Need More Power!
Dear MT,
I'm sick and tired of frying alternators on my '91 Toyota pickup. I've exchanged four of them so far and my local auto parts store isn't going to give me another one. What's the problem? My truck is 'bagged and has a decent audio system. Is all of this too much for the alternator to handle?
Thanks,
Burned Out in Indy

What you have is a case of your truck's demand for power outweighing your alternator's available supply. A stock Toyota alternator on a 2wd mini barely puts out 55 amps of peak power to charge the battery. If you subtract the current draw of just two medium-duty air compressors (20 amps) and a single 300-watt power amplifier (30 amps), you'll see that it only leaves 5 amps to run the rest of the truck. The ignition system and lighting all draw in excess of 15 amps of current. What this means is that even if you were driving down the highway with the stock alternator running at its peak, it would still not keep the battery charged with all of the draw from your truck's audio and air systems. Now imagine how much of a strain those items are on the charging system of your truck when you are just idling at a stoplight. There are several solutions to your dilemma. You can either install a high-output alternator from a company such as Ohio Generator or cut back on the accessories that draw excess current from the battery. Several companies such as AIM Industries now make engine-driven air compressors that will replace your electric air compressors and relieve some of the stress from the battery.

The Eternal Question
Dear MT,
I have an '88 Mazda B2200 and was wondering what would be the cheapest and easiest way to turn the six-lug pattern into a five-lug. It's so hard to find good six-lug wheels that will tuck on my truck.
Thanks,
Clinton W.
Tucson, Arizona

Not a day goes by that this question doesn't cross the mind of at least one mini-trucker. There are several options for you and your Mazda. You can have all of your hubs, rotors, and axles redrilled and welded by a local machine shop. That will give you the popular 5x4.5-inch bolt pattern that you are looking for. Or you can call up No Limits Customs [(604) 916-5717] and order its bolt-on front wheel hubs. The wheel hubs will easily convert the front end of your truck into a five lugger and then you can install a Toyota rearend, or like I said, redrill your axles. I've also heard that Bio Kustoms [(909)-242-4377] makes a kit to adapt Toyota brakes and spindles to any Nissan or Mazda mini. Give them a call, too.

Where's The Neon?
Dear MT,
I have an '93 GMC Sonoma I have big plans for. My plans include installing a tonneau cover and Gaylord's rear bench seat in the bed of my truck with a full show audio system and neon lights. I want to see some neon systems before I do mine so I will know what I'll be up against at neon competitions next summer. How come MT doesn't show the neon competitions in the magazine?
Justin W.
Travelers Rest, South Carolina

The reason we don't really show the neon competitions that are held at the truck shows we cover is because they are a small part of the overall show. Most of our readers would rather see pictures of trucks in the limited space we have to cover an event in the magazine versus a dark photo of neon lights.

Mail-Order Interior Parts?
Dear MT,
Do you know where I could find some custom interior parts? I'm almost done with the body and I want to move on with the stock interior. I'm looking for a custom dash, door panel, and so on. If you can give me some company names, that would be great.
Thank you,
Brandon D.
Medaryville, Indiana

Well, because you didn't list what make your truck is, this is going to be tough to answer. I'm not aware of anyone offering bolt-in interior parts for minis other than the standard billet aluminum dress-up items offered by Trenz, Billet Specialties, and Empire Motorsports. Most minis are customized using interior parts adapted from other vehicles. Bucket seats and dashboards taken from nearly any car or truck can be adapted to your mini, whatever type it may be.

Envious Of The Envoy
Dear MT,
Where can I buy the parts to install a GMC Envoy front end on my '95 Chevy S-10? I really like the way the headlights look on the Envoy and I just crashed my mini, so this would be a good time to make the swap.
Thanks,
Bryan G.
Tallahassee, Florida

Bryan, scoring the parts you need is as easy as calling JBM Sport Truck Accessories. It offers the complete kit to make the upgrade to the Envoy front end. Give the company a call at (800) 598-5555.