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Best 2WD Truck for LT Race/PreRunner ??

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Old 05-05-2011, 12:32 PM   #1
DrZero [OP] DrZero is offline
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Best 2WD Truck for LT Race/PreRunner ??

I'm thinking about building a race truck for the desert. I've always wanted one and I'm not getting any younger. It would have a full cage, fuel cell, race seats and long travel suspension. Like a BITD 7300 style truck.

I'm wondering which truck would be the best base to start with. There is some tradeoff between buying a newer truck that has more advanced engineering (supposedly) only to throw away a lot of the stuff you've just paid for (most of the interior)... vs. buying an older truck.

So starting with the Toyotas would people generally consider one generation of Tacomas (or previous trucks) superior to others. Is newest the best?

And what about Nissans. The Hardbody seems to have pretty good support from Total Chaos racing, and they are out there for a song. ($2K). Would it make more sense to buy a newer truck only to rip & replace so much of it?

If were looking at current models is the current Tacoma vs. Frontier question, I see people say the Frontier is heavy but the Tacoma as a weaker frame and engine mounts.

I know this isn't an off road racing board (and I know it's probably not a very pro-Nissan site), but I was just interested in your opinions and how you would go about picking a base truck to make into a full zoot pre-runner/ desert racer.
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Old 05-05-2011, 12:34 PM   #2
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I hope you have deep pockets. If you're not locked into a specific brand you'd probably be best served with a Ranger.
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Old 05-05-2011, 12:53 PM   #3
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Hrmm...no other responses yet. OP, how serious are you about racing, what's your timeline, will you do your own fabrication, what sanctioning body do you have in mind, etc.?

Do you have a tow vehicle and trailer to haul your race truck around? Expenses grow quickly in this sport.
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjp2 View Post
Hrmm...no other responses yet. OP, how serious are you about racing, what's your timeline, will you do your own fabrication, what sanctioning body do you have in mind, etc.?

Do you have a tow vehicle and trailer to haul your race truck around? Expenses grow quickly in this sport.
  • I am bound and determined to get out there.
  • My time frame is to be ready to race by Jan. 2012.
  • If I somehow can't get ready to race by then I will at least go be a race groupie and try to pre-run or find other sub-race venues for driving fast in the desert.
  • I have money saved to dedicate to this.
  • I have one friend who is going to help out, and a few others who are interested but not proven as far as reliability goes.
  • I've ridden dirt bikes in the desert for 20 years, so I do know a little bit about the desert.
  • The only racing I've done was BMX in the 1980s.
  • I have the fabulous T-100 which I don't want to sacrafice to this effort, which I could tow with (3.4L) & the reliable friend has a full size Dodge w/ a 360ci V8 - as possible tow vehicles.
  • I do not have a suitable trailer.
  • I have a great mechanic and also excellent fabricator next door who will do stuff that is above my ability. I'm not a fabricator, so pretty much 100% of that is above my ability. I can do a reasonable amount of wrenching on the truck, but have my limits.
  • Building the vehicle seems like part of the fun to me. Buying someone's Ranger doesn't have as much appeal to me, but I guess I could.
  • I like to be different. Ford, Ford, Ford. Really, I've never been super impressed by Fords, and yes the Ranger has earned its' reputation in desert racing, but it still seems like such a dated platfrom.
  • I have in mind Best In The Desert, because it's closer to where I live.
  • I was considering Class 7100 (Bone Stock) originally, many suggested class 7300 instead. So I'm headed towards 7300 I guess.
Thanks for taking time to answer my question. I, too, would think more people would be interested in this. Maybe the topic has been exhausted before I joined? Or maybe it's just not that widespread an obsession.

I notice, going to the news stand and browsing through the truck magazines that everyone is really into crawlers right now. There are about six different Jeep and Crawler oriented magazines. Toyota 4WD Owner is crawler oriented. Off-Road is the only truck mag that seems to cover desert racing (besides buggie in the VW mag).
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:04 PM   #5
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ranger, or if you want a v8 i'd do 90s f150 or 90s chevy, done and done.
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:17 PM   #6
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there are many options you can go with... buying a new truck is going to cost you more money in a few ways, obviously the price of a new truck is going to cost you more as well as finding parts, when a truck has only been out for a few years or the generation is still in production parts for that model are going to cost more than a previous generation or older truck. If youre wanting to go budget than a i beamed f150 is a good way go but it will preform sloppy with the camber change of beams. I would say go check out some sites dedicated to desert racing. A couple that i go to regularly are race-dezert.com and dezertdimes.com ... dezert dimes is backed by a company called baja customs that produces long travel kits and parts mostly centered around s10s and that will definitely get you away from the ranger platform that youre wanting. Just some things to think about... sorry for rambling and hope it helped
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:27 PM   #7
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okay im not sure what the 7300 class consists of. but i would buy a used truck.. maybe a truck with a blown engine so you can score it cheap. drop in a bigger engine. and go from there. are you planning on 2wd or 4wd. oh and BTW mjp2 races trucks so he has very good knowledge. personally i would go with a first gen tacoma..
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:52 PM   #8
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January 2012 is a very tight schedule but workable if all the stars align, vendors cooperate, fabricators aren't backlogged, testing goes smoothly the first time around, etc.

On my build I spent 6 months just waiting for a fuel cell bladder to be made, and that was after FuelSafe had the can in-hand. It took me almost the same amount of time to get my front suspension components shipped to me after placing the order.

Not trying to talk you out of this -- just hoping to help set expectations. It's stressful and expensive but the experience is WELL worth it in the end!

PM me and I'll send you my phone number if you want to chat it up. I'm more than happy to discuss this stuff.
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Old 05-06-2011, 08:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjp2 View Post
January 2012 is a very tight schedule but workable if all the stars align, vendors cooperate, fabricators aren't backlogged, testing goes smoothly the first time around, etc.

On my build I spent 6 months just waiting for a fuel cell bladder to be made, and that was after FuelSafe had the can in-hand. It took me almost the same amount of time to get my front suspension components shipped to me after placing the order.

Not trying to talk you out of this -- just hoping to help set expectations. It's stressful and expensive but the experience is WELL worth it in the end!

PM me and I'll send you my phone number if you want to chat it up. I'm more than happy to discuss this stuff.
Thanks. This is very helpful to know. I should know that from building a custom motorcycle, delays on parts were amazing.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:38 PM   #10
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we have a first gen taco, second gen taco, and a ranger on our team, but the chase trucks are mostly first gen tacos...

i like the first gen taco and the ranger platforms as there seems to be less electronic issues to deal with when tearing the trucks apart...





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Old 05-12-2011, 04:47 PM   #11
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Thanks Mohawk Mike those are some awesome pictures and I appreciate the information you've provided.
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:49 PM   #12
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I would personally look for a single cab 4wd 89-95 Pickup with a 22re. It doesn't matter if you need 4wd or not but out of the box they are pretty bullet proof and come with good brakes, strong chassis and reliable running gear, super easy to work on too. I would put on a TC Caddy Gen 2 kit, either remove the 4wd to save weight, costs and complications or keep it for that extra assurance if you get in nasty situations. Make a strong, reliable truck first, then concentrate on making it faster.

Keep it simple, search on dezertrangers.com for Matt Helton's SY2 Pickup.
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:54 PM   #13
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How about building up a JeepSpeed Jeep?
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