4x4 AnswerMan: Your Truck and SUV Questions Answered

Jan. 18, 2016 By Jaime Hernandez
This second-generation Honda Ridgeline race truck concept was piloted to a Class 2 Victory at the 48th SCORE Baja 1000 by Jeff Proctor, Sage Marie and Jason LaFortune (Photo compliments of Honda Off-Road / HPD).

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.
December 2015 

October 2015  

September 2015 

NEW HONDA RIDGELINE
Off-Road.com,

We’ve been looking at getting a new truck and came across your story about the Honda Ridgeline being offered in 2016. Do you know if it will be available in four-wheel drive?

Thanks,
Larry
Portland

Honda unveiled the 2017 Ridgeline last week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Hi Larry,

Glad you found the news about the New Honda Ridgeline. It’s definitely going to be a midsize truck to look at in 2016. Honda actually unveiled the new truck formally last week at the Detroit Auto Show. It looks like the all-new Ridgeline will be offered with an optional all-wheel-drive system, which includes a torque-vectoring function and terrain-management system.  You can get all the details here

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NEW COOPS
4x4 AnswerMan,

I would like your opinion on a good overland tire for a Toyota Tacoma. I spend a lot of time in the Southwest where the terrain can vary from rocky, sandy and muddy at times. Mostly desert expeditions.

John
Las Cruces, NM

The new STT PRO is the most advanced, extreme tire to date for Cooper’s Discoverer line.

Hi John,

Since you mentioned “overland” and “expedition” in your message, I’m assuming there’s a great deal of gear being hauled around in your truck during these off-road trips? The Cooper Discoverer line of tires comes to mind. It’s a very well known and respected tire among the overland community. We’ve run them ourselves on a 80 Series Land Cruiser with great results. Good traction, little wear and no failures after several multiday off-road trips and miles and thousand of miles of exploring.
If you’re looking for an all terrain, the Discoverer S/T MAXX is good.  Cooper also just introduced a new tire, the Discoverer STT PRO. It’s supposed to be the most aggressive Cooper yet. You can read the review at
Cooper Discoverer STT PRO Review

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RAM vs. TITAN
Off-Road.com,

I read your story on the new diesel Nissan Titan. It’s much bigger than the Datsun pickups of yesteryears. I would say that it’s got more of an American big boy look. Wondering how it stacks up against a diesel RAM? They both have turbo diesel Cummins, right?

Mike
MI



Hi Mike,

Great observation. The 2016 Nissan Titan is much bigger than the old Nissan/Datsun 720 pickup. It even looks bigger than the first generation Titan thanks to its boxy design. As for the engines, yes both the Nissan Titan and the RAM turbo diesel engines are Cummins. It’s important to note that although they are both Cummins, they are not the same engine. 

The Titan XD runs a V8 5.0L Cummins that delivers 310 hp and 555 lb.-ft. torque (shown above). The 2016 RAM 2500/3500 is available with a 6.7L Cummins that delivers 385 hp and 900 lb.-ft. torque.

The all-new Nissan Titan has definitely piqued the interested of many light duty truck buyers, including us. Nissan has actually positioned the truck as a “heavy half-ton” that sits between the half-ton and ¾-ton markets. Learn more about the Nissan Titan XD in the following stories:

2016 Nissan Titan XD Fuel Economy Testing 

2016 Nissan Titan XD Cummins First Drive 

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MEAN LOOKING GRILLE
4x4 Answerman,
I have a 2010 Ford Super Duty F-250 that is staring to look old and boring. Any ideas on what I can do to give it a new look?
Ronny



Hi Ronny,

One of the quickest ways to change the look of your rig is to change the grille and headlights. Most of the work is bolt-on, with minimal cutting or modification to the truck. If it’s in the budget, a lightbar grille makes a nice upgrade that adds great looks and function off-road (not street legal).  Shown above, our friends at SoCal SuperTrucks have a great example of a Rigid Industries LED Grille on a Ford Super Duty truck you may like.

Learn more at
http://www.rigidindustries.com/led-grilles.

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SLOPPY 4RUNNER SUSPENSION
4x4 Answerman,

I have a 1990 4runner V6 3.0 5-speed and the problem I'm having is at highway speeds it sways wickedly.  I'm running on 31x10.5 BFG TA on stock rims.  Stock height (except for the little lift the tires give me) and one at 70mph the rear gets to rocking side to side pretty scary.  Nothing is loose that I've found, or can see.  One thing I did notice is when tires were inflated to proper pressure it got worse.  Any help wud be great! 

Hi “galindo1208,”

Your rear suspension sway may be originating from two areas: bad shocks or bad tires. If the shocks are original shocks or have over 100k miles on them, toss them out and replace them with new ones. Shocks are supposed to help control the vehicle suspension and ride dynamics. In other words, if the truck hits a rough patch on the road and starts to sway, the shocks should be able to slow down that movement and bring it back to center to level out the ride.

It also wouldn’t hurt to have the tires checked and rebalanced if they've been on there for a while. It’s important to note that in the ‘90s Toyota did have some issues with 4Runners going out of control and roll over at highway speeds. The fix was adding stiffer springs and shocks to rear to help control the back end.

We had a similar experience with a 2WD ‘90s 4Runner. A new set of monotube shocks, like Bilstein, FOX or KING should do the trick.

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OFF-ROAD TRAILER BUILD
Off-Road.com,

I really like this idea! Have you posted up any info on the budgets for the kitchen and adding RTT to it?

Lee Coppage

Letter sparked by: Dinoot Trailer: Building a DIY Off-Road Explorer” 

Hi Lee,

The Dinoot trailer built by Sean Michael is a great example of an off-road trailer made for adventure. As for the cost of adding a kitchen and roof top tent (RTT), you can get a pretty nice setup for under $1,000. There are definitely more expensive options out there, but we’ll start with a basic RTT and camp stove.

If spending one or two grand on a RTT is too much to stomach, just use a regular tent and camping stove. We own a M416 trailer and, to be honest, we’ve gotten along fine with just the old Coleman stove two-person tent and a small, fold-up table. It ain’t fancy, but it works. If we ever win the Powerball, I’ll definitely get all that Gucci gear. = )

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ROUGH WEATHER WHEELIN'
We’ve already witnessed some extreme weather in 2016 thanks to El Niño (not to be confused with La Niña). With off-roading in full swing in many parts of the United States, it helps to keep an extra eye on the weather. Flash floods are a reality and can happen fast. Don't get caught in a wash with a river heading your way!

Expert 4x4 trainer and Off-Road.com friend recently wrote a piece that touches on this very important subject. It's a quick read and may come in handy this year as we continue to see new extreme weather patterns develop.

Trail Tips: Beware of Flash Floods

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HANDLING YOUR TRUCK
Hi, I have a 1986 Hardbody. I really need the door strap to pull the door closed from the inside but I cant find none. All the other years are more like arm rest.  Any one know where to get it or the special name?
Juan

Hello Juan,

You may find it at an auto wrecker, but most of those early Nissan minis have been picked over and crushed by now. Your best bet is to try the global market on eBay or closer to home on Craigslist. I found some reproduction door handle/grab handle on eBay that should work using keywords “1986 Nissan door handle.” If that’s not what you’re looking for you could also make your own using a nylon grab handle, some metal screws and washers. An off-road grab handle like the ones from MasterCraft Safety (shown above) would be a good one to modify.

Good luck!

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CHEVY S-10 ENGINE SWAP

Off-Road.com,

Can this block be installed into an S10?
Nez

Letter sparked by 3.8L Buick V6 Engine Swap 


Hi Nez,

You should be able to get that 3.8L Buick V6 into an S-10 with some modifications. Heck you could even do a small block Chevy V8 (real popular in the hot rod scene). The 3.8L isn’t a direct drop and bolt-up job.  At minimum it will require new motor mounts, exhaust, wiring, transmission adaptor and possibly massaging the firewall and transmission hump with torch and sledgehammer (depending on your trans option).

Check out Advanced Adaptors to get an idea on what all is entailed and the cost on those adaptors for the 3.8L. You may find that going the small block V8 or 4.3L Vortec V6 route may be more economical and easier to do.  There are some good examples on our sister site http://www.s10forums.com/, like the one above done by “dry0227.”

Good luck!


Previous 4x4 Answerman Columns
December 2015 

October 2015  

September 2015 


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