Most people probably don't think about this, but there's no golden rule that says an editor is immune to all the little problems generally associated with 'bagged trucks. Tickets, being one of these problems, seem inevitable if you are rollin' around in a super-low or modified mini-truck while driving to work, or just out cruising. I bought a '93 Toyota pickup, appropriately named Dragged Daily (license plate reads "DRGD DLY"), about a year ago to be my everyday transportation, since my S-10 has been out of commission for some time. Of course, I couldn't leave well enough alone and began working out the bugs on the Toyota to make it one low and clean daily driver. This started the snowball effect, which turned the truck into a full project build.

The 'Yota is my only form of transportation to and from work (not counting my body-dropped Yugo on 26s), so it had to remain intact as I slowly began to modify it more than the previously 'bagged version I purchased. The first thing I did was shave the mirrors and license plate off to smooth the lines. I installed the new license plate with a Silver Star Customs actuated kit, swapped out my bench seats for buckets (without any seatbelts), and kept doing little things here and there. Well, I hadn't gotten a ticket in almost a year, so I figured I was about due. I just didn't expect the cop to take out all his frustration on me when he wrote me a two-page ticket listing five violations - the mirrors, the front plate, the rear plate, being too low, and a seatbelt violation.

I hadn't gotten a ticket like that since 2000, when I got a ticket for "caressing the pavement," the tint, and the airbags on my S-10. I was outraged, not to mention broke. I had just rewired the entire truck (computer, fuse box, switch box, and so on) by myself after a little dragging accident (one more bug the previous owner neglected) and replaced two brake lines. This latest ticket was going to cost me a pretty penny, and I thought to myself, "How much money have I wasted on tickets that I could've put into my trucks?" Curiosity got the best of me, so I added the cost of all 29 tickets (damn that's a lot). The total was almost $4,500, and that was just in ticket fees. Wow. Wheels, 'bags, or anything other than throwing that money away to the Man would've been a much wiser investment.

I finally took care of all my fiscal responsibilities and began to look at things a little differently. Using my wisdom gained from years of donating to the local government one ticket at a time, I realized that stuff does happen, but if you minimize the possibility and risk involved, you or your truck won't be broke as often. See, rather than getting pulled over and throwing money out the window, you'll be able to use your money for when things really do go bad.

Did I mention that we aren't immune from stuff breaking on our trucks, either? The other day, I left the local welding supply store and went to start up the 'Yota. The truck would turn over, but it didn't sound good. I didn't have many tools on me (bad mini-trucker, bad), so I had the truck towed home. Upon further inspection and removal of the distributor cap, we noticed that the rotor wasn't turning. I began to worry. My G-Pa and I narrowed the problem down to the timing chain. This wasn't good because a busted timing chain can royally mess things up internally. Thank God the chain broke on startup. It turned out that no valves were bent. Not wanting to risk this problem again, I looked around for a better solution. I didn't have to look far, though, because when it comes to Toyotas, the first place I check is LC Engineering. Apparently, this timing chain ordeal is a common problem on the 22REs. Fortunately, LC has a heavy-duty fix that converts to a dual-row timing chain, like the old 20R engines, and uses all-steel guides. After the swap, my daily dragger was back on the road in no time. This was another lesson that proves these things can happen to the best of us.

Whether it be tickets, a blown 'bag, general maintenance, or your girl (she takes money, too), it seems like the bucks just keep getting shelled out and your trucks don't see the progress you'd hope for. I wrote this month's editorial to help you remain positive (not just laugh at my misfortunes) because, hey, my S-10 has been in the build phase for five years now. Even with all the little quirks I seem to have with the 'Yota, I always try to have a positive outlook, knowing that one day I'll be able to roll around with pride and show off the labors of patience, hard work, and that thing we never seem to have enough of - money. So, until you can drag the rockers off your truck and reap the fruits of your labor, don't let the little things get you down. It will be that much more worth it, knowing all the problems you overcame to build a dope ride (and pay off your tickets). Until next month, try taking up donations for some of those tickets and stop draggin' right in front of the po-po. L888888!