Dear MT Staff,
I just wanted to drop a line and say great job on the May issue, in particular the article "Dyre Straights." Chris Dyre's '91 Nissan is exactly what I've been waiting to see. I am 31 years old and have been into mini-trucks since the late '80s. I just recently purchased an '05 GMC Canyon Crew Cab (that's right - four doors). I'm on a very tight budget and unfortunately don't have the skills, friends, or access to the shops to go full-blown custom the way I would like to. Instead, I plan on bolting on a roll pan, a billet grille, and a Shockwave air-ride suspension. I already have a set of Millani SS4-series wheels bolted up and I'm dying to get her lowered, but I'm being patient. It was an inspiration to see Chris' truck in your mag amongst all the full-blown customs. Hats off to you and Chris - you guys are true mini-truckers and understand that we who build on budgets still have a place up there with the big boys of the sport. Thanks, guys.
Stuck in the middle of nowhere, Faraway
Thank you for all of your compliments. Chris appreciates it as much as we do. We felt this was a good letter for everyone to take to heart. Anyone who thinks that trucks are built in a day are wrong. Eric is a prime example of our average reader in the sense that he doesn't have money growing off trees (we are still working on that), a hundred friends that are all bomb fabricators, and a shop with tools to hammer away. What Eric does have is a love for the sport and patience. The key to success in any endeavor is patience and persistence. Don't let your project get you down because it doesn't go as planned. Remember the vision you had when you first started, then march on through.
Motor Swap 101
Dear Mini Truckin',
My name is Jeremy Smith and I have a '95 Nissan Hardbody. I would like to do a motor swap and put either a Nissan SR20 or a Chevy 305ci in it. How different would the wiring and the driveshaft be? Which motor would best fit in the truck? My truck has a KA24 four-cylinder at the moment. Do you have any suggestions as to what companies are available for such a modification or which motor I should drop in? Thanks for your time.
Pleasant Grove, Alabama
What's up, Jeremy?
Considering that both editors here have done a motor swap on their rides, we can't think of a better place to get information. The easiest course of action would have to be the SR20, as it uses the same motor mounts as the KA24. Don't kid yourself, though - there is plenty of work to be done. As luck would have it, one of our sister publications has done a full tech on the motor swap you're asking about. The detail of this article is impeccable; there couldn't be a better source for your project. Check out the in-detail motor swap as done by the Sport Compact Car guys: http://www.sportcompactcarweb.com/tech/0205scc_silvia/. The 305 or 350 swap would be the easiest in terms of a completely custom application, due to the numerous aftermarket parts. There are block hugger headers for clearance issues as well as universal Chevy engine mounts. Companies such as Painless Performance make new universal wiring harnesses for applications such as this. Your driveshaft will have to be remade, though, usually at a cost between $300 and $400. Check out www.driveshaftspecialist.com for more info. Also, your transmission tunnel may have to be modified, due to the larger transmission that accompanies the small-block. Good luck and may more power be in your future.
The 22-inch Blues
Great mag - you rule! I have an '89 Chevy S-10 shortbed standard cab and want to do the H-4 conversion headlights. Could you give me an idea of how to do this modification? One more thing: I want to lay frame (for now) on 20- and 22-inch wheels. What backspacing should I use for the 22-inch rear wheels? Thanks, guys.
Sam Burrell Jr.
You're in luck. The H-4 conversion is as simple as replacing your old headlights with the new H-4 version - there is nothing different installation-wise. As far as the 22-inch rear, "The Wheel Dude" recommends anywhere in between 0 and 20 mm of backspacing.
Finally Woke Up
I would like to say that your mag brought me from pure tuner to 'bagged minis. You guys rock. I was recently offered a '94 GMC Jimmy 4x4 for dirt cheap. I was wondering if I could cut the frame off from the firewall forward and replace it with a two-wheel-drive front clip. Also, I heard of a paint that stops rust from spreading and eats away at already-rusted areas. Any info would help. Thanks!
Good to hear! We never have a problem adding one more member to our cult - now drink the punch. Anyway, the answer to your question is yes, the rear frame section is virtually identical. Putting on a 2WD front clip will change your front suspension from torsion bars to coil springs, as well as ditch the lower crossmembers. As for your second question, there are several paints that have rust-killing properties. Some examples: Chassis Saver and POR-15. There are many paints you can get at your local hardware store that will have similar properties, though. Don't paint directly over the rust - get as much off yourself as possible to ensure your project is not tainted by the rust demons.