Dear MT,
In your December '04 issue, the feature on Jamey Tiffany's Grounded Taco, he swapped the front end of his truck with the grille and bumper assembly from a '01 Toyota Tacoma. I have a '96 Toyota Tacoma and would like to have this swap done to my Taco. I live out here in Denver, CO, and most places work on 4x4s. Since I live in a mountain-and-snow state they want to raise you to the clouds instead of slamming you to the ground. Could you let me know what is entailed in doing this kind of front end swap. My Toyota dealer told me it would be easier to find a wrecked Toyota and go that route because it would be a lot cheaper with a truck that already has that type of front end. I also want to let you know I love your mag and have been reading it since '82, even before I bought my first truck in '84.
Allen Keith
Mile High City, CO

What's up, Allen? Looks like we have some answers for you. In order to correctly update your front end you will need to change the core support and, obviously, all the surrounding sheet metal. To keep your stock core support you would have to use a lot of self-tapping screws, duct tape, zip ties, and JB Weld. And while some mini-truckers think that is the popular way to go, we think not. Replace your entire front end from the firewall forward, not including the fenderwells if you have them. Give JBM a call at (800) 598-5555. They'll hook you up on a new front end.

MT,
I've been sitting in prison since December '01 and have been staring at your magazine ever since...sometimes even reading it. The time is nearing for the great state of Wisconsin to let me go free and getting to build my own mini. I've had my heart set on a '98 or newer S-10 Blazer four door for some time, and now I'll be able to afford it (legally)! I've been looking at airbag setups in some ads and have pieced some things together. Are there any places that sell a complete setup or package deal? Another thing is: Do I have to replace my factory upper and lower control arms, or can I still use them? I was planning on running a 20-inch wheel. Any direction would be helpful, and I will make sure I send you pictures.

P.S.
Don't fight in a bar; it's not worth it. Just know that you can kick his ass and ignore him.
John Binter, #388847
Redgranite, WI

Mini-truckers seem to be getting into trouble these days. We get more than a fair amount of mail from behind the walls. Almost any of the companies in our mag will put together a complete air system for you. They won't advertise such a thing because everyone needs something completely different. You have a multitude of options on the Blazer. The cheapest route would be drop spindles, but control arms are another way to go. You don't need both, but one or the other would work.

P.S.
Chuck Norris can kick someone's ass just by looking at him.

Dear MT,
I have a huge problem. I bought an '89 S-10 regular cab shortbed from a guy for $500. The truck has a 3-inch body drop and is already bagged. I had to have it, but when I got it home I started to notice some problems. The wiring is chopped and all the brake lines are missing. It came with no doors, four air bags, no air tank or compressor, and no computer. My dad and I took the engine and tranny out. We were going to put in a rebuilt 289 Ford with an auto tranny, but we don't think the motor mounts will line up. What should I do: keep trying or put the stock motor back in? What should I do about the wiring harness? Should I junk the truck and keep working on my Mazda.
Ryan Maestas
Layton, UT

Congratulations! It sounds like you just got about $500 worth of a truck. In all honesty, if someone is willing to sell a bagged and body-dropped truck for $500 dollars, then it's usually not better for anything other than parts. We believe you will just have one big headache after another. If you are feeling brave and want to dive deep in the custom game, then a pick-a-part is a good place to start looking for a new wiring harness and ECU. If the harness is still mostly there but just cut, then it might be easier than you think. The wires are color-coded and just need to be reattached. The Mazda seems to be your best bet. If you want to change the motor, you will have to grab universal motor mounts for the Ford engine and retrofit it to your truck. The decisions are yours. Choose wisely.