If anyone ever had a great excuse for just having to build a custom truck, then Mark Schleipfer's vehicle may just be the best one yet. According to Mark: "It all started 10 years ago when I got into the [automotive aftermarket] industry and, well, it has just become a hobby that has gotten out of control." The platform he used was his '87 Toyota Xtracab 4x4. Having a history of building vehicles for MTX Car Audio, he decided to up the ante just a bit and modify his truck into a tilt-bed conversion filled with enough audio components to deliver ample sound to, say, all of North America.
With a plan and direction, Mark found the subframe parts for his tilt bed from a variety of locations, ranging from salvage yards to custom fabrication shops. Once he had collected all of the pieces, he set out to build the subframe and place it atop the Toyota factory frame that he had strengthened and prepped. As he was preparing the frame for its new addition, Mark filled and smoothed the rails. Mark also fabricated a battery tray that would fit between the framerails and would accommodate the four 800-cold-cranking-amp batteries necessary to power the monster audio system that was to come. Once the frame and the tilt conversion had been completed, Mark's next step was to begin his suspension tuning by installing the 8-inch custom Trail Master/Rancho Suspension lift, which would allow him to run the intimidating 39x15R15 Dick Cepek Fun Country Radials mounted on 15x12-inch Weld Racing wheels. To keep axle wrap to a minimum, custom 28-inch shock-type traction bars were fabricated and a custom axle truss was created. As if the massive tires didn't provide a soft enough ride, Rancho RS 5000 shocks were installed to soak up any imperfections in the road.
Turning such huge tires would prove to be too much strain on the engine, which is why both differentials' factory gear ratios were converted over to 5:29. To further the performance of his truck's stock 2.4L 22R-E four-cylinder Toyota powerplant, he upgraded it with a Supertrapp/Flowmaster adjustable exhaust system and a Wrangler 200 amp alternator to handle the audio equipment and to power the tilt bed without taxing the vehicle's electrical system. The factory transmission was left intact for the time being.
Knowing that the key to promoting anything is benefiting from attracted attention, Mark decided that the best way to get spectators to his truck would be not only the awesome sound system but its appearance as well. In a collaborative effort between Jurgens Auto Body and Hytech Pinstriping - both in Phoenix - the gray, white, purple, blue, silver, and yellow DuPont graphics create an impressive presence. Leaving no corner cut, the team of highly sophisticated painters and body shop craftsmen installed the front and rear Bushwacker Fender Flares that were color-matched to the rest of the truck's graphics. The team also installed a Stull chromed front grille and a chromed Smittybilt 3-inch rollbar in the bed with a TrailBlazer lightbar attached. The front bumper was custom-made by the legendary gang from Fly-N-Hi Offroad Center, also in Phoenix.
With the exterior dialed in, it was time to begin wiring and installing the audio components. Since the audio system would prove to be so large, the rear storage area of the Xtracab had to be gutted. Between the eight MTX Blue Thunder amplifiers residing in the bed, and the more than 40 speakers throughout the truck, there is no chance that anyone could ignore the Toyota's presence. To add the finishing touches on the interior, the mandatory Le Carra steering wheel was installed along with new carpet and upholstery.
When he is not at sound-offs or truck jamborees, Mike enjoys nothing more than to crank the powerful sound system up really loud and just blast through the woods near his residence in Marble Hill, Missouri, in four-wheel Hi. After winning more than 50 contests for everything from Best of Class to Best of Show, Mike and MTX seem to have honed in on the perfect niche market. Just keep building those trucks, Mike, and don't forget about the good folks at OFF-ROAD who are just itching for a system like yours - one of these days.
|Owner/hometown ||Mark Schleipfer/Marble Hill, Missouri |
|Make/model ||'87 Toyota Xtracab 4x4 |
|Suspension ||8-inch custom Trail Master/Rancho Suspension |
|lift (front & rear); custom 28-inch shock-type |
|traction bars; custom axle truss |
|Wheels/tires ||15x12-inch Weld Racing/39x15R15 Dick Cepek |
|Fun Country Radials |
|Transmission ||Factory Toyota five-speed |
|Engine ||Stock Toyota 22R-E |
|Additional features ||Custom paint and graphics; K&N air filter; |
|Flowmaster high-flow exhaust system; chromed |
|rear axlehousing; four Interstate batteries; custom |
|MTX audio system; tilt bed |