To submit a question, e-mail: mini.truckin@sourceinterlink.com

So now Eric of The Little Shop of Horrors is jealous that I answered all of Jamey's questions and told me he would send a ninja over to remove my ponytail if I didn't answer some of his questions, too. Since I am scared of scissor- wielding ninjas, I told him I would.

Q. Can you describe what a straightaxle rear's instant center is, also what the side-effects are when it's way off? Where do you want your instant center on the average 'bagged mini? And, what are some garage-style methods of finding it, then transferring that into metal?

A. The instant center of a forward facing link system can be way off and have a minimal effect on driveability. That doesn't mean that you should ignore it, though. Designing your system to have the instant center around the front bumper will have the least amount of negative effects while still offering benefits. The second part of your question would be best if it were an entire article.

Q. Have you ever been struck by lightning?

A. No. Not being affected by natural disasters was one of the perks to continuing my business, even though I lost my bet to the Devil.

Q. Let's say Joe Minitrucker has 2,500-pound 'bags in the front of his mini and they require 140 psi to lift it to ride height. He spends a weekend and makes clearance for a 2,600-pound 'bag and gets to that same height now at 100 psi. Pleased by his results and finding that the compressors work much less to keep up, he sells the 2,600s and spends the next weekend making even more room for a 2,800-pound 'bag. He can now reach ride height at 70 psi, totally max out the suspension at 90 psi, and can easily untuck and turn his big OD wheels and tires, making him the cat's meow among all his friends, especially the ladies. Is there any reason Joe Minitrucker shouldn't use the biggest possible 'bag he can stuff in there?

A. The larger the 'bag, the softer the spring rate. At some point, too soft of a spring rate will make the truck wallow over bumps and through corners. It is not a good idea to run an overly stiff shock to compensate, either. Use the right 'bag with the right shock. As a rule of thumb, it should take about 80psi-ish at ride height for a nice neutral feel.

Q. Why do you have to be stingy? Can't you give Steve at least a little of your hair to keep him warm in the shop? Do you two ever cuddle?

A. I have offered Steve the use of my hair for the weekend (to help him pick up chicks) but he declined. He said his natural charm does just fine. We only cuddled once, but it was all his idea.

Q. Obviously, there is no glory in making a set of control arms for an S-10, when you can buy a set that look better and work better than most homemade versions, and are well worth the money; considering the amount of time it would take to build some. Some parts, though, are borderline. How does a level-headed minitrucker know when to buy or build?

A. That is a really tough question for me; I'm not really a fan of kit parts. But since most of you aren't in my position, the best you can do is ask around. The shop building the part will always tell you that their product is perfect, so ask other people that have used said product and see how they feel about it. If you decide to use the product, make sure that they will let you return it if it doesn't do as promised.

Q. Have you ever seen or put in a Jacob's ladder in a minitruck?

A. No. I haven't ever seen a situation that necessitated a Jacob's ladder. It was originally designed to limit lateral movement on race cars that had no room for a Panhard bar or a triangulated link system. Minitrucks have all the room in the world compared to a race car. By the way, did you know "race car" is a palindrome?

Q. If you weren't a fabricator, in what other occupation would you see yourself? Private detective? Adult film star?

A. I really couldn't imagine myself doing anything else, but if I had to choose, I would want a job where I could dress really nice, sit behind a desk, spout orders to my secretary, all while doing a power lunch with my business associate. Yeah, that would be cool ... Oh, and the film star thing, just as being a professional fabricator, being an adult film star also requires professional level tools.
-Max Fish