OWNER: Kevin Harrison HOMETOWN: Dumont, New Jersey RIDE: '88 Mitsubishi Mighty Max
Just as soon as you can see the light at the end of the tunnel that is your mini-truck project, darkness can fall and put an end to your hopes and dreams. Consider Kevin Harrison's harrowing tale of how hard it was to get his mini from stock to hot. Back in 1996, a sizeable blizzard blanketed the East Coast with more snow than anyone could have imagined. In some places, the snow was so deep that many residents couldn't open the front door of their houses to leave for work. During all the commotion, Kevin plowed his '88 Mitsubishi into a concrete center divider on the parkway, bending the frame and laying his truck up for a long time. Undaunted, Kevin bought another Mighty Max and proceeded to make one good truck from the two parts trucks he owned.
A couple of year's passed and Kevin finally had a driveable truck and planned to attend Booger Bash '99. On the way there, though, fate intervened; the motor seized up and threw a rod through the side of the engine block. Kevin didn't make it to the show and ended up renting a U-Haul trailer in order to get home. Once again, Kevin turned lemons into lemonade, removing the thrashed engine and installing in its place a turbocharged four-cylinder motor that came out of an Eagle Talon. It took months of fabricating to get the motor, which was originally mounted sideways in the front-wheel-drive Talon, to fit into the confines of the rear-wheel-drive Mighty Max chassis. Kevin fabbed up new motor mounts and all new plumbing for the turbo system to make the transformation complete. He did all of this miraculous work inside his own garage.
Spring forward to the Summer of 2000, and Kevin was once again rolling his clean Mitsubishi to shows up and down the East Coast. The mini-truckin' bug had put a stranglehold on Kevin's ego by now, and the need to have the lowest Mitsubishi around consumed his very being. Kevin didn't trust himself to weld on the suspension of his mini, so he transported his truck from his home in New Jersey all the way to upstate New York and left it in the hands of an unscrupulous shop. Months later, Kevin had to drag his abused mini onto a car trailer with the help of the local police just to get it home. The shop had apparently installed a homemade four-link that had the rearend pushed to one side of the truck. The truck was also missing parts and the 'bags rubbed on the suspension. It was hacked up, incomplete, unsafe, and in sorry shape. Kevin learned a valuable lesson that day, and the experience instilled the right amount of confidence in his own skills to 'bag and body drop his mini at home.
Months later, Kevin 'bagged his Mighty Max and built his own flamed control arms for the front suspension and a clean bridge setup and four-link for the rear suspension. He trudged onward, refining his mini until it resembled something he was proud of.
Today, Kevin's mini is complete and without evidence of any previous abuse. Kevin is taking full advantage of his recent good luck and drives his mini to as many shows as possible.
Chasis/Suspension After rescuing his truck from a the clutches of an evil "fab" shop, Kevin reconstructed the suspension on his mini. Suspension Techniques 2-inch drop spindles were installed up front, and then Kevin built a custom set of tubular control arms with flamed mounts for the ball joints. Kevin also built a custom set of 'bag mounts for the Firestone airbags. Kevin then scratch-built a C-notch for the rear framerails and installed a Pete and Jakes triangulated four-link. Again, Firstone 'bags were installed for their excellent ajustability. Hal 12-way adjustable shocks were relocated at all corners of the suspension for the ultimate in tuneability. Aeorquip fittings and steel-braided lines were used for both the air suspension and the fuel cell that was sunk into the bed floor of the truck. The chassis is painted '01 Dodge Viper graphite metallic pearl.
Wheels/Tires Concept Neeper Radii wheels measure 18x7 inches at all four corners and are stuffed into 215/35ZR18 rubber. The wheels tuck thanks to a 42mm offset.
Engine/Drivetrain The Frankenstein engine transplant is made up of a turbocharged 2.0L four-banger that was pulled from an Eagle Talon AWD car. The motor is outfitted with Web Cams built the hi-po camshafts and adjustable pulleys for the DOHC powerplant. Kevin modified the intake manifold to clear the hood and firewall of his body-dropped mini. A Greddy blow-off valve relieves excess pressure between shifts, and an Extreme Motorsports boost controller keeps the boost from blowing the head off of the motor when Kevin winds it out. Because the motor had to be mounted perpindicular to its old orientation in the car, Kevin had to fab up new turbo piping. While he designed a new system, he also made room for a Spearco intercooler behind the grille. A custom bell housing was fabbed to mate the new motor to the stock Mitsubishi five-speed tranny, and the driveshaft had to be extended by 3 inches to connect everything to the rearend. A Centerforce Stage-3 clutch harnesses the powerful motor to the drivetrain, and a 3-inch mandrel-bent, Jet-Hot-coated, exhaust system quiets the motor.
Body Mods Kevin and his friend Anthony shaved a ton of stuff off of his mini. By the time they were finished, the door handles, taillights, tailgate, hood squirters, and fuel filler door were laying on the shop door. A tailgate skin/rollpan combo was welded into the body, smoothing out the rear of the bed. The new skin contained a drop tag and 52-inch long LED lights that work as the new taillights.
Custom Paint Dupont Spetramaster Green was chosen to cover the clean body work and give Kevin's mini its new personality.
Interior A Colorado Custom billet steering wheel takes center stage in the tweed-covered interior. The bucket seats came form the same donor car that the motor was pulled out of, an Eagle Talon. A custom-built center console houses the air gauges, and billet window cranks dress up the door panels.
Audio System The beats are played by a Kenwood head unit and are reproduced by 5-1/4-inch Kendwood coaxial speakers that are mounted in the doors. The bass is pounded out by a pair of 10-inch subs that is mounted behind the front seats and powered by a PPI amplifier.
Owner's Quote "I never trusted myself to do so much work to my truck, but after all that I've been through, I'd never let anyone else touch it again. I'd like to thank my mom and dad, my sister Kim, my girlfriend Jen, all my friends that helped out, and Down and Dirty for inviting me to this show. Never underestimate yourself."