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Shop Truck Shakeup
You all have some explaining to do. I am well acquainted with the level of talent and dedication it takes to have your truck featured in Truckin'. It also takes many prerequisites such as cleanliness, originality, cleanliness, vehicle stance, cleanliness, paint, cleanliness, interior. Did I mention cleanliness? Yet, on page 40 of the "Obsession" (Nov. '04) layout, my jaw dropped to see what may very well be the dirtiest engine bay ever gracing the pages of Truckin'. This picture is beside another of some scratched up tanks in the bed of the same truck. My disbelief overcame me when I flipped to the back of the same Truckin' magazine and read an article, titled "How Do I Get My Truck Featured?" where it describes what the Truckin' team is looking for in a feature vehicle. What hypocrites.
And for Mr. Truckin' Photographer: Would it have been too much to ask for the owner to spray some detailing on the engine at least for the photo shoot? And maybe omit less than optimal photos that include scratches? If not, I'm sure there are much cleaner custom trucks waiting to be interviewed. This is obviously a nice truck that was poorly portrayed. Your penance is to publish this before future readers become more confused about what it takes to be featured.
Jim Bayne's '95 Chevy C3500 is a shop truck, which means he uses it to tow, haul, and otherwise handle messy, day-to-day chores for his shop Killer Ridez Custom Trucks & Street Rods, and at the same time serve as a rolling advertisement for the shop's customization capabilities. That's why the bed and engine compartment look well-used (because they are) and the rest of the truck looks great (because it does). We do adhere to a high standard at Truckin' but have to apply our stringent requirements to the real world. If Jim's truck spent most of its days on a trailer or in a garage, we would have admired the paint and interior, had a nice chat with Jim, and then would have told him to call us when he finishes the engine and bed. In light of the vehicle's purpose and the quality of the work done on it, however, we decided to run it. Granted, we could have chosen to leave out the shots of the engine and bed, but that wouldn't have accurately conveyed the character of this particular vehicle. That and the other choices that we made do not negate the fact that, on the balance, Jim's C3500 is a feature-worthy truck.
I am 16, and my dad gave me his '93 S-10. It is already lowered 3 inches from stock, but I plan to put Boss 304-20s on it, 20x8.5 to be exact. I need to know if they will fit and how much more do I need to lower it? What size tires would I need to get the best look? Is it too old of an S-10 to fix up and be a head-turner? Do they make a Camaro-style ram-air hood for it?
No truck is too old for a facelift. In fact, your pickup has been around long enough that you should find some goodies to hang on it, although there will be greater variety for late-model S-10s. The wheels you mention are probably too big for the front, unless your truck is tubbed. They should be OK in the rear, however, and those 20s will look good and fill your wheelwells nicely. You might be hard-pressed to find a Camaro-style ram-air hood. If that's the case, you can consider 'glassing Camaro-style scoops or louvers into your hood. As far as lowering it even more, there is a lot you can do, so check out the companies in our magazine.
Need help! I have a '94 Suburban 1500 2WD dropped about 5 to 6 inches up front. I currently have 235/70R15s with no rubbing problems and am in search of a new wheel/tire combo in the 18-inch size that will still tuck and not rub. I was told I would need a 5-inch backspace for 18x8- or 17x8-inch wheels. Is this information correct, or is someone just blowing smoke? What backspacing would I need for 18x8.5-inch wheels?
A 5-inch backspace is a bit much. Your Suburban needs 4-1/2 inches. That being the case, the wheel sizes you mention should work out fine. In fact, you don't want to go any wider than 8-1/2. And about that smoke problem you have, remember, secondhand smoke kills.
I would like to pass on an idea that I had and put to use. I bought some of the super-bright LEDs from eBay. I put them together in a line and fed them into a piece of the clear, 1/2-inch tubing, sealed the ends with wire nuts, and fit them to the wheelwells of my S-10 Blazer. You can move them around inside the tubing to get them to light were you want them to. They light the wells as well as the ground, so, along with an under-car kit, you get 100 percent coverage. I think I have less than $25 invested and about two hours of time.
Where did the 10-inch lift come from on the Dodge Ram, in the JET Power module installation article in the Oct. '04 issue?
We wanted to postpone the uncomfortable question of where a 10-inch lift kit comes from, but we can't leave you in the dark forever and still expect you to develop into a productive member of Truckin's readership and of society. Ahem, you see, Jeff, when a 5-inch mommy lift kit and a 5-inch daddy lift kit love each other very, very much... wait, wrong conversation. Actually, we don't know whose lift kit that was on the Ram featured in our "Plug-In Performance" article on page 172, but we can say what components were used. In the front, the truck had 3-1/2-inch lift spindles, a 3-inch coil and upper control arm combo, a custom dual shock hoop, and dual Fox 2.0 shocks per wheel. In the rear was a 4-inch block and a single Fox 2.0 shock per wheel. In addition, there was a 3-inch body lift and 17-inch Weld wheels with 37-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain tires.
Enter Stage Right
I read your article about the JET Chip Control Module install on the Dodge Ram with the 4.7L engine. I had always heard how JET chips were a waste of money, but the dyno results in your article makes me want to spend the money on one now for my '04 Dakota. Just one question: Was the JET chip a Stage 1 or a Stage 2? It didn't say in the article, and if a Stage 1 will produce those results... that's all I need.
Whip out your wallet! Since the engine on our Ram that we upgraded in the article, "Plug-In Performance," in our Oct. '04 issue was stock, we used the JET Chip Stage 1 chipset.
The Long and the Short of It
This question is about '67-'72 Chevy/GMC longbed trucks. I have heard from several people that you guys may have published an article on how and where to cut the frame on a longbed truck to make a shortbed. It seems that it would not be too difficult if you had all the dimensions needed. Done right, the shortbed driveshaft could be used. This would be a cool project, and a late-model shortbed stepside bed looks pretty good on these trucks. Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated, even if it is to tell me it is a stupid idea. Our truck is a '70 GMC Sierra begging to be different.
We hate to see to see a 34-year-old pickup beg, since it's so hard on the knees. Your buddies might be thinking of a feature we ran in July '02, titled "Historic Vehicle" about a '70 GMC Jimmy that hopped from one owner's garage to another, getting torched, wrenched, and transformed along the way... but that won't help you. Our sister publication, Custom Classic Trucks, ran a tech story about a '71 C-20 longbed-to-shortbed conversion ("Longbed, No! - Shortbed, Yes!", Apr. '03) done by Early Classic Industries Enterprises. If you give the folks a call on the Early Classic tech line, (559) 291-1611, they might be able to point you in the right direction.
Heavy Duty Shootout
While I normally enjoy your magazine every month, I have a couple of complaints. One is a longstanding beef, while the other deals with the Nov. '04 issue. In your Diesel truck shootout you rate the Ford as the winner. How much did Ford pay you guys? I mean, let's get real here. The Dodge has the greater towing capacity (800 pounds more than the Ford), it has the lowest price of all three (by more than $3,000), tighter turning radius, shorter wheelbase, better acceleration, a heavier optional manual transmission, and better braking. It also climbs hills better, though I am seriously curious to find your 60 percent grade that you pulled a trailer up. Was that paved or dirt? That has to be a world's record. Finally, the Ford is butt-ugly; it looks like it should be going door-to-door begging people for candy on Halloween rather than being driven down the street.
My longstanding beef is this, why do you run articles featuring unsafe vehicles. What I am referring to are vehicles that have had mandatory safety equipment removed. Your sister publication OFF-ROAD (and its competitors) for decades has refused to run articles on vehicles missing safety equipment. I regularly see vehicles either missing seatbelts or airbags. Are those vehicles strictly trailer queens? Because they are unsafe on the roads. I pray those folks are never in an accident. For example, the Chevy Crew Cab ("Flame Broyled") in the Nov. '04 issue is missing both airbags and it appears to be missing the seatbelts.
We received a couple of letters like this one from people who thought the '04 Dodge Ram 2500 should have won our "Heavy Duty Truck Shootout" that appears in the Nov. '04 issue, rather than the '04 Ford F-250 Super Duty. We got our hands on three truck models that compete with each other in the marketplace, made sure that they were sent to us with as similar a mix of features as possible, tested them in a reasonably structured manner, and then wrote it like we saw it. What we saw were, in this case, two vehicles that were neck and neck for much of the evaluation, in that both vehicles are well-suited for their purpose. It was towing performance, particularly in the usable power range, that pulled the Ford into the lead. For the record, by the way, that 60 percent grade should be 6 percent. Our mistake.
As for the safety issue, we encourage our readers to follow traffic laws and to use common sense when they drive, but we don't have a standing policy that the vehicles we cover must have safety equipment. There are a lot of reasons for this, the most obvious being that the point of our magazine is to cover modified pickups and SUVs that range from super-clean trailer queens that rarely drive more than 20 feet at a time to high-performance street cruisers that certainly should be street-legal in every way. Magazines such as OFF-ROAD cover vehicles that are modified for the purpose of performing in an environment far more demanding than a local show and shine or even an L.A. traffic jam, and prudence demands that OFF-ROAD ensures its readers take all necessary safety precautions.