This is the very question I asked when I was looking to build a Prerunner. I had recently moved to a rural area, Pahrump, Nevada home of the Terribles Town 250. I wanted something that I could stomp the vast desert areas around my house as well as hit the dunes at Dumont. I thought about doing something different than the normal 2WD Prerunner because I wanted the best of both worlds. Along with flying through the dunes I wanted to be able to hit some of the mountain trails in the area.
There are a ton of fab shops that make long-travel suspension systems for 2WDs like:
- 2WD Ford Ranger Kit from Camburg
- 2WD Toyota Tacomas from Total Chaos
Along with choosing whether or not to go 2WD or 4WD you also have to consider the vehicle you want to use. The most popular Prerunners seem to be Rangers or Tacomas, but there is a lot out there besides these 2 trucks.
Do you have a family you want to take around consider a Ford Explorer. The 95-2001 Explorer shares the same suspension as the 98+ Ranger and the 2001-2005 Sport-Tracs. If you choose an Explorer I recommend the 4-door model. The 2-door model has too short of a wheelbase and you will feel more bumps than the longer 4-door models. Choosing a Sport-Trac you get a backseat and a small bed for your gear. They are also the most expensive to buy.
If a mid-size truck or SUV is too small for you consider the new Ford F-150s. JD Fabrication makes a great long-travel kit for 4X4s and 4x2s.
Maybe you were thinking of getting a Nissan Titan. Well you are in luck, NCD Customs makes a great Nissan Titan Long Travel 2WD Suspension System and their kit looks like a work of art. The Upper-Arms are made from CNC-machined 6061-T6 Billet aluminum and they add that Bling factor to any Titan.
Another formidable choice is a 92-95 full-size Bronco. Using the Twin Traction Beam front suspensions you can easily get 15 inches of travel out of these using extended beams from people like:
AutoFab also carries fiberglass front fenders and fiberglass rear quarter panels to complete the look and functionality of your Bronco Prerunner.
Another craze right now is JeepSpeed. This class of racing is limited to Jeep Cherokees and all the parts can be found easily by the public. No one-off custom fab work can be done. If you choose to go this route you have a choice of either 2WD or 4WD. The 2WD is generally going to be cheaper to build since you only have one drive axle to upgrade. Adding gears and lockers to 2 axles can make the cost go up a lot. JeepSpeed has become so popular you can even buy bolt in full cages and glass front fenders. Find out more about JeepSpeed at JeepSpeed Racing on the Cheap.
Lets face it you can make a Prerunner out of just about any vehicle, be it a HUMMER H3, a full-size Ford Super Duty or whatever you choose. Be sure to weigh out all of your option. Outline what you want to do most with your vehicle choice. Planning is a sure guide to success.