• History of Toyota Trucks

    Ok, so who doesn’t love the Toyota truck? Great body lines, decent power and a great bang for the buck. But, what do you know about the little truck that could?
  • A Look at Jeep Wrangler Models Through the Years - Part III

    We have covered the YJ’s and the TJ’s, so now we only have one to go (for now): The JK’s. The third-generation Wrangler was released for the 2007 model year. Along with the traditional 2-door model, a 4-door Unlimited model was released.
  • A Look at Jeep Wrangler Models Through the Years - Part II

    Let's take a look at the different Jeep Wrangler TJ models (trim packages) that were available during the 1997 to 2006 run. There were no less then 14 ... Makes you wonder if every color combination had its own model.
  • A Look at Jeep Wrangler Models Through the Years - Part I

    Ever wonder what all those Jeep Wrangler names mean? There were so many styles of Jeep Wranglers, and not all of them were just different trim levels. The Wranglers first came around in 1987, so let’s start at the beginning and take a ride through the years.
  • Ford Lightning: One Badass Truck

    One of the baddest trucks to ever come out was the Ford Lightning. Ford's Special Vehicle Team (SVT) went above and beyond with this one. Picture a Cobra that could tow… a Cobra.
  • The Rumble Bee

    When the Rumble Bee came out, it was like our muscle car dreams had finally come true. It reminded us of our high school days, street racing with our Chevelles, Camaros, Chargers and our Super Bee’s. Sweet cars, and fun times.

    2005 Rumble Bee by Midnight1287

    Not since the “Lil Red Express” did we have a real muscle truck. Sure, we had the Chevy SS and the Ford Lightning, but those seemed more like trucks first, with the cool factor added later.

    Hell, we have been building trucks like that on our own for years, but the Rumble Bee’s first job was showing off and being a brute. It looked the part, even if the motor was still a stock Ram Hemi … a stock hemi, doesn’t sound too bad. This was to be a “Limited Edition” of 3,700, but with some dash plaques reading 4,800 and above, we are not quite sure how many were really made. What we do know is that people who bought the truck as an investment were left feeling a little hurt. Those who bought the truck to show off were unbelievably happy with it.

    2004 Dodge Ram Rumble Bee

    The Bee only came with two color options: Black or Solar Yellow. Both paint jobs came to life with addition of the “Rumble Bee” stripes. This appearance package gave the customer the same available options as on the "Sport" trucks such as painted bumpers, 20" chrome-clad aluminum wheels, and bright grille inserts.

    In addition, the package also included a brushed aluminum fuel door, chrome exhaust tip, lower rocker panel fascia or "ground effects", and a hood scoop. The hood scoop was non-functional, but helped give the truck its muscle car look.

    The interior of the Rumble Bee shares an interior similar to that of the SLT trucks with some extras. The special center dash bezel was painted bright yellow with a dash plaque indicating its “Limited Edition” production number. The premium door panels sported the same special bright yellow inserts and "Bee" decals on them. All Rumble Bee's came with cloth seats, which could be upgraded to leather upon customers request - and many requested.

    The Rumble Bee may not have come with the 426’s, or the 440’s of the 1960s and ‘70s, but the 5.7 with its 345hp was still in the ballpark. Remember, a 1969 440 came with 350, 375 and 390 hp ratings. Not far off, and with some work (Procharger), well over 400 at the wheels. Overall, a very cool truck with lots of curb appeal, and the ponies to back it up.

    As we move forward in the automotive timeline, Chrysler is once again setting itself apart from its performance competition with cars like the SRT8’s, the Hell Cat and now the Demon. We can only hope that they come out with their newest version of the SRT10 truck, and hopefully it will look as cool as the Rumble Bee.

  • The Story of the Big Green Monster: Who I Am Part II

    Let’s bring Joey back in. The Little Red &%#@ ball had a huge impact on his truck life. He had to have one. Maybe two was the right answer. His ‘87 didn’t last long (thanks Michele), but the brand new ‘89 still has a home today. (Sorry Joey, you needed a new book.) I’ve tried to talk him into giving it away, crushing it, taking a video of it slowly rusting in a field, but he will not let it go. That truck is on its 3rd motor, 2nd bed, 2nd set of seats.

    Ever had a Toyota? They just won’t die, no matter how hard you try. At this point, I won’t let him get rid of it. I have tools, knowledge and talent. It’s not dead, it’s just ready for the next step in its life. So many years of camping, hunting and just driving.

    One year, it was just a quick last-minute trip to Vegas. It seems that the Little Red &%#@ was always there. So many trips, and watching all of the kids grow up with it. Dude, you can never get rid of it, ever.

    Anyway, back to my trucks. Mine were better anyway. At one point, my kids and I had the Big Green Monster. Their name for it, not mine. I just called it the Blazer.

    It was a 1974 Chevy K5, full convertible, 350 cid, 4-speed granny geared, slightly lifted (3 inches, a whole other story) Blazer. It was the original dark green, black top (when it was on) with cheap chrome wheels. I LOVED THIS TRUCK! We are talking about 20 years ago, and there are parts of the Blazer that still make it into new (or old) projects. I will never let it go… ever.

    Next, did you know that if you weld an extra 12 inches into the stock roll bar of a ‘74 blazer, it will fit in the bed of a 1984 K10? Square body. SQUARE BODY! I kept the 4-speed and the 205 transfer case, but never got around to the conversion.

    A 700r4 is really kind of cool. It was stolen - twice. Some things just were not meant to be. Really sucked. At 10,000 feet above sea level, snow all the way up to my butt, and there I am, changing out the hubs. That truck never left me stranded, until it left me for the last time.

    Keep an eye out for a 1984 K10, 355 cid built roller motor, short bed with a 4-inch lift, brown with tan inserts. Feel free to call the Denver Police (I can give you the case number if it helps).

  • The History of My Trucks: Who I Am Part I

    So you’ve been reading my blogs off and on for the last few months … but who am I, and what makes my opinion on trucks any better than anyone else’s?

    Well, I’m your average 52-year-old guy who still remembers the first truck that I fell in love with. It was not a mud spitting monster; just a 1967 Chevy C10 (2-wheel drive, for you kids out there). It was high school, and it was my best friend’s uncle’s truck (Butch will be missed for sure). We got to use it when we thought we needed it, and by the time we were seniors, it seemed that we needed it all the time.

    What was kind of different is that John and I had the cool cars in school: My ‘70 Chevelle (a badass car that was so much cooler than John’s) and his ‘70 Monte Carlo. (All right, a really cool car too, just don’t tell him.) We would take it out and do bad things with it (327 with a 4-speed and 4:11 in the back).

    I ended up buying the truck a few years later (not sure if I ever paid for it or not). So many great memories came from that Chevy C10. All of my truck journeys started with that truck, and I still add to the list every day.

    Toyota Truck Joey and Mike’s favorite book for years.

    Many years and many trucks later, came the brand new 1983 Toyota (Little Red &%#@ ball) that belonged to my friend Mike. This set off a new direction, not just for me, but my lifelong friends as well (don’t worry Joey, you’re gonna show up in stories somewhere). WHY DO THEY MAKE ANYTHING THAT IS NOT 4-WHEEL DRIVE?

    Let’s move forward a few years. I’ve had a few trucks, but no real love affair. A Chevy Luv (don’t judge me) that I bought for $50 and used for a few years. I traded it for a bike (750 Shadow) and some cash.

    It seemed that there was a truck in the driveway (or yard) all the time. A 1971 Chevy C10 … See a pattern? This one was a big block; 402 cubic inches of unbridled smog-controlled lack of power. (Did you know that you can make good power with a Big Block Chevy? Who knew?)

    That truck grew into a big-block-powered, turbo 400 4:11 rear ended beast (never did the body work, kind of ugly in a hurry). This is the truck that made me realize that I should not have neighbors. Unfortunately, they all knew it before I did.

    Side note, did you know that it is impossible to put headers on without starting it up before the rest of the exhaust goes on? I have tried; hurts too bad, don’t do it.

  • Time For Spring Cleaning

    Ok, so spring is finally here (if you believe the reports). With the change of the seasons comes a renewed love of your truck. It has gotten you to work on days that you should not have been driving, gotten the kids to school when the district thought a “snow day” wasn’t needed, all of the appointments that just didn’t care about the weather and it has done so without fail or complaint. So now, it is time to show it the love it deserves.

    Spring flowers in truck

    Start with a good washing. Magnesium Chloride (mag chloride) has been used since the '90s, and does a great job keeping our roads safe during the winter, but there is a downside to this corrosive chemical. It must be washed immediately from cars and trucks, including the undercarriages, to prevent corrosion of electrical wires, nuts, brake parts and even suspension parts. Now, be honest, did you wash your truck after every snow storm? I’m betting no. So get in there and clean it up and inspect everything. Ball joints, tie rod ends, link kits (these tend to go first), and change them out as needed. You may even need to do some touch up on the undercoating at this point.

    Let’s move on to some of the no brainers … Change the oil. Even if you didn’t drive it much this winter, it still needs fresh oil and a filter. Check the air filter. If you are using a paper filter, it is time to change it to a washable type, which offers better mileage, longer life and better performance. If you are already running a K&N, or another performance filter, it is time for a cleaning (cleaning kit #KNN99-5000 $9.32). This kit will wash and treat your filter many times over, so you should still have some on the self. Check the mileage since the last tune up, and perform as needed.

    Gloved hand pouring oil

    The winter months have done a number on the exterior of your truck, and now is the time to address it. It’s already good and clean, and I’m betting in need of a good wax and polishing. Use a good wax, and spend the time to polish it right. If you’re not comfortable doing this step yourself, there is nothing wrong with taking it to a professional, well worth the investment. During this step, you should polish up any chrome that has suffered during the winter. Tires and wheels. These, more than anything else (just my opinion), make or break the truck. Do the wheels need to be polished? Are they chrome with a little rust starting to show? Are they painted, and in need of some touch up? All of these things are easy to take care of yourself, and provide an instant improvement to your trucks appearance. Clean and shine up the tires, and you'll be ready to roll in style.

    All that is left is cleaning up the interior. Vacuum and shampoo the carpet. There are many automotive carpet shampoos on the market, and most do a good job. Don’t forget to leave the windows open for a while so the carpet can dry. A good leather cleaner and protectant are a must. The leather can dry out even faster in the cold, dry winters. Wipe down the dash, door panels and any other hard surfaces, and you can call this done.

    Now that the truck is clean and ready to go, it deserves a night on the town. Take it out and show it off some. And don’t worry, you can get it muddy next weekend.

  • What is Mudding? (Getting Dirty With Friends!)

    So, what is mudding you ask … Great question. Urban Dictionary defines mudding: to go out in the mud in the back of a truck or jeep or other 4x4 vehicle and spin in the mud until all the occupants are covered in mud.

    Muddy tire tracks

    Not bad, but mudding is so much more than that. It’s the camaraderie of friendly competition. It’s the satisfaction of helping a friend and then beating him into the dirt. It’s taking a weekend with friends and family and just playing. Playing like you did when you were a kid, but now you have bigger and louder toys.

    There are different kinds of mudding, but lets get rid of the thought that mudding is the same as off-roading. It is not rock crawling, it is not winding through the back country on a trail in your closest national forest with your friends, it is simply family and friends getting together to play in the mud.

    Let’s forget about the snow and ice for a few minutes and put ourselves back in our shorts and tee shirts, tipping back our favorite adult beverage (soda, lemonade, high quality H2O…).

    What does it mean to go mudding?

    Have you ever seen a big muddy pit and wanted to drive through it, spinning your tires and making the mud sling everywhere? Do you embrace your truck being caked in layer upon layer of dirt? Do you cry a little when you have to wash it? Then you might be into mudding.

    Mud bogging (also known as mud racing, mud running, mud drags, or MUDDING) is a form of off-road motorsport popular in Canada and the United States in which the goal is to drive a vehicle through a pit of mud of a set length. I, however think it has more to do with its simplest form, mudding just means driving through its slimy, grimy namesake, MUD.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not all fun and games. There is a great deal of skill that goes into this sport. From the building to the driving to the repairs (ok, it is all fun and games). You have to have the right equipment, understand the nuances of the track, the mud and your truck. You have to be able to give it your all, and still remember that we are all here for fun.

    Mudding can be tricky for the simple fact that you don't always know what's hidden under the mud, rocks, tree trunks, anything you can imagine. There are also many types of mud, from thin and soupy to thick and slimy. In fact, driving in two different kinds of mud can be as different as driving on sand and ice. Each type of gunk presents its own challenges and requires variations in your driving technique.

    One of the keys to mudding is maintaining a steady speed the whole way through. How fast you drive when mudding really depends upon the type of mud you're in and your vehicle. The important thing is to assess the terrain and make a safe judgment about your speed. While you can go mudding with just about any tire, specially designed mud terrain tires are the best (and look the coolest). Mud terrain tires have extra-large lugs, with wider and deeper spaces in between them. This arrangement keeps mud from getting stuck in between the lugs, allowing you to maintain your traction, and speed.

    Some things to keep in mind when you are headed out to play in the mud:

    • Don't 4-wheel by yourself.
    • Only use your tow hooks and your hitch for recovery points.
    • Don't get water in the air intake, you can hydro lock your engine.
    • Test some spots to make sure the mud isn't too deep.
    • Don't use chain as a recovery strap.
    • Tell someone where you are going and have a way to communicate with the outside world if everyone gets stuck.
    • Have a good jack.

    If you have ever been to a mudding event, you know it is as fun to watch as it is to drive. Having learned to drive in an old Jeep, and having owned more Jeeps and trucks then I care to think about, I can tell you how wrong that thinking is. Go play in the mud, and if you or your loved ones come home clean, go out again and do it right this time.

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