Another Van Lover
This letter is in response to your "You Da Van" article in the May '04 issue. I am enclosing a photo of my '01 1500 Chevy Express cargo van with a 5.3L V-8. The van was purchased in March 2003 to haul my '99 Springer Softail whenever it needed service. I soon realized that getting my bike in and out by myself was going to be a chore. After some conversation with my buddies and some time with Joe at Ground Control in Chino, California, the bike rolls in and out easily, and something you don't see everyday is rolling on the streets of Southern California. Most of my co-workers were wondering why I would want a van like this, but once it was rolling on 20-inch KMC Stealths and 'bagged front and rear, everyone was changing their tune and had nothing but good things to say. Now my brother and I are working on the interior with a sound system to follow. This long roof is no concept.Mike FleeksWhittier, California

Mike,
Check it out! The van looks great all 'bagged up with 20s. We can't wait to see some photos after you add paint and interior. Keep reading Truckin', because we have some van plans up our sleeves as well. Just as we predicted, here is just one more example of the next generation of sport vans taking shape with custom good looks and real-life functionality. Keep on building them, and we'll keep on showing them.

Another Company Car
In your Apr. '04 issue on page 8 and 190, you have a Dodge Ram you installed an intake system on. I am just curious as to what type of tire and rim package that is on the truck? I didn't see any info on the tires and rims, but I did on everything else. Thanks for any info.Dustin MooreRockledge, Florida

Dustin,
That happens to be one of our newest projects, a Dodge Ram Quad Cab Hemi. Just in case you missed the cover feature last month, here is a shot of the beastly rims and tires. We used 20x12-inch Weld Dakar forged wheels with TrXus 39.5x13x20-inch bias-ply tires.

Life Lessons
My name is Ryan Larimore, and I am 14 years old. I have been reading Truckin' for over two years now, and I am fascinated by the trucks that you feature. My dad recently purchased a '97 Dodge Ram SS/T and has decided to hand it down to me when I get my license. I have started working on the truck to have it ready to drive when I am 16 and am very excited about the project. The truck already contains several aftermarket parts that I have added in the last few months, and it has a positive outlook for the next year. This truck has a lot of potential, and I would like to see it in your magazine. Although there is plenty of work to be done, I would like to ask if you would please consider this request. Ryan LarimoreDover, Delaware

Ryan,
It's great to know you have such passion about customizing trucks at such a young age, but has anyone pointed out to you that your dad is getting the better end of the deal right now? You are putting all your hard work into customizing it, and he is getting to drive it! At least make the big guy pay for gas, OK? Anyway, when you think your Ram is ready for the Truckin' big time, send your photos to Readers' Rides, 2100 E. Howell Ave., Ste. 209, Anaheim, CA 92806.

WWW Dakota
I was very surprised and happy to see that you had a little more Dakota coverage in your Dec. '03 issue. I have plenty of guys on the site with Truckin'-ready 'Kotas. Many are here in Southern California. I know there are many people who read your magazine that look for ideas, general maintenance, and performance tips. Online Clubs such as www.dakotausa.com is just one of the many resources that are out there, as you well know. There is a big community of Dakota-modding people out there, so check us out. Thank you for your timeEddie "XANTH" Gideonwww.dakotausa.com

Eddie,
Thanks for writing in. We took a look at your site and found that it is a great place for Dakota owners to get together, share their love for the midsize trucks, and find answers to all of their technical questions. Keep up the great work, and we look forward to seeing more custom Dakotas at the shows.

Braking In
I own an '01 Blazer Xtreme and was thinking about upgrading my brakes because I have 20-inch rims. I've been looking around and was wondering if slotted rotors and performance brake pads would do the trick? I don't want to spend too much money, and that was about the cheapest things I could find. I was wondering if you had any suggestions on what I should do? Thanks for your time.Ryanvia e-mail

Ryan,
We commend you on wanting to upgrade your brakes, especially after the larger wheels and tires. You could go with replacement slotted rotors and pads, but you will only see a marginal improvement in performance, and you won't get that killer look of a big rotor peeking through your rims. Your best bet would be to go with a big brake kit, such as the Stainless Steel Brake Corp's (SSBC) system for your truck. SSBC makes an affordable upgrade from your factory system. Give SSBC a call, (800) 448-7722, or check it out on the web at www.stainlesssteelbrakes.com.

Dakota Does It
First off, I just want to say that I love your magazine. I read it all the time and get so many ideas from your articles. The only trucks I don't see are Dakota R/Ts. I'm currently in search of one, and when I find it, I want to do some customizing to it. The only problem is I'm having trouble finding anything. I would like to find performance products for the engine, and also different things to change the overall look of the truck. So, what I guess I'm getting to is, if you can give me any websites or anything that could help me with my problem or maybe run an article in your magazine about different things available for the Dakota R/T then I would be very grateful. Keep up the good work - the magazine is great.Jason Lestervia e-mail

Jason,
Your best bet is to find an enthusiast website, such as in the previous letter, that caters to the type of vehicle you want to get into. Word of mouth and internet searching is usually the best way to find these guys, but the previous letter came in at the same time as yours, so you should find it valuable. Also, be sure to check out the Dakota Nationals article in this issue of Truckin'.

Better Breather
I own a '99 Dodge van with a 3.9L engine. I am looking for a better exhaust system for it, maybe an after-cat system, or something to help with performance. Do you know of a vendor that may be able to help? I have checked several sites, but Dodge truck parts are all I seem to find. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for all your help and a great magazine. Darryl Warren Jamestown, North Carolina

Darryl,
We don't know of any exhaust manufacturers that offer a direct replacement after-cat exhaust system for your van. Your best bet would be to contact a manufacturer, such as Bassani, who offers quality mufflers and universal pipes and fittings. After that, you can have an exhaust shop install a custom exhaust for you. For more information, contact Bassani at (866) 782-3283, or check on the web at www.bassani.com