Stok_ish: The Little Mazda Truck With A Big Twin-Turbo LS Heart

There are countless ways to build a car, but there are realistically only a few reasons as to why. Two that come immediately to mind sit at a juxtaposition to one another. Sure there are exceptions to the rule, but they are rules for a reason. The two motivations we’re thinking of are going fast or looking perfect.

While these two characteristics aren’t mutually exclusive, most car owners choose one or the other at some point and never look back. Sure, there are immaculate seriously fast cars out there, but they don’t often stay that way if they are really about going fast. For Jeff Kay and his Mazda B2000, there were no delusions of winning show n’ shine awards, it was all speed from the get-go—and as you can see, even that is a bit of an understatement.

Jeff competed in just about everything there was at LS Fest West, including the burnout competition. He thrashed this little truck all weekend and never had a single problem with it, a testament to his belief of building things safe.

You won’t find any billet valve covers on Jeff’s truck, nor will you find insane high-dollar components that cost an arm and a leg and end up spending more time hard parking than actually doing what they were designed to do. No, the only parts you’ll find on Jeff’s Mazda are parts that make it an absolute rocket—well, and a lawn mower and weed whacker, but we’ll get to that.

In The Beginning

When Jeff’s build was just getting off the ground, he was just coming off of a career teaching auto shop at a local high school. He still wanted to get his hands dirty, but money was tight and would be for the foreseeable future thanks to the great recession. Luckily for Jeff, a close friend of his was interested in building a cool project as well but didn’t know much about cars. So Jeff combined his skills with his friend’s money, and they were off to the races.

Jeff has hardly used any rubber vacuum hose on the truck. He claims it gets brittle over time and can cause unsafe boost and vacuum leaks and send your build to the great beyond. He's used mostly hardline to plumb everything under the hood.

Jeff originally had a Mazda B-series truck back in high school, and even though it only had a slightly worked over four-cylinder, he tells us that he would race it all the time, frequently making trips to Willow Springs. So when he went searching for a project, a lightweight Mazda truck with a turbo LS seemed like the perfect idea. After convincing his buddy, who originally wanted to put an LS in an E30 BMW, that they should do something more original, they started looking for a Mazda—or rather Jeff did.

While his friend was still pushing for the LS swapped BMW, Jeff went out and bought a Mazda B2000 and a junkyard 5.3-liter with the idea of simply combining the two to make a fun daily driver out of them. After sharing his vision for the truck with his friend, he was on board and the project “snowballed from there”, according to Jeff.

Getting The Party Started

Thanks to his teaching career, Jeff had some students in the automotive industry that were now doing really well for themselves. One of his students just happens to be Stephen Parks, the owner of SMP Fabworks, who did the cage work for the truck. While the cage work was being completed, the truck sat at the shop for a while, since it was a side project, and unfortunately, the engine was exposed to the elements and by the time they were ready to do something with it, it was in trouble.

The 38-gallon fuel cell in the back of Jeff's truck is always topped off with fresh E85 and a lot of the truck's components have been squeezed into the bed. This includes the reservoir for the electric power steering pump, the surge tank, battery, and pressure regulators. We forgot to ask Jeff if the lawn mower and weed whacker run on E85 as well, but we're pretty sure they do.

The truck had now been in progress for two years by the time Jeff says he rolled it over to Gev Pwr—yet another of his former students—for the engine work and the engine hadn’t been inspected for a while, to say the least. When they opened it up, water had been sitting in several of the cylinders and had corroded them beyond usability.

“We went to pull the heads off to do head studs and build the motor but there was so much rust in one of the cylinders that it pitted the block so bad we just decided it would be smarter to start over with something in better shape,” Jeff said. “Especially considering how affordably you can find them at junkyards these days. We ended up combing both motors into one since each had parts that it needed and good parts we could still use.”

After sourcing a used 4.8-liter LR4 on Craigslist, the work on the truck continued. The stock 4.8 crankshaft was reused as were the pistons. The connecting rods from the 5.3 were borrowed to finish the refresh and the bottom end was finished off with a set of ARP main studs. On the top end, a set of LS2 heads, paired with a set of Brian Tooley Racing valve springs, keeps everything in check and makes for an extremely boost-friendly 8.6:1 compression ratio—though this is mainly what Jeff says causes some of the truck’s notorious turbo lag.

While we were talking to Jeff, he told us of a time he recently went to the race track and they told him to turn on the headlights. He proceeded to tell them that it currently didn't have any (he later added LED fog lights for headlights) and they said, "sure you do, what are those?" to which he replied "air filters."

“I wanted a lot of chamber to keep the compression ratio low, but we get told a lot that’s why the truck’s turbo takes a bit to spool,” Jeff explained. “Honestly, I really like it and it’s much safer for boost. I’m a sucker for making power safely. I’d rather pull 100 horsepower out of it and be able to beat on it whenever I want than to really push things.”

For a cam, Jeff selected another boost friendly component, the LS9 bumpstick. Since the cam was designed for boost, it has become a crowd favorite for budget-conscience builds and for good reason. The lobe separation angle (LSA) is wide and allows boost pressure to be fully utilized.

Set Backs

But just like every project car before it, Jeff’s Mazda had some serious setbacks—the biggest of which was the use of a set of eBay turbo headers. In an effort to save money, Jeff’s friend insisted they use a set of cheap Chinese turbo headers for the build, this would turn out to be somewhat of a miss calculation.

You wouldn’t know it, but the exhaust exits right through the front fenders. Check out Jeff’s truck on Instagram @stok_ish

“Tip of the day: do not ever try to LS transplant something without everything fully assembled,” Jeff said almost half joking. “Like pretend it’s starting up. Put everything on it. We were doing everything as cheap as possible and it has really come back to bite us since then.”

It’s an understandable misstep when you consider that a custom set of headers would have set the team back roughly $2,500 and a pre-made set goes for $199 on eBay. The only problem is that they don’t fit very well—at all. Jeff tells us the headers stuck 12 inches out of the front of the truck when they first installed them, which required them to be cut down and re-welded.

The next problem was they wrap much too close to the ignition coils, so those had to be relocated to a mount under the cab of the truck. They also interfered with the alternator, so that had to be relocated as well. On the other side, the headers repeatedly melted the oil cap which necessitated the swap to a billet cap—arguably the only billet piece on the truck. The steering shaft wouldn’t clear the headers either, so all of the stock steering was cut from the truck and a Mustang steering rack was grafted to it, a move which Jeff says ruined the legendary handling he remembers from his high school ride.

Though the turbo headers may have been a good deal at just $199 for a set of stainless V-banded pieces, they really cost Jeff and his team in the long run by forcing them to relocate almost every accessory on the front of the motor.

“The ‘cheap’ headers added more than a year to the build of the truck and almost every expensive component you see on it was added just so we could keep them,” Jeff said. “All we had to do was make a set of headers and we would have saved ourselves so much trouble—and I would still have power steering and A/C.”

To alleviate the power steering problems, an electric power steering pump was borrowed from an MR2 and mounted remotely. However, the pump was not designed for the truck and though it makes enough pressure to feed the system, it lacks the volume necessary to get the job done and thus compromises the steering even further. But despite his year-long struggle, Jeff moved forward with the project.

From the rear, your first thought about the truck might be something along the line of “why does this landscaping truck have its own Instagram account?” Imagine seeing that rear end run away from you in a race.

At this point, Jeff’s friend became bored with the project and wanted to move on to something else. He bequeathed the truck to Jeff and found a build of his own.

Nuts and Bolts

With all of the problems sorted out, the truck could finally move forward with making actual power. The 4.8 was fit with two Turbonetics 60-1 journal bearing turbos. Two 44mm waste gates keep boost pressures in check while a 50mm blow-off valve vents boost pressures. A Turbosmart E-boost digital boost controller allows Jeff to dial up the boost and a CX Racing intercooler keeps intake temperatures reasonable. A surge tank from Radium keep the engine flush with E85 and can support well over 1,000 horsepower thanks to the twin 450lph pumps contained in it.

The entire system is run off a 0411 computer that has received an operating system swap that allows it run as a true flex fuel system thanks to a GM flex sensor. While this allows Jeff to choose his fuel, you’ll frequently find him running around with spare E85 jugs to make sure the truck is never without it.

The lawn mower and weed whacker are actually secured to the truck's frame by 1/2-inch bolts, ensuring they won't go anywhere when it's being raced. We even watched Jeff hit the autocross course with these, and they never budged. As odd as it may seem though, they tend to be the focal point of the truck.

Backing the 4.8 is a T56 6-speed transmission borrowed from an early fourth-gen and converted to work with the LS style engine. The engine and transmission are coupled by a McLeod RXT twin-disc clutch. A custom driveshaft by Wenco sends the power out back to a Ford 9-inch stuffed with an Eaton Detroit Locker and 3.55 gears.

KYB shocks paired with lowering blocks and springs give the little truck its aggressive stance while D-slot circle tack wheels finish off the truck’s look. Mickey Thompson ET Street SS tires help the truck put all that power to the ground—though we’ve seen the truck without them and it requires Fourth gear to really plant the power without them.

Jeff custom built the dashed and jokingly told people that it was wrapped in Alcantara from Joanne's Fabrics. And though it may be home brewed, the use of a tablet for gauge readouts is an extra cool touch.

One of our favorite features about the truck is its gauge setup. Jeff has actually mounted a 7-inch ASUS Android tablet in the dash that uses an app called Torque to monitor all of the trucks vital signs.

Currently, Jeff tells us that the truck is running on 18 pounds of boost and makes 820 rear-wheel horsepower—enough to get the lightweight truck in trouble in a hurry. We’ve seen it first hand on the streets of Las Vegas and this truck isn’t messing around. But it’s still not good enough for Jeff.

“With the Mickey Thompson’s on there, it’s actually reasonable to drive and that’s not what I want,” Jeff said. “I want something that is just crazy, and I’ve been saying it for a long time but this thing is going to make 1,000 rear-wheel for sure—it’s just a matter of when.”

Stock_ish

Jeff’s license plate reads “stok_ish”, the underscore was added to the license plate by a marker but match his Instagram account for the truck. When we asked Jeff where it originated, he told us that it went clear back to when the truck first started. A friend of his asked him what he was going to do with it and he replied: “I’m going to keep it stock…ish.”

Would you race it? Some of the participants at LS Fest West found out the hard way that while the truck insights amusement, it's no joke.

We couldn’t think of a better name for such an awesome little truck. Jeff just leans into the jokes that some may make about it, one of them being that many tell him it looks like a landscaping truck. That’s why he’s mounted a lawnmower and weed whacker in the bed secured by 1/2-inch bolts that pass through the frame of the truck. It has passed safety inspection several times in this very configuration and was making passes all weekend at LS Fest West just as you see it now.

The truck was arguably the hit of the show and it definitely caught our eye. But if you see it on the street, you might want to head the other way because this stok_ish truck is not so stock…ish.

Tech Sheet

Under the Hood

  • 2006 4.8 iron block LR4
  • Stock crank, rods, and pistons with ARP main studs
  • LS9 camshaft
  • LS2 heads with ARP studs
  • BTR valve springs and retainers
  • LS2 intake manifold
  • 80 lb/hr Siemens fuel injectors
  • Ls2 throttle body with TAC module and X-LINK
  • Ls2 front drive assembly with custom alternator bracket with P/S and A/C delete
  • Ls2 oil pan
  • 160-degree thermostat
  • CX racing radiator with many modifications
  • eBay forward facing V-band Headers for LS
  • eBay 50mm BOV with 44mm wastegate combo X2
  • CX Racing intercooler with custom charge piping
  • Twin Turbonetics 60-1 journal-bearing turbos
  • K&N filters for turbos
  • Custom boost manifolds with SS boost/vacuum lines
  • GM Ethanol content sensor (flex fuel)
  • Summit racing Roll Control
  • Wildwood 1” clutch master cylinder

Under the Car:

  • Coils mounted under seats with MSD spark plug wires
  • Mcleod RXT twin disc clutch
  • Mcleod hydraulic Throw out bearing assembly
  • LS bell housing
  • LT (f-body) T56 six-speed transmission with LS input shaft and front plate
  • Custom driveshaft by Wenco
  • Ford 9-inch with 3.55:1 ratio and Detroit Locker
  • Setrab oil cooler with dual mini SPAL fans
  • Derale power steering cooler
  • MR2 Electric Power Steering pump with remote reservoir
  • 1995 mustang power steering rack with custom tie rods
  • Porterfield R4S pads
  • KYB shocks
  • Lowering blocks
  • Heim joint links from chassis to rear end
  • NHRA master disconnect switch
  • Rims are 15×8 and 15×10 D-slot circle track wheels 6×5.5
  • Tires are normal 235/60/15 front and Mickey Thompson ET Street SS 295/55/15 rear

In the bed:

  • 32 Gallon fuel cell filled with E-85 with 0-90 ohm sending unit
  • Radium Engineering fuel surge tank with twin internal Walbro 450 pumps
  • Holley low-pressure transfer pump
  • Radium Engineering boost referenced fuel pressure regulator
  • Aerospace components billet battery tray with dry cell battery
  • Lawnmower and weed whacker for extra F.U. when you lose.

Interior and inside:

  • Racecar interior (none)
  • SMP Fabworks custom roll cage throughout
  • EVO8 Seats
  • Summit 5pt cam-lock harnesses
  • Sweet Mfg collapsible steering column with quick disconnect wheel
  • Sparco steering wheel
  • Turbosmart E-boost street 1 digital boost controller
  • SPEK Pro gages
  • 7-inch ASUS Android tablet with Torque app and Bluetooth adapter
  • Joe’s Racing switch panels
  • Stock ECU with 2BAR speed density tune with flex-fuel by NewEraPerformance

Social media:

Instagram @ Stok_ish

About the author

Chase Christensen

Chase Christensen hails from Salt Lake City, and grew up around high-performance GM vehicles. He took possession of his very first F-body— an ’86 Trans Am— at the age of 13 and has been wrenching ever since.
Read My Articles

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