4x4 AnswerMan: Off-Road Truck & SUV Q&A

Jun. 30, 2015 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
May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

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2017 SUPER DUTY SPY PHOTOS
Ford has been on a roll for the past few years. I'm looking forward to the new Superduty and am anxiously awaiting spy shots of the 2017 Expedition.
R. Novak

Letter sparked by Spied 2017 Ford F-350 Super Duty

Hi R. Novak,

Youíre right, Ford has had some home runs lately. As soon as we get anything on the new truck and SUV models, youíll be the first one to know it.  Just make sure to subscribe to our newsletter or connect with us on social media.

Since you mentioned 2017 Expedition, howís this for size? 

The 2015/16 Hennessey VelociRaptor SUV is based on the Ford F-250 Super Duty 4x4 Lariat pickup truck. It features four doors, plenty of cargo room, and can seat up to eight. It's available with a 600hp supercharged 6.2L V8 or 650hp 6.7L PowerStroke diesel. Starting price is just under $160k.

They also make Raptor SUVs, if youíre interested in a smaller footprint. More info can be found at Hennessey Performance (http://www.hennesseyperformance.com/).

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REAR COIL SUSPENSION TOWING
I have a 2014 Ram 2500 4x4 diesel truck. I tow a big fifth-wheel trailer and would like to have better suspension control while towing.  I like my trucks to have a stiff ride. These rear spring suspension trucks donít handle like any of the other diesel trucks Iíve owned. I think theyíre too soft. Any suggestions?

Dale W.
New Mexico

Hi Dale,

The new Ram trucks with rear coil spring suspension do ride smoother than the leaf spring trucks.  For many, thatís a good thing.  Some owners, like yourself, prefer a stiffer ride and more controlóespecially when towing or hauling heavy loads.  Youíre in luck. Ram did offer a factory air suspension option for your truck designed to help stiffen up the ride when towing or hauling. Check with your local Ram Truck dealerís parts department.

If for some reason they donít offer the air suspension kit for sale, there are other aftermarket options from companies like Firestone. The Firestone Coil-Rite air suspension system is designed to go inside the coil spring. By using air, it can level and stiffen up the rear suspension. It also gives an additional 1,000 lbs. of support.  Hook it up to an onboard compressor and youíll be able to make air pressure adjustments on the fly. Find more info at http://www.ride-rite.com/.

Also, check out this Firestone Ride-Rite review to learn more:

Project Dodge Mega Cab: Air Helper Springs 

Good luck!

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RIGHT-HAND-DRIVE PICKUP TRUCK
Iím interested in converting a 2015 Tundra from LHD to RHD and ship it to Africa. I wanted to know if that is possible and how do I get one. Or a Ford Raptor?

Thank you,
Joe

Letter sparked by RHD USA Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 

Hi Joe,

Right Hand Drive Conversions USA can help you with either one of your trucks. They convert late-model Toyota Tundra pickups and Ford SVT Raptors to RHD.  Shawn and the crew do a great job. Their RHD conversions are high quality and feature a clean factory-like finish.

Right Hand Drive Conversions USA (RHD USA)
http://www.righthanddriveconversions.com/
619-546-4743

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RECYCLE OFF-ROAD TIRES
I bought a set of 265/75/16 for My Land Rover Discovery. They actually measured 32" instead of the 31.5 ish of regular tires, so that was a plus. After lots of towing and off-roading, after almost 2 years they were still tracking straight and never had to be balanced. The tread showed virtually no wear. Amazing because these tires were less than $100 each, which was less than half what the Firestone destination m/t's I had on there cost, and they rode much better and much quieter. There is a little high pitched whine, but they rolled just as smooth as an all season, and had none of the low speed knobby vibrations of the Firestones. These are easily the best tires Iíve had. They handle the abuse extremely well. For the price of 1.5 comparable tires I can get a set of 4 of these. Couldn't be happier. Got rid of the Rover but I have another and cant wait to get some more of these tires!

Brian

Letter sparked by TreadWright's Affordable Recycled Mud-Terrain Tire 

Hi Brian,

Thanks for the field notes. We like hearing about a readerís experience using off-road products. It truly is amazing how these recycled tires work so wellóand the price point is hard to beat! The fact that TreadWright tires perform on and off-road, and have such a long tread life with no failure, has changed our view on re-treads.

Thanks again for confirming our findings.

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TOYOTA 8-INCH GEARS
Iím looking for an 8-inch Toyota for my 1976. I would like to find a more highway-friendly ratio 3:42 to 3:70. Is there such a 3rd member, and if so what code am I looking for?

Nick

Letter sparked by Toyota Differential Identification

Hi Nick,

According to the Toyota Differential Decoder, you could find the gear ratio in question by finding a Toyota pickup with 8-inch differential (aka 4-cyl diff) and identifying it with the numbers listed below.  They need to be in the 2nd & 3rd position of the VIN# (e.g. JTxxxxxx...)

01 = 3.300
02 = 3.360
03 = 3.354
04 = 3.556
05 = 3.700

If you have a hard time locating a used 8-inch diff with the gear ratio you want, you could always try getting a new set of gears. Nitro Gear has a great selection for Toyota trucks and 4x4s.

Good luck!

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TOYOTA PICKUP/4RUNNER SUPRA ENGINE SWAP
Off-Road.com,

I did this [Supra 7M-GE] swap successfully and here are the main things needed to do to fit everything as a DIRECT bolt in.

- Bell housing and CLUTCH pack from a 5m-ge motor (to match input shaft length)
- Motor mounts from 5m-ge motor
- 3" body lift to clear rear cam covers (7m-gte engine is taller)
- Smaller double fan setup from a Mercedes sedan to fit between back of front plastic grill, but in front of frame (no room between radiator and engine as 7m -gte is longer).

Ran this setup for 2 years in 4x4 sr5 x-cab truck with no issues.

Scott

Letter sparked by The Supra Swap

Hi Scott,

Thanks for dusting off this Toyota Supra motor swap story and bringing it out from the archives. Thank you for sharing notes on other items that may be needed to successfully complete this conversion. The Toyota community appreciates it!

Also, make sure to check out Part 1 of the Supra Swap

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Land Cruiser Heritage Museum

Off-Road.com,

I want to see this museum. The Toyota Land Cruiser began development in 1951 as Toyota's version of a Jeep-type vehicle and went into production in 1954. It has been produced in convertible, hardtop, station wagon and utility-truck versions and is the longest-running series in Toyota's history!
Anthony Cole

Letter sparked by Land Cruiser Heritage Museum Ė Grand Opening

Hear, hear Anthony. A visit to the Land Cruiser Heritage Museum is also on our radar.  We hear that they keep adding more amazing and rare Land Cruisers to the collection. Letís add it to the bucket list.

Cheers!

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GEAR RATIO FOR 37s
Hi 4x4 AnswerMan,

My name is Danny. Iím from Kansas City Missouri. Iím taking my 1993 Silverado K1500 and redoing it and making it a single axle up front. Iím putting a 14 bolt on the rear and a Ford Dana 60 high pinion kingpin up front only because I donít want to swap out t-case.  I will be putting in a 454 bored 60 over and then behind that will be a built 350 turbo transmission. I am going to be running 37 x 12.50 R16 for tires my question is what is a good gear ratio for this setup. It will be a street and hwy truck so I donít want to stay in high rpms ranges if at all possible.


Hi Danny,

If youíre primarily going to drive it on the street and highway, then 4.11 or 4.56 gears seem to be a good choice. According to the gear ratio calculator at Randy's Ring and Pinion, 4.11 gears will put you at 2,491 RPM at 65 MPH. With 4.56 gears, youíre looking at 2,764 RPM at 65 MPH. You want to be in the 1600-2600 RPM range with a big block. 

If you plan on using it more off-road then you could go lower, like a 4.88

You can calculate more gear ration options at http://www.ringpinion.com/Calculators/Calc_RPM.aspx

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BOUNCY TRUCK SHOCKS
I have a Ford Ranger 4x4. My friend says I need to get some off-road shocks so itís not so bouncy. Can shocks really make that big of a difference? I donít run it hard, mostly dirt roads and occasional snow.

Alexis
Colorado


Hi Alexis,

Your friend is right Ė shocks can make a difference in the way your truck rides. This is especially the case if they are worn or no longer damping. The shock helps control the up-and-down movement of the suspension. When they are no longer doing their job, the vehicle will become bouncy and even bottom out easier. 

You can test the truck in your driveway. If you push down on the bumper, it should come right back up and stop.  If it continues to go up and down, then the shocks are shot. You donít want a pogo-stick ride.

For a factory replacement shock, try Bilstein Shocks or FOX. They both make quality shock absorbers featuring off-road technology, performance and durability. 

Good luck!

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2016 RAM HEAVY DUTY
The 2016 Ram Heavy Duty truck is said to offer the most torque and horsepower ever in a mass-production truck.  Off-Road.com reader Danielle says that he ďCannot wait to see them on the road.Ē

How about you, are you a Ram fan? We want to know.

Check out the latest 2016 Ram Truck News

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
May 2015

April 2015

March 2015


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