4x4 AnswerMan Tackles Reader Questions

Keep on Wheelin' with the 4x4 AnswerMan

Oct. 05, 2009 By Jaime Hernandez

4x4 AnswerMan
October 2009


Letter sparked by article: JR's Toy - 1982 Toyota Pickup

I recently got an ‘82, it has a lot of potential. I’m not sure if I should put a V6 in it or just stay with the 22r.  Got any pointers?

Blachly, OR

Hi Yota_Man24,

Thanks for resurrecting this old Toyota story. JR did a nice job putting his 1982 Toyota Pick-up together. You can see from the pictures that his 4-cylinder 22r was able to crawl all over Moab. You’d be surprised how many hop-ups can be done to a little 22r. 

I’m not sure what type of off-roading you’re planning on doing, but I would say to stick to your 22r until you kill it—which may be over 500k miles.

Some of the mods you can do to increase HP and torque would be:

  • Weber Carburetor
  • HEI Ignition
  • High-flow Intake (Like K&N or AEM)
  • Header and high-flow exhaust muffler

 This should get your 22r purring nicely.

Save some of the money from the V6 swap and spend it on your wheels/tires, suspension, gears, etc.

Go check out LC Engineering to see what type of other performance mods can be done--they're 22r experts.  http://www.lcengineering.com/

I think you’ll be blown away!



My daily driver is a 2000 Chevy 4x4 Z71 3 DR EXCAB 5.3 L V8. My rear U-joint is starting to pop a little so I know it is time to replace it. I would think a beefed-up after-market U would be the answer. What would you go with on this repair and where can I get my hands on it?


-Carl Harris Jr
Canton, MS

Hi Carl,

U-joints do go out due to high mileage and stress under load. If you haven’t actually had the U-joint break into pieces, then replacing a worn U-joint with a factory replacement from GM would be fine. 

If you really want to beef things up with a heavy-duty off-road U-joint, give Tom Wood’s Custom Drive Shafts a call.  They have some nice parts that will improve your off-road capabilities. http://www.4xshaft.com

Either way, I would also recommend you have your driveline inspected and balanced by a professional to ensure it doesn’t vibrate and cause premature damage to your new U-joints. Find a good local driveline specialist that can do this for you.



I have an ‘86 Chevy K-5 Blazer I put the rears out of a ‘76 k-20 in it. I was wondering if you would know what the gear ratio is? I have the ID number, it’s c38335, it’s a Dana 44 coded 44-8f.  The c in the code might be a 0.


Wilmington, DE

Hi George,

I wasn’t able to find anything using the c38335 number, but I did manage to confirm with the 44-8f number that your axle is in fact a Dana 44 using the Dana Bill of Materials search: http://www2.dana.com/expertforms/deabill.aspx

This is what Dana tells us you have: GM Model 44 FRONT 1978 - 1979 K-20

As for the gear ratio, typically there is no number stamped on the housing that would designate what’s inside.  Some may have a metal tag with some numbers like 37 9 or 4.11 for the gearing.

According to Dana, these axles came equipped from the factory with either 3.73 or 4.09 gears.

A certain way to know would be to open your diff and count how many teeth there are on your Ring and Pinion.

Use the formula below to get the gear ratio:

Ring/Pinion = Gear Ratio


Ring has 37 teeth
Pinion has 9 teeth

37/9 = 4.11



Can any later model fender for a SUV fit the 1995 Toyota land Cruiser? I recently bought a '95 Cruiser and would like to retro-fit it with a later model fender but no one seem to know.

Kingston, Jamaica

Hello Rodger,

Your 1995 Toyota Land Cruiser, also known as a FJZ80 or 80 Series, was produced in Japan until 1997.  That being said, you should be able to use fenders off a newer 1996-97.  If by “later model” you are referring to fenders from a 1998 – 2007, you are now dealing with a 100 Series Land Cruiser.  These will not just bolt on because they are completely different body style.

I’m sure if you really wanted to you could modify them, but it would definitely take some major fabrication and bodywork.

Jim Brantley’s FZJ80, Off-Road.com

Stick to your 80 Series fenders and keep it real.  They’re one of the last rugged Land Cruisers in my opinion.



Dear Answer Man,

I am having a problem with my 2004 Dodge Ram 3500. It’s a Cummings Diesel, 4X4, 5.7L, and we bought it two years ago from a dealer with all sorts of bonuses on it. Included in those bonuses was an outstanding six-inch body lift already installed. 

Recently the tie-rod boot had to be replaced, and there has been a knocking noise heard under the front end. I know it has something to do with parts grinding since the boot was totally blown and there was no grease. I also know that it's about time for a tune up for the truck anyways. 

My main question is do you know where I can find out what kind of lift kit I have on this truck, or do you know someone who could tell me? When I bought the truck, there were no stickers on the parts, windows, or anywhere on the truck to identify the kit. A friend of mine looked at the truck and researched various lift kits that could be installed on Rams, and he told me that the kit on my truck shouldn't even be there. I’m including some pictures of the front end, just for giggles. I’m at a loss, and don't live in a very 4X4 orientated area, so I don't have a lot of resources here. 

Thanks for your time and consideration in this matter.

-Carla J Gaumond
Fort Riley, Kansas

Hi Carla,

Thanks for sending us those lovely pictures of your Ram’s underbelly.  From the look of things, your suspension lift kit can be a Tuff Country, Rancho or Skyjacker based on the red and white shocks. Since all the stickers and badging is missing, it’s difficult to identify for sure.

There might be some casting marks or serial numbers on the lift parts that would help narrow down your search. Take a closer look to upper and lower link bars, pitman arm, shocks, coil springs and torsion bar drop down bracket. You’re bound to find something.

As for the clanking noises up front—suspension lift kits and oversized off-road tires put a great deal of stress on all the steering joints and parts. If you are telling me that one of the tie rods was missing its boot and was bone dry, I would be willing to say that you have more tie rod ends to inspect and possibly replace—including the idler arm. These parts do start to get clanky and sloppy after a while and will need attention.

Any good alignment shop should be able to take a look at it and tell you if you need work done on the front suspension.

Good luck!


I have a 2008 Sierra 2500HD Crew Cab. Will the seats out of a 2008 Silverado 2500 Crew Cab fit in my Sierra?

-Sierra Man
Lloydminster, Canada

Hi Sierra Man,

The Silverado seats should fit. Most items are interchangeable on Chevrolet and GMC trucks since they share the same cab layout.

Here are some photos of the interior for you to compare.

2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2008 GMC Sierra HD

I’m not sure why you would want to do this swap--unless your seats are damaged, you don’t like the fabric or they smels like pee. In any case, please keep in mind that some electronic features on the seats will not work if your HD isn’t pre-wired for it.

Good Luck.



I am so frustrated. I got all the way down to the axle and it wouldn’t come out. So I just put it back together. Any suggestions?

Missouri City, TX

Hi David,

Working or cars does require patience. When I was young I would just start hitting things with a hammer, and that would sometimes cause more of a headache.

I’m not exactly sure where you got stuck, but I have a feeling it might have been that pesky c-clip that is almost hidden to the naked eye.

Now that you have had some time to cool off, try it again. Read through the entire article on Off-Road.com for pointers:

Bronco Ball Joint Replacement

You can also cross reference a good Ford Bronco repair manual for more illustrations and instructions.  The Haynes repair manuals are pretty good. You can pick one up at the local parts store for around $30.  It’s money well spent.


Our rural volunteer fire department has a 1986 3/4-ton Dodge pickup. The front-wheel-drive shift mechanism, I think it operates with vacuum, does not work. Can it be modified to a manual shift? If so, where would we find parts and instructions? We want to get it working before our next fire season.


-Fireman Dedmund
Chloride, NM

Hello Mr. Fireman,

I’m glad to hear your old Dodge is still helping you fight fires. It will be even better once you eliminate the vacuum-actuated 4x4 with a manual shift.  You’ll have full control even if the engine is off.

The swap can be done by using a kit made by 4x4 Posi-Lock. 

You can find more info at http://www.4x4posi-lok.com/app_dodge.html

Posi-Lock Manual 4x4 Shift



My Samurai has been sitting. It broke down from timing. Well, I sent it so a shop would fix it. I drove it home and parked it. I tried to start it the next day and it turned over but it didn't want to start. When I finally get it to start it dies again.

I think it’s a carburetor problem. Could it have anything to do with me taking the choke flap off?

Tracy City, TN

Hello Dustin,

Take care of that Sami, they’re great little rigs. To make sure you get back on the trail, you might try visiting the shop that repaired your timing issue. They can give you some insight on why it’s not working, especially if it stopped running the day after having it serviced.

Things you want to check for are: fuel, spark and air.

If you removed the choke cover from the carburetor, this will make starting a cold vehicle almost impossible.  It’s getting too much air.  If you still have it, try putting it back on to see if this works.

The guys that designed the carburetor are no dummies. The choke flap is there for a reason.

Good luck.



Dual AC Delco Alternators, Off-Road.com

I have a 96 Chevy 6.5 Diesel, and I am in the process of installing a dual alternator setup. My problem is I am not sure of the proper wiring setup.Could you help me out? The connector I got from GM Parts have 4 wires (all white) amd I'm not sure which wire goes where.


-Bob Merrow
Bridgeport, MI

Hi Bob,

Doubling the power-making capability on your truck will be great, especially if you’re running several 12-volt components like off-road lights, winch, power inverter, CB, GPS, stereo, etc.

As you might have read in Jared’s story Serious 12 Volt Power for Your Chevy C/K Series Truck, wiring the alternators correctly can be tricky. Jared learned by trial and error—and even burned some in the process. 

We have contacted Ohio Generator who specializes in this type of systems to get some clarification on the wiring.  At the time of publishing we still had not received any information. 

We’ll add information here once we get it—so check back. 

You can also contact them directly at: http://www.ohiogen.com/

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