Short Shift?
I own a '99 Ford F-150 with a 4.2L V-6 engine and a five-speed manual transmission. I want to build a console between the buckets and integrate it into the dash. My problem is I want to get rid of the big, ugly factory shifter and bring it back between the seats with a short shifter. Do you have any ideas on how this can be done?
Brian Morison
via e-mail

SFX Performance offers a Hurst short-throw shifter for your truck for under 300 bucks. You can find it at:

Short Shocks
I have an '05 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT. I tightened up the torsion-bar keys to lift up the front end, but when I did that the shocks started to bottom out. How do you adjust the shocks, or can you?
via e-mail

You can't adjust shock absorbers for length of travel. You can buy adjustable shocks that have a range of ride firmness or damping, but you can't change the length of the shock-absorber shaft. You can make minor height adjustments without changing shocks, but any significant increases or decreases in ride height require new shocks.

Regardless of whether you lower or lift a truck, you want to maintain the original amount of shock-absorber travel. Check with any of our advertisers that sell suspension components. They should be able to set you up with the ideal shocks for your truck.

Extended Cab
I'm 6 feet 6 inches tall and I own a '72 Chevy Stepside pickup. I know you've answered questions before about increasing cab room by moving the gas tank and changing seats and so forth. I've done all those things, but I'm still not very comfortable.

I really like my truck and I don't have any plans to get rid of it, so I was thinking maybe it would be worthwhile to stretch the cab. I'm concerned about how the truck would look if I either stretched it as a traditional cab or if I added an extra window la current extended-cab designs? Which do you think would look better? Would one style be easier and/or less expensive than the other? What's the best way to go about this project?
John McCall
via e-mail

The best way to go about an involved project such as stretching a cab is to engage the services of an automotive designer. If you don't do a lot of careful planning and design work you'll most likely end up with an ugly truck.

We've seen this series and '55-'59 Chevy pickups that have been stretched. The majority went the extra-window, extra-body-length-behind-the-doors route. Most of the versions we've seen were OK but not quite right. The best '67-'72 we've seen was the result of a talented designer and a talented builder. The cab was lengthened through the doors and the roof. It was also chopped slightly. A lot of subtle bodywork was required to make the cab look like a factory job.

One problem that you're facing is the fact that your truck has a Stepside bed. We think the stretched cab looks much better with a Fleetside bed. The Fleetside bed makes the whole truck look integrated. The Stepside could look chopped up. This is just our opinion, but we feel the same way about contemporary extended-cab pickups-they look best with Fleetside beds.

Neither approach is going to be easy and inexpensive. A good designer should be able to help you with cost issues as well as design ideas.