4x4 AnswerMan: Colorado Concept Truck, So Cal Trails, Suburban Suspension and More

Dec. 31, 2014 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.

More 4x4 AnswerMan Columns
November 2014

October 2014

September 2014


DIRTY DETAILING

Off-Road.com,

I've been curious about polishing powder-coated stuff.

Thanks.
Rob

Comment sparked by Detailing Tips for Off-Road Vehicles

Glad you found this story, Rob.  It’s been a long time coming.

For any of you that might have missed it, check out these helpful tips on detailing your dirty off-road rig.  Justin Fort shows us how with the right approach, tools and car care products, even the dingiest off-road vehicles can once again shine.

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DIESEL EXHAUST FLUID (DEF)

Off-Road.com,

$7-10 a gallon for DEF?  Not where I buy mine... Pilot /Flying J truck stops sell it in bulk at 2.79 per gallon of DEF.
Randy van Vliet

Letter sparked by Road Trip: 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Thanks for the tip, Randy. Truck stops do seem to have better fuel and DEF pricing than inner-city pumps. We could see that change as more diesel-powered cars pop up around the country.  For now, we’ll just keep on truckin’.

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TOYOTA AUTOMATIC DISCONNECTING DIFFERENTIAL

Hi Off-Road.com,

My 1996 Toyota T100 with 3.4L and auto transmission will not engage into 4 wheel drive and with winter setting in and living in Canada it is important to have the 4 wheel drive operating. I have been doing research on line, and do realize that not all info is reliable.  One article was how to disengage the ADD system by permanently fixing activator and eliminating the VSV solenoids and associated vacuum and electrical systems. My question is does anyone there know of this procedure and if the results are positive.  This is the link to the article http://www.4x4wire.com/toyota/tech/add/   Also do you know where I can find a flow chart for the 4 wheel system on this vehicle.

Thank you,
John MacDonald
Nova Scotia
Canada


Hi John,

Sorry to hear your 4WD isn’t working.  I’m sure the snow and ice are making things slippery up there. The story you presented is one way of doing it. There’s a less invasive way of doing it if you decide you want to permanently lock the ADD on your Toyota T100 pickup (see “Permanently Locking ADD” in the noted story below). The following Toyota Tech story will also help you troubleshoot the problem with your 4x4 system and get power back to both front and rear differentials. Also included below is the 4WD vacuum diagram.

Good luck!

The Automatic Disconnecting Differential (ADD) System


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SO CAL OFF-ROAD PARKS

Hey Jaime,

I see you’re from the SoCal area. I'm a newbie to the off-road world and I want get in the "game" lol. I live in the Irvine/Tustin area. What would be the best area for me to start? I've been to Holy Jim by Cooks Corner but haven't gone too far in. I have a stock-ish 2004 4runner 2WD. Any info or advice would help. I had an old 4runner about four years ago and went to the end of Silverado Canyon and somehow ended up by the 15 freeway. I tried going that way but its closed now :(

Thanks in Advance!
Luis_Barrios46

Hi Luis,

Sounds like you have the itch for exploring dirt. Right in your backyard is Cleveland National Forest. There are a few trails, one which I believe you have already explored.  Saddle Back Mountain isn’t a bad jaunt if you need to get your dirt fill. We spoke with the Ranger at Trabuco last month and were told Saddle Back Mountain trail via Maple Springs Road (5S04) will be closed at least until September 2015 due to vegetation damage from the Silverado Fire. The gate will open again, and when it does, you should head up there.

If you are ready for a longer trek, I would definitely recommend heading out to Ocotillo Wells SVRA. There are more than 85,000 acres of open desert within the park boundaries—perfect for high-speed 2WD off-roading.

More information at Ocotillo Wells SVRA

Another good one is Stoddard Valley in Barstow, CA.

Enjoy!

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MORE OFF-ROAD VEHICLES

Last month we ran a story titled 7 Off-Road Vehicles We Need in North America.

We got a lot of feedback from Off-Road.com readers on pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles they want to see in North America. Here are some of them:

Tomas Victor had a Suzuki Jimny when living in South America. He confirms the little trucklet is “a little rough, but incredibly capable off-road and a lot of fun.”

Sam C says the Jeep Wrangler is his favorite: “It's a tank and goes where other vehicles cannot.”

Trdgrde thought the seven vehicles we highlighted were horrible.

bigrig_dude loves his FJ Cruiser—but Toyota is no longer making them for North America.

cody6268 would love to get a modern Toyota Hilux.

wsc42 would really like to see a 4x4 Truck with no plush captain chairs, carpeting, a dash full of electronics, or sound proofing, a WORK TRUCK.  “How hard is that to build?”

Rene Bruz’s favorite is the Subaru Outback with the diesel.

JF wants a diesel 4Runner/Hilux Surf. He says, “It would be a killer alternative.”

Is there a cool off-road vehicle you would like to see being sold in the United States, Canada, Greenland or Mexico? Let us know.

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COLORADO CONCEPT PICKUP

Off-Road.com,

I'd like to see a V6 diesel as well, not just a 4-cylinder. Hope they offer a crew cab too. Great concept and can't wait to see what the final offerings include.

Steven Boise

Letter sparked by Colorado Dreamin’: Chevrolet Unveils Off-Road ZR2 Concept

Hi Steven,

The good news is diesel midsize pickups are on the radar for North America, so we’ll at least have the four-cylinder Duramax Colorado next year. It will be interesting to see what trickles down from the concept to the production line. Concept vehicles are a great indicator of things to come from the automotive manufacturers, and this particular concept vehicle from Chevy has a realistic chance of seeing a showroom floor once day.

Off-Road.com is dedicated to bringing you the latest pickup truck news, so make sure you check back often, subscribe to our Newsletter and like us on social media.  Be the first to know what diesel engine makes the trucks of Detroit rumble.

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DODGE RAM REAR MINI PACK HEIGHT ADJUSTMENT

4x4 AnswerMan,

My truck is stock height front and back. I just want a softer ride unloaded. I used to pull 5th wheel, done with that so most of the time unloaded. Did you end up leaving all 3 of the original height packs in or did you remove any. If I did this I would like the truck to be level if possible.
Thanks,
Dave

I was wondering the same thing as Dave, I bought system and have a megacab, did you leave all packs in back or take any out?
Jeff

Letters sparked by Project Dodge Ram Mega Cab: KORE Recon Rear Suspension
 

Hello Jeff and Dave,

If you leave the original spacer packs, the back end will be taller than the front; in other words, it will have a rear suspension rake. When we spoke to KORE Off-Road about how many of these spacers to remove to get the rear level with the front, we were told it varied from truck to truck (e.g. Single Cab, Crew Cab, Mega Cab, short bed, long bed, tool box/diesel tank, camper, etc.). The best thing to do is start with the full stack, if you don’t like the way it looks, you can always remove the excess spacers to reduce height.  If you only have one shot at doing the job, take all of them out.  If possible, don’t cut the excess thread off the U-bolt until you settle on a desired height. This way you can add back spacers if you decide it sits too low in the back for your setup.

We left all three original spacer and the rear does sit higher than the front.  When empty it’s noticeable, but it settles nicely with a load. It depends on how you use your truck.

Please get back to us and let us know what combination worked best for your truck. We’d love to get some additional Dodge Ram 2500/3500 rear suspension information on what works for different heavy-duty Ram owners.

Cheers!

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SAND BURBAN

4x4 AnswerMan,

My '99 sub has been garaged for 1.5 years in Yuma. I have friends with top-notch sand rails and since they've been pushing me to buy one... wait a minute I have a 4x4 in great shape! Maybe I need to investigate this?

Respectfully,
Jim Nunes

Hi Jim,

Sounds like it’s time to put in some fresh gas and get this Suburban on the road. You have so much off-road access outside of Yuma, it should be required you hit dirt at least once a week. Too much work and no play makes for a grumpy grump. We don’t want that.

Make sure you check out Trail Tips: New Year Outdoor Resolutions You Can Keep

As for keeping up with your sand buddies, you would have to drop some serious coin on the full-size Chevy to make it fly and work the dunes like a dune buggy (think long-travel pre-runner dinero). 

You could look at more affordable options, like a 4- or 6-inch suspension lift, quality off-road shocks, 35-inch off-road tires, topped off with a safety whip flag and you’re ready to hit the dunes. The one shown above is 6-inch RCD Suspension running 35-inch tires.

If you need some help with parts or the build, you have Desert Rat and 4 Wheel Parts there in Arizona, and Off-Road Warehouse west of you in El Cajon, CA. Any of these off-road shops can help you build your Suburban.

Cheers!

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TIRE ROTATION

Hi 4x4 AnswerMan,

Trying to make my mud-terrain tires last as long as possible. I was wondering what order I should rotate them and how often. Mixed driving on/off-road. 

Thanks,
Jules

Hi Jules,

Rotating your tires will definitely help stretch the rubber life on your off-road tires.  According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), tires should be rotated every 5,000 miles to maximized mileage. You might need to do it sooner if the rubber compound is soft, like on some mud-terrain tires. You could do it every oil change if that helps keep you on a schedule.

There is a specific pattern that should be followed when rotating tires on a 4x4 and rear-wheel-drive Jeep, truck or SUV. Rotating the tires front to back and side to side will reduce irregular wear (see diagram above). Proper air pressure will also help increase fuel economy and tire life.


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
November 2014

October 2014

September 2014


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