installed.  If you donít, then you can have the rear leafs de-arched.

As for aftermarket wheels, you shouldnít have any trouble finding them from companies like ProComp Wheels or American Racing.  Your bolt pattern is 6X114.3; this is also shared with the Dodge Durango.  So finding wheels should be that hard.  Granted they are not as popular as 5x5.5.


4x4 AnswerMan,

I have a 95 4Runner and want to get a 4 or 6-inch lift so I can go mudding and have a little fun. I want to be able to run 33in x 12.50s but I donít want to lose all my power and speed. What gearing would I need to change to?

Oakharbor, WA

Hi Lw,

Smart man, Iím glad youíre thinking ahead.  If youíre going to lift that big, and run 33-inch tires, youíre definitely going to see a change in power to the wheels.  Your 4Runner should have come with 4.10 gears from the factory, so running 33in tires is not far fetched.  If after getting your lift and tires you really donít like the power, then you could always go lower.

To help you find the right gears for the type of driving you are doing, try using the formula and chart the guys at National Drive train put together http://nationaldrivetrain.com/Tech_pages/app_chart.html

If you still have questions, contact the guys at National Drive train and tell them Off-Road.com sent you.

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

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