Dirt road grown, cen cali coast

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ADshort

member
Oct 7, 2020
13
2
3
Central Coast, California
Hey I'm Alex from the Monterey area. I grew up and recently returned to the dirt road life in the Santa Lucia Mountains.

I've owned and worked on my own DDs, mostly stock 4wds, more out of necessity to get to work and back than hobby...but having spent more time on dirt roads than paved roads, with impromptu back road rallies, brief moments in Baja along with a childhood dream of driving the pan American highway and still having a couple previous DDs with potential around, I've had a recent itch to build a solid rig.

I came across this forum after hearing about it in some TC videos online and doing some research on I beam suspensions thinking I'd give my cosmetically challenged 95 Mazda B3000 another lot in life. Its pretty much a ford ranger build but has the 3.0L v6 with a 5speed manual... It runs great but underpowered for sure but it's seen some flight time over sand way back.

Then reading some of the other posts got me thinking of all sorts of different builds...

My current and nicest car I've purchased by far lol is a 2002 Tacoma 4dr 4wd. Then I've got a stock 93 XJ with the HO4.0 and a 5peed manual that I bought for $500 and drove for 5 years until recent. I've got a 89 suburban 4wd 3500 running with under 100k miles thats clean but needs some transmission work and 77 dodge 4wd power wagon with the 440 that I parked years ago when the transmission blew up. My high school truck.

So ya I've got some potential projects with some good basic bones it seems. Wondering if any of y'all who read this far haha had any input or opinions of what to build? I'm not talking anything insanely nice but a beginner build where I can work on fabricating and rip around...

Also need to get rid of some of the fleet too lol. So ya looking for inspiration, knowledge, to share knowledge and my possible builds to come and any cars or parts that need a new home.

Cheers,
Alex
 

Turboyota

Senior Member
Mar 29, 2017
4,585
4,045
113
Yucaipa
Hey I'm Alex from the Monterey area. I grew up and recently returned to the dirt road life in the Santa Lucia Mountains.

I've owned and worked on my own DDs, mostly stock 4wds, more out of necessity to get to work and back than hobby...but having spent more time on dirt roads than paved roads, with impromptu back road rallies, brief moments in Baja along with a childhood dream of driving the pan American highway and still having a couple previous DDs with potential around, I've had a recent itch to build a solid rig.

I came across this forum after hearing about it in some TC videos online and doing some research on I beam suspensions thinking I'd give my cosmetically challenged 95 Mazda B3000 another lot in life. Its pretty much a ford ranger build but has the 3.0L v6 with a 5speed manual... It runs great but underpowered for sure but it's seen some flight time over sand way back.

Then reading some of the other posts got me thinking of all sorts of different builds...

My current and nicest car I've purchased by far lol is a 2002 Tacoma 4dr 4wd. Then I've got a stock 93 XJ with the HO4.0 and a 5peed manual that I bought for $500 and drove for 5 years until recent. I've got a 89 suburban 4wd 3500 running with under 100k miles thats clean but needs some transmission work and 77 dodge 4wd power wagon with the 440 that I parked years ago when the transmission blew up. My high school truck.

So ya I've got some potential projects with some good basic bones it seems. Wondering if any of y'all who read this far haha had any input or opinions of what to build? I'm not talking anything insanely nice but a beginner build where I can work on fabricating and rip around...

Also need to get rid of some of the fleet too lol. So ya looking for inspiration, knowledge, to share knowledge and my possible builds to come and any cars or parts that need a new home.

Cheers,
Alex
Build choice #1: Tacoma
Build choice #2: B3000 (that motor sucks, though)
 

ADshort

member
Oct 7, 2020
13
2
3
Central Coast, California
Build choice #1: Tacoma
Build choice #2: B3000 (that motor sucks, though)
Ya the Tacoma is quality and has been reliable but not sure I want to do much to it at moment being my daily. I did upgrade the suspension to bilstein 5100s with new coils and leafs this spring. A mild start, and probably something I'd eventually build with more experience under my belt.

The Mazdas 3.0l engine is the worst and probably the reason why it's still sitting unused lol. Kinda zapped any desire to clean up the interior Andy make it a daily driver after sitting for a while even though a lot of the chasis has been rebuilt. The XJ was a fun car to drive though and still stock and runs, just need to replace the clutch. It's a tough call lol. Just getting the itch to do something with them or get rid of them.

I also saw you posted some CAD designed kits for toyotas? Wondering if there was a 1st gen cad model out there? I do architecture drafting and rendering for a living so know 3D cad software and have some experience with CNc's. Was wanting to design body armor stuff for my yota so I can work on my fabrication skills.
 

marcytech

Mega Member
Mar 16, 2011
6,451
973
113
b3000 for sure will be the easiest and most cost efficient way to start messing around with fabrication and dirt miles. motor swaps in rangers are easy peasy
 
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themoneypit

member
Jul 30, 2018
211
154
43
Missouri
I'm biased, but I vote B3000/Ranger as well. Since you hate the engine, 4.0 or even 5.0 swaps can be done extremely cheaply with a donor vehicle. I have a grand total of $500 in my explorer 5.0 swap using all stock parts. Grab an early 5.0 explorer, and it is 99% plug and play. Literally four wires need to be cut and connected elsewhere.
 

ADshort

member
Oct 7, 2020
13
2
3
Central Coast, California
I'm biased, but I vote B3000/Ranger as well. Since you hate the engine, 4.0 or even 5.0 swaps can be done extremely cheaply with a donor vehicle. I have a grand total of $500 in my explorer 5.0 swap using all stock parts. Grab an early 5.0 explorer, and it is 99% plug and play. Literally four wires need to be cut and connected elsewhere.
Awesome. I'm all for easy. Not sure what year explorers come with the 5.0 though? I know the 4.0 is common... guess I can google it lol. Thanks for the info.
 

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