Who's the Man?
Dear Mike,
I remember an older Toyota Hi-Lux that was red with a newer 4Runner front end on it. It also had what looked like a Chevy Blazer front end grafted on. Who the hell built this truck, and why haven't I seen it in MT yet?
Chris C.
Jacksonville, Florida

Chris,
That truck was built by the infamous Bob Grant, owner of Grant Fabrications in Oroville, California. Bob has built several mind-bending creations that we've shown you in show coverage throughout various issues of MT. So far, Bob hasn't finished anything that we can shoot for a feature. But fear not, we've talked to him, and we know he's working hard to have the 'Yota ready for a cover shoot.

By The Book
Dear Mike,
I have been reading MT magazine for quite some time. Your mag is great, and I ordered the S-10 hop up book from HP Books to get information on modifying my truck. I have a standard cab '92 S-10, and I am thinking of putting an Air Ride Technologies airbag kit on it. My question is about resetting the pinion angle of the driveshaft. I really didn't get much information out of the handbook on this and was wondering if you could give me a little more detailed information on this topic. I have never made any serious mods like this, but I'm confident enough to try it. Sitting back watching everyone else with tight rides gets old. I appreciate your time and help.
Terry T.
Marianna, Florida

Terry,
Because you live in sunny Florida, we can see why you would want to hook up your mini. With all of the phat trucks cruising the streets, it must really drive you nuts to drive a stock truck. The HP Book for S-10s is a good read and one that provides lots of useful information for S-10 owners. The method of resetting the driveline pinion angle will depend on what type of rear suspension setup you pick for your truck. In a nutshell, you'll want to keep the pinion angle at ride height within 1 degree of what it is now. You can purchase a magnetic angle finder from Sears, and then set it on the front of the differential and measure the pinion angle. Venturing away from this measurement even a few degrees will cause the driveline to vibrate while you drive. Most link-type suspension systems have a few inches of adjustment built into the end of the bars just in case you happen to weld the mounts off the mark a bit. In a triangulated four-link system, you'll be able to adjust the top triangulated bars to move the rearend from one side to the other. These are the bars you'll want to adjust to center the rearend between the framerails. The lower bars can be used to center the rearend in the step notch and the wheelwheels of the bed. Remember, the best way to ensure everything is straight and aligned is to measure twice and weld once. The closer you make the rearend aligned during the installation of the four-link, the less adjustment will be needed afterward.

Motor Skills
Dear Mike,
I'm considering pulling my motor out of my Tacoma and painting the engine block to match the outside of the truck. The problem is I'm unsure if I should pull the engine and transmission out together or just the motor. What do you think?
Wade C.
Belmont, Washington

Wade,
It's a special case because your Tacoma is body-dropped. Normally, we'd say you should take both the engine and transmission out together, but because the firewall is now much closer to the bellhousing of the transmission, you should probably just yank the motor out by itself. The downside of this maneuver is that it can sometimes be a pain in the butt to align the motor and tranny when you go to reinstall it. Make sure you have friends around to help you maneuver the hoist and the engine when it's time for the reinstallation of your Taco's engine. In the photo, you'll see Claude from E.L. Prototypes reinstalling a 2.4L Tacoma engine. If you look closely, you'll see there is very little room between the transmission tunnel, the firewall, and the tranny.

Metal Graphix
Dear Mike,
At Resolutions a few years back, I saw a Chevy Caprice that had graphics on the hood that looked like aluminum. What kind of painting technique or materials do I need to put that kind of graphic on my S-10? Thanks in advance!
Ryan P.
San Berdoo, California

Ryan,
Those graphics look great, and the shiny aluminum-looking part isn't any type of special paint. What you were looking at was the bare steel of the hood with a clearcoat laid over it. This sheetmetal graphic trick has been around for awhile and looks great when done properly. Contact your local custom body shop; it'll give you the run-down on how to perform this mod and make it last. You don't want rust-colored graphics on your truck down the road, do you?