First off, I love the "new" OFF-ROAD magazine. I just received my November '09 copy today and read your Rant column. I agree totally. My younger brother has an '06 Chevy 1500 crew cab with a BDS suspension lift and body lift, 4.11 gears, a Superchips programmer, fancy wheels and 35-inch tires to name a few things. It's an awesome rig...but he's also in his 20s, lives at home, and puts every dime into his rig (and then some). I have a daily driven '97 4Runner, which I bought wrecked. It has a 3-inch All Pro lift, 285 Duratrac tires, a swapped- in junkyard factory "E-locked" rear axle, custom fabbed prerunner bumpers and a wilderness rack. Mine is paid for, and here in Wisconsin it wheels great! I also have a family to worry about and my 4Runner is a safe, reliable family adventuremobile. Isn't that what off-roading is all about? He and I wheel together with friends and family, and we're all able to go out have a great weekend, get home safely, and have great stories and pictures for work on Monday morning. I have not fallen victim to the Magazine Syndrome (yet), and instead spend the cash on the places we travel and great times we have and will have in our Toy! Thanks for letting me rant and keep up the great work!
'Been a long time fan of your magazine! I just wanted to say that I agree with you 110 percent about Magazine Syndrome. Most of us just want to put our trucks together and get out on the trails. Yeah, it's nice to read about a custom one-off four-link set up, but the reality is most of us will never have the disposable income to spend like that! Anyways, my friend and I just finished our '03 Toyota Tacoma Class 1450 truck. We built the entire truck in his mother-in-law's garage up in Alta Loma, California. I'm glad to say we finally made it into your fine OFF-ROAD magazine (October '09's Race Results). We placed fifth at the MDR Bilek 400, #1452, Juan Sanchez. My name is on the passenger door (co-driver). Anyways, I love your magazine and keep up the good work!
What It Takes To Race
I just wanted to say that I love reading your magazine. I get something from just about every article. Right now I'm in Afghanistan, but I have a project Ranger at home and big plans in my head-a V-8 swap, full rollcage, 37s, and a four-link. I want to race the truck at least once when it's done and I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction to find information on what I can and cannot do to my truck to have it in a certain class. Also, do you know how much registration fees and similar expenses may cost?
Thanks for any help.
CPL. Andrew Custer
USMC "R" 5/11
Andrew, I just got this letter, but I'm hoping you've already received a copy of the January 2010 issue of OFF-ROAD that has multiple stories on what it takes to go racing. I realize that sometimes mail can be sketchy, coming all the way from the USA to the Middle East, so just in case you didn't get a copy, I'm sending you one to the address you gave me.
Regarding fees and expenses: it is very hard to put a price on these. Teams spend anywhere from half a million dollars on one race to just a few thousand dollars at a grass-roots level. Generally, the bigger the race circuit the more you'll have to spend. You need to incur the costs of fuel, lodging, and food for you and your support (chase) team. And don't forget about entry fees, the cost of broken parts, and any extra equipment you'll have to buy (helmets, race suits, etc).
Manual Ranger Hubs?
Going back a year or so, you had the Project 4X4 Link based on a '99 Ranger. In a photo in the December 2008 issue I can see what seems to be manual locking hubs on the Ranger. Is this possible on A-arm 4WD Rangers? If so, what brand of hubs are they? I'd like to have manual hubs instead of shift-on-the-fly 4WD, just in case it fails in the middle of a silt bed on any race course or secondary road while chasing or prerunning. I've considered trading my '00 Ranger for a '97 model with TTB where more wheel travel can be achieved and manual hubs installed, but it's not easy getting one of that year in good condition.
Thanks a lot for your advice and your magazine.
Mexicali, Baja, Mexico
Jorge, our web producer, Jason Gonderman, owns that Ranger and he tells me that the hubs are from AVM and work on trucks with the Pulse Vacuum Hub from '98-to-mid '00.
Also, on a side note, I'd suggest keeping your A-arm Ranger. I know it is easy to get lots of travel out of the TTB front end, but a TTB Ranger will never handle as well as your A-arm Ranger will.