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It's been quite a while since we have answered readers' questions, and the new guy, John, thought that it would be good to get you guys more involved with the magazine again. So if you have any questions that you would like to see answered, or even if you have answers that need to be questioned, please send them to email@example.com.
I have a '98 Ford Ranger with a DJM 4/5 lowering kit for it. I put the flip kit on but couldn't get the lower control-arm bolts off so I cut them. Come to find out Ford has discontinued them. I cannot find them anywhere! Do you have any suggestions where I can find the lower control-arm bolts? I'm tired of people asking if my truck is 'bagged just because I can't lower the front. Thanks!
Thanks for the question; this is one I've been wanting to address. The thing about factory bolts is that they are as cheap as the manufacturer will dare make them, so if the bolt is a high-grade bolt from the factory you can be sure that it is important to replace it with an equal or higher-grade bolt. Many factory bolts are marked with a grade rating on the head, taking the guesswork out of it, but finding the actual bolt size will take a bit more work. Almost all new vehicles use metric bolts, and for somebody that isn't familiar with them they can be both confusing as well as hard to find-metric is a much more technical fastener system. A good place to start looking for metric bolts is online. You can start by Googling "high-grade metric fasteners." Most of the suppliers can help you determine the proper size, thread pitch, and grade for your application. I hope this helps your bolt dilemma and gets your truck down where it belongs.
I have a '96 Toyota Tacoma LX Extended Cab. I love my 'Yota, and I want to 'bag it more than anything, but I really don't care for cutting my bed up. Are there any options as far as slamming my 'Yota to the "scrape zone" without cutting the bed? I also had a question to see if a late-model Jaguar or Mercedes front clip (nose, valance, fenders, hood, etc.) would fit or bolt up to my Taco, or am I looking at some serious fab work here? I come to you guys because you are the pros, plus I wouldn't trust or take any advice from anywhere else except my favorite magazine on the planet. I hope you can help me with this, it would lift a huge weight of worry off of me.
First off Herman, we always appreciate the compliments, and second, thanks for the questions.
I'm not exactly sure why this is, but it never fails that whenever someone calls the shop to ask how much it would be to 'bag their truck, they never seem to mention what wheel/tire combo they are running. This is the first question that I will ask because it is such a big determining factor as to how much work it is going to be to get the truck on the ground. What this means to someone who isn't interested in cutting their bed or inner-fenderwells but still wants to lay frame is that you will have to run a short tire. If I remember correctly, a 205/40-17 tire will fit under an uncut bed as well as the front fenders, and if the suspension is built correctly it can all stay under your virgin bed (this is all assuming that you aren't bodydropped of course).
Now on to the tough question-fitting the front sheetmetal from any vehicle can be a monumental task (as seen in the photo to the right). This is why it is not seen all that often, and even more so why it is rare to see a truck with a front-end conversion actually painted and finished. There are a few shops that have made these sheetmetal swaps seem far too easy (like Grant Kustoms), but take it from me, it is far from easy. If you decide to have a shop perform this work, be sure that they are capable of actually finishing a job of this caliber.