Prerunner Tech

There are a lot of people that would like to enjoy the look of a prerunner for their truck, but don’t have a few thousand to put into them. A great way to get the look on a budget is with a Spindle Lift Kit.

Did you miss last month's issue where we introduced the Prerunner Maniac Prerunner Buyers Guide?

Well here it is. We put together a guide to help you prerunner builders find the parts you need. It is broken down into:

Fuel Efficiency and Prerunners seems a little contradictory. With the price of gas the way it is, and since most of us drive our prerunners on a daily basis we decided to see if we could find some way to get a few more MPGs out of our Desert 4x4 Project Ford Ranger.

One of the biggest problems with fuel efficiency and prerunners is their inherent lack of aerodynamics. Let’s face it with 6” bulge fiberglass fenders and no factory bumper our Project Ranger is about as aerodynamic as a barn. I had no idea this was going to be such a big deal when driving on the highway. To give you an example of how “anti-aerodynamic” our Ranger is, when we were headed to Ontario for the SoCal Dirt & Sand Expo, we were heading into the wind. We had to stop in Victorville and fill up. This means we were getting about 8-10 mpg. That is horrible for a V6. On the way home with the wind behind us we used a little over ½ of a tank.

We get asked all the time “Who makes a prerunner kit for my truck?” In the next issue we will launch the most comprehensive buyers guide of all things prerunner, so you no longer have to wonder.

Bigger tires need more room. I found out the hard way when covering the BITD Terrible’s Town 250. The rear-end articulated and wreaked havoc on the wheel openings while getting to our spot for covering the race.

So why did we go with flared bedsides instead of fiberglass bedsides? Well I have a retractable tonneau cover on the bed that is great for keeping stuff safe. Since it retracts I can still use my truck as a truck. The rails this tonneau follows go over the lip of the bed, so it needs metal to rest on. Fiberglass bedsides would not be strong enough to hold this.

Even though we are showing you the steps on flaring the bedsides, we strongly recommend this be done by a Pro. If you go too far too fast you will get some creases in the bedsides you won’t be able to fix. Let’s take a look at how Robby Woolworth at Woolworth Motorsports flared the bedsides of our Desert 4x4 Project Prerunner.

When I was a kid and got my first taste of 4WDs I knew I had to have one. The vehicle I am talking about was a mid-80’s Club Cab 4x4 Chevy Duallie. It was raised to the sky sitting on 44” Gumbo Monster Mudders, and it looked mean. Another experience I had was in my friend’s Dad’s ’81 GMC Step-side pickup. This truck sat on 36” Dick Cepek Fun Countrys. Both of these trucks had solid front axles and leaf spring suspensions. It was simple and effective, but very bouncing on the road. With leaf sprung axles all you had to do was either add lift blocks or have your springs re-arched. That is not the case nowadays. With the use of independent front suspensions on 4WDs it is hard to know what is best to use on your truck.

As part of the build of our Desert 4x4 Project Ford Ranger we knew we were going to use bigger tires. Using bigger tires means that your speedometer will be off the faster you go. We went from a 245/75/16 (29.5" x 9.6") to a 285/75/16 (32.8" x 11.2"). Now 3” might not seem that much of an increase, but to the computer it is a huge difference.

Click for larger viewClick for larger viewThe long wait is over...for now. We here at Prerunner Maniac are showing you how to get 15 inches of travel without sacrificing 4WD. Our Desert 4x4 Project Ford Ranger got a facelift. Starting with the front of the truck we added the Dixon Bros Racing 4x4 long-travel suspension kit, fiberglass fenders, FOX 2.5in remote reservoir coil-over shocks, fiberglass fenders and a custom prerunner bumper. This article will cover the build, and in another article we will tell you how it performed.

We skipped showing you the tear down of the truck. It is kind of hard to see your own truck in such disarray. The parts that need to be removed for the Dixon Bros kit are the upper and lower a-arms, shocks, sway bar, torsion bars and remove the spindle from the stock a-arms. The next part was to cut off the shock mounts and the stock bumpstop mount. A sawzall and a grinder handled this.

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