Q I am 18 and have recently gotten my project truck, an '87 Bronco II (yes, the Baby Bronco), up and running reliably and need advice on what to do next. I love to wheel it, but I do have some trouble keeping up with the lifted trucks I go with. Don't get me wrong-I love my B2 and it's a very capable wheeler, but I want more.
Right now it is 100 percent the way one would come from Ford. I'm not afraid of doing all the work myself, as I have already rebuilt or replaced everything except the motor, but my main obstacle is money. What should I do? It is my daily driver and I need to keep it reliable and street-legal, but I really need help going through the mud and climbing on the rocks of Long Island (pebbles compared to what you guys go over).
Should I lift it? I need better tires, but If I go bigger I need a lift (cutting the fenders is off limits; I just redid the body). Should I lock the axles? The open diffs aren't helping the traction in the mud. Any other suggestions on what would make it a good dual-purpose wheeler?
Long Island, NY
A There's nothing wrong with your Baby Bronco, but yes, it could be much better. My advice for your budget is tires and a rear locker. Get the most aggressive tire you can afford that will fit under the fenders, and stuff a locker in the rear differential. I recommend Mickey Thompson MTZ tires. I drive on them every day and they ride great, last long, and work off road. If you can afford it, I'd regear the axles a few cogs lower, but that will mean both front and rear axle work, which starts adding up. I know your truck won't be a giant monster, but I'd forgo the lift to start. Lockers and knobby rubber will take you very far and still be easy on the street.
Nuts, I'm Confused!
Confused? Get new tires!
For three months we will be choosing the best tech question from our readers' letters and sending the winning readers a voucher for a set of tires from General Tire. General Tire offers a variety of truck and 4x4 tires, including the new General Grabber tires tested in this issue by Kevin McNulty ("Grabber Exclusive," page 84). General has a strong contingent of off-road racers running its tires, and you can join that group by simply sending us your confusing, funny, technical, or frustrating 4x4 questions. We're looking for a question that will best assist the other readers, and we may be sending some General tires to you. To find out more about General Tire visit www.generaltire.com.
This month's winner is Catherine from Tennessee for her explosive Toyota question. Sometimes we email back our readers with the answers to their questions, but not always. This time the story just kept getting more entertaining, so we had to print it for you to read.
Help! I am a Southern college girl in a dilemma. My recent first taste of wheeling has made me starving for more. Unfortunately, college has caused my bank account to hover in the "dangerously low" arena. Problem.
Maybe where you live there are numerous women who are in the wheeling business. Here in southern-middle Tennessee, I am quite an oddity. Therefore, I keep my passion for anything automotive on the down-low.
An opportunity has arisen. My father recently purchased two first-generation Toyota 4Runners for a song. Neither is running. One is an '87 whose motor was rebuilt some eight years ago. The previous owner said he drove it for about 200 miles after the rebuild until "it blew a head gasket or somethin', and so I parked it." The other is an '85 that the previous owner purchased as a parts vehicle, but still had the title. In my opinion, it could definitely be roadworthy. Its motor (running status unknown) is in the back end. The bodies of both are in fair condition, however. There is very minimal rust on both and interiors are intact