4x4 AnswerMan Answers Your Truck & SUV Questions

Jun. 09, 2015 By Jaime Hernandez
Brandon Arthur jumping his truck in Pismo Beach, California at Huckfest.

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.

More 4x4 AnswerMan Columns
April 2015

March 2015

February 2015


Thereís some buzz coming out of Detroit of a possible new Ford F-150 Lightning. For those of you that arenít familiar, the Lightning was a SVT performance truck with plenty of power and sport driving characteristics (limited production 1993 to 1995, and 1999 to 2004). Roving reporter KGP Photography spotted a F-150 ďmuleĒ on the streets of Detroit. Itís not clear if itís an SVT Raptor, so could it be a Lightning or maybe even some sort of new 4x4 trim package? The dual exhaust and SVT parts on this test mule point to the performance side.

Should Ford bring back the Lightning?  How about a standard width performance 4x4 pickup?  Wider isnít always better.

Ford Motor Company's Truck Communications Manager Mike Levine denied the Lightning on Twitter here: ďThere are no current plans to build a new F-150 Lightning. The trucks in the photos are Raptor prototypes.Ē We expect Ford to deny something like this until it is formally announced. Then again, it could simply be a Raptor.

Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

Read more at Ford Testing New Lightning F-150?



4x4 AnswerMan,

How much did the 1980 4Runner originally cost?

Cameron Crerar

Hi Cameron,

The 1st Generation Toyota 4Runner (a.k.a. Hilux Surf) wasnít introduced until 1984. The truck-based SUV had two doors and shared many parts with the Hilux short-bed pickup. According to the NADA Guides, the original MSRP for the 1984 Toyota 4x4 4Runner was $10,298, and $11,998 for the SR5 trim.

There was a precursor to the 4Runner in 1981 made by Winnebego called the Trekker. Basically, it was a Toyota 4x4 Hilux pickup conversion with a fiberglass top and rear seating (very similar to what the 4Runner would become). According to some sources, the Trekker concept was from Toyota, and Winnabego was the conversion company that produced a limited number of these SUVs. Sticker price on a Trekker was $13,000 in 1981. The Trekker project was short lived, and in 1984 the Toyota 4Runner was released in North America and took over Toyota SUV sales.

You can learn more about the Toyota Trekker at http://toyotatrekker.com/.




Really cool article...well done and not a bikini in sight (not that there is anything wrong with that). 

Daniel Spalinger 

Letter sparked by Women of Competitive Off-Road Racing, Part 2

Hi Daniel,

Weíre glad you enjoyed the story. There truly are some amazing women in off-road.



4x4 AnswerMan,

We drove west to east over the weekend, ended at the Avi, stayed in Laughlin, and drove I-40 back. It was an amazing and wonderful trip. We didn't have any major problems :)

Yvonne P

Hi Yvonne,

Glad you had a good run on the Mojave Road. Itís definitely an off-road adventure worth the drive. Weíve been fortunate enough to do the Mojave Road and explore many of its side attractions, like the Afton Caves, Lava Tubes and Kelso Depot. If you enjoyed the Mojave Road, please make sure to check out these other great off-road adventure stories. You may need to go back.

For those of you that have never been on the Mojave Road, maybe itís time.

The Mojave Road: East to West

Off-Road Travel: Mojave National Preserve Part I

Off-Road Travel: Mojave National Preserve, Part 2



Hello Off-Road.com,

I have a 1986 full size Bronco, itís the EB edition with a 302 in it, however I need a dipstick and as of February no Ford dealerships sell or carry this dipstick anymore. Iíve measured my tube and it is 24" long. How long would my dipstick have to be and does anyone know where I can find one? If you have any advice I could use some.

Courtney Ebright 

Hi Courtney,

Your best bet is to get an aftermarket dipstick. There are a number of companies that make them and they range anywhere from $10 to over $50 for the flexible stainless type models. Itís good that you have the tube length, as the dipstick will need to be longer than that. If you order one and itís shorter than the 24-inch tube length, send it back. I donít have exact measurements for your dipstick, but I can tell you that it should be 1-2 inches longer than the tube.

If youíre still stumped, ask a fellow Bronco owner for help. Iím sure theyíd be happy to share measurements. Try our sister site, the Full Size Bronco Forum at http://www.fullsizebronco.com

Good luck.




I have a 2003 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer edition. It's a V8, not sure what liter it is. I bought it used it has 97,000 miles on it. As far as I know everything is stock. It isn't a 4x4. My question: is it possible to take it off-roading slightly, and when I say slightly I mean to a dirt lot or up dirt hills, or am I going to break something? I live in Vista, California, so I don't have extreme methods of off-roading, but I like to take it off the main path. Of course, knowing the limits that it can't do anything too soft or loose.
Timothy Perez

Hi Timothy,
Sure you can take your Ford Explorer off-road. Youíd be surprised how far you can get with a two-wheel drive vehicle, especially when you have more clearance than say a Crown Vic. The limitation is going to be in the tires and traction. If the vehicle has very smooth-looking highway tires, it probably wonít get much traction on dirt, especially on hill climbs. You can fix that by getting some all-terrain tires on the Explorer. Just donít forget that itís not a 4x4. You can scratch rock crawling off the list. Mountain fire roads and open desert fun should not be a problem. 

If you live in Vista, there are some cool fire roads to explore just east of you in the Cleveland National Forest. Thereís also Ocotillo Wells about 2 hours inland. If you venture out, just make sure you have a spare tire and a way to change it. Itís also a good idea to travel in pairs (two vehicles) just in case you get stuck, preferably with one being a 4x4 or built prerunner.

Make sure to give the story below a read before you venture out. There are some good off-road tips. Be safe and have fun!

Trail Tips: Self-Sufficiency, Generosity Ensure Successful 4x4 Trip




What is the part number of the Bilstein shocks used in this 4Runner story? 


Letter sparked by Gen 3 Toyota 4Runner: Trail Suspension, Part 1

Hi Pacho,

The Bilstein 5100 Series used in the front of this Toyota 4Runner are actually Tundra leveling shocks (Part# BE5-6929-HO). To make this combo work on the 4Runner, TRD Tundra springs were used (Parts# 48131-AF090 left and 48131-AF100 right), along with the 4Runner/Tacoma top hats and Tundra isolators. Itís all in the story.

Also, check out Part 3 of the build where the rear suspension setup is revealed.

Part 3 of Toyota 4Runner, Third Generation: Trail Suspension




What tire pressure would you recommend for this tire running in a F250 crew cab 4x4 Lariat? My factory tires are run at 65 lbs. (275/70r18) 

Chris Renaud

Letter sparked by Review: Toyo Tires Open Country R/T Truck and SUV Tire

Hi Chris,

If you're hauling or towing, you want to make sure you run the tires at Max PSI to ensure safe load performance. For the Toyo Tires Open Country R/T, 35x12.5R18 Load Range E, the Max is 65 PSI. 

When running empty on the highway, you can run them anywhere from 40 PSI to the Max. Each driver has their own sweet spot. Just play with the air pressure to see what you like.

We like running our tires at 5-10 PSI under the Max on heavy diesel trucks. We get good tire wear and fuel economy, and it also helps the tires from making the truck too bouncy when empty. It also makes it a lot faster to pump up to Max PSI when getting ready to haul or tow.




I would like to put some 35-inch BFG TA's. Has anyone done any existing suspension tuning that would accommodate this as well as a preferred additional inch or 2 up front?

(1mo later)
I failed to mention mine is a 2015 TRD Pro Tundra. I ended up putting a Pro Comp 2.5" Leveling Kit on the Front Coil Springs that wrap the Factory Bilsteins. Went to the tire shop this morning and was able to fit a 34.6" on the Factory Rim.


Letter sparked by Review: 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

Thanks for sharing, Rog. Good to know the Pro Comp 2.5" Leveling Kit set-up works on the 2015 Tundra TRD Pro. Please let us know if you get any tire rub.




Rich Comer here from Virginia Beach, Virginia. What would you recommend for an all-terrain tire for a 83 AMC Eagle wagon? Iíd like something more aggressive than an all season tire but have had issues finding tires in the sizes I need. OEM tires are 195/75-15 (26.5Ē tall) with an optional 215/65-15 (26Ē tall). 205/75-15 run 27.1Ē tall and is just slightly too tall (those were on the car when I first got it and they rubbed). Would like something either 205/70-15 (26.3Ē tall) or 215/70-15 (26.9Ē tall). Currently have the 215/70ís on the OEM aluminum rims (15x6) and have no clearance issues at all. Any suggestions?


Hi Rich,

Thatís one snazzy 4WD Wagon. I havenít seen one of these in years. Iím sure itís a lot of fun to drive and gets a lot of attention.

As for your tire situation, the smaller size is what seems to be limiting your options. The good news is that we did find a nice set of Yokahama Geolanders that would work and look awesome on the AMC.  The best news is that they make them in some of the sizes you are interested in.

The Geolander A/T-S is the latest generation all-terrain tire from Yokohama.  According to the manufacturer, it delivers on-road manners and off-road "attitude" thanks to improved tire technology and refined tread design. With features ranging from multi-stepped Grooves to Dual Interlocking Pyramid Sipes, every Geolandar A/T-S packs the absolute latest on and off-road tire performance.  They also come with a 50,000-mile limited tread wear warranty.

You can learn more about the Yokohama Geolander A/T-S at Discount Tire http://www.discounttire.com.

Please send us an update of your AMC Eagle when you get the new tires on.  Weíd love to hear more about where this Eagle drives in Virginia (snow, dirt, sand, etc.). 

Any rally racing by chance?



4x4 AnswerMan,

I have a 1994 Ford 2WD Ranger pickup that Iím fixing up. I just ditched the little stock tires for some 31-inch that barely fit. They rub a little up front when I hit big bumps or try to flip a U. Any ideas on what I can do to fix it?


Hi Blake,

Sounds like your Danger Ranger is coming together nicely. These are fun trucks.
If youíre only getting a little rub up front you have a few options. The cheapest would be to simply trim and hammer in the areas that rub on the fender, bumper and frame. The next option would be to give the front tires a little more working room. This can be easily done with a front leveling kit. Itís either going to be a coil spacer or torsion key set. The front leveling kit will give your Ranger 1.5 to 2 inches of lift. A wheel alignment is also recommended after leveling the front suspension.

Good luck!

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.

More 4x4 AnswerMan Columns
April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

Off-Road.com Newsletter
Join our Weekly Newsletter to get the latest off-road news, reviews, events, and alerts!