4×4 Trucks


***This information is not intended to be a “buyers guide”, this information is meant to help you in your search!***

There comes a time in every teenage boy’s (or girl’s) life when they become obsessed with automobiles. Well, here in Texas (and the rest of the US), we are mostly obsessed with 4×4’s. We have found in our travels that there are two basic types of *”wheelers”, the “mudder”, or the (rock) “crawler”.Well here at Skin and Bones are focusing on the “mudder” type 4×4 trucks.


Our goal in this section is to cater to the beginners, the kid (big or small) with a low budget,and the kid that just wants to have fun. We will give you a quick crash course into 4×4’s,and choosing the right one. Then comes the fun part. Modding it out and Wheeling! We promise this will be painless, for the most part. Bare with us while the site is being built, Thanks.


Budget Build Project: PitBull

by Keith Higgins
Over the next year you will be watching the build up of a highly versatile 4×4 on a high school students budget. This means that we will build and wheel a truck for under $5000. It may not look good, but it will wheel good. Seems impossible? Stay tuned to find out.

Before we even begin to look for used trucks or rigs, we need to figure out what we will be doing with the vehicle. Mudding, rock crawling, Dune running? You may have a main type of wheeling you like to do, but, if you want a good, cheep versatile rig your best bet is to set up a rig for Rock Crawling. Why do you ask? Because rock crawling is the most demanding thing you can do off road. This set up is not the best if you are just mudding, but it will hold up to a lot of strain on the street, trail, and in the shop. You get the idea? Good(email me if not)

Ok, now that we know what we are going to build, what brand or vehicle do we get? Well, that’s the question. It’s really up to you. We have decided to build an older Toyota truck. We have done research on Toyotas, Jeeps, Suzuki’s, and Landrovers. We found that for our situation, having to tow our race trailer ex…, a solid axle 1985 4×4 pickup will be our best bet. The 1985 is the best year for rock crawling because it has the front solid axle, and the 4 cyl. 2.4L 22R EFI engine. You can build a great Suzuki Sami up for less than $5000, but again, a truck is more convenient and bigger.

Now begins our search. You can find Toyota trucks all over, but finding the right one for you is the key. If you have a strict budget, you may want to find a truck that has a lift and big tires on it because you can get them pretty well built, and have left over money for spare tires, or a stereo system. But here we want a stock, low mileage truck that has rarely been used off road. Why? An unused truck is much less likely to have been abused and beat up on the trails. Over all, this will be a much more cost effective and worth while buy because it will last longer. We search the local paper, ebay, truck trader, and internet message boards for trucks every day. Good buys come around once a blue moon so start searching. We will update you later when we find a truck, but keep looking at the site!

Well pickers cant be choosers right? Coming home from a race over the weekend 1-31-04) I spotted a lifted truck on the side of the road. We (JJ, Me (Keith) and his father, Jerry) pulled over to look at it, and what luck, it was for sale, It was a Bronco II. I didn’t really like it, It was dark and I couldn’t see much of it. The sign on the window said $2500 FIRM. Later that evening, my mother and I stopped to look at it. I decided it was a good deal and talked to the owner about it on the phone, we made a deal. I told my mom to get a cashiers check the following day for $2500 out of my account. My mom talked to the owner and she arranged for it to be delivered to our house the next day (Tuesday) while I was at school because it was a Manual and she didn’t want to drive it. Ok, I was nervous, Ive never seen it in the light, I don’t know ANYTHING about it, and I was about to spend my savings. Imagine that! so I went to school and took my Cell. At lunch I snuck in the bathroom and called her. No News. When school got out (4:00 PM) she said he was delivering it as we spoke. I had theater till 6. She was waiting in the truck (GMC 1500) whe I got out. I asked her if i had a new truck and she handed me the keys to it. The drive home was killer. We turned the corner and I saw the rear end of it, Then the whole thing. It was OK. Here are the capture the moment pics:

Anyway, heres the lowdown: its a 1988 Ford (who-hoo) Bronco II. 2.9L EFI V-6, 4×4, 4sp (od), 180K, 6″ suspension lift, running 33″ futura Dakota RVTs. Two weeks later it is sitting in my driveway leaking fluid from nearly every place in the engine bay. No biggie though. Ive been doing some research on the truck after school and I have made a clean/clear list of what I want to do to it, how much I estimated it would cost, and what the weak spots in the truck were. More on this later. This has turned out to be a very reasonable ride. If you had told me two weeks ago I was getting a bronco, I wouldn’t believe you. I never thought i would own a Ford at that. It made me think. All vehicles can be made cool, and we can have fun on everything, even an accord.

Here is the extensive list of what to do, starting with the drivetrain. It will have a Ford 302 5.0L with headers, a cam, a holley carb, and maybe some laughing gas. To cool that new beast down i’ll need a new radiator cuz this ones messed up really bad. Then I’ll have a NP435 tranny to back that up. I’ll leave the transfer case it has in it alone, I believe its a Dana 20, it’ll hold. With the the even higher lift it will have it needs a telescoping drive shaft. I’ll have a Dana 44 front axle with a locker, then a Ford 9″ rear with locker. I haven’t decided what brand lockers to use, either ARB or Detroit. I’ll be running 15×12 offset rims and 36″ or 37″ Boggers. Email me and tell me what you think, ok?. I think thats the entire mechanical drive train besides suspension right now. Its 3 AM, the end of another long day, i’m out!

The rest is a lot of cosmetic work. I will be putting on many accessories, but a lot of the parts are vital to getting on and off of of the trail in one piece. First of is a winch, they say to get one twice the weight of your vehicle. The projected loaded weight of the truck will be 2 and a half tons. that means a 10,000# winch will do. I will be putting this on my solid bumper I have now, Its dang strong. Then I will put some brite lights into the bumper. I would like hood scoops. Up top, I will have a black lightbar with some Hi power off road eliminators. I will also have a heavy duty rack up there. A tube bumper, a backup camera, Class 3 tow hitch, and some back up lights will do the rest.

I’ve been playing, and I’ve lost a drive shaft. Other than thats its ok. I’m still looking forward to seeing its potential off road.

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