I come from a very tall family and my immediate family is also very tall. Everyone including my wife and two adolescent sons are more than 6 feet tall. The boys are still growing and show no signs of stopping anytime soon. We have a '96 Dodge Ram 1500 Extended Cab pickup that I drive to work and the boys and I use on weekends to haul our Yamaha dirt bikes for trail riding. Even though they take turns riding up front, one of them gets stuck in the back seat. When my wife comes along, both boys jam their knees into the backs of the front seats. My ideal solution would be to buy an '06 Dodge Ram 2500 Mega Cab. That cab is as spacious as a limo. Unfortunately, our budget isn't big enough for the big payments that would accompany a Mega Cab. My question to you is how much trouble would it be to stretch the cab of my existing truck? My truck is in great shape, and I like everything about it, except for its cramped rear seating area. If I was able to stretch the cab 1 or 2 feet, could I install the actual rear seat from the new Mega Cab? I know limo builders stretch every imaginable car and truck, so should I contact one of those companies or would a competent body shop be able to do the stretch?
Your idea doesn't sound bad on paper, but in reality it could be an expensive undertaking. You might be better off saving up for the Dodge Mega Cab. You're correct that limo conversion companies can and do stretch every imaginable vehicle, but that work is almost always done for the "trade." Many of those conversions are done with jigs on a mini assembly line. That doesn't mean there aren't companies that might be willing to do individual projects. You should check various internet search engines to find conversion companies. A good place to start is at www.limodigest.com. Limousine Digest is a monthly trade publication for the limo industry. The magazine offers an "Industry Guide" source book that you can purchase online for $8.95. Any competent body shop could theoretically stretch the cab of your Dodge, but if it were our truck we'd find an experienced conversion company. Besides lengthening the rear half of the cab and stretching the frame, custom rear doors would need to be fabricated. Since your truck has reverse-hinged rear doors, a new B-pillar would be needed to mount front-hinged rear doors.
We recently spent a week in an '06 Dodge Ram 2500 Mega Cab, and it was by far the most spacious crew cab we've ever experienced. That back seat is incredible. Our 6-foot-8-inch-tall son fit comfortably with the front seats all the way back. The whole Mega Cab rear seat assembly is wonderful. It's a split seat that reclines or folds down independently. When the seat is folded, the resulting huge cargo area is perfectly flat. There's room behind the seat for lots of gear, and there are convenient cargo loops. The bad news about the seat is that finding a wrecked Mega Cab could be very difficult, if not nearly impossible. You might be able to buy all the components to assemble a seat, but that would be expensive. It might be less expensive to have the conversion company build a similar seat.
I was detailing my '02 GMC Sonoma after having it stored in my parents' garage while I was in Iraq. The truck has a manual transmission and neither of my parents can drive a stick shift. So, they started up the truck and ran it occasionally, but they didn't drive it. When I had the truck out in the driveway cleaning the wheels and tires, I noticed what appears to be a dent or dimple in the sidewall of all the tires. The air pressure was at most 2 psi below what it was when I left, so the tires didn't go flat. I drove the truck, and the tires seemed a little "lumpy" at first, but that feeling went away after a few miles. The tires are relatively new with probably 80 percent tread left. Did storing my truck and not moving it damage the tires? Did this cause a weak spot that might blow out? Do I need to get all new tires or is this not anything to worry about?
St. Joseph, Missouri
If the flaws go in but not out, the problem is only cosmetic. These low spots or dimples are common. They tend to show up best on a sunny day after you've washed your truck and applied tire protectant. The dimple is a minor void in the splice of the rubber. The dimples aren't mold marks or signs of overlapping steel belts. If you look carefully at a lot of tires, you'll find these dimples on all types and brands of tires. Some tires have more than one low spot. The kind of flaw you need to be aware of is anything that protrudes. A blister or bubble can indicate a weak spot that could lead to a blowout.
It Doesn't Make Sense
My '95 Ford F-150 (the engine is the 351 V-8) failed its annual emissions test. A friend suggested that the oxygen sensor could be the problem. He said I could simply remove the old sensor, clean it, and reinstall it. That sounds better than buying a new sensor, but I've never heard of cleaning an oxygen sensor. Is it similar to cleaning spark plugs?
Your friend appears to be one of those people who have just enough knowledge to be dangerous. A bad oxygen sensor is a common source of emissions test failure. It's possible to remove and clean the sensor, but it's more futile than fruitful. The cleaning may work temporarily, but you can be sure it won't work for long. A new oxygen sensor for your truck should cost around 50 dollars. You'd be better off to have your truck diagnosed at a tune-up shop. If they tell you that a new oxygen sensor is needed, you can make the swap yourself. Just remember to let the exhaust cool before you touch anything.
Someone tried to break into my '87 Chevy Silverado by prying open the vent window. They broke the window latch but must have been scared off because they didn't touch my stereo system. Do you know where I can find the parts to repair the vent latch?
There are reproduction vent window handle kits that include a new chrome handle and all the necessary springs and washers, and so on. There's a difference between the driver-side latch and the passenger's latch. One particular place we know that sells these inexpensive kits is J.C. Whitney, (800) 865-4227, www.jcwhitney.com.
I love John Melvin's Black Brawler Chevy on the cover of June's magazine, but I have to know how much horsepower and torque that crazy SS is pulling. Please let me know.
The Melvinator's truck packs a pretty good punch. It runs deep into the 11s with a healthy shot of laughing gas. Straight from the horses mouth: "My engine builder estimates it at 700 horsepower on the motor and 770 on the bottle." Since the truck is all-wheel-drive, it's never seen a chassis dyno, so we'll just have to take John's engine builder's word for it.
Mike Demello of Hanford, California, models the latest in Sport Truck magazine prison wear for a proud member of the Hanford City Police Department. What'd ya do wrong, Mikey?