Wants Project Wheelbase Info
Reader: I am trying to figure out the wheelbase on some of your project vehicles. I am looking to compare them to my own wheelbase and see if modifying it would be a wise choice. I have found the Teal Brute's wheelbase to be 117 inches. Is that correct? I also couldn't find the Mega Titan's wheelbase, so any information would be helpful.
The Woodlands, TX
Editor: You are correct on the Teal Brute wheelbase. The Mega-Titan's 'base is now 167 inches.
Tire Tech, Tips & Tirades
Reader: We enjoyed the article, "Are Recap Tires as Good as New?" by Willie Worthy and Bruce Erickson (Aug. '09).
The economic and environmental benefits of retreads have been proven over millions of miles by all types of vehicles, including four wheelers, school buses, military and commercial airlines, fire engines and other emergency vehicles, small package delivery services such as DHL, Fed Ex, UPS, and even the U.S. Postal Service.
For any of your readers who still have doubts about retreads, we will be happy to send a CD and two DVDs that should convince them that retreads are as safe as the best new tires, but cost a lot less. There is no charge for our materials and everything we send is non commercial. Our materials can be ordered by sending a complete address to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling our toll free number, 888/473-8732.
Finally, I walk the walk. I have been driving on retreaded tires for more than 30 years. My wife and son also drive on retreads.
Harvey Brodsky Managing Director
Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau
Pacific Grove, CA
Reader: Regarding "Beefy Tire Tech" (Aug. '09): When "reading" a tire, additional helpful info is the tire's manufacturing date. The last four numbers at the end of the string of numbers beginning with "DOT" indicate the week and the year of manufacture. For instance, if the last four numbers in the sequence are "1506," that would be a manufacturing date in the 15th week (April) of 2006. This can be very helpful when buying a used four-wheeler. The old bias-ply tires on the '76 CJ-5 I just acquired indicate they were made in 1964! Even with good tread, they're ready to be replaced.
Reader: I got a good laugh at your tire chart ("What Hits, What Fits," Aug. '09) for the Jeep Commander XK. Here is the reality:
No lift with 1/4-inch strut spacer, max tire size= 255/65/17
2- to 3.5-inch lift without wheel spacers = 245/60/17 - 255/70/17
2- to 3.5-inch lift with wheel spacers (1.25- to 1.5-inch) = 255/75/17 - 265/70/17
4-inch lift with spacers = 285/70/17
Rusty's Off Road is working on a 4.5-inch lift which is not yet completed. The chart shows a 6-inch lift, which is not available for the XK due to all the computer sensors that would go haywire with anything over two inches. The 4- and 4.5-inch lifts require computer reprogramming, so as of yet, no one has gone bigger than 4.5 inches to the best of my knowledge.
I am currently running a 2-inch lift, 1.5-inch wheel spacers, and 265/70R17Nitto Terra Grapplers. The tires rub and I had to do some very minor modifications to fix that.
I also saw that the August issue features a lot of Jeeps, and the Commander seems to be absent. The XK is a capable off-road vehicle, and some owners have taken the XK into some hairy situations.
Via the Internet
Reader: I have a 2001 Nissan Xterra, and your "What Hits, What Fits" chart says you can only fit a 29x9.50 tire on it in stock form. On my Xterra, I am running 31x10.50s with no trouble other than the exception of having to do just some minor trimming in the front. Just wanted to let you know so you can look into that.
Via the Internet
Reader: I just got my August issue. I looked at your "What Hits, What Fits" chart, and I'm going to be calling my dealer the first thing in the morning to have my truck looked at. I bought my truck with the wrong tires on it. Your chart says the stock size should be 29x9.50, but I have 33-inch tires, and according to the chart, that means I have a 4-inch lift kit. I did not pay for this lift and I want it removed. I know your staff spends many hours researching info and would never print incorrect info. I'll let you know what the dealer says.
Editor: Great, let us know how it goes. And in the future, you might let us know the make and model of your truck so we can make the necessary corrections to our chart.
As we stated in the actual story (does anybody read this stuff anymore?), our tire fitment chart is best viewed as, "an ongoing evolution of facts as we receive them, and should be referred to as a general reference rather than as absolute truth for every single 4x4." But any time we get good hard numbers, such as those furnished here for the Commander XK, we will incorporate those into our chart for next year. And simply because we state that a 6-inch lift is needed to fit 40-inch tires, it doesn't mean that anyone actually makes a 6-inch lift kit for it; it's simply a hypothetical yardstick to follow if you're looking to fit 40s on the vehicle.
On the subject, you say you don't see many Commanders in this magazine? We can't imagine why that would be the case. Thanks to all who wrote in with tire tips and information.
Dept Of Corrections
In "Beefy Tire Tech," which ran in our August '09 issue, we misidentified a photo of a Mickey Thompson F-C II tire. We also published an erroneous phone number for the company; the correct number is 800/222-9092. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Letter Of The Month
Uncle Sam Needs 24v Lights For MRAPS
Reader: I'm currently deployed to Afghanistan and am writing because I have a bit of a strange request. My platoon is driving the new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle, or MRAP. Being an avid wheeler, I was chosen as a driver and am many times the lead driver in convoy operations.
Without going into too much detail (operational security), the lighting and visibility on these MRAPs is very poor, which makes it hard to accomplish our mission. We do many patrols, which include keeping a 10-kilometer bubble of security around our base, looking for IEDs, mortars, rockets, and other threats.
One positive aspect about the MRAP is that there are several 24-volt hookups on the top of the vehicle, which allow accessories to be plugged in. Here's where my request comes in:
Are you guys able to ask, in print, for donations and/or lights which would work for these vehicles? I know I'm asking a lot, but with all of the red tape involved over here, for us to order our own would take upward of six months and eat up funds that we've had to help raise ourselves. We don't really know where else we can turn.
Thanks for your consideration, guys. Looking forward to a response sometime soon!
Via the Internet
Editor: Consider it done. Hopefully, one of our advertisers (or some other manufacturer of off-road lights) will see this request and be able to help you out. Until then, a box of FW swag is on its way to Afghanistan, and it's got your name on it. Thanks for writing in.