4x4 AnswerMan Tackles Reader Questions

Keep Wheelin' with the AnswerMan

Mar. 17, 2010 By Jaime Hernandez

4X4 AnswerMan – March 2010




Have a 1990 Geo Tracker 4X4. What rims will match the bolt pattern to upgrade from stock 15-inch to 16s. I can’t find out what other cars or trucks rims I can use. Thanks for your help.

Puryear, TN

Hi J&J

I want to see pictures of your Geo Tracker in action. These little guys are excellent trail buddies.

The bolt pattern found on your Tracker is 5 x 5.5. Some of our research shows that older Ford 5-lug wheels should fit.  The crucial spot is the front hub area. So measure this to make sure it clears whatever wheels you are getting.  If the center bore is too small, you might need to do a little machining.

Also, make sure to check out CALMINI if you’re thinking of squeezing in some larger rubber. They make some nice suspension kits for your ride.



I've got a 2000 Blazer w/ an open rear differential -- I'd like to get a posi in there. Is my best bet to find a donor vehicle w/ a posi to swap in, or are their better options to re-use the existing axle? If a donor is the way to go, can you give me a hint as to what years and body styles will work? 96-05? Blazer 4DR only, or is 2DR OK? How about the S10 pickups, will any of those work? Whether you answer my Q or not, thank you for the columns I've enjoyed reading them.

Boston, MA

Hi Ethan,

I’m glad you enjoy the 4x4 AnswerMan column.  We enjoy writing it for you guys, too. 

As for your blazin’ Chevy, there are two ways to go about locking your rear diff.  The easiest would be to add a rear locker.  You can either go with a mechanical locker from Detroit Locker, an air locker from ARB or an E-locker from Eaton. If you install a locker, think ahead if you’re planning on adding lower gears. You can take care of them at the same time--feed two birds with one scone.
The other option is to get a rear end out of a Chevy Colorado or Trailblazer with a factory rear locker. These are found on the Z71 models.

You will need to jerry-rig the wiring for the locker switch, but it can be done.  If you go this route, do some homework before you dive in to make sure it will work for what you are trying to do. Measure and compare your axle to one of the donor vehicles. Other things to check on are gearing and bolt pattern.  Don’t forget about your break system and e-brake.
Unless you like complicating things--which some of us do; the aftermarket locker might be the ticket!

Have fun with it and make sure to write about your projects on My.Off-Road.com



I recently put 1984 Toyota front and rear ends to an '88 Samurai. I used my Suzuki drive shafts by redrilling the Toyota flange. I have severe vibration issue. How much for an adapter and how do I go about ordering it? The guy that did the conversion told me he micked and gauged the new bolt holes? Do you think the vibration is coming from this or could it be bearings or something inside differential?




I would first start with the small stuff, check your u-joints. They may be damaged and need to be replaced.

If that isn’t the cause, you might want to take your Suzuki drive shaft into a driveline shop to have it balanced.  While you have it there, you should have them check the re-drilling of the flange to make sure it was drilled in center to keep everything balanced.  I know you said that the person that did the conversion already checked them, but it doesn’t hurt to have a professional driveline shop do it.  I always send my drivelines out to get balanced whenever I change u-joints or when I have to extend/shorten them. It makes for a much smoother drive and well worth the money.

If after taking it into the driveline shop you still can’t get the problem fixed, then it might be that the driveline angle you have is pretty extreme. You didn’t mention in your question if after you swapped out the Suzuki axles with Toyota axles if a suspension lift was also done. This is something to keep in mind.

If that’s the problem, you might have to get a custom driveline made to support the extreme angles. The best in the industry is Tom Woods Custom Drive Shafts.  He specializes in 4x4s.


Hello folks,

My name is Fred and I own a 06 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 crew cab with a manual 6-speed transmission. It has an electric shift transfer case, (knob on the dash, to shift it in and out of 4 wheel drive.) My question: is there any way to change the transfer case out to one that put a shift lever up through the floor like on the older trucks? I know Dodge offered it on other trucks but didn't learn that until after I bought this one.Otherwise I would have bought one with the shifter on the floor.

Anyway, I would greatly appreciate any help you might be able to give me on this subject.



Hi Fred,

That’s a nice truck you have. The manual shift transfer case was an option on some of the Dodge quad cab trucks and single cabs.  Unfortunately, there is no simple conversion kit to make your electronic a manual transfer case at this time. 

To make your electronic transfer case a manual, you would at minimum need to:

  • Get a new manual transfer case from a 2004-2006 Dodge. 
  • Cut a hole through your cab for the shift lever. 
  • Cancel your transfer case switch wiring so the computer doesn’t think your transfer case isn’t there (best left to a qualified auto electrician).

If after reading this you are still interested in doing a conversion, check out the thread on CumminsForum.com. There are a few guys out there experimenting with late-model Dodge transfer case.

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

Rat  Fink
Ed "Big Daddy" Roth


I have a 99 Dodge Ram 2500 with a 8" Skyjacker lift. I presently run with all 38" x 15.5" x 16.5" tires front and back. A friend gave me a pair of 44" x 18.5" x 16.5" tires and rims last week, but one of the tires is bad and needs to be replaced before I could use them.  I was considering putting these on the back tires and running with the 44"s in back and the 38"s in front.  Please...BEFORE you tell me how STUPID this may be, remember that I am writing to you FIRST to find out if this is do-able or not; and if not, why not...or if so, what else I might have to change or augment as far as the suspension, steering, etc. are concerned.  Please let me know.

Thank you,

Phoenix, AZ


You can certainly run bigger tires in the back and smaller tires in the front of your rig. It’s not stupid, especially if you’re going for a hot rod look or don’t have the money to put all 4 tires on right now. Just be aware that your truck will sit noticeably lower in the front due to the smaller tires--like a muscle car or a 4x4 tractor.

If you want the truck to sit more level, then get the 4th tire fixed and run all four the same size. Have fun and make sure to add some pics of your hot rod 4x4 Dodge on My.Off-Road.com



Wondering if the Tundra swap with a 199mm caliper supplies sufficient braking, and if the wheels still need to be ground with this 199 caliper utilized. Using a 16" split, three-spoke factory mag.

Kent Walmer
Abbotsford, Canada

Hi Kent,

I can tell you first hand that the Tundra brake swap on Justin Fort's 4Runner works awesome! We put it to the test on a road trip to the mountains during a snowboarding trip. Justin had to do some quick braking and maneuvering to avoid boulders on the road from a rockslide. They worked great—much more bite than stock. They also didn’t fade at all during our 6,000-foot decent down a windy mountain road. Off-road they do great, especially if you’re running bigger tires.

As for spacing issues with the 16-inch Toyota wheel—yes, you will need to grind some of the wheel and caliper to make it fit.  Your other option is to run 17-inch Limited or Toyota steel wheels. Read Pg. 3 of the article below for full details on the modifications needed on the stock 16-inch wheels.

Gen 3 Toyota 4Runner: Tundra Brake Swap
4Runner Tundra Brake Swap



Ok, I know that the 1995 22re has 155hp out of the box and you say that the 4.3 has 165, my 1988 22re has 95 out of the box but I'm at about 115 120 at the most, right now. Needless to say I'm putting a new engine in it.  What is your suggestion a 1995 22re bored over from a 2.4 to a 2.7 with a turbo, or the Chevy 6.  I don’t know tons about Chevy upgrades or what I could make the motor make without stressing the frame even though it is boxed in. Or should I just say f#*k'em both and put a 4bt Cummings 4-cylinder diesel in. Defiantly need feedback.

Valrico, FL


If possible, stick to your 22re. There is so much you can do with it.  Don’t give up on your Toyota power plant just yet.  The 22re is a stout motor that can be built up to have crazy horsepower.  If you need some ideas on what the 22re Toyota motor can be modified into try LC Engineering.  They specialize in race motors for Off-Road. 

Don’t forget your gears and t-case too, this can make a difference on what you overall rig power to the wheels.



I am trying to locate a Trail Teams grille badge and any help would be greatly appreciated.

Captain Dale
Infantry, US Army
Phoenixville, PA

Hello Captain Dale,

First, thanks for your email and your service to our country.

To find one of these rare Trail Teams emblems there are two plans of attack.  You should try contacting the Toyota Trails Team directly.  Although Toyota has put a hold on that program, their might still be some leftover swag.

You can also try eBay Motors.  We did a quick search and saw one listed by Frank Motors.

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

Answer man,

I have a 1966 Scout 800 4x4 that I am rebuilding and I was wondering what it would take to put   small block Chevy (283ci or 383ci stroker) motor and a 400 turbo automatic tranny in this thing.  Any ideas or advice would be greatly appreciated. 

Thanks for your time.

Tony Roden
Burleson, TX

Hi Tony,

Sounds like a fun project.  The Scout is a perfect candidate for a GM small block.  If you plan on running a TH400 trans with it, then all you really need to worry about are motor and transmission mounts.  You will also have to relocate your t-case.

A good place to look for adaptors kits, including bracing and mounts is Advance Adaptors.  Take a look at their website to see what is available.  If you don’t find what you’re looking for, give them a call—these guys have done it all, if not—they’ll tell you how to make it happen.

Everything else is pretty much straightforward.  The nice thing about a Chevy 350 small block is that you can’t beat the HP for the price.  There are so many parts for them, and you won’t have any problem finding parts for them.

Send us some photos and updates once you get going.



I have just professionally got a 700r4 tranny rebuilt and installed about a month ago. Took it out twice and everything worked fine. Took it out today and was easy trail riding and heard a pop. Stopped and looked under the truck, 85 k5 blazer with 6'' lift, 35'' boggers, 373 gears with pos unit, and 350 motor, and transmission fluid was pouring out between tranny and transfer case. Got under and look and the top 2 bolts on the transmission broke off the housing which in turn pulled the bottom 2 bolts out also and stripped it out. What in the world caused this to happen and what is my option of repair and is the case now junk?

Trent Dogg,
Hopkinsville, KY

What-up Dogg,

That must have been some serious wheelin’.  If you say you had it recently rebuilt by a professional, then I would recommend you take it back to that transmission mechanic to see what caused it to break.  It’s hard to say if something wasn’t put back together correctly, or if it just gave due to stress on the output shaft housing.  I can tell you that trying to weld and fix the case is an option, but it will probably break again unless you beef up this area.

If all your internals are good, you might consider swapping them to another case.

Good luck.



My name is Anthony. I have a question about lift kits, and wheels, and rims. What is the biggest lift kit system that I can get for my 1994 Ford F-150 4x4? It's a standard, 2-door cab, with a long bed. And what are the biggest wheels and rims that I can get for my truck? I'd like for them to stick out wider from the rest of the truck. I'm making my truck into a street-legal monster truck.

Warsaw, MO

Hey Tazboy,

Lets start by saying that there isn’t a street legal monster truck. Legal heights vary from state to state, so you might want to consider this before you go out and build the next Grave Digger. 
If your rig is going to primarily be used off-road, then you don’t have to worry about it.

I’ll get off my soapbox now.

You can go as BIG as your imagination and pocket will take you!   Your 1994 Ford F-150 has IFS, so you are limited on what you can do with off the shelf parts.  If you want to go extra big you’re going to have to make a custom lift.  This can be achieved by doing a straight axle conversion in the front to allow you to use leaf springs.  Leaf springs can be arched big enough to allow you to run 40+ inch tires.

I know that you will hear about suspension and body lift combos, but most shops won’t do it for legal reasons and because they don’t hold up.  The manufacturers also frown down on it.
If you want to fit really big tires, you’re better off cutting sheet metal around the wheel well.  Try to keep your center of gravity as low as possible for stability on and off the road.
So there you have it.  Do some soul searching and make your move.  What ever you do, have fun with it.

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

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