Mike Needs Glasses
I am going through the November '08 issue of Sport Truck. I come to the editor's letter. I read it then look at the pic. OK, which one of you is at the desk and does not know which way is up? It might have taken a lot less time doing the research if he had the magazines right-side up.
Joe Carroll
Via Email

You have sharp eyes! With our crappy paper it's tough to make out the fact that Mike is reading the magazine upside down. What's his excuse? Would you believe that we had been reading for eight days straight without a nap and that's why he didn't notice? Maybe it was a pre-April Fools Day joke. We'd ask him, but he's still asleep at his desk and mumbling something about never reading again. That story was a chore to produce, but we've received more mail about it than anything we've ran in the magazine in years.

Exoblazer
I have a '99 Chevy S-10 two-door Blazer 4x4 that I'd like to make look a little tougher. Many of my friends have serious 4x4s, but they get lousy gas mileage. I like the way their rigs look, but I really like the superior fuel economy that I get.

Another big interest of mine is sci-fi movies and comics. I'd be interested in any ideas you could give me about things I could do to incorporate my various interests in the appearance of my Blazer.
Brian Gordon
Via Email

We've noticed that many of the super hardcore 'wheelers encase their rigs in steel tubing. The Brooklyn Bridge/steel cage/exoskeleton look definitely makes a serious "fear-no-obstacle" statement. There are a number of ways you could apply that look to your Blazer.

The most obvious way would be to take your Blazer to a shop that builds the real thing. That seems a little overkill for a street truck. You could also build an exoskeleton out of thinner-wall tubing such as exhaust tubing. If you really wanted a lightweight version you could use galvanized gutter tubing-just don't hit anything with the gutter cage.

Our choice would be to affect the look with paint. A skilled airbrush artist could paint a tubing cage wherever you wanted it. If you wanted to take the airbrush idea a step further, have the painter work in cues from the Iron Man movie and comics. Maybe have an Iron Man-type armor design for the base and then add the tubing over the armor.

Heads Up On Headroom
I am having a problem locating an aftermarket seat for my '07 Chevrolet Crew Cab diesel pickup. My problem is I am 6'8" and my head hits the interior roof. I also have a sunroof. I am looking for different options to correct this problem. Can you help me?
Robert Twist
Via E-Mail

We have a son who is also 6'8", so we're familiar with your problems. While he was still growing, he had to give up driving his S-10 pickup. He also reached a point where he couldn't comfortably drive our older bench-seat-equipped Chevy Crew Cab. Our son currently drives a Volkswagen Beetle because he can get the seat far enough back and low enough (he also reclines the seatback) to be comfortable.

We had a 2008 Dodge Ram Mega Cab diesel pickup test truck and our son fit fine in both the driver seat and the back seat. You probably don't want to switch trucks though. We were very impressed with how much more interior room the Dodge Mega Cab had over other crew cabs. If you do buy another truck, we'd suggest passing on the sunroof, because they encroach on headroom.

To rectify your current problem we think you need to install aftermarket bucket seats or seats from another-make vehicle. This means you will either have to reupholster the rear bench seat to match the buckets or vice versa.

Since you are so tall you can get away with sitting closer to the floor than most people. That means you could install some aftermarket sports-car-style seats such as those made by Recaro. Those seats typically mount quite close to the floor. With aftermarket seats, you can modify the seat tracks so they go farther back than the factory tracks.

The seats in many Volkswagen and Audi products have a pump handle for adjusting the seat height. This feature allows you to place the seat as low and far back as you need, but the seat can be pumped back up and forward for shorter drivers.

Another option is to have the seat cushions and seat tracks of your current seat(s) modified. Find a shop that specializes in custom van conversions for handicapped drivers. They're better qualified to modify the seating position and still maintain all necessary safety functions. Besides redesigning the seats tracks, they can rebuild the lower seat cushion so that it is closer to the floor. They can also make the seatback thinner, which will give you more legroom.

You Lost That Bet
Here's a quote from Calin's Roadwire seat-cover installation story in the November '08 issue:

"Once all the pieces come together, the covers are given a complete inspection. If any defect is found, it is either fixed or replaced before being boxed up for shipping."

Well, after they missed the ugliest Faux-houndstooth material ever produced, they definitely missed the very poor fit of the seat cover itself. I mean really, if you wanted to help them out you shoulda left out the pic on page 100 of the "new" seat. The fit of that cover looks awful! I hope now people will spend the extra cash for a custom job from the local trimmer like my pops, who actually takes the time to "custom-fit" (aka make 'em fit right) your new seat covers. And don't say it was the installer, cuz I can clearly see the horrible stitching. Look how the headrest seam droops down on the left side and look at the unevenness of the whatever print that is, because it's definitely not centered or straight. I'm actually insulted that you try to pass this off as a quality product to me and your readers and I have lost all faith in your product testing. Oh yeah, I bet you won't print this letter either.
Radical Ryan / Low Lyfe Kustoms
Via Email

"Radical" Ryan,
Let me respond to your letter. Coming from a custom upholstery background, I don't see any issue with what was written. The headrest seam drooping on the left side is not a sewing issue. The salvage behind the cover is not properly orientated and so it throws off the line. That was fixed by pinching the cover right there and folding the salvage properly. You are right on the inserts-they are a little off, so I will concede on that point. But after years of installing premade covers, I can tell you none of them fit tight from the start. There are two reasons; one is the foam. Over time, the foam compresses from the pressure of the cover installed and in turn gets smaller. Second, when a seat cover is made from a factory pattern the company makes them a little big to help them install easier and so they can shrink right. Covers that are made from leather will shrink rather fast (within a few months) and fit right. The foam can be puffed back up to the original size with a steamer before the cover is installed, but we didn't have time for the foam to dry out during our photo shoot. We skipped that process because most home installers don't have an upholstery steamer and we don't want to fake them out by making our stuff perfect when they can't do it at home. Yes, a custom shop could do all kinds of things to make the covers look better the day they are installed, but that costs more money. The story was geared to a home guy, not a professional or a professional's kid.
-Calin

Ryan, you lost the bet, but you don't have to pay us. You could just thank us for fixing most of your poor grammar, lack of punctuation, horrendous spelling, and outright butchering of the English language so that your letter made some sense before we printed it.
- Mike

Cap Recap
I'm thinking about either getting a cap (canopy) or a hard tonneau for my 2007 Chevy Silverado, but I'm having a tough time deciding on which one would look best on my truck. I'm leaning toward a cap. One problem I have is that I occasionally carry a couple of off-road motorcycles. That pretty much eliminates the tonneau, but I'm unsure about cap roof height. I know the raised-roof models have more handlebar clearance, but I prefer the look of the cab-height caps.

Do you know if there are any websites that do computerized comparisons of different-style caps? Or, is there a way I can digitize a photo of my truck and then put various caps and tonneau covers on the truck?
Kevin Sorenson
Via Email

One site we know of belongs to truck-cap and tonneau manufacturer, A.R.E. The company offers an interactive tool on its website that shows how different-style caps and tonneau covers look on a wide variety of trucks. The site address is www.4are.com. Click on the "Build Your Own Truck Cap" link.

Got Something To Say?
Email your letters to mike.finnegan@sourceinterlink.com, or send them to: Sport Truck Mail, 2400 E. Katella Ave, Ste. 1100, Anaheim, CA 92806